Hello everybody and welcome to another edition of the Magic Show. This week I have a whopping double spoiler Friday for you guys, with not just one but TWO awesome spoilers. It’s time to talk about double-faced cards, my sweet spoilers, sick Mythics, new Planeswalkers and more. Let’s go!
Innistrad Spoiler Time!
Okay, I know what you’re here for, so let’s get to it. My first spoiler for today is Angel of Flight Alabaster. Check it out.
Now, firstly, what a fantastically flavored name! This set is being touted as Flavor-First, and holy cow is it. This set oozes flavor, it practically drips off the packs, and what a beautiful piece of art to go with such a great name.
But, abilities! In them we have your standard five mana 4/4 flier. But that ability? Pure value. For those who battle constructed, you may find her a bit wanting. But for everybody else? Goodness galore. For those who like to rock Spirits in Commander, you have a great, continuous source of card advantage. And if you’re rocking her in limited, I’m pretty sure you’re very happy as she is no less than a bomb. There is no shortage of getting cards in your graveyard thanks to this set, not to mention Flashback is returning so if they’re not Spirits to return, they’re giving you value.
Now THIS is a freakin bird! Man, and I thought two mana 1/1 fliers were done with rocking Standard. Instead, we get another one, and it is both rare and very deceptively powerful. You see, Wizards has a long history of making awesome blue and a colorless flying 1/1s. Narcomoeba, Spellstutter Sprite, Erayo? Yup. Cloud of Faeries, Soratami Cloudskater and Spiketail Hatchling. All of them 1/1 blue fliers for two, and this one is definitely right up there.
Why is it so powerful? Let’s count the ways. First, it’s cheap. Second, it’s evasive. Third, it’s ability can be used at INSTANT SPEED. Oh, Dismember my bird? Guess I’ll pay two and oh, that’s a Sun Titan on top. Guess he lives and you take SEVEN. Did you miss and just reveal a three casting cost spell? Do it again and let’s see if he gets there. This lets you both manipulate the top card of your library by milling the bad ones, mill your opponent’s library if they have a ton of high casting cost cards, and thanks to Flashback you get value beyond that!
This was a design from Richard Garfield itself, and it shows. Suddenly you have a fantastic “mini-game” of revealing and hoping that it’s enough to keep him alive. Remember the feel-bad from Ponder by getting that one card you want and two you hate? Just mill them–and get great value–from Mindhreiker here. I can’t stress this enough: This will be an unsung hero until he’s thrown into a control deck and kicks your butt as soon as its controller untaps. Being able to protect this guy with counterspells, then simply dump all of your mana into his pumping ability, at instant speed in response to removal spells, is powerful and thanks to Flashback returning will almost never be a bad thing. If there is one card that will only get better as we learn more about this block, it is this one.
I want to thank Wizards of the Coast for my sweet spoilers, and hope you dig them as much as I do.
Now on to the official spoilers. First up, we have to talk about the Transformers. They’re more than meets the eye, of course, and I’ll be damned if we don’t have double-faced cards in Magic! Holy cow folks, crap just got real and we are living in a world where the backs are optional! Werewolves are here and of course they transform as you see on Mayor of Avabruck.
So incredibly sexy. Can you imagine how amazing a double-faced foil is going to look in your hands?! Oh man I’m excited. Regardless, how do these werewolves work? Well, they’re all double-faced, and they all transform into werewolves after a turn has gone by with no spells played, and they all transform into humans when two or more spells have been played in a turn by any one player. What does this mean? Well, honestly, it sounds like few of these guys if any will be impacting constructed. While plenty of people play two or more spells in a turn, neither player casting a spell for a whole turn? Sounds sketchy or only with the help of Grand Abolisher. That said, not all transforming cards are werewolves, so let’s look at a few more.
Check out Ludevic’s Test Subject. Now this I believe is the real future of these transforming cards. First, again, how amazingly flavorful is this. With Gothic Horror they really wanted to show you the transformations that are key to that genre, and boy did they. Anyway, an egg turns into a 13/13 monster. Hells yes. But let’s keep going: There’s a 2/2 flying bat vampire that turns into a 5/5 vampire if you’d like and can turn back. Nice.
