Dragon’s Maze Preview: AEtherling and more

wave 10

AEtherling

aetherling

Blast from the past?

After printing Torchling and Thornling as Morphling variants, most would have thought that Wizards of the Coast would attempt to complete the cycle. Instead we are treated to an update on the blue original. It is pretty safe to say that if you manage to untap the turn after casting this guy, you are probably in a good position do win the game. Unless of course you were in dire trouble to begin with.

Ideally you want to play Aetherling with at least one blue mana up. If things go bad, blink him out until the begin of the end of turn. This makes him safe from pretty much all removal, mass-removal and even sacrifice effects. In that respect he is much harder to kill than the original, he kind of feels like this Unglued card:

greater morphling

That’s a lot of text!

Maybe in hundreds of years when piles of old Magic cards are uncovered by future civilizations Greater Morphling will become a tournament legal card. Until that time, we get AEherling. You can obviously do ridiculous things like swing for 8 unblockable damage a turn (of course at the cost of 5 mana). It obviously just gets better when you can boost its toughness otherwise and attack for more. However,  if you are already attacking with it, things are already looking good for you. Expect to see it as a one or two-of in a controllish Esper colored deck. Of course everyone will be busy hunting down foil version for their Commander decks (Bling!).

Surprisingly, it’s not a mythic card. This is indeed great news for those looking to nab a playset of it. Sitting at around 5$ in preorders, it’s a great value from my point of view. It’s going to be on almost everyone’s Want list.

Korozda Gorgon

korozda gorgon

Got any turtles down there?

I really like the card overall and it’s kind of like a secondary Scavenge lord. It’s far from being Standard playable, but again that has not stopped most people from playing cards. The art is a cute little depiction of a Gorgon’s dwelling/storage space. She’s probably a Level 15 – Hoarder, unless there are collection pieces that are visible only under the sewer water. As with most Gorgon/medusa-like creatures, this one possesses Deathtouch. This probably limits a lot of her relationship possibilities, but I somehow doubt she cares.

In limited formats you will probably be looking to play it with Evolve creatures or as mentionned before, Scavenge. Mess up combat for your opponents and have fun doing it!

Unflinching Courage

unflinching courage

Welcome back, Old Friend!

It seems that Wizards of the Coast R&D also missed the original. This time we have it set to uncommon, mostly for limited purposes. You don’t want to be facing a deck that has a near-playset of this card. It also is less potent than the original since it can’t act as a pseudo-pacifism due to the Lifelink keyword versus the old text.

If you are not able to fully construct the modern Auras deck featuring Daybreak Coronet or are simply anticipating a reprint of it in Modern Masters, then by all means try this in your deck. It’s probably not as good but it’s a great way to still play the deck without pumping more money into it.

Blast of Genius

blast of genius

Ral Zarek looking epic

A nice little removal and card filtering spell rolled up in one! Something that’s very playable in Commander as it gets you great value.

The art is simply superb! Terese Nielsen is probably in everyone’s list of top Magic art talent and this cards illustrates why. You even get a little Niv-Mizzet looking on in the background as Ral Zarek performs his Sailor Moon-esque pose. The lightning effect is just so cool and the whole piece just reminds me of one of the main reasons I got into this game.

The big downside to Blast of Genius,aside from mana cost, is that you need to choose the target prior to getting to know what you will draw. Your big blast might end up being a simple poke, unless you already had a big converted mana cost in hand already.

Dragonshift

Dragonshift

Death from above

Rather ordinary without the Overload, but can be a situational ‘finisher/removal’ when need be. Works great in a tokens/creature swarm deck, but of course the colors and the cost are not ideal. It is almost 100% a casual card, but boy what a casual card it is! I will for sure be inserting it in my UR Pingers deck for when I actually have to do something the deck never has to do: Attack!

Wrap up…

There are definitely a lot of loose ends to cover (especially cards spoiled with no actual art). I hate to post cards without finalized artwork personally as it’s usually something I like to comment on and it just overall looks less official, so I apologize if there are some cards I have not yet covered. Rest assured that they will be viewed and reviewed here!

