Emma Swipes Right: One-drops that translate into the late-game are nice.
Westvale Abbey was good enough in a fair chunk of Aggro decks as a pseudo-Kjeldoran Outpost. Adanto, the First Fort is even better at this than the Westvale Abbey ever was. It being restricted to white is a real concern, but overall, this is a card I expect to see in Standard throughout the duration of Ixalan.
Shaun Super Likes: Building your first fort is fun, even if it takes a little work. There's so much room for activities in a fort.
Turning Legion's Landing into Adanto, the First Fort doesn't take that much work and even provides you with a third of the creatures necessary to do so.
Look at this card, though, because it does it all. One-mana 1/1 lifelinker. One-mana potential ramp. Late-game mana sink that makes more Vampires. Vampires are sexy. Just toss this in a deck with creatures. Do it. This place practically sells itself and you should make an offer right now because I've got another interested couple looking at it later today.
Once you attack with three creatures, we're talking immediate transformation, no end of turn malarkey. You can use that fort before your opponent can even declare blockers.
I'm a rude dude with an attitude of gratitude for fort-itude and this card is gewd.
Emma Swipes Left: As proactive and powerful as individual cards have become in the last few years, taking a turn off to cast Search for Azcanta has a very real cost associated with it.
I don't recall people scrambling to put Thassa, God of the Sea into their control decks for exclusively the scrying, and I'm low on the front side of this card for the same reasons. On top of that, the card has diminishing returns. Each copy of the card drawn after the first doesn't count as a card.
Finally, the third effect is incredibly mana-hungry for everything that goes into flipping it (taking a turn off, waiting until the later phases of the game, and so on). Once it's been flipped, it's probably lights out for the opponent if it's ever activated more than once; the issue is that a blue deck with that much mana left over for multiple turns in the late-game doesn't really need a whole lot of help winning.
Shaun Swipes Right: That's a fine-looking card, front and back.
This is just dirt-cheap card selection for the rest of the game, so if you're searching for a long-term relationship, your search has ended… with Search for Azcanta.
I especially like that you just don't have to transform Search for Azcanta if you aren't in the mood. Why ruin a good thing if you're looking for free card selection, no strings attached?
If you put in time and effort, every good relationship will eventually turn more serious. I'm talking "serious card advantage" serious. Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin has more card advantage than you can handle. I hate to see you flip, but I love to watch you transform.
Emma Swipes Right: This card feels a lot like the good halfway point between Hero's Downfall and Utter End. Being able to permanently deal with the likes of The Scarab God and Glorybringer permanently at instant speed is nice.
The extra mana on top of Hero's Downfall feels like it makes it horrid, but the extra life it grants makes all the difference. In decks that play several copies, this will equate to a reasonable amount of time being bought on the back of life total padding that this has given, on top of the "your threat is gone, so it isn't pressuring me anymore" form of lifegain.
Shaun Swipes Right: They say love is blind.
If you can't handle her at her worst, then you should probably run in the other direction before you turn to stone.
This is premium removal, though. Instant speed. Lifegain. Exiles. Versatile. Dependable. Good with Torrential Gearhulk. Gets rid of Hazoret the Fervent and Chandra, Torch of Defiance easy-peasy. I'm willing to work for your love, Vraska.
If contempt is the worst thing you have to deal with, I think you're coming out ahead… or at least with your head.
Once you get over the fact that she'll kill you and has dozens of snakes on her head, I think Vraska seems like she would be a cuddler.
Emma Swipes Right: This is one of those "they're almost there, so I'll keep 'em around" styles of right-swipes. Lookout's Dispersal has much potential, so it'd be criminal to completely take them out of the pool of eligible bach…er, playables, but I don't think it's quite there yet.
Shaun Swipes Left: Maybe you've heard of Mana Leak?
Mana Leak was a great card. You know what wasn't a good card?
Okay, obviously we're only playing Lookout's Dispersal in Pirate decks. I'm just not sold on Pirate decks being good in a world of cheap instant-speed removal and Whirler Virtuoso.
My Pirate opponent leaves up two mana and didn't activate Fathom Fleet Captain? I guess I'll wait to cast this removal on their upkeep so they can't use that two mana they left up.
Emma Swipes Left: Carnage Tyrant is falls into the "totally my type, but I would never" category.
First, big dumb idiots aren't called "dumb idiots" because they regularly end up anywhere relevant. Big dumb idiots are great because, early on, someone's gotta be the best at attacking, and that's where Carnage Tyrant comes in.
