Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #45: Onslaught in Multiplayer, Part I – White And Blue

There must be a card that changes all creature types. Yup – Standardize. Let’s see – I have more creatures than anyone else. I have six mana, three of it blue. I have Force of Will backup. Standardize, Peer Pressure… I now own all creatures in play, permanently. Want to concede now?

I pulled this from the earliest spoiler I could find – that being the MTGnews.com Onslaught Spoiler (as of Sep 11th). I spotted some obvious errors in my first scan (creatures should have a power and toughness, for example); I will try to incorporate any corrections I find, but remember that this is written from an unofficial spoiler pulled off the rumor pages weeks before the prerelease. In other words, don’t get pissed at me if some of the wording is not quite accurate: I’m betting it’s close, but remember that this is not yet official.

(By the way, thanks MTGnews.com! And thanks to the anonymous source who supplied it, and to Rancored_Elf and his henchmen Ender, Gremlin38, SapphireDragon26, and Lich, who compiled and posted it.)

I’ll be reviewing the set with an eye towards multiplayer and casual play. I’m not going to say much about the cards that always appear for limited play limited fare – I’ll probably just cut most of them. In limited, a 2/4 spider that can block fliers for 3G (I’m just spouting at random – I haven’t even read green yet) is okay. In casual and multiplayer, it is irrelevant. Okay, if you are playing a Highlander Spiders deck, maybe that’s important, but that aside, I’m ignoring those cards unless I have something interesting to say about them.

I could leave every card in here, but padding it out like that seems pointless. (It’s a frickin’ 12,000+ words already.) It’s not like I’m Dickens, and get paid by the word. If you need the whole spoiler, check out MTGNews.com.

There are two named mechanics in Onslaught: One is new, one is”recycled.”

Morph X (You may play this card face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

Cycling X (X , discard this card from your hand: Draw a card. Play this ability only if this card is in your hand.) (Note: cycling cards may also produce an effect when cycled.)

The cards have the explanations following the terms Morph, Cycling and Fear – I cut that out. Again, I’m not paid by the word, so why waste the bits?

White (there are 61 white cards)

Akroma’s Vengeance 4WW, Sorcery, Rare

Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and enchantments.

Cycling 3 (3, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)

Ixidor had only to imagine their ruin and Akroma made it so.

This combines Wrath of God with Purify – and there are times when it is useful in a multiplayer game to just get rid of all the junk and build again. And if it isn’t useful this game, cycle it. Killing everything but lands is a bit heavy-handed… But sometime you really do need the big sledgehammer.

Thinking about block, it looks like this is the only reset – and it is a big one. You cannot play around this with enchantments or artifact mana, although you could with Nantuko Monastery.

Ancestor’s Prophet 4W, Creature, 1/5 – Cleric Lord Rare

Tap five untapped Clerics you control: You gain 10 life.

"We have faced horrors of war and terrors beyond imagining. We will overcome the uncertainties of this new life."

Oh man, you just know someone is going to make a clerics theme deck that splashes green for Awakening. I’m not a fan of slow and unstable lifegain, but I do like the boost that theme decks are getting.

Astral Slide 2W, Enchantment, Uncommon

Whenever a player cycles a card, you may remove target creature from the game. If you do, return that creature to play under its owner’s control at end of turn.

"The hum of the universe is never off-key." -Mystic elder

This has the potential to be very strange, and possibly broken. Remember Fluctuator, the artifact that reduced cycling costs by 2? Fluctuator, some mana, and a lot of creatures with comes-into-play abilities… For a start, Wood Elves for land, Teroh’s Faithful for life gain, Uktabi Orangutan for artifacts, Raven Familiar for card drawing, Gravedigger to put that cycling creature back into your hand, Cloudchaser Eagle for enchantments, Nekrataal and Flametongue for creatures, etc. Fluctuator is banned in Extended, but it can still be played casually.

Aura Extraction 1W, Instant, Uncommon

Put target enchantment on top of its owner’s library.

Cycling 2 (2, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)

Every day, Order clerics contain as much of the Mirari’s energy as possible, hoping to delay Otaria’s demise.

In most cases, I cannot see playing this over Disenchant. In rare cases, however, you might want to use it like Rescue – to remove an enchantment at the end of your last opponent’s turn, then to replay it on yours. This might be important if you had Ivory Mask out, for instance, and wanted to cast Gaea’s Blessing (it targets you). It could also be good – dare I say it? – with Stasis.

Aurification, 2WW, Enchantment Rare

Whenever a creature deals damage to you, put a gold counter on it. Each creature with a gold counter on it is a Wall in addition to its other creature types. (Walls can’t attack.)

When Aurification leaves play, remove all gold counters from all creatures.

I just can’t see it. About the only advantage to this could be in a deck with something like Angel’s Trumpet and some life gain – and then hope your opponents don’t have Disenchant. Sure, you could run Fountain Watch and so forth, but it hardly seems worth it. It would be terribly frustrating to play against, though, so you might get some twisted style points.

Aven Brigadier, 3WWW Rare, 3/5, Creature – Bird Soldier


All other Birds get +1/+1. All other Soldiers get +1/+1.

He represents what little pride the Order has left.

Just play Glorious Anthem – which costs half as much and doesn’t die to Swords or Terror. This costs six mana – three of it white!

Battlefield Medic, 1W, 1/1, Creature – Cleric, Common

T: Prevent the next X damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn, where X is the number of Clerics in play.

"Death never stops to rest. Neither can we."

Yes, cleric theme decks will have lots of choices.

Catapult Master, 3WW, 3/3, Creature – Soldier Lord Rare

Tap five untapped Soldiers you control: Remove target creature from the game.

"There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ but there’s a ‘we’ in ‘weapon.’"

I have built soldiers decks in the past, and a big problem was lack of direct removal: Things like Royal Assassin were a real pain, since no one was dumb enough to attack with one, and soldiers and cards like Heavy Ballistae cannot touch a creature unless it attacks. I usually ended up having to play Swords to Plowshares, which seems to be completely contrary to the soldiers theme, to deal with that problem. I wish this was not a legend – but if you have ten soldiers, you can use the ability twice, so it’s okay.

Catapult Squad 1W, 2/1, Creature – Soldier Uncommon

Tap two untapped Soldiers you control: Catapult Squad deals 2 damage to target attacking or blocking creature.

Together they could hit anything between the heavens and the horizon.

Why is this a 2/1 – white creatures are usually 1/x? Still, 2/1 is good. I also like the fact that you could play and activate it on turn 2, if you dropped a 1/1 on turn one. This could help to slow the game enough for the other, higher-cost soldiers to solidify, and then to start winning with the Catapult Master.

Or losing to Wrath of God, but that’s another story.

Circle of Solace 3W, Enchantment, Rare

As Circle of Solace comes into play, choose a creature type. 1W: The next time a creature of the chosen type would deal damage to you this turn, prevent that damage.

It is a theme deck hoser, but not as bad as Tsabo’s Decree and the like. It is pretty expensive protection – I would expect to see CoPs or Story Circle before this in most multiplayer games. Of course, in block, that’s not an option. It also says a lot about this Limited and Block format that this is a rare.

Convalescent Care 1WW, Enchantment, Rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 5 life or less, you gain 3 life and draw a card.

Enlightenment comes most swiftly at life’s end.

I could see having some fun with this and Lich – get your life total low and draw a lot of cards per turn – but that’s about it. Second Chance, an enchantment that let you take an extra turn if your life total was low, never saw much play.

Crowd Favorites, 6W, 4/4, Creature – Soldier Uncommon

3W: Tap target creature, 3W: Crowd Favorites gets +0/+5 until end of turn.

"The rabble likes them. Make sure they win, then book them for tomorrow." –Cabal Patriarch

If the casting and activation costs are wrong, this could be fun. As printed above, this seems really overcosted for any format.

Daunting Defender 4W, 3/3, Creature – Cleric Common

If a source would deal damage to a Cleric you control, prevent 1 of that damage.

"I will wield the stone of my homeland as though it were the fists of the Ancestor."

It is a 3/3 for 5 mana, which is almost reasonable, and it prevents damage to itself. Having several of these out at once could seriously mess up damage – and could be an interesting combo with Pestilence.

Exalted Angel, 4WW, 4/5, Creature – Angel Rare

Flying. Whenever Exalted Angel deals damage, you gain that much life.

Morph 2WW

It’s big. It’s potentially attacking on turn 4, without mana acceleration. It’s not Serra (I like "does not tap to attack" more than Spirit Link), but it’s not bad.

Glarecaster 4WW, 3/3, Creature – Bird Cleric, Rare

Flying. 5W: The next time damage would be dealt to Glarecaster or you this turn, that damage is dealt to target creature or player instead.

It’s really expensive… But with a lot of mana and a Coalition Flag, this could really annoy your opponents. Once, that is. The activation cost of 5W means it going to die before your next turn. And besides, it can’t redirect a Terror or Repulse.

Gravel Slinger 3W, 1/1, Creature – Soldier Common

T: Gravel Slinger deals 1 damage to target attacking or blocking creature.

orph 1W (You may play this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)

I have to say it – the casting costs on these creatures are pretty high – even with Morph, you are paying a lot for Crossbow Infantry. A Patron Wizard deck – turning all wizards into Force Spikes – could be awesome, given how expensive a lot of this is. Of course, the Odyssey block / Onslaught block will still have the cheap, fast cards that define OBC, so that won’t really work.

Gustcloak Savior 4W, 3/4, Creature – Bird Soldier Rare

Flying Whenever a creature you control becomes blocked, you may untap that creature and remove it from combat.

"Our death-arrows flew in high arcs towards the aven. And then . . . nothing." -Coliseum guard

This could be very annoying to play against. It will be kind of like a mass of Mazes of Ith. It should be a legend – can you imagine a mirror match between two decks each with the Savior out? I attack – I untap and remove all my attackers. You do the same. Whoever has one more creature, that one creature – probably a lowly 1/1 – will be getting through. Everything else will be untapped at end of turn.

Harsh Mercy, 2W, Sorcery, Rare

Each player chooses a creature type. Destroy all creatures that aren’t of a type chosen this way. They can’t be regenerated.

"There is no greater burden than choosing who to save." – Kamahl, druid acolyte

Here’s a way to toast someone for not playing a theme deck: In our group, I would expect people to ban this, just like we banned Tsabo’s Decree. I see this as an unreasonable punisher in multiplayer, but that’s just me. Other groups will see this differently.

Mobilization 2W, Enchantment, Rare

Attacking doesn’t cause Soldiers to tap.

2W: Put a 1/1 white Soldier creature token into play.

Newcomers to Otaria find themselves at the bottom of the heap. In the pits, they at least have the chance to climb atop a heap of bodies.

This could be a nice bonus for soldier decks, and should combine very well with the Catapult Master. In more controllish games, it could be similar to Kjeldoran Outpost – except that it can De disenchanted and so forth. It could also be the new kill engine in W/G Enchantress for the new Extended, replacing Pegasus Mesa. True, the soldiers don’t fly – but they don’t tap, either.

Oblation, 2W, Instant, Rare

The owner of target nonland permanent shuffles it into his or her library, then draws two cards.

"A richer people could give more but they could never give as much."

White card drawing and protection? Sweet! (I overvalue Shelter, too.)

Piety Charm, W, Instant, Common

Choose one – Destroy target enchant creature; or target Soldier gets +2/+2 until end of turn; or attacking doesn’t cause creatures you control to tap this turn.

I love Charms. I always have. This is not amazing, but it is not bad. In multiplayer, a card this flexible is almost never dead.

Shared Triumph 1W, Enchantment, rare

As Shared Triumph comes into play, choose a creature type. Creatures of the chosen type get +1/+1.

"Win together, die alone."

Yet more support for theme decks – and this one is pretty good. It is splashable, is probably only going to help your creatures, and is cheap. I could see this and Soulcatcher’s Aerie doing very well in a U/W birds theme deck.

Shieldmage Elder 5W, Creature – Cleric Wizard Uncommon, 2/3

Tap two untapped Clerics you control: Prevent all damage target creature would deal this turn. Tap two untapped Wizards you control: Prevent all damage target spell would deal this turn.

