Michaelj Monday – Shadowmoor Snap Judgments

Read Mike Flores every Friday... at StarCityGames.com!
Monday, April 14th – Shadowmoor is coming, and the world is readying itself for the New Cards. Over on

MagictheGathering.com, official previews have littered the sight for a number of days. Today, Mike looks at each of them and

examines how they might fit into Constructed. If you’re looking for those sleeper hits before they come alive, look no further!

I was on Facebook today and strolled over to the Movies section. It asked me what movies I had seen recently. There was a time, around 1998 or 1999, where I saw literally every movie. I lived near one of those ten screen multiplexes and had nothing to do but drive across town twice a week to play Magic: The Gathering at a not-local-to-me local store with Tim Aten, Worth Wollpert, etc (this is before I moved to New York, obviously). So when I wasn’t playing Magic: The Gathering, I saw all these really average movies like I Still Know What You Did Last Summer and Event Horizon… I mean I saw every movie to the point that I actually hated going to the movies… But I had nothing else to do but eat three pound bags of M&Ms every afternoon until I could watch between three and five hours of The X Files with my mother, so what are you going to do? Eventually I saw Shakespeare in Love, and I was saved and liked movies again… and then the last movie I saw in that theater before I moved to New York was The Phantom Menace. You can’t win ’em all.

Anyway, I don’t really go to the movies any more. I am just very busy due to traveling, managing an awesome day job, having two children, and attempting to manage being a passable husband to a wife I really never deserved, so now I mostly watch movies on the tee vee, thanks to my Blockbuster Total Access account. The most recent movie I saw was No Country For Old Men. So when Facebook asked, I wanted to rate No Country For Old Men but I wasn’t sure if I should give it four stars or four and a half stars. Is that how many stars it deserves? Jonny Magic gave it something like two or two and a half stars. Did I really like No Country For Old Men that much? Was I shaken or just a snap judgment victim of peer pressure? I guess we’ll never know, because I didn’t end up rating it.

I wanted to go into my log of movies and figure out what I had rated or would rate other movies. I did not like No Country For Old Men more than Mullholland Drive; Mullholland Drive is the best movie ever. For that matter I did not like it as much as Kill Bill Vol 2, or probably even Starship Troopers. Being internally consistent is very important to me. What did I rate those? It turns out that I didn’t rate them at all, simply indicated that I liked them. How much time am I going to spend rating / not rating / deciding whether or not to rate No Country For Old Men? I have things to do. Jonny rated it two or two and a half stars. How forthright! Damn him.

So I ended up not rating it rating it. I have always liked the Siskel and Ebert / Ebert and Roeper / Roeper and Whoever model. When Teddy Card Game first asked me to do my first set review, I just wanted to do thumbs up / thumbs down. So that’s what I’m doing for this one.

Pete / Craig will probably have us doing some sort of more structured reviews for Shadowmoor once everything is said, done, released, etc, but this week I decided to just do everything they have listed on the mother ship. Go here for a full breakdown of the cards previewed thus far.


This card is pretty awesome.

Thumbs up.


Is that not a very good way to start this rundown? I am actually revisiting this Friday night while I watch the two episodes of The Gilmore Girls that I DVR every day, so Plumeveil is actually one of the middle-to-last cards I am working on (I am publishing in the same order as on the mother ship). Basically I have been very busy living the fabulous life recently (more later) so my article was late, and Craig had to slot the Innovator and the David Beckham of New York Magic in my place (nice subs!).

When I look at a card like Plumeveil, I remember cards like Tidal Wave.

Do you not know what Tidal Wave does?

Put a 5/5 blue Wall creature token with defender into play. Sacrifice it at end of turn.

This card won a Constructed Standard Pro Tour. It was instant speed “removal” that could handle Ihsan’s Shade and Wildfire Emissary… a Dark Banishing of sorts for the U/W decks.

On the one hand Plumeveil misses the “doesn’t get around protection from White” clause; on the other hand, in a Swords to Plowshares-less modern Standard, that is a more-or-less irrelevant ability; on balance, Plumeveil is persistent… Its 4/4 doesn’t disappear the way Tidal Wave’s 5/5 would. It seems like a fine way to stomp, say, Gaddock Teeg.

Still thumbs up, most likely as a medium sideboard card in dedicated White, Blue, Blue-White, or Black-Blue decks.