Carnage Tyrant is slightly bigger than what other people are doing, but it being able to sneak past countermagic and spot removal doesn't protect it from sweepers, and Settle the Wreckage is the best one we've seen in a long time.
On the other hand, if the format ends up being combat-oriented, it isn't unrealistic to imagine scenarios in which Carnage Tyrant is double- and triple-blocked to oblivion by a swath of four-mana creatures.
Torrential Gearhulk is barely playable at six, and for the same mana you want me to play something that doesn't do anything past attacking and blocking?
Shaun Super Likes: Rawr! I'm a Dinosaur.
Carnage Tyrant is thicc. You're pretty much the top of the food chain if you're willing to pay its hefty cost.
Carnage Tyrant doesn't worry about you; you worry about Carnage Tyrant. Hide your planeswalkers, hide your Torrential Gearhulks. There are answers, but it's going to be the rest of the format that has to adapt or die. We got Settle the Wreckage; Fumigate; Bontu's Last Reckoning; Doomfall; Gonti, Lord of Luxury; Rhonas the Indomitable; and Vizier of Many Faces. Not a bad list, but is it enough?
Emma Swipes Left: Bloodcrazed Paladin was my type in high school. Artsy, colorful, hair over one eye, undead…you know the type.
Without some other deck to champion an army of hair-straightening Vampires, I have a hard time believing that this will make much headway in Standard. Particularly when the new sweeper on the block is Settle the Wreckage…
Shaun Swipes Left: Eww, not bloody interested.
You're downright crazy if think I'm gonna touch Bloodcrazed Paladin with a ten-foot pole. A better idea would be to just play a good card instead of a bad one that requires a bunch of setup. Perhaps I can interest you in Heroic Intervention, which just kept all your permanents from dying in the first place…and barely saw play anyway.
Theoretically there's some use to it being a Vampire. Maybe sacrifice it for a better card? Swipe left. Delete app. Phone in trash. Trash to dump. Set dump on fire.
Emma Super Likes: This card does so much! Bristling Hydra has been giving control decks fits for a year now, and this solves that problem. Carnage Tyrant went from an enormous headache to a left swipe. This is a sweeper that can hit haste creatures before they hit you.
Did you know that Torrential Gearhulk can flash back a sweeper? The Gearhulk even sticks around.
The drawback here is almost nonexistent as well. Eldrazi are rotating, and with manabases sporting so many nonbasic lands these days, how many basics can they really be getting? What are they gonna cast with those lands afterwards?
Any relationship is gonna have its drawbacks, but knowing that the drawbacks might not even matter makes Settle the Wreckage an even better catch. It has it all.
Shaun Swipes Right: Anyone willing to Settle for Wreckage, please swipe right on my profile.
As far as removal goes, I'm not gonna settle for anything less than Settle the Wreckage. "Aetherspouts meets Path to Exile" is looking more and more promising. Most exciting is being able to recast it with Torrential Gearhulk.
There isn't even Tireless Tracker in the format to punish you for giving out a bunch of lands anymore.
Right now a lot of creatures are turning sideways in Standard, and the format must adapt to Settle the Wreckage, whether through counters or planeswalkers, or just get plain wrecked.
Emma Swipes Right: This card is going to see play in every single format. There's a strong chance this card sees play in control decks that don't even plan on not-discarding a card. This card is even amazing in Legacy; just read Dylan Donegan's article from last week.
Even looking past the control decks that want to smooth their draws, what about decks that actively want to discard? God-Pharaoh's Gift, The Scarab God, and Liliana, Death's Majesty are all Standard-legal and make a great set of reanimation spells. If a critical mass of creatures worth reanimating exists, it wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see these cards end up making the core of an amazing deck.
In the fair, low-curve decks, only needing two mana to cast this spell means that it will frequently be easy to cast a spell drawn off Chart a Course the same turn it's cast. If there is any blue deck with creatures, Chart a Course will absolutely be in the deck.
Chart a Course is in one of my favorite spots for new Magic cards to exist: "The question isn't whether or not it is good, but where is it best?"
It's just I'm far more enamored with Opt.
If only there was a meme to visually express how I'd rather check out Opt while ignoring Chart a Course. Ah well.
Chart a Course is nice and all, but I think it doesn't mark the spot unless you're using it to regularly discard something relevant. But as long as that's happening somewhere in Standard (and it usually is), it's going to be solid.