From Right Field: How to Get Ready for the Coming Onslaught, Part 1

Chris Romeo is back… And he’s WRITING FOR STARCITY AT LAST! (Well, after that brief dalliance with MagicCan, but we’ve forgiven him.) If you’ve never read Chris, all we can say is that his set review is more amusing than most. As witness:

Battlefield Medic

There’s a guy like this in every block. And in every block, I use him as a proxy for the really good cards until I can afford them.

Wow, I can’t believe another year has come and gone. We lost some old friends in the last year, people like Bob Hope and Tony Danza.

Wait a second – my lovely assistant Rebecca tells me that Bob Hope and Tony Danza are still alive. Are you sure? Um, okay. Well, I know that Beethoven and Rock Hudson are both dead.

But, with each new loss comes a new arrival. When one door closes, another opens. I am sure that there are other sayings for this kind of thing, but my Merriam-Webter CD-ROM with ClicheFinder just froze up. This is the time of year in the Magic community when we look back at the set that’s rotating out of Standard and forward to the one that’s about to be added. That means good-bye, Invasion block, and hello Onslaught!

I’ve never done anything like this; I always figured that there are enough people making bold and bad predictions about each new set (“Fires of Yavimaya is Fervor but harder to cast. No one uses Fervor. Why would anyone use this? Useless.”) that my voice isn’t needed. But others disagree; they think that I can bring a fresh, non-professional look at the set. You know, kinda thinking outside the bun. So, without further a-doo-doo,


I’m starting with white because that’s where the spoiler starts. If I were really creative, I’d do it alphabetically by color or in number order… Instead, I’m just going through the spoiler as it’s listed. The comments presume (not assume, presume) that you either have the spoiler or can look it up. I’m not wasting space copying the cards, too. The Ferrett would chew me a new one. (That sounds way more disgusting than it s – no wait, it is as disgusting as it sounds. – The Ferrett)


Akroma’s Blessing and Akroma’s Vengeance

I try not to play with cards whose names I can’t pronounce. I tend to sound silly when I announce the spell improperly. Then, I get flustered and make mistakes. This is why I usually like red and green. I can say”goblin” and”elf.” I have trouble with”Laquatus” and”cephalid.”

Ancestor’s Prophet

There is just nothing like getting five clerics on the board so that you can stall out the game. Now that’s what I call fun!

Astral Slide

Sounds too much like AstroGlide to me. Thoughts of Jelena Dokic would pop up, among other things – then I wouldn’t be able to play the rest of the day.

Aura Extraction

It’s got the word”aura” in it, so it must be a pathetic white card. Sure enough, the color that blows up artifacts and enchantments”real good,” as they say down here, gets a blue ability that allows the thing to come back. Great.


Why do I think of AUSTIN POWERS in GOLDMEMBER here? Also, it sounds like”oral fixation.” In other words, this is my kind of card. Plus, it allows me to make my opponent’s big ol’ beasties into big ol’ walls. And there is just nothing more fun than stalling out a Magic game with walls.

Aven Brigadier

Wow! Six mana for a 3/5 flier with a semi-useful ability?!? Where do I sign up? Probably at the same table where you register your pre-constructed Clerics deck.

Aven Soulgazer

This allows you to look at a facedown creature.”Well, what’s that you got there? Grinning Demon, huh? Well, crap. Good thing I have a cleric and an aven on the board, huh?”

Battlefield Medic

There’s a guy like this in every block. And in every block, I use him as a proxy for the really good cards until I can afford them.

Catapult Master

I like the fact that this uses the soldier ability without requiring that the target be attacking or defending. The bad news is that you have to have five soldiers on the board to have it work. If I can get five soldiers out, I’d like to think I could have them do something useful… Like, oh, I don’t know. They could maybe attack.

Catapult Squad

Oh, geez, not again.

Chain of Silence

When I saw this cycle of cards, I kept thinking of the old Aretha Franklin song”Chain of Fools.” The good news is that, in a duel, if your opponent uses the ability, it will cost him or her a land. The bad news is that it stinks if they don’t. And they probably won’t. ‘Cause you’re playing white. How scary can your guys be?

