Dragon’s Maze Preview: Varolz, the Scar-Striped and more

wave 4

Blood Scrivener

blood scrivener

Kind of like a Dark Confidant that works under the old ‘Hellbent’ mechanic

Zombie decks have always had a big problem with the 2 cost slot and this is probably the best candiate ever. Not so far back I had encountered red-black zombie list that actually ran Walking Corpse. For real! these were lists from Magic Online events. Hard to believe.

Now that the Standard Zombie rage is pretty much officially dead, we get this fabulous card. Even the quote is awesome:

bleed the fine print

A classic!

Zombie decks tend to be for the most part aggressive ( hard to believe since they move so slowly). These kinds of decks tend to run out of cards rather quickly. They flood the battlefield with ‘ahead of the curve’ style creature ( Diregraf Ghoul, Gravecrawler) and aim to take your opponent’s life total down to Zero as soon as possible.

This card has a slight difference with the great Bob: it happens whenever you draw a card. I think the best use for this is when you cast an Altar’s Reap. You get to draw a total of 3 cards if you had none to being with. You would sacrifice a Gravecrawler of course. This is a lie of play that may very well become common in the new Standard format.

The bottom line is that this card is probably the hottest Rare to be spoiled thus far in Dragon’s Maze. You should probably rush to get your playset if you are an avid Type 2 player. I see it hitting the 10$ mark and maintaining or exceeding that value in the near future.

Bred for the Hunt

bred-for-the-hunt

Simic’s Coastal Piracy

Another hand refilling card, this time for the Simic Guild. This one requires a slightly greater effort since your boys need to get through  to the other side successfully. It’s even the same rarity as the original printing of Coastal Piracy ( Rare printing would have  been disappointing).

It’s a cute card for the most part and will see fringe play in decks featuring cards like Cloudfin Raptor and other ‘Evolve’ creatures. Probably a cheap little 50 cent uncommon for some time to come.

Oh yeah….

fifty cent

I couldn’t resist

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

mirko vosk

Turbo mill?

He’s like 4 x Balustrade Spy. Well, to be fair, he does need to connect with your opponent’s life total. Also, why 2/4? Is anyone else noticing this abundance of 2/4 creatures? is it just me? As with most legends, packing 4 in your deck is just asking for trouble. This holds even truer for this particular piece of cardboard, as its ability requires combat damage and is not an ‘enters the battlefield’ ability like the countless ones we are used to.

I would compare him to something like a Scalpelexis in that you are for sure milling at least 4 cards but maybe more. They both have great toughness so they can also block something and survive the turn they come into play and can’t immediately attack ( Damn you Summoning Sickness!).

This is probably going to be 1.50$ for the whole time it will remain Standard playable. It might gather up casual steam later on as they become more ‘scarce’, but I wouldn’t bank on it.

Obzedat’s Aid

obzedat's aid

Nice! I can understand this language!

So this nice little card is a Sorcery that allows us to Return any permanent from our graveyard back into play.

“Woah! “Every Commander deck that can run this card, ever!

Bring back anything from Legendary lands to planeswalkers. It might find its way into a few Standard deck here and there but this is purely casual goodness! It’s going to end up being very very popular in years to come once it’s out of print.

For the time being, I see it starting at around 3-4$ and then settling down into 2$ territory once the initial ‘hype’ wears down.

Rot Farm Skeleton

rot farm skeleton

It’s a me! Skeletor!

Basically:

Rot Farm Skeleton can’t block.

2{B}{G}, Put the top four cards of your library into your graveyard: Return Rot Farm Skeleton from your graveyard to the battlefield. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

Golgari gets a card that goes back to its Ravnica mechanic: Dredge. This mechanic is often associated with degenerate manaless Legacy decks and the like, but this card takes a different route. Instead of skipping a draw step it allows you to slowly mill yourself and get a non-blocker in the process.

I think it can realistically be a 2 of in a Junk or 4-color reanimator style of deck to keep  the self-mill going if you are unlucky and don’t draw Faithless Looting or Grisly Salvage or even Mulch.

It’s probably going to go for …. no not 50 cents. More like a quarter. I recommend storing a playset of these, you never know…

Sire of Insanity

sire of insanity

Take that you miser!

This is a nice little ‘throwback’ to Rakdos’s roots of emptying hands. You know that annoying guy in your playgroup that plays Commander and always seems to have infinite cards in their hand? Problem solved!