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Dragon’s Maze Preview: Emmara Tandris and more

wave 9

Emmara Tandris

emarra tandris

A very majestic looking creature

We start things off with Emmara Tandris, who graces us with her lovely presence today. She screams Commander and I can already imagine all the people that will be clamoring for a foil copy. She’s not in any starter, so it will legitimately be in demand.

The card itself is obviously a bomb in limited, providing a sizeable body and an ability that anyone can appreciate. There might be the possibility of decks featuring Yeva, Nature’s Herald running her, but that is rather unlikely. She costs way too much to see play and her ability really only affects tokens, so you more or less have to be running a GW tokens deck, in which case I would opt for something more akin to Collective Blessing.

Pyrewild Shaman

pyrewild shaman

Half ‘Squee’, half ‘Giant Growth’

This is one goblin shaman I can really get behind! He obviously comes from Squee’s lineage. His versatility in pumping your creatures or chumping/trading with your opponent’s creatures almost endlessly is just awesome. The condition of being of course, that you need to deal combat damage with something (probably some trample creature or maybe just a flyer).

squee

His great great great great x infinity grandfather would be proud!

Of course the deck is typically belongs in would be some kind of RG aggressive deck featuring a few creatures with the Bloodrush mechanic. I see him being played more in some kind of RU deck featuring hard to block creatures or unblockable creatures (Invisble Stalker) so as to constantly be swinging for 4 every turn. Attack, Bloodrush with Pyrewild Shaman, pay 3 mana and get Pyrewild Shaman back in your hand to repeat next turn.

This is just a random brainstormed example of course but don’t forget he can easily just be played as a somewhat efficient creature and attack when need be. This card will not be homeless when the time comes for Dragon’s Maze Standard, I can assure you.

Warleader’s Helix

warleader's helix

A nice tribute to the original

I guess Lightning Helix got trademarked by Ajani Vengeant, so they had to go ahead and give Aurelia her own version. A version that takes down Restoration Angels no less. I suppose we now know why a lot of 4-toughness or 2/4 creatures are in this set. They are out of the range of regular burn, but not Boros burn!

In constructed this will most assuredly see play. A lot of the planeswalkers in Standard start at 3, so even if they tick up to 4 loyalty this helix will take them out. Of course, smaller ones like Tibalt can be shot down even 1 turn later. Or of course, he can simply be ignored (at your own risk).

That last bit about Tibalt being a threat was a joke, for those of you who didn’t catch it.

tibalt

Sorry buddy!

Warped Physique

warped physique

The side effects of one too many protein shakes?

Apparently Wizards of the Coast decided it would fun to educate all of us on the dangers of only working out your upper body. Huge chest and arms coupled with tiny chicken legs.

Good little limited card, although doubtful it will be seen across  the table even at a local FNM constructed event. Just remember the lesson here folks and you’ll be just fine.

More Split cards

Splits

A nice little shot of more split cards

While we’re on the topic of split cards, I am reminded of local pro player Xavier Biron’s story on his hate for split cards. He would actively seek out foil copies of cards like Fire/Ice and co. to purposely cut them in half and make a collection out of them. Apparently the hate was not widespread and Wizards of the Coast continued printing these.

I for one am very happy to get extra ‘value’ out of my cardboard and flexibilty as well. Not all of them are good and it will be interesting to see which ones get tried out in existing decks.

Down/Dirty

Sorcery//Sorcery
3B/ 2G

Target player discards two cards.

//
Return target card from your graveyard to your hand.
Fuse

Each half of this card costs 1 more mana than its original printing. In Dirty’s case, it is on par with Recollect (or overcosted Regrowth). It’s probably a good 22nd-23d card in your draft deck if nothing else.

Profit/Loss

Instant//Instant

2W/2B

Creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.

//
Creatures your opponents control get -1/-1 until end of turn.

