While the Validity of this card is still in question at the moment, I thought I should at least mention this card.
For 2W, Rootbound Defenses introduces what seems to be Selensnya’s new mechanic, Populate, which I see to be a very abuse-able mechanic. It creates a copy of any token you control. And then, it makes all of your creatures indestructible, for a whole turn, for only 2W.
Personally, I don’t know if this card is real. It seems rather overpowered for only 3 mana, and in Green/White Tokens (which will be good in standard if this is real) will be broken, dodging board wipes and fatal blocks, and populating their tokens. You can find discussion on the legality of this card here.
The Commander decks are a bit old-news now, but as I’ve recently started playing Commander again, I thought I’d review all of the Commanders from the first release in 2011.
As I’m currently playing Ghave as one of my three decks, (I’m also playing Animar and The Mimeoplasm) I thought I’d start with him.
As with many 0/0 creatures, Ghave enters the battlefield with 5 +1/+1 counters. However, his two abilities can become quite useful. One (for one mana) allows him to remove a +1/+1 counter from one of your creatures to create a 1/1 green Saproling token. This has synergy with his other ability, for the same cost, which allows him to sacrifice a creature to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature.
Between these two abilities he can move your counters around (2 mana per counter, though) which is very helpful in his colors. Mana shouldn’t be too much of a problem due to playing Green in the deck (as he’s GWB). However, a very large upside to his abilities is the existence of two abilities; Persist and Undying. As they either create -1/-1 counters or +1/+1 counters (respectively) Ghave can allow your creatures to live forever.
Here’s a few recommended cards for a Ghave, Guru of Spores Commander Deck to make the Guru and his mechanics more playable:
- Mikaeus, the Lunarch
- Ajani Goldmane
- Sigil Captain
- Intangible Virtue
- Doubling Season
- Parallel Lives
- Juniper Order Ranger
- Kitchen Finks
- Strangleroot Geist
If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead. He’s not exactly expensive to drop, he’s only 2U. He is a 2/2 though, so it wouldn’t be surprising to go to win and get dismembered before you win the game and lose; it’s a hilarious win-condition, but I feel that disruption could catch up with him too fast.
Blue gets some ramp! Deranged Assistant for 1U gives you a 1/1 that can tap to mill yourself 1 and add 1 to your mana pool. Not as good as birds, which adds 1 of anyway, but one mana is always helpful. As a common, he isn’t bad.
Avacyn’s Pilgrim is basically a 1/1 green Plains. He gives us 1 white for his tap, and costs 1 green to play. I was hoping when they made something like this, he’d provide either green or white, not just white, but still, not a bad common.
One of the cards I’m certainly looking forward to in Innistrad is Mayor of Avabruck. Not only is he a Lord card for Werewolves, but he’s also a great Lord card for anything that runs Humans. Since all of the Werewolves would apparently be humans, this is obviously a very good thing. It also makes Human Soldiers, of which there are quite a few playable options, also runnable alongside this card. It’s flip-side, Howlpack Alpha, is also quite good. Not only does he pump both your Werewolves and Wolves (hello, Sacred Wolf!) but also pumps any other Mayors or Howlpacks you may have on the board. Plus, at each of your end steps, he creates a 2/2 Wolf, that’s pretty much an automatic 3/3 with Howlpack’s Lord ability! This is easily the best Lord card I’ve ever seen. This is going to be a fun Tribal deck to run, for sure!
As Mark Rosewater already told everyone, Garruk Relentless, as we saw on the stand-in transformation card, is a double-faced Planeswalker, and is the planeswalker with 5 loyalty abilities. No one’s quite sure what he is or what he’ll be doing in Innistrad. It’s possible he’ll be a werewolf and help the werewolves to transform and transform himself into a werewolf planeswalker, maybe giving us a green werewolf Garruk, similar to Gideon’s zero ability to make himself a 6/6 soldier? It’s all speculation at the moment.
Travel Preparations is a Common from Innistrad, and is part of the reason some people are assuming that this will be another three color format like Shards Block. For 1G, you put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures. A little awkward wording, but it means you can put one +1/+1 counter on up to two creatures, specifically worded so you don’t have to put two counters on two target creatures, meaning you can use it if you only have one guy instead of giving your opponent a +1/+1 counter. Also, this will see play if Illusions get more cards in this set, as you can pump one of your guys and blow up an illusion as long as they don’t have Lord of the Unreal on the board. The best part is that it has a flashback, which is only 1W; much cheaper than the other flashback costs we’ve seen so far in the set. Having flashback means you can potentially spend 4 mana to pump 2 creatures by +2/+2; seems cost effective to me.
The main reason people are assuming 3 color decks are coming back is the fact that NayaPod and BantPod (decks that utilize Birthing Pod) are seeing significant play at FNMs and may see further play as we go into the new format, Cawblade no longer in format without Squadron Hawk. As we’ve seen so far, the set promotes multiple colors, but doesn’t have much for multicolored cards so far (aside from Olivia Voldaren), so the rest of the set will tell.
A moment after I upload Clifftop Retreat, I see this on mtgsalvation’s spoiler page:
The 3rd of the enemy dual lands to be revealed, Hinterland Harbor is our G/U dual land from Innistrad.
2 life and a mana to pump out a creature whose converted mana cost is the sacrificed creature’s converted mana cost +1. Just… wow. Birthing Pod didn’t see much play when Jace and Stoneforge were running around ruining the format, but now with a bit more creativity in the format (alright, so Cawblade is still winning a large percentage of the format) Birthing Pod is seeing play, and a bit of success, at least at FNM’s and Local tournaments. However, this -is- Commanding Opinion, and I have to say, it’s a damn good card in Commander as well, albeit one copy being difficult to hit in a 99 card deck. Voltaic Key lets you pod twice in both Commander and Legacy (but I have a feeling you won’t play Pod in Legacy), letting your Birds of Paradise horrifically mutate into a Blade Splicer or whatever CMC 3 card fits your fancy.
All in all, I believe that Birthing Pod is a great card, and I think it’ll see a good amount of play in Standard after the rotation and downfall of Cawblade; though Venser may take the reins as the Blue/White Control Deck in the format.