Hello, all – we are about to embark on yet another wonderful journey into opening packs of fresh-smelling cards, looking unto incredible art (seen Dawn of the Dead yet?) and laughing at cool flavour texts and your friends that got Atogatogs in Sealed.
This article will focus on the Torment cards I see as having potential in casual and serious play. Personally, I have always enjoyed black as a colour in Magic, and when they said they were going to make Torment "The Black set,” I was leaping for joy. A quick look at the spoiler shows us that no, Nether Void, Hypnotic Specter and Sinkhole are not in ? but yes, there are some cool cards in every color. Here?s a breakdown:
Major Teroh R, Creature – Bird Soldier Legend, 3W, 2/3 Flying 3WW, Sacrifice Major Teroh: Remove all black creatures from the game.
While hardly a powerhouse in Limited, he is strong enough to block Squirrels, Cephalids, and the occasional grizzly bear. His ability could easily be a back-breaker, as people play Carrion Rats, Faceless Butchers, and other assorted black things.
Reborn Hero R, Creature – Soldier, 2W, 2/2 Attacking doesn’t cause Reborn Hero to tap. Threshold – When Reborn Hero is put into a graveyard from play, you may pay WW. If you do, return Reborn Hero to play under your control.
Wow, so this guy?s pretty good. Play him in a U/W Control deck with Fact or Fiction and other such cards, get to seven cards, and he never dies. You Wrath their stuff, he comes back; he blocks, he comes back; he?s Raged, he comes back; all assuming that you have WW available. In testing against March Blue/White, this and Compulsion were both backbreakers to decks with little spot removal.
Vengeful Dreams R, Instant , WW As an additional cost to play Vengeful Dreams, discard X cards from your hand. Remove X target attacking creatures from the game
All of these cards seem to crying, "Find me Squee, I need to be abused!" As it stands, for the low cost of WW and two lands in hand, you can remove Finkels, Mongers, and other assorted goodies from the game at a glance.
Ambassador Laquatus R, Creature – Merfolk Legend, 1UU, 1/3 3: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard
So they made a card more annoying than Millstone, but less annoying that Helm of Obedience. Unfortunately, it?s quite possible he will never see play with the speed of Standard right now. Control decks able to master the board early will be able to drop him and potentially mill someone to death.
Churning Eddy C, Sorcery, 3U Return target creature and target land to their owners’ hands.
Yeah, this thing is gonna be good in Limited. Pick up your Elephant and a land, pick up your Firecat and a land. Two for one seems like a good plan to me….
Circular Logic U, Instant, 2U Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each card in your graveyard. Madness U
I won?t expound needlessly on this card, but it could well be a Mana Leak for four to seven when used ? and if made to be discarded, it becomes even better, countering unless they pay X for U.
Compulsion U, Enchantment, 1U 1U, Discard a card from your hand: Draw a card. 1U, Sacrifice Compulsion: Draw a card.
Wow ? I?m already sick of this card. A friend of mine has this in a Blue/White control deck he is testing, and it?s quite the advantage to be able to chuck any card from your hand to search for a counter or threat. This is a fine card, and it should see play in any deck needing to cycle its hand in a hurry.
False Memories R, Instant, 1U Put the top seven cards of your library into your graveyard. At end of turn, remove seven cards in your graveyard from the game.
Ooooookay. It appears to be a crap rare at first glance, but this card is so full of tricks it?s crazy.
Put seven in your graveyard, then Living Death some of them, put seven in your graveyard and bring back the Squees put there, put seven in your graveyard then cast the Flashback cards you but there, put seven in your graveyard and reach threshold for a turn, put seven in your graveyard and then… Just use your imagination folks, this card has boundless potential that may never be unleashed.
Liquify C, Instant, 2U Counter target spell with converted mana cost 3 or less. If it’s countered this way, remove it from the game instead of putting it into its owner’s graveyard
Ouch. There go those Call of the Herds, those Shadowmage Infiltrators, those Wild Mongrels… I think I would play this above Circular Logic in most cases, since it has a devastating game effect and straight counters its target.
Obsessive Search C, Instant, U Draw a card. Madness U
Not bad; not the flexibility an Opt or Sleight of Hand would give you, but one card for one mana has been played before ? the fact you can draw after discarding it (to Verdict or Skullscorch, for example) makes it a little gem.
Plagiarize R, Instant, 3U Until end of turn, if target player would draw a card, instead that player skips that draw and you draw a card.
This is interesting… A friend (Leaf Boy) mentioned that this + Puzzle Box = you get seven cards for 3U, which is cool. Otherwise, most of the card drawing in Standard is done via Fact or Fiction or Phyrexian Arena, so this may stay on the shelf for a short while.