Tattermunge Maniac

In contrast against Fulminator Mage (see below), I don’t think I missed anything on this one; I’ll thank you to check out the review on the mother ship.

Big thumbs up.

Actually, before we move on, Tattermunge Maniac reminds me of Pat Sullivan, and the last time I talked to Pat Sullivan in real life (I think it was U.S. Nationals this past summer), he asked me to write more about going out drinking (possibly Mark Herberholz was standing near us). More specifically, he noted that in the old days (say eight or nine years ago… man, am I old) I used to write about going out and picking up old ladies in drinking establishments, Zvi’s failed duels with girly mixed drinks, and a variety of embarrassing anecdotes, mostly strike outs. I don’t really do that anymore because I don’t really go out drinking any more (ask Osyp – he asked me to meet up in the city tonight and I turned him down on account of my wife is paying back another couple who helped us out a week ago by babysitting their three kids and I am watching ours, blah blah). However, I drink a fair bit of red wine, at least a half a bottle a week, specifically for the antioxidants but also because I enjoy wine. I am also lucky enough to be rubbing up against the good life a couple of times a month, and this week specifically I had the opportunity to sample three different bottles of $200+ red wine, and contrast it with the stuff I keep on the counter at my apartment.

My conclusion is that I can’t tell the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $200 or even $300 bottle of wine. I like drinking red wine in a general sense but I have no higher palette for it (I don’t even smoke, so I don’t have any excuse).


I am a simple magician at heart. This one is too confusing for me!

Probably it wasn’t intended for serious Spike Constructed consideration (watch this show up was the next major Japanese innovation)… Chris Millar’s deck on the mother ship included Centaur Safeguard, so I think I am safe with this assumption that this one is intended for a more casual audience.

The main thing that keeps popping up in my head is that Cowards can’t block Warriors, and maybe there will be a Changeling in play when you bring.

Yes. Exactly what you are thinking right now.

Thumbs down.

Deep-Slumber Titan

I thought for at least 17 minutes about how I would go about giving this card vigilance or what implication trample would have on it. My conclusion is that I am thinking too hard.

I have no opinion on whether this card can be playable in Block Constructed but my guess is that it will be worthless in Standard main deck. The outside possibility is in the Hunted Wumpus / Rumbling Slum role we saw in the Honolulu finals. Otherwise…

Thumbs down.

Oona, Queen of the Fae

This, on the other hand, is just a fantastic card. I see it primarily as a finisher, not a compliment to any Faeries deck we have seen thus far (that said, like Sliver Queen in the past, this might be an awesome card in the Faeries mirror, long game).

As a finisher for control, Oona serves multiple important roles. She is a finisher Dragon-style, an absolutely huge 5/5 for six mana. She offers an alternate route to victory… two in fact, with both deck exhaustion and a Bitterblossom-like effect. Third, and depending on the metagame possibly the most important, Oona is a Bitterblossom solution herself. With one untap she can match a Bitterblossom in play and overwhelm it quite quickly.

Oona’s exhaustion / creation ability is a poly effect, meaning you can do it more than once, and potentially at will. You can screw up top-of-library effects; Oona is absolute poison for decks with few win conditions.

Is it looney that I want to play Oona and Crovax in the same deck? She’s half Keiga, half Meloku, better than neither, but a busty mother all the same.

Thumbs up.

Before we continue, thinking about Oona – a choice slab of flesh if there ever was one – reminds me of some of the recent steak dining I have been doing lately. Two weeks ago I had the best steak I have had this year (2008)… and I actually can’t remember ever having a better steak at all, you know, ever. It was the rib steak at the original Bobby Van’s (there are three Bobby Van’s in New York); I actually made the mistake of ordering it rare on account of if you order your steak medium rare you run the risk of getting it medium, which is basically horrifying for a decent piece of meat, but Bobby Van’s is the highest rated steakhouse in the city and I probably should have considered that before ordering… It was a little stringy (my fault) but still probably the best steak I’ve ever had – think about that one. Last week a vendor took me to Old Homestead in the West Village; by contrast I got my prime rib medium rare but it came out like a thick piece of carpaccio; it wasn’t bad by any means, but nevertheless the lonely occasion that I didn’t finish my meat; on balance they had a kind of Luger’s-style thick cut Kobe bacon (I assume this was a beef bacon)… It was like $7 a slice but unique enough to be well worth it (especially when you are not paying). I was tempted to get the glazed Kurobuta pork chop (Google it!), but I am like mono-steak in these situations. Recently BDM and I were discussing grass-fed versus grain-fed domestic beef; I actually bought an Australian grass-fed ribeye today and cooked it myself. That is not a gauge for anything as I am a fairly incompetent cook.


Dire Undercurrents

The framework for this card is pretty strange. It is an expensive Dimir card at five mana, which for those of you who have been paying attention for the past nine years, is one mana more expensive than master strategist Zvi Mowshowitz would have you believe is the amount of mana that you should play for a card that wins the game all by itself; -DOES- Dire Undercurrents win the game all by itself? By definition, no.

This card is very expensive and it is also a creature-reliant Dimir card, which is curiouser and curiouser. So you have to get Dire Undercurrents out, and then after that you can start reaping some kind of card advantage benefits. It just so happens that there is a pretty workable Dimir creature deck in Standard, so there might be a framework there… In fact, that deck has a little two-mana machine that can spit out a Black creature each turn, which over the long haul with Dire Undercurrents, can mean a complete hand lockdown. Sprinkle in some Pestermites or Cloud Sprites (I know, I know) and you have cards up as well as cards down.

… But I really don’t see this card in Faeries, do you? Can you cheat it into play? I suppose some kind of strange Enduring Ideal-type play can produce a Dire Undercurrents and then you can play Black and Blue creatures resulting in… Oh wait, you can’t.

I’m stumped.

The only place I can see this even remotely is in a matchup where you can reasonably resolve a five mana spell and where producing creatures over and over for Trish purposes could prove fruitful in what I can only assume would be a scripted long game. The fact that this very article has so many “thumbs up” Blue and Black creatures doesn’t change my opinion.

Thumbs down.

Burn Trail

Six damage for four mana is a nice deal, but given how conditional the second half of the six is… This card is likely to be Constructed Unplayable.

It’s possible that in a smaller format where a Red Deck (or deck that can easily acquire a single Red mana) that has a lot of creatures needs a breaker, this one might be a sideboard option… Again, that is pretty unlikely, even in Block.

Thumbs down.

Sygg, River Cutthroat

This card is priced very nicely. As I’ve said many time, Magic is largely a game of two drops. Have you thought of this? Turn 1 Mountain, Suspend Rift Bolt; turn 2 play Graven Cairns, summon Sygg. Draw a card! Medium disgusting, no?

Of course you can attack people with Sygg and Jonny Magic, all that; draw cards the old fashioned way, you know, by kicking opponents in the face… for one… three times?

Thumbs up.

Din of the Fireherd

There was a point where I was advocating sevens as the new sixes… and with decent reason! Simic Sky Swallower and Angel of Despair were ruling the skies over Standard… but I think I draw the line at eights. Oh, I don’t know… I guess that I used to hard cast Akroma, Angel of Wrath.

So fair… You will summon Din of the Fireherd sometimes. One thing to remember is that you don’t need both Red and Black mana to play this; either or will do. Worst case, you get a 5/5 with a Stone Rain and a Diabolic Edict; best case, you have had Bitterblossom in play since turn 2. This card is not dissimilar to a somewhat easier to cast Angel of Despair for one more mana, but that can theoretically generate much more card advantage… for a little more mana; on the other hand, your 5/5 doesn’t fly.

So unfair… How do you cheat this card into play? I actually thought it was creature when I wrote those first two paragraphs, so now I feel all awkward. I suppose you can’t play Careful Consideration into Makeshift Mannequin, after all. There is always good old mana acceleration like Lotus Bloom and Rite of Flame; while less powerful than Dragonstorm, Din of the Fireherd is cheaper but still provides some nice and significant upside. One thing to remember is that Angel of Despair in Standard came from the graveyard rather than the hand at least half the time (Zombify, Dread Return, Debtors’ Knell), and that is not an option if Din of the Fireberd is not a creature on the way down. Again, there is a lot of potential upside here, but you’ll have to pay for it.

Thumbs up.

Augury Adept

Is this card real? You can play it for full value in your White Weenie Kithkin deck? If your creature is getting through, Augury Adept has significantly more impact than Ophidian.

So what about the +1/-1 thing? It could be an issue; Ophidian used to slither around Jackal Pups all day due to the relative toughness of the one against the power and toughness of the other… Augury Adept doesn’t have the same kind of leeway against modern Tattermunge Maniac or even Mogg Fanatic.

