Ah, black – the color of death and decay. The color of night and sacrifices. However, it’s also the color of olives, licorice, and that dress that Sabrina wore to dinner last week – the one with the hemline that was just a few centimeters south of being obscene. Also, it was the color of her Victoria’s Secret lingerie, including the garters and the thigh-high stockings with the seam down the back. Dang it, I like black.
One mana for a 2/2 is my kinda fun. Due to the comes-into-play (a.k.a.”CIP”) ability, however, it’s not a first-turn play. But, given what else is in Standard after Invasion block rotates out, we might see black weenie decks make a comeback. Of course, I’ve been wrong before. Like I never thought Adam Sandler could be a movie star. Sure, he was funny for two and a half minutes at a time on Remote Control and Saturday Night Live. But no way could he be less than annoying if it was stretched out for ninety minutes.
Turns out that I was right in that he’s annoying when taken in such large doses… But he’s also made a lot of money. So I may not know of what I speak. Always remember that.
For six mana, I get a 4/3 with Swampwalk. If everyone was required to run Swamps in their decks, this would still be too costly. You couldn’t knock one or two off the cost, or let me choose its landwalk ability as it came into play, could you?
I have always liked these kinds of Raise Dead cards that provide card advantage. I was a big fan of Recover in Invasion block. With this, your zombies are never dead for long. And isn’t that how zombies should be?
A little expensive, but a great creature in Limited. And, remember, its ability is a triggered one, so you could put this guy on top of your library if you wanted. A Gravebane Zombie with flying? Not bad at all.
I wish it cost one less. But it doesn’t. So, I’ll have to live with it? Will this be one of the secondary themes for this block:”Good but too costly”? I hope not.
No, this is not Duress. While Duress has a restriction to it (non-creature, non-land card), you get your choice of all the other cards in the opponent’s hand. With this card, the opponent chooses the three cards to reveal: This makes it a sub-optimal card as a first-turn play, since they may well just reveal three lands. Later in the game, however, when they only have three cards in hand, it will be even better than Duress.
Sorry that I’m not being very entertaining so far, but the black cards haven’t been very inspiring yet in terms of sarcasm and wittiness. Maybe something will pop up later.
Okay, so it’s not Nightscape Familiar; your blue spells (and red ones, too) will still cost the same. But this bad boy can regenerate any zombies on board, not just itself. And what a great black quote:”Nothing comes together as easily as it comes apart.” Makes you wanna turn the clock back to fifth grade and go out and strap an M-80 to a dung beetle, doesn’t it?
Black’s ability to trade life is one of my favorites; it can simply hose white and their Circles of Protection. Building a cleric deck with this guy is gonna be loads of fun. Get a bunch of cheap white and black clerics on board, then sac ’em to win. Yummy.
Cabal Executioner and Cabal Slaver
What a great ability. Now if only there were some sort of **cough** **fear** **cough** evasion ability **cough** **fear** **cough cough** that could get these guys through to my opponent.
Chain of Smog
Wow – a Chain spell that doesn’t require sacrificing anything! Could be good if you need something in your hand to go to the graveyard, too. Now, what would black do with cards in the graveyard? Think, dammit, think!
Cover of Darkness
Hey, wait a second! This might be what the Cabal guys (above) need. (Yes, I played Sherlock Holmes in our school’s production of The Hound Of The Baskervilles. I’m just that quick.)
Crown of Suspicion
As long as this is really written this way (as opposed to”Enchanted creature has: Sacrifice <this> . . . .”), this is going to be fun: You can either use it to pump up your guys for the killing blow, or put it on one of those annoying Clerics or Wizards and kill them all.
See why black is so fun? You can say things like”kill them all.”
Wow, a Dark Banishing that can hit (most) black creatures and a Raise Dead (for zombies only), all in one! Not bad.
Surprisingly, I hate cards like this. That”may” in there just wrecks this card. If it didn’t have that, you could make a nice creatureless control deck around it… But since it’s a permissive ability, when you have no creatures out, your opponent just won’t give any of theirs -3/-3 when they cast something. On the other hand, if you do play with creatures, your opponent will just kill them off with this. Cards like this are so annoying because scrubs like me really want them to work badly. And that’s usually how they work: Badly.
