Monday, April 30, 2012

Avacyn Restored Prerelease

I really didn't expect to, but I wound up attending two Prerelease events for Avacyn Restored. First was a midnight event Friday night, then one on Sunday morning.

No sense burying the lead: It was awesome!

Thus far, AVR has lived up to the hype and the excitement, for me at least. I had a blast playing AVR Limited, and managed to pull some awesome rares and mythics. First, I'll go over some generalities, first impressions, and random thoughts/opinions, then get to the details of the events themselves.

I've seen a lot of back-and-forth about AVR's limited environment. Some dislike the swingy-ness of many of the Miracle cards, especially the rares and mythics. Sure, they're swingy, but my experience is that they'll usually be misplayed by weaker players and thus probably fail to win the game against a more skilled opponent. Or, they'll be played correctly by a superior player that was probably going to beat you anyway.

I played against a LOT of Miracles and the swingy-est ones seemed to be Entreat the Angels and Bonfire of the Damned... however the only one I actually lost to was Temporal Mastery. However, the only reason I rolled over to that one was because me and my opponent were both in a land pocket and it was really just a matter of who drew non-land first. That my opponent beat me out of the land pocket was FAR more critical than the fact that it was a swingy Mythic, though in this case it certainly cemented his victory.

Eaten by Spiders is my pick for MVP uncommon, though Vorstclaw, the 7/7 for six is probably the best bomb uncommon you could ask for. Archangel is also extremely good. The format is ALL about Flying creatures, though, so Eaten by Spiders is fantastic removal.

My MVP common is definitely Seraph of Dawn. In a vaccuum, a 2/4 Flying Lifelinker for four mana is really just "pretty good", but in AVR specifically, she's the key to holding off the blazingly fast R/W and G/W aggro decks that are possible in this set. I'm not saying she's a bomb the way rares and some uncommons are, but as far as common creatures go, she is pretty much the best thing ever.

Oh, and to all those pundits and theorists who called AVR Limited a slow format... well, that may be the cast in Drafts, I haven't had the pleasure of drafting the set yet, but it certainly is anything but slow in Sealed. Hyper-aggressive decks, usually R/W or R/G dominated every event held at my LGS this weekend, and only the insanely lucky could make a slower deck work for them.

A good freind of mine went 4-0 with a Blue/White tempo disruption deck with tons of solid Flyers and tons of bounce effects. It was his first ever 4-0 record at a prerelease, and he's been doing this longer than I have! So he's living proof that a slower, more tempo-y deck CAN win, but you have to have REALLY good cards to be able to withstand R/W assualts capable of having you at 5 life on turn 4.

Anyway, on to the events.

Friday - Midnight event.

My first six packs of Avacyn Restored definitely did not suck I opened:
Champion of Lambholt
Wolfir Silverheart
Gloom Surgeon
Gallows at Hollow Hill
Cavern of Souls (money!!)
Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded (more money!!)

Two amazing bombs in Green meant that I was likely playing Green/X. I also had Vorstclaw and Wildwood Geist, to more really amazing attackers. Tibalt made me want to play Red, as did some burn, but really my Red pool was abysmall. I was probably the only guy in the whole touranment to open zero Stonewrights and zero Lightning Maulers. Black offered some pretty awesome spot removal and a Barter in Blood, but felt weak other than the removal. Blue was absurdly pathetic. I only had two blue creatures in my entire pool. So White got the nod for second color, offering plenty of angels, and some pseudo removal.

This was my final deck:

Thraben Valiant x2
Moonlight Geist
Seraph of the Dawn x2 (Holy shit! So good!)
Goldnight Redeemer
Archangel (BOMB!)
Wandering Wolf
Trusted Forcemage
Borderland Ranger x2
Champion of Lambholt
Nettleswine
Wildwood Geist
Wolfir Silverheart
Vorstclaw (HUGE!)

Defang x2
Zealous Strike
Defy Death
Terrifying Presence
Eaten by Spiders (killed EVERYTHING all night long)

Plains x9
Forest x9

Highlights include:

Getting to Defy Death on a Seraph of Dawn - a 4/6 Lifelinker just hoses R/W
Casting Eaten by Spiders in almost every single game of the tournament.
Attacking an opponent for 2 with my Wandering Wold, putting him at 18. A few turns later swinging for 18 with an unblockable army thanks to Champion of Lambholt.
Getting off to a "slow" start, my opponent dropping several cheap flyers, with my first play on turn 4 being Nettleswine, following that up with Wolfir Silverheart, then following that up with Vorstclaw. 23 power worth of guys on Turn 6 made all those little flyers look downright pathetic.

Lowlights include:

I misplayed horribly, one turn casting Defang on my opponent's Hound of Griselbrand, then a couple turns later swinging into it, allowing my opponent to block with the Hound, killing it off, which it then just came back even stronger thanks to Undying, while my Defang went to the graveyard. Lame.
Fortunately, I had Vorstclaw, which can block even a 3/3 Doublestriker and live, so that was lucky on my part that this misplay didn't cost me the game, but effectively giving my own 7/7 beatstick defender isn't good strategy!

One kid at the tourney opened a foil Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (worth about $80.00) and proceeded to play it in his sealed deck... WITHOUT SLEEVES! I considered going and buying the kid a pack of sleeves so he wouldn't ruin his awesome card, but then I realized that the kid would probably never trade it to me anyway, so I just let him go on destroying the card utterly out of jealous spite. I'm not proud of that, which is why it's in the lowlights section, but if I could go back and be the better man... I wouldn't. Fuck him.

As for my record, I went 3-1, punting the first round. I was a bit rusty, having not played in a Limited event in a year, and also my deck just utterly CHOKED hard. The very first game, I got beat down by three 2/2 or 2/1 flyers while I had two Seraph of Dawn's in my hand, and later an Archangel, but only one Plains. By the end of the game I'd drawn 8 out of 9 Forests, and only drew the second Plains in time to die to his next attack. Had I been able to drop back-to-back Seraphs, it might have gone WAY differently.
The second game, I hit two plains and two forests right away, and absolutely DESTROYED him.
The third game was the one where we both hit land pockets, and both went "land, go" for about 6 turns each, when he finally top-decked Temporal Mastery for the win.

The rest of the tournament, my deck never once stumbled. I always had the mana I needed, and even when I was forced to wait an extra turn or two to drop my Vorstclaw or Archangel, it always happened just in time. Zealous Strike saved my ass a number of times.

I won five more packs, and the first three rares I opened were absolutely TERRIBLE, then the last two I cracked were: Avacyn, and Temporal Mastery! Score!

So, between Tibalt, Avacyn, Temporal Mastery and the Cavern of Souls, I definitely made my money back and then some. I traded away Tibalt for a Griselbrand and a large stack of dollar-bin rares, giving the other guy a pretty sweet deal, but I was FAR happier with Griselbrand than I ever would have been with Tibalt, so it was still a worthwhile trade.

Sunday Morning

The Saturday Helvault event was sold out before I could get there. :(
Too bad for me, since THAT Helvault had a stack of Champs Serra Avengers, and everyone in the event got two of them (those are about 70 bucks a peice!). The Sunday Helvault was just the regular one with tokens, dice and oversized angel cards. Lame, but still pretty cool, as I got Gisela's oversized card, which was the only one I really cared about!

Anyway, my pool was less bomb-y than the one from Friday night, but I still cobbled together a pretty nice Green/Black deck. This was my final list:

Wandering Wolf
Timberland Guide
Wolfir Avenger
Nettleswine
Howlgeist (very good!)
Pathbreaker Wurm (also good)
Vorstclaw (again!)
Crypt Creeper
Butcher Ghoul
Searchlight Geist
Soulcage Fiend
Undead Executioner
Marrow Bats
Polluted Dead
Renegade Demon

Snare the Skies
Lair Delve
Eaten by Spiders (MVP, once again)
Revenge of the Hunted
Bone Splinters
Ghoulflesh
Mental Agony
Barter in Blood

9 Forest
8 Swamp

Ghoulflesh started out in the sideboard, but every match had 2/1 flyers coming down early, so it wound up being maindeck material. I also had an Appetite for Brains in the sideboard, which was instrumental in beating a deck that ran two (!) Angel of Jubilations. I lost to the Angel in game 1 primarily because she came down the turn before I was going to cast my Bone Splinters. The next two games I got super luck and drew Appetite for Brains early and both times I hit an Angel of Jubilation. Ridiculous luck, I know.

Anway other highlights include:

Staring down a Malignus with nothing on the board except a Wandering Wolf... only to watch my opponent cast and then equip Angelic Armaments to the Malignus... allowing me to cast the suddenly-not-useless Eaten by Spiders as a 2-for-1.

