Tag Archive: wizards


Further Spoiling from Innistrad!

Now that I’ve taken a look at the PAX spoilers, I have other spoilers to attend to, as I haven’t looked at any other cards from Innistrad that were spoiled in the Duel of the Planeswalkers 2012 game, so here we go!

While I know this is the From The Vault: Legends card, he was the confirmed card for the set that was placed in this From The Vault, so this is the only art I’ve seen of it. Mikaeus, the Lunarch is a great card in my opinion, that’ll see play in Commander and most likely have a spot in limited and standard. You can find my more in-depth review of him here.

I actually like this guy. Not as much as Elite Inquisitor, but he’s pretty good for an uncommon. Not a whole lot to say, he’d be better if he was 1W instead of WW, but I won’t complain too much for an uncommon.

Another uncommon, Murder of Crows is a 4/4 flyer for 3UU that lets you draw a card and then discard a card every time a creature other that Murder of Crows dies. It’s not terrible, but I doubt it’ll see play outside of Limited.

Bloodgift Demon is a pretty cool card. He’s essentially Phyrexian Arena on a 4/4 flying stick for 3BB. Also another decent card, he might see some play outside of Limited, more likely in Commander than Standard.

Moan of the Unhallowed is a decent card in my opinion. Two 2/2 black zombies for 2BB? With flashback always an option? I’ll happy take these when they’re passed to me in draft. The flashback is a little high, but it’s better than no flashback.

Again, this was actually revealed in the Duel of the Planeswalker game, but PAX also revealed it, so I’ll take another look at it here. It gives a creature +X/+X, where X is the number of creatures in your graveyard. For only 1 green mana. I really like this card, this could be considered a bomb in draft by itself.

But that sums up the rest of the Innistrad spoilers. I’ll post them as I find them. Hopefully I’ll get the last part of the Commander Ban List up tonight, but I’m not sure as-of yet.

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Just uploaded to Star City Games’ Facebook page are more Innistrad spoilers, revealing new mechanics and something everyone will be happy to see. So, without further ado, let’s do this!

Olivia Voldaren is the red/black vampire legend most people were expecting were gonna be in the set, but she’s actually playable, which we didn’t expect. 2BR is appropriately costed for this 3/3 black and red flyer with not one but two activated abilities; her first ability for 1R, she deals 1 damage to a creature aside from her. This creature becomes a vampire in addition to its other types, and Olivia gets a +1/+1 counter. I’m surprised there wasn’t a vampire that made more vampire before now, come to think of it. Vampires do make more vampires by biting them, now they finally did it. Now, her second ability for 3BB allows you to get control of any vampire on the board as long as you control her. So, anything you hit with her ability is a target, plus other targets in the mirror match. A great card and an excellent card to reveal to us, props to wizards on this one, even if she is going to be a Mythic Rare.

These three cards reveal one of the new mechanics, Transform. Right above the cards power and toughness, there’s another set of power and toughness above them, albeit smaller, representing what their power and toughness become when they transform. This also implies they can transform back whenever you want to, or may be forced to in the case of Mayor of Avabruck.

Looking at them individually, Screeching back is a 2/2 flyer for 3 mana, which is about average. However, during your upkeep, you can pay 2BB to transform your bat into a 5/5 flyer. It’s a great way of showing how this ability can work.

Major of Avabruck is a green 1/1 Human Advisor Werewolf that gives all your other humans +1/+1 for 2. However, if no spells were cast during your last turn, he transforms into a 3/3 for that same 2 mana. He’s also another good way of introducing Transform into the format.

Ludevic’s Test Subject is a blue 0/3 defender lizard for 1U, which by itself isn’t bad, as that’s 1 less mana than Roc Egg, the 2W 0/3 defender who got reprinted in M12. However, for 1U, you can place a hatchling counter on this card, and then if there are 5 or more hatchling counters on it, you can remove all of them and transform it; into a 13/13. I’m not sure if it keeps the defender, which means it’s possible that transforming removes all abilities other than the transformation ability, but we’ll learn that later.