The symmetrical effect prevents us from fully abusing of it in constructed play. Well, that and its mana cost. If only they made another hand-concealing card like Bottled Cloister but that would always be active and allow you to cast the ‘hidden hand’ cards.

It’s about a buck now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it dwindle down into the land of Bulk Rares. Not many people are going to be happy about opening this bad boy in their Dragon’s Maze boosters.

Varolz, the Scar-Striped

varolz

Oh great, more Trolls!

After getting an ‘Unleash lord’ on the Rakdos side, we are now introduced to a ‘Scavenge lord’. No, I’m not talking about the people that pick up all the random commons and tokens up after a draft… This guy is pretty legitimate. His stats are average but imagine … Trollfinity!

A modern deck featuring low costed artifact dudes and this guy! I’m just trolling. Or am I?

I think the Phyrexian Dreadnought interaction is one to be explored for Legacy to say the least. Just cast it, let it die then pay a whole mana to put 12 +1/+1 counters on your mega Troll. It’s missing a few things and can probably run the regular Stifle, Trinket Mage package to become BUG Stifle-troll-nought!

phyrexian dreadnought

Grab some while they’re cheap!

Ah! the Death’s Shadow hike now begins to make sense! Was not sure why playsets were moving left and right. I’m kind of glad I stockpiled them (probably not the next Stoneforge Mystic, but still…)

This is one troll that is here to stay and is surely the real deal. I see it starting at 4-5$ and maintaining a 5$ price tag because it just allows us to do awesome things. The sacrifice outlet is a nice bonus too!

Zhur-Taa Ancient

zhur-taa ancient

That’s one big Mana Flare!

Here we have another huge Beast for the Golgari guild. It’s got a nice ability, five mana is not out of the question for something this size. Of course the drawback is that in the Standard format your opponent will get to use the ‘bonus’ first. If he’s playing a small weenie rush deck, who cares? You can then ‘rev up’ all your mana and cast a huge Devil’s Play/Clan Defiance on your turn.

I’m not going to try to convince you guys that this thing is the bomb. I know I’ll pack it in my RG Beast Commander deck that is in development. I just need a good Gruul Commander (I could always go with the Borborygmos default). It allows you to not have to sink too much mana into things like Contested Cliffs activation and Arena. Fight Fight Fight!

It’s probably going to start and end up as a 1$ card, but who cards right? It will probably be on everyone’s big creature Commander deck want list.

Breaking / Entering

breaking entering

You get one when you partake in the Release Event

Sweet pair of effects. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or engineer to explain it to you does it? Mill someone, hope they flip a sweet creature and Reanimte it from their graveyard. Oh! yeah, it also gains Haste!

I think a lot of you are familiar with Glimpse the Unthinkable

glimpse the unthinkable banner

This is what happens to you when you mill 10 cards, according to Wizards of the Coast.

Glimpse is a ridiculously expensive card considering that Mind Sculpt is a common and comes close enough to 10 in itself. It does however not allow you to mill yourself. Breaking, on the other hand does. Why would you want to mill yourself? We just came out of Innistrad block not too long ago or have you forgotten?

Either half of this card would have been fine as its own card really. It just becomes awesome when you can do both effects. The downside really comes with EDH/Commander. It forces you to play colors you may not want to play for cards you would love to cast on their own. Fortunately, card  redundance is something Magic: the Gathering has always been good at. You will notice this even when I compare new cards with old ones, long forgotten (I tend to do that a lot, I know).

Had it not been the Release promo card, I would be more hopeful as to this card’s future ‘value’. I think it will forever be banished to 2$ Rare territory for the remainder of its stay in Standard. (This is good news for most casual players as obtaining these should not be too hard).

Turn   / Burn

turn and burn

Ooooh! an Instant!

Finally we have this little gem of a card! It encapsulates everything we wanted to illustrate about split cards, that of course being:

twoforone

That’s the bottom line!

It changes things in combat , hopefully in combat involving opposing ‘flashed in’ Restoration Angels. Take that you wannabe sneaky mage!  ‘Turn’ their Angel and burn their other dude to finish him off with whatever damage he already took from one of your creatures.

Turn’em and Burn’em!

This is the modern day Fire/Ice. Well, technically it’s Electrolyze, but you get the point. It’s the great little instant Izzet Mages have been clamouring for. Pick them up at 1$ now because it’s sure to be in high demand.

What are you waiting for?

Go ahead and Pre-Order your Dragon’s Maze Singles today!

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