Today I have the honor of writing my first card preview, and it's a nice one.
Let's get straight to the point:
Lauren Lee appointed me to write about this card and said it was in my wheelhouse. When she told me that, I imagined a sweet sacrifice outlet, but I wasn't disappointed to see this instead. After all, if I'm trying to sacrifice creatures, I'll need some creatures that I'm playing mostly for their "enters the battlefield" or "dies" triggers anyway, so this is certainly my kind of creature. Plus, it's in my guild.
For three mana, this card gives you a 2/1 creature and a discard spell. It's kind of like a Snapcaster Mage that always targets Duress, except the Duress isn't quite as versatile. On one hand, the loss of flexibility compared to Snapcaster Mage is a huge problem. On the other hand, the fact that you don't have to put the discard spell in your deck, draw it, and cast it makes the card much easier to use. Duress is one of the cards I'm happier about playing with my Snapcaster, so I'm not too unhappy about being locked into that particular spell.
The big difference here is that you can play it in decks that are almost entirely creatures, which is where this will usually end up.
I feel confident saying this card will see tournament play. The only question is how often it will be played in maindecks as opposed to in sideboards.
The first obvious point to me is that it curves perfectly into Restoration Angel and Restoration Angel lets you attack their hand in their draw step, which is always a nice time to be able to do that. So this card is the perfect spell to cast if you're planning to cast Restoration Angel or Falkenrath Aristocrat the next turn. That means it fits well into most existing B/W decks in Standard right now. Consider:
Orzhov with green in Standard is better known as G/B/W Reanimator. In this deck, Sin Collector gives you an option to swap in for your Centaur Healers against control, allowing you to play Centaur Healers against aggro so that you'll always have the perfect three-mana creature to curve into your Restoration Angel.
The Sin Collector will let you know whether you can safely go for a big play (for example, casting Unburial Rites), generally after having cleared the way to make it possible by removing their counterspell, sweeper, or even removal spell before it can save them.
Orzhov with red is usually some form of The Aristocrats or larger midrange Unburial Rites decks. Here, as I mentioned, Sin Collector is right at home, where it can take the counterspell, Azorius Charm, or Tragic Slip that might have saved the control player from your Falkenrath Aristocrat while sticking around to make the Vampire indestructible later.
Alternatively, in a more aggressive draw or build, it can take the place of a three-drop that you wouldn't want to cast because it would be overextending into your control opponent's sweeper. Instead, you can cast it to trigger your Champion of the Parish and keep the pressure building while clearing out the Supreme Verdict you were afraid of.
The last combination is Orzhov with blue, also known as Esper, which is usually a control deck in current Standard. This is the least likely deck to want Sin Collector because it usually plays enough spells for Snapcaster Mage or Augur of Bolas and neither of them really wants to share space with Sin Collector.
On the other hand, if I'm playing Restoration Angel (probably with Augur of Bolas), I might be interested in having both Augur of Bolas and Sin Collector so that I can consistently cast Restoration Angel for value on four mana, which Snapcaster Mage wouldn't let me do. This, incidentally, is a critical advantage of Sin Collector over Snapcaster Mage in general.
While it costs the same amount of mana to cast as it would to cast Snapcaster Mage and Duress, every time you cheat on Sin Collector's cost with something like Restoration Angel, Clone, Birthing Pod, or whatever else, you don't have to pay the extra mana to cast the discard spell. That just comes along for the ride. This makes it much better to "Blink" than Snapcaster Mage in general.
How is this card outside of Standard?
In Modern, it occupies a similar space to Tidehollow Sculler but plays very differently. Tidehollow Sculler is largely an aggressive creature that disrupts your opponent's curve by delaying a key play—in most matchups, you don't expect the card you take to get removed forever.
Sin Collector offers a much worse rate on the body and a narrow discard ability, but the card is gone forever and you can potentially reuse the trigger. This makes the card much more of a bullet, so it will probably only ever be a one-of or a sideboard card. The obvious place to consider it would be in a Birthing Pod deck. I'm not sure this is what you need to be doing once you can already Pod, but it could still be a good creature to side into.
So this card is excellent against U/W Control decks, but can we consider playing it main? Honestly, I probably wouldn't if Standard looks anything like it does now. Naya Blitz won a lot of WMCQs this past weekend, and many of them have zero to four cards Sin Collector could make them discard. As a body, a three-mana 2/1 likely won't even be able to block and trade with any of their creatures. You just can't play a card like this.
But as a sideboard option…
OH MY GOD
Can you say Duress on a freaking stick? I knew you could!
This card will probably be the best sideboard card to be printed in the last ten years, so make sure you preorder your four foil copies this second!
/Evan Erwin Troll Mode
But seriously, this card is a great tool, and I look forward to building with it!
Thanks for reading,
@samuelhblack on Twitter