Hollowhenge Scavenger is a 4/5 green Elemental for 3GG that introduces us to another mechanic new to Innistrad, Morbid. When Hollowhenge Scavenger enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, you gain 5 life. This makes me assume from the name and this ability is that Morbid triggers when other creatures have died in the same turn in most cases.

Zombies make a triumphant return in Innistrad with Diregraf Ghoul, the perfect example of a good zombie; a 2/2 for 1 black that comes into play tapped. This is going to be a great card in draft, instantly putting a threat on the board that’ll beat your face in if it isn’t fried immediately. I honestly think this card could see some play in Standard with it’s power for only 1 black mana.

Stiched Drake is a 3/4 zombie drake flyer for 1UU and removing a creature from your discard. It’s actually a pretty good draft card for a common, decently balanced as you have to have lost a creature before you played it, but is still cheap enough to play easily early game. Another good card I’m happy to see.

Bloodcrazed Neonate is an interesting vampire. 1R for a 2/1 vampire that has to attack every turn, and when it inflicts combat damage to a player, it gets a +1/+1 counter. In draft, this can easily become ridiculous. I’ve had games where I’ve had opponents not play a creature until hitting 4 mana, meaning if you drop this at 2 mana, you’ve got a 3/2 on the board that’ll just keep getting bigger if they don’t have an answer. However, being a 2/1 is bad, as that one toughness lets you get killed by the wimpiest of saprolings and chump blockers. However, it’s good to see a red vampire, meaning these red vampires will most likely be wanting to feed, rather than be the strategic black vampires of Zendikar.

Curse! CUUUUURSE! Curse of the Blood Tome adds a new enchantment type to the game, Curse. It also shows us an “enchant player” enchantment, which is always fun to see. Curse of the Bloody Tome for 2U causes that player to mill 2 cards during each of their upkeeps. A stack of these will mill an opponent down pretty quickly in draft and sealed deck. It’s a decent card.

Boneyard Wurm is… well, cheap. Cheap and potentially very dangerous. This is honestly a really good card for an uncommon. Its power and toughness are equal to the number of creatures in your graveyard. It’s no Tarmogoyf, but it’s still a good card, in draft at the very least. It’s possible to even see play in Commander and maybe Standard if self-milling becomes a theme with this set.

Skirsdag Cultist is a decent uncommon, for 2RR you get a 2/2 that can sacrifice a creature and deal 2 damage to target creature or player for a red mana and a tap. You could always block with him, then use his ability to sacrifice himself and ping your opponent for 2.

This was revealed in the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 game, but it was re-revealed at the Innistrad PAX Party, so I’ll take a look at it here; for 1 green, the enchanted creatures gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creatures you have in your graveyard. This is a pretty damn good enchantment for 1 green. Like Boneyard Wurm, I think it might see some play outside of draft and sealed deck, and will give you a reason to play green in said formats.

THIS IS THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY CARD THEY REVEALED. New enemy dual lands, meaning there will be a U/R, R/W, B/W and U/G lands along with Woodland Cemetery, which is B/G. I’m happy they’re printing these. They aren’t fetches, but they’re almost as great.

Devil’s Play is another Banefire, except this one has flashback for 2 more red. It’s a decent addition to the set as a rare, and shows us that flashback really is back in Innistrad block.

My apologies for the very poor quality of this picture, but this was the source picture I was able to find. This card is Wooden Steak, which as a 2 drop equipment, it has an equip cost of 1 and causes any vampire the equipped creature battles to die and be unable to regenerate. It could see play as a sideboard card, in draft at the very least.

Another picture of terrible quality, but this card is Travel Preparations, which is a common from the set. It’s a sorcery that for 1G puts a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures, which is pretty good, and also has flashback of 1W, which makes sense with the Human archetype supposedly being the GW archetype in the Innistrad block. Another decent card in the set, which could see some play in standard.