“But how do you draft?!” everyone cries. Well, first, there will be a transformed card in every pack. So you won’t be the only one opening one each draft. That said, a foil transformed card MAY be a bit obvious. That said, this will mark the first time in Premier play that it is basically okay to send a signal. To let your opponents know you chose a Transformed card. This is definitely new, different, and personally I think it’s great. I WANT Magic to change with every set, and this is a very unique set in this regard. While it won’t matter at all online, it’s a new experience in paper.
But how do you play with them in your deck? You simply use the checklist! The checklist is a card with, well, a checklist on the front and a standard Magic backing. This will be in the token slot for the set and they will have plenty available in your local shops for drafting and premier events for sealed and the like. While you can’t hide what you draft in paper, once you deckbuild you can go sans sleeves or use opaque sleeves to keep your transformed cards hidden.
The last thing this checklist did for us? It revealed a new Planeswalker – Garruk Relentless is widely expected to be the five ability Planeswalker spoiled by Mark Rosewater — this way you have a Transform ability, and two regular abilities along with two more abilities on the transformed side. All I know is, a Transforming Planeswalker is awesome! But let’s take it one step further: Now that we’ve seen how cool Transforming into the same card type is…what about transforming into new card types? What about an artifact that transforms into an Artifact Creature?
How about a Legendary Creature that transforms when it dies into a Planeswalker? Now THAT would be insane.
Regardless, what else do we have in Innistrad? Here’s a few quick hits:
First is Diregraf Ghoul. Oh my God I love me a Savannah Lions, by proxy I love Isamaru, Hound of Konda, and how close is this to that awesome guy from Kamigawa? Love this, and while it’s “just” a 2/2 for one mana that enters the battlefield tapped, I think it’s just a cool card.
By that same token, look at Vampire Interloper. Talk about your one drop into two drop scenarios, you’re putting some serious hurting on your opponent if your first turn is a 2/2 and your second is a 2/1 with evasion. Not too shabby.
But let’s talk constructed. Have you SEEN the new Ghost Quarter reprint artwork? Oh my God! It’s amazing! I love, love, love it. I can’t adequately describe how happy that awesome reprint and artwork makes me. Do note, with Worldwake Manlands leaving us, this isn’t quite as high-impact as some would like, but Inkmoth Nexus IS a card.
Speaking of lands, check out the core set enemy duals! While the original “friendly” color set of lands have been reprinted to pieces, these guys are shiny, new, and while we lose our fetchlands we don’t lose the awesome fixing they provided. These will be welcome additions to any deck this fall.
Next up this week is Olivia Voldaren. Again, amazing flavor. Again, amazing creature with fantastic abilities. Pushed just hard enough that it may get there in constructed, or at worst be an amazing Commander general. I don’t know about you, but that is one badass Vampire. Now they tell us there will be a badass Zombie and Werewolf to join her. Fingers crossed for equal badassery.
But I saved the best for last. On Wednesday Wizards of the Coast revealed Liliana of the Veil and Ho-ly Crap. This girl? This girl is a Spikes best friend. She’s cheap. She’s powerful. She is deceptively amazing. How good is Liliana of the Veil? Let’s discuss.
First, that plus one ability is awesome. “But it makes me discard too!” you cry. Yeah, so? How about this: Play Liliana of the Veil, +1, discard a fatty. Next turn, Zombify said fatty and then use her second ability to Cruel Edict your opponent. Note this works even better in Legacy with Exhume. In Modern? Discard Grove of the Burnwillows and Vengevine. Even in Standard Vengeful Pharaoh isn’t THAT bad of an option.
But man, if only Liliana was printed in a graveyard-based block where things going to the graveyard is a good thing…hey wait a minute! She IS amazing with Flashback and is that Smallpox in M12? It sure looked familiar to me. Chase Planeswalker is chase, and I can’t wait to get some Liliana in my life.
So that’s all I got for this week folks. Innistrad spoilers are heating up and the fun is just getting started. Until Monday Magic players when we bring you some HUGE announcements regarding the Open Series next year and even more surprises I can’t talk about, this is Evan Erwin. Tapping the cards, so you don’t have to!
– Evan “misterorange” Erwin