Casting Bone Splinters sac-ing Butcher Ghoul three times in the tourney, once sac-ing Howlgeist, and once sacing Undead Executioner to kill two guys instead of one.

Casting Barter in Blood when my opponent and I each had exactly two creatures... but both of mine had Undying.

Lowlights include:

Losing in the finals to a R/W deck that was one of the fastest, most lethal Limited decks I've ever seen. I was at 5 life going into my 4th turn. Ouch.

Not opening anything of significant value in my sealed pool. Then opening my 5 prize packs to crack a Gisela... 5 minutes after I traded for one. Okay, it's not all bad, I have two of her now!

Making a boneheaded play by casting Revenge of the Hunted on my Howlgeist... I thought it'd kill all my opponents dudes, but it really just made Howlgeist unblockable! Still, ten damage to my opponent's face wasn't all bad, but it ALMOST cost me the game.

Finding out the previous Helvault was full of $70 promo cards, then getting probably-worthless oversized cards out of my Helvault. Not that I don't appreciate free stuff that I didn't have to pay for, but when one guy is flashing around $140.00 worth of free stuff, and my free stuff is worth maybe $1.40 it does make one feel shafted.

But, regardless of my Sunday packs being almost entirely poo, I traded like mad and got a shit-ton of stuff that I wanted, so I still left feeling very happy and very satisfied. The tournaments were both a lot of fun and I fully enjoyed playing with this set's new cards. Avacyn Restored has, thus far, been every bit the success I hoped and wanted. I can't wait until next weekend, to crack some more packs.

Enjoy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

AVR: Intro Deck Rundown

So Wizards was kind enough to release full decklists for AVR’s Intro Decks, or “precons” as they are colloquially known. And, for the most part, they’re about what you’d expect from a precon deck. Mostly janky, with rares destined for the dollar binders. However, there are some nice surprises, in that even if none of the rares are exactly worth the 11.99 sticker price, many of them are quite playable in EDH. So if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on packs but you really, really need that foil Harvester of Souls… you might be happy. Read on.

Angelic Might
I was pretty pumped about this one, for some reason, but it’s rather underwhelming. The foil rare for the deck is Herald of War, which wound up being much more narrowly playable than I’d hoped. She’s great for Angel/Human tribal decks, but that’s still a pretty narrow window of usefulness. Moreover, upon seeing how Herald of War worked (using the number of +1/+1 counters to reduce the cost of Angels and Humans), I had this deck’s other rare pegged as Cathars’ Crusade. The interaction between Herald and Crusade was synergistic and cool, so I really thought it would pan out. Unfortunately, the other rare is actually Angel of Glory’s Rise, which is a lot like Herald of War in that you REALLY have to be pushing a specific tribe, in this case Humans, for it to have any value whatsoever. The rare does make sense here, but it’s disappointing that the two rares are both so narrow. If you’re playing a Human Tribal deck, this deck is just for you, but for nearly everyone else it’s pretty much worthless. It doesn’t even have any really compelling uncommons.
Even worse is that the deck seems to have been made White/Green because of some mandate to make all Intro Decks two-color. In this case, green contributes nothing to the deck, save for a handful of ramp spells. Sure some Ramp will help you cast those top-end Angel cards, but this deck should have been Mono-White. Green just really adds nothing of significance to the deck.

Final Verdict: Waste of money, unless you’re playing Human Tribal and can’t pick up the rares as singles.

Solitary Friends

Lone Revenant and Demonic Rising are the deck’s rares (Lone Revenant is the foil). Ugh. This might actually be a worse deck overall than Angelic Might. Both rares seem pretty terrible for EDH. At least the deck makes sense as a two-color deck, here, unlike Green’s utterly pointless appearance in Angelic Might. Blue and Black both make contributions to the deck’s core purpose, which seems to be to play out as a one-threat Control deck. Drop one thing at a time, and then just counter or kill everything that gets in the way. But really, the only EDH-worthy card in the deck is Swiftfoot Boots, an uncommon that you can probably pick up for 50 cents or a dollar at most LGS’s. Lame.
Oddly, the Lone Revenant foil is going for about $4.00 online, so it’s a little weightier than I’d expected, but still not worth buying the whole deck for.

Final Verdict:  Avoid this like the plague, unless you REALY want that foil Revenant.

