How I’ve missed you.
A few weeks ago I talked about a new planeswalker, Kiora, the Crashing Wave, and received a very nice response from everyone regarding the evaluation, albeit with a few naysayers. If you listened to me, you were able to scoop them up at $20 apiece—ten dollars less than the 30 they are being ordered for now.
Not bad, huh?
Again, that isn’t saying that it is going to sustain at that price because it almost assuredly won’t, but it still goes to show you that a lot of people are taking this card very seriously.
What other cards have got people in a tizzy?
Let’s talk about them.
One of the most talked about cards over the last week has been Pain Seer.
Sorry. Had to stop there. We all know the reason you want to play this card is because of the imitation of Dark Confidant that Pain Seer tries to pull off, which it can do quite efficiently in the right situation. There are going to be times when your opponent keeps a reasonable hand but doesn’t do much in the early game and Pain Seer will draw you a couple of cards at the expense of a few life. This makes Pain Seer extremely powerful.
The problem is a word I used above: "imitation."
If you didn’t play in the era of Dark Confidant or haven’t picked him up in a Legacy/Vintage deck, there is a reason Bob, as he is affectionately called, is considered to be the very best creature ever printed by many people. An aggressively costed creature that can put on pressure while making sure you never run out of gas is incredible in every single way except when your life total is very low.
What makes Pain Seer leagues and leagues worse is that to get the most out of it you’re going to have to attack most of the time. Cute little tricks with Springleaf Drum aside, attacking with this creature is going to put it right in harm’s way. Blocking creatures, Azorius Charm, and burn spells mean this thing is dead or gone before you get any value out of it, and at that rate you just played a Traveling Philosopher.
At this moment it’s preordering for $12.
Will that last?
Verdict: Get your playset, but don’t rush on it. It will at least halve in price.
I was so happy casting my Sphinx’s Revelations, and then y’all had to just go and complain and Wizards decided to do something about it and here we are.
"I will set my Aether Vial to two. Pass turn."
Me: Okay! End of your turn I will cast Brainstorm.
Me: Can I read that card? Hmmm . . . yes . . . I see. I will flip the table over now.
"Wait wh—OH GOD STOP IT!"
Get used to this kind of interaction, kids, because if you thought it was hilarious to cast a Notion Thief when your opponent activated their Griselbrand or used the zero loyalty mode on Jace, the Mind Sculptor, wait until the next in a long line of "blown the fudge out" creatures makes its debut in a Death and Taxes deck near you!
On the surface you are getting a fairly strong 3/1 for only two mana, and in the kind of deck that is going to play this creature, that is pretty big game. The implications for a creature like this run fairly deep depending on the format you are battling in.
Clearly this card shines in a deck like Vintage Hate Bears, where premium two-drops that can shut off infinite draw engines or Ancestral Recall can make a world of difference. In Legacy it makes the most sense in a deck like Maverick (if it ever makes a comeback) or the already popular D&T, where it keeps the white deck from getting overwhelmed by card advantage unless it is immediately dealt with.
Standard might seem like the weakest format for Spirit of the Labyrinth, but it’s going to do exactly what white-based decks want to do—shut down control decks unless they have an answer early.
Against a deck like U/W Control, it is not uncommon for them to cast a Divination or two, digging deeper in their deck to find that Supreme Verdict. Spirit says they can’t do that, and what’s even more important is that they can’t Last Breath it, meaning hard removal is the only answer. Even in the later stages of the game it isn’t a dead draw considering the Sphinx’s Revelations for a lot are the ones that end the game; with this card in play on turn 12, you still have a fighting chance to not be crushed by a massive end-step Rev.
Verdict: Will 100% see play in most formats, although it won’t be dominant. Getting a set would be a great idea, and this is the kind of card I would heavily invest in foreign copies since Legacy and Vintage players love to pimp their decks out. What is prettier than this card in Korean or Russian, especially if you get them for reasonable prices early on?
Aside from having a very difficult name to spell and pronounce properly, Brimaz is the kind of card that I love to evaluate.
Because this card is the real deal in multiple kinds of decks.
Brimaz is a hysterically costed three-drop that can threaten to put a lot of power on the board very quickly and end games the same way that a card like Hero of Bladehold once did.
It passes several important tests, like not dying to Pharika’s Cure and in the kind of deck it is most likely to be played in not getting sacrificed to a Devour Flesh given the glut of strong one-and two-drops white decks have access to. Bile Blight, a new premium removal spell for black decks, cannot kill it either.
While Ultimate Price and Doom Blade kill the kitty king off quite handily, most Mono-Black Devotion decks have been cutting copies of those cards in favor of other more situational removal. This means a creature like Brimaz can thrive in the early throes of a format before things can catch up to it. Brimaz is also on curve for a deck like Boros. Imagine turn 1 Boros Elite, turn 2 Daring Skyjek, and turn 3 Brimaz! Adding to the power, when Brimaz attacks you gain an additional 1/1. You are attacking for ten damage on turn 4, and if you attacked prior or used a burn spell, your opponent is almost dead before they can even think of casting Supreme Verdict. Back that all up with a Boros Charm and it’s pretty much over.
Not only do I love this card in aggressive decks, but I think it’s a powerful win condition for control decks. There was a time when a deck like U/W Tapout played the previously mentioned Hero of Bladehold, controlled the board with big spells, and then killed their opponent with a few attacks. Brimaz, King of Oreskos does a lot that I like in a control shell. Aside from being a cheap win condition, Brimaz can block a lot of creatures in the early stages of the game. Cards like Lightning Strike can’t kill him, so usually he’s going to be a natural two-for-one, not to mention if he blocks he will give you an additional 1/1 to block with, possibly trading with something else down the line. All of that in one quaint three-mana shell.
Verdict: Buy on this card. So far it isn’t looking like anything can go toe-to-toe with Brimaz in Block, and remember how hard cards like Huntmaster and Jace, Architect of Thought spiked when it was evident how incredible they were in Block. At around $20-$25, this card is a powerful mythic with a ton of upside in multiple archetypes in Standard.
If you thought the normal Gods were "goulet" as all the cool kids are calling it, Born of the Gods is giving you the Baskin Robbins of Gods this time around—32 flavors, yo.
It’s funny because to me the power level of them is like one of my favorite Swords in Magic: Feast or Famine. The power creep feels kind of absurd when you look at them, and in a vacuum two of them are borderline unplayable, while the other two might be very playable for years to come.
At five mana, this God is a little expensive, but the payoff is game ending in most cases. On an empty board, this Xenagod is very tame, but with any sort of creature in play, his +X/+X effect can close things out very quickly.
It has yet to be seen how seven devotion will play out, but luckily green sports cards like Burning-Tree Emissary and Arbor Colossus, meaning it won’t be extremely hard to turn Xenagos on. Speaking of the Colossus, becoming a 12/12 is no joke, and when you combine that with a card like Ghor-Clan Rampager, you have one very dead opponent.
Verdict: You’re likely to only need a couple of these since most decks won’t want four, but a deck like R/G Devotion and possibly G/R Monsters will want this creature.
Karametra’s effect is strong, but it can be very underwhelming. The kinds of decks that would want the Rampant Growth from it aren’t going to be interested in putting extra lands into play.
A 6/7 indestructible isn’t bad at all, but with the required seven devotion, you are basically paying five mana for a conditional creature with a mediocre upside. Being able to put shock lands into play is cute, but in the end I feel like this card fails on multiple levels. I wish this said "when a creature enters the battlefield under your control" instead of "cast a creature." If that were the case, we might have a real winner since it’d be on curve with a card like Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and a +1 would mean a triple search for lands.
As it stands, the card is too weak. Sorry, Karametra.
Verdict: Bulk God aka Sad God. Karametra, God of the Sad Face.
Sadly, it doesn’t get much better for Ephara. Her effect is going to let you draw some cards (hopefully), but like Karametra sometimes Ephara will just sit there and do absolutely nothing, which is something you can hardly rely on in this Standard format.
One of the tricks I think is pretty neat is the use of a card like Deputy of Acquittals, which in pairs can continue to bounce each other and will always keep your Ephara turned on, but that’s sketchy at best and easy to break up.
I like the fact that she "plays well" with Heliod since his token-creating ability can make sure you draw extra cards, but then again they are in competition in the same casting cost. This is another reason Ephara doesn’t feel super playable.
Verdict: Ephara could be fringe playable if some other cards come along to make her better. As it stands now she isn’t worth your time.
I like this card.
In early testing for Pro Tour Theros, a team I was helping was strongly considering playing a very interesting looking R/B Devotion deck. The deck performed very well but didn’t really catch on in the face of Mono-Blue and Mono-Black Devotion.
This deck could totally be a real thing now.
Mogis does exactly what you want to do in these colors—acts as removal as well as damage—and if he reaches seven devotion, which shouldn’t be hard for black, he becomes a huge 7/5 threat.
What makes this card powerful is that incremental damage in decks packing cards like Gray Merchant of Asphodel can be terrifying to play against. What if they have "Gary" in hand? Can I take that two damage? Maybe I better sacrifice this creature instead.
That train of thought is exactly what a R/B player wants—either they lose a creature and you get to attack or they take damage and it makes your other spells more dangerous. Is Shock or Chainer’s Edict during every opponent’s upkeep every turn unless they remove Mogis sound like a good thing to you?
Verdict: Real deal. Would buy. Much good. Such power. Wow. You’re welcome, Brennan.
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There you have it, folks. A look at some of the most talked about cards from Born of the Gods and my recommendations on what to do with them.
Do you dare risk ignoring me and perishing in the flames of obscurity when these cards go up in value?
(That sounded so cool in my head.)
At any rate, Born of the Gods is shaping up to be an exciting set.
What do you think?
Let me know below so I don’t dare risk ignoring you and perishing in the flames of obscurity either.
Catch ya on the flip-
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