Innovations – Thoughts on Eventide: I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It

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Monday, July 14th – Eventide is here, in spirit if not quite in body. With the Block Constructed PTQ season continuing apace, and Standard gaining relevance due to approaching Nationals events, Patrick “The Innovator” Chapin looks at some of the exciting cards that get his creative juices flowing.

The Last Great Prerelease was this weekend. I haven’t played in too many prereleases lately – Lorwyn was my last – but it is still kind of sad that this was the last one for the foreseeable future, in this form at least.

I always find the gathering of so many gamers with a little bit more of a casual spin to be a pleasure. There is always a great vibe at prereleases. I just hope that the new plan is as enjoyable.

So, what do you guys want to talk about today? Eventide… yeah, yeah, I know. Sure, that seems fair. I am not going to do a full on set review, but how about I talk about some of the cards that inspire me and we’ll just go from there? I will try to avoid just talking about those cards covered in Evan Erwin podcast here, as variety is the spice of life.

Let’s see… how about White? You know what card I like?

Archon of Justice.

The Scene: Wafo-Tapa is at zero life with a Platinum Angel is play. Our hero has nothing but lands, with a Gargadon suspended. Our hero goes to draw…

“For once in my life, let there be a little bit of Justice! Just a little!”

He draws…

Archon of Justice is the latest installment in White’s growing arsenal of powerful fliers. If Oona (which I realize is not White) is the Dragon-sized Meloku, then Archon of Justice is the Meloku-sized Dragon.

Take a minute and really appreciate how great this guy is. First of all, a 4/4 flier for five… okay, I am listening. But now, if it goes to a graveyard I get a super Vindicate that even gets around indestructible, persist, and other goes-to-graveyard triggers? This guy is sweet.

Another interesting aspect of this card is that while it occupies the same spot on the curve as Reveillark, it is very probably a different sort of deck that would employ this guy, so they aren’t really competing so much as they are just giving the White mage more good options.

The biggest strike against this card is that there doesn’t appear to be an immediate home available, but, like Yosei, the Morning Star, I predict that he will make homes for himself. This card is a sleeper. People will think it is bulk initially, but watch out for this one!

Endless Horizons is another card that is pretty exciting. I am not as sure about its tournament relevance, but it is a fun one that may help enable some new mono-White or White/x control strategy.

If you play all Plains, or even just Mutavaults and Plains, then when you play this card you will draw a land and a spell every turn… it’s as if you’re drawing two cards per turn, and they’re always a reasonable mix of lands and spells. That is a ton of power. The question is just whether a deck using a tome like this can keep up with a tome like Bitterblossom.

Then again, if there is one color that has answers to Bitterblossom, it is White. Wispmare, Archon of Justice, Austere Command, and so on. Hmm….

I can’t be sure this card is the right type for the new Standard, but I am sure that it is reasonably powerful and another exciting weapon for the New White. I am sure it goes without saying, but remember the interactions with Endless Horizons and Retrace or other ways to trade cards in hand for some other resource. In addition, in Extended, it combos with Goblin Charbelcher

Let me get something off of my chest. Merrow Bonegnawer, why do you let the opponent choose?! This guy could have been such an interesting player across all formats. Why does he have to let the opponent choose the removed card? It is not like he would have been too powerful. This is my biggest disappointment with the set. Very rarely can one go wrong by making graveyard hate too good. This guy is very mild hate and very mild value. Where is the harm?

Speaking of value, let’s go straight to value-village. There, I have no doubt, we will come upon the Necroskitter himself.

Okay, no question, he may not live up to the name… but man, I’ve got to tell you, I enjoy a Horned Turtle more than most, and this is a Horned Turtle with so much value.

Sure, Wither is not the greatest Constructed ability, but it is not bad on a 1/4. When you take into consideration his reanimation ability, you realize he has the potential to be a straight up blowout with cards like Incremental Blight or Soul Snuffers. We have to take a serious look at this guy. He is the Bone Dancer of 2008, and if you don’t know who that is, read up on sick Magic Technology from the early 90’s.

Finally, Necroskitter is in that unusual place stat wise where he actually dodges lots of the good removal. He can’t really be Nameless Inversioned, Shriekmawed, Terrored, Lashed Out, Incinerated, etc. This guy is starting to look interesting… now picture what this guy does to a deck that tries to attack with Red or Green men. Remember, if a creature fights this guy and dies, that creature fights for you. That is the whole joke.

I am not going to do an analysis of Cinder Pyromancer… I would rather analyze its flavor text.

