Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week we’re ready to dive head-first into some serious M12 spoiler goodness. I’m talking about one badass spoiler of my own, some incredible cards unveiled so far, and my current pick for sleeper of the set. You ready? Let’s go!
M12 Spoiler Time
So here we go ladies and gentlemen, Wizards of the Coast is in full-blown M12 spoiler season, no Godbooks are to be found, and this time my spoiler didn’t get ripped out from under me. Before I go on, you have to see this card. Allow me to present Grand Abolisher:
Creature – Human Cleric
During your turn, your opponents can’t cast spells or active abilities of artifacts, creatures, or enchantments.
Now…people. Seriously. There is no deck that I love, no deck I’m more fond of, than White Weenie. And this guy? Oh baby. What do this card remind me of? One of my favorite cards of all time – City of Solitude. Oh MAN was that a sick hoser back in the day. You played that, you were all good to play as many creatures, spells, and pump spells as you like. Grand Abolisher? Same thing, except now this City of Solitude is all-upside and bashes in the red zone for two!
Now my buddy Glenn is quick to tell you this card is an Abeyance on a stick instead of a City of Solitude on a stick. But what does it matter? Are you a control player? Then this says when it’s my turn, you sit on your hands. Don’t…just, just don’t. No Sensei’s Divining Top activations in Legacy. No Counterspells. No Tumble Magnets. No end of turn Khalni Heart Expeditions. Instead we have pure efficiency, and man do I love it.
Did you see the Mythic rare Angelic Destiny? That card is awesome, and how do you ensure it’s awesomeness? By having Grand Abolisher on the board, ensuring a beatdown is coming soon. No bounce spells, no removal spells. At least on your turn of course.
Must I build the curve? I must. First turn Elite Vanguard; Second turn Porcelain Legionnaire, bash for two; Third turn Absolisher, then…they do nothing. No seriously. Just–just sit there. My time. This is my time. Third turn I do whatever the hell I wanna do, including bashing for five, then pass. Fingers crossed I don’t get Day of Judgement’d out so I can follow-up with Hero of Bladehold and smash for seven, our opponent now at six life, begging for mercy. There’s also the goodness of mixing red in there, as your Lightning Bolts and Incinerates will remain uncountered while the Abolisher is on the battlefield.
Now before we go too far, it’s obvious this guy isn’t the best creature ever printed or anything. It fails the IDTD test, aka “It Dies To Dismember”, the new benchmark for all creatures in Standard. This is one of the many reasons Consecrated Sphinx is ridiculous right now by the way. Also, it does nothing on their turn, which obviously isn’t great, but thanks to not being just City of Solitude you get all of the upside and none of the downside.
That said…this guy is incredibly efficient. It’s going right into my cube. It’s going into some Standard deck, I’m not sure which one, but an effect this unique and powerful is going to fit in somewhere. There are few things I love than a two-white 2/2 with a uniquely powerful effect, and this guy is right near the top.
I’d like to thank Wizards of the Coast for giving me a fantastic spoiler this go-around, and I hope you guys love it as much as I do.
But what else do we have? Oh boy. You ain’t seen nothin yet. We got ourselves some Planeswalkers! Let’s begin with Jace, Memory Adept.
Now this new Jace is good–don’t get me wrong, no Planeswalker is ever straight terrible…okay, Chandra Ablaze is straight terrible. But seriously, there’s a reason this card will be “bad” for awhile–it’s called Jace Beleren. Quite simply, raw mana cost will win over neato +1 ability every time, and as a blue mage you want to start getting card advantage immediately rather than wait.
But, what does this card really do? It sets up Innistrad perfectly. A few weeks ago, Wizards got a little sloppy with the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 PC code. It appears some XML files included info on upcoming cards, including the aforementioned Angelic Destiny–and many of the other cards looks like they’re from Innistrad. One in particular is called Moan of the Unhallowed. It’s a two black, two colorless sorcery that makes two 2/2 Zombies…and for seven mana…you can Flashback it! Oh hells yes, are we’re talking about Flashback returning in Innistrad? SO up for that, and everything so far points to a graveyard based block.
Want more proof? The other cards include “Murder of Crows”, a five mana 4/4 that lets you draw then discard when a creature dies. Skirsdag Cultist sacrifices creatures to deal two damage. Wreath of Geists is an Aura that pumps a creature equal to the number of creatures in your graveyard, and so on.
My point? Jace, Memory Adept is amazing in a format that cares about what’s in your graveyard. Mill for TEN? For FREE? Seriously? I guess I’ll just fill my graveyard with all of these awesome Flashback spells along with whatever else cool graveyard mechanics Wizard cooks up.
A card that will slowly fall in value until everyone remembers how amazing it is with the upcoming block. Use this info to your advantage.