Slaughterhouse

If nothing else, this deck sports the only decent name among these decks. Fortunately it does have a bit more to offer than just a cool horror-movie-sounding name. For one thing, it doesn’t have quite the miserable rare selection. Demonlord of Ashmouth is not really all that compelling for EDH, but it’s not strictly terrible… just more of a casual 60-card format kind of guy. Harvester of Souls, on the other hand, is likely to be fairly popular among EDH players. He’s a 5/5 Deathtouch for six mana, which is just on the low-end of playability. But when you tack on the potentially huge card advantage engine this guy can provide, and well, he’s actually VERY playable. And he’s the foil of the deck, so that’s definitely going to appeal to the EDH crowd. Sure, even the foil version is likely to be very inexpensive, but it’s still cool enough to be a good selling point.
Another strong selling point is that the deck comes with not one but two copies of Barter In Blood. Yes, it’s an uncommon, and a reprint at that, but a lot of newer players might not have any from its original printing back in Mirrodin. Hell, I was very active in Magic during Mirrodin, and I only have two copies of Barter from that set! Barter in Blood is an extremely good card in Multiplayer EDH. It can very often be a budget-friendly Damnation, especially when cast early. By turn 4 or 5, when you can cast it, it’s likely none of your opponents will have more than two guys out already.
The deck also has 2x Reassembling Skeleton, which isn’t that big a deal, but the little guy does see a fair amount of play, especially in decks with Skullclamp.

Final Verdict: Probably worth picking up for the foil Harvester, and a handful of useable uncommons as well.

Fiery Dawn

God, these decks have the most generic, boring names I’ve ever seen. Anyway, moving on to stuff that matters, the deck sports a couple of rather appealing rares. This ended up being the deck that has Cathars’ Crusade in it. I knew that card would be in one of these decks, I just thought it’d be the Angel deck. Oh well. The foil is Zealous Conscripts, which is yet another rare that is likely to be very cheap to acquire even in foil, but it will definitely see some EDH play. So we have two rares that are quite playable in EDH. So that’s the good news.
The bad news is that, other than the sorta okay rares, the deck has some rather questionable design elements. The biggest mistake, to me, is that the deck runs Zealous Conscripts, one of those “Threaten” abilities that work SO well with AVR’s new “flicker” technology. That the deck doesn’t have a copy or two of at least Cloudshift is just stupid. Cloudshift interacts very nicely with BOTH rares in the deck. With Crusade, it can blink one creature to put additional +1/+1 counters on all your other guys. Even better, it can either flicker the Zealous Conscripts to get a second use out of her Threaten ability, OR you can flicker the stolen creature so that you don’t have to give it back to it’s owner at the end of your turn, allowing you to keep the creature indefinitely! I know WotC likes to leave some of these interactions out of the decks intentionally, to give players the chance to figure them out for themselves, but frankly, in this case, it’s just stupid. Either people are already going to be aware of that interaction, OR they’re never going to figure it out because they didn’t put it in the damn deck!
Moving on, a quick look at the commons and uncommons doesn’t turn up anything exciting.

Final Verdict: Possibly worth it if you really want those rares, but there is little or nothing else to offer here.

Bound by Strength

I was very surprised by this deck. Briefly, the deck is a U/G deck designed to show off the new Soulbond mechanic. And it does so quite nicely. For one thing, the deck looks surprisingly strong (for a precon, at least), with a ton of small but cool interactions. It has a sort of build-your-own-monster vibe with all the Soulbond creatures, and then it features two fairly cool rares as flagship Soulbonders. In particular, we get Deadeye Navigator, which is definitely the best Soulbond guy in the set. This guy is going to be NUTS in EDH.
Another interaction that I’m surprised but pleased to see is the Acidic Slime + Deadeye Navigator combo. Pairing those two critters together let’s you repeatedly blow-up any Artifact, Enchantment or Land for 1U, at instant speed. That’s just a tiny, tiny preview of what the Navigator will be doing in countless EDH decks very soon.
Additionally, we get Wolfir Silverheart, the foil rare. Silverheart is cool, but not likely to see a ton of play in EDH, but he does have extremely high casual appeal, as he essentially offers you a total of 12 Power for 5 mana. Not a bad deal. I can see him being a house in a Rafiq deck, or a Stonebrow deck for sure, and has limited playability elsewhere. He’s also a $4 foil, which is pretty darn surprising.
Meanwhile, Wolfir Avenger is one of the sexiest uncommon in the set, from a 60-card persepective at least. He seems fairly likely to see some Standard play, and will definitely be a star of the Kitchen Table casual scene. As a 3/3, though, he’s not particularly well suited to EDH play, as he’ll usually just be a regenerating blocker at best, but the sad truth is, no one plays creatures without evasion in EDH, so he’s not all that great as a blocker. Still, he’s a pretty compelling card overall.

