Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re looking at some fantastic new Worldwake spoilers, along with my very own in Kalastria Highborn. She’s cheap, she’s rare, and she absolutely kicks ass. We’ve also got a whopping nine other spoilers to share. Let’s go!
Worldwake Up It’s Spoiler Time!
So this go-around, Wizards of the Coast sent me a batch of spoilers. In one fell swoop I got see all of the ‘mechanical’ spoilers, then my spoiler for this week and next week. Let’s take a look at the already known ‘mechanical’ spoilers first…
I’m just kidding, are you nuts? I got an exclusive spoiler, by God it’s front and center, and Kalastria Highborn is one bad mamma jamma. You know, I kinda got burnt on Warren Instigator. But I feel like one day I might be avenged. One or two kick ass Goblins and you’ve got yourself a killer chase mythic. They may even be in Worldwake, so he could meet the expectations I had for him. And they were pretty frickin’ high. Which makes it a bit bittersweet when Wizards drops the sweet lovin’ bomb on my doorstep. I want you to believe me when I say this girl will be expensive and wanted by many a player. But I will let the card speak for itself. Mostly.
Her name? Kalastria Highborn. She’s a badass. Just so you know. And her mate there? He’s a null. On a leash. Why? Because she’s a badass, that’s why. And badasses have nulls on leashes. And she’s only two Black mana, NOT a legend, and is a solid 2/2 Grizzly Bear in power and toughness. Pretty good so far. But she’s rare. So she’s gotta have the ability to really dazzle. And if you’re a Vampire player, like Eric Palmerduca who won last weekend’s StarCityGames Standard Open Series in Dallas / Fort Worth, you just got your next year’s Christmas present early. Here’s what she does:
Creature – Vampire Shaman
Whenever Kalastria Highborn or another
Vampire you control is put into a graveyard
from the battlefield, you may pay B. If you
do, target player loses 2 life and you gain
Each of Malakir’s great families boasts a
contingent of nulls appropriate to its rank
Yes ladies and gentlemen, Vampires just got real. As if they weren’t taken seriously before, this powerhouse tribe is going to be kicking some serious ass. With their own 2/2s for one mana (Vampire Lacerator), the most incredible three-mana creature printed in a hell of a long time (Vampire Nighthawk), a 2/1 that can never die (Bloodghast), they have a kick ass Lord (Vampire Nocturnus), a five-drop flier that is Baneslayer-proof, a Cruel Edict on a stick, and here comes Kalastria-freakin Highborn all up in this business. As a Vampire. That makes herself and all of your other Vampires into walking, talking copies of Syphon Life for a single Black mana.
Untapping with Kalastria is a wondrous experience where you don’t really have to play any more creatures if you’ve got three or more on the board. With three open mana you’re looking at three additional life, and can not only safely play around mass removal such as Earthquake or Wrath of God, you can benefit from them. Suddenly their two damage Earthquake dealt them eight, while you gain six life. Now that’s a tempo swing. This girl is not playing around. And how about a little Bloodchief Ascension? How about them Questy apples? I’ve always been a big fan of Bloodchief Ascension, and this is another powerful card that can easily trigger it by either swinging in the red zone or Syphoning Life upon a removal spell.
And can you imagine multiples? Two Black for each creature they kill, you gain four they lose four? Seriously? Wow, this girl makes Vampires look even more appealing for both its flavory goodness and its ability to completely rock an opponent’s world. It was demonstrated that the big, bad States Dominator known as Jund couldn’t stand up to the Vampire heat, bested by the new tribe on the block that got their own version of Rotlung Reanimator.
All I know is, this is a gift for a deck that didn’t really need a gift, but as all things get more powerful over time, I can only imagine Jund’s answer to this little lady. Not that they don’t have plenty of answers already, and a 2/2 for two mana isn’t going to be setting any records. But for me her power is not intrinsic but rather synergistic, basically meaning that she’s not the best topdeck but she is the best Turn 4 or 5 play when you’ve got dudes smashing in the red zone and you want to get value out of them.
So that’s Kalastria Highborn. Man, she is great, isn’t she? Feel free to share your thoughts in the feedback.
