Down And Dirty – Waltzing Around Worldwake

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Wednesday, February 3rd – With the Worldwake prerelease behind us, it’s time to examine the cards that made an impression last weekend. Kyle Sanchez takes a look at a selection of cool new spells that caught his eye, suggesting that the best card in the set may not be a certain planeswalker at all…

I love the juicy taste of taking that first bite into a ripe new set off the vine. The many different flavors mingle around my mouth, as chunks dance and produce a succulent aftertaste. The first bite is always the most eye-popping. The second gives you a good feeling whether or not you actually like the taste and want more of it. The third is pure enjoyment, as you think of all the different dishes to create with the newfound fruit. After walking up and down the spoiler a few times, my favorite card in the set so far probably isn’t one you’ve had on your radar…

Calcite Snapper
Creature – Turtle
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may switch Calcite Snapper’s power and toughness until end of turn.

I nicknamed him Leo since he’s a Blue turtle (ding!), and I have to say I’m quite fond of this guy. Four-powered Shroud creatures are very rare. Troll Ascetic was a defining creature, in regards to design, when it was printed in Mirrodin. He was a bit lackluster given there were far more broken things going on at the time, which happened again when it was reprinted in Tenth Edition, but this guy is better than Troll by a mile, and might be one of the best Blue creatures we’ve had to battle with in quite some time.

Its real value comes in the many different roles he can play for you. For one, he’s got a four butt that can’t be burned. Hellspark Elemental, Sprouting Thrinax, and Vampire Hexmage are in real trouble. On top of that, you have a rare-seen four power for three mana. Drop him on turn 2 via a Noble Hierarch and they are going to be in trouble if you’ve got a removal spell for their blocker and some lands to keep the beats coming. Too bad they had the damage off the stack change in M10, or this guy would essentially be a 4/4 Shroud. This is a creature that makes me want to play Blue.

In the control mirror, games may often come down to Snapper advantage, much like Sphinx of Jwar Isle provides a hard-to-handle threat. This guy is half the mana, and only one power away from being as big as Sphinx. That’s pretty huge, and I’d anticipate many mages moving to Leo in Standard. He probably doesn’t have the staying power for Extended, but honestly, I wouldn’t mind having this guy opposite Zoo. He’s got a hell of a lot of competition at the three slot.

Mysteries of the Deep
Draw two cards.
Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, draw three cards instead.

I didn’t really understand how good this card is until I played with it at the prerelease. Tapping out to draw three cards in Limited makes this card a very high pick, even given the aggressive nature of the format. In Constructed, this is the best three-for-one Blue’s got, right? If they printed Opportunity, I would find a way to play it, given the lack of true card advantage in modern Standard, and this card only costs one less and draws one less. I like it, and when you play it in an eight fetchland deck alongside Leo, you’ve got some pretty nice contributions to Blue from this set. We’ve got card advantage, a very solid creature, and it seems like Wizards is finally filling the gaping hole we Blue mages have had in our hearts for awhile.

Permafrost Trap
Instant – Trap
If an opponent had a green creature enter the battlefield under his or her control this turn, you may pay U rather than pay Permafrost Trap’s mana cost.
Tap up to two target creatures. Those creatures don’t untap during their controller’s next untap step.

This reminds me of Hibernation, for some reason. They cast Bloodbraid Elf into Sprouting Thrinax turn 4, you Trapmaker’s Snare for this bad boy when they move to combat… Sure, you’re only “gaining” nine life, but you’re also stopping them from playing defense. I don’t necessarily want to play a ton of this card, but I’m really talking about it to highlight how Trapmaker’s Snare has gained a little value, and will continue to gain value and utility when the next set comes out.

Nemesis Trap
Instant — Trap
If a white creature is attacking you, you may pay BB rather than pay Nemesis Trap’s mana cost.
Exile target creature, then put a token that is a copy of that creature onto the battlefield. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.