“If the whole world burns, I’ll never grow old.”


What kind of a loonie pyromancer do you have to be to be working with that sort of logic?

“Okay… I am a Pyromancer, here is what I am thinking. I am a young guy that likes when things burn. What would it be like if the world burns? I know! I will never grow old! Obviously!” [Hehe… it seems that MTGSalvation had it mistyped. The actual flavor text is If the whole world burns, I’ll never grow COLD. – Craig, amused.]

Another card I will not be discussing is Outrage Shaman. That guy is no Murderous Redcap, let alone Flametongue Kavu. Can’t hit players, small body, no persist, costs five, awkward at parties, smells bad, etc.

One card that catches my eye is Rekindled Flame (For my Romance Deck…?) Rekindled Flame does a Flame Javelin impression, but if you can trigger it even once… wow, the value. Will it find a home in some sort of B/R discard deck? I don’t know.

The fact that it triggers at the beginning of your upkeep makes it very easy to stop. However, if you instead look at it from the perspective of a burn spell that basically forces your opponent to not play one of their cards… it could be of some value.

Stigma Lasher? Hot!

Nettle Sentinel is a respectable Isamaru that is different from the mediocre Mogg Conscripts in one big way, for the most part. Mogg Conscripts requires you to play the spell to allow attacking. This guy can attack regardless, and you can even wait until the following turn to untap him if you are so inclined.

It is unlikely I will be packing this guy at Nationals, but I have much respect for him. He hits with reasonable efficiency, and is difficult to kill early without losing tempo.

One last straight Green card I want to mention is the subtle but powerful Wickerbough Elder. First of all, he is effectively a 3/3 for four, which is unexciting but at least something to work with. Then you factor in that he can actually kill a Bitterblossom, Oblivion Ring, Fertile Ground, Warhammer, Teferi’s Moat, Prismatic Lens, Icy Manipulator, Ward of Bone, and so on, and do so while growing into a much more imposing 4/4 with full blown Indrik Stomphowler status.

This guy is basically a Stomphowler that can be paid for in installments, and can start bashing while threatening to use his ability, though if you don’t see something to destroy he doesn’t hit quite as hard. All in all, this guy will turn out to be a solid role-player for years.

A final note on him: he is a Treefolk, which is very important for cards like Murmuring Bosk and Treefolk Harbinger. Personally, this is a very powerful incentive to me to help me consider Green. The more ways to beat Bitterblossom with value the better, if you ask me.

“Living Scarecrows make a mockery of the living order. Dead ones make fine hats.”

Haha! This set’s flavor text is insane.

The set’s Black-White cards don’t really excite me that much, which is too bad. Black-White is traditionally a fun and interesting color combination that is typically among the least explored.

The most excited Black-White card is Fetid Heath, without question. Other than Caves of Koilos, Black-White doesn’t really have much mana fixing, and this card is much needed in the color pairing. Whether anything will come of this newfound mana capability remains to be seen.

It is interesting that all the Black-White cards seem to push you to play a Black-White theme deck that uses a sort of Black-White linear (the aura, the Liege, the Mimic, etc).

Call the Skybreaker is interesting, maybe as a one-of in some kind of a big mana deck. What do you think? I mean, obviously a 5/5 for seven is not super exciting (and seven is not where you want to be on the curve these days). However, the option to turn every land drawn into a dragon (metamorphically) is certainly an interesting one.

It seems like it will not be a good card in a world of Faeries, but who knows? Maybe the world will not be like that forever…

Crag Puca is pretty cool, if you think of it as a Red or Blue Spitting Slug. A 2/4 for three mana is worth talking about, especially given that Red and Blue are certainly colors known for being able to produce triple-color requirements. The fact that he can serve as a 4/2 or even a 4/4 makes him a true tournament card.

In case you are not familiar with the old Aquamoeba trick, you switch his power and toughness before damage so he deals four. Then, after damage is on the stack, you switch it back so he ends up with four toughness. This costs a fair amount of mana, but often you don’t even need to really spend it; you just threaten it, as they don’t want to fight, and then you do whatever else you wanted to do.

Red has tons of good three-drops, so I am not super excited about this guy, but non-Merfolk Blue decks could really use such a powerful option at that spot on the curve. Blue is also a color that would really appreciate such a resilient blocker on the cheap. I can picture this guy in some sort of a mono-Blue deck as early defense that can power up once you have some spare mana.

I am not going to go deep into Inside Out, but I would like to mention that it is the best Red answer to Wall of Roots or Doran, and the fact that it cycles so cheap makes it really worth considering. It is also a nice way to kill Birds of Paradise, or just to be tricky in combat.

