From Right Field – Things Are Tough All Over

Read Chris Romeo every Thursday... at StarCityGames.com!
Chris Romeo takes a thoughtful stroll through the garden of Lorwyn, pointing out the cards and the combos that have recently piqued his interest. All the colors are trawled for hidden gems, and the flotsam is ritually derided in the signature Romeo style. Looking for the budget bombs in the coming Standard format? Chris has the article for you!

{From Right Field is a column for Magic players on a budget or players who don’t want to play netdecks. The decks are designed to let the budget-conscious player be competitive in local, Saturday tournaments. They are not decks that will qualify a player for The Pro Tour. As such, the decks written about in this column are, almost by necessity, rogue decks. The author tries to limit the number of non-land rares as a way to limit the cost of the decks. When they do contain rares, those cards will either be cheap rares or staples of which new players should be trying to collect a set of four, such as Sulfurous Springs, Birds of Paradise, or Wrath of God. The decks are also tested by the author, who isn’t very good at playing Magic. He will never claim that a deck has an 85% winning percentage against the entire field. He will also let you know when the decks are just plain lousy. Readers should never consider these decks “set in stone” or “done.” If you think you can change some cards to make them better, well, you probably can, and the author encourages you to do so.}

This may be the hardest column I’ve ever done. When I say that, I don’t mean in the existential, psychobabble, “I still can’t talk about my kidnapping at the hands of Jawas” hard. I mean it was actually physically exhausting, in a one-legged-man-riding-a-bike way. You see, apparently, I’m still not close to done with this disease, which, by the way, the doctor is now calling Meniere’s Disease but with a component of a migraine, the component that messes with brainwave function specifically as it affects processing of information from the cochlea or inner ear. I still get dizzy when I read too much. Dizziness makes me nauseated. It takes a lot of reading to do a set review. This is a set review… of sorts. Therefore, I had to start and stop a lot, dealing with nausea many times. In other words, this column was painful for me to do. Which I guess makes me an artiste, since I am suffering for my writing. I hope you appreciate what I do here.

Two “set reviews” ago – I put that in quotation marks because I don’t feel that what I do is quite the same as what some of the more “serious” guys do – I was criticized by some folks for not really taking a stand on the cards. I had too much “It might be great if this happens, but it could also stink because this other thing might be true.” What’s funny in a funny-haha, not funny-strange, way is that so many people in my life will accuse me of seeing the world in black and white while the complaint about that set review was really one of my ability to see many facets (i.e. the gray or the grey) of a situation.

(Of course, I also dispute the whole black-and-white thing in the rest of my life, too. At work, for example, that kind of negative label is used by supervisors to shame people into making different decisions. “Romeo, you see everything in black and white.” No, silly person making twice as much as me, I see all the shades of gray, too. But, in the end, a decision had to be made. When the answer is either “yes” or “no,” well, you’re actually pretty shortsighted and not very intelligent to think that means that I only see things in black and white. The fact that I came to a different justifiable conclusion than you did and picked “yes” when you would have picked “no” doesn’t mean that I don’t see the complexities of the issue any more than it means that you don’t see them. It simply means that we were presented with only two options. Sometimes – and here comes a mind-blowing realization of the world’s grayness – life gives you a veritable Benetton rainbow of options. Other times, you get two or fewer options.)

So, in my own “special” way, I “corrected” the “problem” in my next set review and showed the world that I could pick sides on cards. Every card I reviewed got either a one or a ten on a scale from one to ten. That, of course, didn’t sit well with the people who wanted to see more depth in the review. Of course, those folks also missed the point. If you read the reviews of the cards, there was quite a bit of gray in there. Only the final number assigned was black or white. Oh, well.

For Lorwyn, then, I decided to just please myself. I figure that I am a boring enough, Everyman kind of Magic player that, if I do what I like, more people will like it than don’t. I could be wrong. Oh, dagnabbit, there I go with that black-and-white thing again. Anyway, I’m only going to look at the cards that interest me. I’m not reading any other set reviews before I do this, and I’m not considering what the card’s initial (or later) value or cost might be on the secondary market. I’m just looking at cards that tickle my fancy (void in Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina). If I hit on a card that might initially be out of the budget player’s budget the way that, say, Damnation was a twenty-dollar card before it ever hit the shelves, and you think it’s a card that you should have, well, that’s what budgets and budgeting are for. If you don’t see a card on here, that either means that (a) I didn’t think the card was going to be good for the purposes of this column, (b) I couldn’t find anything entertaining to say about the card, or (c) I just didn’t like it. Hey! Three options. I guess those would be black, white, and gray, huh?

