Four other cards have been spoiled today. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
We haven’t seen many Delve cards yet, but Murderous Cut an interesting one. It’s 4B to destroy a target creature, but it also has Delve on it. This is a card that could definitely see play in Sultai decks and it’s definitely a good Limited card, a format where Delving your graveyard really is no big deal at all. It might see mono-black Commander play as well, as who doesn’t like more removal, especially non-conditional removal?
Trail of Mystery is definitely a Morph enabler. It’s an Enchantment that only costs 1G and it gives you the ability each time you play a Morph creature face-down to grab a basic land card from your deck. It would be a lot better if it were a Rampant Growth-type effect that put it directly into play, but the second effect makes up for that. Whenever a permanent you control is turned face up, if it’s a creature, it gets +2/+2 until end of turn. That’s a really nice surprise boost. Hard to say how Standard-playable this is, but it is a really good card in the content of the set and could be very strong in Limited, just to grab the lands.
Now onto the mythics…
Ashcloud Phoenix looks really awesome, but as many have said already: it’s a “bargain-bin” mythic. However, it is a fascinating card, and there’s a reason that it’s a mythic. It’s a 4/1 flyer for 2RR, which is pretty weak considering that it doesn’t have haste on it’s own. I probably don’t need to again mention there is a card called Generator Servant that makes it cost 2 less (RR) and gives it haste. If it can drop for only two red mana and hit for a quick 4, that’s not too bad, but that’s not mythic worthy.
What makes it Mythic-worthy is that not only is it a Morph creature, as well, but when it dies, it returns to the battlefield face-down. That’s right. It’s like an actual phoenix, it keeps coming back. Granted, it comes back as a Morph creature, a 2/2 without flying. But when it is turned face-up – for a whopping 4RR – it deals 2 damage to each player.
My main issue with this is that it won’t come back if it dies as a face-down Morph creature. It does have the nice surprise factor of sitting on the board for a few turns and suddenly hitting for 4 in the air. But at a Morph cost of six that’s a pretty hefty cost, even with the 2 damage it deals to each player including you.
It’s a mythic because it’s got a bit too much going on for it to be only a rare. It might see some Standard play in budget Generator Servant decks as a cheap alternative to Stormbreath Dragon, but it’s so fragile.
Pearl Lake Ancient is a whopping 5UU for a 6/7 Leviathan with Flash that can’t be countered. It also has Prowess on it, meaning it gets bigger by +1/+1 for each non-creature spell you play in a turn. Not only that, it has evasion – return three lands you control to their owner’s hand and you get to put it back in your hand. Standard Mono-Blue Devotion might still have the mana to play this card mid-game thanks to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – but I think it’s a bit too much of a mana investment for Standard. But not much can deal with a 6/7, especially one with Flash that’s un-counterable. It’s a major Limited bomb, and there are Commander decks that most certainly have room for it.
While it doesn’t fit into the deck’s main strategy, Animar, Soul of Elements could see Pearl Lake Ancient cast for only UU if he happens to have 5 +1/+1 counters on him. But most often, you’ll see this in decks that would play Leviathans anyway, like Tromokratis, or decks that have ways to make tons of clones of big creatures. It’s another “bargain-bin” mythic, but this one feels a lot more mythic and is a fantastic Timmy card.
These four cards definitely have gone for flavor over Constructed play-ability, but the Ancient is quite scary. The Phoenix is border-line playable and strong in Limited. The Delve Murder is certainly playable and the jury’s still out if Morph creatures will be Constructed-playable enough for Trail of Mystery to be a valuable card.
– Elspeth for the Win