"You may fight if I deem your cause worthy."

The set has a theme – creature lords that tap their underlings. This one is pretty good, but very defensive. Limited clerics decks might be running 41 cards as "tech,” since winning will probably involve decking the opponent.

Sigil of the New Dawn 3W, Enchantment Rare

Whenever a creature is put into your graveyard from play, you may pay 1W. If you do, return that card to your hand.

"We lay our dead to rest in a beautiful bed, in hopes that the Ancestor will think it a fit cradle for the next life." – Mystic elder

Tony Szczudlo 55/350

This type of return from graveyard effect is always good with creatures with comes into play effects. Teroh’s Faithful is nice here, but creatures with echo are better. Radiant’s Dragoons, Deranged Hermit, and so on: All are even better when you bring them back turn after turn. The downside is that it does not affect creatures that get countered.

True Believer WW, Creature – Cleric Rare, 2/2

You can’t be the target of spells or abilities.

So great is his certainty that mere facts cannot shake it.

It’s Ivory Mask on a stick! If you combine this with something that can protect it from removal (Coalition Honor Guard, Alexi’s Cloak, Zephyd’s Embrace, etc.) then it is pretty strong: Otherwise, it might be better to use the Mask. Lightning Bolt can’t kill Ivory Mask.

Unified Strike W, Instant Common

Remove target attacking creature from the game if its power is less than or equal to the number of Soldiers in play.

The tall, reedy grass of the Daru Plains rustles loudly in the winds, a perfect cover for any ambush.

This is a decent card, but immensely situational. You have to have a bunch of soldiers, and the creature has to be attacking.

Weathered Wayfarer W, Creature – Nomad Cleric Rare, 1/1

W, T: Search your library for a land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library. Play this ability only if an opponent controls more lands than you.

If this is not a typo – if it really says any land! Look for this to be big in 5 color and possibly Extended as well. It can fetch Library of Alexandria, Wasteland, Strip Mine, Raths’ Edge, Gaea’s Cradle, Dustbowl, etc. This could be great in a Land Tax deck, provided you are not facing Oath.

Words of Worship 2W, Enchantment Rare

1: The next time you would draw a card this turn, you gain 5 life instead.

"The faithful don’t succumb to terror, nor are they ruled by passion. They adhere to order, for order is life." -Volume I, The Book of Faith

The Words are another cycle in the set. The words are interesting – and I can see this being big in Limited, especially as a way to avoid being decked.

Blue (there are 61 blue cards)

Airborne Aid 3U, Sorcery, common

Draw a card for each Bird in play.

"We help our Southern Order comrades as much as we can. But the Cabal’s insidious influence spreads, dividing our forces and leaving new arrivals to fend for themselves." –Commander Eesha

More help for Bird decks, and a continuation of the theme of helping theme decks. Not an amazing card, however.

Annex 2UU, Enchant Land U

You control enchanted land.

Most refugees left their ancestral homes behind when they came to Otaria. A few decided to bring them along.

While this can be useful (steal Library of Alexandria, a man land, or a Karakas), I’m not sure this is better than casting Political Trickery and sending away a tapped Undiscovered Paradise. It probably will be a sideboard card for blue, however. There are some good lands.

Aphetto Alchemist 1U, Creature – Wizard uncommon, 1/2

T: Untap target artifact or creature. Morph U

He brews trouble.

He is half a Puppetmaster. However, he is amazing in conjunction with the next card…

Arcanis the Omnipotent 3UUU, Creature – Wizard Legend, rare, 3/4

T: Draw three cards. 2UU: Return Arcanis the Omnipotent to its owner’s hand.

He has journeyed where none have been before. Now he returns to ensure that none follow.

Multiplayer games are slow enough that you usually can get a large, powerful creature on the board. This one is amazing – tap to Ancestral is pretty strong, and he is fat enough to survive a Bolt. You probably want to play Misdirection – because everyone with a Terror or Swords will shoot this guy. You may want to play him in a R/U deck, with Anger in the graveyard so he can tap immediately, since playing him will probably force someone to Wrath right away. If he lives, however, you should win the game. He would also be pretty sick with Solitary Confinement, if you can keep him alive or make him untargettable.