By the way, I’ve had people ask me what we mean when we say “the secondary market” in Magic columns. That simply means that buying single cards is not the way that the cards originally get into the hands of the end consumers. The primary market for Magic cards is the dealer network and other stores that sell packs. Wizards of the Coast doesn’t sell individual cards. They sell packs of cards. Usually, they group those packs into boxes and the boxes into cases, but the unit of sale to the end consumer is packs of random cards. Wizards of the Coast originates the packs, selling them to stores who sell the packs to us. Sometimes, Wizards will sell the packs to distributors who will sell them to stores who sell them to us. While the cards are in packs and still traveling in the wholesale and retail market, they are in the primary market. Once the packs are opened and people start selling individual cards, we’re into the secondary market. Yes, even if the entity selling the individual cards is one like StarCityGames.com, which bought the packs directly from Wizards. That’s because the cards primarily (i.e. originally) come in packs. Secondarily, the packs are opened, and individual cards are sold. In other words, when Wizards sells cards in packs to StarCityGames.com for them to sell, that’s the primary market. When Pete has Ben and his crew open hundreds of thousands of packs so that they can sell individual cards or sets of cards to you through this here site here, we’re into the secondary market.


Arbiter of Knollridge – I see this guy being a nice trick in White’s arsenal, especially against very offensive decks. You can sit back, build up your army, take some hits, and then drop this guy. Your life total pops back up to eighteen or nineteen or twenty along with you opponent. Many decks (think: Red) can’t handle an opponent resetting the game to turn 1, especially when that opponent has a lot of creatures on the table. Will many folks disagree with my assessment? Of course, they will. This guy’s strength depends on you being at a much lower life total than your opponent, and he costs seven mana. However, it can be useful. Also, in multiplayer games, this guy will rock.

Austere Command – Almost every block has its own version of Wrath of God. Typically, they all suffer by comparison. Wrath costs four mana and wipes out all creatures, no questions asked. (Stuffy Doll need not respond.) The pretenders cost more and have some sort of condition. Akroma’s Vengeance allowed creatures to regenerate. Not surprisingly, I like almost every single one. In fact, I can’t think of one off the top of my head that I didn’t. This is no exception. You get the privilege of sculpting your Wrath as you choose for the mere cost of two more mana. Currently at two bucks a pop, Austere Command is a card budget players should snap up now.

Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile – A lot of people will see that she’s a 2/3 for four mana and dismiss her. These people see the world in black and white. Her ability means that she can take down an X/4 creature when she’s on defense and not suffer one scratch. If you can give her Vigilance, she can do the same on offense. Moreover, she wipes out most token armies. (Dragon Roost r00lz!) I like her spunk.

Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender – Other than the two Acolytes from Invasion, the non-rare White creatures that help you against Black and Red have mostly been a disappointment. I tried to figure out why, and I realized that it was the cost. Two or three mana is probably too much for a small creature with an ability like this. However, on a one-mana dude, it’s pretty good. He can swing for a few points of damage, hold off the beefy Red guys in the midgame, and save you from a Dragon once at the end of the game, giving you enough time to win. The fact that his ability costs zero mana to activate is what tips the scales in his favor.

Cenn’s Heir – We get it. Race matters. So, why not a race that White cares about outside of this block? I know. That’s the Kitchen Table player in me, but he’s still there. And he sees, as usual, other colors getting to play in the big game while White once again hands out the water bottles. Red cares about Goblins as far back as I can remember, and Lorwyn cares about Goblins, too. Ditto for Green and Elves and Blue and Merfolk. Yes, Black got hosed re: Zombies, but Zombies has been getting solid stuff to add to Zombie decks in almost every set since Onslaught hit the scene. Skipping one set isn’t gonna stop that Tribe. Oh, well. I guess we have to hope that the Kithkin stick around for a while. *sigh*

Cloudgoat Ranger – I’m a good enough Magic player to know that a 3/3 for five mana sucks. However, a 3/3 for five mana that brings along three other creatures with it and can use those three creatures to turn itself into a 5/3 flier is pretty sweet.

Crib Swap – This card actually got named accidentally when an e-mail for an MTV producer was sent to Wizards by mistake. Crib Swap was actually supposed to be the name of the new reality show from the producers of Wife Swap and Cribs. The hook was that two guys with overly extravagant homes and super-hot wives would swap homes and wives. X-rated craziness would ensue. Interestingly, the MTV show is now being called Kithkin Creature Theft and isn’t expected to last more than a few episodes, regardless of the fact model-wives are expected to be half-naked or better in nearly every scene on the show.

