Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week I’ve got a piping hot new spoiler ready to go, the never-before-seen Boar Umbra, and it looks ready to kick some serious ass. Plus we’ve got a huge helping of new spoilers, a common Eldrazi monster and the mind-blowing Level Up mechanic. Let’s go!
ROE, For You & Me
So this week I’ve got you a hell of a spoiler. It’s name is Boar Umbra. It’s an enchantment. It’s a Green enchantment, what you would call a member of a cycle. Now what we know of the “Umbra” cards, Mammoth Umbra so far, was that they gave the creature the Totem Armor ability, a free regeneration shield in exchange for an enchantment, and a bonus or two.
Well, Boar Umbra here, is about the business. Bringing it, stomping all over the competition, and bringing the beats for as cheap as possible. Now as you can see, the Umbras are made to turn the enchanted creature into a form of the animal represented. Well, Boars came to stomp, and here’s your stomping. Check it out:
Enchantment – Aura
Enchanted Creature gets +3/+3
Now this is a whoopin’, folks. Remember last week, when I brought up Elephant Guide, Griffin Guide, and Moldervine Cloak? Those are tournament-winning cards. I remember the scariness of a Savannah Lions wearing a Griffin Guide when my Martyr of Sands deck stumbled a few years ago in Regionals. Moldervine Cloak was played at the top tables of the Pro Tour. Beatdown cards are not to be underestimated in this day and age. We live in the kingdom of Jund right now, where Black, Green, and Red rule the metagame with an iron fist. And while there are powerful and vibrant strategies, realize that an incredible 44% of Day 2 at Grand Prix: Kuala Lumpur was comprised of Jund. The combination of such powerful monsters all in one deck, that can cascade from nowhere into a removal spell, a powerful creature, and another removal spell right off the top of their deck is a force to be reckoned with.
And what does this card do? It looks lovely on the back of a Putrid Leech. It is exquisite showcasing itself on a Sprouting Thrinax, and what Knight of the Reliquary wouldn’t be complete without a little insurance policy in the form of Totem Armor?
You know what I think my favorite interaction is? Troll Ascetic. For so long Troll Ascetic has lived in this little corner of Extended, waiting to take flight. Always you’d stick an Armadillo Cloak or something when their shields were down, and here’d come Wrath of God. Well guess what – Wrath of God doesn’t trump Totem Armor. Read Totem Armor again, closely. I am completely thrilled that one of my favorite creatures, a card that Richard Feldman wrote an entire rant about how terrible it was compared to Tarmogoyf and didn’t understand why competitive Magic players like it at all, finally gets an Aura that seems built just for it. Also, Uril, the Miststalker. Rawr.
Seriously though, I love me some beatdown, and Boar Umbra is some scary beats. Everyone loves to build a monster using Auras, and Totem Armor is the insurance you need to ensure your awesome creature doesn’t get wiped out by something like Day of Judgment or Martial Coup. Of course Zur the Enchanter EDH players will go nuts for this and Totem Armor in general, thanks to the wackiness of Zur and the powerful protection it provides.
I also know it sounds a little silly, but, do you remember Sovereigns of Alara? How awesome is this guy with Totem Armor of all types, particularly Boar Umbra? You play Baneslayer Angel, drop Sovereigns of Alara the next turn, attack with your Angel and search out Boar Umbra? Getcha for eight? Just throwing out ideas to get the juices flowin’.
All I know is, this card looks like a bomb in draft and I hope makes waves in Constructed. It also leads into my next spoiler, Hyena Umbra:
Enchantment – Aura
Enchanted Creature gets +1/+1 and first strike.
Now this to me signals a cycle of Totem Umbras at least at Common and Uncommon. You can see a clear power jump from the Common to Uncommon versions in Hyena Umbra to Mammoth Umbra, and my guess is there will be a similar jump for Green with Boar Umbra – The common one could give +1/+1 and trample for instance.
My hope, again, is to see rare Totem Armors. I would love to see what insane gifts are provided at high mana costs – insane abilities that double as insurance policies? Yowza.
Moving on, we are told Overgrown Battlement is a lot better than it looks. In this mere common we see Vine Trellis 2.0, a fine card in its own right, and one that could make a lot more mana with a few defenders on our side. We are also told, via the preview article on magicthegathering.com, that we’ll see cards that reward you for having more defenders on your side. That sounds fine and good, but in the meantime I’ll just power out the latest spoiled Eldrazi, Ulamog’s Crusher:
Creature – Eldrazi
Ulamog’s Crusher attacks each turn if able.
Yes, that is an 8/8 colorless monstrosity that will be making you lose permanents each turn until you deal with it. I love the reveal of a common Eldrazi, meaning we’ll see huge scary creatures all the way up the rarity chain.
But we’ll need help to power them out, which is where the Eldrazi Spawn come in. And here’s a creature that makes them, Emrakul’s Hatcher. Yeah, a here 3/3 for five mana isn’t much, as it will usually fly in Blue and sometimes both fly and get first strike in White. But Red gets acceleration, and going from five mana on one turn to eight mana the next means you could be following up Emrakul’s Hatcher with Ulamog’s Crusher. Wow, that’s a, ah, weird set of names.
Anyway, something’s gotta kill that Crusher, and Virulent Swipe is here to help:
Target creature gets +2/+0 and gains deathtouch until end of turn.
Compare this mondo combat trick with the Green version in Prey’s Vengeance. Both uncommon, both giving a +2 bonus, each powerful and deadly in their own way. I love me some Rebound, and I can’t wait to see more of the mechanic.
But I saved the best for last, of course. The other huge mechanic happening in Rise of the Eldrazi? It’s called Level Up. It’s creatures? They’re being called Levelers. Ready to see some? Check out Knight of Cliffhaven. This mere 2/2 for two mana has a very interesting layout never seen before on a Magic card. Level Up is basically the Figure of Destiny mechanic, and who doesn’t love Figure of Destiny? These creatures give you something to do with your mana, provide you an incredibly cool layout, and allows you to fill up your mana curve a hell of a lot easier.
Now the naysayers will tell you that you’re putting too much mana into them than what you get out of them. I mean, here we have Knight of Cliffhaven. To turn this guy into Serra Angel takes a total of fourteen mana. Four. Teen. Mana. That’s a lot for a Serra Angel, and you’d never in a million years pay ten mana for a Serra Angel, let alone fourteen. But that’s not the point. The point is, if you don’t have a three drop, then you drop your mana into Knight of Cliffhaven and get yourself a Kor Skyfisher for five mana. Then later in the game, when you have nothing else to do, you level up this guy here and there until bam, out pops a Serra Angel. It’s not the total investment that you look at, but the gains provided by being able to start beating early with a 2/2, then bouncing your way to a 2/3 flier while you work you way up to 4/4 status.
Here’s another, a monster Mythic called Lighthouse Chronologist:
Creature – Human Wizard
Level Up – U
Level 4-6: 2/4
Level 7+: At the beginning of each end step, if it’s not your turn, take an extra turn after this one. 3/5
So as you can see, they get both scarier and more powerful. Now this guy, he’s just ripe for some multiplayer mayhem. You want a target on your head, go ahead and start pumping mana into your Chronologist. He’s not quite Luminarch Ascension bad in terms of painting a target on you, but he’ll garner attention. As for Standard aspirations? I think so far the fact that you can only Level Up as a sorcery greatly harms the mechanic from entering the competitive realm too much. Of course, we’ve only seen a few cards with Level Up so far, but to only be usable at Sorcery speed it will take a hell of a Level Up card to crack Standard.
It also bugs me that Figure of Destiny really had three “Levels” to power up into after starting as a 1/1, while the Level Up creatures only have two — what they start out with, and two more levels beyond.
The final Level Up creature is the rare Guul Draz Assassin:
Guul Draz Assassin
Creature – Vampire Assassin
Level Up 1B
Level 2-3: B, T: Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn. 2/2
Level 3+: B, T: Target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn. 4/4
Now before you write this guy off as limited fodder, note that he’s the Buy A Box Promo this go-around, and Wizards is not exactly known for making Buy A Box Promos crappy, you know what I’m saying? For Zendikar you got Day of Judgment and for Worldwake you got Celestial Colonnade, both excellent cards in their own right. Once this guy is fully powered it will be taking down Broodmate Dragons single-handedly, and screw up combat math in all sorts of ways. Even when it gives -2/-2 it still messes with Landfall creatures, Ranger of Eos, and again messes with assorted combat math in nasty ways. Just sayin’, this guy could be a lot better than expected.
But hey, how about another Legendary Eldrazi? Let’s get wild with the mana costs though. We’ve got Kozilek, Butcher of Truth at 10 mana. We’ve got Pathrazer of Ulamog at 11 mana. But this big boy? This monster tops them all!
Get a load of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn!
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Legendary Creature – Eldrazi
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn can’t be countered.
When you cast Emrakul, take an extra turn after this one.
Flying, protection from colored spells, annihilator 6.
When Emrakul is put into a graveyard from anywhere, its owner shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library.
Oh mah God. It’s like… it’s like… it’s like the most beautiful Timmy card I’ve ever seen. It makes Progenitus look weak. It’s beyond huge, its stats are beyond amazing, and… it can’t be countered while giving you a Time Walking 15/15 that has protection from colored spells, Annihilator 6 and…oh yeah, it has evasion! It has evasion, for crying out loud! To boot, the damned thing flies. It’s bad enough to sacrifice six permanents just because it’s coming at you, but now you’ve got a flying 15/15 to deal with.
Do I love this guy? I freaking adore this guy. My Timmy circuits are blowing up and the Spike in me wants him to break Sneak Attack so badly. Annihilator has yet to be seen or proven, but sacrificing permanents early and often in Legacy seems pretty good. Emrakul is a monster in EDH where it will fit into literally every deck in the format, and his fun factor is off the charts. For fifteen mana a creature better be jaw-dropping, and Emrakul has made the jaw drop. A Time Walking ass-kicker in every sense of the word, this guy delivers. Wow.
So. How about them Eldrazi? Hahaha, I love it! More spoilers soon, I hope, and you’ll know just where to find them. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin