So, I went down to the Worldwake prerelease mostly out of habit. The spoiled cards didn’t really impress me for any casual Constructed format I enjoy, multikicker and the much-vaunted enchant-o-manlands felt like recycled mechanics, and there were no treasure cards.
But there’s always that saving grace: “Maybe it’s a good set for Limited.” And lo, I enjoyed my day in a new and fresh Worldwake. Nothing knocked my socks off, but it doesn’t have to; in that sense, Worldwake is a lot like, say, Kung Fu Panda; it’s patched together from well-worn concepts, but skillfully.
Here are my rough impressions of the cards as I played â€˜em; I’ll try to get you an actual prerelease report next week, wherein I can get snarky. Then I may discuss the issues I’m having with Elder Dragon Highlander, but that’s another article altogether.
At three mana, I played two of these because I was light on tricks â€” and not surprisingly, they worked like a charm. In particular, they worked great guns with Vapor Snare, allowing me to steal something else and bounce the thing I didn’t want to see. But they were also pretty good at bouncing the enchanted manlands back to people’s hands, putting them behind on tempo and losing them their enchantment.
Anowon, The Ruin Sage
I faced this twice in my prerelease games, and each time it was a beating. Assuming you don’t have the removal right away, it becomes a real problem over time â€” and, given that it’s a Black heavy hitter, it’s not like Anowon is showing up in decks that are light on removal, making it even harder to get a guy to stick. One time I managed to steal it with Vapor Snare and pulled out a win; the other time, I’d already Vapor Snared his Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs (and yes, that kid had a riotously overpowered deck) and just flat-out lost. Difficult, difficult.
The thing about multikicker is that it’s wonderful in topdeck wars; when you’ve emptied both of your hands in clearing the board, so that you’re both desperately racing to an answer, having a threat that scales to however much mana you have is extremely strong. I won at least two games because, out of nowhere, I suddenly had a 5/5 flier that killed them before they could do anything.
That said, I think the best multikicker cards are the ones that start reasonably priced, then scale to be a little more expensive. I like Apex Hawks because I’ll happily play a 2/2 flier for three mana; I’m not so sure about Quag Vampires or Skitter of Lizards, where I’m effectively paying 1RR and 1BB for a 2/2 with a minor ability.
Comet Storm? Would I pay three mana to do a point at instant speed? Uh, can I look into the Magic 8-Ball to actually see how it plays in real life?
This absolutely destroyed me a couple of times. I’m not sure how it’ll go over in a Draft format, but in Sealed, nailing two or three cards will often seal the deal.
Wait. This has shroud? Really? Holy crap, that’s like cleaning the kitchen and finding a $5 bill underneath the counter. Total frickin’ bonus.
This is cruel to open in a Sealed deck. It’s like the definition of a crappy Johnny rare; you can’t play it in Sealed, and won’t play it in any Constructed format unless you’re the kind of crazy nut who views a card like this as a challenge. And if that’s the case, you really don’t need to trade too heavily for it.
It’s like a free Brainstorm! Except that you don’t draw a card! And if you have three land coming up, you get to look in horror at the bleak future that lies before you, and weep for the loss you are about to receive.
… no, I’m not speaking from personal experience. Really.
Hammer of Ruin
The weird thing is that because of the preponderance of Worldwake packs, I kept getting into Hammer wars with people — whoever got to slap their Hammer down on their evasion critter first got to destroy the other guy’s Hammer.
I kept begging them not to. “Please, Hammer, don’t hurt â€˜em,” said I. But my opponents were young, too young, and they showed me that in fact, I couldn’t touch this.
I mentally chalked this up as an instant, because, dude, it’s five mana. For five mana, I want an instant speed, not burning up a whole turn. That said, it does exile stuff, so I’ll play it â€” I’ll just grumble and look to the halcyon days of Second Thoughts.
Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
This is a really unfair card, but fortunately, it’s a Mythic rare, so it won’t come up too often. In fact, it â€” wait. What?