Still, Augury Adept is very flexible. It can go in a kind of a Boros deck to keep the fires stoked. It can go in a U/R deck drawing burn or drawing permission. Blue decks can side it in against other Blue decks. Bang bang. You have no blockers! In fact, I don’t see why this card can’t be Flagship the way Ophidian was… Sure, the Adept is a little smaller, but Ophidian fell below its format’s high water mark and was a successful cornerstone anyway. Why not?

This seems like a solidly wonderful card all around. Hitting with it just twice seems insurmountable in many matchups.

Thumbs up.

Shield of the Oversoul

I’m just wondering if there are good enough creatures in the Spirit StOmPy deck that you would play this as a Tallowisp bullet to defend one of them. Presently I just don’t see this being a huge Constructed card.

Thumbs down.

Drove of Elves

I don’t see this as the headline four drop main deck. Drove of Elves is the classic example of a card that I try to fit in but that never even makes the Alpha cut in a deck… It is, in its own way, even more conditional than Wren’s Run Packmaster.

I have been thinking about this as a way to break the Elves mirror match; in my experience the breaker in the Elves mirror match is usually either Imperious Perfect or Garruk WildspeakerDrove of Elves can’t unlock Perfect advantage if Perfect can hold off Drove indefinitely, and it can’t stop a trample kill if the opponent has enough guys.

Thumbs down.

Jaws of Stone

Just too expensive for Standard. Maybe it will be played in Block… splashable, at least.

Thumbs down.

Rosheen Meanderer

Mediocre Green creature… You can get a variety of 5/5 creatures for four in Green; whatever four. There are loads of better mana accelerators, too. It might be a reasonable creature to run in Green just because it is a Shaman (could be a combo with Treefolk into Profane Command, for instance).

Nice Red creaure for its cost… 4/4 creatures for four in Red usually have serious disadvantages rather than abilities (even if this one is pretty narrow). The boost on X-spells isn’t meaningless, but I hardly see it coming up every game.

Thumbs up.

Wasp Lancer

I wasn’t particularly enthused the first time I saw this card, but it compares pretty decently to the Rishadan Airship class of creatures… Again Top 8 in past Standard Pro Tours. You don’t build around this card, it’s not Wild Mongrel, for modern Standard it probably isn’t even intended for Constructed play… But it’s still not a bad card for its cost and can find a home in the right framework

That said, I don’t think that current Standard Faeries would cut to make room for this card. It’s more in the vein of a deck that needs a Serendib Efreet. Still…

Thumbs up.

Knollsine Invocation

My gut is that this card is not very good… It might see some Block play but compare it to Stormbind.

Mana cost is the same.

Activation cost is variable.

Stormbind lets you toss lands to do your dirty work… Not so, here.

Upside is greater here, but more expensive, too. With Stormbind, if you were in topdeck mode, you could generally race; with Knollspine Invocation, you are less likely to be able to race, unless you pluck some nice mana costs. The card is at once more versatile and more limited than the point of comparison.

Stormbind won the first Pro Tour it was legal, and in dramatic fashion! Yet sees almost no play today. One of the things that I use as major barometer for both implementation and theory is the quality of the best people who adhere to them; Brian Schneider once told me he didn’t think Stormbind is very good. All in all, I think Knollspine Invocaiton is worse than a card that sees next to no modern play, worse than a card that one of my major heroes in deck design never thought was very good.

Thumbs down.

Beseech the Queen

Can I say two thumbs way up?

Absolute worst case, this card – for searching purposes – compares very nicely with Staple Tolaria West. We don’t have to deal with worst case 100% of the time. In fact, you will be finding some sort of non-zero breaker quite often in the later game. Just a very good card.

Some people are trying to do mono-Black control in the new Standard… This card should be much better than old MBC staple Diabolic Tutor. We even have Mirari! Just a very good card.

Thumbs up.

Sunken Ruins

Most of the set unseen, this is my pick for the best card in Shadowmoor.

Sunken Ruins is better than Underground Sea in basically any situation that doesn’t involve Flooded Strand being legal in a format, so… What are the chances that there will be a card better than the best B/U dual land? The existence of this card, all by its lonesome, is one of the main reasons why Demigod of Revenge is so good.

Thumbs up.

Ashenmoor Gouger

Have you heard that people don’t really block in Constructed?

There is not a huge amount of down side to this card, either in Black or Red. With Graven Cairns and Sunken Ruins in the format, this will not be that difficult to play (I can already imagine tapping Pendelhaven for it).

The only thing about not blocking is that even if no one really blocks, you can often scare someone into not attacking; so like if your opponent goes Tarmogoyf on turn 2 and you go Ashenmoor Gouger on turn 3, he’s just going to smash in; often the ‘goyf guy will have to do something before attacking into a reasonable three mana creature… It’s not an option here.

Offensively, this card is pretty good. It’s not exciting really, but it’s a solid. Note that Ashenmoor Gouger is a Warrior… If you can work haste into the equation thanks to Obsidian Battle-Axe, it starts looking a little more exciting, don’t you think?

Ashenmoor Gouger might not be a Tier One or anything, but nevertheless…

Thumbs up.

Fulminator Mage

After the article I did on the mother ship, Greg Weiss chatted me up telling me he thought I got it wrong.

Rather than being default to Red Deck, he didn’t think that Red would be that interested; instead, he sees Fulminator Mage as “a Black Sakura-Tribe Elder” … You don’t have to get more fancy than that.

I still see this as being a serious problem alongside Grim Harvest for Standard long games.

Thumbs up.


How do you consider this Elemental’s cost?

It’s a six, but you can get up to two back immediately. That doesn’t make it a four – even a four with an upside – because you actually need to put a down payment of six down first (obviously a 6/4 for four in Red is something worth looking at if you can afford four). You can call it whatever you want, and it can pay you back with anything immediately (an Incinerate, a Shriekmaw evoke, a Telling Time), but you still need to make that six mana down payment before you get any kind of a return, and that is the barrier.

So let’s call it a five (which it isn’t)… It’s still worse than Kodama of the North Tree by a lot.

On the other hand, with four Brighthearth Bannerets in play, you, um break even on mana.

Thumbs down.

Crowd of Cinders

Who has a lot of Black permanents in play?

It can, for certain, make a Bitterblossom look better. Does a Bitterblossom need to look better with in this kind of a way? In this writer’s opinion, not in most situations.

Is there anyone else who has a lot of Black permanents in play?

Thumbs down.

Merrow Wavebreakers

Aside from being a Merfolk, this is just worse than Air Elemental for Constructed, by itself.

On the other hand, if you have a Paradise Mantle on one, with two Mana Reflections in play, you can generate infinite mana, I think.

Thumbs down.

Dramatic Entrance

It might surprise some of the Eternal aficionados out there to know that people actually played Flash before the Flash Hulk decks. Flash / Morphling was a real problem setup, Blue versus Blue. Do you counter Flash end of turn? If you don’t… you had better be able to beat a Morphling in play. Of course sometimes it was a bluff.

Dramatic Entrance isn’t as good a test spell because it’s so much more expensive, but on the other hand you can potentially get a discount on a more expensive creature card. Like think of something big and dumb like Woodfall Primus or Mossbridge Troll, something you wouldn’t really play for retail… One of those too expensive but undeniably powerful big and dumb creatures… You might not play one of those under normal circumstances, but Dramatic Entrance makes them playable.

A really practical example might be Verdant Force. Dramatic Entrance is only more mana than Natural Order, and you don’t have to sacrifice a creature; one more mana instead of a creature (of course you have to draw your Verdant Force somehow).

Thumbs up.

Scarscale Ritual

There are a fair number of decks that can produce Black or Blue mana that have no problem with the negative condition of Scarscale Ritual. For example any deck with Epochrasite or Bitterblossom, and most decks with Mulldrifter… None of them probably care about the downside of this card – plus there are the creatures that can manipulate the -1/-1 counters they are wearing.

This card isn’t remarkable by any means, but it should be a solid.

Thumbs up.

Cragganwick Cremator

This can be a pretty strategic card. You can wait until you just have creature in hand so that the downside can become a bonus… Then again, you are giving up the speed that makes this card enticing.

Have you ever played Balduvian Horde? It’s pretty horrible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it do anything remotely impressive… Cragganwick gives up a point of toughness for a possible ping; now that I think of it, do I want to be discarding a large creature [that I might have mana to play] to enable this? Too awkward for me.

Thumbs down.

Tower Above

People like Stonewood Invocation because it can’t be countered, a solid finisher. Tower Above has a bell and a whistle, but is really a Giant Growth for one more point, at three times the mana cost. Almost any aggro deck is going to have something better to do with its mana.

Thumbs down.

Dusk Urchins

It’s hard to pigeonhole this card into an existing category. Despite the respectable stats, it’s not a great attacker because Dusk Urchins acquires a -1/-1 counter even when swinging across an empty field. Seems like a solid defender, though; almost a Thirst for Knowledge stapled to a removal spell.

Thumbs up.

Kinscaer Harpoonist


Thumbs down.

Wilt-Leaf Liege

Did you see? They made a new Dodecapod?


Yeah. But it’s only a 4/4, not a 5/5 when it comes down.

That’s not so bad… it’s like Sand Golem. There was a tournament once when I didn’t have any guys who could live through Aether Flash, so I sided my Sand Golems in against R/W just because they were base 3/3.

That’s awful.

Awful and true! I guess Dodecapod was too good? I know a lot of people had it as an automatic sideboard inclusion at States…

Maybe. Like I said this one is only 4/4. However, it makes all other Green creatures +1/+1, and all other White creatures +1/+1.

Wow! It’s Green and White, though? I thought you said it was a Dodecapod.

Actually it costs 1(g/w)(g/w)(g/w).

Oh, so four generic mana.

Thumbs up.

Scuzzback Marauders

Very Gigapede-ish (I got that one from BDM).

I don’t see this as the kind of card you will typically play main deck in a straight attack deck, but it can be a nice weapon against control; attrition is a rough time against Scuzzback Marauders. If you can figure a way to play the same copy more than once, it should get relentless.

Thumbs up.

Grief Tyrant

The ability is pretty awesome. Also a snap thumbs down rating doesn’t take into account cards we haven’t seen, such as efficient ways to distribute existing -1/-1 counters; however, this card seems too expensive in the abstract.

Thumbs down.

Woodfall Primus

Cute but expensive.

Thumbs down.

Thought Reflection

Cute but expensive.

Thumbs down.

Mossbridge Troll

Cute but expensive.

Thumbs down.

Grim Poppet

This card is just fantastic. Grim Poppet is very comparable to Triskelavus, but much faster; it is probably worse than Triskelavus main deck in a deck that can utilize a lot of mana because if there aren’t creatures to be stung, the conditional speed of Grim Poppet’s Serrated Arrows-like ability is actually pretty horrendous. However, as a sideboard card, it is a little like a Masticore.

Up against a Bitterblossom in play, managing to resolve this is one of the more exciting things I can think of to help turn the game around.

It probably goes without saying but this is probably one of the best cards to link up with Scarscale Ritual… Because, you know, two cards aren’t enough.

Thumbs up.

Rhys the Redeemed

I’m not sure how these can both be true, but I think that Rhys the Redeemed isn’t very exciting, but at the same time, he is destined to be an automatic four-of in numerous decks. He is a solid one-drop with a flexible mana cost. He is basically a Rogue Elephant with Wilt-Leaf Liege in play, and unlike many and most token producers, Rhys the Redeemed makes Green and White creatures, even better with Wilt-Leaf Liege.

BDM pointed out that Rhys is kind of like the opposite of Imperious Perfect, a one mana creature that pumps out guys for three, rather than a three mana Lord who does the same for one (just an observation). Rhys the Redeemed’s “doubling” ability might be powerful… If you get to that point in the game, with the right board position, everything should be coming up Piznarski.

On the other hand, Rhys is so tiny that he is probably not going to matter a lot of the time. Also, his token creation ability is pretty awkward for what it costs; do you really want to pay three and tap? Rhys is going to be best after an attrition fight, the right topdeck, a threat shopping mall (I can’t believe I’m drawing lands and you drew that thing), but imagine how the game has to be going against a real opponent for the double up to be relevant even one time. I ain’t saying that it’s never going to happen; I am saying I think that Rhys will be heavily played; yet, I think you can play an entire tournament day without ever getting into a position where the second ability is relevant, let alone right.

Thumbs up.

Godhead of Awe

I am giving this thumbs up just because of the potential combination with Crovax (Godhead is 5/5, everyone else is dead). In general I think this is one of the more overrated cards. Godhead of Awe is basically Air Elemental in a control deck. The 1/1 ability is okay, but one of the biggest threats in formats where Godhead of Awe will be played is Bitterblossom. It doesn’t erase text, so Lords still work.

