We’ll start off with one of the ones we were really anticipating:
Um…I guess it’s better than the last one
I honestly don’t think the anticipation was worth it. She’s kind of underwhelming overall. Definitely not a reason to crack M14 boosters, boxes or cases. I hate the fact that she can’t even burn anything relevant like the original Chandra Nalaar used to be able to.
I don’t think it would have been a stretch if she had a Pyroclasm ability as a -4 or something as well. Her artwork is by far the worst looking Chandra art ever and quite possibly worst overall planeswalker art ever (maybe tied with the new Garruk art which is pretty bad).
Let’s examine her abilities:
So at best you can hit a player and redirect to an opposing planeswalker plus hit one of their 1 toughness guys for ‘value’. I use this term loosely because it’s a rather unlikely scenario. You then probably get attacked by one of their bigger creatures and die. I’m guessing this would have been ok if you had something like a Cyclops Gladiator in this set. In that case you could hit their biggest dude so they cannot block the Cyclops and then have the Cyclops ‘fight’ with one of their smaller guys and possibly deal them 4 damage. Even in that scenario, she’s not really defending herself at all. Maybe with vigilance creatures? How many of those exist in red? Yeah, not many…
Not gonna lie. This is pretty damn cool!
So Wizards of the Coast decided to innovate a bit on red planeswalker abilities and I think that’s a step in the right direction. Basically, you’re going to either use this late game or start using it the turn after she came in to play on curve (since on turn 4, barring acceleration you cannot have mana to actually pay for the card. Or, in the case of it being a land, you cannot play an additional land in the turn.)
Knowing what the top card is kind of helps, in case of a format like Commander. In Legacy formats you can have ‘fun’ with this Chandra and a very frustrating Enchantment:
Probably one of the most hated cards, ever!
Yeah, kind of like Ral Zarek and Stasis. When their dudes are just 1/1’s it’s easy to constantly Chandra-snipe them. Also with a Sensei’s Divining Top in there you can actually play extra cards when you’re done trouncing their creatures. Not terribly exciting, but this is the kind of deck she would be most effective in all while being able to defend herself and possibly finish the opponent off with her ultimate.
Speaking of which:
Yay! Time to burninate our opponents!
So at -7 we ‘might’ get something in our top 10 cards that we can ‘triple cast’ and can potentially lead us to victory. *Sigh* I guess… If it’s a Searing Spear, it’s just 9 damage. Kind of makes us miss Chandra, the Firebrand’s 6 damage to up to 6 targets ultimate. In more casual formats you can do stuff like Triple Wheel of Fortune or something along those lines.
This is not going to have been worth the wait. Whatever hype it has, it will not live up to it. We can only hope that the ‘black foil’ version they sell at Gencon looks amazing (which it probably will). Like most real-life Red planeswalkers , Chandra still has a lot to learn before she can achieve greatness.
So this thing is back
and so is this:
I know that personally I will dread opening these up in boosters and you probably will as well. Do future generations of Magic: the Gathering players a favor and either:
A) tear these up
B) give them to new players who are just beginning to discover the wonderful world that is Magic. It might brighten some youngster’s day.
A ‘fixed’ Primordial Hydra for one mana less
Here we have a nice green fatty that is sure to be played in the upcoming Standard format since it’s slightly ahead of the curve on its abilities. If it gets to actually attack the following turn it becomes a legitimate threat as an 8/8 Trampler. This obviously gets scarier if it has been granted haste (Fervor, for example).
If you’re into attacking with big bad creatures, then this is for you. Of course, in the tradition of big green beast you’ll probably need some little mana dorks/acceleration to get them out a turn or two earlier.
Isochron Scepter , but vulnerable as a creature. Yet no mana cost limitation on what it can copy.
Strionic Resonator (not the most obvious two words in the English language) is going to be one of the coolest cards ever. Think of anything that had a ‘when’ ‘whenever’ or ‘at’ clause that you thought was awesome and double it.
Snapcaster Mage x 2 . While you don’t get the creature twice, you get to effectively ‘flashback’ 2 spells.
Acidic Slime x 2. This is just disgusting and we can prboably be glad that Acidic Slime won’t come back in M14.
Angel of Serenity x 2. If you’re on the receiving end of this, good luck!
Also comboes decently with this new card from M14:
Most people are pretty excited that black gets another Phyrexian Arena style card after Underworld Connections (which was and still is not too bad). This one has both an upside and downside.
You get to sort of control it by sacrificing creatures and chump blocking.
You get to potentially draw multiple cards a a turn.
You can’t fully control it, so your opponent can technically finish you off by killing your creatures.
You need creatures on your side of the battlefield to utilize it.
Triple black mana cost.
So it’s not clearly better than Underwold Connections which is currently in Standard. Dark Prophecy (cool card name) will surely see lots of constructed play early one (we won’t even mention the countless Commander decks it is going to be played in). It’s just a really well designed card from top to bottom. Great job Wizards!
So the sliver lifelink ability gets discounted by one and becomes black. Interesting!
Winged Sliver strict upgrade!
A ‘fixed’ Fiend Hunter
Bringing ‘White Weenie’ back
We now have enough cards that begin with ‘X’ to make a deck with
This card is more or less a functional reprint of Rotlung Reanimator. Of course the ‘Human’ clause is a lot more relevant than the ‘Cleric’ one. You also get double your value with things like Doomed Traveller and Loyal Cathar. The only downside to the original is that the Zombie token comes into play tapped, but I think that’s acceptable.
The card kind of allows decks like the Aristocrats to stick around in some form past the November Standard rotation. Of course they will have to adapt and try out some new cards (Dark Prophecy perhaps?).
It’s a trap!
For all the coolness this card posesses, it has one very glaring drawback: it does nothing and I mean absolutely nothing on its own. Once you get past that, you can examine the obvious cool things it can enable. Chandra, Pyromaster becomes less of a slouch with this thing in play (she needs all the help she can get). Your Searing Spear and Warleader’s Helix s become that much more devastating.
But at what cost?
I mean, there are so many other things you would much rather be doing on turn 5 than tapping out for this thing, no?
More to come
With just over 70 cards left to spoil this set is looking fairly fun and exciting. What’s to come? Maybe more lands? Some older Modern reprints? Who know?