Gatecrash Preview: Experiment One

experiment oneNot too shabby for a one drop

A lot of people are comparing the ‘Evolve’ mechanic to the old ‘Graft’ one that the Simic Guild had last Ravnica Block. I think that Evolve is slightly better though.

The regenerate ability is good if you overcommit and you’ll be able to somewhat rebuild instead of just outright losing everything. it gets better if your Turn 2 is a Strangleroot Geist (that way you get even better post Supreme Verdict recovery).

Supreme Verdict

No fear! well, kind of….

Gatecrash Preview: Viashino Shanktail

viashino shanktailThe Bloodrush ability has been spotted on some cool cards, this not being one of them

For its regular cost, this card is not really something you would envision playing. Even in limited, you can think of this more like a spell than anything else. Getting that First Strike bonus definitely helps a lot.

The fact that it has a ‘dual role’ is still pretty good in limited. If you are in dire need of a good blockers, then he’s your man. If you wanna push through the final three points of damage, likewise.  However, if there is a common pinger in the format, this card’s value will decrease quite a bit.

Hopefully, the next Bloodrush card preview will be a bit more interesting.

 

Gatecrash Preview: Tin Street Market

tin street marketThey can’t all be winners!

I guess this is comparable to an overcosted Bazaar of Bahgdad. I guess it ‘guarantees’ you you consistent Looting, although you need to discard first which kind of sucks.

I don’t really think there’s much more to say about this card, really. maybe Chronic Flooding # 5-8. I kid, I kid!

 

Gatecrash Preview: Hellkite Tyrant

hellkite tyrantHmm…Mycosynth Lattice anyone?

Here comes another menacing dragon! In all seriousness though, how is this going to see play in Standard? Are you going to play ALL the Keyrunes ? Will there be some kind of cute combo with this thing? hmm… doubtful.

Mycosynth Lattice

Will they make a functional reprint of this?

Honestly the first effect on it is pretty decent. It would obviously have been better in Scars of Mirrodin Standard, but maybe we will see some awesome artifacts emerge later on in the Gatecrash spoilers. There’s Illusionist’s Bracers but that doesn’t really help out your dragon at all.

Seems like it will remain in Bulk Mythic territory for a while until some kind of use for it is uncovered. The FOIL version will probably be sought after by Commander enthusiasts and will trade rather well.

Gatecrash Preview: Hands of Binding

hands of binding

Nice, turns your creature into a Somnophore!

Well, kind of a Somnophore. At last you can target different creatures every time.

This thing is surprisingly great for a common card and lot of people are digging this new ‘Cipher’ mechanic. For those of you that are not 100% clear:

From the WOTC official Gatecrash Mechanics page:

As a spell you control with cipher resolves, you may exile it and choose a creature you control. The cipher card is then encoded on that creature, and whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, its controller may copy the encoded card and cast the copy without paying its mana cost. Usually, the creature’s controller will be you, but if another player takes control of your creature (due to something like Act of Treason, for example), it takes the encoded spell with it to its new master.

Some of the finer points:

  • After you copy the encoded spell, it remains encoded on the creature (whether you cast the copy or not).
  • If more than one spell is encoded on a single creature, you can copy any or all of them when that creature deals combat damage to a player. You can cast the copies in any order.
  • The copies created by the triggered ability can’t be encoded on a creature.
  • If you cast a spell with cipher, encode it onto a creature, attack with that creature, and deal damage with that creature, you’ll get to cast that spell twice in one turn.
  • The spell’s instructions are followed in order, so exiling it and encoding it on a creature is the last thing you’ll do while resolving it.

In the case of Call of the Nightwing, that last bullet point means you can encode the spell onto the creature token the spell itself just created.

You’re basically actively tapping down creatures versus passively with cards like Gideon’s Lawkeeper (which were just a pain in Limited). This like any of the other Cipher spells are great with cards like  Invisible Stalker, but that has been talked about many many times.

Gatecrash Preview: Gridlock

gidlockNice flavor text!

This card is very similar to :

Gigadrowse

Again, a card of Ravnica block past

For once, not a direct upgrade of a previous card in Gatecrash. The reason being that Gigadrowse makes copies requiring each to be countered separately as opposed to Gridlock.

Realistically though, Gridlock is just way more playable in today’s Standard where most decks are 2-4 colors and don’t always have access to 4-6 blue sources at one time.

This card allows us to trump control matchups for when you essentially want to ‘tap out’ your opponent on his end step. That way you are free to cast whatever you want without getting it countered on your own turn.

In the same way, it can serve as a Tangle on your opponent’s end step. It then allows you to Alpha Strike your opponent for what would be the win, hopefully. Not a central card but defiinitely a great team player.

 

Gatecrash Preview: Enter the Infinite

enter the infinite

 

Is this a real card? Guess so, Omniscience was real afterall.

 

I remember a while back in a Q & A column at Wizards of the Coast where a reader asked how much would a spell cost that allowed one to draw their entire deck.

