Hello everybody, and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show! This week I’ve got an exclusive spoiler in the form of Engulfing Slagwurm, and we’ve got a whole ton of spoilers to go over – new planeswalkers, a new Mox, and much more! Let’s go!
Scars of Mirrodin Previews Arrive!
So here we are with another set and another preview. I tell you, I always love the Preview Weeks, as we Magic players get our Christmas morning four times a year. This go-around we haven’t lacked in amazing spoilers, but I want to get mine in there first. Now it’s been said I always like the fatties, and that is no more true than right here. Say hello to Engulfing Slagwurm:
So, yeah, that’s some fatty boom-booms we got going on there. While I don’t foresee this impacting Constructed, it’s certainly a hell of a kitchen table and EDH fatty that will satisfy Timmies of all shapes and sizes.
First let’s focus on the most important aspect: The fact that this creature normally doesn’t even damage the creature that blocks it. Just by blocking this monster, the defending creature is destroyed immediately â€” and not only do you get to destroy the creature, you get a sweet life gain bonus off it as well! Nice. Now remember that indestructible cards are returning with Scars of Mirrodin, so sometimes this ability won’t do what you want it to. However, do note that the creature doesn’t actually have to be “destroyed” â€” that is, “go to the graveyard” â€” in order to gain life equal to its toughness. Nevertheless, in the formats I believe this will make the most impact, it will be rare you’ll see this against an indestructible creature. Instead they’ll be destroyed immediately.
I wish there was more to focus on here, but hey: Monsters that smash face and are tough to block are never a bad thing in my book. At seven mana it can be a stretch to play in Draft, but I would certainly not be unhappy about seeing this in my Sealed pool. Feel free to leave your reactions to Engulfing Slagwurm in the feedback.
As for our other Scars of Mirrodin spoilers, let’s get to the juice.. And by “juice,” I mean Planeswalkers! Holy snap, we have some amazing Planeswalkers in this set.
The first is Venser, the Sojourner. People…people. This card. I mean…damn. This card does so much right, it’s hard to go wrong. Let’s start with base stats.
Three loyalty for five mana is solid. But a +2 that does great things? That’s even better. This effect of exiling and returning to play is often called “Blinking,” in homage to Momentary Blink, and was once referred to as the “Flicker” effect.
Either way, what would one “Blink” with Venser? How about Wall of Omens? Sure, I’ll take another card. Let’s blink Sea Gate Oracle and get some card advantage? No? How about the newly-reprinted Trinket Mage? Seems good. But let’s dream bigger. How about blinking Sphinx of Lost Truths? No? Let’s go bigger. How about Reveillark in Extended? Yeah, that’s a “leaves the battlefield” trigger. But I want more! I want to blink Titans! Yes, Sun Titan, Primeval Titan, Frost Titan, they’re all amazing thanks to their “enter the battlefield” and “attack” triggers, so why not get another one?
I mean, look at the word “permanent” there. You could even blink a land in order to have mana up during your opponent’s turn. How about blinking your other Planeswalkers to reset their counters? And this is just the first ability! How about the second? Is this the card U/W Skies was waiting on? First-turn Steppe Lynx, second turn use an Arid Mesa to play Stormfront Pegasus, bash for four, third-turn play Kor Hookmaster to tap down their blocker, bash for four, Turn 4 play Honor of the Pure and a land, bash for nine, then play Venser and finish them off with unblockable monsters.
This is, of course, a Magical Christmasland scenario, but hey, it could happen, couldn’t it?
But how about the ultimate ability? Emblems are here, and they do some pretty amazing stuff. It’s like the most ridiculous Tidespout Tyrant ever, in an emblem that can’t be destroyed or removed in any way. I play a spell, I solve a problem. It’s no Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker ultimate (or even a Jace, the Mind Sculptor ultimate), but those either require more time or much more difficult casting costs. Venser? He’s raring to go and ready to show you what kind of synergy is possible with other Blue/White cards in Standard.
Oh man, that’s just one planeswalker! How’s about Elspeth Tirel?
Oh yes, yes, yes! Now this is a friggin’ Planeswalker to get excited about! First, she’s mono-white, which according to the pedigree set in the past means she’s fantastic. While her art was a little on the green side, I’m happy to have my mono-colored monstrosities, thanks. First thing to note is that her first ability is +2. This means you get a potential six loyalty starting right away. Gaining life versus, say, a mono-red deck is important in keeping you in the race. But her second ability is the actual stone blade. Three dudes.
Yes, three. Dudes. Seriously. What I once scoffed at in Spectral Procession I no longer scoff at. The chump blockers instantly? Three Soldiers that can be pumped thanks to your turn 4 Ajani Goldmane? Oh man, how about another Planeswalker that goes well with Elspeth Tirel? You remember Nissa Revane? Yeah, she gets free dudes and gains life as well. Together, with Ajani Goldmane, you’ve got some serious life-gainin’, counter-puttin’ craziness going on.
Regardless, the fact that your five mana can give you six 1/1 Soldiers…that’s just ridiculous. But the Ultimate…
Oh my God, the Ultimate.
I want you to pay special attention to this wording, because it’s important: After playing Elspeth Tirel and activating her first ability, on your next turn you may then destroy all other permanents except for lands and tokens. This “other” means you’re not destroying Elspeth Tirel with this ability. If you’ve got tokens into play with cards like Avenger of Zendikar, Emeria Angel, Awakening Zone, or Garruk Wildspeaker, they’re not going anywhere.
Other permanents like their Planeswalkers, their artifacts, their creatures and enchantments? Gone. Dead. Destroyed. Done. Christ on a cracker, Elspeth Tirel is ridiculous.
But…geez, just when I think it can’t get any better. Just when I’m sure Wizards can’t keep topping themselves, they do. Feast your eyes on Koth of the Hammer.
Stop! Hammer time!
Yes! YES! A good mono-red Planeswalker, is it true? That encourages you to play with Mountains and rewards you for it? Yes, yes, a million times yes!
Let me just get this out of the way: Koth may actually end up being better than Elspeth Tirel or Venser, the Sojourner. That’s right, I said it. To call this guy metagame-defining is one thing, but let’s go ahead and discuss the ridiculousness.
First, get those Goblin Guides right this instant. As if that hasty 2/2 wasn’t good enough, he just got the Planeswalker he’s always wanted. Would you like a curve? Here’s one:
This is, of course, off the top of my head. This is the first planeswalker that doesn’t protect itself that I’m very, very excited about. Usually this is a bad thing â€” but in Koth’s case, well, you’re the red deck. You need to be bashing face, and this does just that. Play Koth, kill their Jace, the Mind Sculptor? Approved!
How about Koth, use his second ability, Goblin Ruinblaster? What about untapping with five mana, playing your sixth Mountain, dropping Koth and using his second ability to drop an Inferno Titan? How about untapping with Koth and using his second ability and five mountains to play Kozilek, Butcher of Truth? What about ramping into a turn 5 Devastating Force?
Oh man. And have we gotten to the ultimate yet? You know, the ability that says “target control deck loses the game”? You know, the ability that you always wanted as a red mage? The one that U/W control never, ever wants you to have?
Just laying it out here: Koth is simply bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S, peeps. If you doubt him, go ahead and throw together your favorite red dudes and burn spells together and see what happens.
My favorite “bonus” on Koth? His name is a recursive acronym of itself: Koth as in “Koth of the Hammer”? Clever Wizards, very clever.
Man…so much goodness to talk about in this set. How’s about a Mox Opal?
Yeah, that’s a Mox, and it’s a good one. That said, I don’t think it’s a broken one; rather, it’s a solid addition to our Mox family. Will it be a one-of in Vintage? Probably. Will it fit right into the Metalcraft deck alongside Steel Overseer from M11, and the shiny new free 1/1 Memnite Shyamalan? You betcha. Is it a solid Mythic? You betcha. Anything with the word “Mox” requires special recognition, and we’ve got it here.
I feel like Mox Opal is a card I’m excited about â€” but I’m trepidacious. Free mana acceleration is always risky, and cards that require other cards to be in play are also risky. Tournament players enjoy consistency over all else, and this is the definition of a card that can be very inconsistent. Mulliganing to a five-carder that includes Mox Opal is dangerous, to say the least. I’m still on the fence, but still expect great things from this Mythic artifact.
Speaking of great things, check out the Prerelease Foil, Wurmcoil Engine. Holy snap, is that a 6/6 deathtouchin’ lifelinkin’ monster for six mana? That gives you a 3/3 deathtoucher and 3/3 lifelinker when it dies? Seriously? I Day of Judgment and I still keep six power on the board? Nice. Card.
But how’s about another that survives a Wrath well? Look at Chimeric Mass. I love how this card interacts with board sweepers of any kind. Devastating Force, pay a mana, bash your face? I also enjoy how this card interacts with Proliferate in that it can get much bigger for free.
Of the Proliferate spells I’ve seen, the most exciting is easily Thrummingbird. First of all, nice Bird Horror. Oh no, it’s a Very Scary Bird! And it’s coming to get you! Bwahaha! Seriously, this bird does crazy stuff with counters. Whether it’s powering up your Everflowing Chalice or making your Planeswalkers even better (as if they weren’t good enough in this set), this innocuous 1/1 will be doing some damage in drafts and Sealed deck â€” if not Standard and beyond. This is my pick for the card with the most potential so far â€” beyond those insane Planeswalkers, of course. Don’t count out the Bird Horror!
Moving on, how about the new Spellbombs? Origin Spellbomb is very interesting, and the thing I like is the colorless activation with a sort of colored mana “kicker” on it. This ensures these spellbombs go in the correct EDH decks and give you an additional bonus for their ability.
How’s about a sick rare? You seen Steel Hellkite? Wow, what a dragon. Feel free to look back at all of the underwhelming artifact dragons printed in the past. Nothing, and I mean nothing, comes close to this guy’s stats. Not only do you get a 5/5 flyer for six mana, it has colorless firebreathing and â€” oh yeah â€” and it has an Engineered Explosives-esque effect to wipe their board clean. If you want a card that’s going to see endless casual play for years and years to come, this is it. Did I mention it’s rumored to be the Release Party card as well? Get yours and stick it in your favorite EDH or Cube today 🙂
Man…that’s all the time I have this week for Scars of Mirrodin. I never got to the goodness of Metalcraft, the return of the Myr and their new Lord in the form of Myr Galvanizer, or even the return of Mindslaver! Also note I’m still chugging away on Pro Tour: Amsterdam footage, so expect to see my Pro Tour: Amsterdam shows pop up early next week.
Until next time, Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to!
Evan “misterorange” Erwin