Positive EV – Worldwake: Early Impressions of Spoiled Cards

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Friday, January 22nd – Worldwake, it seems, has got everyone’s tongue a-wagging. Today, Manuel Bucher looks at the standout cards that have received spoiler attention, and posits some theories about their place in the coming Constructed metagames…

Today, I want to write about something exciting, something I know you guys are going to love, but sadly things were messed up a little, and I made some assumptions that ended up being wrong. Therefore I have to move that article to next week. Instead, I will be talking about some of the awesome cards that are already spoiled from the new set: Worldwake. Let’s get things started!

Admonition Angel

Mythic Rare
Creature – Angel
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may exile target nonland permanent other than Admonition Angel.
When Admonition Angel leaves the battlefield, return all cards exiled with it to the battlefield under their owners’ control.

Of course, this card is worse than Baneslayer Angel in most matchups you are facing… but not by much. Still, like Baneslayer Angel, your opponent won’t have more than one or two turns to find a removal spell for it. Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised if any Standard deck that is using Baneslayer Angels also adds one or two of these guys to the mix. In a deck like I played at Worlds, that used a fair amount of mana acceleration and Knight of the Reliquary, this card could easily take a key role in the mirror match… if this deck is still a viable choice in the upcoming format. I don’t doubt it will, of course, as Knight of the Reliquary seems to get a lot better in the upcoming Standard format. Not only it will be able to fetch up man lands, it’ll also be able to fetch a card like Quicksand if you are facing an all-in attack.

Staying with the Knight of the Reliquary archetype, the next card seems to be a new good friend of Lotus Cobra:

Omnath, Locus of Mana

Mythic Rare
Legendary Creature – Elemental
Green mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as phases and steps end.
Omnath, Locus of Mana gets +1/+1 for each green mana in your mana pool.

If you used the Orb of Insight searching for Locus, this might be the disappointing result. Sadly, this is no new buddy for Cloudpost. Still, the card has a lot of interesting applications, and I am looking forward to playing with the card. Its creature type wants me to test an Elemental deck for Extended, even though the Extended season will be close to over when the set gets released on Magic Online, and I will spend most of my testing for Standard and not for the post-Worldwake Extended format. I would have loved to see this card before the M10 rules, as the mana burning would give him a drawback. It would have been interesting to see if the card would get played even though it came with a big risk. If that were the case, I could easily see it getting played in decks that are already overloading your opponent’s removal, such as all the different Knight of Reliquary decks, or maybe Eldrazi Green.

There are already a few allies spoiled in the new set. Some of them make me think that the archetype could become viable for Constructed, and others make me think that the Limited format is becoming even worse. First, the latter…

Join the Ranks
Put two 1/1 white Soldier Ally creature tokens onto the battlefield.

Allies was one of the few Limited archetypes where you could largely predict the size of your opponent’s attackers, and this card makes it pretty much impossible. This card is largely what Harrow is in a deck with a fair amount of landfall. In one way, that’s sort of cool, but whenever you hear some story in the current draft format where your opponent kills you on turn 3 or 4 or about a total blow out later on in the game, the card Harrow seems to be involved. I hope this card won’t be similar even thou I fear it will. But there are some ally cards that make me excited for standard testing.

Hada Freeblade
Creature — Human Soldier Ally
Whenever Hada Freeblade or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Hada Freeblade.


Harabaz Druid

Creature – Human Druid Ally
T: Add X mana of any one color to your mana pool where X is the number of Allies you control.

The only things missing are a five-color ally tribal land and an ally harbinger, and we could be facing the next Elemental deck for Standard. Hada Freeblade might not seem that amazing at first, but he is a really good in combination with Kazandu Blademaster, even in non-ally strategies. If you are tutoring up two of those guys with Ranger of Eos, you are almost fetching two Kird Apes in a Mono-White deck. Harabaz Druid reminds me of Smokebraider. Once you untap with him, you are very likely to play any ally you want. Even if you don’t have something like Hada Freeblade on the first turn, casting a Ranger of Eos off Harabaz Druid on turn 3, fetching up two Freeblades, must lead into some sweet turn 4s. A tribal ally deck still depends on if there are more good allies released in this and the next set, but I could definitely see it working.