And it’s five mana, you say?
This card will cause people to punch walls when they storm out after that auto-loss to the kiddy with the Kazuul deck.
Lightkeeper of Emeria
You know how Pillarfield Ox was actually reasonable in Zendikar Limited because it could pretty much block anything? Well, how about an Ox that flies? And can, potentially, gain you two to eight life, depending on how long the game’s gone? And costs absolutely the same?
You decide if it’s worth running. I won’t stop you.
I faced a mono-Black deck. Yes, in Sealed.
This became highly unfair then, I should say.
Currently famed for being the Bane of Baneslayer Angels, I think this will actually become famed for confusing the heck out of newbie players. “Okay, now that guy is exiled, and I… no, you… no, wait, I put a token into play, and it goes away at the end of my next upkeep… no, um, yours… wait, how does this work? Math is hard. Let’s go shopping.”
I’m a little in love with this card, but that’s possibly because it allowed me to run four Swamps and consistently cast the Vampire Nighthawk I’d crammed into my Sealed deck out of desperation. That said, for three mana, you get a land and the ability to block and kill Surrakar Marauders, so I suspect I’ll be hoping to pick one of these up in almost every non-Black draft.
Why is anyone playing this? Dude, it’s five mana to get one damage, and you have to have a tappable creature in play. Zendikar Draft is still going to be at least two-thirds of a blazingly fast format; by the time you can cast this and use it, you’re going to be dead.
I’m now two-for-two in prereleases at falling into this exact stupid mental trap:
“But that’s not a Blue spell — oh, wait, you can hard-cast traps, can’t you? People do it all the time. So I guess, yeah, you can do that. I’m just gonna go home and marinate in my own suckiness now.”
Absolutely frickin’ amazing. I was with a mainly U/W deck, and every time this hit the ground, I wound up with a blocker that could kill almost every two- and three-drop they cast. And even if it couldn’t, it would gain me life. And who wanted to waste a Disfigure on a 2/1?
If it was legal in Ohio, I would marry this card. Of course, then I’d be in a polygamous relationship with my wife and Sejiri Merfolk â€” but my wife has said that she, too, would tap this.
I did not see this all day. However, I will want a copy for my Elder Dragon Highlander B/G deck. And when I play it, I will refer to it, as I heard other players calling it, as “Operation Dumbo Drop.”
Some Spikes have been saying that this is the best card drawing that Blue has now. How good is it really? I cannot tell you.
All I can tell you is that on turn 3 in one game, I cast it and drew seven cards, blitzing past what would have been a six-land pocket and actually getting me pure action. Yeah, I won that one. And that was the first time I cast Treasure Hunt, so of course I adored it.
I was reasonable. Even when, later in the tournament, it basically read “Cycle: 1U” and just replaced itself, it was fine… Because that’s the worst it’s going to get. If it snags me a land, then I’m always happy; if I’m land-screwed, I needed a land, and if I’m not land-screwed, well, I just flashed past the dead space in my deck.
Treasure Hunt, I adore you.
Urge to Feed
As good as it looks. The vampire-boosting is a bonus, and it does mean you have to hold back for a turn if you want to, but generally just killing a dude is enough.
Control Magic effects are generally pretty good in Sealed, not so much in Draft. In this case, you’re pretty much locked into staying at whatever mana you were at when you cast it, making it a significant drawback if you want to keep the guy you stole — but if you can steal a landfall critter, like I did with Caustic Crawler, then it actually becomes a bonus.
As Patrick Chapin will remind you, in general if you’re casting a Vapor Snare on something that costs less than five mana, you’re losing. Unless you’re stealing, I dunno, someone’s Dragonmaster Outcast when you have six lands. And an Aether Tradewinds in hand to protect your Snare. And then, in short order, one 5/5 flier, two 5/5 fliers, three 5/5 fliers, and the game.
Wow, I felt really dirty just typing that. However, I remain unrepentant.