You ready? Let's go!
Innistrad Is Here!
So I'm going down my list and pulling out my favorites. Let's talk some cards.
First up is Angelic Overseer. Now this girl she is deceptively sexy. You know they said Baneslayer Angel wouldn't be played until it had Hexproof...and here's the indestructability to boot. Now the 'bane' of this card is Slagstorm but I'm just glad it has one. This is a freakishly good and scary Angel in the right deck as there will only be more and more powerful humans printed in Dark Ascension and beyond. Definitely one to watch.
How about some cube goodies? Yes CubeDrafting.com is back open for business I'll be working on my Innistrad updates shortly and Cloistered Youth is awesome. This card is simply a two mana 3/3 with a life payment drawback. Period. That is fantastic in any white weenie deck whether it's constructed or my favorite limited format.
Divine Reckoning is another interesting card if only for the sweet interaction with Liliana of the Veil that Mike Flores pointed out. Go ahead and destroy their team minus their best guy...then they lose their best guy. Seems reasonable particularly when you can Flashback wraths.
Now if you know me you know I love a Cloudgoat Ranger and they just printed another one. Geist-Honored Monk is SICK and will be kicking ass soon on tables near you. This girl I swear do people not remember how amazing Cloudgoat Ranger was? This card just does everything you want for the top of the curve in a creature deck. It's going to be a 4/4 or higher if you have at least one other creature when you play her and the tokens fly! I remember R&D telling me that Cloudgoat Ranger probably slipped under the radar because of its Uncommon rarity. I don't think that's a problem with our Monk here.
Mentor of the Meek I think is the real deal. Quite simply as far as I can remember they've NEVER given white weenie such a card advantage engine. Sure Puresteel Paladin is one thing and this guy is definitely going in that deck as it's pretty unreal with Living Weapons like Flayer Husk and I'm excited to be drawing lots of cards off this guy.
But what's better than an Oblivion Ring? A ring that stops them from even casting the spell. Nevermore is an interesting Enchantment allowing you to put the stops on up to four cards in their deck sometimes solving problems you never knew you had. Kinda wish I could've named Primeval Titan in a previous metagame know what I'm saying?
Next up? Stony Silence. Yes that's Null Rod. Yes it doesn't “do” anything because it “does” nothing! Yup good luck with those Equipment activations Affinity in Modern and Enchantress just died and went to heaven in Legacy. This is one of those beautiful silver bullets I'm extremely happy exist and just how funny are Puresteel Paladin mirrors going to be thanks to this card? Awk awk.
But let's get to the best color in the game shall we? Blue in Innistrad is friggin sweet.
First up is Forbidden Alchemy. Already being called better than Mystical Teachings by some this draw spell is nuts. While it reads closer to Impulse the fact is the graveyard is a place to play in this new block of ours and putting a card in our hand the best in our top 4 then dumping some spells to Flashback is always a god deal.
If you haven't gotten your foils yet get them soon. This will be a top-tier card for the next year seeing play in virtually every deck that plays Flashback spells Isands and the best card in Innistrad: Snapcaster Mage
Oh yeah baby that's Cap'n Snaps and he answers to no one else. This card is amazing. Sick. Ridiculous. Powerful. Impactful in every format. Talk about closing out the last Invitational with a bang. Now if you recall I actually played in that Invitational. Yes a little over four years ago you wonderful fans out there shipped me off to Europe to play Lorwyn Winston Draft Cube Draft Vintage and more versus the best on the planet. Turns out I did NOT win that tournament but Tiago Chan did thanks to bashing with Protean Hulk in the red zone in Vintage raw dogging the fatty of a Black Lotus. True story!
And four years later he got his due. And my God seriously WotC you outdid yourselves. This card is so beautiful. Flash. Gives every single spell in your deck new life. Makes every spell casting decision more interesting--do I want to use this Day of Judgment now or do I push it another turn and Flashback it then?
Now do note -- when you target Force of Will with Cap'n Snaps you will NOT be able to remove a blue card and pay a life and Flashback it. Because Snaps isn't making it “Flashback for its cost AND/OR it's alternate cost.” it's just the mana cost. BUT even if seven mana is a stretch the fact that you can rebuy your counters is No Joke.
Wizards set out to make a kick ass Invitational Card and by God they got there. To give you some perspective Snapcaster Mage foils are worth more than any other foil in the set. Yes more than foil Planeswalkers. Sheesh.
Moving on Labratory Manic got every Johnny giddy and falling over themselves snatching up every Foil Leveler in Existence. Yes Leveler is actually killing someone that isn't you!...until...they bolt your Laboratory Maniac and you look like an idiot! But that's what Dispel and other counters are for right? But Leveler isn't the only path to victory with this wacky guy.
How about a little Mirror of Fate? Selective Memory and Treasure Hunt? The fun never ends and I love how innocuous this guy is. A Grey Ogre winning you the game for not having cards in your library? How cool is this set again?
Moving on to Black cards Bloodline Keeper is fan-freakin-tastic. Do you know how powerful this guy is? Seriously? A four mana 3/3 flyer that sits around making 2/2 Vampires? Then transforms--which does NOT cause him to tap--so he can double Glorious Anthem your Vampires turn into a freakin 5/5 flyers and then starts making 4/4 Vampires instead? That is nuts! This is a guy good enough to keep Vampires in Constructed and I hope Black/Red vampires are here for a long time even if they lost their awesome manland and many of their mainstay creatures. It's guys like this that makes me think they'll stay on top.
Other cards I like for Vamps? A little Bump in the Night. Now look I understand this card is “just” a Lava Spike. But guess what I could never do with Lava Spike--Flashback it! This means that you're getting twice the value you now have something to pump your mana into late game and it's cards like Bump in the Night that keep other players honest--sure they can stop your initial onslaught but long-term life draining is how you finish those pesky control players off.
How about a card with some real potential? Heartless Summoning is much like Laboratory Maniac: extremely high variance in that if you don't draw it your deck might not do much...but man if you ARE drawing those Heartless Summoning copies to power out cheap Solemn Simulacrums and Wurmcoil Engines why not go bigger? How's that Garruk's Horde looking now? Sure we're probably square in Magical ChristmasLand here but it's these types of cards that get you thinking and build decks all by themeselves. Just imagine a team of guys while you control Heartless Summoning Glissa the Traitor and one little Perilous Myr. Good times I tell you.
And now...Manor Skeleton. The question must be asked. ;)
Finishing out Black Unburial Rites is absolutley the real deal. THIS was the reanimation spell we were looking for and it's even better than expected! This spell will be doing some serious damage with Forbidden Alchemy and Liliana of the Veil bringing back the Black/White control decks of old. Called “Solar Flare” back in Ravnica standard I can see it's resurgence thanks to a spell this powerful along with cards like Jin-Gitaxius hanging out ready to end games in a hurry.
Moving onto red I'm just going to say it: Balefire Dragon was a terrible idea to print. It doesn't fit into Gothic Horror there are no Dragons in Gothic Horror and at best a badass Gargoyle would've been awesome. Instead we get a really 'stylized' dragon that looks like it's a reject from Mirrodin. The card is fine if not silly overpowered in limited but if this set is about flavor don't screw it up. Don't put the dragons where they don't belong. No one puts Balefire in a corner know what I'm sayin?
Want to see the future of Red decks? Look no further than Brimstone Volley. This thing is going right in my cube and is ready to take a quarter out of people's life total. Don't understimate this one.
Again for the cube enthusiasts out there I love me some Devil's Play. While it may make waves in constructed I guarantee you're going to see it kick cube ass. This card is better than Red Sun's Zenith pound for pound and I can't wait to burn people out with it. If there's a Big Red deck or a G/R Ramp deck I have a feeling this will be an all-star.
How's about a hidden gem? Check out Falkenrath Marauders. I know they don't look like much. A whopping five mana for just a 2/2? Hrm. That has haste. That flies. That puts two +1/+1 counters on it every time you hit them. Flores was on top of this one as well putting put a quick chart explaining that it turns out this guy is very close to another all-star Red card Demigod of Revenge. Now it's not reanimating itself by playing more copies but it's bringing some serious damage and can kill you in just four hits.
Hrm. But those Werewolves. Where am I on them now? I'm actually thinking we're going to see some constructed play out of them. They'll be few and far between for awhile but there's no doubt in my mind now that we have some good ones.
Now the red decks will probably be looking at Stromkirk Struts-A-Lot for their one-drop but Reckless Waif is no joke. This is very close to Goblin Guide a card that has defined red decks for two years now. Turn 1 they don't have a Bird of Paradise or Ponder you're bashing for three damage on Turn 2. Bringing the beats I love this girl a lot.
As for Green we thought Beast Within was sweet and here comes the follow-up with Bramblecrush. Yup Creeping Mold Bigger Scarier and Uncut this thing is killing Planeswalkers and Equipment and Echantments and Lands and anything else that isn't a duder. A welcome and beautifully simple spell I can't wait to have this as a deckbuilding option.
How about a card full of potential? It's called Creeping Renaissance and I'm pretty sure the scariest card type you can name is “Planeswalker.” Sure I'll just rebuy my Gideon Elspeth and Garruk Relentless. Your turn!
Speaking of I hope no one has any doubts: Garruk Relentless is one of the best cards in the set. This guy is killing duders working well with your own tokens to flip him and once flipped is absolutely a force to be reckoned with. Searching up the scariest creature in your deck every turn is Srs Bsns people and it WILL beat you senseless. Those who underestimate this planeswalker won't do so for long.
Last up for Green is of course the awesome Tree of Redemption. Talk about a wild design! I love this guy so much. The first you read him you just have to get that “Wha...?” look on your face followed by the realization that you can do some freakishly fun stuff with him.
Now note if your life total is 1 and you exchange those totals with the Tree's toughness the tree will then be a 0/1. However...what if you just stuck that Tree under a Mimic Vat? That seems pretty good doesn't it? Or cloning it at instant speed with another hidden gem in Innistrad Cackling Counterpart.
Rounding out the set Geist of Saint Traft is the real deal people. Holy cow does he seem pushed. Nice Angel token brah. Also makes for a great little interaction with Sundail of the Infinite to keep your token but let's face it you don't really need those shenanigans. You just need a Sword of Feast and Famine and a red zone. Good ole Saint here will do the rest.
Lastly you can't go wrong with these rare lands. How much do I love Moorland Haunt? Bunches. Another card that will ensure Blue/White decks remain a force in our new metagame you can't discount slow-but-sure card and creature advantage. Creating evasive tokens is sure to please those who like to play with overpowered Equipment and I love how Kessig Wolf Run gives Werewolf decks something to dump their mana into so they can flip their powerful creatures.
Phew! And this is just my first overview! Talk about a crazy set. We've only scratched the surface of what's possible in Innistrad from decks that are meshing with Scars of Mirrodin to new archetypes we've never seen before. Next week we'll take a look at some of the most innovative and exciting decks out there as we barrel toward the first big event of the new metagame the Indianapolis Open on October 1st.
So until next Magic players this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards...so you don't have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin