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.
Here we are at the final mythic rare of New Phyrexia to review, and I’m glad I kept this one for last. Personally, Batterskull is my favorite of the set, but man, this guy is a win condition all by himself. Phyrexian Obliterator plus Lashwrithe in mono-black equals Good Game.
So if this guy is so ridiculous, then why is he a $25 mythic rare that no one seems to want? You can actually pick him up for about $18 right now. Why is this? He’s a 4-drop win condition with 5/5 and trample, plus a nasty Annihilator-type ability whenever he’s dealt damage. Use Darksteel Plate on this guy and it’s an indestructible force of destruction. Well, it’s just as simple as his mana cost. Four black is very, very hard to do in a non-mono-black type of deck. But there’s plenty of support for this guy. I think he’s a card that you need to buy low on and will be a force when the Zendikar-Worldwake-Eldrazi block rotates.
Dismember and Go for the Throat (and perhaps the occasional Day of Judgment) are really the only ways to take him out. It’s also fairly possible that on turn 4 your opponent won’t have that answer in hand. And considering you’ll probably run 4 copies of this along with 4 Lashwrithe, you’re already talking about a 9/9 trampler.
Hands down, I think this is the best card of the entire set, which is why I saved it for last. My favorite may be Batterskull, but without Mystic and even with Puresteel Paladin, this guy is the best overall card the game’s seen in a long time.
Here on out, it’s the remaining New Phyrexia rares in alphabetical order, minus the couple I’ve already touched on, with the occasional aside to cards that just happen to tickle my fancy.
I’ve already mentioned in the Puresteel Paladin review how ridiculous this card is with the Paladin and Stoneforge Mystic. The thought that you can tutor this guy to your hand when playing Mystic and putting it onto the battlefield for two is ridiculous. With Paladin’s Metalcraft ability of making equips free, you can essentially play this for an investment of 2 total mana, plus 2 more if you count the Mystic.
The ability to return Batterskull to your hand for 3 mana is also quite excellent. There are so many applications in which this is good that I won’t bother to list them.
Obviously, on top of being a living weapon, the best part about Batterskull is what it gives the equipped creature, +4/+4 plus vigilance and lifelink. Imagine this on a flying, especially one with infect, and the game could be over extremely quickly.
Simply put, this card is going to be around in a lot of top decks. It’s simply ridiculous.
This guy is proper ridiculous. If only he had affinity for islands… I mean, 10 mana is a bit absurd. Considering his abilities, I can see why he’s expensive, but what deck would he work in exactly?
Firstly, I thought Core-Augur having flash was a bit random… I will say that it is a nice trick to suddenly make your opponent have no hand, but who plays a creature with flash for 10 mana? A simple Into the Roil could send it back to your hand with no consequences, or be countered with a Psychic Barrier or likely a Mana Leak, since you’ll most likely tap out anyway.
Drawing lots of cards at the beginning of your end step is also a little odd, considering how much you’ll have to discard. But at least you’ll have tons of options, since your opponent will never have anything to keep in hand! They’ll have to top deck every play after a turn of this being out there. Thing is, the chances of this thing being countered or destroyed quickly is so high that it’s not worth even being in constructed, is it?
There are some nice tricks that this card could pull. The most obvious combo to me is exiling it with Karn Liberated with his nifty +4 ability, and if you’re able to actually start the game over, you can mulligan as much as you want and know you’ll get 7 cards at the end of every draw step. Also, at the end of your opponent’s new “first” turn, they lose everything in hand (so playing first is pointless, really.) Plus, you then have a 5/4 body on the board. That’s the only way I see this really being at its best in Standard right now. But that’s kind of a tricky win condition. I’d love to see someone pull a deck like that off. It’s not viable at all in Limited unless you have the Karn, or can discard it and use Sheoldred to dredge it out.
What do you guys think? Is this just a crazy card that just isn’t really playable? It’s about a three or four dollar card now, and may be a buck soon enough, probably. Still fun to think about how this could play out. It’s just too slow and awkward.
I’ve been thinking about combos for this card since the first time I saw it. The truth is, it’s a bit of an expensive play, 7 mana, so it’s going to be a little slow. Considering you’re probably only going to run a couple copies of this card, that’s not so bad. What makes this especially good to me is that you can have big creatures discarded with Fauna Shaman, for example, to build up your field with smaller creatures, and when the black praetor hits the board, each turn you’ll be getting a big boy back. I’d say you could make killer aggro black/green decks with this card. Plus, opponent’s losing a creature a turn is a nice bonus. Swampwalk is kind of just an extra little bonus.
I think the problem with Sheoldred, and the reason it’s only a 5 dollar card, is as epic as it is with a card, I’m not sure there’s a deck yet in Standard that can make it really stand out and shine. Also, it’s the pre-release card, so there are so many copies floating around, and people aren’t jumping to build decks around a pre-release card very often. I think it’s got a lot of great potential, but alas, it is just a creature that can be banished from the field with all the usual removal (Go for the Throat, especially) But if it survives long enough to just revive a couple big monsters, it’s worth the 7 mana, I think, plus the two sacrifices (even if it’s only a couple of chump blockers, who wants to sacrifice monsters for no gain?)
It’s not really a competitive card with all the crazy powerful stuff flying around. But I like it. Let me know if you could ever see this card working in a non-EDH format. (Mono-black FTW!)
Without a doubt, Urabrask was the best card I opened at the sealed deck this past Saturday, Urabrask the Hidden is a great card. Unfortunately, it was not pulled during the tournament, but in one of two packs acquired afterward in the prize pool. If I’d had this for my deck, it would’ve wreaked some serious havoc. The praetors in this set are all pretty good, but this is probably my favorite. What makes this card in particular very good is that it’s converted mana cost is only 5 for a 4/4 with two amazing permanent abilities. The idea that you could have this on turn 5, and possibly even earlier (especially in a red/green deck) is unbelievable. There are so many decks that a copy or two of this guy is capable of being splashed in! It’s not hard at all to produce 2 red mana, not with all the dual lands around.
This is easily one of the better cards in the set. I’m looking forward to reviewing the black praetor next, a card that I know everyone has seen already, and one that I actually think I may try to build a deck around in the near future.
Let me know what you all think of this card, and stay tuned for more card reviews!