Noggle Bandit? Noggle Bridgebreaker? Noggle Hedge-Mage? Noggle Ransacker?

Noggles for days.

Nucklavee isn’t a Noggle. However, there is something cool about it. I mean, if you can reliably get three-for-one, and have the three be two Regrowths and a big body… I think this guy could be the real deal. One of my favorite cards in the set for fun, but seriously, this guy may cross over. Brian Demars says this is the greatest Peasant Highlander card in years.

Canker Abomination seems like it will be a 5/5 or a 6/6 enough of the time to be an option, but unfortunately he’s living in a world in which options like Chameleon Colossus exist, making for tough competition. That said, the Black side of this guy is a little more appealing, as Black doesn’t have as many sexy options as Green.

Remember, it is not about how good this, or any, of the cards actually are. It is about how good they are in context. You have to examine these cards and look at which new cards do things that their colors couldn’t do, or couldn’t do as well.

For instance, Red three-drops are not going to excite me unless they are absolutely unreal. I already don’t play Countryside Crusher. On the other hand, if there was a playable two-mana counterspell, you would have my attention.

I talk about Quillspike (plus Devoted Druid) a fair bit in the Podcast linked above, so I won’t get to into it here, but I am really excited about the implications of this guy, particularly in Block Constructed. It is becoming more and more important to play removal. This is a healthy thing, I think.

Sapling of Colfener is a cute card that I think actually has some real potential, also for the Black side. Black desperately needs card draw, and this guy provides. In addition, indestructibility is a pretty savage ability and has never been so reasonably costed before. Too bad this guy can’t block Colossus. That said, I see this guy surviving more than a few fights where the opponent just doesn’t remember how indestructible works (such as a fight with a Wren’s Run Vanquisher).

Hearth-fire Hobgoblin is pretty sick with Brute Force still in the format, but again, Red three-drops… though his White side is interesting. What about this guy and Light from Within…?

Nobilis of War — All I have to say is thank goodness the color bleeds that Ken Nagle alluded to in Hollywood did not include White creatures with Haste. This card would have been bananas in White if it had Haste instead of Flying. As is, it can’t really bring the value that Siege-Gang Commander, Cloudgoat Ranger, Archon of Justice etc all bring.

I am not really sure why Flores has such a strong physical reaction to Overbeing of Myth. Isn’t this just a big dumb dude with no immediate effect on the board that pays well in MCL? (Magical Christmas Land… you know, the place where you can just play giant monsters and sit around for turn after turn, milking the slow incremental advantage of the monster that is also toming you without actually being forced to kill your opponent with the 7/7 Avatar you have spent your life building…)

I don’t know what home Selkie Hedge-mage will find, but its two abilities are very reasonable if you were playing a deck that could reliably kick it both ways. The obvious problem with this whole cycle is that Yavimaya Coast and Flooded Grove are not Forests or Islands.

Wistful Selkie is my idea of a good time. This guy can go in Merfolk strategies. He can go in Block Constructed Reveillark strategies. I want to seriously try him in my Solar Flare deck. How cool is it that you cast him off Bosk? He can also simply be played for value by anyone producing the mana. A very fair card that gives a nice incremental advantage. Silvergill Adept is one of the most appealing parts of the Merfolk tribe, and now you have more.

Ward of Bones is interesting, but I doubt Erik Lauer, Aaron Forsythe, Matt Place, Mike Turian, etc would allow this sort of strategy to really be the best.

Pay a Blue. Pay a Blue. Pay a Blue. Pay a Blue. Pay a Blue. Pay a Blue. Pay a Blue…

The enemy color filter lands are among the most important cards in the set. The on-color lands from Shadowmoor were not fully appreciated due to the huge number of other options available to players. The Eventide lands, however, offer combinations like B/W, U/G, and U/R much needed mana-fixing. The implications of these lands will probably end up being the biggest ones of the set.

Okay, I gotta go to this girl’s Softball game and show some support. They made it to the league championship, and I am one of their biggest fans. Man, I can’t believe I forgot to tell the story of why this article is called “I Kissed A Girl…”

It’s been fun. See you guys next week.

Patrick Chapin
“The Innovator”

My Top 5 for the Week
5. Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See — Busta Rhymes
4. Make Your Own Kind of Music — Mama Cass Elliot
3. As Is — Ani DiFranco
2. Global Deejays — One Night In Bangkok, extended mix
1. Katy Perry — I Kissed A Girl