Cabal Ritual C, Instant, 1B Add BBB to your mana pool. Threshold – Instead add BBBBB to your mana pool.
Okay… So this is not Dark Ritual, but… It?s almost better once you have threshold. Either way, it can give you an extra mana on turn 2, fuel your Nantuko Shades, fuel your Death Grasp, or just plain let you cast more than you should. I?ll be trying them out for sure.
Carrion Rats C, Creature – Rat, B, 2/1 Whenever Carrion Rats attacks or blocks, any player may remove a card in his or her graveyard from the game. If a player does, Carrion Rats deals no combat damage this turn.
Wow… Where have we seen 2/1 for one before? This guy has two excellent abilities, he?s a Black Savannah Lions and he can force removal of your opponent?s resources ? and who doesn?t want to go turn 2, Cabal Ritual, 3 of these? I know I do! 🙂
Chainer, Dementia Master R, Creature – Minion Legend, 3BB, 3/3 All Nightmares get +1/+1. BBB, Pay 3 life: Put target creature card from a graveyard into play under your control. That creature is black and is a Nightmare in addition to its creature types. When Chainer, Dementia Master leaves play, remove all Nightmares from the game
All right… This guy is another of those cards with many tricks associated with him. You can Entomb then use him to recur your fatty, return your opponent?s creature into play from the graveyard if targeted… Oh, and he gives creatures brought back +1/+1.
Chainer’s Edict U, Sorcery, 1B Target player sacrifices a creature. Flashback 5BB
Diabolic Edict saw play ? will this? The difference in speed between an Instant and a Sorcery can be dramatic. It will be worth trying them, if only because many players tend to forget what resources their opponents have in the graveyard, and could be shocked to see themselves Edicted late. Good in a Black deck that wants to push its many smaller threats through big guys like Spiritmonger or Lynx.
Ichorid R, Creature – Horror, 3B, 3/1 Haste At end of turn, sacrifice Ichorid. At the beginning of your upkeep, if Ichorid is in your graveyard, you may remove a black creature card in your graveyard other than Ichorid from the game. If you do, return Ichorid to play
Well, I like him! Here?s another creature that will give Control players fits. Put into a deck with a fair amount of black swarm (Nantuko Shade, Faceless Butchers, etc) and this guy can come back quasi-perpetually. With Dawn of the Dead, it becomes a 3/1 haste for one life. No reason not to trade for them with Entomb and Buried Alive out there. 😉
Mesmeric Fiend C, Creature – Nightmare Horror, 1B, 1/1 When Mesmeric Fiend comes into play, target opponent reveals his or her hand and you choose a nonland card from it. Remove that card from the game. When Mesmeric Fiend leaves play, return the removed card to its owner’s hand.
Ravenous Rats or Mesmeric Fiend? These days, Ravenous Rats simply give your opponents too much of an advantage, with cards such as Call of the Herd and other assorted goodies out there. The important thing with the Fiends is that they do remove the card completely, so no using Yawgmoth?s Agenda or other recursive abilities while they are in play.
Mutilate R, Sorcery, 2BB All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control
I love this card, no more bad versions of Wrath for Black! Agreed, this may never kill a Mystic Enforcer, Spiritmonger, or anything larger than a 4/4… But it does give Black more options, and that?s never a bad thing. Interestingly enough, this also works with dual lands…
Nantuko Shade R, Creature – Insect Shade, BB, 2/1 B: Nantuko Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
Why oh why are these guys rare? The old pump knights were common and uncommon, to my recollection. Small quibble aside, these guys are quite the beating. Put them out, and every land becomes a temporary Bad Moon; ouch. Who knows? Maybe these little guys will show up in decks with Static Orb and start a new trend of black swarm.
Devastating Dreams R, Sorcery, RR As an additional cost to play Devastating Dreams, discard X cards at random from your hand. Each player sacrifices X lands. Devastating Dreams deals X damage to each creature.
Well, I like this card… Tectonic Break, Pyroclasm, and Earthquake all rolled into one ball. In standard, this and three cards should effectively clear the board and start the game over. A huge investment, to be sure… But Red is the colour of risks and quick fiery death. Again, in Extended with Squee, this card has virtually no drawback.
Grim Lavamancer R, Creature – Wizard, R, 1/1 R, T, Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Grim Lavamancer deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
The new Cursed Scroll? This guy needs to be removed in a hurry, or the damage from the previously useful Shocks, Rages, and other assorted goodies will begin to add up in a hurry. One of the best one-drops in long, long time.
Overmaster R, Sorcery, R The next instant or sorcery spell you play this turn can’t be countered by spells or abilities. Draw a card.
