Ah, mana fixing. I must say, the recent onslaught of reprints in Magic 2013 have been rather baffling. They are bringing back a lot of cards (ahem, Battle of Wits) that just don’t seem really that relevant, and will ruin many a draft pack. Gilded Lotus, on the other hand, is NEVER going to be bad. It’s actually almost impossible for this card to NOT be a first pick in the pack that it’s in. Yes, it costs 5 mana to play, but it essentially only costs 2 because it immediately can give you three mana of any color as soon as you play it. Is it an amazing card in standard? In the right decks, it’s certainly the best card to color fix with. But in Limited, this card is fantastic because you can splash pretty much whatever you want when you want it. This was a very good reprint and a lot of players from the Mirrodin era (a few years before my time) are really happy that this has returned. Now selling my old Mirrodin copy that I picked up for EDH purposes looks good, because these Lotuses are going to be around for quite a while. Pick up your play set quickly!
Archive for June, 2012
Thundermaw Hellkite is one of the best Dragon cards to be printed in a long time. Not only is he a very good mythic rare for collectors of the ever so popular Dragon archetype, he’s a 5/5 Haste flyer for 3RR. On top of that, he deals one damage to each creature with flying that your opponents control (so it works in multi-player, too) and if they don’t die, their remaining flyers are tapped. This is actually a Standard playable card. I really like it. It makes a lot of the recent more expensive dragons jealous, actually. Balefire and Moonveil are fun in theory, and can be Limited bombs, but this is a great Limited bomb that I can see actually being played. It’s the Furyborn Hellkite of the set, and while it’s not going to ever be a 12/12 flyer, it’s going to make your opponents’ flyers sad and tap them down so you can swing right in. Hard not to be a fan of this beauty.
(Update, February 2013: Thundermaw Hellkite is one of the best Red cards in Standard right now. He’s seeing play in pretty much every aggressive Red deck there is! He’s also the big finisher for any incarnation of Red Deck Wins. Just an awesome card that ended up greater in popularity than I ever imagined!)
Conflux was a very interesting set. It may not be considered one of the best sets in Magic history, but it does have plenty of very popular EDH cards, and also introduced a few of the better cards in Magic, specifically Knight of the Reliquary, Master Transmuter and Noble Hierarch; plus, it also featured Reliquary Tower. Nicol Bolas, while not the best card in the entire set, is likely the very best mythic rare in the set. It’s still a very good card today, and is a staple in Grixis versions of Super Friends (Red, Blue and Black).
Specifically what is important to understand here is the fact that he is coming back into Standard for the first time since October of 2010. The game has certainly changed a bit since that rotation, as that was the beginning of the Mirrodin block, and Jace the Mind Sculptor’s hey-day. How good is Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker today?
First of all, he’s an eight-drop. 4UBBR is not exactly a pretty mana requirement to cast, and it’s not like you can cheat him into play somehow. But when he does hit the board, you have a planeswalker with 5 loyalty and 3 very good abilities. His +3 destroys any non-creature permanent on the board, a solid plus ability. His -2 is a Mind Control without the enchantment, which is very good. Finally, his ultimate ability, which costs 9 loyalty counters is absolutely devastating. It forces your opponent to discard 7 cards (which most often will mean their whole hand), sacrifice 7 permanent and lose 7 life. Talk about card advantage. If this lives until the third turn it’s on the board, you have the game essentially won against most decks. He’s well worth the mana investment if he goes ultimate, but most of the time, you’re going to just mind control something or destroy a pesky non-creature card that’s in your way to push for game.
He’s a great control card. Do I see him really working in this Standard environment? I sort of doubt it, but I know someone will try. He’s just too expensive, really, in anything outside of EDH. Still, he’s an awesome card to own, and will still be well worth grabbing out of this set just for collector’s purposes.
With the large number of white cards in M13 and Avacyn Restored, I thought I’d briefly talk about Vigilance; it is a virtue, after all.
Vigilance is one of the older mechanics in Magic, originally introduced in the first set ever, Alpha. However, its ruling was simply written out prior to Champions of Kamigawa, where it was introduced as an actual keyword.
Vigilance was originally written (and the ruling is still written) as: Attacking doesn’t cause this creature to tap.
As seen here, this is a Serra Angel from Unlimited right next to a newer Serra Angel from M12, the last core set. These are the same card, but the original does not have the Vigilance keyword.
Vigilance is a very basic ability, but still very important. It’s present on many cards in our current format, such as Sun Titan.
Well, SolemnParty is back. I’ve decided that I’m returning to write a few series of my own.
As of right now, my first new addition to the site is Game and Mechanics. Seeing the return of Exalted, I’ve decided I’ll mention a few things and eventually cover everything from Horsemanship to flying, from banding to wither. All of this will reveal itself in time, of course.
Exalted as MTGSalvation states, was originally introduced in the realm of Alara, starting with Shards of Alara and continued through Conflux and Alara Reborn. As of Magic: 2013, Exalted is returning in full force.
“”Exalted” means “Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.”
While the ability doesn’t make it self evident, if multiple cards have exalted and one creature attacks, each card gives that creature +1/+1 until the end of the turn. For example, a 1/1 attacks, but you have 7 cards with exalted on the board, that 1/1 becomes a 8/8 because it is attacking alone.
Here’s one of the best examples for the fact that even non-creatures can have exalted. With this land in play, any creature that attacks alone will have that +1/+1 bonus until the end of the turn. Even though it comes into play tapped, that isn’t really a huge deal due to the fact that it doesn’t need to be untapped to have exalted, it’s an instant +1/+1 when it hits the board as long as you attack alone.