Dawnfluke – What can you say about a four-mana creature that’s a 0/3 with Healing Salve attached to it or can be a Healing Salve alone for just one mana? Actually, I guess that pretty much says it all.

Entangling Trap – I thought about this one a while. In fact, I was in the john. On the one hand, this card is very narrow. You have to be clashing, and the other guy has to have a creature that you want tapped. On the other hand, the effect is free to use, a la Astral Slide. Do I think this will be as good as Astral Slide? Probably not, but that depends on how good Clashing ends up being and how many cards let us Clash. Still, you can’t just dismiss this card’s effect.

Galepowder Mage – As a 3/3 flier for four mana, this guy will be hot in Limited and not bad (but not awesome) in Constructed. That triggered ability, though, makes me drool. It can be used offensively, as in removing a potential blocker, or defensively, to save one of your guys. You can even mix it with your own guys who have nice comes-into-play effects for even more fun. Budget players, get four of this.

Goldmeadow Harrier – I’ve always liked for my White Weenie decks to have some way to tap down whatever is worst on the other side of the board. Usually, it was Master Decoy, although sometimes I’d use whatever was available at that time, like Benalish Trapper. I never thought anyone could truly replace Master Decoy, though, what with the fine Phil Foglio art and all. This one might be my favorite because it costs only one mana.

Hillcomber Giant – Wow. A White creature with Mountainwalk. For some reason, I think that will be relevant for the next two years.

Hoofprints of the Stag – This is going to give control decks yet another tool to abuse. They’re going to be drawing cards anyway, at least one per turn, if I remember the rules. Might as well crank up the advantage engine by turning the act of drawing cards into creatures. I guess they added the “[p]lay this ability only during your turn” clause to keep the thing in check. If you could make the dudes at the end of the other guy’s turn, well, that would be silly.

Kinsbaile Balloonist – While the cost for this is a little steep for my tastes – just a little – the triggered ability could make it quite the card. Obviously, you want to give flying to a big creature that normally sits on the ground, say a 4/4 for four mana kind of guy.

Kithkin Greatheart – While his base stats tell you that Kithkin Greatheart is a 2/1 for two mana, what you really have in this guy is a 3/2 first striker for two mana. Your goal, obviously, is to get this guy out on turn 2 and a Giant on turn 3. You could use Favor of the Mighty (ugh), but I’d prefer to see Blind-Spot Giant or Jotun Owl Keeper. That gives you a 3/2 first striker swinging on turn 3. Nice.

Kithkin Harbinger – I want to like this guy. It hurts me that I don’t. Again, I don’t know whether the Kithkin will be worth caring about. Even if they were, though, is a 1/3 for three mana with that ability going to cut it? That all depends on what he can get to put on top of your library. Right now, I don’t see anything that makes my panties bunch. If it put it into my hand – and when I say “it,” I mean the card, not my panties – I would surely like this much more.

Knight of Meadowgrain – I’ve been impressed with each of the two-mana-of-the-same-color Knights over the past few years. They’re efficient, and they pack some impressive abilities into those 2/2 frames. This one is no exception. White Weenies’ cups continue to runneth over.

Militia’s Pride – Again, we have an Enchantment that does nothing on its own. Usually, that’s not a good thing. If you don’t meet the other conditions, well, the card’s pretty much wasted. Fortunately, the only condition you really need to meet to use this one is to have an attacking creature, and you’re hoping to do that anyway. Besides, once this gets going, you’ll be large and in charge for two reasons. First, the ability on Militia’s Pride is not redundant. That means that with, say, two of them in play, each one triggers. So, one attacking creature can bring along two friends, one for each Militia’s Pride. Second, and I hope I’m not wrong on the way the rules work here, this thing triggers for each attacking creature. In other words, four attackers will allow you to get four tokens for each Militia’s Pride you have in play (presuming you have the mana to pay). That’s just too good to ignore.

Mirror Entity – The good news is that this guy can turn your army of 1/1 and 2/2 weenies into 4/4 or 5/5 or 8/8 monsters. The bad news is, well, I can’t think of any.

Oblivion Ring – Potentially broken. Thank gawd it’s a common. I can’t afford another ten-dollar card that I just absolutely gotta have.

Pollen Lullaby – Overcosted Fog? Maybe, but I doubt it. You see, White has a lot of first strikers. What this allows you to do is have your guys get in their first strike damage, kill a couple of dudes, and then prevent all of the other combat damage. So, you kill off some Elves and neuter Tarmogoyf. Of course, Fog could do that. Fog, however, didn’t leave the opposing survivors tapped. That’s how this card is going to help White Weenie decks win.

