Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to wrap up our look at the incredible and exciting Magic 2010 Core Set. Some overpowered beasties have proven their worth, and we’ll take a look at what you can expect in your new M10-fueled metagame.
Magic 2010 Incoming (Part 2)
So, last week we left off covering some Black goodies and a Green metagame stomping. But we’re not quite through with those Black cards just yet.
The card I wanted to cover last week but couldn’t is Rise from the Grave:
Rise from the Grave — 4B
Put target creature card in a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. That creature is a black Zombie in addition to its other colors and types.
This is an excellent Zombify upgrade for two reasons: One, the name is just fantastically flavorful. There’s “zombifying” something, and then there’s making that monster “RISE FROM THE GRAVE!” Fantastic. The second is that for another mana I can now return any creature from any graveyard. This makes cards like Thoughtseize that much more powerful, and makes your removal that much more potent. I’d suggest getting some foily copies of this card, as it will be useful for some time.
Cemetery Reaper — 1BB
Creature — Zombie (R)
Other Zombie creatures you control get +1/+1.
2B, T: Exile target creature card from a graveyard. Put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield.
Yes, this is the Zombie lord for the set, and it’s obviously super fun with a bunch of undead guys. But there’s another aspect to this card that’s important: Just like Rise From The Grave, Cemetery Reaper can remove creature cards from any graveyard to create zombies from. This means that the Reveillark player’s Mulldrifters and Glen Elendra Archmage’s will die horrible deaths while Cemetery Reaper gets all the goodness. Also remember that you can use Cemetery Reaper on Persist cards like Kitchen Finks and the aforementioned Glen Elendra Archmage while their Persist ability is on the stack, making him even better. This is a card that makes your removal that much better and lets you win in creature attrition wars. A much better card than being “just” a Zombie lord in my opinion.
Moving on to Red, the big news is that we have three incredi-reprints coming: Lightning Bolt, Ball Lightning, and the now Mythic and extremely ass-kicking Bogardan Hellkite. Now many will scoff at this inclusion, telling us “It was only good in Dragonstorm” when I know better. This card was played in Urzatron control decks a few years ago and nowadays any Red-based or even five-color based deck looking for a finisher has the Hellkite as an option. And even if it doesn’t rock the tournament scene like it once did, it’s still one of the coolest and most powerful dragons ever.
Oh, and speaking of reprints, here’s another that’s not getting much love: Earthquake! Yes, Earthquake, the sweeper/damage dealer that hasn’t been seen since Seventh Edition is back and I’m loving it. This should provide a fantastic answer to those fast Elf and Kithkin decks headed our way, and just look at that Portal artwork. Awesome!
The last card I want to highlight in Red isn’t a reprint, thankfully. Look at Magma Phoenix:
Magma Phoenix — 3RR
Creature — Phoenix (R)
When Magma Phoenix is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, it deals 3 damage to each creature and each player.
3RR: Return Magma Phoenix from your graveyard to your hand.
Yes, rising from the ashes to kick your ass, this Phoenix is the real deal. It provides an incredibly powerful blocker against any sort of aggro/rush deck, able to sweep the most powerful Elf, Kithkin, or Jund army just by dying. This sort of ‘Flamebreak On A Stick’ isn’t the flashiest and most powerful rare ever, but it’s an important tool for the decks that need it, and not having something silly like “Use this ability only during your upkeep” on its return clause is definitely appreciated and pumps its power level even higher compared to similar cards like Shard Phoenix.
Moving on to Green cards, we’ve covered the awesome Great Sable Stag, that ironically was revealed on Friday as a purely development-driven card that both myself and Patrick Chapin had mused on, but that’s not the only hit amongst them. A card I really like in Magic 2010 from Green is Awakener Druid:
Awakener Druid — 2G
Creature – Human Druid (U)
When Awakener Druid enters the battlefield, target Forest becomes a 4/5 green Treefolk creature as long as Awakener Druid is on the battlefield. (It’s still a land)
This is a card that takes some time to get your head around. Yes, at the end of the day, it’s a three mana 1/1. Yes, your opponent could simply Doom Blade your Forest, knocking you back a mana and leaving you with a three mana 1/1. However, if your opponent has, say, Lightning Bolt, now they have to ‘waste’ their awesome removal / direct damage on a “stupid three mana 1/1.” This is powerful thinking that could allow you to keep your 4/5 forest for much longer than you really should be able to. Another thing to note is that this “three mana 1/1” is actually five power for three mana. Sure it’s spread across the dude and the forest, but still. If they have no blockers, you get in there for five. A very nice card, I think.
Another card I’d like to highlight… well, I’ve already highlighted it! It was my spoiler, Master of the Wild Hunt:
Master of the Wild Hunt — 2GG
Creature – Human Shaman (M)
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a 2/2 green Wolf creature token onto the battlefield.
T: Tap all untapped Wolf creatures you control. Each Wolf tapped this way deals damage equal to its power to target creature. That creature then deals damage equal to its power divided as its controller chooses among any number of those Wolves.
