The final day of Ravnica Allegiance‘s guild mechanic preview week
wrapped up on Friday, with the introduction of addendum. It joins forecast
and detain as the newest mechanic from the Azorius Senate, and we were
shown two cards utilizing the keyword:
Today, I want to talk somewhat briefly about the cards themselves before
really diving into the addendum mechanic. Let’s begin.
Being a common, it was likely that Wizards of the Coast showcased this card
to give us a preview of what the “lower end” of the addendum mechanic has
to offer in terms of uniqueness, complexity, and power level. Four mana to
draw two is pretty abysmal on rate if it has nothing else to offer,
especially in terms of Constructed. In Standard, this card will likely be
unable to compete with the power level of Chemister’s Insight.
If we break down the tradeoff of casting Sphinx’s Insight in your main
phase, you’re trading the ability to hold up the mana on your opponent’s
turn in exchange for a rate slightly lower than these two cards stapled
Again, this card likely sits on the bottom of the totem pole as far as what
addendum will offer players. The rate isn’t terrible for Limited, so it is
likely to see play in Draft and Sealed, but I don’t expect it to cut the
mustard for Standard play.
The other card we previewed for us, on the other hand, is a bit of a doozy…
Each half of this card’s rules text has a ton of implications to them, so
let’s break it down one part at a time.
The non-addendum half of the card is the most important half, since it’s
the part that’ll always be the thing that happens when Emergency Powers
resolves. The card is the Azorius flavored and newest member of the
Timetwister family, but with an important distinction: by default,
Emergency Powers is an instant speed spell, which cannot be said of many of
the previously printed cards with similar effects:
Not even six months ago, these two cards would frequently be used in tandem
with one another to recreate an instant speed Timetwister effect:
The ability to utilize Timetwister effects at instant speed versus sorcery
speed is a night and day difference; due to the relatively heavy mana costs
these cards tend to have (or other downsides, like immediately ending the
turn like Day’s Undoing), the opposing player is usually the first player
to take advantage of a full grip of cards to leverage their advantage.
Emergency Powers, much like the Torrential Gearhulk + Memory combination,
allows you to fuel back up on your opponent’s end step, preventing the loss
of initiative and getting to be the first one to use your freshly drawn
cards. Since Emergency Powers costs a whopping seven mana, this also means
that you’re much more likely to draw a higher than typical density of
spells over lands compared to say, an opening seven at the start of the
game, due to roughly a third of your lands at minimum already being in
play, as well.
So with this in mind, what type of strategies would best utilize Emergency
Powers to get the most out of the symmetrical effect the card? (
Note: I’ll be speaking of Emergency Powers here in the context of
The most straightforward way to break the symmetry created by Timetwister
effects is to be up on number of permanents on the battlefield. Typically,
this translates to trying to push a mana advantage via ramp spells before
casting a card like Emergency Powers, so that you’ll be able to more
quickly deploy your hand and overwhelm the battlefield compared to your
On top of that, hard to interact with permanents like artifacts and
enchantments work well here because they help you push an advantage but are
less likely to end up in the graveyard and wind up shuffling back into your
library, keeping your deck thinner and giving you a higher chance of
drawing payoff spells when you refuel. The Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan transform cards work well in this regard, as they
provide advantage as well as minor ramp, since they transform into lands.
Azor’s Gateway, in particular, serves as a nice way to permanently remove
cards you don’t want to see from the game for good. Additionally, I
included Treasure Map in the list above since the effect is so powerful,
but it’s important to note that when ramping to Emergency Powers, you don’t
want to be doing so via temporary ramp effects like Treasure tokens. Being
able to utilize the tokens after casting Emergency Powers is fine,
but using the tokens to cast the spell doesn’t allow you to leverage a mana
What shells look to use Emergency Powers as a potential endgame remains to
be seen, since so little of Ravnica Allegiance has been
previewed, but thinking critically about the addendum half of the card can
kickstart some ideas.
As I mentioned previously, the biggest downside to Timetwister-style cards
is the fact that they frequently end up letting your opponent cast their
spells before you. With Emergency Powers, the Addendum half attempts to
solve this problem somewhat by letting you deploy an expensive permanent
from your hand for free after you draw seven cards. In Standard, the
current list of potential candidates is pretty solid:
Placing any of these onto the battlefield would give your opponent a
reasonable headache heading into their turn. I included Azor in the above
list because the enters the battlefield ability works nicely in some
matchups, as it can potentially turn off sorcery and instant speed spells
lurking in your opponent’s new hand when they untap.
Teferi, in particular, fits well here as well, as being able to untap two
lands to hold up another spell is very powerful. I will be discussing this
more at length later.
With so little of Ravnica Allegiance previewed, the possibilities
are endless for what other spells we could see within addendum’s design
space. Since it’s likely that all the spells with the keyword will be
instant speed spells by default, I’m curious if the design expands beyond
just instants into creatures/enchantments/artifacts with flash as well.
What I do know is that this mechanic plays beautifully with a card that
already needs very little help to take over a game on its own:
Ever since it was revealed to us that we would have to wait until Ravnica Allegiance to see the Azorius Senate, a frequent
discussion I’ve seen and had with fellow players within the community is
that Teferi aims to see a large boost in power once Hallowed Fountain and
an increased supporting cast of multicolored Azorius spells enter Standard.
Not only is that time soon upon us, but the addendum mechanic is everything
the Hero of Dominaria could hope for in terms of how well it goes together
with his +1 ability. Being able to cast a spell with addendum on your turn
to gain the advantage the spell provides and then untap lands to hold up
countermagic sounds like a recipe for a control deck that gets to spend
more time than usual casting spells on both your turn, as well as your
Even though we have seen a very small sample of what the mechanic has to
offer, I think there is a ton of potential for it to create a ton of
interesting gameplay, and my initial reaction is that this will be a very
popular mechanic. Addendum is the type of mechanic that will reward players
for making the correct decision at the right time and will offer a ton of
flexibility in doing so, since the spells will presumably be able to always
be cast at instant speed by default. I’m curious on if we’ll see weird
interactions come up, like responding to Saga triggers at the beginning of
the first main phase, for example.
I’ve been casting Teferi for most of this Standard format, and I look
forward to seeing what else the Azorius Senate will offer for control mages
moving forward. As I mentioned before, I don’t think Teferi needed that
much help to push him into being an utterly dominant powerhouse in the
Standard format, and addendum spells serve to do just that and then some.
Welcome to Ravnica Allegiance.