Purity – Against some decks, this is merely a 6/6 flier for six mana. Against other decks, they will spend too much of their time trying to get rid of her so that they can burn you out, and you’ll win in the meantime. Wait. Did I just say “merely a 6/6 flier for six mana”…? Isn’t that actually pretty good?

Summon the School – Snakes has Sosuke’s Summons a couple of years ago, and I hear that was pretty good.

Thoughtweft Trio – This card is so good that even the downside, Championing a Kithkin, is probably a boon.

Triclopean Sight – In Limited, this will be a trick you shouldn’t pass up. In Standard, it’s a trick that White Weenie decks are going to want to work in. It’s cheap, it has Flash, and you can save your guy while offing an opponent’s guy. Oh, and it’s an Aura, so it stays around. Nice.

Veteran of the Depths – It doesn’t take long for this guy to become fairly large. The problem is that he costs too much to start with. If you have Glorious Anthem in play, he’s a bit harder to deal with, but the fact that he starts out as a 2/2 for four mana should scare you off. Don’t be taken in by this guy’s upside. The downside is too great.

Wizened Cenn – Sweetness! The Kithkin Lord is an uncommon. Maybe Kithkin will be worth playing after all…


Aethersnipe – This is one of those cards that I want to be good. It’s versatile. That Evoke cost is only one more mana than Boomerang. Of course, it can’t hit lands. If you cast it, though, you get a 4/4 body along with your nonland Boomerang. Yet, I can’t call it very good because, well, its Evoke cost is one more mana than Boomerang, and Blue doesn’t usually want to spend six mana for a 4/4, even if it can bounce something. Or I could be completely wrong.

Aquitect’s Will – I love thus card. It cycles for one mana. Of course, you have to have a Merfolk for it to do that, but you’ll only play it with Merfolk. Moreover, you turn a Forest into a Breeding Pool or a Swamp into a Watery Grave. What’s not to love?

Benthicore – Another huge guy that brings friends with him. You gotta love that he can give himself Shroud because, with that body, he will be a target for all sorts of shenanigans.

Broken Ambitions – I don’t like a lot of the Clash cards. To maximize your chances of winning, you have to be playing some pretty expensive stuff. Not always good. However, this Clash card is hot. You get to counter a spell, and see one of his cards. Sure, you always get to see a card when you Clash, but control decks can use this information better than most.

Cryptic Command – What can I say about this that Mike Flores hasn’t already said? “Nice art.” Oh, he said that, too? Dang.

Deeptread Merrow – Maybe I give Mono-Blue Control decks too much credit, but I always fear them. In the mirror match, this guy could be the game breaker. He hits early, and he is essentially unblockable, just what you want.

Faerie Trickery – Great. Mono-Blue Control gets another Cancel. Yeah, right. It has that “non-Faerie spell” drawback. How often do you think that’s gonna hurt this spell? Moreover, it has an advantage over Cancel: the countered card is removed from the game.

Fallowsage – Aaaggggghhhhhh! Again with Blue getting a card that is infinitely better than White’s in a cycle. White’s gets a little bit bigger while Blue’s generates card advantage? How is that fair?

Familiar’s Ruse – Why does Blue have to have so many good counterspells in each block? Yeah, I know that you’re probably never going to get this to work just like Counterspell because that would mean dropping Flying Men on turn 1. Whatever.

Fathom Trawl – I’m tempted to end my review of Blue right now. This card is like Fact or Fiction except that you get to keep all three cards you flip over and it’s not an Instant. Heck, you might even get deeper into your deck than FoF allows. Sheesh.

Glen Elendra Pranksters – So, these guys really read “Counter target spell and bounce an opponent’s creature,” right?

Guile – Gee, I thought’s White’s card in this cycle (Purity) was pretty good until I saw this. At least Guile doesn’t fly, too.

Jace Beleren – I know that Ms. Vess is the hot Planeswalker, but I expect to see this guy make a surprisingly strong showing at States as decking someone is now a viable strategy.

Merrow Commerce – Gee, I don’t see how untapping all of your Merfolk at the end of your turn could be a good thing, what with cards that allow you to tap Merfolk to draw cards and stuff.

Merrow Reejerey – Wow. You can now play with eight Lord of Atlantises, four of which will give your guys Islandwalk along with that +1/+1 and four which will help you control the board just for playing Merfolk spells. Even better, I think this one must be Italian.