How about some more spoilery goodness? Check out another sweet Black rare, Quest for the Nihil Stone:
Quest for the Nihil Stone
Whenever an opponent discards a card,
you may put a quest counter on Quest for
the Nihil Stone.
At the beginning of each opponent’s
upkeep, if that player has no cards in
hand and Quest for the Nihil Stone has
two or more quest counters on it, you
may have that player lose 5 life.
A few things about this guy: First of all, as with all Quests, it is a pretty horrible topdeck. However, it is only horrible if you have nothing to back it up. Ripping this on Turn 4 then playing Blightning to take their last two cards is a whopping eight damage, and once this thing is active the card they draft after that play better be damn good or they’re going to lose five life for it.
Another important factor is that it triggers on each of your opponent’s upkeeps for the rest of the game. Note that the ability goes on the stack regardless of whether or not it’s active or if they have no cards in hand, so playing Esper Charm to force them to discard their hand while the ability is on the stack and active will still make them lose 5 life.
It’s no secret that Blightning is one of the best – if not the best – spells in Standard right now, able to determine the Jund mirror in a single bound. This spell makes Blightning even better, if that was even possible, and other support cards like Duress, Tidehollow Sculler, and Mind Rot play very well along side it. Also remember that Nyxathid was unveiled in Conflux, and this quest should fit perfectly in that deck.
Looking past this spell, we see Join the Ranks, what is sure to be a powerhouse surprise in the U/W Ally draft deck.
Join the Ranks
Put two 1/1 white Soldier Ally creature tokens onto the battlefield.
Expeditionary houses are notorious for their rivalries. But when adventurers meet in the wilderness, the instinct for mutual survival outweighs petty grudges.
This card enables multiple Ally triggers in a single spell, making your Umara Raptors insane, giving your guys protection with Kabira Evangel, gaining a ton of life from Ondu Cleric, and more. This spell is a windmill slam for those playing the U/W archetype or Allies in general. Expect it to be ranked highly when it’s time to focus on what Worldwake does to Zendikar draft and sealed.
Next up is Vastwood Zendikon. I don’t know what a Zendikon is, but I’m guessing it’s Zendikarian for Land That Whoops Up On Your Face. This new cycle brings a unexpected twist on land auras. You see, the precedent for a cycle like this was laid in Champions of Kamigawa, that featured the Genju cycle making your lands awesome creatures while saving the enchantment to fight on another day if said land was destroyed. This time, it’s the land that’s saved and brought back to your hand if destroyed, letting you trigger landfall all over again while getting an awesome creature in the meantime. Vastwood Zendikon is at its best when slapped on a fetchland, but any old land will do. However, Wind Zendikar looks fantastic and could be the basis for a U/W aggro build in Standard, or some sort of tempo monster in Extended. A single Blue mana for a 2/2 flier is No Joke, even if it does effectively put you behind a mana each turn thereafter. The best part is when his evasive beater finally proves too much for them you’re getting that land back. Too cool. I’m also really happy this doesn’t have the Genju restriction of a basic land type and instead can make any land awesome as need be.
You know what creature I really loved from Guildpact? Silhana Ledgewalker. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a Silhana Ledgewalker enchantment? Well, now we do.
Enchantment â€” Aura
Enchanted creature can’t be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.
Enchanted creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.
Canopy Cover essentially says “You must now Wrath me” as suddenly your creature has “Troll Shroud” as taken from Troll Ascetic, meaning you can still use pump spells like Vines of Vastwood or enchantments like Gigantiform while your opponent can’t block it with their plethora of ground guys and will scramble to find an answer. It has the same problems inherent in all creature auras, i.e. the creature will most likely die upon targeting, but if it sticks, your opponents will be seriously squirming.
Moving on, Wizards of the Coast unveiled a few ‘mechanic’ spoilers as well. The first one I want to talk about is Mysteries of the Deep. Now this is an interesting number. It’s very rare that Wizards prints ‘pure’ instant speed card draw. Normally it’s tacked on a counterspell or some other conditional effect. The most efficient card drawing spell in Extended is Thirst for Knowledge, and even that isn’t a ‘pure’ card drawing spell, as it requires a discard of some sort. For a while we once had Careful Consideration rocking Standard, and drawing a whopping four cards on just four mana at instant speed, also with a discard drawback. And now we get Mysteries of the Deep. Two cards guaranteed, three if you’re landfall’in it.
