Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re going to go over Worldwake – the Spoiler has filled up, the Prerelease is mere hours away, and it’s time to see just what cards and strategies are going to come hurling at us this Spring. Let’s go!
The Worldwake We Live In
So this week the full spoiler has hit the web, and it’s time to dive in. First, a quick note about last week. As you may recall, I compared Khalni Garden to Sakura-Tribe Elder. This caused many people to point out exactly how different Khalni Garden was than the 1/1. And yes, I understand it doesn’t accelerate you. But what Sakura-Tribe Elder does, and Khalni Garden as well, is produce a dude to block with while also providing a mana. Granted Sakura-Tribe Elder puts you one more mana ahead than the Garden, but you also don’t have to pay anything for the dude you get either.
You know, looking back, I should’ve just left this comparison alone.
Okay, first up:
LOVE this guy. I think Amulet of Vigor could be the most fun if not powerful card in the set. It’s a card with limitless potential, because of the recent design philosophy at Wizards. It is universally understood that they can make a fantastic land, but in order to balance it they have to stick “enters the battlefield tapped” on it. They skirted around this in Ravnica block, bringing us the closest thing to the original dual lands as we’ve ever gotten by using two life payments in order to get them to untap. But now, you only need Amulet of Vigor and you have yourself a bonafide dual land. But that’s not all of course. Ravnica block also featured the incredible ‘bounce lands,’ also known as Karoos, that required you to return a land to your hand and wait a turn to get a two mana boost. But with Amulet of Vigor, you have the most insane bouncelands ever made, and can instantly use and abuse them. But hang on, it gets better. You know the problem with artifacts as unique and interesting as this is that multiples are usually crappy and don’t help you. Not with Amulet of Vigor! Seeing as it says “Whenever,” that means this triggered ability goes on the stack, and you can do things in between multiple triggers.
So, let’s say you’ve got a Ravnica bounce land you’re playing with three Amulet of Vigors in play. You play it, return a land, then untap it from the first Amulet trigger, then tap it for two mana, then let the second trigger resolve, tap it for two more, then let the third resolve, and tap it for two more. This artifact just went from a bonus to an incredible surge in mana production. Beyond bounce lands we have Cloudpost. Beyond that you can punish your opponent by playing Root Maze. Imagine late game dropping a Keldon Megaliths with no cards in hand and using its ability for each Amulet of Vigor you have in play? So. Sick. Get these before everyone catches on to how incredibly abusable they are.
Treasure Hunt is up next, and oh mah God, you’d think they just reprinted Brainstorm or something. Blue control players are freaking the hell out over this card, and I certainly hope it will pan out. But… over this draw spell? That yes, statistically draws 1.75 cards a whack, and works wonderfully with Jace, the Mind Sculptor’s Brainstorm ability. This spell is good, no doubt about it, and could see a lot to a fair amount of play. But you know what I find far more interesting? Halimar Depths:
Halimar Depths enters the battlefield tapped.
T: Add U to your mana pool.
When Halimar Depths enters the battlefield, look at top three cards of your library and put them back in any order.
Now THIS is a Blue card I can get excited about. While yes, it combos with Treasure Hunt beautifully, I feel this mini Ponder fo’ free is well worth the enters-the-battlefield-tapped clause. This is a card that, in a format filled with fetchlands, will shine exceptionally bright. Others are saying that this card could also bring Traumatic Visions into favor once again, as it gives you both a counter and the ability to shuffle your deck if your next few cards are subpar. Get yours foiled and fast before every blue deck under the sun uses a playset.
Speaking of lands, let me tell you guys: These dual lands are nuts. I honestly can’t believe I’m looking at these incredible duals preselling for $5. They are worth more, intrinsically and playable-wise, than the M10 duals, and those have stayed well over $10 ever since they debuted. A U/W fixer with an Angel attached? A R/B dude with Firebreathing built in? A G/R monster that gets a counter per activation, so late game you can pump 8 mana into him and make him even more monstrous? A G/W 3/4 Reach, a card pretty damn close to the cadillac of manlands, Treetop Village? A U/B unblockable creature that will end the game slowly but surely, which is exactly what a U/B deck likes to do?
As of right now these guys aren’t getting the respect they deserve. Expect to see them EVERYWHERE in the coming months and could easily sneak into Extended as well. Fixers that also double as finishers? Wow.
Now up next we got ourselves a fatty. And not just any fatty, but a Boom-Boom, close ya windows, lock ya doors, hang on tight stank nasty fatty. Ken Nagle designed Worldwake, and when we need fatties, he gave us one. Check out Terastadon:
YEAH! Woo! Eighteen freakin’ power of dudes for eight mana. EIGHTEEEN! Yes, read that again. Screw this ‘blow up your stuff’ idea. I’ll sac three Forests and kick the snot outtta you. But sure, if I have to, I’ll blow up your Planeswalkers and your cute artifacts and enchantments, then I’ll just Earthquake for three and smash with a 9/9. Terastadon is a fatty that is matched by few others in ability, size, and sheer overpowering board presence. He will mess a game up and is a hell of a magnet for reanimation. Makeshift Mannequin just got one hell of a target.
The only thing that bugs me about this guy is the lack of Trample. Really? A monster that big and he can be stopped by a 1/1? C’mon Wizards!
Moving on I want to cover two FAILs. Yes, fails are fun to go over, they bring a certain glee to things, watching others bring ruin to those around them. And besides, these fails will never be epic, but fails they remain.
The first? Mordant Dragon. Um. FAIL. This creature is both harder to cast than Flameblast Dragon; has Firebreathing that is twice as expensive as, well, Firebreathing; is smaller than Rorix at the same cost not to mention lacking Haste; and whose ability cannot hit other players. This is like a dragon that exists only to make other dragons look good. It’s the ugly friend of dragons. Yes, thank you Mordant Dragon, I now see just exactly how amazing Hellkite Charger is, because you suck so hard you can’t do anything but make him look good.
The second? Bull Rush. You seen what this card does?
Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
What. The. Hell. Seriously? A +2/+0 effect? That’s what we get? That’s the best common we can slip in there? You guys, uh, notice Slaughter Cry? From ya know, the set just before this one? Sure it’s two more mana but let’s just say for argument’s sake it’s better. Now this card is, um, cute I guess. It’s like a… uh… creature Shock! Yeah. Or like Brute Force… wait, it’s nothing like Brute Force. It’s a friggin world away from that colorshifted Giant Growth. Instead, Red has fallen so out of favor of getting a decent creature pump that Bull Rush is what we get instead. You have to be kidding me. This is not the Mindless Null of the set, a wonderfully bad card that is actually deceptively good and interesting. This card is just… it’s just… it’s FAIL.
So on the flipside, let’s take a look at one awesome Red rare. And I mean he is large, in charge, and going to do some damage to the metagame:
Oh yes, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs can bring a game screeching to a halt. Sure, you want to attack there buddy? This guy is a Ghostly Prison on crack. Sure you can pay 3 and not give me a dude, that just means I have a 5/4 plus whatever else is going over here to block it. Kazuul backed by Chandra Nalaar and Chain Reaction smells like a deck already. You don’t want to attack because of the payment restriction, yet you must to kill that Planeswalker. All while they can sit back and nuke you with Comet Storm, Lightning Bolt, and so on. Big red is coming people, get prepared! I don’t care if Kor Firewalker is out there or not, we’re getting back Quicksand, right?
But say, what about Bazaar Trader? Well, we finally know what he does:
Creature – Goblin
T: Target player gains control of target artifact, creature or land that you control.
Yeah… so… a kinda-Donate on legs… that doesn’t actually let you donate things that can hurt your opponent outside of Immortal Coil. Several people are a-flutter about the possibility of Abyssal Persectuor and Bazaar Trader, but I think that’s just overkill. You don’t need Bazaar Trader to do anything that your removal spells won’t already do to get Abyssal Persecutor out of the way. I wish this had said “gains control of target permanent,” because then it really would’ve been interesting I think, and for now will wait for some good uses to pop up.
Speaking of two-drops, how about a few all-stars? Look at
Oh man do I love both of these guys. For me, both of these cards could have Constructed viability. Sejiri Merfolk are super-powered in Legacy, where you can play with Tundra all the live-long, while Slavering Nulls are pretty devastating beginning Turn 3 when swinging in and forcing you to lose a card. Combine this with a few Terminates to clear the way, perhaps backed up by Sedraxis Specter and Nyxathid, and you’ve got yourself a pretty scary Black/Red discard deck.
But these guys are nothing. You want to see power, check out Loam Lion:
Yes ladies and gentlemen, that is a White Kird Ape! Zoo players around the world just ran around the room for high fives, because this guy helps smooth out manabases like few before it. Suddenly your Temple Garden will be powering out both your new White Kird Ape along with Wild Nacatl, allowing your Mountain land to be Steam Vents or Blood Crypt instead of forcing you to get a Stomping Ground in order to support both Wild Nacatl and Kird Ape. This new flexibilty brings you into scarier Tribal Flames earlier, while still giving you a 2/3 for one mana.
I don’t know how powerful Loam Lion will be in Standard, but you bet your bottom dollar he’s going to be kicking ass in Extended.
Moving on, I want to quickly mention how I love Goliath Sphinx. He’s huge, he flies, he kills people, all for seven mana. That’s all. He’s just a badass. A vanilla badass.
Lastly, I want to mention Wolfbriar Elemental
Now let me just say, for the record, this guy is the sickness in Eldrazi Green. Never before have I seen such a sick late game play from a deck: Use and abuse your Garruk Wildspeaker and Elvish Archdruid and crank out a ton of Wolf tokens, then use Oran-Rief, the Vastwood to pump them all, then use Master of the Wild Hunt and these wolves to completely decimate your opponent’s board.
Seriously, a 4/4 for four mana was once controversial. Now we’re looking at a 4/4 that makes oodlins of 2/2’s for a mere mana a pop. In a deck that abuses wolves. Holy crap. This to me is one of the criminally underrated cards and one that can easily and efficiently destroy you when ripped after turn 8 or 9.
And that’s it for this week folks. The prerelease is on and you better get yourself over there, cracking packs before you can buy them. Worldwake is a subtle powerhouse with cards that need to be played rather than discussed in order to show their power. Sure, Celestial Colonnade and Wolfbriar Elemental may not look like much now, but wait a few weeks and I think things will look a lot different.
So until next time, Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards… so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin