Aether Vial (Potential)
CC: 1 (Uncommon)
At the beginning of your upkeep you may put a charge counter on Aether Vial.
Tap: Put a creature card into play from your hand with converted mana cost equal to the number of charge counters of Aether Veil.
The Buzz: Aether Vial poses an interesting question: at what point do Mercadian Lift type cards stop sucking? Unlike previous attempts at a card of this nature, the Vial doesn’t lose counters upon activation. In a Goblin deck, for instance, you can play it on the first turn, and then use it from the second turn on down in order to put out your one casting cost goblins for free.
This could make for an interesting curve, as instead of playing a first turn Sledder, you could instead play the Vial, and then drop Sledder plus Piledriver on the second turn. This would free up more mana for a Prospector or Sledder on the Warchief turn, or you could just get the Vial up to five counters for a Siege-Gang. Remember, the creature comes straight into play, so the Vial gets around countermagic. Since previous cards of this type have been pure crappola, people might gloss the Vial over as useless as well – but give this one a second glance, will ya?
Arcbound Creatures (Potential)
CC: 4 (Uncommon)
Whenever another artifact comes into play, put a +1/+1 counter on Arcbound Crusher.
Modular 1 (This comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it. When it’s put into a graveyard, you may put its +/1+1 counters on target creature).
CC: 2 (Rare)
Sacrifice an artifact: Put a +1/+1 counter on Arcbound Ravager.
Modular 1 (This comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it. When it’s put into a graveyard, you may put its +1/+1 counters on target artifact creature).
CC: 4 (Rare)
Artifact Creature – Golem
Modular 2 (This comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it. When it’s put into a graveyard, you may put its +1/+1 counters on target artifact creature).
Remove a +1/+1 counter from Arcbound Reclaimer: Put target artifact card from your graveyard to the top of your library.
The Buzz: The Crusher, Ravager, and Reclaimer are probably the only Arcbound creatures worth taking a glance at for Constructed. The Crusher could get pretty silly in an Affinity on Affinity mirror match, since it powers up off of both player’s artifacts. While Aether Spellbomb will send it packing, it’s very reasonable to think it could end up as a 4/4 or more by the time your next turn rolls around in the mirror.
Likewise, the idea of the Ravager fits in quite nicely in an affinity deck, since it can sacrifice itself at any time to give Myr Enforcer or Frogmite +1/+1 counters. It can also eat basically any other permanent you have on the table, meaning that around turn three, you could shuffle around eight to ten power to any of your artifact creatures. The Reclaimer might see play as part of a combo engine, if such a deck emerges.
The Buzz: The activation cost is a bit high to get a 2/2 creature every turn, but then again U/W control decks might see the Brute as a decent mid-game card. It survives Akroma’s Vengeance, Wrath of God and Oblivion Stone, and it can block non-flyers all day long without worries. Given the quantity of board sweepers that control decks are using these days, the Brute should be given at least some testing, to see if he’s sound enough to see play. Remember, once he’s on the board, it’s virtually impossible to remove him in Type 2.
Darksteel Colossus (Extended)
CC: 11 (Rare)
Darksteel Colossus is indestructible.
If Darksteel Colossus would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, reveal Darksteel Colossus and shuffle it into its owner’s library instead.
The Buzz: If for no other reason than this card, Tinker needed to be banned in Extended. Bosh made for some strange second to third turn kills when combined with Lightning Greaves. Darksteel Colossus doesn’t even need the untargetability, since your opponent would either have an Edict (Chainer’s or Diabolic) or would die very quickly. With that said, the Colossus is still very much a consideration for Extended. Metalworker decks could conceivably have him out on turn 3, Sneak Attack decks will add him immediately – and while Sneak Attack has never been a top tier deck, the Colossus is probably the best Extended creature worth Sneaking in a long time, outside of the odd Serra Avatar.
The Buzz: Soldevi Excavations saw play back in the day, and required quite a Blue commitment to get going. Darksteel Pendant duplicates this effect, but at a much more reasonable cost. While it is inherent card disadvantage (you invest a card and never get to outright replace it), the low cost combined with the card selectivity will make this one a favorite. It isn’t for everyone, but there are a few players who live and die by this sort of card, which allows you to control the quality of your draws for the rest of the game. Unlike other indestructible cards, this one has the indestructible effect as a bonus – the effect and card are cheap enough that it would have merited consideration regardless.
The Buzz: Poor Juggernaut. It continues a tradition of classic creatures which just aren’t as good as they used to be – including Serra Angel, Mahamoti Djinn, Shivan Dragon, Sengir Vampire, Erhnam Djinn, and Clone. Is there a deck that can utilize a four mana 5/3 creature with a major drawback right now? There are larger niche choices (Myr Enforcer, Vulshok War Boar), tons of artifact hate (making throwing Juggernaut in a random deck a risky proposition right now), and other factors working against the revival of this once-played monstrosity. I wouldn’t write it off completely, but it doesn’t look like it will fare any better than the aforementioned Alpha creatures which haven’t seen play after being reprinted in the modern era.
