New Phyrexia Spoiler Time!
So this week an incredible leak of information happened. It appears someone did a draft in Japan and posted all of the rares found therein. What we found was not only some jaw-dropping cards but Phyrexian mana and a freakin Planeswalker. Let's start at the top shall we? Say hello to Karn the Released.
Oh. Mah. God. Seriously? Seriously. Good lord Wizards you did it again. I'm completely blown away here. Where do we begin?
First up he's colorless. This is awesome because Wizards does care a tiny bit about Vintage and realizes that giving them a Tinker target Planeswalker just breaks that format in half. But can you really break what's already broken?
Second seven whopping mana. He better be unreal right? I mean Nicol Bolas Planeswalker cost 8 mana and for what it's worth I'm pretty sure Karn is better. Anyway first off you can have target player exile a card from their hand. To raise him to TEN LOYALTY. TEN. Holy cow. And I thought Gideon's 8 after first activation was high. You can basically expect Karn to make an incredible long-lasting impact on the game once he resolves. Ten loyalty? Pretty sure if you're swinging for ten damage at Karn and not the controller of Karn you might not be winning that game. Now the second ability gives you a Vindicate which can be done twice to use up Karn's starting loyalty. Or if they kill him after the first activation you just cast Spine of Ish Sah.
But that ultimate. Just...wow. They just...they just printed the words “Restart the game” on a Magic card folks. This is ridiculous. Completely over the top completely indulgent and I love every second of it. You can't not love a card that not only restarts the friggin game it gives you all of the spells you exiled for free! They remove a Wurmcoil Engine you remove a Jace the Mind Sculptor the game starts over and you begin with both? Get out!
Needless to say this card is amazing and will be the premier mythic of the set. You know I was curious as to how they were going to show rebuilding a world in a Magic card...then they printed “restart the game.” That's fantastic.
Next up we look at another premier Mythic of the set Phyrexian Canceller. A four black mana 5/5 trampler that when is dealt damage the source of that damage sacrifices permanents. Not the controller of Phyrexian Canceller. The SOURCE. That means they bolt him THEY sacrifice three permanents.
Get. The hell. Outta here. Man you know what it takes to make a four mana symbol card playable these days? I think they found the threshold. You don't have Go for the Throat or Day of Judgment? Good friggin luck. This guy is unreal and could very well herald the return of mono Black. Can you imagine this guy on a Mimic Vat? Good luck winning bro. This will be a chase Mythic out of the gates and I suggest you get your playset soon if you like Swamps.
So now it's time for Phyrexian mana. Now this is sweet. These are colored artifacts whose mana may be paid with either two life or the color of the Phyrexian symbol. Our white Phyrexian Symbol is found on Norn's Annex.
Yes this is a new Ghostly Prison / Propaganda cards which by the way were heavily played back in their day. This one is three colorless mana and four life or a white mana three colorless mana and two life or five mana for two white and three colorless. This is a punishing card that shows you the incredible versatility of this mechanic. Got a mono blue deck and want to slow down the onslaught? Three mana and some life is all it takes. Speaking of life check out Phyrexian Unlife.
Love this card. If it does nothing but “gain you 10 life” as it were I simply think it's a sweet card that makes you think differently about the idea of how infect and life totals work together.
Puresteel Paladin is up next. Whoo boy this card is sweet. I don't know if you knew this or not but Equipment is absolutely defining this metagame right now and this guy reduces their costs to zero?! Unreal. Tumble Magnet is seeing play everywhere and it only takes a piece of equipment Tumble Magnet and one other artifact to start attaching things for free. Oh and by the way when you sneak em into play with Stoneforge Mystic feel free to draw a card. Yeesh.
Next is Psychological Surgery or as I like to call it Screw A Fetchland. You fetchin? I get to Fateseal the top of your library essentially. Look at the top two after you shuffle exile one leave you with the crappy option. Probably just a casual card but neato right?
Speaking of neato here comes Species Transplantation. There's a reason this thing is five mana I'm sure of it I'm just not sure why. I mean I guess you can abuse Myr Turbine by tapping any five creatures to get any creature in your deck? Seems pretty good but then again if you have five creatures...and a Myr Turbine...why do you need more stuff. Moving on!
The Chancellor cycle is up next. This begins with Chancellor of the Dross and these are seven creatures that at the beginning of the game can be revealed for a bonus. This bad boy is awesome in your opener in multiplayer as it can gain--and drain--a significant amount of life. Otherwise it's your basic 6/6 flying lifelinker a fine duder for seven. The red one Chancellor of the Furnace gives you a free...Raging Goblin woo. I'm sure this was done for balance reasons as if it were to give you two of them and you have all four in your opener...nice game of Magic you're playing there. Unfortunately it makes the ability look crappy. Its enter the battlefield trigger however making a dude...um...per dude is fine stuff.
Next is a very interesting card Praetor's Grip. Now firstly this is bonkers in Commander. But what about Standard? Could I go get your Jace the Mind Sculptor to cast it later when I have Mana Leak backup? How about I grab your Gideon Jura and smash face with it or I grab a Planeswalker you already have so I can Legend Rule it? Hell it can even be a crappy Sylvan Scrying by just getting a land from their deck. In Legacy I blow you out with your own Wasteland. Or I grab that Tarmogoyf I need from your deck to block. I think this is one of the best cards in the set. Deceptively powerful.