I want this to be good, I really do. You can take out some big suckers with this. And they can be black, too. But, it’s just too expensive. Crud.
Dirge of Dread
Another nice combat trick that you can’t really play during combat. So I guess it’s not really a combat trick; it’s a pre-combat trick.
Disciple of Malice
“Hi. I have protection from the least-used color in Magic. Please, use my cycling ability to get to a real creature. Thank you.”
Oh, Mommy, this is hot. This may be the final straw to creating a Reanimator deck. I’m like a junkie here.
As Bart Simpson once said,”I didn’t think it was physically possible, but this both blows and sucks at the same time.” If I lose half of my life rounded up, I want it to be for some very nice effect – at the very barest of minima, I want Infernal Contract. You get absolutely nothing for this loss of life. It’s triggered on attacking only. This reeks of stale beer and moldy pizza.
Getting very narrow with this creature-type stuff, aren’t we? Can this ever be good in Constructed? Only if I can change a bunch of creature types. That seems a little too involved for me.
Ew, gross. I can not wait to see the art for this. I picture possibly one of the Fenway Park Bleacher Bums eating a hot dog or maybe someone at a Packers game with a brat.
Fade from Memory
Watered-down Coffin Purge. Crypt Creeper without a body. Baby without a diaper. That kinda thing.
“Protection from Clerics”?!? Quit spitting in my face and telling me it’s raining. You mean I gotta pay more because this guy can’t be the target of that overwhelming cleric ability of damage prevention?
If lifegain becomes a big issue (and, since it’s white, it won’t), this will be nice. If not, you’ll be hoppin’ mad when this shows up in your sealed deck.
Wasn’t there a Jimmy Buffet album by this name? This card isn’t nearly as cool as that. Not even close.
I’m actually giggling at the thought of this card. I mean, it’s a goblin zombie. That’s a goblin without a brain, right? Isn’t this straight from the Department of Redundancy Department?
So far, I like this card in the cycle the best. I’m sure the blue one will be the best. (It always is, isn’t it?) But this is my favorite.
Five mana for a 4/4 isn’t very good even if it can come back to your hand. Remember, you need to have clerics to get it back. If it came back into play, that would be one thing… But you have to recast it. It should stay dead as far as I’m concerned.
Vanilla creature. But at least it’s vanilla with sprinkles.
Did I already mention a Reanimator deck? Okay. Then, let me say it again.
Okay, everyone knows about this guy by now. I don’t want to tell you what you already know. So I’ll play Devil’s Advocate. (Which is appropriate, since this is black.)
This stinks. It’s dreck. You’ll be losing too much life. What if someone plays Pacifism on this, huh? Throw them all away. Better yet, send them all to me. You don’t want them anyway.
[I’m pretty sure that didn’t work, but I had to try.]
Deal combat damage. Sac the creature. Get some effect. Bring it back from the dead. This is just what zombies do, I guess.
Any card named after a Foreigner album can’t be all that good, can it?
I loved Chilling Apparition from Prophecy; too bad this guy doesn’t regenerate.
Of course, if he did, he’d be Chilling Apparition. Yeah, I figured that out all by myself.
Die, all of you friggin’ little blue wizard cleric bastards – die!
I miss the dragon charms already.
Look, Bobby! It’s Phyrexian Ghoul with a different name! Play this with Grizzly Fate for a really gonzo effect.
Oh, how I love permanents that cost me nothing to activate. Of course, I also love Think Tank, so I could be wrong about this. Hey, wait a second; those two might work well together.
Have I said Reanimator before in this piece? Let me check. Yup. Karl Allen (2000 Tennessee State Champ, husband of Pro Tour player Stacey Allen, and father of James Ivan Allen, the youngest person ever with a DCI number) likes to say that he doesn’t like five-mana sorceries unless he gets a really big effect from them. Is this big enough for ya, Big K?
I love trading life like this. Too bad it’s based on cleric and not zombies. Zombies are so much cooler for trading life. Makes more sense, too, if I remember Night Of The Living Dead correctly.
