Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we're back at it with the second of our two shows about Avacyn Restored and man how things have changed in just a week. Let's recap.
First we had Temporal Mastery. As the Magic community lost their collective minds cooler heads prevailed and as the week has passed more and more players are realizing that MAYBE Temporal Mastery isn't quite THAT good.
Oh no. Did we get fooled again? You know it's really starting to feel like the entire community goes through the motions of Scooby Doo episodes at times.
Garsh that mean ole Temporal Mastery is haunting our Spoiler Season! It's gonna ruin our game! What're we gonna deeew!
Don't worry guys we'll just investigate this with some hyperbole and Magical Christmasland scenarios. Nothing could go wrong!
[Scooby Doo bits]
Zoiks! It's the creepy Temporal Mastery! It's gonna get us! Let's go Scoob!
It's gonna take over everything and the game will never be the same!
Phew we got away...let's just see what they're saying on the internet...
OMG! A stampede of fear!
But after a little detective work and some sound advice from people in the know the true culprits were revealed.
So...is this card really not that good and does it turn out the best card in the set is actually a land? Yeeeah. Have you seen Cavern of Souls?
Good freakin gravy people. What in the ever-loving hell are you doing Wizards. I mean it's one thing to have a land that will tap for basically ANY color with NO drawback but seriously? “Bee tee dubs you'll never counter my creatures again”?
You know there are times in this life when you realize that “hate cards” mean different things. Now we know what a stir Grafdigger's Cage made and still makes in regards to how powerful a hoser can be. For the price of one card how much does that invalidate another?
But the rabbit hole goes much deeper. This land has been largely explained as a result of making Snapcaster Mage a 'wee' bit too good. You know like adding Flash at the last minute and realizing that Mana Leak Snapcaster Mana Leak is a thing? But you have to take it one step further. Snapcaster Mage isn't even doing that most of the time. What's it doing? Flashbacking one mana cantrips and tempo spells. Ensuring that all those things that flip Delver get the absolute maximum efficiency.
Oh and by the way now most of Delver's threats are uncounterable. Particularly the Human-focused versions.
The kicker is that this land isn't Legendary like it's Boseiju origins so when you draw two in your opening hand you're feeling just fine. I guess one will name Human and the other names Spirit right?
But let's go up the chain. Why wouldn't this land also name Giant so our big friends at the top of the Chain are ensured to resolve? Big blue/black control decks relied on their spells going over the top and while Dissipate is still plenty good versus Lingering Souls that Primeval Titan is GOING to happen now and you better be ready for it.
I've just...I've seen hate cards and I've seen them get better and better. But this is a hell of a bridge folks. This is a bridge to a place where countermagic stands little to no chance of actually mattering until Avacyn Restored leaves us. I would consider this an experiment in hating on blue again--how over the top must this be to really damage countermagic?
What does it to do older formats? In Legacy this is almost elementary. Cavern of Souls name Human play Grim Lavamancer go. Next turn play Dark Confidant. Third turn run out your uncounterable Knight of the Reliquary. And yes Wasteland is a thing. And that's good. As in all things Legacy they have a way of correcting themselves and the appropriate hate level will rise to adjust.
But in Standard? Man. As one of the best fixers with a sick bonus? This land is worth it's weight in gold. Grab your playset and enjoy.
So...ah man. Not again.
Son of a...
What the...a...what is this? Why is this scary? Wait a minute...it's becoming clear....
Oh. Come. ON! Rea...really guys. You just want to print this BLUE flyer with the ability to cast it from exile.
You know what the most famous blue card in Magic is that “Forces” you to exile another blue card?
Yeah. That one.
And there's this Enchantment they printed YEARS ago. It's called Food Chain. It supposed to 'work' and 'be safe' because you're never supposed to be able to loop the cards you exile and the cards you play! But let's put it all together.
First I'll play Food Chain and I'll use Force of Will pitching Misthollow Griffin here to ensure it sticks. On my next turn I'll play a land and play Misthollow Griffin from exile. You pretty much had one turn to find an answer there by the way. And if you didn't and I resolve this guy I have infinite mana of any color. Using that mana I'll play Imperial Recruiter go get Fierce Empath who fetches Emrakul who rips you a new Aeon.
So let's discuss: Why. In the world. Is this card blue. Were this card WHITE it would be fine. It would still be the most grindy card ever printed thanks to Moorland Haunt it would still be a fine Mythic and it would still go into the Food Chain decks. It would be a bit harder to cast it wouldn't let you have another blue card for Force of Will and it wouldn't...I dunno...be blue.
I just...I just don't know. I began my Magic playing being fascinated by Blinking Spirit. And this is so so much further ahead of that card thanks to interactions like these I am still in awe.
Up next is Tibalt the Fiend-Blooded. First that art is sick. Just fantastic. I also love how it's busting out in twice as many places as most Planeswalkers. Hell even Jace the Mind Sculptor only busted out once. Tibalt? He's breakin all the rules.