We now come to Urabrask the Hidden. This is a Mythic five mana 4/4. Wha? It better has some kick ass ability and it appears so. Creatures you control including this guy have haste. Okay sounds good. But the other ability? Creatures your opponent's control enter the battlefield tapped? That is fantastic. Get rid of some blockers and put your opponent in topdeck mode? Swing and a miss until he's off the board. As a Legendary Creature he immediately gets Commander status and I think he'll do just fine in a pesky red deck in that format.
Moving onto green cards we got some goodies. First is Spawning Shell. Now this thing is either fan-freaking-tastic or terrible I can't tell which. I'm leaning to the former as the thing basically turns your Birds of Paradise into Fauna Shaman who turns into Elvish Archdruid who turns into Vengevine who turns into Baneslayer Angel who turns into Inferno Titan or something. Who cares just keep ramping up that creature until he gets bonkers! This looks like a hell of a sleeper card just sayin.
Oh man you smell that? Fresh Meat! Sick card advantage spell is sick and note that this wording does NOT count nontoken creatures it counts all of em. Your Elves get wrecked by Day of Judgment? Play this at end of turn and start again. This is a card that looks great but could be terrible. Potential is very much there however and I love me a good green card.
Up next is Jace Must Die er I'm sorry Hex Parasite. This card is a colorless answer only one mana and it beats the hell out of some Planeswalkers. Also note it removes counters of any type including Infect-driven -1/-1 counters or charge counters from cards like Tumble Magnet. Pay three mana two life and kill a Jace or remove Tumble Magnet from the equation...AND it gets +1/+0 for each counter? Nice hoser developers. Get your set soon and also note that Trinket Mage will happily snag this card from your deck.
So you're rocking Phyrexian Canceller and need to keep your mono black deck rocking? Wizards has got you covered with what is currently known as Screamwhip. Yeah that IS a hell of a Nightmare Lash. You remember that card cost the same mana and three life to equip? Now you get a creature on it for free and it costs two black OR four life to equip. Wizards wants mono black to be a thing and its cards like these that get it there.
All I know is while the spoilers were completely unofficial and completely not okay with Wizards of the Coast the good news is they are completely awesome. I love the set already we've got a fantastic and dynamic alternate cost tied with a new mana symbol which is always sweet and we've already seen some metagame shakers.
Now it's Open Series update time.
Open Series Update
This past weekend in Atlanta 518 showed up including yours truly who flunked right out with Vengevine Naya. But who did do well? Edgar “The Master” Flores finally closed on a tournament defeating all in his way to take the title. This promptly shot him to Level 6 status in the StarCityGames.com Player's Club meaning he'll be getting a crisp hundred dollar bill at every Open weekend through the end of next year! That's three grand this year alone just FYI.
But did you see our other Top 8 ringers? Harrison Greenberg rocked it this past weekend witih Jumanji which is essentially G/W aggro. Check it out.
What's this deck good at? Killing Caw-Blade. He took down innumerable copies of the deck on his way to the Top 4 and even if he didn't take down the tournament he certainly earned enough money for his troubles.
Other stars doing well? AJ Sacher is a mere two points from reaching Level 6 himself while Alex Bertoncini finally made Level 7 along with SCG Open superstar Gerry Thompson. The Player of the Year race is definitely heating up.
As for Legacy 211 souls showed up for the battle of the Hatfields versus everybody else. Jesse Hatfield was our big winner and if you were unclear how 'real' High Tide combo is in that format let's just say the Hatfield brothers went undefeated through the swiss and had a very real chance of playing in the finals. They did not however as Dredge made its way to the finals instead a pseudo-combo deck that is a turn or so faster than High Tide on the play.
But where's the meta going? Let's talk shop in our Metagame Shift.
This week we saw Caw-Blade absolutely destroy the field with a whopping FIVE copies in the Top 8. This is an issue. While some are saying ban Stoneforge Mystic don't be silly. People said the same thing about Bloodbraid Elf and that sure a hell was more prevalent than this.
The issue is that the format is basically formed itself around this incredible card advantage engine and a huge shift is probably waiting for New Phyrexia to release. What can you do? Pack Darkblade the black version as it puts up the best win percentages but can be worse against traditional U/W with their Tectonic Edges. Pack Valakut because Caw-Blade has a hard time with Summoning Trap which is the version I'd suggest you run. Lastly Vengevine is a real dude who smashes Caw-Blade real bad. I would suggest sleeving up the four mana hasty duder if you're looking to beat some birds.
But let's look at a crazy new and crazy fun deck. Donnie Noland Top 8 Open Series competitor has designed one hell of a Jund build. Check this thing out we're talking a whopping FOUR planeswalkers including Chandra-freakin-Nalaar sup Birds? along with Liliana Vess who I of course called awful a few weeks ago and there's Sarkhan the Mad being all upset. I want you to think of the interaction between Sarkhan the Mad and Oracle of Mul Daya. No really give it some thought. How insane is that? Also Abyssal Persecutor is still a badass and still stomps faces. Time to kill him? Go for the Throat or Sarkhan the Mad can turn him into a dragon. This deck made 17th place last weekend losing in the last round to make Top 8. If you're looking for something different this is where I'd begin.
So that's another week in the world of Magic folks. With amazing spoilers popping up everywhere who knows what we'll be seeing next Friday.
Until next time Magic players this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards...so you don't have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin