Every spoiler season there are always a few cards that stand out from them all as cards that make me go “wow.” There are always cards that look like they are going to make an impact in Constructed formats, but a card that makes you go “wow” hit on all levels. They are powerful, flavorful, and look like an absolute blast to play.
While most sets have one or two cards like this, Eldritch Moon is just completely blowing everything away. There have been more “wow” cards spoiled in the last week than are in most sets’ entire card lists! Not only that, the cards look powerful, flavorful, and most importantly very interesting to play with. No “Here’s my Siege Rhino; is it good enough?” here.
Let’s jump right in with a homage to my favorite card of all time, Fact or Fiction:
It could be anything… it could even be a boat!
These kinds of cards have been missing from Magic in the last few years. I really enjoyed playing Epiphany at the Drownyard in U/R Eldrazi Control because of all the little subgames it creates, and this card is perhaps the most interesting blue subgame card ever printed.
I really, really wish this card revealed five instead of four cards to make sure it was playable in Constructed, but even at four cards I think it is fairly reasonable. The most important thing about Fact or Fiction, aside from being an instant, was that you either got two cards with the one you wanted or three cards for only four mana at instant speed, and both of those are well worth four mana. As printed, Fortune’s Favor is very rarely going to be more than an Inspiration’s worth of cards.
Of course the last, and perhaps biggest, factor is how well Fortune’s Favor (and Epiphany at the Drownyard, for that matter) plays with graveyard synergy cards. I was reminded of this during an Eternal Masters draft on my stream on Monday, where my opponent cast this Fact or Fiction:
I think it’s close, but I really hope Fortune’s Favor is playable in Standard.
Speaking of awesome and powerful cards with tons of play to them, check out Spell Queller.
Man, Mystic Snake has sure grown up.
Normally I’m not a big fan these sorts of “temporary solution” white cards. Their bodies are usually too frail to really get into combat, which leaves you with a removal spell that your opponent can just us their removal spell to negate. There’s also huge blowout potential, as that creature you are counting on your Banisher Priest to deal with may suddenly appear on the battlefield during a crucial combat step or end step.
Spell Queller properly quells almost all of these issues.
First off, the body is actually worth the price of admission. A 2/3 flash flier for three mana is not that far off being playable on stats alone, and having evasion and a reasonable toughness makes Spell Queller much more than just a fragile removal spell. Spell Queller is a clock.
Second, having flash on this sort of effect is just fantastic. You are likely going to answer your opponent’s threat on their turn, which is going to leave them tapped out and you fully untapped with a Spell Queller on the battlefield. This will make Spell Queller much easier to protect and a much better tempo play.
Last, Spell Queller is a Spirit. This may not seem like much, but we’ve had a number of Spirit-themed cards floating around on the fringes of playability in Standard, and Spell Queller is quite the shot in the arm to the tribe. Something as simple as Rattlechains has already seen play in Standard, and a mana curve of Rattlechains into Spell Queller looks mighty impressive.
Just imagine your opponent playing the dreaded turn 4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar on the play, and getting to answer it for just three mana while putting a significant threat onto the battlefield.
Oh, and did I mention you can Collected Company into it?
Spell Queller is one of the best cards in the set.
Zombies were a big bust in Shadows over Innistrad. Relentless Dead looked absurdly good when spoiled, but I’m pretty sure it has never been cast before ever in anything. I was also a big fan of Compelling Deterrence, but the support for the Zombie tribe just hasn’t been there.
Well, if you’re looking for a good Zombie payoff card, Dark Salvation is it. With only one other Zombie on the battlefield, it does a very reasonable Fire Imp impression, and the fact that it can scale up and do so much more is very impressive.
Three mana: one 2/2 and -1/-1 to a creature.
Five mana: two 2/2s and -2/-2 to a creature.
Seven mana: three 2/2s and -3/-3 to a creature.
All of these are solid if unimpressive modes for a flexible spell, and they only get better when you add more Zombies to the mix. This sort of card advantage plus mana sink is not usually a tool that tribal creature decks get, and being playable up the curve is a huge bonus.
It’s hard to know if there will be enough tools for a viable Zombie deck without seeing the full spoiler, but rest assured that Dark Salvation will play a role if there is one.
Ishkanah, Grafwidow is another one of the best cards in the set, and a total sleeper right now.
Remember this creature?
While Ishkana lacks the possible evasion, she provides so much more.
Her body is much better, as a 3/5 is much harder to kill than a 3/3. Five toughness is a flashpoint in Standard at the moment, and she survives Languish and Grasp of Darkness, not to mention blocking many of the format’s best creatures. Reach is also fantastic, as typically the way to beat gummed-up battlefields is to just go over them.
Her tokens being 1/2s is also a solid improvement over them being 1/1s. This makes them much more valuable in gang blocks, which will happen often in the kinds of games that she encourages.
While her activated ability may look like it’s just thrown on there to look nice, it seems like a key component to the card as well. Ishkanah is definitely a defensive card, and having a built-in win condition on your undercosted defensive monster is an excellent bonus on top of an already reasonable card.
Delirium was already a fringe playable mechanic without Eldritch Moon, and I see it finally coming to fruition in the new Standard. You can bet the Ishkanah, Grafwidow will be front and center.
She may be late to the Gatewatch, but it looks like it was worth the wait. Oath of Liliana is perhaps the best of all the Oaths, and probably the best Oath for any deck based around planeswalkers.
On the front side, Oath of Liliana is a Cruel Edict. This isn’t extremely impressive, especially in a format with Hangarback Walker and tokens, but still a decent effect that will be very good against some decks. There are plenty of decks in Standard that just want to cast a Sylvan Advocate on turn 2 and Oath of Liliana is a great answer.
When played alongside planeswalkers, however, Oath of Liliana becomes quite the engine. The extra effect on the other Oaths was often not really worth a card, but Oath of Liliana creating a 2/2 for every time you cast a planeswalker is great. There’s a reason that Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar are two of the best planeswalkers in Standard, and that is because they do a great job of building a battlefield and protecting themselves. Now all of your planeswalkers come with a 2/2, which provides both card advantage and protection for the planeswalker.
Oath of Liliana may end up being a format-dependent card, but it is one of the best of the cycle.
There are so many awesome cards to go over, and never enough time to touch them all.
Which spoiler has impressed you the most?
Last week’s Challenge Thursday was perhaps the most exciting one yet. I really enjoy the deckbuilding restriction challenges (as opposed to “build around Card X”), and we had a tough one sent in by @SamuraiSenpai1 – “(Modern) There are 51 sets in Modern, build a deck with one card from each plus nine basic lands.”
I decided that multicolored control was the way to go, as aggressive decks need too many good one-drops to be feasible, and built this:
- 1 Grim Lavamancer
- 1 Vendilion Clique
- 1 Snapcaster Mage
- 1 Thundermaw Hellkite
- 1 Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
- 1 Young Pyromancer
- 1 Keranos, God of Storms
- 1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
- 1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
- 1 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
- 1 Thing in the Ice
- 1 Threads of Disloyalty
- 2 Lightning Bolt
- 2 Mana Leak
- 1 Serum Visions
- 1 Gifts Ungiven
- 1 Terminate
- 1 Isochron Scepter
- 1 Echoing Truth
- 1 Remand
- 1 Mishra's Bauble
- 1 Ancestral Vision
- 1 Damnation
- 1 Thoughtseize
- 1 Cruel Ultimatum
- 1 Countersquall
- 1 Inquisition of Kozilek
- 1 Go for the Throat
- 1 Dismember
- 1 Thought Scour
- 1 Pillar of Flame
- 1 Dreadbore
- 1 Kolaghan's Command
There were certainly some tough sets, as Coldsnap and Saviors of Kamigawa don’t have much to offer, but we were saved a bit by the core sets as well (thank you Lightning Bolt). The sideboard was one card from each set going backwards from the current set.
We went an astounding 4-1 in our first League, but came back to earth with a 1-4 in our second League.
It’s a new week, though, so time for a new vote:
As always, the poll will end at 6:00pm Eastern time, which will give me one hour to construct my deck. Then you can tune in at 7:00pm for the start of the stream. I will be playing an entire League with the challenge deck, tweaking it a bit, and then playing another League right after.
How many wins can I get? Cast your vote and tune in to my stream at 7:00 tonight to see how it goes!