Green has been getting some pretty good fatties in the past couple of sets, and while I doubt this will be a money card, Elderscale Wurm is definitely worth looking at. You may notice that there is definitely a theme of sevens with this guy. He costs 7 mana to play, with a triple green in his mana cost (4GGG), so he’s a mono-green beast and not particularly splash-able. However, the reason that he is a mythic rare will soon be obvious: as long as he’s on the board, you can never take damage that will bring you below 7 life. Unfortunately, he doesn’t prevent effects that make you use life, so he’s no out for a Birthing Pod deck and he won’t save you from the Geralf’s Messengers of the world. So, Elderscale Wurm is a marginal Standard play at best, at least at the moment.
First of all, he’s a 7/7 trampler, which is good for starters. When he enters the battlefield, if your life total is less than 7, Elderscale Wurm restores you back to 7 life. The other good news is that you basically become invincible to combat damage as long as he’s on the board and you’re at 7 life. With mono-green being very viable in the Limited format, this guy is a definite bomb, especially in the M13 format. He’s also quite good in Commander, and is a great Green Sun’s Zenith target. He’s just not going to save you from card effects that take life from you; the card effect has to specifically deal damage, not make you “lose life” and that’s the kicker. However, he’s a good mythic rare, and another good green fatty for the mono-green lovers out there.
Also, he’s got 7 mentions of seven (including his power and toughness) on his card. Got to give the design team props for that. This card wins in both terms of flavor and being a Limited/Commander bomb.
I am unsure what to make of this card. Of all of the new cards in this set, most of which I’m pretty damn excited about, this one just befuddles me. It makes the game a sudden death. I can see people out there building decks built just to troll people with this card. It throws all strategy away and just leaves the game to random chance (that and knowing what you and your opponent may have left in the deck to win with). Having both players life totals becomes 1 makes it just as easy for the owner of this card to lose as the opponent. But wait, it doesn’t say you and your opponent; it says each player’s life total becomes 1. So if you’re at an EDH table, and this card hits the board… someone at the table will need to be replaced for your next session after the other players are done with the individual that played this card…
I give the Wizards team an A+ for effort on the design of this card, but man, this card just opens the door for some really, really stupid things to happen. Good news is we probably won’t be seeing it in competitive play, ever… or will we?
For those Magic players who played in the Alara block era (like myself) Exalted should be a pretty familiar mechanic. As we have seen with the spoilers thus far from Magic 2013 (thanks to mtgsalvation.com, as always) Exalted is back in full force with the Magic 2013 core set. So why not create a card, an Angel no less, that takes Exalted to another level. Not only does this pretty 4/3 flyer for 2WW have Exalted, but she gives all of your other creatures Exalted. Nifty, I guess. Well, guess what; if they already have Exalted they get it AGAIN. So if you have 5 creatures with Exalted, including Sublime Archangel, you now have NINE instances of Exalted. Yes, +9/+9 if one creature attacks alone. In my opinion, this card makes Angels even more playable and perhaps an actually competitive archetype. I for one hope they bring back Baneslayer Angel, just to play it along side this little beauty. Oh, what fun! I love this card.
I am seriously lamenting the fact that I didn’t order a play set of M10 Vampire Nocturnus the moment I saw that this card was being reprinted in M13. Alas, it is already pricing itself out of my comfort range, as this card is likely to see a very good amount of play in the near future. It’s a great card, really. For four mana, you play with the top card of your deck revealed, and as long as that card is black, Nocturnus and all other Vampires gain +2/+1 and flying. So your Stromkirk Nobles suddenly become 3/2 flyers at the very least, and can get very big, very fast. Granted this effect depends on what your next card will be, but if you have a decent enough board presence when that face-up card is black, you’re going to pretty much have the game won. While Nocturnus itself isn’t a Win Target Game card, a 5/4 flyer for 4 mana that gives all of its friends the same boost is really damn good. It was pretty good when it was legal back in the Magic 2010 era, and it’s even better now! Here’s hoping you open some Nocturnus in your packs!
Oh, and did I mention, Nocturnus isn’t legendary, so they can stack? Have fun.
GASP! A double feature! Seriously, though, a new Liliana already?
Liliana of the Veil she is not. I must say, though the new artwork creeps me out a bit, D. Alexander Gregory made this version of Liliana look really, really badass. But what does she do exactly? Ok, 2BB is a decent cost. Well, what you get is a planeswalker that is built for mono-black and literally nothing else.
Is that bad? I honestly don’t think so. Mono-black does have its weapons, especially with Geralf’s Messenger and the return of Vampire Nighthawk in M13. Having a +1 that searches out a Swamp is pretty good. The -3 can be pretty devastating, depending on what point of the game you’re at. The fact that it can serve as either a massive black Giant Growth or a potential Tragic Slip definitely gives this ability a lot of usefulness. You can also get a really, really big Tormented Soul through for game…
What really gets me, though, is the ultimate ability. It’s only a -6 for an emblem. You get FOUR mana per swamp. With that kind of black mana to pump into your spells… oh, boy. Mono-black has wanted a card like this for a long time. If you can keep her on the board for that long, you’ve pretty much gotten the game won.
She’s great for mono-black in theory. But it may not be Standard that she will be broken in… it could well be Modern or Legacy that brings out her true potential. Unfortunately, she’s going to be a bummer in Limited… unless mono-black becomes a super-playable draft strategy in M13…