Mistbind Clique – Oh. My. Gawd. Is this guy awesome? For four mana, you get a 4/4 flier that you can play with Instant timing. The “drawback,” of course, isn’t because you’ll use it to bring back a Faerie with some comes-into-play ability. Since you can drop this at the end of an opponent’s turn, they will be tapped out for whatever you want to do on your turn. Whoa.

Ponder – Finally, an answer to the question “What if Index was a good card?”

Scion of Oona – Uh-oh. I think this Lord is awesome, what with Shroud and all. Of course, I thought Kira would be used much more than it was, too. Still, if you want to try to build a Blue Weenie/Blue Skies Redux deck, you need four of these.

Streambed Aquitects – More juice for the fish people, please.

Wanderwine Prophets – It says “take an extra turn[.]” Therefore, it will be broken.

Wings of Velis Vale – I love options and flexibility. This card first appears to be a way to make your 1/1 Faeries and Merfolk into much more fearsome forces. You know what else it can do, though? It can make a 6/7 Tarmogoyf into a 4/4, done after the ground guys have blocked, of course. It can also bring a 6/6 Dragon down to size. That’s nice.


Boggart Birth Rite – Remember, not all Goblin cards are creature cards anymore.

Boggart Mob – Five-power Goblins for four mana are a real problem for opponents. When those Goblins are Black and make more Goblins by dealing combat damage, they’re just nasty.

Cairn Wanderers – If you set this guy up right with lots of card selection and self-milling, he’s going to be a freak. If not, he’s just an overcosted creature.

DreadThe Ferrett already wrote about this, and he was right. The card is also good in regular ol’ one-on-one matches.

Eyeblight’s Ending – Like Rend Flesh before it, Eyeblight’s Ending might not be as good in Block play as in Standard because you might see a higher percentage of Elves in block play due to Wizards pushing the Tribal thing. That means that this could be a creature destruction spell with almost no drawback in Standard, a la Chill to the Bone.

Fodder Launch – And I thought Goblin Grenade was good.

Footbottom Feast – What a disgustingly great name. Yummy. “What’s on the bottom of your feet? I’ll have that on wheat, toasted.” At worst, this gets you back the creature card that you want with Instant timing. It could also be a way to set up some incredible tricks, and I’m not just talking about Clashing, either.

Hoarder’s Greed – This is kind of expensive… unless you win one or more Clashes. Then, it’s great.

Knucklebone Witch – Goblins die. They fling themselves, a la Mogg Fanatic. They like being speedbumps. (See Festering Goblin.) Other times, they just have to give themselves up to the cause, like pumping up a Nantuko Husk. Knucklebone Witch takes huge advantage of that and at the right cost: one mana.

Liliana Vess – I don’t think I can add anything to the discussion on this hottie. Just use her and/or be prepared to face her.

Mad Auntie – I simply can’t wait to make a B/R Goblin deck with eight Goblin Lords. Like many of my nights in the French Quarter, I expect lots of nasty fun.

Makeshift Mannequin – Even with that “Skulking” drawback, Makeshift Mannequin still means that you can reanimate stuff Instantly. St00p!d.

Marsh Flitter – I can’t say that this will have a great shot in Standard because it says that sacrificing a Goblin makes this guy a 3/3, not that it gives +3/+3. Still, he’s gonna like playing with Festering Goblin.

Nettlevine Blight – Black land destruction might be a decent way to go come October 20th.

Nightshade Stinger – Nice to see that White’s the color of the best flying weenies. Of course, I love this guy. Anything to get the Black damage race going more quickly is fine with me.

Peppersmoke – You know what I just realized? I think they didn’t word this cycle the way they really wanted to. This doesn’t say “if you control a Faerie creature” or “if you control a Faerie permanent.” It says “if you control a Faerie.” Period. Well, that comes in the middle of an instruction that only gets obeyed while this spell is resolving. Since this is a Faerie, while it’s resolving, I do control a Faerie; I control Peppersmoke. So, you will always draw a card with this cycle unless someone changes the type of the spell before it resolves. Or, I’m completely wrong. Jeff? (My friend Jeff, a judge, says, yup, this is correct.) Now, I could be wrong. Maybe they want this cycle to do this. I doubt it though. They just reprinted Afflict in Tenth. If this is really what they wanted Peppersmoke to do, then Afflict does what Peppersmoke does at three times the cost. Would they really do that? [Hmmm… Craig, unconvinced.]

Profane Command – Let’s just say I’ve already pre-ordered four of these. “Options, people. Give me options!” These are all superior options.

Prowess of the Fair – What a fantastic design. Black likes sacrificing its stuff, and this rewards that. Beautiful.

Scarred Vinebreeder – Plays very well with Prowess of the Fair.

Thoughtseize – Is this the new Duress? Looks like it to me. Why does it have to be rare, then?

Weed Strangle – While this is expensive, it has zero drawback. It hits Black creatures. It hits Spirits. It hits Elves. You may consider the fact that it doesn’t say “can’t be regenerated” to be a drawback, but that’s just because Terror and Dark Banishing have spoiled you.


Adder-Staff Boggart – I applaud the designers and developers for taking chances and trying new things. However, one of the abilities that any good creator needs is the ability to know when to say to himself or herself “Well, this just stinks.” For example, recent manuscripts show that Beethoven actually wrote the melody line for “Rockstar,” but he chucked it because he knew it just wasn’t any good. While Clashing is a fine idea, its use on some cards puzzles me. For example, Clashing means that Adder-Staff Boggart is potentially a 3/2 Goblin with no drawbacks for only two mana. The problem is that Goblins tend to be best used in decks that don’t pack very expensive spells. While you could win your Clash when you opponent flips over a land, you’re not going to maximize your chances to do that in a Goblin deck.

Blades of Velis Vel – This is the kind of trick that Red Weenie decks like Goblins will just eat up. For two mana, you potentially have an extra four damage for your opponent.

Boggart Shenanigans – A lot has already been written about this card, but I still want to say that Lightning Rift was dismissed at first, too. That is all.

Chandra Nalaar – Just ridiculous. In three turns, you can deal a total of twelve damage to your opponent and ten to each of his creatures. Someone, please, send me four of these.

Changeling Berserker – Chances are you’ll be playing this in a deck with a lot of other creatures. In other words, there’s very little chance that this you’re not getting a 5/3 with Haste for four mana out of this guy. Sweetness.

Flamekin Bladewhirl – We’ve been waiting for years for “the new Jackal Pup,” and mostly they’ve been miserable failures. Scarred Puma, anyone? This guy is so very not a miserable failure. The only problem might be finding Elementals that you actually want to play so that you can have one in your hand on turn 1.

Flamekin Brawler, Flamekin Harbinger, Flamekin Spitfire – Like maybe one of these guys.

Goatnapper – You have got to be kidding me. We complained about Steamflogger Boss clogging up our rare slot, and they think that putting this thing at uncommon will be better? The first problem with this thing is the fact that it only takes Goats. How very Unglued/Unhinged of you. Goats? In all of Magic, there have only been two Goats, Mountain Goat and the Three Kingdoms card Zodiac Goat. Sure, if you call them up in Gatherer right now, you’ll see four more Goats but only because Wizards felt guilty about foisting this on us. So, they went back and added “Goat” to the creature type of four Beasts that had pictures of animals with horns. Gosh, I hope you’re lucky – yes, I said “lucky” – enough to face someone playing with Battering Craghorn in your next Legacy match. So, Goatnapper is essentially useless as far as its triggered ability is concerned. Knowing this, Wizards folks, couldn’t you just maybe have made this a two-mana creature? I nominate this for Least Playable Creature of All Time. Talk amongst yourselves in the forum. [Changelings are Goats too… just sayin’. — Craig, amused.]

Hearthcage Giant – Yes, he’s very expensive. He can’t be considered “too expensive,” though, because he brings a total of eleven power to the table for eight mana.

Hostility – The word “wow” keeps coming up in this review. I think that means that the R&D folks done some good. For example, Hostility. Obviously, you’re gonna pack some direct damage in your Red decks. This guy triples the fun those spells can help you have. Wow.

Lash Out – Now, this is a great Clash card because there’s no downside. For two mana, you can deal three damage at Instant timing to a creature. Of course, now that Incinerate is back, you may not think that’s very good. You’d be wrong, though. The fact that you might also deal damage to your opponent is just a nice bonus.

Mudbutton Torchrunner – I like this guy. I know that his base stats aren’t very good. No one wants to play a 1/1 for three mana. Now, if it has some big upside, well, then you might. This guy is a huge rattlesnake. Opponents aren’t just going to help you off this guy if they have someone that they don’t want to lose or they can’t afford to take the damage themselves. Use him.

Nova Chaser – Really? Really? Really?!? Wow.

Soulbright Flamekin – That’s right. For an investment of six mana, you get eight Red mana. There has to be something you can do with that. Like Hearthcage Giant.

Tar Pitcher – Goblins giving it up for the team. Classic.

Thundercloud Shaman – This could make Giants a viable Tribe. After all, Thundercloud Shaman can potentially be a one-sided Wrath of God. Who wouldn’t like that?

Wild Ricochet – What a great package of Red tricks. It’s Shunt. It’s, um, that copy spell. It’s Wild Ricochet!


Battlewand Oak – Normally, I’m not a huge fan of creatures with bad base stats that need certain conditions to make them bigger and better, especially when the “bigger and better” only lasts until the end of the turn. This guy, though, is the exception because it’s just too easy to make those conditions happen. Besides, the payoff isn’t just +1/+1. This guy gets big fast. Think about this. You drop him on turn 2 with the help of Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, or even Boreal Druid. Whatever. On turn 3, you play a Forest and a Treefolk. That means on turn 3, you can swing with a 5/7. Take that, Mr. T-Goyf!

Bog-Strider Ash – What a great sideboard card against Goblins. Those Red Weenie decks work hard for every life point they take from you. If you can gain life back just for them playing Goblin spells, your game is going to be much easier.

Changeling Titan – So, I can get a 7/7 on turn 3 (with mana acceleration, of course)? Sign me up.

Dauntless Dourbark – Great name, by the way. If I ever had a kid, that would have been his name. Anyway, this is another of those types of creatures that doesn’t normally impress me, the one with nothing but asterisks for power and toughness. Sometimes, yes, those can be hot. Tarmogoyf is so good not because he has little stars but because he’s so cheap and has little stars. Make the T-Goyf a four-mana critter, and he’s not so good. Partly, though, that’s because his power and toughness will max out. There are a finite number of cards types. Double-D, though, doesn’t have that problem. Every Forest you have makes him permanently bigger. Ditto for Treefolk. It’s the fact that two things pump him up that make him worth the mana.

Elvish Branchbender – I remember Nate Heiss going undefeated a few years ago at the Ohio Regionals with an Elf deck that was just ridiculous beyond belief. It’s always impressive when you can go undefeated at a big tourney, but this was more special than normal. First off, Ohio’s Regionals was supremely huge at the time. I believe it was eleven rounds, and Nate went 10-1. (I think this was the last year before they created more Regions as a way to relieve overcrowding from Regionals.) Second, it was an Elf deck. It could just do some stupid things. This could be one of those new stupid things.

Elvish Handservant – I see this guy causing much trouble, mostly because opponents will discount it until it’s too late.

Epic Proportions – I’d like to point out that the picture on this one has a huge, raging goat. I do so very much hope that that means that Goats will be a big, bad Tribe in the next set. Oooooo, can you, please, make a card called Ram Tough?

Eyes of the Wisent – “Counter this, beeyatch! Oh, you did? Crud.” Cards like Eyes of the Wisent look like great ideas, but you can tell that the Wizards folks don’t really and truly want to help you defeat Blue decks. If they did, this would only cost one mana. Then you could get it into play on turn 1 before they could use any countermagic. Simply by making this cost one more mana, they allow Blue decks to continue to have the upper hand. “Oh, Romeo. You just want a surefire way to hose Blue decks.” Yes and no. Of course, I’d like that. However, what I’d like to have seen in this card is not “surefire” at all. First off, even at one mana, you’d have to have it in your opening hand to make sure you slip it in under countermagic. Second, it’s not like this card stops them from countering spells. It just makes sure that you’re still rewarded for your effort. You wanna see a real Blue hoser? Check out Leyline of Lifeforce. Free to play before the game even starts. Creature spells can’t be countered. Wow. Oh, well. Better luck next time, Wizards.

Fistful of Force – I wanted to make a Chuck Norris joke, but all I could think of was “Chuck Norris’ fists defy the laws of physics in this and several other dimensions.”

Immaculate Magistrate – I think Nate would like to see you use this card in an Elf deck.

Jagged-Scar ArchersForget this guy’s activated ability for a moment. This guy could easily hit the ground on turn 3 as a 4/4. A 4/4 for three mana and no drawback? Sign me up now. Oh, right, the ability’s pretty good, too.

Kithkin Mourncaller – What I like about the design of this one is that the dying creature draws you a card not just if it dies to combat damage but if it dies during your combat phase after it’s been declared as an attacker. So, if you swing with it and then it gets burned out, Terror-ized, or even sacrificed, you get to draw a card.

Masked Admirers – You probably don’t really need me to tell you how good this is, but I have a job to do. It’s “totally awesome… to the max.”

Vigor – If your opponent doesn’t have a way to kill off this guy the same turn it hits, there’s gonna be a new sheriff in town.

Wren’s Run Vanquisher – A 3/3 Elf for two mana? Four, please.


Brion Stoutarm – I’ve always like that cannon fodder effect. Or Fodder Cannon, if you prefer. Creatures are going to die. They might as well do something beneficial as they leave. The fact that this guy is also a 4/4 for four mana and has Lifelink makes him a truly great creature.

Horde of Notions – I smell trouble brewing.

Sygg, River Guide – Free countermagic for U/W Control decks! Yeah! Or, a way to protect your growing navy of Merfolk.

Wort, Boggart Auntie – I didn’t hit on the other multi-colored Legends because they’ve been previewed and discussed to the point that there’s nothing more that I can add to the discussion. For example, we know how bad Gaddock Teeg is for control decks that rely on Wrath of God and Damnation. (I guess they’ll just have to let you overextend before they kill him with Sudden Death.) I wanted to mention Wort, though, because I see degenerate things going on with this one. At first, like many of you, I’m sure, I focused on the fact that I could bring back things like Festering Goblin and Siege-Gang Commander. I forgot that, with the new Tribal thing going on, there were also Enchantments, Instants, and Sorceries for me to recur. Like I said, degenerate.


Colfenor’s Urn – I almost dismissed this card until I saw the “may.” Since I can choose whether or not an opponent’s creature gets removed (yes, you might want to in order to hit that three or more in one turn), I can see several tricky uses for this. Mostly involving, um, bigger creatures.

Deathrender – Talk about a rattlesnake card. Sure, you could kill the Saproling that’s carrying this thing, but what might take its place? Could be Thallid. Could be Akroma, Angel of Wrath. You won’t know until it’s too late.

Dolmen Gate – Talk about being able to swing for the fences. Dolmen Gate pretty much says to do just that. Of course, you need to make sure that the other guy can’t swing back for the win, but that’s just obvious.

Moonglove Extract – Colorless damage is always appreciated, especially when it can sit on the board like a threat and be used when you’re all tapped out.

Rings of Brighthearth – Yes, I know that this is like Mirari for activated abilities. That’s precisely why I like it so much. As one who likes to play around with cards, I just feel that we can find a ton of supremely silly things to do with this. Then again, I was worried when they reprinted Mirari in Time Spiral.

Springleaf DrumSpringleaf Drum turns Ornithopter into Birds of Paradise. Did I just blow your mind?

Thousand-Year Elixir – One of the worst parts about using creatures with activated abilities is that they often require tapping. That means you sit in a pool of your own flop sweat for two turns (yours and your opponent’s) hoping you’ll get to use it. Thousand-Year Elixir not only gets you around that, but it can untap something, too, which means that you can use an activated ability that requires tapping twice in one turn. There’s just too much good that can come of that.


I’m not going to review the dual lands because you should know how I feel about those by now. Get the ones that matter to you. Save up if you have to, but get them.

As for the Hideaway lands, I’m impressed only by Howltooth Hollow. It’s the only one that seems to really help you. If your opponent and you have no cards in hand, well, Howltooth Hollow says that you actually have one card because you can play the one removed from the game with the Hollow. In contrast, Mosswort Bridge’s ability can be countered if an opponent kills one of your creatures in response to you activating it and drops the total power of creatures that you control down below ten. Sure, they could make you draw a card, which would counter the Hollow’s ability. How is it bad that your opponent is making you draw a card? Shelldock Isle requires someone to have fewer than twenty cards left in their library. That either takes a lot of work or a very long game. Windbrisk Heights‘s ability is easily used, and I feel as if I should like this land a lot. I don’t, though, and I’m having trouble putting my finger on why. Heck, it could net you – you guessed it – Akroma, Angel of Wrath. Okay, I just convinced myself. Spinerock Knoll, like Mosswort Bridge, just feels like a so-called “win more” card. Of course, you have to love the Vivid cycle. They say “any color” on them. That’s A Good Thing, right? If so, then Shimmering Grotto‘s pretty good, too. It might even be better than the Vivids since the Grotto will almost always be able to produce “any color.” The Vivid lands stop being able to do that once they lose their last Charge counter.

The Wrap-Up

On the whole, I like what I’ve seen in Lorwyn. I hope they continue innovating and trying new things. I just wish sometimes that those new things would include looking at different ways to reward colors in cycles of cards. Please, stop giving White a “gain two life” or “a single creature temporarily gets a little bigger” while Blue gets “draw the card that wins the game.” I’m not saying that Wizards needs to stop giving Blue good stuff. I’m saying that they need to start giving other colors some good stuff, too.

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. Next week, I’ll be working on a deck featuring the card that you guys picked, Ana Battlemage. Thank you for not choosing Life and Limb.

Chris Romeo