Just announced was the October 2014 promo for Friday Night Magic. It has been revealed to be the Centaur Warrior, Fanatic of Xenagos. Gruul Aggro, Gruul Midrange, and Naya Midrange have already found a few slots for this card, but he hasn’t really seen major Standard play quite yet. However, he definitely has potential, especially in a future Standard format without Loxodon Smiter taking up that three-mana slot.

What makes the Fanatic a bit better than Smiter is the fact that he has Trample built into him. It’s just that most of the time he’ll be a 4/4 with haste until end of turn, and not an un-counterable 4/4 that can also hit the board if he’s discarded by an opponent’s card effect. If his Tribute cost is paid, then he’s actually a slightly better version of the Smiter, a 4/4 with Trample. If Xenagos, God of Revels begins to see more play, however, the Fanatic is going to be an 8/8 with haste and trample during the next combat step with the “Xenagod” on the board, regardless. Smiter has no trample of its own accord. I love the Elephant Soldier, but Fanatic is so much slightly better against non-control decks.

The early returns on the alternate art by renowned Magic the Gathering artist Zoltan Boros have been mixed. Personally, I like the art, although I wouldn’t say that I love it. Some people have commented that it looks like the Fanatic is spilling orange soda. Other people are not happy with the art at all. In any case, he should be a nice foil to pick up at FNM. It remains to be seen how Khans of Tarkir will affect the Gruul (red/green) and Naya (white/red/green) archetypes, but post-RTR rotation, the Fanatic should be seeing far more play and be a good investment for the upcoming Standard season.

– Elspeth for the Win