Dark Ascension has some of the weakest mythic rares that we have seen in awhile, but this is certainly not one of them. Huntmaster of the Fells is a good double-sided card with both sides having good abilities that activate whenever he transforms back and forth. Huntmaster has a good enter the battlefield ability, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token into play and gain 2 life. He’s only a 2/2, but for what you get when he enters the playing field, it’s okay. His flip-side, Ravager, is a 4/4 with trample that deals 2 damage to target opponent and 2 damage to one creature that player controls. Not too bad. What makes him a mythic though is that these abilities activate each time he is flipped, so he can become a potential problem if not dealt with.
One drawback is that he doesn’t have good synergy with Immerwolf, which honestly is the card that really makes Werewolves playable. If he can’t transform back and forth, he can’t really live up to his full potential. Still, he’s a good card and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play him, as with Immerwolf he’s at least a 5/5 trampler as Ravager. No matter how you play him in a Werewolf deck, he’s going to be well worth the 4 mana you pay to cast him. So while he’s not a “wow” card, I’m still a fan.
Huntmaster of the Fells/Ravager of the Fells is now being considered one of the best cards in Standard, skyrocketing from a 13-15 dollar release to currently between 25 and 30 a piece. Red/Green has become an extremely powerful contender since the release of this card, Naya Birthing Pod and R/G and R/G/B Wolf Run being among the decks that tend to use it.
Birthing Pod has a fun interaction with Huntmaster, as if he’s podded in and you don’t cast any other spells, you get both effects in a single turn, which seems like a decent deal to me. Personally, I play Naya Pod and play four of these guys.
In Wolf Run, Huntmaster is used mainly due to how much value is packed into both sides of the card; one side is essentially 2 2/2s and 2 life, and the other side can kill a creature and shock an opponent.
Travel Preparations is a Common from Innistrad, and is part of the reason some people are assuming that this will be another three color format like Shards Block. For 1G, you put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures. A little awkward wording, but it means you can put one +1/+1 counter on up to two creatures, specifically worded so you don’t have to put two counters on two target creatures, meaning you can use it if you only have one guy instead of giving your opponent a +1/+1 counter. Also, this will see play if Illusions get more cards in this set, as you can pump one of your guys and blow up an illusion as long as they don’t have Lord of the Unreal on the board. The best part is that it has a flashback, which is only 1W; much cheaper than the other flashback costs we’ve seen so far in the set. Having flashback means you can potentially spend 4 mana to pump 2 creatures by +2/+2; seems cost effective to me.
The main reason people are assuming 3 color decks are coming back is the fact that NayaPod and BantPod (decks that utilize Birthing Pod) are seeing significant play at FNMs and may see further play as we go into the new format, Cawblade no longer in format without Squadron Hawk. As we’ve seen so far, the set promotes multiple colors, but doesn’t have much for multicolored cards so far (aside from Olivia Voldaren), so the rest of the set will tell.
Apparently more spoilers are appearing, and these are actually cards I’m interested in, so here we go.
This guy just looks really bad ass. I’m not exactly sure if he needs to be a mythic rare, but a 6/6 flyer for 3BBB isn’t too bad. As he’s a demon, he has to be bad ass. He gives us another card with Morbid; at the beginning of each end step, if a creature died this turn, destroy target non-Demon creature. Now, as it’s a non-Demon creature, he won’t accidentally blow himself up. But the downside to his Morbid ability is the fact it’s mandatory. So if you’re not playing straight demons (which could happen, there’s a lot more cards in Innistrad) you might be destroying your own creatures if your opponent is out. However, I think he has a place; any Birthing Pod deck with black. Morbid is one of the greatest benefits that deck could take advantage of if the morbid abilities are good, and this is a fair enough one-of in Pod.
Mentor of the Meek is actually a pretty cool card. Star City Games is pre-ordering this card for 3 bucks a piece, meaning someone sees some promise in this guy. a 2W 2/2, he lets you draw a card when a creature with power 2 or less enters the battlefield if you pay 1 mana. Honestly, this guy’s pretty good. He could see play in Puresteel, letting you draw 2 for your living weapons (such as flayer husk and mortarpod). And, of course, other Mentor of the Meeks. Not to mention he’s a 2/2 himself, he’s not a wimp. All in all, he’s a good card.
Silent Departure is… well, unsummon. It’s unsummon with a flashback cost. A really, really expensive flashback cost for an unsummon. I’d rather play vapor snag, at least it does 1 damage.
I’m mainly mentioning this card because of the Morbid Mechanic. As Daily MTG put it, “In Innistrad, the death of one may be the opportunity for others.” Do you know what deck kills things all the time? Birthing Pod.
Seeing as a creatures dies before the creature emerges from the Pod, you could sacrifice a Simulacrum, draw your card, then have Hollowhenge Scavenger come into play, and gain 5 life. Seeing as Obstinate Baloth, which is what Pod usually gains life from, is going out, I think Hollowhenge Scavenger and other creatures with Morbid could see play in the new format with the Innistrad block. Maybe other creatures with Morbid is horrifically outclass this card. But until we have the entire set, we can’t be sure of that.
2 life and a mana to pump out a creature whose converted mana cost is the sacrificed creature’s converted mana cost +1. Just… wow. Birthing Pod didn’t see much play when Jace and Stoneforge were running around ruining the format, but now with a bit more creativity in the format (alright, so Cawblade is still winning a large percentage of the format) Birthing Pod is seeing play, and a bit of success, at least at FNM’s and Local tournaments. However, this -is- Commanding Opinion, and I have to say, it’s a damn good card in Commander as well, albeit one copy being difficult to hit in a 99 card deck. Voltaic Key lets you pod twice in both Commander and Legacy (but I have a feeling you won’t play Pod in Legacy), letting your Birds of Paradise horrifically mutate into a Blade Splicer or whatever CMC 3 card fits your fancy.
All in all, I believe that Birthing Pod is a great card, and I think it’ll see a good amount of play in Standard after the rotation and downfall of Cawblade; though Venser may take the reins as the Blue/White Control Deck in the format.
WHEN IT DIES!
Another look at Archon of Justice. ElspethFTW reviewed Archon of Justice when M12’s spoilers were released, and it was the first we saw to say “when it dies” as the new mechanic for being sent to the graveyard, saying that it wasn’t great in standard.
Well, after getting 2-0’d by a deck with it when I was piloting Venser Control last week, I suppose Archon of Justice found its place: in Birthing Pod. Being a 5 drop lets it hit the board off of a Solemn Simulacrum with Birthing Pod (another card I’ll take a look at soon), and also allows it to be podded into a Titan, or the Pod favorite Wurmcoil Engine (which I’ll also take a look at). It’s mainly good as the “when it dies” effects trigger off of being sacrificed for the pod, making it a good choice for the deck.
However, outside of Birthing Pod, I don’t really see Archon of Justice seeing much play outside of Limited and maybe Commander.