This entry is part 16 of 24 in the series Unexpected Results

Posted by Brian aka ChaosMTG.

ohlookapictureHmm… What’s the most obvious thing I can do for an article today?
Oh, got it!

Today I’m just going to go over the new cards… Since I went over the curses before release and I’m sure everyone has had their fill of talk of the new legends for a while, I’ll just be going over the other 36.

Act of Authority – This is obviously meant as removal for a deck that doesn’t have many artifacts or enchantments of its own. Conceptually, it fits perfectly where it was printed, in an esper deck. That said, esper usually relies heavily on artifact mana sources. As spot removal, it’s a bit expensive (though it does interact nicely with Strionic Resonator. I see this finding its home in either a GWB or WBR deck that relies more on creatures than other permanents.

Angel of Finality – A 3/4 flier for 4 is a decent body. I might just be spoiled by Restoration Angel, but this feels like it really wants flash… Also, I just noticed while writing this that there are Avacyn symbols on the graves in the background.

Darksteel Mutation – Conceptually, I love this; but it’s rarely, if ever, better than Prison Term.

Mystic Barrier – I love cards that change the game like this. Turning a once political game into attack right/left can be huge, but this is probably too expensive to be worth it. 2WW would have been perfect.

Serene Master – Well, it’s a blocker… And it blocks everything that doesn’t fly reasonably well. It’s just a bit underwhelming here. This is something that would have been great to print in a core set.

Tempt with Glory – By far the worst of the Tempting offer cards. Unfortunately there isn’t any card good for a direct comparison, my first thoughts are Ajani Goldmane’s – ability and Cathars’ Crusade. The only reason I can think of for such a high cost is that Wizards must overestimate the amount of politicking that actually happens in most games.

Unexpectedly Absent – I absolutely love this card, but it shouldn’t exist. This is just another example of white getting something far more efficiently costed than it should. Until now, the closest thing white had to this was Banishment Decree which cost 3 more and couldn’t hit planeswalkers for the same effect fixed at 0. Now it can be put on an Isochron Scepter. Simply put, even without the cost fixing this needs, it should have been blue.

Diviner Spirit – Five mana 2/4… Drawing cards is nice, being political is nice, having to do it on your opponents’ terms isn’t. This would have been amazing as a Shriekgeist that made you both draw rather than mill.

Djinn of Infinite Deceits – I haven’t used this much yet, but the fact that it doesn’t hit legends is just kind of boring. I’ll definitely be trying it out in my Zedruu Giveth, Zedruu Taketh Away deck.

Illusionist’s Gambit – It’s an expensive redirect-y fog… I don’t know about this quite yet, but I’m leaning negative.

Order of Succession – Well, it’s blue, so you’re not likely to have many creatures as it is. 3U is a more convenient cost for Control Magic with the restriction that it can only be used on a player directly next to you, but here’s the upside… IT DOESN’T TARGET. Feel free to take whatever protected creature you want. This is obviously much more powerful in 1v1 or a 60 card casual format.

Tempt with Reflections – The exact cost of a clone, but not a creature spell with the potential to give you more if any of your opponents want copies. I can see some fun potential with this, but most often it will probably just be a worse Cackling COunterpart

Tidal Force – Tied for the title of the worst of the Force cycle. Tapping down a permanent or untapping your own can be helpful and can generate great utility with some things, but it’s nothing compared to the measurable advantage Lightning Bolt, Phyrexian Arena, or a saproling each turn.

True-Name Nemesis – Another card made for another format and shoved into a precon… And this one is making Mind Seize nearly impossible to come by.

Baleful Force – Phyrexian Arena. Every turn. On a 7/7. It’s good.

Fell Shepherd – Seven mana 8/6, saboteur Gleancrawler, and activated removal that synergizes with its other ability. Other than being a bit expensive, what’s not to like?

Hooded Horror – Five mana 4/4 with conditional unblockability. This feels like a wedged in multiplayer design; as a card, it’s just not good.