This is another type of card I’d like to have a one-of to tutor for whenever they attack me with a Baneslayer Angel, Knight of the Reliquary, or Rhox War Monk. This card can lead to some serious blowouts, and just the threat of having this card can scare people away from combat. Attack me with War Monk and Baneslayer? You fell for my Trap! Exile your Angel, block your War Monk, gain five, attack you on my turn, gain another five. Even at six mana, this card doesn’t seem so bad since you can take care of annoying cards like Sprouting Thrinax or deal with a Sphinx of the Steel Wind effectively. Traps are cool, and if you play enough of them people will often end up making mistakes when they try and play around them. It’s kind of disappointing that they only printed six Traps this set too, but at least we got a few potentially cool ones to work with. The White one, like Patrick said last week, is pretty unique because it can deal with Planeswalkers where Harm’s Way can’t, but I don’t see it being too practical since it’s still pretty narrow and uninspiring at four mana.

Abyssal Persecutor
Creature — Demon
Flying, trample
You can’t win the game and your opponents can’t lose the game.

I had this guy at the prerelease, and lived the dream when I mulliganed to five in game 3 in round 4. My opener was Persecutor, three lands (two Swamp), and a Journey to Nowhere! Four attacks with him later, and I simply cast Journey to win the game. In Limited it’s not so much that he’s a great attacker that’s so attractive; it’s very hard for them to attack into him. If they’ve got a bigger creature, you’ve got an easy out to get rid of him. If they don’t attack, you’ve got plenty of time to work up an aerial assault with the Black Snapping Drake and other Black fliers. Getting rid of him is a problem, but as long as you’ve got a few ways (I had Kalitas, Journey, and Iona’s Judgment and I felt pretty safe) to get rid of him, you’re golden, since there are very few ways to actually attack around him.

As for Standard purposes, I honestly don’t think his power/cost ratio is high enough to warrant him seeing play. We’ve got tons of high-power two- and three-mana creatures, and a four-drop, even as big as he is, just doesn’t seem worth the trouble. He does have a kind of mystique about him though, much like False Prophet; they don’t want to kill him, and might be tricked into playing a longer more drawn-out game because they are bad players and want to bank on me not having a way to overcome the drawback. That happened at the prerelease too. Who wants to kill a creature that stops YOU from losing the game and your opponent from winning anyway?

Join the Ranks
Put two 1/1 white Soldier Ally creature tokens onto the battlefield.

This card is awesome. I had two of ‘em at the prerelease, along with a Kazandu Blademaster and two Bojuka Brigand. That G/W Ally deck that many people attempted gains a huge boost with this in their roster. If you’ve got Honor of the Pure out, that’s four power at Instant speed too, giving the usually streamlined sorcery speed White decks a new kind of threat.

Chain Reaction
Chain Reaction deals X damage to each creature, where X is the number of creatures on the battlefield.

I saw this card used a few times, and I’m really not a fan. It will usually turn out being an expensive Firespout or very bad Pyroclasm. This will probably turn out to be one of those Red Rares you use to balance your coffee table, rest a fine brew upon, or throw at that squeaky annoying kid who rummages through all the leftover cards people leave after drafting.

Comet Storm
Multikicker 1 (You may pay an additional 1 any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Choose target creature or player, then choose another target creature or player for each time Comet Storm was kicked. Comet Storm then deals X damage to each of them.

This is another card that falls into that useless Red Rare pile along with Mindmoil, Worldheart Phoenix, and Relentless Assault. This card just doesn’t do it for me. It’s completely dead in the early game, and we’ve got better alternatives in the risk/reward column for the late game heroics. I don’t know why, but it feels like Red never gets any good rares, with the backbone of the color’s power rested on the popular efficient commons/uncommons at the time. You can say this about every color, but rares just look sticky when they have a Red border, right? That’s the best way to describe Comet Storm… It’s just sticky-looking, y’know?

It always feels like Green has really good rares too, right? Green rares always seem over the top, like they’re trying to make the color better through them. Take, for example, Joraga Warcaller, Harabaz Druid, and Omnath, Locus of Mana

Joraga Warcaller
Creature — Elf Warrior
Multikicker 1G (You may pay an additional 1G any number of times as you cast this spell.)
Joraga Warcaller enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Other Elf creatures you control get +1/+1 for each +1/+1 counter on Joraga Warcaller.

Harabaz Druid
Creature — Human Druid Ally
TAP: Add X mana of any one color to your mana pool, where X is the number of Allies you control.

