The Magic Show #173 – Worldwake Spoilers FTW!

Grand Prix: Oakland!

Friday, January 22nd – Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’ve not only got another exclusive spoiler all to ourselves, the fascinating and subtly powerful Khalni Garden, but we’ve got a boatload of other awesome spoilers just waiting to be pontificated on. That, and my awesome new job doing this full time, coming right up. Let’s go!

Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’ve not only got another exclusive spoiler all to ourselves, the fascinating and subtly powerful Khalni Garden, but we’ve got a boatload of other awesome spoilers just waiting to be pontificated on. That, and my awesome new job doing this full time, coming right up. Let’s go!

Worldwake Spoilers FTW!

All right, so last week I unveiled Kalastria Highborn, a card that split most of the playerbase down the middle: The first half said that Vampires have no room, the other half said they’d squeeze her in somehow, and the rest said that maybe she would be better in a control deck or something. Me? I think she’s a solid 2-of in Vampires, but that’s neither here nor there. Between being able to sac Vampire Hexmage to trigger her or the ability to both trigger and bring back Bloodghast over and over, I think she’s awesome. But that’s my prerogative.

But this new card, Khalni Garden? Let’s take a look:

Garden of Delights

Khalni Garden
Khalni Garden enters the battlefield tapped.
T: Add G to your mana pool.
When Khalni Garden enters the battlefield, put an 0/1 green Plant creature token into play.

All right, let that sink for a sec. Now Khalni Garden, a.k.a. Plant Land (na-na-na-na-na-na, Plant Land!), makes a dude. It’s a land that would be Strictly Better than a Forest without the enters the battlefield tapped clause, but let’s think about this for a second.

What is the creature that is most like this land? Let me give you a hint: It was in Champions of Kamigawa. Yes, Sakura-Tribe Elder remains one of the most powerful and oft-played cards of the past few years. And it was insanely powerful when you could stack damage and still go grab a land. But now that stacked damage is a thing of the past, we have to think to ourselves: What it Sakura-Tribe Elder could only fetch Forests? If it did, we would have the equivalent of Khalni Garden.

Where you see Teetering Peaks getting all kinds of love in decks like Boros Bushwhacker, the polar opposite to those decks will adore Khalni Garden. Imagine this: Your opponent drops a Putrid Leech on Turn 2. You drop Khalni Garden on yours. So did this “Forest” all of a sudden come with a free bonus of “Gain 4 life”? The notion of “Who Blocks?” was repeated quite a bit back in the day by Mike Flores and other writers, but these days that has all changed. Otherwise Bloodghast would be the best thing since sliced bread, and while he is certainly awesome and has all sorts of crazy uses, in this format everyone blocks, and everyone is happy to block in order to keep themselves alive and playing the game.

Khalni Garden is one of those cards that really snuck up on me. At first I was underwhelmed. ‘A dude? That’s all I get? A lousy dude?’ But buying turns is important, and that’s exactly what this card does. It allows you to live another turn against a wave of powerful creatures that currently patrol the Standard environment and that is just what Control decks look for. This could very well end up being the most powerful common land in Zendikar block, as it buys you time, replaces four Forests in your deck with little or no real repercussion, and hey, there’s that Oran-Rief, the Vastwood showing up again to make our Plants bigger and better. Late game getting a free 2/3 or 3/4 has to be the sickest. Nice. Forest.

Seriously though, here’s something to wrap your heads around: Khalni Garden, Polymorph, and Progenitus. Oh yes, that’s a free dude, and you should really take advantage of it. Using Khalni Garden, Polymorph and Summoning Trap to get your 10/10 Protection from Everything dude onto the Battlefield is No Joke, and I suggest you give it a whirl. I think you’ll be surprised. Try it out next week at the Prerelease, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Moving on to some more fantastic spoilers, have you seen Abyssal Persecutor? I mean, seriously? SERIOUSLY? This is the reverse Platinum Angel, and it is freaking awesome. I love everything about this card. First, it’s friggin’ huge for four mana. A 6/6 flying trample? Something that, sure, can’t kill a Baneslayer but would still trample over her? And since when is this ‘drawback’ a drawback? When has Black ever had a problem killing creatures, even its own? I’ll give you a few well-played viable options for when your opponent is at zero or less life: Bone Splinters, Fleshbag Marauder, Terminate, Path to Exile, Day of Judgment, a few Lightning Bolts… hell, Mycoloth could win you the game once this guy has beaten you into the dirt.

I for one think the one-two Super Mythic Punch of Abyssal Persecutor on Turn 4 followed by a Turn 5 Baneslayer Angel is pretty awesome to me. Oh, that’s just 11 ass-whipping damage, in the air, on Turn 5. Whatcha gonna do about that, son? I hope you got some mass removal, because your next turn is going to be pretty devastating. Not to mention the fact that you would be swinging in with this 6/6 flying trampling monster the same turn you drop the most expensive card to ever see Standard.

The interwebs have gone berserk for this thing, and it’s no wonder: His price point is currently $20 a pop, and only going higher. This is the card that will either be the next Baneslayer Angel or the next Lotus Cobra. Which will it be? Only time will tell.

Kor Firewalker was revealed last week, and I think it will help close the lid on this Red / Burn Deck Wins business. Sure he’s no Silver Knight, but he’s an Iron Star plus a dash of Auriok Champion mixed with a sprinkling of the Silver Knight magic dust, and I think he’s just what the doctor ordered to make Red decks, and perhaps Jund decks, suffer. A two-power guy for two mana is standard, but gaining life and never worrying about Terminate or Sprouting Thrinax or Bituminous Blast or Bloodbraid Elf or Lightning Bolt is something to celebrate. He’s also a Kor, for those who love to put together the equipment-loving tribe at the kitchen table, all without worrying about a Volcanic Fallout ruining the Firewalker’s day.

Up next is Bestial Menace. Now this card has been pontificated on for over seven years. Yes, seven freakin years. Back in 2002 Mark Rosewater spoke of “Cone of Creatures,” a card originally in Judgment that made a 1/1 squirrel, a 2/2 bear and a 3/3 elephant – and it had Flashback. Yowza. The card was scrapped, as he noted, because it was confusing to keep up with the different tokens it created. Well, now that creature tokens are included in every pack of Magic, that fear is much subsided and we get this awesome spell instead. Possibly my favorite spell in Worldwake, this card is just fantastic. It’s a ‘new age’ mono Green Cloudgoat Ranger, it works unbelievably well with Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, along with Eldrazi Monument, and six power for five mana is nothing to scoff at. There is no shortage of incredible Green cards in Worldwake, and this is definitely a superstar.

Speaking of awesome Green cards, how about one of the best EDH generals ever? Check out Omnath, Locus of Mana. Yep, that’s an Upwelling that can go upside your head. And yes, that mana can be built up, turn after turn, to allow you to do some truly devastating things. How about bashing with a 5/5 or an 11/11 Omnath and then dropping a Darksteel Colossus? How nuts is this guy in EDH with Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary? While I don’t see him progressing beyond the casual tables, you gotta love all aspects of a card, and this guy has EDH greatness written all over him.

The next two cards are Red, and I love them both. Chain Reaction is first, and, let’s face it, this is the Red Wrath, or the closest thing we’re going to see for two colorless and two Red. Many people scoff that you have to work too hard to make this spell actually be a Wrath of God, and I think that’s simply narrow thinking. How nuts is this versus Eldrazi Green and their horde of Elves? What about Boros Bushwhacker, and how almost every creature in that deck has a mere one or two toughness? Sure, it’s not going to be taking down a Baneslayer Angel without some serious assistance, but this card doesn’t crush those decks, unless of course they’re also running Six Dudes, a.k.a. Conqueror’s Pledge, upon which time you may slam down your Chain Reaction and giggle yourself silly.

I’ll follow Chain Reaction up with Stone Idol Trap. Let me just say I love this card so much. I love it for the same reason Ken Nagle, the designer of Worldwake, loves it. It is a “griefer” card. Now ‘griefers’ normally get a bad rap, but sometimes griefing can be oh-so satisfying. Let’s say your opponent is at 18, swings with their whole team, consisting of five dudes, and smiles broadly as they’re sure of the win. You tap three mana, make triplet 6/12 tramplers, and bash for the win on your next turn. Can you say sexy time? Because that is sexy time to me. You think your Ant Queen is large? Hell, smash in with a Darksteel Colossus for all I care, because a 6/12 is going to be blocking pretty much anything you can think of, and will be around just long enough to crush your face. I feel this card will slowly rise in playability as people realize how powerful it can be and how easily it can steal games out of nowhere as the match progresses.

Going back to awesome green cards, Explore is another mondo common that sneaks right up on you. What some are calling the Green Time Walk, rest assured it is awesome sauce and will see serious play. Can you just imagine the havoc this thing is going to wreak on Jund decks, particularly Jund mirrors? Before Explore we had Rampant Growth often deciding games, and that card was pretty bad to flip over with Bloodbraid Elf in the long game. Now we have a card that is just fantastic to flip with any Cascade spell and it draws you a card when you do so and you may then play your other dual land if you please. What about the Valakut Ramp deck? I think mixing in a little Valaklut, some Oracle of Mul Daya and Explore is good times, particularly when, again, Khalni Garden can show up to provide Super Forest Power and give you another turn to live versus a deck that likes to smash in the red zone.

Lastly, I want to talk about…yawn…this um…*stretch*…this card Mike Flores previewed this week…*yawn more* called Everflowing Chalice. This is a cute and roundabout way of basically giving us a new Signet, a Fellwar Stone that only makes colorless, a Mind Stone you can’t sac, and so on. In other words, it’s a mana accelerant! Yay! This allows you to play Turn 3 Day of Judgments, Ajani Vengeants, and soon, Turn 3 Abyssal Persecutors. Now I’m not saying this card is bad in any way. In fact, it looks like a staple card in a variety of formats simply because it gives you four mana on Turn 3. But what I’m saying is… where is the pizazz? Where is the panache that often springs forth from a Mike Flores preview? Where is the Maelstrom Pulse, where is the Lotus Cobra, a card he called the second coming of Mind’s Desire? Instead we get… a freakin’ signet. Well whoop-de-freakin’-do. Maybe I’m just spoiled by exciting Flores previews in the past, but expect to be seeing this card quite a bit, and I suggest you pick up your foil set ASAP before everyone realizes how crazy useful it is.

And that’s another show, folks. I’d like to take a moment and note that this show commemorates my first week as a full time employee of StarCityGames.com, who has sponsored this show from the beginning but now has me on as a Community Manager. What does a Community Manager do? Well, I still get to make my ‘Show, meaning I’ll be flying all over the country and the world this year bringing you lots of awesome content, I get to try new ideas like my Quick Deck Tech series I’m currently hashing out, communicate with you guys in a variety of ways, including Facebook, Twitter, and more, and I get to work on some fantastic behind-the-scenes projects I can’t talk about yet but rest assured when it’s time you’ll know about them. It’s been a long, strange journey and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Feel free to harken back to Episode #1 of the Magic Show if you feel like having a good laugh, and I want you to know I wouldn’t be where I am today without your incredible support.

So until next week Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.

Evan “misterorange” Erwin
Community Manager, StarCityGames.com
It feels real good typing that 🙂