Ophiomancer – Mini Verdant Force… With Deathtouch tokens. I already used this in the Teysa list I worked on last week and I can’t wait to find more places to fit it in.

Price of Knowledge – For seven mana, this is a pretty useless enchantment. At 4 or 5 this would be reasonable, but at 7 I want a Phyrexian Arena attached to it.

Tempt with Immortality – Reasonably priced nontargeted reanimation that can reanimate more if your opponents are greedy. This will soon find a home in my Iname reanimator deck.

Toxic Deluge – Who needs life when you can just kill everything? Three mana wraths are nice, especially when they get around indestructibility.

From the Ashes – Less evil than Ruination, but not by much. (Now might be a good time to point out that I always run as few basic lands as possible in my decks…)

Sudden Demise – Just looking at the name, I expected something with Split Second… But a color-hate fireball is good too.

Tempt with Vengeance – All the hasty tokens! Probably the most political of the cycle, and amazing in that it can scale.

Terra Ravager – A creature with scaling power… It’s a great design, but I’ll probably never play it.

Widespread Panic – Another card I love the concept of, though it feels like it’s meant to be legacy Ponder and fetchland hate more than something for a commander deck.

Witch Hunt – Sure, it’s a mediocre card, but as long as the Monty Python jokes keep flowing, I love it.

Bane of Progress – Naturalize all the things! As a Zur player, I hate it. As someone who loves value, I can see myself reanimating it many times over.

Naya Soulbeast – I think we covered this one pretty well on the podcast this week; 8 mana for a potential 0/0 just isn’t worth it. If it were a 5/5 that entered with extra counters so it could work with Mayael and the rest of the Naya themes, sure… But lands are going to be hit far more often than things to generate a big creature.

Primal Vigor – Do you like doubling season? Well, here’s another one.

Restore – Because Gaea’s Cradles like being brought back.

Spawning Grounds – Eight mana enchantment that requires an additional 1 each turn to keep working… Well, at least it keeps churning out creatures! This probably would have fit better in the Bant deck.

Tempt with Discovery – 4 to find any land is exactly on cost with Reap and Sow so, at the very least, there’s that. Lands are one thing people usually want, so this is a great political use of tempting offer on a card that’s actually fairly costed.

Eye of Doom – DOOOOOM! counters. Doesn’t target. Destroys things.  A bit expensive, but filled with DOOOOOOM-y goodness.

Surveyor’s Scope – This seems overbalanced into unplayability… Two mana, tap, exiles itself, and restricts only to basics… But they come in untapped. I’m not sold. Allowing nonbasics would be broken and tap is a general requirement… I don’t think allowing recursion would break it, though… Unfortunately, even as bad as it is, I can see a deck or two of mine wanting to run it.

Opal Palace – Mana is good. Shimmering Grotto isn’t horrible, especially when it lets you make your commander bigger. Skullbriar, Ghave, and Animar would love to take up permanent residence here, but any commander that likes to attack stands to benefit from it.

And now for something completely different.

Some stories are just too good to pass up, so I might as well share this from a recent Zur vs. Animar game.

I cast Dimir Charm aiming to kill Prophet of Kruphix. In order to keep up mana for a Counterspell, he flashes in Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Birds of Paradise in response, makes a copy of Birds to make blue mana to make a Clone of Prophet. Unfortunately for him, in doing so, he allowed me to draw three cards off of Rhystic Study (Snapcaster Mage, Swords to Plowshares, and Gift of Immortality). Once that mess of a stack is cleaned up, I Swords away the clone, and Vindicated Kiki-Jiki, drawing out the counterspell he left mana up for. In response, I flash in the drawn Snapcaster and exile Kiki as well.

I honestly wish I had kept track of the entire game. A few turns later he had me nearly dead until I stalled him out with Stasis for a few turns, eventually drawing Lim-Dul’s Vault and paying almost all of my life to find the Solitary Confinement that was the second-to-last card left in my library.

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