Fuse

This is oviously a very overcosted Zealous Persecution. Each half even costs more than the card that provides you with the full effect. A combat trick nonetheless for limited purpose, but don’t you dare even think about sleeving this baby up in a 60-card deck.

Protect/Serve

Instant

2W/2U

Target creature gets +2/+4 until end of turn.
//
Target creature gets -4/-0 until end of turn.
Fuse

Kind of like a less deadly Agony Warp. Avoid playing this when you can as there is better if random +/- action is your thing.

Ready/Willing

Instant//Instant

1GW/1BW

Creatures you control are indestructible this turn.
//
Creatures you control gain deathtouch and lifelink until end of turn.
Fuse

Oh yes! If there is one neat trick I would at least try in constructed, this would be it. ready shrugs of Supreme Verdict for your side.

The other half can either force undesirable trades in combat or when fused, provide a rather deadly one-sided effect. Of course, in this case you are running three colors. Commander format says hi!

Speaking of Split…

It’s time for us to split until another upcoming day of previews/spoilers tomorrow. Toodles!

Dragon’s Maze Preview: Deadbridge Chant and more

wave 7

Deadbridge Chant

deadbridge chant

Awesome design in every respect

A nice way to debut Wave 7! This is great design through and through. Part casual/Commander and part asking desperately to see play in a more competitive format. I for one, believe many will try with mixed result. At worst, it’s a Golgari Phyrexian Arena. A card that continues to see play in tons of formats and is in my shortlist of cards to always trade for personally.

This beautiful enchantment has the ‘advantage’ of actually accomplishing something even if it gets Oblivion Ring‘ed. Ideally you want to fit it into a deck that gains value by milling itself. Obviously, I would try to fit it into that bad deck I listed a few months back. Don’t look, it’s hideous! The card feels mythic too, kind of like the ultimate Golgari spell (sorry Putrefy! and to that extent Pernicious Deed).

It also scream reanimator to some extent and it already is in the colors of most Standard reanimator lists. You would either reanimate on of your big dudes, draw another card that allows you to dreadge, another reanimator card or just ….

overgrown tombIt could be worse.

I feel this can have a home in more of a junk Enchantress-style deck. It would be the ‘sort of’ Argothian Enchantress. The deck would not necessarily need to gain an advantage from the self-mill, but it would be nice. Once the rest of the set is spoiled, I will get to work on such a deck. I’m not promising it’ll work or anything, but there seems to be decent support for it and who knows? Maybe the create-a-card winner will become part of it.

Speaking of which, here is what I would have submitted:

Need for Greed

B

Enchantment

Sacrifice a land: Draw a card

I think it’s feasible and it’s probably not something you’d do early on anyhow. Unless of course in Legacy/Modern or such where you might benefit from cards like Life from the Loam. I would have Photoshopped an image with the default black mtg card template or something, but that will have to be for another time. I would picture a Lich-like or Dark Paladin creature sifting some kind of precious substance from say a swamp. And he/she would have the usual bad guy-ish maniacal laugh going on. It would be a top down shot with his face as the focal point.

The ‘Need’ cycle would begin, we already have:

need for speed

Thought it was just a videogame, did you?

Of course, one of the main problems Deadbridge Chant possesses is mana cost. I’m not sure you want to pack ramp cards just to get to play this and draw more cards. You kind of need to do something in between. This can’t be your end goal, it’s more of an enabler or ‘engine’. As such, it’s hard to justify the 6 mana you pour into it.

It’s preselling at about 7$ at the moment. For a mythic, that’s not too bad. If it finds a home in Standard, you can be sure this price will rise. However, I have a hard time seeing it fit in a current deck (even reanimator). Look for it to slowly drop as the Commander crowd nabs their singleton copies and the demand lowers.

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

blood baron

Vampire ‘cleric-type’ dude

I really hate it when in a day and age of making sure most creatures have more than one creature type, Vampires seem to get the short end of the stick. Clearly this thing is a Vampire ‘Cleric’ , but is Wizards of the Coast afraid to print it as such? Is is sacriligious? I’m not entirely sure.