I’ve told you how much I like this card, but I think some history is great here as well. Master of the Wild Hunt is sort of like the “2009 Model” of Master of the Hunt. Comparing these two are like comparing a Model T and a Ferrari: One is getting you the fame and sense of power you desire, and the other… well… it belongs in a museum. And with a set like Legends, that varied so wildly from stupidly overpowered Mana Drain to… well… Master of the Four Mana Banding 1/1s, it’s quite the change to see this card movin’ on up to the M10 side of things. But… but… the Wolves no longer have Banding! This simply reverts to the first rule about banding: You do not talk about banding. I could go on, but… you know… rule #1.
Nature’s Spiral — 1G
Return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand. (A permanent card is an artifact, creature, enchantment, land or planeswalker card.)
This is a card that isn’t getting much love, so allow me to give it some. I think this card is bonkers. The main reason? It returns Planeswalkers. Those dastardly devils of devastating decadence have been ruling Standard ever since their debut in Lorwyn, and once your opponent finally gets rid of it, this sorcery gets it back. Now, I hope we all realize why Regrowth can’t be reprinted verbatim: It’s too dangerous for combo decks. The ability to get back Mind’s Desire in Extended, or, hell, any card in the Mind’s Desire deck is just too dangerous. But a permanent? I mean, c’mon, the only permanents combo decks deal in nowadays are mainly… Cascade spells… like Bloodbraid Elf… which is a permanent… Oh. Boy.
Take a quick look at this insane Cascade Grinding combo deck that debuted in Patrick Chapin article this week:
Cascade-Grinding, by Patrick Chapin
4 Sanity Grinding
2 Advice from the Fae
4 Kathari Remnant
4 Stormcaller’s Boon
4 Cryptic Command
4 Traumatic Visions
4 Overbeing of Myth
4 Ghastlord of Fugue
4 Godhead of Awe
4 Dominus of Fealty
4 Shelldock Isle
4 Arcane Sanctum
1 Vivid Creek
4 Mystic Gate
4 Sunken Ruins
Rest assured, if you give a mechanic like Cascade to the Magic community, they are going to find a way to abuse it, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. This deck cascades into a Sanity Grinding which could, at its most ridiculous, mill fifty cards in one go. Now that would mean flipping just Ghastlords of the Fugue, Godheads of Awe, and so on, but the potential is there and the effect is incredibly crushing. Beware of this powerful combo deck headed your way in the coming weeks and months.
My point? Nature’s Spiral is not half as bad as you may think, and could very well be a fantastic tool in all sorts of decks – even the combo ones.
As we wind down, I want to touch on the artifacts in this set. First is the return of the mighty and powerful (and hey, mighty powerful) Darksteel Frickin’ Colossus. That’s right, Frickin’ is in there because this guy means business. Sure, you have Progenitus to Polymorph into, but this guy was there first. He was there when there was no Path to Exile to worry about, he was there to end games with the Polymorph On A Stick, Proteus Staff. Oh the fun we had, back in the day, turning Guardian Idol into an 11/11 Indestructable ass beating. Fun times. And while he may not rock the tournament scene quite as hard this go-around, you never know what’s in Zendikar and there is nothing wrong with kick ass on kitchen tables with the baddest artifact creature of them all.
Big Plats, a.k.a. Platinum Angel is back, assuring some lowly deck will be blindsided by its existence just when they’re sure of victory, Gorgon Flail is absolutely hilarious in its artwork — a.k.a. Sling The Medusa – and Pithing Needle remains an awesome and useful answer to just about any permanent whose activated abilities will crush you. Usually, these are Planeswalkers.
Lastly the new duals are still awesome and are suddenly making Terramorphic Expanse look really good. Terramorphic Expanse, once thought as unplayable with a dozen painlands at your disposal, now ensures you will definitely hit your two mana combination on Turn 2, a powerful thing in a format featuring, for example, the Watchwolf With Upside Qasali Pridemage. Suddenly Terramorphic Expanse is a card that you won’t immediately disregard when designing tournament-bound decks, and I think that’s a great thing.
What does M10 mean for your upcoming Standard? Well, the loss of Seismic Assault means Cascade Swans is dead, the loss of Wrath of God means that aggro decks will see an even larger resurgence, and the loss of painlands means that B/W tokens will probably die off due to its already shaky manabase taking a hell of a hit, as might Boat Brew thanks to the lack of Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]. It also means that G/W tokens won’t have quite the same guaranteed Turn 1 Noble Hierarch Turn 2 Spectral Procession thanks to Brushland, so the defacto Best Deck In The Format is up in the air right now.
Could the best now be Combo Elves, driven by the powerful and versatile Elvish Archdruid? Could it be Black’s Time To Shine as it now has Sign in Blood, Duress, Tendril’s of Corruption, and Doom Blade? Will Green ramp decks get there with Great Sable Stag, Garruk Wildspeaker, and Nature’s Spiral? Or is White going to simply dominate once again with the now-confirmed-but-what-in-the-hell-were-they-thinking Baneslayer Angel, Honor of the Pure, Harm’s Way and Captain of the Watch? We’ll see what happens at U.S. Nationals, where yours truly will be there talking to the biggest names in American Magic and getting their thoughts on M10 and our recent loss of both Wrath, Combat Damage, and the defined format as we know it.
I’ll see you in seven days, but until then get yourself to a Magic 2010 prerelease and embrace the goodness of our game’s once-in-a-decade refresh. I for one am thrilled at the power level, flavor, and execution of our most recent core set, and I think you will be too.
So until next time, Magic players… this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin
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