It has been well documented that Invasion is a set that is defined by a heavy multi-color flavor, particularly in the allied colors. I thought I would take a look at the allied colors, using mostly the gold border and split cards, and offering up some of my opinion on what we might look for in the coming months.
This color combo has a good long history of providing heavy control. That it will provide heavy control here comes as no surprise.
Along the way I am going to include some deck "rankings," as given by Theron Martin in his final roundup of Metagame Madness for the recent MBC season.
U/W Control MGM rank 8th
Prevents the next 2 damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn.
Returns target permanent to its owner’s hand.
Not one of the better split cards. I have my doubts that this card sees a lot of play. Deliver is okay, but Stand seems only suited to keeping some Rebels alive under the duress of Red burn – and in that it won’t work on the play side after Ramosian Sergeant gets toasted on the Red mages turn.
UUW, Instant, Rare
Counter target spell. You gain 3 life.
I think you have to like a sure counter at the 3cc slot. The life gain is just gravy…
This may see action. Its low cc for its power seems enticing. The sacrificial part seems well suited to saving your Lin-Sivvi.
UW, Creature – Merfolk Knight 2/2, Common
Protection from red
A 2/2 for 2 is generally pretty good for this environment, but this looks like sideboard material.
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
1UW, Creature – Legend 1/2, Rare
1WU,T: Return target artifact or enchantment card from your graveyard to your hand.
I really like Hanna. As we know, the Parallax enchantments from Masques are pretty powerful. It was claimed by some that the real power of Replenish was as a control deck. Hannah, with her recursive ability for those kinds of spells, really ups that sort of power. I think she’ll be a staple of U/W control decks, and I know I’ve had some luck with her already.
2UW, Instant, Uncommon
Reveal the top three cards of your library and put one of them into your hand. You gain life equal to that card’s converted mana cost. Put the other cards revealed this way into your graveyard.
I’m certainly not sold on this card. Life gain just never seems to be worth it except to the multiplayer gang, eh? (And that’s only if they don’t have that aspect of the game banned). It might have been better as a powered enchantment, but that probably would have been broken somehow somewhere.
1UW, Creature – Cleric 1/1, Uncommon
T: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.
T: Samite Archer deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
Top props for this card? Controlling rampant green mana creatures. Your Tide won’t be so effective with a Bird of Paradise and a couple of elves on the table.
Might be a sideboard card, but it’s going to be in the environment as it stops green fat and some other things. Blasty don’t like the moat… of course, you better have countered the first one…
Decks: Some U/W control deck ideas would be Ankh Tide, and a more controllish offshoot of what Replenish did for control using Hanna with the Parallax enchantments, and trying to finish with something like Ruham Djinn. Counter Rebels is another option…
These colors showed well in MBC, although it probably isn’t one of the historically more favored pairs. Invasion has given it some very real power to go with its MBC showing, and I think this color combo will appear quite frequently.
W/G Rubin MGM ranking 4th
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Destroy target enchantment.
This seems like one of the more effective split cards. Both sides are cheap and effective.
1GW, Enchant Creature, Common
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has trample.
Whenever enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life.
This card has gained some notoriety from the pre-release already – and deservedly so. It’s a little slow, perhaps, at three mana, but it packs the wallop. There are enough two casts with decent stats to make this thing a real pounding early on, and its life giving ability might actually make life gain respectable again.
1GW, Enchantment, Uncommon
Whenever a creature comes into play under your control, you may destroy target artifact or enchantment.
This looks to have some real power as a sideboard card against decks heavy with these types of spells… and there will be some. The problem, though, will be that a lot of those will be white decks and pack their own response to this. That’s Magic, though, eh?
2GW, Creature – Legend 2/2, Rare
T: Search your library for a Legend or legendary card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
"The Captain" looks like fun stuff for multiplayer, maybe. Who leads a Coalition Victory?
I checked the tattoo inside his mouth and it said "BEATSTICK!". Third turn Troll (thank you, BoPs), fourth turn Armadillo Cloak. "NEXT!"
1GW, Enchantment, Rare
No more than one creature may attack each turn.
No more than one creature may block each turn.
I’m sure the multi crowd is loving this one… and somebody might do something with it in Standard… might. I didn’t say they’d win much, but they’ll have fun calling out their Troll like Micheal Buffer: "And in this corner…. The Rock!!!" *kid makes cheering noises*
GW, Instant, Uncommon
Target player gains 7 life.
That’s a lot of life for 2 mana. Can you do anything with it?
It probably woulda been okay at three mana. At four it’s probably too slow…
GW, Creature – Elf Knight 2/2, Common
Protection from black
More than a few of these 2/2’s for two with color protection. Something that’s immune to black is probably pretty good for a guy playing W/G. Sideboard it if you wish…
Decent midrange creature of the "slightly overweight" variety, i.e., not quite fat. As a turn two drop it starts causing trouble.
4GW, Creature – Beast 5/5, Rare
Trample, protection from blue, protection from red
Probably more trouble than it’s worth. Most folks will just stick with the other 5/5 beatsticks from Green.