Omnath, Locus of Mana
Legendary Creature — Elemental
Green mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as phases and steps end.
Omnath, Locus of Mana gets +1/+1 for each green mana in your mana pool.

Each of these make you scratch your head, thinking what could be…

I want to Ranger of Eos for Joraga, then multi-kick him up to a 3/3, then pump him again with Oran-Rief, the Vastwood.

I want to make a weird four-color Ally deck featuring Harabaz Druid, Join the Ranks, Kazuul Warlord, and all kinds of other Ally goodness, alongside a Naya Charm to tap them out before I swing in with a robust squad of relatives.

I want to tap a bunch of Green mana, have it stay in my freaking mana pool, and play this crappy three mana 1/1… Okay, maybe not, but Green also usually has the coolest made-up names in all the multiverse. Joraga, Harabaz, Omnath… I don’t know how to pronounce any of them, but names really aren’t important except to those sticklers who correct you when you say “Jitt-eee” instead of “Jitt-ay” or simply “Jit” for Umezawa’s Jitte.


Guardian Zendikon
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 2/6 white Wall creature with defender. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.

Wind Zendikon
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 2/2 blue Elemental creature with flying. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.

Corrupted Zendikon
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 3/3 black Ooze creature. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.

Crusher Zendikon
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 4/2 red Beast creature with trample. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.

Vastwood Zendikon
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant land
Enchanted land is a 6/4 green Elemental creature. It’s still a land.
When enchanted land is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner’s hand.

These are pretty hardcore! Except the Green one. It sucks. But the rest are each fairly powerful in their own right. The important thing is that each of these creatures has HASTE! The Red Zendikon is like a Giant Solifuge! The Blue one gives the color a reasonable shot at performing some type of Aggro Blue deck. The White one sucks about as much as the Green, but the Black one isn’t all that bad either since it’s a two mana 3/3 with Haste.

The design on these is really great. You have an Aura that doesn’t automatically get you two for one’d. The creature has Haste, you have landfall incentives if the creature is killed (since it returns it to your hand). All in all, these cards are eloquently designed and subtly powerful. I’m not sure any of them will see a large amount of play, since the creatures they produce are fairly marginal, but there might be something there for the Blue, Red, and Black ones.

Lodestone Golem
Artifact Creature — Golem
Nonartifact spells cost 1 more to cast.

Would it have hurt to make him a 5/4? This guy could have been a great creature that throws off their Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast by a turn, if he could just avoid stupid Lightning Bolt. He could have come out turn 3 with help from Etherium Sculptor. This guy could have had a nice role in some kind of Artificial Esper deck. If Master of Etherium is out, I suppose he gets around Lightning Bolt, so maybe a fatty that makes their entire deck a little worse is what the Esper decks needed to be competitive.

On top of that, the best card in the set is an artifact, and it’s not affiliated with any caravans that I’m aware of, as of yet.

Everflowing Chalice
Multikicker 2
Everflowing Chalice enters the battlefield with a charge counter on it for each time it was kicked.
TAP: Add 1 to your mana pool for each charge counter on Everflowing Chalice.

This is just what Standard needed. The real power in this card isn’t that it’s a two-mana Artifact that performs the Signet role, it’s how crazy things get when you’ve got this card late game, operating closer to a Big Mana Urzatron type deck than we’ve seen since its departure. The first Chalice will almost certainly be kicked once. The second one, however, can be kicked two or three times, and the fourth five or six times given you’ve got two other Chalices in play already. So what are you going to do with all this mana? Iona? Sphinx of the Steel Wind? Comet Storm! Who knows, but there is a huge potential to do some sick things with this card. We haven’t had a legitimate non-Green accelerant in awhile, and with this card we can now cast our Day of Judgment a turn earlier against those stupid Boros and Elf decks.

The coolest thing I saw at the prerelease was when someone used Dead Reckoning (Raise Dead plus damage to a creature) to return Death’s Shadow (B for a 13/13) to take out Pilgrim’s Eye. The poor little Thopter never saw that heap of damage coming his way. He was just thoptering around, minding his own artifice, when BOOM! Thirteen yah! There wasn’t even any debris to hold a Funeral Pyre

Thanks for reading…