Godhead of Awe isn’t “bad” by any means, but I think it has just inspired excitement at a slightly unjustified level, that’s all.

Thumbs up.

Tattermunge Witch

It’s probably better than Rage Weaver and Firebrand Ranger, which means that it will probably end up in a World Championships Top 8 before rotating out of Standard; plus, it’s a Goblin.

Thumbs up.

Swans of Bryn Argoll

Dakmoor Salvage + Seismic Assault + Swans of Bryn Argoll [+ Abundance] is [probably] a gee gee.

Probably you don’t want to play Swans first in the mirror match.

People might actually want to run more -1/-1 counters, just to kill Swans.

For a whole article of information, read Patrick’s article from last week.

Thumbs up.

Order of Whiteclay

I actually can’t imagine ever beating this card. I think the untap mechanic (rather than traditional tapping) makes this a little more fair; barring something like a Springleaf Drum, Order of Whiteclay actually has to attack in order to start abusing you, but know it will be vigilence-style.

Drawing two copies of this thing just seems impossible to beat for many decks. One order can defend the other one going long. With four toughness, Order of Whiteclay is almost protection from red. There are so many Augurs and Tarmogoyfs and so on… You have to kill this thing. Otherwise they will just keep coming back.

Thumbs up.

Curse of Chains

It can be a Pacifism; it can work with your own untap mechanic cards such as Order of Whiteclay. Plus and plus.

Thumbs up.

Inkfathom Infiltrator

Unexciting, but a Merfolk and a Rogue. The unblockable thing might make her a solid Prowl candidate.

Thumbs up.

Wingrattle Scarecrow

Probably not good enough for Constructed.

Thumbs down.

Leech Bonder

Here’s another one that Scarcale and make friends with. I don’t know this will be a main deck Merfolk, but it seems like a solid sideboard card, especially when teamed up with Spring-Leaf Drum. By his second attack, Leech Bonder can already graduate to 3/3 for three mana.

Thumbs up.

Ballynock Cohort

White Weenie is choked for good drops. This one seems like a fine card but might not make the cut due to the intense competition for drops and curve points, or will make the cut in some versions but not most; something like that.

Thumbs up.

Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers

Three generic mana, 3/4 Vigilence? Seems as good a deal as you can get for three mana. He has the same first name as another card on this list… It should be pretty awesome how those cards pair up. Elves might have been one of the better strategies in the Worlds era Standard, but Llanowar Elves into this guy into Wilt-Leaf Liege? All kinds of awesome as you are bringing with a 5/6 Vigilence on turn three.

The completely insane thing is that as good as this card is in that scripted situation is that it might not make the cut in Standard. I think it will (I mean, look at it) but the three spot is a little choked in Green, and Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers is worse than Imperious Perfect… It’s a tossup between this guy and Civic Wayfinder. Might we cut Tarmogoyf? With an eight pack of one mana accelerators, My Fires didn’t play River Boa, remember.

Thumbs up.

Demigod of Revenge

A lot of people are saying this is better than Rorix in every way. Well, that’s true (he’s kind of like a repeating Rorix machine gun), and you can certainly play Demigod of Revenge with a lot of Red… But I think you can expect Black / Blue to run this card (think Careful Consideration).

Demigod of Revenge is extremely powerful in a B/U deck, kind of reminiscent of Tombstalker; with enough Sunken Ruins, your Blue mana is also Black mana, so you might even be able to start busting these guys out on turn 4. Osyp actually thinks that that kind of a deck might want Red mana anyway, and Graven Cairns works both ways.

The combination of speed, potential turn 4 action with cards like Coldsteel Heart, the synergy with card drawing and discard, and the relentless built-in card advantage all together make this one of my favorite cards in the new set.

Thumbs up.

Shadowmoor seems like it will be a significant upgrade in terms of speed and power. The hybrid mana will make for interesting deck development, and I couldn’t me more excited about the dual lands cycle that is implied by Sunken Ruins. The threats are perfect for beatdown (Tattermunge Maniac), mid range (Wilt-Leaf Liege), control (Oona, Queen of the Fae) and all / other / combo (Demigod of Revenge). Straight control seems like it might be in trouble between Tattermunge Maniac and Fulminator Mage, plus the repeating action of Demigod of Revenge. Will Extirpate main become necessary? it’s pretty exciting.