GW, Enchantment, Uncommon
All other enchantments you control can’t be the targets of spells or abilities.
1, Sacrifice Sterling Grove: Search your library for an enchantment card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.
The flavor text shoulda been "Watch this…" as in watch this become a Parallax Wave…
Decks: Should go all the way from tweaking the Rubin archetype to a whole new world of G/W beatdown. With a conflux of the Rebel engine and the Green fat there is a lot of room for swapping things in and out here. Suffice to say we’ll be seeing a lot of the Blasty and P Wave. Did I mention the ‘Geddon idea…or do I need to?
Red Green has long been a favorite of the "There are no bad threats" crowd. "It’s got BEATS!"
R/G Beats MGM ranking 5th
Deal 2 damage to target creature or player.
Put a 3/3 elephant token into play under your control.
1GR, Enchantment, Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, discard a card at random from your hand. If you discard a creature card this way, put that creature into play unless any player pays 5 life.
Looks like something for the Ferrett to ponder, mostly (And indeed, I am – T.F.)… but it might have some Standard gambit appeal. Load your deck with fat and hope you draw this, kids…
Well if Urza’s were still around this would have more power. As it is, it might get played depending on the popularity of such things as Idols. Probably another interesting card as it goes to the binder…
Fires of Yavimaya
1GR, Enchantment, Uncommon
Creatures you control have haste. (They may attack and T the turn they come under your control.)
Sacrifice Fires of Yavimaya: Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
An extra attack from your Blastoderm? You betcha! How good this will be I can’t tell, but it’s got the promise of fat speed – something a few folks slather over.
2/3, special ability, all for three mana. Still, I don’t know…
"This is my brother Squee and this is my other brother Squee." I know this has caught the eye of some folks. With Squee about, the price might be able to be paid.
1GR, Enchantment, Rare
Whenever a player taps a land for mana, that player adds one additional mana to his or her mana pool of the same type, and Overabundance deals 1 damage to him or her.
This, along with the Green mana creatures, will let you have a whole LOT of mana REAL fast. That’s always been a pretty good thing. Find something to dump it in and you may have a winner as long as your opponent isn’t playing Blue…
Typical fast R/G beats. This one will see more than a few turn 2 plays…
Does for Birds and Elves what Raid does to bugs. Not real nice on Rebels or Mercs, either…
Interesting. Might make the cut, but might be a little pricey considering the other options…
GR, Creature – Barbarian Elf 2/2, Common
Protection from blue
There’s one for each color. As R/G goes for the speed beats, this one might be rather common…
I always love it when they name a card after a famous player. This guy loves Saprolings, but I think he’s a little slow for this color combo.
Decks: It’s all about the beats, and I’m sure there will be a variety. There are a few interesting tricks with this combo of colors, but they look a little hokey. Someone will probably come up with something a little different, but it’s not jumping out at me. Make your fast mana and use it on fat and burn.
Again this is a combo that has had some allure in the past, but not as much as some others. Again, it’s along the lines of "No bad threats." These are the main colors of land destruction.
Target opponent discards a card from his or her hand.
Destroy target land.
Well, either one looks pretty good invidually. Together they make less sense, as with LD you usually don’t care what they have in hand and if you are using discard, their mana production isn’t important. Still this might make it in some decks that are shooting for either side.
1BR, Instant, Uncommon
Tap target untapped creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to its controller.
Would be great if it somehow worked on Blasty. As it is, it might get some looks…
2BR, Creature – Specter 2/2, Rare
Flying, haste (This creature may attack and T the turn it comes under your control.)
Whenever Blazing Specter deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card from his or her hand.
Has already caught a few eyes. It’s a little fragile, but folks will try and build a discard/burn deck based on this. We’ll see how well that works…
4BR, Instant, Uncommon
Play Cauldron Dance only during combat.
Return target creature card from your graveyard to play. That creature gains haste. Return it to your hand at end of turn. (It may attack and T the turn it comes under your control.)
Put a creature card from your hand into play. That creature gains haste. Put it into your graveyard at end of turn.
More multiplayer fun? (Yes. David Phifer’s on this one – The Ferrett) Seems like a pretty good idea, but it’s probably too slow and demanding for the dual.
Doesn’t make the cut with me. Does it for you?
2BR, Creature – Zombie 2/1, Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Pyre Zombie is in your graveyard, you may pay 1BB. If you do, return Pyre Zombie from your graveyard to your hand.
1RR, Sacrifice Pyre Zombie: Pyre Zombie deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
If it cost less to play, so that you could cut down fast green mana and Rebels, it might have a place. As it is, it doesn’t do that.
BR, Creature – Barbarian Zombie 2/2, Common
Protection from white
I doubt that B/R needs this guy…
2BR, Enchantment, Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, target player loses 1 life.
Sacrifice Smoldering Tar: Smoldering Tar deals 4 damage to target creature. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
This is an intriguing card. That said, I don’t see making it work in a strict B/R deck. Get to work, kids!
