Today, quite a few more cards from Khans of Tarkir were spoiled, but none more impressive than the Temur (RUG) Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw.
Surrak Dragonclaw is a 6/6 Legendary Human Warrior that costs 2GUR to cast. He has Flash and can’t be countered. Also, creature spells you control can’t be counters and other creatures you control have trample. Not only does he appear to be an extremely solid Commander, as the choices of Legendary Creatures in this color combination are limited, but he could very well very Standard-playable, as well. While he doesn’t have trample on his own, giving his other creatures that ability and making them un-counterable makes up for that. Casting a 6/6 at instant speed that can’t be countered is extremely good. We’ll be doing a Commanding Opinion on him shortly, as well.
Onto the rest of the cards, starting with the commons:
Sidisi’s Pet is a Morph creature in Black at common. A 1/4 for 3B isn’t amazing, but this Zombie Ape does have Lifelink. Also, its Morph cost is only 1B, so in Limited, this card can definitely work in a good number of situation.
While Disdainful Stroke is a rather situational counter-spell, it’s very likely that we’re entering a Standard format where there will be plenty of cards that have a converted mana cost of 4 or greater. There are plenty of good 4 drop spells to watch for already, and this set is chock full of them. It’s likely to see a lot of Limited play, and probably a good deal of Standard sideboard play. Someone mentioned on Mythic Spoiler that the existence of this card could well convince people to play their higher-costed Morph creatures face-down to avoid being countered by this. It doesn’t stop Surrac Dragonclaw, though.
Treasure Cruise is an 8-drop Sorcery (7U) that allows you to draw three cards. It does, however, have Delve on it. It’s still expensive, but they didn’t want to make it too easy to essentially make it an Ancestral Recall just by exiling a few cards from your graveyard. At common, it’s perfectly acceptable. But it’s a bit too highly costed for Standard.
Hooting Mandrills is another Delve card, but this one is a 4/4 Ape with Trample for 5G. This one could actually be somewhat playable in a Sultai deck. It doesn’t take exiling many cards from the graveyard to make this creature a good value, and it will probably be a high pick in Limited. At common, it’s very strong. We’ll see if it is strong enough to see Constructed play.
Secret Plans is decent Morph support. It’s a two-drop Enchantment costing GU, giving face-down creatures you control +0/+1. Making your Morph creatures into 2/3’s instead of 2/2’s is quite nice. Plus, every time you turn a permanent you control face-up, you draw a card. It’s nice to see that Secret Plans allows you to extract a bit more value from your Morph creatures, especially with the card draw. It’s also only at uncommon, so it’s very likely to see considerable Limited play – maybe even Standard play if enough of the Morph creatures prove to be useful.
Do note that it says permanent you control is turned face up – it seems we may have some non-creature Morph cards coming up in this block, as well.
Moving onto the rares:
Bloodsoaked Champion is a one-drop Black creature that’s a 2/1 Human Warrior. He can’t block, much like Gnarled Scarhide. However his Raid ability for 1B is what makes this guy especially interesting. As long as you’ve attacked with a creature during the turn, you may return Bloodsoaked Champion from your graveyard to the battlefield for only 1B. Considering the opportunity cost of this card, this guy will return again and again in any sort of aggressive deck. Mono-Black Aggro has gained an important ally. This could end up being one of the most popular and valuable rares of the set.
Jeskai Ascendancy fits right into the theme of the clan: essentially doubling your Prowess effect and even giving you a card advantage outlet.
Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. Untap those creatures.
Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.
The fact that all of your creatures gain the +1/+1 until end of turn for each noncreature spell you play makes this Ascendancy quite potent. It also allows you to untap all of your creatures, allowing you to swing freely in combat, play any non-creature spell, gaining a power and toughness boost and also be open to block for the next turn. It’s also a great bonus that this Ascendancy also gives you a “looter” effect for each noncreature spell you play – that is, you get to draw a card, then discard a card for each noncreature you cast. This draw and discard ability is optional, as well.
Heroic decks, in particular, could have a field day with this card supporting them. All three of those colors are strong Heroic colors, so an “America” Heroic deck with a couple copies of this could actually happen. Also, the triggers do stack, so having multiple copies available is perfectly fine.
Villainous Wealth has the potential to be an extremely powerful card. IT costs XBGU, where X is the number of cards from the top of target opponent’s library to be exiled. This is no ordinary mill card, however. You then get to cast any number of nonland cards with converted mana cost X or less from among them without paying their mana costs. The way that this card is worded, it’s unclear if those cards would have to be cast as you play this sorcery. The way that it is worded, much like Epic Experiment does with instants and sorceries, it seems you use the cards or lose them forever. I would assume that is the case – as in any case you’re permanently depriving your opponent of those cards and anything you can use off of this card is a bonus.
Some have argued that this card would have been much better with Delve, but that may have made it a bit too ridiculous, especially with the X cost. In Standard, you’ll have to ramp up with a good deal of mana before unleashing this card. But in Commander, where mana is far more plentiful (especially in decks running Green), this is a game-changing card – especially with Commanders such as The Mimeoplasm or Damia, Sage of Stone. At the very least, you’ll exile a bunch of lands and perhaps one or two spells you can instantly use. The true power of this card comes with how much you can pump into it.
Some really sweet cards revealed today. Villainous Wealth is perhaps the most devastating of all of them, with the Bloodsoaked Champion easily being one of the best creatures of the set so far. Surrac Dragonclaw also did not disappoint. We’re also seeing a lot of the Clan’s strategies coming together, so we’ll see what remains to tie everything together.
– Elspeth for the Win