But what about our other spoiled planeswalker? Chandra, the Firebrand is our latest planeswalker, and the first ever to not require two of the same color of mana. According to Tom Lapille, lead developer of M12, it was to differentiate “Koth decks” versus other red decks planeswalker choices.
That said, I think Chandra, the Firebrand is fan-freakin tastic. I recognize her first ability isn’t super-exciting, but Chandra’s Phoenix was made to be abused with her, and that alone is a powerful turn 3 / turn 4 punch.
But really, the sexiness lies in the second ability. Volt Charge is the first spell that comes to mind, basically giving you six damage and returning the loyalty counters needed to copy it for â€˜free’. But Tezzeret’s Gambit gives you four cards instead, while good ole Lightning Bolt gives you six damage for a single card and mana.
Pretty sure Mike Flores went off the deep end comparing her to Jace, the Mind Sculptor–a card that is now being recognized as pound for pound the best card EVER made, c’mon Mike–but she’s very, very good. What if you ramp yourself to some insane spell and get to copy it with Chandra? How’s two Summoning Traps sound? In the cube I’m thinking firing off two Tooth and Nails would be pretty sweet. I’d definitely be up for that.
Her ultimate is fine, nothing to sneeze at, but nothing to write home about. Okay, six damage to some targets. Sure. Meanwhile, why aren’t you copying sorceries and instants?! C’mon!
Chandra, the Firebrand will take time to show her true potential. Her ability to be splashed is not to be underestimated and will allow her to be in a whole lot more decks than she normally would be.
But how about some more neato cards? I have to mention Sundial of the Infinite because it is freaky, crazy, and can result in some weird but excellent interactions. The first one that jumps out is Final Fortune is suddenly Time Walk! Yes, when you active Sundial, all of those “at the beginning of the end step” triggers just don’t happen. Goryo’s Vengeance? Best legendary reanimation spell ever not close? Planar Guide just becomes Final Judgment on a stick. The newly reprinted Call to the Grave will make them sac dudes every turn forever. Putrefax is going to continue to beat your face every turn. How sick is it if you can get your 6/12 colorless monster from Stone Idol Trap to stick around? And this is just from my first few searches. You Johnnies out there, this is the card for you, and it’s SO beautifully close to busted you can’t help but try to make it work.
Lastly I’m going to quickly go over some sweet new rares:
The first is Sphinx of Uthuun, aka Fact or Faction Dragon. Awesome creature, I love the idea of putting awesome spells on sick fatties. This is furthered by Rune-Scarred Demon. While one of the most pedestrian names ever, right up there with the super creatively named “Mana-Charged Dragon,” what it does is no joke: Demonic Tutor! Yes, I get a fatty AND the best card in my deck. Talk about a bomb in sealed deck. Hell, either of these amazing flying fatties would be an all-star in their respective sealed decks.
Moving on, in the same vein of Jace, Memory adept comes Visions of Beyond. Now THIS is a plant. You remember last week when I ran that footage of Stoneforge Mystic and how she wasn’t going to be good until the fall? Yeah, this card is going to be good in the fall. After everyone realized that it’s going to take a graveyard-based block to make this playable it may fall in value, so again, use this to your advantage. When Jace is milling ten cards from your library for free, it only takes another activation to turn this suck into Ancestral Recall, and make all other copies of it Ancestral Recall. I heard that was pretty good. Watch out for this one.
Lastly I’m calling two sleeper cards right now — a rare and an uncommon. The rare? Phantasmal Image. Sure it’s a “skulking ghost” in that if it’s targeted it dies. BUT…man is that the sickest and cheapest Clone they’ve ever made. This card is ripe for copying Vengevines, Titans, Wurmcoil Engines and Solemn Simulacrums–which, by the way, is a sick reprint. Regardless, this card should be on your radar as something ripe with potential and is just a few powerful interactions to making the top tables.
The uncommon sleeper of the set so far? Swiftfoot Boots! I don’t think you guys are appreciating the power of Lightning Greaves that allow the player to attached as many Swords as you want to the creature without fear of removal spells. The granting of Haste is huge, as it let’s you basically skip that whole waiting around to bash as well as getting around cards like Condemn when you’re attacking. Kuldotha Forgemaster also loves this card, as it will enable it to be played and used in the same turn for just six mana. You heard it here first: This card is way, way better than it looks. A Commander all-star, I think it’s constructed applications are just getting started.
So that’s it! This week we’ve barreled through a ton of M12, and we’ve still got more goodness on the way. What does the new Garruk do? We’re not sure. What other awesome reprints are coming back like Solemn Simulacrum? Who knows. That said, if you aren’t playing Black/Green Birthing Pod, thanks to Solemn you should be.
Anyway, we’ll be back next week with all the goodies. Until next time Magic players, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards…so you don’t have to.
Evan “misterorange” Erwin