Artificial Evolution U, Instant, rare,

Change the text of target spell or permanent by replacing all instances of one creature type with another. The new creature type can’t be Legend or Wall. (This effect doesn’t end at end of turn.)

This could be a nice theme deck hoser. Imagine the effect if, just as the opponent is about to islandwalk over with a ton of Merfolk for the win, Lord of Atlantis benefited Starfish? Sweet. With Cunning Wish around, it will probably happen.

Aven Fateshaper 6U, Creature – Bird Wizard, uncommon, 4/5

Flying. When Aven Fateshaper comes into play, look at the top four cards of your library, then put them back in any order.

4U: Look at the top four cards of your library, then put them back in any order.

Look, it’s Big Bird. It is a really fat flier, although the casting cost is awfully high. I wonder if they will reprint Urza’s Incubator in the block?

Backslide 1U, Instant, common

Turn target creature with morph face down. Cycling U (U, Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card.)

Some things are better left unknown.

I like the Morph mechanic. I can see all kinds of bluffing and trickery.

Blatant Thievery 4UUU, Sorcery, rare

For each opponent, gain control of target permanent that player controls. (This effect doesn’t end at end of turn.)

"I’ll leave subtlety to the rich."

Ugh. I have never been all that enamored of blue’s”steal your stuff” mechanic. This is one of those cards that just forces everyone to play counterspells, or REBs. In too many cases in large multiplayer games, this will be game over.

Callous Oppressor 1UU, Creature – Cephalid, rare, 1/2

You may choose not to untap Callous Oppressor during your untap step. As Callous Oppressor comes into play, an opponent chooses a creature type. T: Gain control of target creature that isn’t of the chosen type as long as Callous Oppressor remains tapped.

The first listing I saw had the owner of Callous Oppressor choosing the creature type. That would be broken – the owner could always choose a type not in the current format (Starfish, Chicken, Albatross, Oyster – they were all creature types in past expansions, and although some have had their Oracle wording changed, I’m betting the Unglued cards didn’t) and stealing anything. In limited, this could be a bomb.

Chain of Vapor U, Instant, uncommon

Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand. Then that permanent’s controller may sacrifice a land. If the player does, he or she may copy this spell and may choose a new target for that copy.

Blue got another instant speed card that returns any creature, artifact, or enchantment card to your hand for U: That is just wrong. Blue is supposed to have a problem with permanents once they hit the table. One blue mana instants that bounce everything? Yeah, that’s a problem. Once again, with Armageddon gone, if the blue mage taps out turn 4 for card drawing, what can an opponent possibly cast that would really hurt the blue mage? The new 7/1 Ball Lightning is about it – and that’s hardly lethal.

Crafty Pathmage 2U, Creature – Wizard, common, 1/1

T: Target creature with power 2 or less is unblockable this turn.

The most valuable commodity in the pits is a way out.

Could you have fun with this and Cephalid Constable in T2? It seems possible, provided you are not destroyed by Engineered Plague. Remember, you can make Constable unblockable, declare him as an attacker, then pump him after the declare blockers step has passed. This guy could also be broken with Morph – make the Morphed creature unblockable, send it, then turn it into a beast.

Dispersing Orb 3UU, Enchantment, uncommon

3U, Sacrifice a permanent: Return target permanent to its owner’s hand.

"Like the seas, the Æther is fickle and ever-changing. If we can control one, we can master the other." –Riptide Project director

If you really can do this at any time, this is a bomb in Limited. Block something, then sacrifice that creature to bounce something else. It could also be interesting with Wrath of God – sacrifice my creature swarm to bounce all your lands, then let Wrath resolve – although the amount of mana needed to do that seems prohibitive. Why not just kill them with an X spell in that case?

Disruptive Pitmage 2U, Creature – Wizard, common, 1/1

T: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1. Morph U

"Show weakness to hide your strength."

Here’s another reason to worry about upside-down Morph creatures – you might walk into a Force Spike or two.