A lot of you will simply look at this and think : “Bah! Commander card!”. I beg you to reconsider. It has probably the 2  best color protections this side of Standard and i usually out of burn range. 5 mana for a 4/4 body with all bonuses. Of course the ‘ultimate’ one being that it will one-shot your opponent if he is at 10 life or less. The conditions are not impossible to meet as you are probably always attacking with it and gaining life in the process. If your opponent is playing stricly Orzhov colors, he is somewhat limited in his solutions (Merciless Eviction, Liliana of the Veil, Terminus) to name a few.

He’s hot right now and will continue to be for a long long time. At around 10-12$, he is a good deal. I cannot see this going under 10$, it’s just that playable.

Legion’s Initiative

legion's initiative

Wait, What??? 

Legion’s Initiative is probably one of the most insane Honor of the Pure variants ever to see print. It was something that Boros decks probably needed to be able to properly compete as a speedy aggro deck. Now the Boros swarm has an answer to Supreme Verdict and Terminus! You get to blink out your creatures for the whole turn, that’s

nuts

Pretty much.

It’s probably tied with 1-2 other cards as hottest card of the set so far. I mean, the second ability doesn’t have to be an anti-mass removal response. If your deck has a lot of  ‘enters the battlefield’ creatures, you just gained even more value. While a lot of the Boros cards are more Battalion- driven, we may yet see a need breed of Boros deck. You get to cast this on turn 4 and have the mana available to protect your little Boros dudes if your opponent goes Turn 4 Supreme Verdict. It’s miles ahead of something like Rootborn Defenses, but then again we are comparing a two color mythic to a white common.

rootborn defensesStill better in the token aggro approach

There’s some ‘fine’ print to this ability. Did you catch it? No?

‘Those creatures gain haste until end of turn’

Not too shabby! So this means we can get a huge one-shot Fervor out of it later in the game. How awesome is that? This card is pretty much always relevant. Of course, it requires a key element: creatures. We’re playing Boros, our deck is predominantly creatures. No worries there. We obviously need 4 of this beast of a card since we almost always want to draw it and we always want to draw at least 1 copy each game.

I’m probably going to run this in my Gisela Commander deck as well, since it obviously contains a lot of  ‘come into play’ cratures. It’s tutorable when I sacrifice my Academy Rector to something like Goblin Bombardment and then save my creatures for a Wrath of God effect. Of course there’s always Boros Charm, but in Commander most people probably have more mass removal than you have anti-mass removal. You can only abuse Sunforger and Mistveil Plains for so long.

 

 

sunforger

Still enough time left to maybe see a Dragon’s Maze reprint

A small glimpse into the future will reveal that this card will maintain its sizeable price tag as it is :

A) a mythic

B) a four of in all non-Commander decks running it

C) hugely popular amongst casual and competitive players

D) ALL of the above

Of course, the answer is D!

Look for it to maintain if not increase in value in the very near future.

 

 

 

Nivix Cyclops

nivix cyclops

I just really love the art on this thing!

Let me just start by saying that I am a huge fan of Wayne Reynold’s art. He has drawn some pretty nice stuff. I first took notice when he did the original Ajani Vegeant.

ajani wallpaper

That’s one p$%ed off Ajani!

I also like his Cunning Sparkmage art and had drawn a custom playmat of it a while back.

cunning sparkmage mat

Don’t get much free time to draw these anymore

Back to our friendly Cyclops! Most people will compare him with Kiln Fiend.

kiln fiend

Blast from the not too distant past

Nivix Cyclops is basically safer to most removal and gets to attack less. He is not destroyed by cards like Ultimate Price, Searing Spear or Pillar of Flame. He will probably be one of the more played commons of this set in constructed formats. Of course in something like Pauper, he is your Kiln Fiend # 5-8 (as most of those kinds of deck already play Izzet colors). You can also save up your Instants/Sorceries and just have him attack for 4 each turn. He also gets to properly block something the turn he comes down, which is a big big plus when trying to win damage races.