Five mana for a 6/5 gets my engine revving. (Yes, I like Carrion Wurm, too.) I even like the”drawback” ; basically, you get two Chainer’s Edicts for five mana or a 6/5 creature. It looks very good to me – so clearly, I’m missing something.
Not very subtle, is it, what with the word”Reanimator” in the name? Oh, who cares? Subtlety is for losers and guys who are trying to bed sorority girls; you’re trying to win a Magic tournament. Bash some heads, already.
Heh heh heh. Go ahead. Kill the buzzard.
Another reason black is so cool to play: what great names. I wonder if they just sit around in R&D sometimes, come up with graphic names, and then try to create cards for them.”Hey, Chuck, what kind of ability could we give to a creature named Maggot-Chomping Hellspawn? Chuck? Hello?”
I can see a myriad of uses for this… Mostly to make all of my creatures black Shades with”B: This creature gets +1/+1 until the end of the turn.”
Okay, so I can see three uses.
Shepherd of Rot
What a funny name. Can you picture John Wayne rounding up a bunch of compost?”Yah! Git along, little decomposing doggie! Yah!”
But in keeping with what seems to be Onslaught’s main theme, this is really just for sideboard use. I mean, what’s of this the point if you have a ton of zombies, too?
This is the Abyssal Specter’s older brother, the one who just finished his second stint in the pen for making lewd comments to nuns on buses. Big, flying, card-stripping bully. My kinda guy.
Also, read as”Kill target morph before your opponent can turn it over. No. Do it now! NOW! That thing could be a Grinning Demon!! What’re you waiting for, you dope?!?”
Now here’s a brick house of an avatar. Unlike the others, the Soulless One looks at creature cards in graveyards, too. All that plus a bag of Funyuns.
This falls into that category of cards that don’t live up to their names. A Spined Basher shouldn’t be a boring 3/1.
I’ll bet this ends up being really good. I’ll bet that because I don’t like it. I didn’t like Upheaval, either. Come to think of it, I still don’t like Upheaval. In fact, I despise it.
I have always liked this card. Yes, it’s narrow, but there are a lot of small creatures that I want to get rid of. And, if not, it cycles. Plus, the Urza’s block picture was wonderfully disgusting. What a huge splat that bug made. Ewwwww. I hope the Onslaught art is as good.
Syphon Mind and Syphon Soul
Syphon Soul is one of my favorite cards in (get ready, Mr. Alongi) multi-player. It can really turn the tide for you. And Wizards decided to add a discard spell with the same type of mechanism. Thank you. Thank you, very much.
I’ve never liked the”If it takes damage, so do you” creatures unless they are very efficient… Meaning Jackal Pup and not much else. This is not a 2/x for one mana; it’s a 4/4 for three at best if you use morph. If not, you’ve paid way too much for a creature that will last long enough to do a whole lot of damage to you. Yuck.
M.C. Hammer would tell me that I can’t touch this. Yup, this one’s so good it deserves an M.C. Hammer reference. Cool as the other side of the pillow!
Visara, the Dreadful
Yes, she is. As with most women in my life, that’s probably why I want her so much. Four of her, actually.
This could be bad news for your opponent. You know, if he’s not playing with creatures that can just maul yours. Not recommended against beast decks.
I hate cards that take forever to kill a creature. Ergo, I hate this card.
Words of Waste
I think that I’m starting to like this Words cycle. I hope there’s an artifact called Word to Your Mother.
Ah, the price we pay for cheap creatures. I hope your opponent isn’t playing with Squirrel Nest.
Okay, that’s it for black. As usual, I’m probably wrong about everything, including the spelling of”zombie.” Remember, my articles are for entertainment purposes only. Anything that resembles actual strategy is strictly accidental and probably can’t be recreated in a controlled, scientific setting.
Now. Before getting into the red portion of our show, I feel that I need to address a pressing question that came up after my review of blue. Namely,”Why do you hate blue when even you admit that it’s The Color of Champions?”
