Pardon Me While I Remove My Pants: Cards To Look For At The Prerelease

Here’s a playing tip: If someone ‘Geddons you, or , or something equally global in its ability to sweep you of your hard-earned permanents, scoop up said permanents and shuffle them for about two seconds, place them on top of your graveyard, and grip it as if you were about to shuffle it, too. Pepper…

Here’s a playing tip:

If someone ‘Geddons you, or Obliterates, or something equally global in its ability to sweep you of your hard-earned permanents, scoop up said permanents and shuffle them for about two seconds, place them on top of your graveyard, and grip it as if you were about to shuffle it, too. Pepper this with sighs and much slumping in your chair.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, almost two weeks ago, my man in the hat, Giles, had just won a game. Not officially, but the fat lady was strapping on her singing boots.

You see, it was a good half of the way into the round of this PTQ, and Giles’s opponent, Eugene, had all of zero non-land permanents, and all of X land-like permanents.

(X being no greater than twelve, no less than eight.)

(Past tense.)

Giles delivered the killing blow like only a well-trained killing machine could, and booted his Desolation Angel onto the table.

(Present tense, for added drama…)

Eugene scoops up his permanents.

(Because they were all lands, and thus off to a dinner party hosted by the dodo.)

Giles thinks Eugene is conceding and begins shuffling for the next game, only noticing once his deck is dancing in his hands, that Eugene has deposited his lands in his graveyard and is staring back with his jaw trying to exit stage left.

(And, of course, failing, and thus giving the appearance that it is instead hanging agape.)

(At this point I’m called over to the table as ler judge availaber-uh.)

(Back now to past tense.)

We all agreed that Giles was not el-clevero persono, and had just snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

You probably now see how this relates to my above playing tip.

Maybe you have morals though, and are above trying to make your opponent accidentally pack it in. You should at least learn from this that you don’t pack away your cards until the loser actually loses and drops some dead give-away hints such as:

Sigh “Damn, good game. At least I’ll be able to whup some scrubs in the loser’s bracket.”


“That’s it, I’m deader than Dead McFred on dead pills.”


(If he’s English)

“Cor lummy chum, you sor’ed me out an’ no mistake.”


(If he’s Australian)

“A dingo stole me baby!”

(I must now take this opportunity to apologize to all English and Australian people.)

(It’s not your fault you’re so easily stereotyped.)

(Chums and mates…)

(Pause for subtle effect.)

(Here comes the actual content.)

(Content in five lines…)

(Three lines…)


What do you know? It’s Prerelease time again!

(If I had a dollar for every time I’ve typed that, I’d have a $3 bill y’all.)

And this time, we don’t have a complete spoiler. New cards are becoming known every day, but for those of you who like to prepare for your Prereleases with in-depth information on the quality of the commons/ uncommons, and which color is the best one for bunging into some sleeves, you may have to think on your feet somewhat.

(But stay seated during deck construction, or you may get accused of donning your Boy Scout’s uniform in an unfair manner…)

(“I were-nent scouting Mr. Judge sir, ha-onest. I were gonna help this old lady here across the road, ha-onest I were.”)

So this time, I’m going to go with what we know.

The new mechanics, Flashback and Threshold, are both something you can be ready for.

So far, I’ve only seen spells with the ability Flashback. I get the feeling that a permanent with the ability might be a touch too powerful.

(Oh dear, you killed my Jiminy Cricket.)

(An imaginary creature with the Flashback ability.)

(Guess I’ll just flash it on back…)

So how does it work? As you can guess from my above snide comment shrouded in brackets, Flashback is worded something like this:

If this card is in your graveyard, you may play this spell at its Flashback cost. If you do, remove it from the game.

The first Flashback spell we encountered was Firebolt.

Firebolt (Common)



Firebolt deals 2 damage to target creature or player.

Flashback – 4R

One trick that may or may not be totally obvious…

(And let’s face it, you lose nothing if it was obvious, but you have everything to gain if it wasn’t.)

…But would probably become apparent while you are playing it.

(If this is the case, then why am I telling you? Well, it may sway your decision on whether or not you’re maindecking it.)

(Except, of course, that you’d be a fool not to.)

Firebolt actually reads:

4RR, Firebolt deals 4 damage to target creature or player.


4RR, Firebolt deals 2 damage to target creature or player, and 2 damage to another target creature or player.

Doesn’t it now begin to resemble Barrin’s Spite, Jilt or Magma Burst just a little?

While not as mana-efficient and perhaps lacking the surprise value of similar Invasion block cards, you may still find a couple of key blockers vanish before your eyes.

Two other Flashback cards that have been revealed on www.sideboard.com are Elephant Ambush and Beast Attack.

(Beast Attack? Isn’t that just the best name for a Magic card ever thought up?)

(No, you’re right.)

(It isn’t.)

Anyhoo, to save you looking for them:

Elephant Ambush (Common)



Put a 3/3 Elephant Token into play.

Flashback — 6GG

Beast Attack (Uncommon)



Put a 4/4 Beast Token into play.

Flashback — 2GGG

It used to be.

“Hmmm, green mana untapped, maybe he/she has a [insert random Fog-like effect here].”

(Or maybe while Urza was the hip, in, thing, a Simian Grunt.)

Now it’s:

“Okay. No creatures, but green mana untapped. Bestest not attack, then.”

(Green mages everywhere are going to be laughing.)

(“I had like, a hand full of land, right? But I kept making it look like I was gonna tap my mana (guffaw) and they didn’t attack! Total LOL.”)

(Yes, people actually say”LOL.”)

(Sad, isn’t it?)

And the worst bit?

You can play these puppies twice.

(We here at blisterguy productions do not recommend keeping either elephants or beasts as pets in lieu of baby dogs.)

(Imagine the poop.)

Speaking of poop, Threshold is an ability that is usually attributed to permanents, but has been sighted on at least one spell so far.

(Actually, I have no idea what that has to do with poop.)

If you have seven Magic cards in your graveyard, you have Threshold. Two Spellfire cards count as one Magic card, five Dragonball Z cards count as two Magic cards, and food stamps don’t count as anything.

(Unless you’re hungry.)

So far, Threshold seems to be a positive ability, but don’t be surprised if there aren’t a few negative side effects.

Here’s an actual example of Threshold, as seen on an actual card given away with one of those silly offline magazine thingies.

Mystic Zealot (Common)


Creature – Nomad Mystic

Threshold – Mystic Zealot gains +1/+1 and has flying.


Interesting side note:

If this card sees play in standard in the next six to eight months, it may make for some interesting Fact or Fiction splits.

(Pause for me to remove my pants.)


(And before you go thinking that I look a tad like Donald Duck…)

(Pause for me to put on my crystal ball pants.)

You have four mana available, and a Mystic Zealot in play. You have four Magic cards in your graveyard and six in hand, one of which is Fact or Fiction.

(You also have one Spellfire card in your graveyard, but it counts for nothing on its own.)

Your opponent plays a Flametongue Kavu.

You can’t stop it.

“Flametongue the Zealot,” intones your opponent.

You Fact or Fiction once the Kavu’s ability is on the stack, in an attempt to achieve Threshold and therefore save your Mystic Zealot.

Leaning back, your opponent calls out to his/her friends.

“Hey Chad, I can’t believe I’m totally gonna Trish this guy out.”

(And you pause momentarily to scratch your head at that remark.)

Your opponent reaches forward and swiftly separates the cards into two piles, one of them quite large, the other devoid of Magical cards altogether.

(And no, the second Spellfire card wasn’t there to make a pair.)

You think:

“Hmmm, the old five-zero split, eh?”

This means if you take the big pile, your Mystic Zealot dies like it was a random extra in Rambo, and you’ll discard some cards at the end of your turn because you’ve been greedy, negating a good portion of the card advantage gained by this endeavour.

If you take the small pile…

(And it’s a very small pile.)

…You keep your Mystic Zealot, but lose your Fact or Fiction, the top five cards of your library, and a sizeable portion of your dignity.

What do you do?

What do you do?!?


Well, obviously it depends on what’s in your hand, and what’s revealed in the Fact and/or Fiction.

(Four or five land in the FoF?)

(Let it go.)

(Wrath in the FoF?)

(Scoop it up.)

(Wrath in hand?)

(Frown convincingly, sigh, and then scoop it up.)

(The other five cards in your hand are land?)

(Scoop it up; you need the improved card quality.)

(And shuffle properly next time.)

Threshold will also mean that those individuals who were considering their OPTions, so to speak, will quite probably OPT to reduce their land count slightly.

(Oh man, I am soooo not funny.)

(No, wait – yes I am.)


Of course, that’s only if decks with blue can somehow benefit from achieving Threshold. So far, it’s mostly permanents that have the ability.

And permanents tend to confuse blue players.

“You like, tap them for mana, right?”

(No. You know, creatures that you attack with and stuff.)

“Oh, like Millstone?”

(Yes, blue mage, like Millstone.)


Which brings up a valid point. Legacy Weapon weakened Millstone somewhat, and Threshold and Flashback certainly don’t help.

But then again, a second Millstone is often all you need to negate any card advantage the victim might think they’re going to gain by flashing anything back.

“Haha, I can now cast this, and this, and… Hey, where did my library go?”

Is it just me, or did”the black Opt” just get better?

“Okay, I’ll pay four and a green and…”

“Cremate it!”


“Cremate it.”

“You can’t Cremate it until it’s resolved.”

“Cremate it?”

(Stupid black mages.)

(Channelling HP Lovecraft.)

(“That is quite dead which can eternally have no brain.”)

As far as the Prerelease is concerned, and, for that matter, any Odyssey block Limited event, it’s going to create interesting combat decisions. If you first strike something to death, its friends might well be that much bigger when they bite back.

Most-heard phrase at this weekend’s Prerelease festival?

“How many cards in your yard?”

Well, what do you know…

(Yet more conclusive proof that this is a written stream of consciousness, composed over the space of several days.)

…We now have a full spoiler.

Off with the crystal ball pants, and on with the sage advice kilt.

(Because I’m Scottish by descent, don’t you know?)

(Ach, Hans, run. A Lhurgoyf in each color…)

Now, on to the cards that might jimmy yer whistle this weekend.


Um, the cards that might stipple your noggin…


…Noodle your poodle?

…Gerfunkle your Moldenhauer?

(Salazar even…)


(Ah, the medication…)

(One sec…)


(Pause for pills to take effect…)


Now, where was I?

On to the cards that might catch you off-guard this weekend.

(See, that wasn’t so hard now, was it?)

(I just need to concentrate…)

These first few could well kill off a critter of yours in combat at no loss for your opponent.

(Hint. This is bad for you.)

So be on the lookout for untapped mana in the appropriate colors.

Gallantry (uncommon)



Target blocking creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn. Draw a card.

Good old Tempest reprint.

Refresh (common)



Regenerate target creature. Draw a card.

Vivify (uncommon)



Target land becomes a 3/3 creature until end of turn. It’s still a land. Draw a card.

Could also be a surprise attacker.

(When someone plays this, try to annoy them by saying”Viviv… viviviv. Fff. Ff. Vivivfff…”)

Shelter (common)



Target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Draw a card.

Aura Graft (uncommon)



Move target enchantment that’s enchanting a permanent to another permanent it can enchant. Gain control of that enchantment.

Actually, this one looks like fun. There aren’t many”Giant Strength” type spells, though, but be careful.

Afflict (common)



Target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Draw a card.

This next one is quite nasty.

“Why, is that one white and four other I see?”

If that’s the case, you should have…

Second Thoughts (common)



Remove target attacking creature from the game. Draw a card.

Divert (rare)



Change the target of target spell with a single target unless that spell’s controller pays 2.

This one is potentially dangerous, but it’s at least a rare, so the odds aren’t high of it being a problem anywhere near you or your immediate family.

And these could just plain outright kill you:

(Don’t feel too cheated now…)

Overrun (uncommon)



Creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.

Another Tempest reprint…

Deluge 2U (uncommon)


Tap all creatures without flying.

Falter number 1…

Demoralize (common)



Each creature can’t be blocked this turn except by 2 or more creatures.

Threshold – Creatures can’t block this turn.

Falter number 2.

Rites of Initiation (common)



Discard any number of cards at random from your hand. Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn for each card discarded this way.

Didn’t Faith No More do a song called”Surprise, You’re Dead”?

This one might just ruin your plans of having lands that provide you with anything other than white mana.

Graceful Antelope (rare)


Creature – Antelope


Whenever Graceful Antelope deals combat damage to a player, you may have target land become a plains until Graceful Antelope leaves play.


There’s a Wrath, of course…

Kirtar’s Wrath (rare)



Destroy all creatures. They can’t be regenerated.

Threshold – Instead destroy all creatures, then put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying into play. Creatures destroyed this way can’t be regenerated.

This guy could be quite a pain in the parts of your body you hoped you wouldn’t feel pain in.

(That’s pretty much all of it in-my-not-so-humble opinion…)

Nomad Decoy (uncommon)


Creature – Nomad

W, T: Tap target creature.

Threshold – WW, T: Tap two target creatures.


I love it when they name cards after me.

Ray of Distortion (common)



Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

Flashback – 4WW

Lava Blister (uncommon)



Destroy target nonbasic land unless its controller has Lava Blister deal 6 damage to him or her.

I hereby accept all donations of the card called”Lava Blister.”

Say it in your worst possible accent…

(Any will suffice.)

…Everyone LAVA the BLISTERguy…

And this one’s just plain cool.

Nefarious Lich (rare)



If you would be dealt damage, remove that many cards in your graveyard from the game instead. If you can’t, you lose the game. If you would gain life, draw that many cards instead. When Nefarious Lich leaves play, you lose the game.

I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend, this set looks like it could be quite the wipple noogan spontificator…

Much love and respect to you all.