The answer then was something like: ” We would never print such as a card as it is rather degenerate and no fun”

A year or so later, we get this.

Hmmm….. kinda odd.

Obviously this is a combo card, probably one that involves a three card combo or something. Who Knows? You can pretty much do anything at the point, since you technically drew your whole deck and chose any card to put back on top. Obviously you wouldn’t want to lose on the following turn, by having nothing left to draw in your deck.

No maximum handsize, so you don’t even have to decide what to keep on that turn, nice nice.

12 mana? We’ve seen cards cast at 15 mana, so why not?

A quick run through Gatherer produces a couple of card that can be of interest:

Omniscience

Yeah, that one was kind of obvious.

 

We’d still need a way to cheat it in or turbo accelerate like that Omni-Door deck.

Spelltwine

Oh, how we can dream!

The card that relies on your opponent to have something specific in his graveyard. Now, while I have pulled this off in limited it’s not nearly as easy to do in a Constructed format. Most decks do tend to play at least a minimum of Instants/Sorceries so it’s always possible to get it to work. Then the other issue becomes being able to discard your big spells with some ‘Looting’ with cards like

Faithless Looting

It’s in the name!

Once this becomes Standard-legal, will you be the one to ….

Enter the Infinite ????

Gatecrash Preview: Gideon, Champion of Justice

gideon championHe’s back but this time he’s a bit less annoying.

We have long known that Gideon was in this set in some form or another, be it the Top 8 Playmat or the Gatecrash promotional art.

Playmat_Rev4

gatecrash promo

Looks like this new version is a lot more aggressive than the previous one that basically caused a Fog to occur for the player and your other planeswalkers.

Gideon Jura

The root cause for many curses and swear words in M12 and Rise of Eldrazi Standard.

This new Gideon has a couple of odd abilities:

gideon ability 1

That’s a minimum of +1 indeed. Sometimes the + can end up being absurd and you will most likely be playing some kid of board whipe afterwards. Some UW kind of deck that casts him, ticks him up a few and plays Supreme Verdict.

Otherwise if both sides are creature stalled and no one can really make an advantageous attack, he can also get huge loyalty boosts.

gideon ability 2

That’s something we’re used to seeing somewhat. However, he can potentially be bigger than a 6/6 and also instant speed removal will not kill him. Unsummon becomes the temporary solution then, and even at that…

gideon ability 3

What? That’s a while new level of Elspeth Tirel-like ultimate!

Thing is he has to be pretty loaded up for it to matter. However if have something that was ‘Flickered’ and is coming back at end of turn instead of the usual right away, this can be awesome. If your Gideon is like at 20 loyalty and you ultimate him, its probably safe to do and win in a few turns later on.

I’m not sure how often this will happen, but likely to occur more times than Tibalt’s ultimate:

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

Yeah, sorry buddy, you still kinda suck

How many times will this Ultimate occur in the new Standard? Your guess is as good as mine.

Gatecrash Preview: Boros Elite

boros eliteHello! White Weenie!

Historically, white weenie decks have largely relied on their one drops to get the party going and dealing 20 points of combat damage as quickly as possible sometimes being backed up with cards like Honor of the Pure. This card follows in that long standing tradition.

Drop one on Turn 1 then another on Turn 2 and follow up with a Skynight Legionnaire to deal insane amounts of damage as early as Turn 3. If they make an Relentless Assault variant, it can get out of hand rather fast. (As the +2/+2 will happen on the first attack step then carry on to the second one on top of another +2/+2 bonus)

I’m not sure if we will see any kind of equipment support in this set as the Boros Legion really need it. Perhaps a Sunforger reprint? I’m sure some people would love that. However, seeing as how Standard just gets more and more creature-based as of late, this card might end up being a bit underwhelming at first.

So, right now we would need some nice two-drops to be spoiled in the Boros guild. Aaaaaaaaaany time now….

 

Gatecrash Preview: Rapid Hybridization

rapid hybridization

Pongify #2!

Yes this is pretty much a Pongify, just that it produces a 3/3 Frog Lizard instead of a Ape Token. Now you might at first think the card is underwhelming, but it is actually one of the only Standard cards right now that can deal with Obzedat, Ghost Council.

obzYes, remember this guy? He will be rather hard to permanently deal with.

This is probably a great fit in UW Flash, a deck that has recently fallen out of favor due to the rise of Cavern of Souls and its inherent problems to actually remove threats in play. This new Pongify-style card obviously gains us value since we can Snapcaster Mage it back when needed, making it a much more stable removal than the tempo-ish Unsummon.

Restoration Angel

3/3 Frog Lizard? That sounds like it’s right up my alley!

Yes Restoration Angel, you block those things all day long. Is there anything you can’t do?

resto fail

Ah! You can’t flicker Angels. True…

In Limited it can be used as a combat trick to get an evolve trigger in while destroying one of your smaller guys and having you ‘Evolve’ creature survive and kill the creature it was in combat with.

So far, this is my pick for Uncommon of the set. So far…