The card I am most excited about so far is:

Mysteries of the Deep

Draw two cards.
Landfall – If you had a land enter the battlefield under your control this turn, draw three cards instead.

It is not a Careful Consideration, Ancestral Vision, or Fact or Fiction. It may not even be as good as Mind Spring. But this card wants me to play Day of Judgment in Standard pretty badly. Also, it’s the first time I am really happy to see the fetchlands in Zendikar. At first, this card reminded me of Careful Consideration, as it is far more powerful if you play it sorcery speed, but you get the extra application of having an instant speed card draw option. If there were no fetch lands, there wouldn’t be a reason to play this card over Mind Spring, assuming your deck is base Blue. With the fetch lands, this might be the instant speed card draw the Blue mages have been waiting for, helping them keep up with the card advantage provided by the cascade engine.

On the other hand, here’s a card that might look like a great control tool… at first. I doubt it will end up so…

Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction deals X damage to each creature, where X is the number of creatures on the battlefield.

It is very hard to kill something like Baneslayer Angel with this card. With the Angel being the most represented creature in Standard, it is very difficult to see applications for this card. In the early game, Earthquake often does a better job, as it is able to kill Steppe Lynx, Plated Geopede, Lotus Cobra, and Noble Hierarch two turns earlier. In addition, if you run this card you will be a Red-based deck — and how often are you not feeling like dealing your opponent some extra damage with your spells? The only use of the card I could imagine right now is to have a sideboard tool against Emeria Angel. But I am not sure if there is any Red deck concerned about the Angel anyway.

A card that seems to be doing a very similar job, but one that seems a lot more interesting to me, is…

Cunning Sparkmage
Creature – Human Shaman
Tap: Cunning Sparkmage deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

Thanks to him not having summoning sickness, he is often trading two-for-one even if your opponent has the removal, and there are just so many non-Jund targets in the current Standard. It’s not only the Boros Landfall guys or Lotus Cobra… it could also be an interesting tool against Ball Lightnings (even though that card might not see play anymore, thanks to the Kor Firewalker with Protection from Red). If it’s the case that the White ally engine sees play — or even an ally theme deck – the card would also deal with any Kazandu Blademaster or Hada Freeblade that enters the battlefield after the Human Shaman is on board.

Abyssal Persecutor

Mythic Rare

Creature — Demon

Flying, Trample.

You can’t win the game and your opponents can’t lose the game.


This card would be so much cooler if it wasn’t a demon. Yeeeks. Still, the card has a lot of applications, and it is very likely it will reduce the opponent’s life total below zero, as even three attacks will often be enough. Its drawback makes the card really interesting; I wouldn’t be concerned too much about your opponent winning the game with this card on the table. Losing with a 6/6 flyer on your side of the table won’t be the easiest thing to do. So after you render your opponent’s life total below zero, you should have a fair amount of time to find a solution to remove the Demon. It is possible that the card’s creature type is stopping it from ever seeing Constructed tournament play, and suffering the same fate as Halo Hunter, because they had to give Baneslayer Angel protection from Dragons and Demons.

There have been a fair amount of new interesting Vampire cards revealed thus far; some of them are pushing the deck more towards a beatdown strategy, and some of them are trying to slow it down. It will be interesting to see which of the cards will have a big impact on the deck, and how the Standard Vampires strategy will form when the dust settles. But, as in the previous sets, it seems like there are a ton of cool and powerful creatures, but not that many control cards. I am even afraid of Kor Firewalker’s power level, because I imagine he’s able to remove the Mono Red archetype from the metagame by himself. And the Mono Red archetype is one of the few decks that’s been able to keep Jund in track. There are a lot of cards that are powerful, but also a fair amount of cards that have a potential that needs to be discovered first. It will be interesting to see what the Green/White man-land turns out to be, as it is the one that can easiest be supported by Knight of the Reliquary, and it could make the archetype a lot better by itself.

This is my first impression of Worldwake! Is there anything you heavily disagree on, or have you spotted a cool card with potential I didn’t cover? If so, come sound off in the forums!

Thanks for reading!

Manu B