The new replacement for Chant in combo decks and Balancing Tings? Drawing a card is good, but only protecting one spell has its drawbacks… Excellent for pushing through that Ghitu Fire or Death Grasp…
Radiate R, Instant, 3RR Choose target instant or sorcery spell that targets only a single permanent or player. For each other permanent or player that spell could target, put a copy of the spell onto the stack. Each copy targets a different one of those permanents and players.
Kiddy rare of the set. Mirari, anyone? While this card can turn into a card-drawing engine with Fire/Ice, I?d rather be playing something that works on its own for five mana, like say, Spiritmonger or Rout.
Skullscorch R, Sorcery, RR Target player discards two cards at random from his or her hand unless that player has Skullscorch deal 4 damage to him or her.
So… They reprinted Hymn to Tourach, kinda, and made it rare! I see two scenarios forming with this card: A) People get paranoid about Skullscorch and play with more Madness or discard hosers, or B) People just take the 4, and then die to Rage or Elephants. Random discard = some good, I hear…
Sonic Seizure C, Instant, R As an additional cost to play Sonic Seizure, discard a card at random from your hand. Sonic Seizure deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
Three-for-one, eh? Like Lightning Bolt… To a degree. I plan on using these, since they interact very well with Madness cards ? and in casual or 1.x, again this is a card that benefits from Squee, there go the Shocks in my four casual Ernham-Burn?em deck. A sleeper card until people get over the drawback.
Basking Rootwalla C, Creature – Lizard, G, 1/1 1G: Basking Rootwalla gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn. Madness 0
Yup; gotta like these little critters. They?re on the small side, but they effectively double your army when you discard them with Wild Mongrel or other effects, and they can be pumped when necessary. A fine common.
Dwell on the Past U, Sorcery, G Target player shuffles up to four target cards from his or her graveyard into his or her library.
Not Gaea?s Blessing because this lacks the critical "Draw a card" text, but a way to renew resources in the late game. Get your Mystic Snakes, Rages, Deeds, and assorted goodies back, then draw and then re-use them.
Gurzigost R, Creature – Beast, 3GG, 6/8 At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Gurzigost unless you put two cards from your graveyard on the bottom of your library. GG, Discard a card from your hand: You may have Gurzigost deal its combat damage to defending player this turn as though it weren’t blocked.
Spiritmonger or him? Let?s see, Monger regenerates and switches colours and grows, this guy kills in about three turns, and recycles your brokens ? oh, and he nearly always damages your opponent. Worth trying out if for nothing but Wakefield value.
Insist R, Sorcery, G The next creature spell you play this turn can’t be countered by spells or abilities. Draw a card.
So… How many really dumb creatures are there that would love to go uncountered? Terravore, Spiritmonger, Mystic Enforcer… And they?ll have company, to be sure. Draws you a card, too ? not too shabby…
Nostalgic Dreams R, Sorcery, GG As an additional cost to play Nostalgic Dreams, discard X cards from your hand. Return X target cards from your graveyard to your hand. Remove Nostalgic Dreams from the game.
Wow, do I love this card. No, I mean it; I?m going to church on Saturday and marrying a foil one. Let?s see, all the cards in your hand become better, used, resources? Anyone remember how Recall cost UXX? Another call crying ? nay, screaming ? to have Squee thrown at it so you can get your Rages, Plows, Impulses, or other assorted goodies back into your hand. In Standard? Get your Mystic Snakes, Deeds, Rages, Call of the Herds, Wraths… Actually, anything you want. If this does not see play within the next two months, I?m starting Scrubs Anonymous. I want four. Now.
Cabal Coffers U, Land 2, T: Add B to your mana pool for each swamp you control.
Yup, it?s good. Not Academy good, but good enough to play one or two of in every deck. It essentially doubles your mana for a turn so assuming a turn 6 activation, you would get ten mana instead of 6….Any ideas on what to do with all that Black????
The Tainted lands
These are quite good, and even better for being uncommon. Good work, Wizards ? you?re getting better. No reason for a Black deck not to at least play with the Tainted Isle or Tainted Field, more options = better, and less pain = incredible.
I like Torment a lot. There are lots of "thinking man?s" cards, black got a lot of goodies, and there are cards for scrubs and pros alike. Make sure you all go to a prerelease, hear?
The Writer War and who YOU should vote for.
CCGprime.com?s Writer War is with us again, and I?m flattered to see I have made the roll with my often off-kilter musings. I?d like to thank Dan Rowland for the honour, the Ferrett for his patience, and all of you for reading.
I won?t use this space to push myself: Vote for the writer that moved you most, that helped you learn, or that made you angry. There are a lot more of us now than there were last year, and that?s a good thing. Try to give a nod to Star City?s writers; we really do care.
Wishing you all the best of luck at the Torment prerelease,