Final Verdict:  The only deck that looks fun or interesting to play straight out of the box, and it has Deadeye Navigator which is a very nice surprise, as that card is well-positioned to make big waves in EDH. If I buy ANY of these decks, it will certainly be this one first, followed possibly by Slaughterhouse.

******************

For the financially-minded among you, here’s some quick and dirty data.

Going by starcitygames.com’s pre-order pricing, you can get all 5 rares, and all 5 foil rares for 19 bucks. The two biggest "money" cards are the foil Wolfir Silverheart and foil Lone Revenant, at $4.00 each. I fully expect the Revenant to drop considerably, unless he somehow sees any Standard play, but that’s an outside chance at best. Wolfir Silverheart may very well hold that $4.00 price point if even a fraction of the EDH crowd latches onto him, or the casual 60-card crowd does (though this crowd is usually less enamored of foils and “pimping”). So if getting the most bang for your buck is an extremely high priority for you, none of these decks look particularly appealing, but then if you’re that type of player, you very likely already knew that.

Either way it seems likely to me that the foil Harvester of Souls is likely to be the biggest draw for EDH players, but his monetary value isn’t likely to sell many decks unless you just really hate buying cards online and can’t get singles locally. I’m personally far more likely to just buy a box and try to open what I need or just pick up singles, since the vast majority of desirable cards in the set are actually VERY cheap, excepting of course some of the mythics.

On the positive note, many of the rares are quite playable in EDH, so it’s not a complete bust. And many are also quite playable in non-EDH casual formats as well. Slaugtherhouse and Bound by Strength are the better ones, while Fiery Dawn is okay. The Angel one is disappointing, and the U/B deck is downright terrible. And honestly, that’s better than what we usually get, which is 4 terrible decks and one terrible deck with a single really good rare in it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Post-AVR Deck Updates (Potentially)

As with any new set, there are cards coming out that I want to put into existing decks. It just so happens that AVR provides a higher-than-usual quantity of playable, exciting, or interesting cards. So, I’m going to run down each of my existing decks, and detail what changes I’m hoping to make. Of course, sometimes I might not make an intended change, for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just too hard to cut proven, reliable spells for untested ones, no matter how cool the new ones might be. Other times I just can’t get my hands on a copy of the new card right away. Or maybe I just realize I was blinded by “new and shiny” and the card in question really isn’t all that great.

Sometimes, adding one or two new cards pulls the deck to strongly in a new direction and warrants further changes to the deck. This is a little more rare, but take my Agrus Kos deck for example. I have a few high-cost creatures, but one of the major, important facets of the deck is its focus on smaller, cheaper creatures than you’d usually see in typical EDH decks. The strength of the deck comes from the fact that most of my significant threats are two, three or four mana, whereas my opponents usually have win-cons that start at the six mana spot and go up from there. This allows me to start hammering away at my opponents fast and early, while they’re still just casting mana rocks and Cultivates.

In light of this strategy, adding something like Silverblade Paladin makes perfect sense. But should I also add Gisela? Yeah, she’s actually really good at turning my small beaters into potent threats, which is good, but at 7 mana, she does not fit the curve well enough at all. Obviosuly, I could cut something like Archangel of Strife for Gisela, as they both occupy the seven spot, but I’m hesitant to do that for thematic and flavor issues. That’s not something that would usually stop me, as I’m more of a “play good cards” kind of guy, but I put a TON of work into making my Agrus Kos deck both playable AND thematic and flavorful.

My original intent was to have three large-ish, expensive-ish creatures that would have some global effect that helped all my guys. Flavor-wise, these creatures would represent commanding officers of their respective “branches”. There would be a CO for White, Red and Gold. Cutting Archangel of Strife for Gisela would give me two Gold officers, and no White officer. So I’d have to then look at cutting Noblis of War for something White, and that just ain’t gonna happen.

Somewhat sadly, I think the only real option is to demote Agrus Kos himself, and make Gisela my general. I say “somewhat sadly” because no matter what, I can’t be unhappy about playing Gisela. She’s the most exciting card in the set, to me, and having her as my general just means I’ll get more opportunity to play her. Plus, Agrus has proven, in my VERY limited playtesting, to be somewhat lackluster as a general. I had hoped that he’d be more relevant than Jor Kadeen was, and frankly, he’s only a slight improvement at best. I just almost never want to spend the mana to cast him unless I’m out of creatures in hand.

