by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos
Rise and shine! It’s time for more Previews!
Ordeal of Thassa
Not a bad Or’deal’
Just like with Ordeal of Purphoros, the enchanted creature grows when i attacks then at a three counters you must cash it in for your reward. Drawing two cards after laying the beatdown with what will usually be a creature with evasion is not too bad of a deal. It will also sometimes cause a Heroic ability to trigger if you can target something you foresee attacking that many times without dying in combat.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the Ordeal cycle:
Ordeal of Heliod
That’s half your starting life total!
This little Aura gives us a big boost in our life total. We can be racing with a little evasive creature or a stronger hexproof one, knowing we can catch up by gaining a whopping 10 life ! I guess this is represented on the card by the ‘Hero’ eating a ton of Minotaur meat or bringing it back to his village for a victory feast. Maybe has a Corpse Hauler with him to help carry the body, that guy looks like he can carry a LOT of corpses.
That guy is deceptively strong
Ordeal of Erebos
Lookout for the sneaky Cyclops!
The black ordeal is the antithesis of the blue one. You get to Mind Rot your opponent. I can see people trying it in more casual decks with a creature like Hypnotic Specter to get the most bang for their buck. You have the flying ability of Hypnotic Specter and its built-in discard ability. In fact, if all goes according to plan you will have had your opponent discard 8 cards and take 12 damage after sacrificing the Ordeal of Erebos. You will also be left with a 5/5 Hypnotic Specter and that’s nothing to sneeze at either.
and finally …
Ordeal of Nylea
Reminds me of Shadow of the Colossus
Once you vanquish your fearsome foe you get the search for a couple of basics. Yeah, I suppose it’s allright. It can somewhat legitimately be played on a turn 1 Gladecover Scout and allow you to ramp three turns later. Your little hexproof guy gets bigger and they have to kind of keep up. Nothing’s stopping you from piling on the Auras, he is Hexproof after all. You might want to stop once you get the hint that a Supreme Verdict is coming though.
A slight variation on Annul
A cute little one mana counter with a slight drawback. Basically a Negate/Annul hybrid (yes, minus the artifact clause). It’s going to see some play (the Gods are enchantments after all, right?). It can protect your instants (Sphinx’s Revelation) by countering their counters. Seems like a good time to play Counterflux?
In dire times, you can even counter your own instant if you desperately need to ‘Flash in’ a blocker or creature at en of turn.
Yes! I called it!
Jam some into your Green sealed or draft deck and dominate.
Everything about this card is weird
You can’t help but notice the wacky art on this. It’s well drawn, but just odd. It actually seems like an older version of Sphinx of Lost Truths.
Speaking of odd…
It’s like he just got older and his hair grew – a lot. Ability-wise, Prognostic Sphinx gives us some interesting options. The ability to give it hexproof is nice, but you have to tap it. This means our opponent can still toss a removal at it to let some of his attackers through before we get to declare blockers. Still, it’s somewhat ‘free’ (depending on what we’re tossing to give him Hexproof).
The other ability is pretty cool. He get to somewhat ‘Sensei’s divining top‘ while attacking. It’s obviously better than the 1 mana activation of Sensei’s Divining Top since we get to put whatever we don’t like at the bottom of our deck. The 3/5 body is somewhat fair for the cost (again same size and cost as Sphinx of Lost Truths). I am still unsure how much play, if any, this particular sphinx will see in the next Standard environment. I just really want to try him in some kind of deck even if it has to come down to finding a slot for him in my Commander deck.
Soldier of the Pantheon
Savannah Lions just get better and better these days
I’ll try to avoid the whole history lesson on 2/1 creature for 1 white mana (usually referred to as Savannah Lions). For s single white mana we get a very relevant creature here. He can attack past things like Deathrite Shaman (not sure who would need to block with that, but still) and Boros Reckoners. Add in another Soldier of the Pantheon and they can take down the dread Boros Reckoners unscathed, though your life total might suffer a little.
If you’re not old enough to remember Savannha Lions, we can also call him Elite Vanguard. By virtue of being a rare isntead of an uncommon, Soldier of the Pantheon gets those extra perks for free (unfair, I know). You can be pretty sure he will be a four-of in any Boros or White Weenie deck that will come to be. If you plan on playing either of those archetypes you might want to pick up your playset early.
Elk? Sure, why not?
We get our white Emissary which is just another decent ‘Hill Giant‘ with an ability and super expensive Bestow cost. Nothing particularly exciting, but you’ll need these in limited if you plan on going white no doubt. It would be simply mind-blowing if this were to somehow find its way to the promised land of the 60-card decks.
What’s the nickname for 1/2’s for 1 white mana?
Not quite the White Weenie powerhouse that Soldier of the Pantheon is eh? I’m not even sure he’s worth triggering Heroic on, since the payout is so-so. Sure, you can probably get s decent-ish trade in here and there with bigger creature. I guess I would consider giving it the +3/+0 half of Martial Glory in order to take out a 5 or less toughness creature though.
Still looking like Boros decks’ best Heroic trigger option
A Cancel upgrade
I can’t even count the number of times I had to suggest to newer and not-so new players to take Cancel out of their decks and play Dissipate, which is strictly better. Dissipate is going away with the rest of the Innistrad block and this is probably its replacement.
You will probably really appreciate the Scry 1 ability on this card a lot. I know that in games that went long where I was holding a land and a counter (say Syncopate), I would get incresingly frustrated when countering a key spell and have my reward be yet another land off the top of my deck. This card can minimize these kinds of scenarios, but not by a huge margin. Still, you have Scry 1 lands this set as well that allow you to get some card-quality late game.
The artwork is pretty easy on the eyes too. I can see it as a 1-2 of in decks that can’t simply play Counterflux instead.
Whip of Erebos
Lifelink moving more and more to black? Sweet!
I guess it was worth the wait for most people who were eagerly anticipating this nice legendary permanent. You get a slow Sorcery speed reanimation spell that’s reusable (reduce, reuse and recycle). Your huge or medium-sized reanimated creature will swing at your opponent and gain you some life.
I’m not 100% sure if this will be the best one competitvely, since Hammer of Purphoros probably holds that title. However, this is my personal favorite amongst the five. It ‘curves’ nicely after a turn 3 Dark Prophecy or Underworld Connections and allows you to recoup a lot of lost life (either from taking damage or drawing cards). Yes yes, you have to have some creatures in there somewhere but we’ll wait to see the rest of the set to figure out which ones make the cut. Of course there’s always Erebos himself.
Gain some life and mock your opponent because he won’t be able to
The monoblack deck seems somewaht pre-built for us this set, but as we all know its a recurring pattern. It seems like a great deck and then you try to build it. Things start competing for the 3-4 mana slots and eventually fall apart. It’s funny as it’s quite fitting: Black is the color of despair after all right? (hence why it did not get a Miracle card in Avacyn Restored).
Diregraf Ghoul‘s replacement
Good ones drops in Black are always hard to find. They are usually Zombies and have drawbacks. Tormented Hero is no exception here, but he actually has a potential upside as well. The Heroic ability seems a little underwhelming here but can make the difference if you can enchant him as of turn 2 and start attacking. It’s obviously the point.
Which leads to the question: just how fast is the ‘Speed of Stupid’?
Fanatic of Mogis
50/50 on the playability scale
The first time I heard the name of this card it reminded me of another card. In face I thought it was for sure a reprint and that this was its Italian card name. What card is that you ask? Click here to see
Aside from that seemigly useless anecdote, this card is somewhat hard to gauge. The damage is deal to opponents only so you can’t compare it to say, Flametongue Kavu. By default it usually gets to deal at least 1 damage, hardly anything to get excited about. It’s 4/2 body for 4 mana is not particularly exciting. He does however belong to one of Theros‘ tribes: Minotaurs.
Ah! now we’re cooking!
If we can managed to chain together our Minotaurs properly, we will get to deal 3 damage when Fanatic of Mogis ‘enters the battlefield’.
If we then continue do ‘curve out’:
It’s going to hurt – a lot
For now it’s either Fanatic of Mogis or Canyon Minotaur. Tough choice, huh?
Medomai the Ageless
Time Walking Sphinx? Sure, why not
I didn’t want to post this thing without a confirmed final card art. It seemed so made up, no? Like they would actually let you Time Walk/Time Warp in Standard. Well it’s now a reality and we’re going to need to deal with it. For only 1 mana more than Time Warp we get a 4/4 flyer that can potentially get us more than one turn overall. I know, you can’t attack with it on your extra turns to go infinite. Thank goodness. What you can do to get more ‘value’ out of this, is this:
It can get pretty out of hand quickly
Someone out there is going to try and break it as with most of the new Theros cards. Only time will tell if this card will live up to its ‘Power 9’ ability. What do you guys think? Yay or nay?
Now the decisions are reversed
Getting old school with Squee and Hanna
Steam Augury seems to be the ‘fixed’ version of Fact or Fiction from Invasion. A card which was featured recently in From the Vault: Twenty. It also was a rather expensive FNM promo back in the day and even had a makeover with Jace in the alternate card art. It basically allowed you to get your best card amongst the top five residing in the top of your deck. Sometimes you would even get a little bonus, like a land. Other time your opponent feared one card so much that he would make a pile with just that card and a pile with the four others.
The roles have now changed.
You are probably getting the small pile or less useful one. Probably a couple of lands and less relevant spell. Still, you get some cards and that’s always good. It’s still better than Thoughtflare, or is it? I’m pretty sure that R&D knows what they’re doing and this card is not going to be that awesome. That being said, it’s still going to see some play. Decks that don’t already run the awesomeness that is Sphinx’s Revelation will probably run this or Opportunity for some card draw. I’m fairly sure a lot of players that were trying to get Grixis decks to work are rejoicing right now.
Nicely done Wizards of the Coast !
Essentially the fabled Trojan Horse of Greek Mythology (and not the computer virus), it goes to your opponent and allows you to slowly make tokens. The Greeks used it to invade Troy in and the soldiers came out of the giant wooden horse one by one at night and invaded the city.
Similarly, you are giving your opponent a creature that he cannot do much with, save block. Over a few turns you get token after token and slowly outnumber him. Not the best card of the bunch, but it’s funny in Zedruu Commander decks and it’s just a cool card overall. I wouldn’t be overly dissappointed to open one of these in a Theros Pre-release either.
We’re more than halfway there !
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