“This hunk will take a chunk out of you.”
Todd Swipes Right: Getting delirium early in the game is rather difficult, but Grim Flayer likes to help. Trample is a useful mechanic for a creature that can grow itself over time, and especially so when his deck manipulation effect is triggered upon combat damage to the player. If you’re able to deal with their blockers, you get to set up your next draw, eliminate poor topdecks, and eventually attain delirium.
But Grim Flayer is not without its downsides. Two-color creatures that are built to be aggressive aren’t exactly awesome when so many of the two-color lands at our disposal enter the battlefield tapped. Luckily, black and green are enemy colors and Llanowar Wastes should help a bit, but the last thing I would do is put Grim Flayer into an aggressive deck. I’m not sure exactly where it will fit, but it should find a home somewhere (and maybe even in Modern).
Brad Swipes Left: I love me a card that’s ambitious about self-improvement, which got me interested in this card initially. It wasn’t until further inspection that I started to get a little unsure of it. I don’t want to be told what I have to do on turn 3 of the game. Grim Flayer pretty much needs my attention until it gets what it wants. Being forced to kill a creature on turn 3 to facilitate what this card needs will give me limited time to set up other elements of my deck. Confident this card will come off too needy to make my deck.
“Don’t make me hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry.”
“I’m a pescatarian.”
Todd Swipes Right: If you’re into Squid of the seafood or Eldrazi variety, then this might be the card for you. Hailing from the reaches of the dark nowhere, entering the plane of Innistrad through some unsuspecting Matter Reshaper, Elder Deep-Fiend is a strong but dependent creature. It is rumored that it may be the lovechild of Mistbind Clique and Kozilek, but they’ve been discarded due to insufficient evidence (the destruction of Lorwyn).
Brad Swipes Right: Now doesn’t this card remind of me of lost love. I remember the days of tapping my opponent’s lands with Mistbind Clique like they were yesterday. Never again did I think I would find a card that could make me so happy while frustrating my opponents to no end. I really thought this was the one, and I was ready to let her champion my heart. Sadly, Misty had to relocate for work in Modernville to further her career, and I’ve never seen her since. Finally I will be able to remember my glory days by taking this emerging powerhouse out for a spin.
“Yeah, I’m a manager at a grocery store. What’s it to you?”
Todd Swipes Left: Ol’ Take Inventory has been around the block a time or two. Made the papers once, over a decade ago. I don’t exactly remember. But what I do know is that Take Inventory has taken a bad turn, ever since its dreams of winning a Pro Tour were foiled. It’s slower now, and I honestly wouldn’t bother. Too much work to get too little out of it. Let this relic rest in peace. Where it belongs… (the graveyard).
Brad Swipes Left: Is it just me or do blue spells seem to just not care anymore? It’s been years since I was out looking for new cards and I remember blue spells doing wondrous things with their lives. Now they seem to just be cheap knockoffs of forgotten flavor. Take Inventory seems like it’s going to always make promises to do things, and just never follow through. I’m not wasting my time waiting for another card to do its thing. Not interested!
“Hi, I’m Jarvis Yu, and I have a problem.”
Todd Swipes Right: I think this card is something special, but not for Standard. I’m excited to see what it can do in older formats, specifically because of how much it reminds me of Replenish. There are so many ways to put lands into your graveyard in Modern. I mean, it seems like a splendid combo with Hedron Crab, amirite?
Seriously, this card is pretty ridiculous, but I don’t think anyone will break it for some time.
Brad Swipes Left: Rejection is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s an amazing thing! There are just too many variables on this planet that make it impossible to think everyone is going to like you. Rejection gives you more opportunity to find true love in the future. That’s a good thing! Just like me rejecting Splendid Reclamation for being something I’m not interested in. That’s a good thing because that gives this card more time to try to find those that do want to be with it. Like Sam Black, or Countryside Crusher.
“I was in a movie once. Have you seen Alien?”
Todd Swipes Right: This is the control killer for Standard. You can build a deck around it. You can slide it seamlessly into existing strategies and come out better for it. Much like Elder Deep-Fiend, Distended Mindbender will be one of the powerhouse cards from the set, though its effect on the format might not be felt for another set or two.