5BR, Creature – Legend 7/4, Rare
First strike, protection from Legends
BB,T: Destroy target Legend. It can’t be regenerated
I can think of better things to do with seven mana…
Probably a staple of B/R.
3BR, Sorcery, Rare
Choose a number. Destroy all artifacts and creatures with converted mana cost equal to that number. Then target player reveals his or her hand and discards from it all nonland cards with converted mana cost equal to the number.
Again, this is probably too slow and restrictive.
Decks: Well I mentioned discard/burn. There might be enough juice for some beatdown in these colors. B/R Ponza/Land Destruction is a possibility, as the two pack a plethora of land destruction spells. And I think you have to mention the return of Soul Burn…but to maximize that spell might take three colors or be something in a 5Cgreen idea.
An interesting combo that has provided real power in the past, such as the Illusions Donate deck called Trix. Traditionally many players have seen the themes of discard and counter at odds, and while Blue is usually reactionary Black is more about tapping out into action.
Counter target noncreature spell.
Destroy target non-black creature, it cannot be regenerated.
My personal fave of the split cards, this is the one that works best together. If it’s a creature that has come down, there is a good chance you can kill it. If it’s not, you counter.
2BU, Sorcery, Rare
Choose two target creatures controlled by one player. That player sacrifices one of them, then returns the other to its owner’s hand.
Not that bad… not that good, either. Let me choose and it would be better.
2BU, Sorcery, Uncommon
Look at target player’s hand and choose a card other than a basic land card from it. Search that player’s graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with the same name as the chosen card and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
A talked-about reprint. Could wreck some decks, obviously.
1BU, Instant, Common
Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand. Then that player discards a card from his or her hand.
Since you’ll probably be playing discard, this card has some power – and I’ve already had some success with it. When they have no cards, it basically puts anything targetable in the grave. That’s pretty good.
2BU, Enchantment, Uncommon
All opponents play with their hands revealed.
Sacrifice Seer’s Vision: Look at target player’s hand and choose a card from it. That player discards that card. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Another card that might be interesting going to the binder… but I, going against a lot of "traditional" wisdom, like the "look and counter with a discard" option approach. The problem is that this will be a pill to get down without getting yourself pummeled while you are tapped for its cost…
BU, Enchant Creature, Uncommon
Enchanted creature can’t be blocked except by artifact creatures and/or Black creatures.
Whenever enchanted creature deals combat damage to an opponent, you may draw a card.
I just think this is one of the most powerful cards in the set. Drop it on a discard creature and you have a tough-to-block creature that is going to yield big card advantage.
2BU, Creature – Serpent 2/3, Uncommon
Forestwalk (This creature is unblockable as long as defending player controls a forest.)
3BUU, Instant, Rare
Play Spinal Embrace only during combat.
Untap target creature you don’t control and gain control of it. That creature gains haste until end of turn. At end of turn, sacrifice the creature. If you do, you gain life equal to its toughness. (The creature may attack and T the turn it comes under your control.)
Cost-prohibitive, I would think.
1BU, Creature – Assassin 1/1, Rare
3U, T: Tap target creature.
3B, T: Destroy target tapped creature.
(No comment, Will? – The Ferrett)
BUU, Instant, Rare
Counter target spell. That spell’s controller loses 3 life.
The 3 slot counter again; better than the first, I think. Another fave.
1BU, Enchantment, Rare
All creatures have "At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice this creature unless you pay 1 life."
Is that supposed to be ConsuMption there, MtG News? Well anyway, it looks like a response to Rebels – and hordes in general. With Black’s creature control and Blue’s counter abilities for everything else, you could sit on this card (with perhaps some bounce) until you got the upper hand with a blue or black fattie that turns the game. Still it’s too narrow for a main deck slot, I think.
BU, Creature – Merfolk Zombie 2/2, Common
Protection from green
Stops Blasty and assorted other fatties and that’s good, very good. Sideboard again for this color combo.
Decks: I personally think that IF Magpile was good, then Sleeper’s Robe goes that one better – particularly on the likes of the regenerating Apparition and the flying Specter, which the Dark Ritual can turn out fast. You can then protect it with counters. I personally think this is one of the stronger combos along with G/W and U/W. Chris Cade produced an Ankh Tide deck in U/B.
Conclusion: I think that these allied color themes will probably not supplant monocolored ideas, but rather that the two will vie rather closely and make a lot of decks and ideas viable – along with, perhaps, a few decks that include more colors, including 5 color Green (which I have already seen). One thing that I have noticed while playing is that the availability of eight viable lands to produce allied color mana will overpower the use of Rishadan Port. I’ve been playing some two-color allied decks and I have rarely been shut off from a color of mana. A two-color deck winds up with twice as many lands that can supply twice as many colors as an opponent has ports, and the environment appears slowed – which shrinks the Port’s early game importance. We’ll see how well my feelings here translate into the future.
This situation of multicolor proliferation and high options in deck building should lead to a rather more complex metagame for the type 2 environment. It looks interesting to me and I hope my opinion on this matter helps.