Tajic, Blade of the Legion

tajic blade of the legion

One mana army? Not quite

Boros is seemingly getting some nice Indestructability bonuses, almost as though they were made out of Darksteel. It’s a nice way to incorporate the whole amor/weapon aspect without necessarily always printing equipment.  Tajic will always be the one left standing, keeping the aggro going. He might otherwise also be your last bastion of defense versus other aggressive decks that pack more removal.

He is surely going to find a home in every Boros EDH/Commander deck ever. I know i’m going to include him in mine. He is the ideal equipment holder, always. Still wielding that Sunforger or Sword of Light and Shadow, while his fallen comrades look on from beyond the grave cheering him on so that he may possibly resurrect them.

I’m not entirely sure he will make the cut in standard since if you can realistically keep Batallion going, I would run Odric instead. Although I’m pretty sure that in a deck where you really want the little guys to keep piercing through defense, a 4 drop that ‘might’ help you is not ideal. I would much rather run Firemane Avenger, but even that suffers the ‘dies to flashed in Restoration Angel‘ death.

Tajic benefits from not being part of the Starter deck lineup, but will it be enough to keep his price slightly up? He’s currently 3-4$ and will probably settle a 3$ for the time being, until he ends up possibly being cut from Team Boros in Standard.

Give/Take

give take

It’s a give and take relationship.

We get another split card, this time for the Simic Guild. So far I’ve enjoyed the split cards and this one is rather decent. Of course it works best with the evolve mechanic, but the Take half offers some fun interactions in many formats. I won’t enumerate them, as a quick search in Gatherer will reveal many many possibilities.

Each side costing 3 is fine, but probably not good enough to see competitve play. The card is obviously great in limited and should be a high enough pick if drafting those colors. The card as a whole can see play in a Bant Phantom-themed deck (circa. Judgment) if you’re looking for some random casual fun.

Same time tomorrow!

Well, it’s not really a specific time per se, but we’ll keep the updates going.

Dragon’s Maze Preview: Progenitor Mimic and more

wave 6

 

It’s already been 6 days of non-stop spoilers thus far and with Dragon’s Maze slowly approaching – things do not seem to be slowing down. Let’s just right into the spoilers:

 

Progenitor Mimic

progenitor mimic

Evolving Clones

Another clone! Oh joy! I think there’s enough of them now to face the Star Wars clones and come out on top. What’s this? It clones itself? What do you know, a veritable army of clones.

 

clone army

These clones seem to pop out of nowhere

Our little shapeshifter buddy here probably doesn’t propagate copies of himself as quickly as the Star Wars clones, but that depends on how long each upkeep comes along in Star Wars time. Our simic friend here is illustrated with an old school light saber and wings, so we know he can take it to the air.

The best way to analyse this card is to simply think of a creature (preferably non-legendary) that would work great in multiples. Initial thoughts tend to go to creatures that offer a pump effect to your team, but that’s just one facet. Even something as basic as repeatedly making Acidic Slime clones is pretty sweet (and it’s within the Simic colors).

acidic slime

Slime time!

Even the flavor behind it is rather nice: an ever expanding army of slime creatures dissolving almost anything they come accros, overtaking the battlefield and leaving everything covered in green goo. Seems like something out of an 80’s movie. The better the ‘enters the battlefield’ ability, the better your clone.

Clones tend to be ultra popular in Commander. It allows you to have a sort of wildcard in your deck that can adapt to whatever you would need at a given time (of course, based on what the battlefield has to offer). Some people frown upon them heavily as it promotes a rather uninspired/ brain dead approach to ‘casual’ deckbuilding. Copy effects in general are not everyone’s cup of tea.

I personally think this particular variation on the theme is pretty nice. It does cost a lot more than your run of the mill Clone. And it loses value depending on how early it is dispatched.