The Buzz: Some weenie decks are going to love this card off the board, since it effectively shuts down blocking for the rest of the game. If you’ve got three creatures to their one, you get to tap theirs down, attack with one of yours, equip your remaining creature, tap theirs down on their turn, and then hit with everything. Any time you’ve got sheer numbers on them, you’re going to be able to get through with your best guys at the cost of your worst ones. It only costs one mana to equip, and that’s what pushes it over the top.
Lich’s Tomb (Potential)
CC: 4 (Rare)
You don’t lose the game for having 0 or less life.
Whenever you lose life, sacrifice a permanent for each 1 life lost.
The Buzz: Unlike previous Lich type cards, you don’t lose the game if this leaves play. The drawback is a bitch, but it could potentially buy you time to draw that life-saving Wrath you need to stabilize. It’s not great shakes when viewed in this light (Worship is better is many cases), but keep in mind it also enables combo decks such as Prosp-Bloom to once again dip into the zero life territory while going off. Will it matter that the Tomb enables pre-Sixth edition Prosp-Bloom and Mirror Universe kills?
The Buzz: It does cost a lot of mana to get going, but the Matrix does produce 2/2 creatures every turn. Again, it’s not a bad choice in a deck like U/W control where you’ve got massive board sweepers killing everything except the Matrix itself. In addition, it might have a place in MBC, where it would replace cards like Riptide Replicator as an alternate win condition.
Panoptic Mirror (Potential)
CC: 5 (Rare)
Imprint – X, Tap: You may remove an instant or sorcery card with converted mana cost of X or less in your hand from the game. (This card is imprinted on Panoptic Mirror.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may copy an imprinted instant or sorcery card and play it without paying its mana cost.
The Buzz: Panoptic Mirror can single-handedly win the game, but it also takes a ton of mana to get going. In Type I, you can imprint it with a Time Walk, and if your opponent doesn’t have/draw artifact kill within one turn, you go infinite. The same goes for Extended and Time Warp – Zvi must love that this card exists, as it enables Turboland in a post-Oath world. Unlike Isochron Scepter, you can throw virtually any spell on this imprinter without having to worry about restrictions. While you can only copy one imprinted spell a turn, you can still imprint multiple spells on the Mirror for situational reasons. Costly, but extraordinarily powerful.
Serum Powder (Potential)
CC: 3 (Rare)
Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool
Any time you could mulligan and Serum Powder is in your hand, you may remove your hand from the game, then draw that many cards. (You can do this in addition to taking mulligans.)
The Buzz: If Serum Powder didn’t have an ability, it would be a much riskier proposition, since it would be a dead card whenever it was drawn. Since it can tap for a mana, it becomes instantly playable. Serum Powder does something no card in Magic has ever done before: it lets you set up your draw better, before the game even starts (note: I’m not counting Unglued here, folks). How many Serum Powders do you run in a deck? Is this a card that will make combo decks completely insane across many formats, since you can freely mulligan into better combo draws? Will this combo well with Wishes? Another very powerful card, but one that isn’t as obviously powerful as Panoptic Mirror.
CC: 1 (Uncommon)
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +1/-1.
Whenever equipped creature is put into a graveyard from play, draw two cards.
The Buzz: Mark Gottlieb wrote about this card in his column on MTG.com and he was right on – Skullclamp works in all the right ways. It costs only one (both to cast and equip), it pumps creatures in the right direction (offensively), and it turns your support creatures into reusable sources of card drawing. Elf decks will literally burn through their deck with this in play. Birds of Paradise become recyclable Inspirations. There are a ton of good things to say about Skullclamp, and very few bad. Bravo Wizards!
Specter’s Shroud (Potential)
CC: 2 (Uncommon)
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +1/+0
When equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card from his or her hand.
The Buzz: I have to say that I’m very happy with how Equipment turned out. While there are occasional niche cards (Nemesis Mask, for instance), many of the pieces of Equipment were really pushed to be played in Constructed. Empyrial Plate, Lightning Greaves, Bonesplitter, Skullclamp, Nightmare Lash, Fireshrieker, Sword of Kaldra, Loxodon Warhammer, Mask of Memory, Leonin Scimitar, the two elemental swords (we’ll get to those next), and now Specter’s Shroud all are extremely playable in the right deck.
Specter’s Shroud turns any creature into Abyssal Specter, while giving it an extra +1 power. This boost in power is what makes this card so good, since it’s already cheap to cast and equip. This might be the best discard spell to come along in a long time.
Sword of Fire and Ice
CC: 3 (Rare)
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from Red and Blue.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card and have it deal 2 damage to target creature.
Sword of Light and Shadow
Artifact – Equipment
Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has protection from White and Black.
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage to a player, you gain 3 life and you may return up to one target creature from your graveyard to your hand.
The Buzz: Both of these swords are frigging insane. Compare them to Vulshok Morningstar, and you’ll see just how much of a difference two degrees of rarity can make. These will get played, these will single-handedly dominate games, and that’s that. What in God’s name does a goblin deck do once you’ve thrown Sword of Fire and Ice on a Silver Knight? How can White Weenie race against a Sword of Light and Shadow, with its massive creature and life swing?
