Three more spoilers direct from the Mothership today, and one more from another site. All of these cards are quite interesting.
Clever Impersonator in particular is probably my favorite of the cards spoiled today. It’s a Clone, except for any nonland permanent on the battlefield. It’s essentially even better than Phyrexian Metamorph, although the Metamorph can copy artifact lands with its ability. While Metamorph is technically a three-drop, as it has the Phyrexian mana alternate casting cost of 3 colorless and 2 life, they are actually both 4-drops. The fact that you can copy creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers is huge. This is definitely a Standard playable card. It might even be Modern-playable. It’s most definitely Commander-playable, a format in which Clones are extremely powerful, especially one that can copy almost anything on the board.
Craters’ Claw is basically a better version of Devil’s Play from Innistrad, except instead of having Flashback, it has a Ferocious ability on it. Ferocious abilities activate if you control a creature with at least power 4 or greater – something that’s not all that hard to do. Crater’s Claw deals X damage to a target creature or player, and if the Ferocious ability is active, it does X plus 2 additional damage. That’s not bad at all.
Sage of the Inward Eye is one of the 5 rares being featured in the Khans of Tarkir Intro Packs (which, of course, Win Target Game will review.) The Jeskai (URW or “America”) Sage costs 2URW to cast and is a 3/4 Flyer. Whenever you cast a non-creature spell, creatures you control gain lifelink until the end of the turn. Someone has already pointed out that not having Archangel of Thune in the same Standard environment as this card is a little sad, as she won’t be around to give everybody +1/+1 counters for each instance of lifelink. This is a good card, certainly, and can easily be cast on Turn 3 with Haste with Generator Servant. The Flying is definitely an important component to this card. Also, its ability to give creatures lifelink does affect itself, which is relevant. Also, keep in mind that your creatures can gain lifelink on opponent’s turns, as well, if you happen to cast something at instant speed.
The Sage may see some Standard play and should definitely find a home in Ruhan of the Fomori and Zedruu the Greathearted Commander decks. Who doesn’t want some free lifelink for that easy of an activation cost?
The last card we have today is Jeering Instigator. It’s a 2/1 Goblin Rogue for 1R with Morph, which is decent enough. However, its Morph ability could end up being quite relevant. When he’s turned face-up for a Morph cost of 2R, as long as it’s your turn, you get to gain control of a target creature until the end of the turn. You untap it and it gains haste. Essentially, it’s an Act of Treason as a Morph ability, but it can be played at Instant speed. The fact that it has to be on your turn may seem like a drawback, but if you could do it on opponent’s turns, it would be incredibly silly. The surprise factor alone will catch a lot of people off-guard. It’s a definite possibility to find a home in Rabble Red Standard decks.
All four of these cards are definitely playable. The Sage may be the least Standard-playable of all of them, and it’s still plenty solid and has some help to cast in Standard. It all depends on how good Jeskai ends up being as a competitive clan, and the Sage combos extremely well with the Flying Crane Technique. The Impersonator I see copying things all day, especially planeswalkers. The burn card is somewhat playable and the Instigator is definitely a possible inclusion in Mono-Red if nothing more aggressive comes along for a 2-drop.
These are some really nice cards after some rather uninspiring rares being revealed during the past several days. Overall, the set is shaping up fairly well.
– Elspeth for the Win