Being a mythic, this card is more highly priced than it normally would be. It’s at around the 7-10$ mark and probably will gravitate toward the 4$ mark in the weeks or month to come.

Possibility Storm

possibility storm

Oh the Possibilities!

This is a nice little ‘conditional Cascade’, however you are not limited to lower costs. Its 5 mana cost means it may see play in some constructed format (perhaps Standard combo deck). All hopes of using it with Epic Experiment were lost, since the card specifies ‘from hand’ (that and being unplayable if flipped via Epic Experiment itself).

Its effect is applicable to either player, a hint that it’s meant more to be used in multi-player mayhem. I would play it in a kind of Random Red deck with things like Chaos Warp and Grip of Chaos. You basically act as the random events guy (kind of like changing the weather in the game). Of course you can try to win as well, but it’s a good way to mix things up in Commander games.

At first sight, due to the abundance of red on the card, I believed it was a mythic. Thankfully, it is not.

Look for it to remain in 1$ territory, if not drop to 50 cents (as cards such as this tend to do)

Renegade Krasis

renegade krassis

Evolve lord?

We’ve been seeing these krasis creatures pop up here and there within the Simic guild and they have a kind of Bulbasaur look to them. They evolve, but not in the same way as Pokemon. This little guy is almost guaranteed to see some tournament play, paired with cards like Gyre Sage. Mono green aggro decks might carry over to the new Standard (once Innistrad block phases out in November) with this guy at the helm.

Traditionally cards like this have enough casual appeal  to keep a not too low price. He’s at about 2-3$ at the moment, maybe he’ll jump to 5$ (like Predator Ooze did a while back) but he’s going to have to prove himself worthy.

Savageborn Hydra

savageborn hydra

Primordial Hydra’s second cousin

Hydras seem to be popping up quite a bit these past sets, it’s almost as though Wizards of the Coast has a soft spot for them. The general hydra concept being that they keep sprouting up more heads even when you cut some off. This red variant is muhc more aggressive than its predecessors (gaining Double Strike) and also the Feral Hydra ability from Shards of Alara. It can pro-actively grow more heads, unfortunately not in response.

A nice little 5$ mythic to start due to its Timmy appeal. Look for the price do stay at around that range or take a slight dip depending on if it becomes a mainstay in a Gruul/Naya Standard deck.

The Cluestones

gruul cluestone

Mindstone + Signet

A nice little complement to the guildgates being reprinted, the cluestones fix our mana and allow us to ramp up. The card-drawing sacrifice ability will give them slots in Commander decks, but will it be enough to see any serious Standard play?

Being commons, these will just be like Signets in the future. Foil versions will see a premium due to heavy Commander play.

To be continued…

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!

Dragon’s Maze Preview: Ral Zarek and more…

wave 1

Ral Zarek

ral zarek

Izzet Planeswalker time ?

He’s finally arrived and is much better than expected. You get a little Ajani Vengeant and Tamiyo in addition to a pretty sweet ultimate ability!

ral zarek ability 1

The first ability is definitely a better Tamiyo +1. You can tap down one of their dudes and give pseudo-vigilance to one of yours post combat. Of course it gets better depending on what you would be untapping.

Land = extra mana

In that respect he’s like half a Garruk Wildspeaker. Not too shabby! He can ‘ramp’ you so that one turn 5 with a land drop you would have 6 mana available. Where are those Titans when you need them?

Then there’s other cool things you can untap like Staff of Nin.

staff of nin

Woah! Shock at every turn!

Maybe we can get enough searches on Staff of Nin to start a Twitter Trend? LOL

The list goes on, but essentially any creature that would tap for an effect can now get more ‘value’ in a deck featuring Ral Zarek. I know that I will personally be adding it to my Blue/Red Pingers EDH deck. Extra turns might be heavily frowned upon in Commander, but his ultimate will not really be what I am aiming for in that deck anyhow. Eventually i’ll post a list or something, but I assure you it’s a low budget deck I made purely to fool around and contains no ‘big’ cards. Ral Zarek would be the ‘money’ card.

ral zarek ability 2

Ah, Lightning Bolt

As for ability Number 2 we get one half of the Ajani Vengeant -2 . Even half an Ajani is good really.

There’s not much to say about this one except that you can use it to finish off opposing ‘walkers. This will definitey happen quite often (except in cases where he will just enter the battlefield and ‘planeswalker rule’ an opposing Ral Zarek away.)

ral zarek ability 3

The ultimate to end all ultimates? Probably not, but one can dream.

Will this raise the value of cards like Krark’s Thumb?  Probably… If you bothered checking the price you would know that it already has!

krarks thumb price

This used to be in ‘Bulk Rare’ territory

While you most probably won’t get a full 5 turns of goodness with his ultimate, chances are you will get 1-3 turns. Zero is just sad! it is however a grim possibility. In that respect Tamiyo, the Moon Sage clearly possesses the better Ultimate.

Next….

Deputy of Acquitals

deputy of acquitals

Pauper decks rejoice!

Here we have a great common even the Azorius haters can get behind. How can you say no to this guy? He’s a ‘better’ Whitemane Lion.

The may clause makes him better for sure, but the color restrictions make him a little less flexible (a-la Restoration Angel). You get to save one of your creatures for a smaller price than Restoration Angel. You can also flash him in as a blocker and return a good ‘enters the battlefield’ creature back to your hand. It can also work pretty well with Bloodrush creatures in limited.

Melek, Izzet Paragon

melek

Commander material!

An obvious inclusion in any Commander deck featuring the colors Blue and Red. I’m really glad to see that he is not a Mythic as most of these kinds of cards end up in Mythic Rarity these days.

An interesting note is that he allows you to know what your top card is. Miracles making a small resurgence? Maybe…

He is rather small-sized for his cost but of course his abilities more than make up for it. He is one ‘Weird Wizard’ to say the least!

Render Silent

render silent

Kev Walker drawing an Izzet card? Sweet!

render silent

The regular art

I’m way more of a fan of the card’s artwork, but the ability is nice. One of the things that got me into this fabulous game was Kev’s art. I used to mock Collectible Card Games a lot before I was introduced to them in the year 2000. I usually stereotyped the players as little basement geeks that played Dungeons and Dragons. Much has changed since then….

So here we have another Azorius guild card which is basically Counterspell and Silence  jammed together in the same card. I can really get behind this card to a certain degree. The great thing about most counters is that they usually cost less than the cards they are countering. This card is probably not an ‘efficient’ counter. It does stop would be combo decks if they were to arise (featuring cards like Epic Experiment) .

I can see it being played in Commander and the like, but really how many counters can you shove into those decks? If anything it will give them options if you are having problems finding the ‘optimal’ cards.

Fuse cards

beck call

Glimpse of Nature + Token generation

toil trouble

Sign in Blood + Storm Seeker

wear tear

‘Disenchant’ x 2 or Duergar Hedge-Mage

These are sure to find their way into many many decks for years to come and are great cards. We’ve seen them before in multiple blocks (Invasion, Ravnica, Time Spiral). This time however, you can cast both sides if you wish. This is something most of us have dreamed about and now we can. (You used to be able to cast either side with Isochron Scepter, but that is a story for another time).

Until next Spoiler Wave, keep that mana flowing!

Dragon’s Maze Preview: Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

RuricTharTheUnbowed

I know he’s definitely going in my RG Commander deck

Well, we have one more card spoiled from Dragon’s Maze and he’s pretty good for a fatty. Good stats for his cost and basically turns into a burn spell unless he is dealt with by a creature (ie: Fiend Hunter). He is a guild champion and each guild will have one. The artworks and names were spoiled at PAX but so far he is the only fully spoiled one.

He will probably fetch a decent price unless of course he happens to be the pre-release card of the Gruul guild (possible as he is not a mythic). Either way, it’s a pretty cool way to start things off with as well as knowing the Return to Ravnica duals are also in Dragon Maze.