First, let me say that I can understand why pros and anyone else who wants to win tournaments plays with blue. Being in control is the best path to any sort of victory, and blue has the best control elements. In addition, we have seen the environment slow down over the last couple of years – blue, however, hasn’t gotten slower. Counterspell still costs UU. When the environment slows down but blue doesn’t, blue gets even stronger.
Don’t get me wrong, though; I do actually play with blue. In the last two years, I’ve won a whopping five local Constructed tourneys. I played blue/something in three of them. (The other two were mono-white and red / green).
So why do I hate blue?
I hate blue because it’s the color of Mommy and Daddy. It’s the color of Catholic school nuns. It’s the color of police lights. It says,”No, you can’t do that” way too much for my tastes. And I hate being told no.
To me, Magic is a game that’s about creatures beating up on each other or getting around or over each other. I like armies of guys all charging into battle, not one little guy who sneaks through repeatedly because the other army doesn’t show up (gets countered) or gets sent away (bounced).
I have no problem with so-called tricks: I try to burn a creature out, but my opponent plays Giant Growth. Good save, Jason. My opponent tries to play Venomous Vines on my Phantom Centaur with Strength of Isolation on it, and I play Shelter. In essence, these end up being like blue spells; in both cases, the desired effect of the first spell is negated, which is so very blue.
But unlike when playing with blue, you’re not just saying,”No, you can’t do that.” What you’re saying is,”You’re crafty, but I’m even craftier.”
Blue doesn’t really play the game. Blue just sits back and tells you that you can’t play the game until blue is ready to let you play. That’s why I hate blue.
Now, onto the red Onslaught cards.
For me, fun begins with a”g” and ends with an”n.” I’m thinking along the lines of acerbic social comedian George Carlin, wacky revolutionary war General George Washington – and, of course, the Magic creature type called”goblin.” For those of us who love those stupid goblins (and their great flavor text), they are back in full effect after a complete absence in Odyssey.
Now, all of the beasts that come into play for you turn into Flametongue Kavus that hit your opponent. Ouch. I would have liked it even better, though, if they made it goblins. They could have just tined down the damage to one or two. Yes, lotsa goblins.
A permanent Relentless Assault? I don’t care that it’s expensive; I just wet my pants.
Goblin Bombardment in a red bird? I just wet my pants again.
Three reasons to make this guy good despite the cost:
- It’s a 3/3 with haste.
- It gets another Avarax.
- It triggers Aether Charge.
Luckily, I put on some Depends before I got farther down this list. I mean, I haven’t even hit a goblin yet.
A morphing 3/1 beast with first strike? Cool beans.
No, this isn’t the new Ball Lightning… This is better. How can I say something so blasphemous? Because, on November 1st, this will be legal in both Extended and Standard. Ball Lightning won’t.
Trust me. This is going to be way more problems than it will ever be worth.
Goblins get their own Dark Ritual. The bad news is that it requires goblins to already be in play. (Leave it to the goblins to screw up something this easy.) The good news is that you can combine this with lots of goblins and an”X” spell like Blaze to end the game.
Big, Bad Orgg with ultra-trample. Yeah, it’s expensive… But with Brightstone Ritual and several goblins, this guy can come out on turn 4. That’s just disgusting. I need eight – four for me and four for my brother.
Chain of Plasma
Did I read that correctly? A red spell in which discard is not random? Oh, right – that’s because it’s your opponent who gets to make the choice.
Sorry. My bad.
I can understand the theory that a creature’s normal casting cost needs to be a little more if it has morph… But, as a trade-off for having a very vulnerable 2/2 on the board, shouldn’t the morph cost be less? If not, what you get is this guy. Either way you play it, he’s a 4/3 for five mana and can’t block. Why would you ever play this? (Please, don’t say”I’d play it in Limited.” I hate when that’s the answer for every overcosted creature spell.)
I really do hope this is an instant so that I can play it as a combat trick on my unblocked goblins. Speaking of which, where are all the goblins?
Crown of Fury
Another sweet crown. Slides right into a goblin deck . . . if I could find any goblins. I was promised goblins!
If you play this on a creature that your opponent really doesn’t want to give up, they lose a land. Sweet. Of course, during your upkeep, you have to make the same choice. Bummer.
I told Jay M-S (from www.magicthegathering.com) that his article was the first I had heard of Dragon Roost… And that’s true. I really try to stay away from the spoilers. I love the tingly feeling I get when I see something for the first time. The fact that I can make many dragons with this makes me very tingly… All over. Thank goodness for those Depends.
Yeah, baby – yeah! Go ahead with your three-color deck. I’ll betcha have lotsa nonbasic lands in there, doncha?
Crap. The first goblin and he costs too much. Maybe they’ll get better.
Does this really say”on the bottom of your library” and not”into your graveyard”? If so, make sure to load up on the expensive stuff for this spell. You wouldn’t want to end up paying three mana for just one or two damage, would you? Of course, if you load up on expensive stuff, you’ll be dead before you can cast this. Too bad.
Another charm. **yawn**
Compared to the last goblin, I’ll take this. Haste and +2/+2 are very nice.
Am I really supposed to pay five mana for a 0/5 creature? Sure, the ability is nice… But that activation cost. Oy vey. If I get lucky, on turn 6, I can activate it twice. Maybe, I’ll end up with a 10/5 that will get chump blocked. Maybe it will be a 2/5. And, since I spent all of my mana on activating its ability, I won’t be able to cast anything for the next turn’s attack. Keep this away from me.
I was promised gobs of good goblins. Where are they? Sure, this guy is a step in the right direction… And I love that flavor text.”Throw enough goblins at any problem and it should go away. At the very least, there’ll be fewer goblins.” But I want more!
This may look expensive – but, remember, it’s supposed to be used for an alpha strike. When you think of it that way, this guy is huge.
Very nice. Once he gets going, he untaps every time he picks off a critter only to come back to do it again.
Goblin Sky Raider
Flying goblins. Heh. Now that’s funny.
Use this with Goblin Pyromancer for a Nemata, Grove Guardian-like effect for goblins.
Another quote that cracks me up:”For some reason, goblin fighting school isn’t as crowded on day two.” And another nice goblin. All of a sudden, I’m gonna get spoiled.
Not recommended for use with goblins, since they’ll all die when blocked by beasts.
Also, the name of the next Stallone film.
If you use this in multiplayer, you’d better win right after playing it. If not, your”friends” will gang up on your scrawny little butt and pummel you.
Also for use in multi-player. Could be very good in that format. It also utilizes my favorite punctuation mark – the exclamation point!
As long as I can use this to get rid of more than one creature, I’m all over it like Tom Green on rodent butt. (Hey! – The Ferrett) If not, we’re into some serious card disadvantage. Of course, if you can get this onto a wizard, you can kill any facedown creature. Two points is going to be some serious damage in Onslaught.
If multi-colored decks remain viable, this won’t be too bad. The flexibility it gives you is very nice.
If cycling becomes big, this will be suh-weet. Uncounterable sources of damage are very nice. And, of course, you can stack the deck (so to speak) by packing a lot of cycling cards yourself.
This could be red’s Carnival of Souls. You need it only so that you can have a complete set of Onslaught.
If you don’t choose the number”secretly,” is the spell countered? Or do you get DQd?
This is a goblin. It says”destroy” on it. Therefore, I like it.
I think a lot of people are going to pooh-pooh this card… And they’d be missing the boat. This card is at least as efficient as Blaze. You get four damage for five mana, which is exactly what you’d get for pumping five mana into Blaze or Ghitu Fire. The trade-off is that you can only hit creatures, but you do get it in instant form. Wrapped up in all of that is the fact that it can’t be prevented. That may not end up being very big – but in the right circumstances, it will be huge.
And, one to reward you for all of those goblins that you’re going to be playing. It just seems wrong to be talking about a potential 7/7 (or more) goblin.
Oh joy – more coin flipping! Thank god it’s a rare. I don’t ever want to open it. However, given the fact that I once opened an Odyssey sealed deck with not one, not two, but three Shrines as my rares, I’ll probably get several of these before I ever see a Blistering Firecat.
He’s a flying, 6/5 dragon with haste. No matter what you say, I’m saying it’s a bomb.
Normally, you want damage spells to be able to hit either players or creatures. If they’re restricted to just one of these, I want it to be creatures. I figure I can always burn away a creature and then attack; if a spell is restricted to hitting a player, it doesn’t change board position.
Having said that, this is a lot of damage to send to someone’s dome. It could easily mean game over.
He tramples. With one other beast attacking alongside him, he’s a 7/4 trampler. Make it two buddies, and it’s a 10/4 trampler. He costs seven? Ask me if I care.
Karl Allen kept saying that morph was going to be a nice ability depending on the amount of two-point damage sources this block had. Well, Pappy’s back, and he ain’t happy. And when Pappy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Another source of two points of damage. Die, you facedown bastard, die!
Skirk Fire Marshal
Typical goblin. He’s really good at blowin’ stuff up . . . including himself. (Except he ain’t – The Ferrett, noting the Fire Marshal’s”protection from red” ability)
Yet another great goblin quote, this one from Braids:”I like goblins. They make funny little popping sounds when they die.” There could be some nice tricks with this. In other words, hellzapoppin’.
Too much of a drawback for this casting cost. They should have made it four or five mana to cast, given that there was a 50/50 chance that this would be a facedown 2/2 creature when it could first attack. As Charlie Brown might have said,”AARRRGGGGHHHH!!!”
Slice and Dice
Too much to pay for the effect… Unless you cycle it. Then you can pay 2R to wipe out a bunch of goblins, elves, squirrel tokens, or whatever and draw a card.
I want to like this because it’s a beast and it has that great ability. But I fear he’ll just sit around looking stupid because of that high casting cost and that ridiculously high morph cost. Then again, he’s a beast. Maybe he’s supposed to look stupid. The problem is that you’ll probably be the one looking stupid. Yes, even in Limited.
Without the cycling ability, it’s efficient: A three damage for four-mana instant. With cycling, it’s Zap.
Okay, that was supposed to sound better than it did.
You know, I don’t care if goblins kill themselves; after all, it seems to be what they do best. But I don’t want them to take me with them.
It’s a goblin Pygmy Pyrosaur!
Again, that’s supposed to be better than it sounds.
If I have beasts on board, I want them to be attacking, not sitting back to be tapped to give a blocker first strike. (This really should have been on a white creature.) Now, if there were a way to ensure that beasts don’t tap to attack, that would be sweet.
Oh, wait – I could use Mobilization and some way to change these guys to soldiers, and then… Nope. Too complicated. Too much mana. Yeah, this sucks.
Wow, a big, ol’ red”X” spell that doesn’t just deal damage to creatures without flying! Cool. It’s almost as if they care about making red attractive again. Almost.
Too… many… triggered…. abilities. All that matters is (a) he’s a house, and (b) he’s a 4/5 for five. You do the math.
A 2/3 flier for three mana is very, very good in any color. The base for blue, a traditionally”flying” color, is a 2/2 for 3 (7th Edition’s Wind Drake). This has a bigger butt and is – of all things – red. So they gave it a drawback.
The drawback, however, is a pretty meager one. Since I don’t think that wizards are going to make any sort of big impact on Standard (although Mr. Batten makes a great argument here), this guy is safe. Which makes him big news.
Just like Torment’s Temporary Insanity (except that it costs one less since it’s a sorcery and not an instant). It seems that red is becoming the color of stealing creatures. Fine with me, as long as I can steal a dragon or something.
Thunder of Hooves
I really hope that this says”Choose a creature type.” If not, it will be too narrow to use.
Wave of Indifference
Oh, my goodness gracious, my goblins are going to love this.
Words of War
Sweet Lord of the Cleavage! The mother lode of face-down-creature killers. If you get extras of this, please, send them to me. Also, I know I don’t usually give draft advice – but if you see this, take it. I don’t care if you’re drafting blue and green; take this just so it won’t be used by anyone else.
So there you have it for red. I was less than overwhelmed by the quality of the goblins. It wasn’t that I was underwhelmed; I just wasn’t overwhelmed. Let’s just say I was whelmed. Anyway, Red should again be fun what with things going boom and damage upside the head.
As usual, you’ve been a great audience. You’ll have to excuse me now. I need a fresh Depends.