Ghosthelm Courier 2U, Creature – Wizard, uncommon, 2/1

You may choose not to untap Ghosthelm Courier during your untap step. 2U, T: As long as Ghosthelm Courier remains tapped, target Wizard gets +2/+2 and can’t be the target of spells or abilities.

A couple of times, I mentioned that certain cards could be good if you could keep them alive. Now True Believer is not”wizard”… But Cephalid Constable and Crafty Pathmage are.

Graxiplon 5U, Creature – Beast, uncommon, 3/4

Graxiplon is unblockable unless defending player controls three or more creatures that share a creature type.

"Attempts to revive this ancient species have not been entirely successful, but results indicate potential for future development." –Riptide Project researcher

In most multiplayer games, it seems highly unlikely that it cannot attack, unblocked, somewhere…

Mage’s Guile 1U, Instant, common

Target creature can’t be the target of spells or abilities this turn. Cycling U

"Next time, don’t bother."

Cute… But Alexi’s Cloak is usually a better choice.

Meddle 1U, Instant, uncommon

If target spell has only one target and that target is a creature, change that spell’s target to another creature.

Strength may win the fight, but style wins the crowd.

No – I think you should Plow your Verdant, not Arcanis (a.k.a. Mr. Ancestral on a stick.) Lucky I have a ton of mana and drew all these cards, or Plow might have worked.

Peer Pressure 3U, Sorcery, rare

Choose a creature type. If you control more creatures of that type than any other player, you gain control of all creatures of that type. (This effect doesn’t end at end of turn.)

There must be a card that changes all creature types. Yup – Standardize. Let’s see – I have more creatures than anyone else. I have six mana – three of it blue. I have Force of Will backup. Standardize, Peer Pressure… I now own all creatures in play, permanently. Want to concede now? I don’t think this is a fun card for multiplayer – I hope Wizards wakes up that cards like these are a problem. Remember when Wizards made a card for 5 Color – Battle of Wits – and the 5 Color folks banned it before it was even official? Same problem. Cards should not just win the game on their own.

Quicksilver Dragon 4UU, Creature – Dragon, rare, 5/5

Flying U: If target spell has only one target and that target is Quicksilver Dragon, change that spell’s target to another creature. Morph 4U

Big, fat, and with built-in protection – this is a pretty nice dragon. If it lives long enough for you to untap, you will probably win the game.

Reminisce 2U, Sorcery, uncommon

Target player shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library.

"Leave the door to the past even slightly ajar and it could be blown off its hinges."

Threshold? We don’t need no stinking threshold!

Riptide Entrancer 1UU, Creature – Wizard, rare, 1/1

Whenever Riptide Entrancer deals combat damage to a player, you may sacrifice it. If you do, gain control of target creature that player controls. (This effect doesn’t end at end of turn.) Morph UU

Another combo with the Crafty Pathmage.

Spy Network U, Instant, common

Look at target player’s hand, the top card of that player’s library, and any face-down creatures he or she controls. Look at the top four cards of your library, then put them back in any order.

Wow! That’s pretty good. Combine it with cards like Cabal Therapy and Duress, and it should be brutal.

Supreme Inquisitor 3UU, Creature – Wizard Lord, rare, 1/3

Tap five untapped Wizards you control: Search target player’s library for up to five cards and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.

"It’s hard to fight on an empty mind."

If people let you get some Wizards in play, then you drop this, you can activate the ability immediately. If the Inquisitor resolves, it is going to happen – as active player, you get priority first before they can Bolt it.

Trade Secrets 1UU, Sorcery, rare

Target opponent draws two cards, then you draw up to four cards. That opponent may repeat this process as many times as he or she chooses.

I need to see the FAQ on this one. If an opponent can choose to repeat the process fifteen times, and draws pretty much the rest of their deck, this card could be very bad.

Voidmage Prodigy UU, Creature – Wizard, rare, 2/1

UU, Sacrifice a Wizard: Counter target spell. Morph U

Kai’s Invitational Card looks very strong. In a Wizards deck, if this hits the table, then it can sacrifice a Wizard to counter the spell. You cannot counter in return – at least, not with counterspells. You would need a spell that counters an ability – and they are rare. Wizard decks look pretty strong right now.