It isn’t great against aggressive strategies and requires a Matter Reshaper sacrifice, but it is absurdly powerful. The fact that it triggers upon casting instead of resolution is a big deal when the decks you are most likely targeting are going to be control decks.
Brad Swipes Right: Who likes to live in this reality anyway? This card is everything I look for in a Standard staple. It interacts with an opponent’s hand in the early-game but punishes you for having them in the late. I’m predicting great things from this card and really hope I get a chance to do those things side-by-side with it!
“I like long walks along the gravestones at night.”
Todd Swipes Right: You can bet your bottom dollar that Cryptbreaker is going to make some waves alongside Dark Salvation. It might not hit very hard, but it is certainly powerful for a one-mana creature. I don’t know if there are enough Zombies in Standard to make it official, but Cryptbreaker might be the best one-drop printed since Deathrite Shaman.
Unfortunately, Deathrite Shaman wasn’t very good in Standard either.
Brad Swipes Left: I don’t like breaking the rules. Especially for my friends! No true friend would make you break the law. Cryptbreaker just seems like it will put me in situations I’m not comfortable with, like breaking into cemeteries and freeing Zombies that want to eat my brains. Then Cryptbreaker would just stand there with its buddies and talk all night long. Like all night! I’d ask to go home, but that just makes me the party pooper. Nope, not a chance I date another Zombie.
“I’ll invite one or two of my buddies over to get this party started.”
Todd Swipes Left (for now): Worse than Reprisal. Worse than Always Watching. Worse than Demystify. I get it, but what if you could pick between them? Or choose all three? I’m a fan of this card, but it sits right on top of Always Watching out of an aggressive white deck. It might not be time for it just yet, but this card is very good.
At the moment, efficient creatures are the talk of the town. Sylvan Advocate and Tireless Tracker can grow up to be four-power creatures, but I don’t know if I want to wait on that. I want more Mindwrack Demon and Goblin Dark-Dwellers in the format before I commit.
Brad Swipes Right: I heard Collective Effort spots Gideon at the gym, which pushes this card over the edge for me. I like me a card that can brute force its way around the battlefield, but I love cards that can do that while killing a few things along the way as well. I bet Collected Effort is misunderstood. My bet is deep down it just wants to be a stone cold killer, but all those muscles make people just think about the power bumps. Pretty sure this card will be used to kill more creatures than it will for anything else.
“Always a martyr, and never a martyrsmaid.”
Todd Swipes Left: Really? Another 2/1 flyer for two mana? At least it acts like a cheaper Dauntless Escort?
Oh… right. Never mind.
Brad Swipes Right: I’ve actually already gone out with this card. We were having a great time, Double S was telling me about all of its Spirit buddies, and I really thought I found something. Then out of nowhere that crazy Avacyn showed up at the bar. Double S started to get nervous and told me Avacyn used to pick on it back in grade school. I tried to calm it down, but Double S just vanished. All of a sudden Avacyn started transforming. Things were getting weird, so I got out of there. I really hope I get to see Double S again to tell it what kind of impact it had on Avacyn. Who knows, maybe they will become the best of friends from here on out.
“Cersei Lannister is my spirit animal.”
Todd Swipes Right: That’s one crazy…I mean eccentric spell. Nahiri, in all her tragic fury, is going in guns blazing and no one is making it out alive. Unless you can follow it up with a Bedlam Reveler or something.
Nahiri’s Wrath is a very strong card that I think will be misunderstood at first, but there is a reason it is a mythic rare. We’re moving away from the understood principles of pure card advantage and disadvantage. Yes, in a vacuum, Nahiri’s Wrath is going to cost us a card. But we can change that by discarding cards that give us delirium, or have madness, or can be used from the graveyard. On top of that, you’re generally spending three mana to kill two or three targets. That’s a pretty good rate, even if you’re losing a card.
Brad Swipes Left: You know how when you meet someone who has a temper, but once it comes out it was way more mild than your own? That’s Nahiris Wrath. This card seems like it’s all show and no pro…play. Maybe if red was a better color, but I just don’t want to waste my time. I’ll wait until someone else takes this card out on a date.