Circle of Solace

Okay, so it’s not Story Circle. If it was, it would be called”Story Circle.” The bad thing is that it’s inferior to regular Circles of Protection. (Because most creatures that share a type tend to share colors. But Circle of Solace doesn’t stop non-creature damage.) (In case you care.) The good thing is, um…

I’ll get back to you on that.

Convalescent Care

Another way for white to cash in on its inability to win games.”Oh, sure, I’m at four life now… But at the beginning of my upkeep, I’ll be at seven with an extra card! I’m sorry. Did you say Lightning Blast? Hey, good game.”

Crowd Favorites

If I pay seven for a white card with a name like this, I wanna see a whole stadium full of 1/1 or 2/2 dorks. I want to see six 2/2 soldiers. Or five 1/1 birds. I do not want to see this crap. This is Onslaught’s Aven Trooper. In draft, it’s a 16th pick… at best. Not even good enough for using as a proxy. The only possible redeeming quality might be, as with Aven Trooper, the artwork. We’ll have to wait and see, though.

Crown of Awe

It’s like Mask of Law and Grace, but with a nice little twist. Very useful in limited and against the goblin decks that will pop up.

Crude Rampart

Are you kidding me? I can pay 4W to morph a 2/2 creature into a 4/5 wall?!? Well, strip me naked, cover me in molasses, strap me to an anthill, and call me”Benji.”

Daru Cavalier

I didn’t use Howling Wolf in Mercadian Masques. So I sure won’t be using this.

Daru Healer

Wow – I can morph this into a more fragile creature whose ability can’t save it! Yuck.

Daru Lancer

Not bad if you can morph it at the right time. But if I ever hear that you cast this for it’s normal casting cost, I’m gonna have to slap you.

Daunting Defender

Have you ever noticed in Magic that, when a name of a card sounds tough or mean, it never is? It’s kinda like those women’s clothing stores that have”Classy” in the name. If the store is called”Classy Lady Boutique,” you can bet the clothes (and the women who shop there) are anything but classy. And Daunting Defender is anything but daunting.

Dawning Purist

I loved this guy as Soltari Visionary. Of course, back then, he had Shadow. As a regular 2/2, he bites.

Defensive Maneuvers

Yet another crappy white card that protects creatures without helping you change board position. Okay, so all of your blockers live to fight another day. Big deal. Your board position will probably not improve. How about instead, it gives all blocking creatures of the chosen type +4/+4 until the end of the turn? Would that be too much to ask? Clearly, the answer is”Yes, it would be too much to ask.”


So, let me get this straight: Green, the color of sorcery-timed artifact and enchantment destruction, gets a Disenchant (called Naturalize), while white gets Clear without cycling? Why not reprint Clear, then? At least let me cycle this dreck so that I can get to my Crowd Favorites or my Daunting Defenders. **sheesh**

Disciple of Grace

I’ll say about this now what I said when I first saw this card back in Urza’s Saga:”John, what does ‘Protection from Black’ mean?”

Dive Bomber

Too bad that your opponent won’t give a hoot about its meager ability.

Doubtless One

This guy could gain you a huge amount of life. Too bad that it has no evasion ability at all.

Exalted Angel

Now, here’s a morphing creature that I can hang with: All I gotta do is protect it that one turn, and I’m in business.

Foothill Guide

If he’s got Protection from Goblins, I’ll need him. We got a lot of those around my place.


Oh, goody – yet another overcosted white creature with a very overcosted ability. If both were more reasonable, well, then it wouldn’t suck, would it?

Glory Seeker

Do you know why Grizzly Bears are fairly good? First, they’re 2/2s for 1G. Second, they’re green, which has Giant Growth, Sylvan Might, Overrun, and so on, as ways to pump them up and make them formidable. When a Grizzly Bear is white, like Glory Seeker, it’s also known as”Cannon Fodder.”

Grassland Crusader

Yet another one that makes me throw up my arms and scream,”What the flock?!?” For six mana, I get a 2/4 with a less-than-marginal ability. I’d rather watch an Adam Sandler film festival.

Gravel Slinger

“Stop, or I’ll block and deal one damage to you!”

“Who cares? I’m a 3/3 elephant token. Die, you stupid, white dork.”