Now when he first appeared everyone was convinced it was TERRIBLE. I mean super stanky nasty bad. But as with most Planeswalkers they're probably better than you're giving them credit for. And the first list that made me respect Tibalt was from Brad Nelson himself. Check out this Griselbrand Combo deck.
Woo! Now that's a spicy meatball. We got Tibalt we got Loots we got Griselbrand and holy crap we got ourselves a Necrotic Ooze. That silly Ooze every six months or so people break it or convince themselves it's broken but it's usually another wonderous example of Magical Christmasland -- you need this mana with these guys and for your opponent to be too busy going in circles to notice you doing these things.
All I know is? Draw 7 as an activated ability is suh-weet. The Zombie Infestation rub-ins are just the icing.
I'm hoping to see more ridiculous fun things to do with Tibalt in the future. I mean is Turn one Grim Lavamancer Turn 2 Tibalt activate really that bad? With cards like Faithless Looting and Chandra's Phoenix? With a bonus 'oops Sudden Imapct' or 'oops Insurrection' bonus? I think Tibalt will do just fine.
A card I want to mention briefly that I like a lot: Triumph of Ferocity. Now look. I know. I KNOW. It's just a 'do nothing' that doesn't affect the board. We get why it's “default bad.” But let's look closer: First it's not “any player” with the highest power it's -you- and only you. Second if you run this out with a Birds of Paradise on Turn 2 and they have no creatures on your upkeep you're still drawing a card. Zero is still the highest power on the board at that point. The same can be said for Llanowar Elves and Avacyn's Pilgrim both of whom will happily draw you a card while your opponent is still playing Doomed Travelers or running Lingering Souls tokens.
All I'm saying is I think this card is better than it appears.
Anyway onto a card that is actually fantastic we have Fight Bear. Now the first rule of Fight Bear is that YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT BEAR. And of course if it's your first time on the battlefield you have to fight.
I just love how aggressively costed this is...wait was that a subliminal hit? Anyway I think this is just powerful enough and just grindy enough to make it's way into maindecks or sideboards as the months roll on. First turn killer of Birds of Paradise? Nice flipped Delver my Hero of Bladehold will happily fight it. And of course if you really wanna dream big let's just have our Phyrexian Obliterator fight I dunno your Primeval Titan. Rawr.
We come now to the lands. And I mean Cavern of Souls aside these lands as pretty freakin good. Alchemist's Refuge finally answers the question “How long is it going to take to put Veldalken Orrery on a land?” The answer? About eight years.
This is a card that is still enveloped in mystery. Sure it looks good. Sure it will probably play very well with whatever Simic guild is in Return to Ravnica. But what does that mean? With Cavern of Souls being the absolute all-star who has room for this or Slayers' Stronghold? But I think it's clear that Boros aggro is getting some serious love.
First up is Thatcher's Rebellion. If you've been looking for that ridiculous card that goes very well with Intangible Virtue and Champion of the Parish here ya go. The peas to their carrots I'm expecting R/W aggro with a big dash of Hellrider to come racing into Standard with a quickness. This is a land that allows all of your low mana drops to be instantly powered up and still block with no worry whatsoever. Ripping a Thalia Guardian of Thraben just so you can swing in for 4 AND still block is just fan-freakin-tastic. While the Loothouse is probably the best of them I got a good feeling about Slayers' Stronghold.
But you know what you need in a good R/W deck? A finisher. And holy smokes did Wizards print one. And it's probably got the best name in the set. While we don't yet have artwork we sure do have a kick ass card. Introducing Burn at the Stake.
Oooooh MAN is this thing sick. You're Gathering the Townsfolk you're Hellriding but your opponent puts up too much interference or blockers to get through. It's time to pay five and deal and absolutely absurd amount of damage for the cost. Tapping three creatures makes this a NINE DAMAGE SPELL for five mana. That's basically unheard of. For a deck that can quickly run out of steam when staring down a Grave Titan Burn at the Stake does exactly what it describes--and your opponent will probably be enjoying it just as much as those back in Witch Hunting days.
A few more notes on our way out here. One of my favorite cards in the set? Human Frailty. I mean come ON. You just know the art description had to say “You've seen the first minute or so of Terminator 2 right?” Just badass.
Terminus? Now that's an awesome name for a wrath. Hallowed Burial instantly got cheaper and more expensive but better yet it's the perfect foil for Sigarda who is still one of the best and most impressive cards in the set.
Pillar of Flame is finally the marriage of Shock and Magma Spray perfect for those pesky Undying creatures. Too bad about that Misthollow Griffin. I'm still baffled as to whether Kor Skyfisher is better or worse than Emancipation Angel. Pretty sure the Skyfisher is better if nothing else because his mana cost is less intensive.
And lastly because we're stayin classy Appetite for Brains. Because just as with a peach the first bite is always the juiciest. Good night everybody!
[applause curtain closes]
But seriously. These past few weeks were a fun romp weren't they? And if I've made your Premium experience worth it I'd love to hear about it. If you're looking for more I'd like to hear about that too. But for these two spoiler shows it was super fun and I hope you dug em as much as I did.
Until next time Magic players this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards...so you don't have to.