Now, at first I thought this spell was the sweetness. I thought our troubled days were gone, and this would redefine what instant speed card draw would look like in our new Standard. Then I came to my senses. This spell is actually very, very bad. Let’s count the ways:
1) It is five freakin mana. And a choice between playing Baneslayer Angel or playing this on your turn ain’t no choice at all.
2) It is difficult to trigger on an opponent’s turn. There are all sorts of ways to trigger landfall on your opponent’s turn, but only two really matter in Constructed: Fetchlands or Harrow. And with Harrow you will need an accelerant if you want to play it on turn 5, which is none too quick and means you will be doing nothing on your opponent’s turn 5 or 6. Sandbagging fetchlands mean you have to play them and pass, and then not use your mana for anything on their turn but waiting until their end step to crack your fetchland and play your draw spell. This means not countering spells or removing creatures or any of that fun stuff that actually, you know, helps you win the game.
3) Mind Spring is just better. Hell, Tidings is far better, and we don’t get Tidings no more. If you’re playing this during your turn, you should’ve just played Mind Spring. It will always give you three cards for five mana regardless of whether you played a land this turn, and will give you even more in the late game. Stop trying to be cute with a five mana instant Divination and just be happy that we have a Braingeyser of some sort in the format. Now if this spell had said “Landfall – If a land entered the battlefield this turn…” instead of a land you control entered, then this would at least be worthy of serious playtesting and consideration. But as of right now, I’m positive this won’t be replacing Thirst for Knowledge or even Careful Consideration’s previous stature in any format.
Next up is Ruthless Cullblade, and I don’t know how often you draft Zendikar, but I wear that format out. And let me tell you, Black/Red is Some Good and will kick your butt right between your shoulders if you’re not careful. And now we have the best two-drop this side of Surrakar Marauder. The second cousin removed on the mother’s side of Guul Draz Vampire, when your opponent is ‘bloodied,’ a.k.a. half of their starting life is gone, this girl kicks it into high gear. Sure it doesn’t gain evasion, but it sure brings the beats.
Speaking of bringing the beats, there’s Skitter of Lizards, being all awesome and whatnot. I love this card because it feels so natural. Of course you should be able to kick cards multiple times, and this card is brilliant in displaying this concept on a subtle and easy to grasp level. I dig how this guy would be unplayable as a 2RRR 3/3 haste creature, where only Mono-Red touch that mana cost, but it will very often be cast for that exact cost, allowing the Mountain-flooded Black/Red player a powerful surprise from the top of their deck. I look forward to more jump-out-and-getcha monsters with Multikick as well.
Last up is a spoiler that was not on the visual spoiler last Wednesday and is called Dread Statuary:
T: Add 1 to your mana pool
4: Dread Statuary becomes a 4/2 Golem artifact creature until end of turn. It’s still a land.
Now this is quite the interesting manland. First of all it’s colorless, so in limited feel free to windmill slam this as it goes in pretty much any deck in the format. Second, it’s a powerful manland, providing 4 power for four mana, and could be just the type of ‘reach’ that Red Deck Wins and other mono colored beatdown decks are looking for. When you run out of ‘regular’ plays, activate your land and bash forth. The same reason you’d run Ghitu Encampment or Blinkmoth Nexus. The difference, of course, is cost. Four other mana lying around it pretty steep for a beatdown deck, but a 4/2 on demand is no slouch either. What do you think?
I’ll tell you what I think: I think Worldwake is still ripe with possibility. I for one am stoked that Vampires is not just a deck but soon will become a force to be reckoned with in the metagame. You thought the mono black beats were awesome before, just wait until you get a little Kalastria on your side! And next week I’ve got quite the killer card as well. It’s my favorite kind: The kind that sneaks up on you as to how good it is. I’ll do my best to convey the power in a seemingly ‘okay’ card next week. Until then, viva la Worldwake!
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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