Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. Due to hardware difficulties — a.k.a. Evan gets to pay for an insane data recovery bill – I didn’t get to do the Best of 2009 show last week, as well as spending time with the newest member of the Erwin family, Madeline Renee. She’s awesome. And speaking of awesome, this week brings us to the cusp of official Worldwake spoilers on magicthegathering.com, along with a few confirmed cards to gush about along the way. Let’s go!
A Whole New Worldwake
So this week we got two new cards, what will end up being your Prerelease and Release foil promos. Let’s take a look at the Prerelease promo Comet Storm:
Now this is a spicy little number right here. A Mythic Fireball! Yes, that rarity is Mythic, and this thing is not fooling around. The first thing it does is confirm Multikicker as a major mechanic in Worldwake, an awesome new twist on the Kicker mechanic we’ve known and loved for many years. However, the key to this card’s sweetness is one word: Instant. The ability to Instantly Fireball someone is not without precedent – in fact we’ve seen an instant Blaze variant in the form of Volcanic Geyser, an uncommon from all the way back in Mirage. And we currently have the spell ‘strictly better than Blaze and pretty much better than Fireball’ in Banefire. But Volcanic Geyser sucks, and has always sucked. Even Rolling Thunder, another two-Red-and-X variant that was printed shortly after Volcanic Geyser didn’t see any Constructed play, and that was in a format without Cascade. Of course it was also a Sorcery, and printed during a time in which Necropotence was legal and tapped blockers dealt no combat damage, so take that how you want. Anyway, nowadays the Cascade goodness is too good to ignore, which means this spell could also be ignored for some time. Those who think this will be used in Jund decks are simply wrong, as I’ll take my Bloodbraid Elf and Bituminous Blast over it every day of the week. I mean, we got Lavalanche in Jund colors, right? And while it’s awesome in the Cube, it’s not so hot when flipped over by Bloodbraid Elf.
So where does it fit? Quite simply, everywhere else, particularly ramp-style decks with Garruk Wildspeaker, Rampant Growth and so on. First of all, let’s look at how it works compared to Fireball. Here I will borrow from Patrick Chapin‘s excellent article discussing this card and the chart he used to demonstrate its mana savings when compared to Fireball:
(( Patrick Chapin chart ))
This chart shows you how much mana you have to pay by a matrix of damage and targets. Note that the Multikicker only allows you to choose another target, so you can’t just add an additional mana and Fireball the same target twice. You also can’t target both a player and a Planeswalker, regardless of Multikicker, because you cannot directly target Planeswalkers. You must target the player and then choose to redirect the damage to the Planeswalker. So beware those who will try and do this to you, because it is 100% illegal.
Anyway, I think this card is great because of the choices it provides. Earthquake is quite the competition for this spell, but with those Baneslayers and Broodmate Dragons roaming the skies, the ability to dispatch them at the end of your opponent’s turns seems pretty good to me. Lavalanche is competition, and is arguably better, but much more difficult to cast and it sure isn’t at instant speed.
I’m still on the fence about this spell. For me it’s The Ultimate Nightmare of Wizards of the Coast Customer Service, albeit one mana cheaper and at instant speed. And while that Unglued card is fun to compare, and gives you a free headache thinking about your XYZ variables, it doesn’t ooze “power” to me, even cheaper or at instant speed. My guess is that one day in the near future, also known as this Fall, when the “Lights” block comes out and Cascade is taken back behind the Standard shed and put out of its misery, we’ll get to see what this spell is really capable of. Until then we can argue just how likely we are to see this at tournament tables anytime soon. I mean…
Woo! Now that’s what I hope it feels like to play this bad boy. We shall see.
Up next is the Release Promo, and holy cow is it delicious. Say hello to Joraga Warcaller:
Creature- Elf Warrior Rare
Joraga Warcaller enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it for each time it was kicked.
Other Elf creatures you control get +1/+1 for each +1/+1 counter on Joraga, Warcaller.
Holy crap, this guy is awesome! Yes, ladies and gents, just when you thought Eldrazi Green was a minor player in the metagame, here comes a Warcaller all up in your business. Yes, thanks to the power of Turn 1 Noble Hierarch or Llanowar Elves, Turn 2 Elvish Archdruid, you can pump 5 mana into this guy immediately. This will then make your Llanowar Elves, Elvish Archdruid and Joraga Warcaller all 4/4s. On Turn 3. Also remember that killer Green land Oran-Rief, the Vastwood is still in Zendikar and warms right up to a little Warcaller goodness. How’s about grabbing a few copies of this guy out of your deck and into your hand via Ranger of Eos? Seems good. Use your Knight of the Reliquary to find your copies of Oran-Rief, the Vastwood? Sounds even better. Utility in the late game and still easily fits in your mana curve no matter where that will be? Fantastic. But it gets better. Ever notice what insane Cascade spell is also an Elf? That’s right, Bloodbraid Elf will happily flip up Joraga Warcaller and, if you got spare mana lying around, remember that you can also pay as much mana as you want for the Multikicker ability! Kick ass!
Man, this card is a Timmy’s delight! Why? Have you seen the insanity they gave casual elf decks in Lorwyn block? Because damn, this guy is absolutely busted with Immaculate Magistrate. And I mean insanely so. For those who could care less about tournament tables, this guy will bring you some serious fun to your casual decks and I see it holding its value for quite some time. Also, could this card actually make Quest for the Gemblades playable in, um, any format? I always thought that card looked good, but in the fine print you’ll notice it says “put five +1/+1 counters on target creature about to be killed by a removal spell.” So sad.
Either way, Joraga is the business and I love him to pieces. A perfectly costed and powerful addition to the Elf tribe, this guy will be popular in Standard and should make quite the splash at FNM and casual decks around the world. Be sure to get yourself to the Release weekend festivities and grab yourself a copy – you won’t be disappointed.
Moving on, two weeks ago I wrote an article about Jace the Mind Sculptor and if you didn’t see it, here’s the skinny: The guy is nuts good, and is currently pre-selling at StarCityGames.com for $22.49, putting him right up there with Elspeth, Knight-Errant. Now for what it’s worth I think this is a very fair price that will only increase the moment this guy sees play in a Tier 1 deck. The instant you see this card in a tournament-winning deck, it won’t be just $22 anymore, just like you can’t find Elspeth for less than $30 now. Many players are talking about playing him in formats beyond Standard, and when you see Legacy players drooling over free Brainstorms, you might want to think long and hard about investing before the hype becomes reality.
We also have the mystery of Bazaar Trader. Revealed a week and a half before Christmas in Mark Rosewater Goblin article, this rare is a two mana 1/1, as you can see, along with being just a Goblin who may or may not have a creature subtype. I think the key to this art is the three fingers, indicating that this Trader will likely give you three choices of some sort. And knowing those wacky Goblins, they can be quite random. Here is my official guess for Bazaar Trader:
Creature – Goblin
When ~ enters the battlefield, search your library for three cards and put them in your hand. Then discard three cards at random.
This sort of ‘uber’ Gamble is just wacky enough to be a Goblin, random enough that it won’t always provide you an advantage barring Unearth creatures, and who doesn’t love searching their library for stuff, even if there’s a chance you have to pitch it? Other guesses have included a tap ability to Goblin Lore, searching your library for three Goblins and putting them on top, and other fun stuff. All I know is, this guy has been known for quite awhile, and still not a word regarding what he actually does. Lame. C’mon Wizards, tell us what he does! Hell, something!
Moving on, Wizards of the Coast this week officially announced Magic 2011, which we all knew was coming but now know will drop on June 16th, include 249 cards, one of which may or may not be Baneslayer Angel. My bet? She’s in there for another year. You don’t get to be a $50+ dollar card by sucking, and suck she does not. I’m betting she’ll rule the skies once again, shaming Serra Angel who now sits in an Uncommon slot and excites no one while Baneslayer is the best Willy Wonka Golden Ticket printed in many years. My request? Path to Exile. I love this spell for its ‘resource trading’ idea, and while it’s awesome that White now has answers-that-can-be-answered, a la Oblivion Ring or Journey to Nowhere, there’s just something delicious about a one White mana Cure All For What Ails You. My fingers are crossed.
So until next week, Magic players, when I’ll be featuring the first of my two exclusive Worldwake spoilers, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin
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Anyone know of any cheap hard drive recovery places? DriveSavers is hella pricey 🙁