White’s Best Two-Drop? Testing Tomik, Distinguished Advokist

Will Tomik, Distinguished Advokist see play in Standard? Modern? Legacy? If not, it’s not from lack of trying by Tom Ross! Get his latest decklists featuring the tantalizing two-drop!

War of the Spark has delivered some hot previews lately, and I’m here to talk about one of my favorite cards from the set. As y’all know, I’m a big fan of small, efficient white creatures that immediately get the ball rolling before the opponent can get their feet off the ground. Tomik, Distinguished Advokist has a great rate, plus some not-so-incidental interactive rules text.

A 2/3 flyer for WW. Got it. It’s legendary, so you can’t play a ton of Tomik or else you’ll risk drawing multiples.

Tomik messes with your opponent trying to interact with lands. Like, a lot. Let’s break down a little what Tomik is doing here.

Lands on the battlefield and land cards in graveyards can’t be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control.

Stone Rain, Molten Rain, Ice Storm. All of it. Land destruction isn’t happening with Tomik on the battlefield. He’s a true protector of mana sources.

Gift of Paradise is a fun and honest card in Standard as long as it’s not paired with Nexus of Fate. Notably, Tomik stops the opponent from targeting any land on the battlefield for any reason. Modern players don’t get their Utopia Sprawl or their Spreading Seas. I can’t cast Might of Old Krosa on Inkmoth Nexus. Affinity players can’t modular onto Inkmoth Nexus either.

Not as good as a 1/1.

Your opponents can’t play land cards from graveyards.

Okay, not too crazy of an ability in Standard. Every now and then you’ll play against a Crucible of Worlds and Modern players could have a Ramunap Excavator. It stops land drops from Yawgmoth’s Will in Vintage? Sure, I’ll take it.

Mono-White and Azorius Aggro were already good in Standard and now they have another great two-drop? There were a few fine options before, but nothing like Tomik.

All three of these are reasonable two-drops for Mono-White or Azorius Aggro but need some conditions to be met to perform well. If you don’t have lifegain available, Ajani’s Pridemate is just a Runeclaw Bear. Tithe Taker is a 2/1 ground creature if your opponent never intends on removing it or doing anything on your turn. Adanto Vanguard is very hit-or-miss whether you face aggro or control. Tomik has a great base rate of a 2/3 flyer for WW that’s hard to go wrong with.

How does Tomik fit into Standard? I have somewhat of an idea; I think Mobilized District and Tomik will be best friends for a good long while.

In Standard, Tomik is the two-drop that Mono-White and Azorius Aggro have been missing. It’s evasive, doesn’t trade down to Shock, blocks well against red and white aggro decks, and threatens opposing planeswalkers, which are posed to be prominent in Standard once War of the Spark has its full impact. The 2/3 body for WW is an enormous upgrade when, not that long ago, people were putting Silverbeak Griffin into their decks over Remorseful Cleric because of that extra toughness.

Mobilized District gives Mono-White and Azorius Aggro a good excuse to increase their land count. With nine legendary permanents, it’s easy to reduce the cost of Mobilized District’s activated ability. This build is less focused on maximizing Venerated Loxodon and has more reach and long game than aggressive white decks of last season. Vigilance means sometimes you aren’t even down much on mana after attacking.

Mox Amber is a lost relic from Dominaria that never had enough Standard support to warrant inclusion. War of the Spark offers new toys, specifically two-mana ones in Tomik, Distinguished Advokist and Fblthp, the Lost as cheap ways to turn on Mox Amber. There are enough legendary permanents to reliably turn on Mox Amber, as well as other sleeper cards.

War of the Spark gives us a saturation of legendary permanents that boosts the legendary sorceries from Dominaria. The many planeswalkers in this deck are awesome when you get an extra turn from Karn’s Temporal Sundering and a one-sided sweeper like Urza’s Ruinous Blast. Of course, there are deckbuilding restrictions and not everything can line up perfectly and you must concede running other instants and sorceries because you need a density of these legendary permanents. The payoffs are here, though, in the legendary sorceries and Mox Amber, so we’ll see if the juice if worth the squeeze on this one.

Modern Humans could use another two-drop that interacts with the opponent and Tomik may be that card, though you probably don’t want to play basic Island in your deck at this point anymore. As before, the rate on Tomik is just solid, even if we’re in a format with Lightning Bolt now. Having insurance against your lands getting messed with, as well as incidentally interfering with your opponent, is just icing on the cake when you have an efficient beater.

But it’s Legacy where Tomik has the most obvious implications. It’s the format that uses the graveyard the most and has people targeting each other’s lands the most. I except Tomik to slot into Death and Taxes quite nicely. After all, it’s most of what Serra Avenger is, right?

It’s a shame that Recruiter of the Guard can’t fetch Tomik, but that’s okay. I think Tomik is more of a generically strong card than a silver bullet, similar to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Not quite as strong, of course, but still very impactful.

Tomik shuts down a lot of Legacy is doing. Lands and Golgari Depths are pretty cold to it, shutting down Thespian’s Stage / Dark Depths and requiring multiple hits from Punishing Fire or an Abrupt Decay to remove. A single Molten Vortex activation doesn’t do it either, basically guaranteeing you’ll get your money’s worth even if Tomik is removed.

Shutting off Life from the Loam is a huge deal, which is the primary engine of lands-based Legacy decks. Gaining immunity to opposing Wastelands and Rishadan Ports is nice too, which means your disruptive deck can continue unchecked during the windows where your opponent might try to get you themselves.

In Death and Taxes, one of your most important lands is Karakas. Running a bunch of Karakas was always a risk, since drawing multiples causes legend-rule headaches. With Tomik, it’s safer to play just two, since your first copy is protected against opposing Wastelands.

Tomik goes toe-to-toe with Delver of Secrets. Pteramander can’t attack through it early, nor can Goblin Guide or Eidolon of the Great Revel. It also outsizes Young Pyromancer and Snapcaster Mage. Tomik has a unique size that’s quite interesting as an addition to Death and Taxes, my favorite being its immunity to the best removal spell against Death and Taxes.

Tomik is my favorite card previewed from War of the Spark so far. It’s a solid creature that attacks and blocks well while having incidental value. That’s exactly what I want from a white creature. It gets the beats on, but every now and then it really messes up what the opponent is trying to do. Tomik may look like just a 2/3 for two, until one of the abilities happens to come up during a game of Magic.

Then Tomik will look like the best card ever printed.