While I know that’s a card from Zendikar, Blazing Torch is being reprinted as confirmed by PAX, and is a 1 drop 1 equip equipment that prevents the equipped creature from being blocked by vampires or zombies, both of which are big in Innistrad. You can also tap the equipped creature and sacrifice Blazing Toch to deal 2 damage to target creature or player.

This is a very, very good card. a 2/2 for 2 white with first strike, vigilance, protection from Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies. Definitely deserving of being a rare, I think this might be my favorite card in the set so far.

However, since I reviewed these, I’m going to also take a look at the cards that were already revealed in the Duel of the Planeswalkers game, so look out for that. Due to these, Part 4 of the Commander/EDH ban list will be a little delayed, but I promise it’ll be up soon.

From The Vault: Legends Part II

Well, on part two of the review of From The Vault: Legends, we start off with Omnath, Locus of Mana, originally a mythic from Worldwake. While you’d much rather pull a Jace the Mind Sculptor as your mythic rare out of Worldwake, Omnath isn’t terrible. Green mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as steps and phases end. In all honesty, Omnath is my favorite Mono-Green general in Commander. Which is why Wizards continues to disappoint, not giving Omnath a new artwork either. As much as I like the original art work, why do they insist on not giving the cards I like new art? However, he’s a great inclusion to the set, but I wish he got a new art.

Are we sure Wizards actually checked this set? Oona, Queen of the Fae, while being a great card in Modern and Commander, also did not get a new artwork. Which is certainly irritating when they’re reprinting only 15 cards from older sets. But from that I digress; Oona, Queen of the Fae, is a 5/5 black and blue 6-drop that wreaks havoc on mono-colored decks, and every other deck, as for x+B/U, she exiles the top cards of the deck equal to x. A great inclusion to the set, but I really wish it had new art.

As far as the art is concerned, I’ll have to agree on The Magic Show; his breast plate is very… breasty. But he’s riding on what looks like a tiger, so I guess that’s cool, but does his buster sword have to take up most of the art? But at least he -got- alternate art. Now, actually about Rafiq; he’s one of the new Legendary Creatures in Bant’s colors (well, one of eight), originally from Shards of Alara, he’s the only legendary creature with Exalted, according to The Gatherer, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. A 3/3 Exalted double strike isn’t bad for 4 mana. I’m fine with Rafiq being in here, props to Wizards for putting him in, but I prefer his original art.

Sharuum the Hegemon is an interesting card in my opinion. Namely because of Sharuum’s infinite damage combo with 2 Sharuum and Where Ancients Tread or with Hissing Iguanar, which you can find here. Outside of her infinite combo, Sharuum is decent in Commander, getting slain Solemn Simulacrums and destroyed Sol Rings or used up Nevinyrral’s Disks. A little costly for 6 mana, but she’s a decent 5/5 flyer on top of the ability. If you like playing Esper Colors, go for it. It’s also another card that got a new art that I like. Props to Todd Lockwood for this one.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre (a gyre being any large system of rotating ocean currents… why isn’t he blue then?) is just… meh. No new art, doesn’t really need to be in here, and is completely inferior to Emrakul, The Aeons Torn and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, despite Kozilek actually costing less to cast than Ulamog. Like the rest of the legendary Eldrazi, when he’s sent to the graveyard by any means, he and the rest of the graveyard are shuffled into their owner’s library. He’s not terrible, but I’d rather play Kozilek if I’m not playing Emrakul. I don’t see the necessity to have Ulamog in here, they should’ve put Emrakul in here despite being banned in Commander.

Visara the Dreadful, originally from Onslaught, is an interesting card to see reprinted, especially with a new artwork, which I personally like far more than her original artwork from Onslaught. She’s a decent card, a 5/5 flyer for 3 and 3 black, with a good tap ability in blowing up creatures and not letting them regenerate, which is good in Commander with Thrun, the Last Troll and Cromat both loving to regenerate when they’re on the board. Come to think of it, why isn’t Cromat in here instead of Kresh? However, there’s only one card left in the set; our new block of Innistrad’s first revealed card;

We have a legendary creature named Mikey; Mikaeus, the Lunarch is a pretty fun card, honestly. As a 1+x drop, you could play him turn 2 if you really wanted to get him on the board early and pump him up with his own ability, or drop him late game with tons of counters to try and finish up a game. In Commander, he finds a friend in Ghave, Guru of Spores, his +1/+1 counters turning into Saprolings at any given time. He’s a great card, and I’m complaining about him not having an alternate art, seeing as the preview card never does. He’s a solid card in the set, and I think he’ll see some significant play in Commander, if not in Standard.