Fire and Ice is slightly better than Light and Shadow, since it can swing two cards a turn instead of one (2 damage plus a card versus returning a creature), but between the protection abilities (very versatile due to opposing colors), double abilities, cheap cost and power/toughness boost, we have a winner. These cards could have not given +2/+2 and still been good. They could have not given protection from and still been good. They could have only triggered one of their two abilities (or instead of and) and still been good. That all three of these are in the favor of the Swords makes them simply incredible.
Thought Dissector (Potential)
CC: 4 (Rare)
X, Tap: Target opponent reveals cards from the top of his or her library until an artifact card or X cards are revealed, whichever comes first. If an artifact card is revealed this way, put it into play under your control and sacrifice Thought Dissector. Put the rest of the revealed cards into that graveyard.
The Buzz: Helm of Obedience, except for artifacts. It has the potential to decimate control decks which lack major artifact presence (U/W control for example), and is a complete crapshoot against others (wouldn’t you rather run Bribery against an Affinity deck?) Still, it’s worth taking into consideration, though it probably won’t see much competitive play – there were plenty of creatureless decks for Helm of Obedience to wreck, but there aren’t nearly as many artifactless decks running around in type two right now.
CC: 3 (Uncommon)
As long as Thunderstaff is untapped, if a creature would deal combat damage to you, prevent one of that damage.
2, Tap: Attacking creatures get +1/+0 until end of turn.
The Buzz: Another card which is sure to be underrated, Thunderstaff combines a little of Orim’s Prayer with a little of Mightstone. It’s amazingly well-designed card, so major hats off to whoever paired the abilities together. It fits perfectly into aggro-control, where you can choose whether you’ll use it for control (early game) or aggro (late game). Definitely worth testing.
Trinisphere (Type One)
CC: 3 (Rare)
As long as Trinisphere is untapped, each spell that would cost less than three mana to play costs three mana to play (Additional man in the cost may be paid with any color of mana or colorless mana. For example, a spell that would cost B1 to play costs B2 to play instead.)
The Buzz: If you thought Chalice of the Void changed Type I, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Chalice of the Void for zero stops your opponent from playing Moxen. Chalice for one stops most budget decks. Trinisphere literally shuts down the entire format, if you get it into play on the first turn. It’s a Nether Void for one, two or three, depending how much spells would have cost to begin with. It’s easily dropable on the first turn, thanks to Mishra’s Workshop. This is the single most important Type I card to see print in years, and it will single-handedly change the way decks must be built – plus it could finally get Mishra’s Workshop and Dark Ritual restricted (or re-restricted, as the case may be).
Wand of the Elements (Potential)
CC: 4 (Rare)
Tap, Sacrifice an Island: Put a 2/2 Blue Elemental creature token with flying into play.
Tap, Sacrifice a Mountain: Put a 3/3 red Elemental creature token into play.
The Buzz: Personally, I really like this card. It’s a good late game finisher in a Red/Blue style control deck, and Wizards really seemed to push this style of deck with this set. Even without control elements, you can basically trade lands for 2/2 flying haste creatures or 3/3 non-flying haste creatures. Every turn. The effect is very powerful, and the activation cost (tap) makes it very playable.
The Buzz: The Well screams”Build A Deck Around Me, Stupid!” The question is this: Do lifegain effects warrant enough notice to experiment with this slightly higher casting cost artifact? This seems to be a slightly better fit in Green these days (love that Wellwisher!) than in White, but a card which can turn Healing Salve into Ancestral Recall can’t be ignored. Combined Pulse of the Fields and/or Words of Worship, could there be a deck in the making?
Blinkmoth Nexus (Potential)
Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool.
1: Blinkmoth Nexus becomes a 1/1 Blinkmoth artifact creature that has flying until end of turn.
1, Tap: Target Blinkmoth gains +1/+1 until end of turn.
The Buzz: This is Mishra’s Factory, except as a 1/1 flyer instead of a 2/2 ground-pounder. Unfortunately, it does cost one to use it to pump other Blinkmoths, so it comes up short on a direct comparison. That extra mana cost makes a huge difference, since Nexuses can’t tap to pump themselves. Manlands have always been eminently playable in all formats, so the Nexus is sure to see play in some decks.
Mirrodin’s Core (Staple)
Tap: Add 1 to your mana pool.
Tap: Put a charge counter on Mirrodin’s Core.
Tap, Remove a charge counter from Mirrodin’s Core: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
The Buzz: This is a really great land. It’s been a while since Wizards printed a good five-color land (Grand Coliseum just didn’t cut the mustard for Constructed), and Mirrodin’s Core doesn’t disappoint. It doesn’t come into play tapped, it can immediately be used for mana (colorless, but that still won’t slow down development), and it works as a mix between Gemstone Mine (except the land doesn’t go away when there are no counters) and Jeweled Amulet (except it can tap for mana). Another card which will see play across many formats, and for good reason.