The Gustcloak Gang

When these guys were in Nemesis as Silkenfist Fighter and Silkenfist Order, they weren’t horrendous. That was because they untapped when blocked but weren’t removed from combat. With this new limitation, they are now officially horrendous.

Harsh Mercy

Every block has a watered-down Wrath effect. This card says,”Each player chooses a creature type. Destroy all creatures that aren’t of a type chosen this way. They can’t be regenerated.” What this really means is,”I’ll save all of my 1/1 birds, and you can save all of your 4/4, 5/5, 6/6, 6/5, and 10/10 beasts.”

You will, however, get all of the other guy’s elves. Yeah, that’s a good trade.

Improvised Armor

You know what sucks about creature enchantments? They give the opponent a chance at two-for-one card advantage.

You know what sucks about white creature enchantments? They usually go on white creatures.


Okay, finally white gets a decent trick. This will beef up a surprise blocker very nicely.

Ironfist Crusher

Remember what I said about impressive names? (See Daunting Defender, above.) This fits right in there. When I think of an Ironfist Crusher, I picture a 9/9 creature that doesn’t tap to attack and can be tapped to deal damage equal it to its power to something. Or an 8/7 trampler with haste. Instead, we get a 2/4 that can block as many creatures as you want. I am underjoyed.

Jareth, Leonine Titan

If you can find a way to untap him or to keep him from tapping while attacking, he’s a house. If not, you paid waaaayyy too much for a 4/x creature.


If there were a way to make Jareth a soldier, I’d love this. As is, it’s not bad at all. You can make white blocking dorks or create a nice little army. This will spawn a new blue / white creatureless control deck very soon.

Nova Cleric

If you’re old enough to remember the Chevy Nova, you’ll understand when I say that I want a Nova Cleric as much as I want a Chevy Nova.


Now, this is my kind of white card.”You’re gonna Dark Banish my Jareth? How about I play Oblation instead?”

“Boo-ya!” said the unfunky SportsCenter anchor.


Okay, so it’s not true removal. But, in the absence of good white removal, this is still as good as it always has been.

Pearlspear Courier


Piety Charm

Wow, charms. Wow.

Renewed Faith

Wow, lifegain. Wow.

Righteous Cause

Okay, I am intrigued by this one. Give me a nice army of dorks, and I can survive long enough to win.


It’s like Muzzle from Mercadian Masques, but it costs more, and it does less. What does it say about a card when it can be described as”an inferior Muzzle”?

Shared Triumph

Whoa, Momma, I like this one, too. It’s like a splashable Crusade based on creature type instead of color. Gimme gimme gimme!

Shieldmage Elder

I’d like to quote my idol Yosemite Sam here:”Rass a frass a brackin . . . .” Yet another good idea gone to waste by putting the ability on a creature that is way too expensive to cast.

Sigil of the New Dawn

All right! This is what white weenie decks have been waiting for. This is, in essence, a white Genesis: I want four. Of course, I wanted four Call of the Herd, four Shadowmage Infiltrator, and four Mirari. In three boxes of Odyssey, I pulled none. So, I don’t hold out any hope of getting these in any way other than by purchasing them from the wonderful folks at Star City. (Mr. The Ferrett, is that the kind of shameless plug you were talking about?) (Yes, and here’s your check – The Ferrett)

Sunfire Balm

A nice twist on cycling, but it still stinks.

True Believer

I guess someone read my piece on white weenies last year. This is a living Ivory Mask. I want four of these, also. (Mr. The Ferrett, please, add these to my order.)

Unified Strike

It’s like Exile, but even worse.

Weathered Wayfarer

Holy Tithe, Batman! Another great white weenie. Dagnabbit, I need four of these, too. I’m gonna have to write another piece to pay for all of this. Good thing we have four more colors, artifacts, and lands.


**whew** Thank goodness this is only an uncommon. I couldn’t afford four more rares.

Words of Worship

Excellent in a deck with lots of card drawing. Use blue with Treasure Trove for a great effect. Also, Solitary Confinement. A kill mechanism would be useful, too.

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Please, enjoy Menudo. I’m outta here.

COMING NEXT TIME: The good colors. And, for our European readers, the good colours.

Chris Romeo

[email protected]