Now, what about the set as a whole? Is it worth shelling out the 50 USD my locals wants to charge for it? In all honesty, probably. As much as I criticize the lack of alternate arts for half of the cards in the set and my hating on Kresh the Bloodbraided, it is worth the 50 USD to buy it, let alone the 35 MSRP. But it’s up to the individuals; if you’re looking for a Sun Quan, Lord of Wu, just buy it. It’s worth it for him in Commander. Though, I’m not sure how you’ll get Ghave, Guru of Spore or Nicol Bolas on horses for his Horsemanship, but that’s up to you.

 

 

 

 

From the Vault: Legends Part I

We really seem to love these things, and people know we’ll pay too much for them. Hell, my local is selling them for 50 USD, regardless of the 34.99 USD MSRP. From the Vault: Legends is, in my opinion, hilarious. As it’s all legendary creatures, you’d think it’d be more geared towards Commander… but it really isn’t. They’re great cards, but very few of them are actually what you’d use as a Commander, aside from Teferi and Progenitus. Many of them are perfectly playable, if not all of them, though, in Commander.

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is an amazing card, originally from Time Spiral, that makes everyone angry, other than the people who play him. It makes every counter spell in the game completely useless against you, making peoples Force of Wills and Dazes and even Mental Missteps useless while you’re dropping in creatures like air strikes with the flash he’s giving them. Teferi’s go for about 5 dollars a piece still, as many people like playing him in EDH and even some people in Legacy. I think he’ll see a bit of play in Modern; but being a triple blue 5-drop can be a difficulty in fast formats. All in all, Teferi is a great card, including the new art for him.

(Elspethftw’s Take: Teferi is just awesome versus control. Period.)

Kresh the Bloodbraided (from Alara Reborn) isn’t a great card (nor is he Bloodbraid Elf), but he’s one of the 5 Legends in Jund’s colors, making him a possible general, but you’d more likely play Adun Oakenshield as he’s only a 3 drop utility, making him a lot more useful than Kresh in any given commander game. Not a very impressive choice for a From the Vault card, honestly. I do prefer this art to the original art, though.

(ELSPETHFTW’s take: He can be a decent Voltron commander, though.)

Progenitus is one of my favorite cards ever printed, honestly. I’m all for Hydra gods and the such. And having protection far more ridiculous than Emrakul, The Aeon’s Torn, having Protection from everything gets ridiculous, on top of being shuffled back into the deck if it finds itself in the graveyard. This would probably only leave the field if they drop a Day of Judgment or Wrath of God (or Plague Boiler if you want to be more original). Progenitus is a card I’ll be taking another look at in Commanding Opinion, along with Plague Boiler rather soon. I’m glad Progenitus is in here, though I think I like the shadowy Conflux Art more.

Good old Doran, the Siege Tower. I’m rather disappointed he didn’t get an alternate art (I mean, they gave Kresh an alternate art, but not Doran?) but I certainly don’t mind seeing him in here. Assigning combat damage with toughness is amazing, especially since that makes Doran a 5/5 for 3, and even makes Spellskite from New Phyrexia a 4/4 for 2. It’s also all creatures that assign combat damage with their toughness, so Deceiver Exarch is hitting for 4 per copy after Splinter Twin (they may only make 4 billion Deceiver Exarchs if that’s the case) and Tarmogoyf is hitting for 1 more than it would be otherwise. Speaking of Splinter Twin, that leads us to the next card on the list…

(ELSPETHFTW’s take – A lot of people may not realize that Doran actually affects all creatures on the board, even your opponent’s. But in the right deck, that isn’t going to matter too much anyway, not as long as Tree of Redemption is around!)

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, originally from Champions of Kamigawa (as it’s a Legend, it’s probably from Kamigawa Block) is Splinter Twin on a stick. That’s all that really needs to be said about Kiki-Jiki. Only difference is that Kiki-Jiki says sacrifice the copy, and Splinter Twin says exile the copy. Oh, and Kiki-Jiki has Haste. So he can copy Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite as soon as he hits the field, just like Splinter Twin. He costs one more red mana, but in Commander that means you have 2 Splinter Twins in a deck, along with running both Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite. I’m pretty sure with his reprint, we’re gonna be seeing KikiTwin making some appearances with Pestermite, doubling the combo from 8 pieces to 16 pieces, making the combo that much more difficult to stop in Modern. But I’ll get around to that later. As far as the art is concerned, it’s great art, but I honestly prefer the original art. Why? Because it has a dragon on it. But we’re not here to discuss my taste in card art.

(ELSPETHFTW’s take – I prefer old art too! Such an awesome card.)

They might as well have just written “everything is unblockable forever, win target game”. Why? Because Horsemanship was a mechanic restricted to Portal Three Kingdoms (with a few of the cards also printed in Master’s Edition III), and Sun Quan, Lord of Wu makes all your creatures have Horsemanship, himself included. And with there being only 36 cards in the entire game that even mention Horsemanship, it can get silly. He’s decently costed at a 6 drop and is just a very silly card in Commander, 6 mana being easy to get to. That being said, he’s still valued around 35 dollars for an original, and the reprint might fetch for around the same, if not a little less. The MSRP is 35, so he (along with another card from Portal Three Kingdoms that I’ll get to) is practically worth buying it by himself. He’s great in Commander, practically making him a win condition (especially if you’re playing infect or just Triumph of the Hordes, which I’ll review in Commanding Opinion as well) and just good for poking an opponent. As far as the art is concerned, it’s the same as the original, but that’s to be expected, as this is its first printing with a new border.

(ELSPETHFTW’s take – If you’re opponent is dead in one swing of your forces with Sun Quan on the board, it is Win Target Game. Horsemanship is probably one of my favorite mechanics in Magic of all time, simply because it’s on so very few cards. As Solemnparty said, he’s pretty good in a blue/black infect strategy, too.)

Cao Cao, Lord of Wei is a decent card. 5 drop that taps to make an opponent discard two. Honestly, Cao Cao isn’t really all that great. In fact, on the secondary market he goes for less than Sun Quan, originals going for around 20 and the From the Vault ones going for around 12 or so. Regardless, Cao Cao is another Portal Three Kingdoms card, and is nice to see another printing of. Like Sun Quan, he has the same picture as the original, simply in the new border.

(ELSPETHFTW’s Take – Cao Cao is a fantastic reprint that sees play in discard-oriented Commander decks. He’s a lot of fun!)

Captain Sisay, originally from Invasion, is a decent card, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth being a General. She tutors legendary creatures every turn just by tapping her 2/2 self. They go for about 3 USD on the secondary market, namely because of seeing play in Commander, as it searches commanders that got shuffled in off of an Oblation or Spell Crumple, plus any other legends you’d play. Another thing about Sisay is that she also got gypped out of a new art, which is rather disappointing. A lot of people were concerned about the fact it seemed Wizards didn’t take this From The Vault seriously with the alternate arts, 4 of the first 8 I’ve reviewed here do not have new artworks.

(ELSPETHFTW’s take: Actually, Sisay seeks out not only legendary creatures, but any legendary card, including lands, equipments (like Umezawa’s Jitte), artifacts, and enchantments. So she’s actually a pretty decent Commander, overall, especially being in my two favorite colors! Selesnya Forever!)

However, I’m going to cut off Part I here; next, we cover the remaining 7 cards in From the Vault: Legends…

Part II of From the Vault: Legends

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