What do you think of when you think about Brian Kibler? A lot of things could come to mind:
- Is it his two Pro Tour wins?
- How about his disdain of Lifebane Zombie?
- Perhaps it's his ability to shuffle cards around in his hands at an insane rate?
- He has a playmat of him lounging!
There's a lot one can think of when they think of The Dragonmaster. And given that I've just used his nickname, I think I just gave away what I think of most. When I think of Brian Kibler, I think of dragons. And him attacking people to death with them.
Well Brian. You've got a new toy to wreck havoc with:
So let's see what we have here. First things first: the casting cost. Seven mana is quite a bit, so if I'm paying seven mana across two colors for something, it had better be worth it. And taking a look at thing, it looks to be worth it. An 8/8 with flying and trample is a terrifying threat, and it will rarely lose in combat to anything, but that isn't the main selling point here. It's that enters-the-battlefield ability that's grabbed my attention.
Perhaps this card is jogging your memory right now?
Well that makes sense. These cards feel very similar. There are some differences, of course, so let's compare the two:
- Bogardan Hellkite costs eight mana, where Dragonlord Atarka costs seven. And if we've learned anything about mana costs nowadays, it's that one mana can make all the difference between playability and looking for another option (imagine if Ugin, the Spirit Dragon was a seven-mana planeswalker. *shudder*).
- Bogardan Hellkite can hit players, whereas Dragonlord Atarka can only hit creatures and planeswalkers. This is very important distinction to keep in mind, because it's easy to miss that breathing five points of fire on our opponent is not an option from our newest Dragonlord.
So when comparing Dragonlord Atarka to Bogardan Hellkite, it's a close battle. But one thing that Bogardan Hellkite never got to work with is a tool that I think we will see side by side with Dragonlord Atarka for months to come:
We've seen many ramp strategies look to make the jump from four mana to seven mana to cast something broken on turn 4. The most broken thing you could really do was cast a Hornet Queen, and while Hornet Queen is an incredibly powerful Magic card, I'd rather be casting this 8/8 monster and killing my opponent's team instead. And that's what makes this such an enticing card for me. The ability to cast it ahead of schedule, it having a huge impact when it hits the board, and the ability to close out a game quickly (it's an 8/8!) are all huge plusses.
Dragonlord Atarka is an incredibly powerful Magic card. Where will it show up? That's anyone's guess. But the combination with Frontier Siege is an incredibly powerful one, and I imagine many of us will give it a try. I'm just hoping it's good enough to keep our resident Dragonmaster satisfied.