I’m definitely not cutting Noblis of War for Agrus, either, so it’s likely Kos will just find himself out of a job once I get my hands on a Gisela. And that part is kinda sad, cause I like the card a lot, in theory; he’s just not as good in practice as I always think he should be.

Anyway, that’s just a random look at my reasoning and thought process. It won’t be applied to all decks, as some decks are more willing to sacrifice theme for power, while others are doggedly determined to maintain a fine balance between theme and function. For now, here is the list.

Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Deadeye Navigator (only possible reason to not run this is that I don’t like the Mystic Snake interaction)
Devastation Tide (Less appealing than Evac, because this deck likes to Instant-speed things… but read on!)
Ghostly Flicker (No telling what tricks this will enable, but I’m sure they’re numerous)
Latch Seeker (Not sold on this at all, but it’s a possibility for this deck)
Lunar Mystic (Probably don’t really need the draw, but I have a LOT of Instants in this deck)
Tandem Lookout (Again, not sure I need it, but there are times when casting Edric is unadvisable. This gives me an option)
Champion of Lambolt (Not certain this’ll make it, but it’s at least a consideration)
Druids’ Repository (Definitely going in. I attack with a lot of little guys, and the extra mana helps with countermagic, etc.)
Alchemist’s Refuge (Good enough for every UG deck that can run it, but definitely on-theme here, makes Devestation Tide awesome)
Cavern of Souls (naming Rogue, naturally)

Sedris, the Traitor King
Deadeye Navigator (One of the few ways to get around Unearth’s Exile clause, and easily the best among those ways)
Ghostly Flicker (Nine mana let’s me Unearth two guys and keep them permanently. Good enough? Dunno, but we’ll see)
Infinite Reflection (I dream of dropping this on Anathemancer or something like it, then casting Army of the Damned)
Barter in Blood (I’ve learned from testing that I need a bit more removal)
Dread Slaver (Very iffy, but it’s cool enough that I want to try and make it work)
Mad Prophet (Maybe not, since it’s not a Zombie, but I need more effects like this…)
Reforge the Soul (Definitely going in, 100% certain - I desperately need the gas)
Cavern of Souls (naming Zombie, duh!)
Desolate Lighthouse (Perfect fit for the deck)

Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight (Likely will take over as General; sorry, Agrus!)
Cathars’Crusade (Unlikely to make the cut, but I love the card enough to try)
Divine Deflection (Not a Sunforger target, unfortunately, but could still save my bacon)
Restoration Angel (Mostly good for blinking Equipment tutors like Stoneforge or Godo, also good at carrying said Equipment)
Silverblade Paladin (Perfect for this deck)
Dangerous Wager (Maybe a good Sunforger target, recur it with Mistveil Plains?)
Hound of Griselbrand (Another really good Double Striker for the deck)
Lightning Mauler (Iffy, but definitely a relevant effect-  Haste is king in this deck)
Reforge the Soul (Already running Wheel, could use a second copy)
Otherwold Atlas (A big “maybe” but I definitely could use the draw power)
Vessel of Endless Rest (Great for this deck, I can use it to “reload” a Sunforger target)
Slayer’s Stronghold (Big fat “Duh!” but this is gonna be SO good here)

Rith, the Awakener
Cathars’ Crusade (Priority #1, this is gonna be the nuts in any token deck)
Entreat the Angels (Unlikely, to be honest, but I do have Wake and Doubling Season, making this potentially explosive)
Burn at the Stake (Great spot removal, or just kill a player on the spot)
Reforge the Soul (Duh)
Champion of Lambholt (Seems pretty good at forcing through token armies)
Craterhoof Behemoth (Great finisher. Can easily see this killing one or two players easily, all three if I get lucky)
Druids’ Repository (Great mana engine for a token deck)
Gisela and Sigarda (Both are remote possibilities, but not very high on the list. They’re both “good stuff”, not really on-theme)
Slayer’s Stronghold (More for the Haste than anything, the rest is just bonus value)

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
Cathars’ Crusade (No longer has the token thing, but this card still interacts nicely with Vish Kal)
Divine Deflection (Very high likelihood this will go in)
Blood Artist (Nice companion to Suture Priest)
Exquisite Blood (Not sure if this should replace Sanguine Bond or what)
Harvester of Souls (More card-draw, seems cool)
Griselbrand (Lifelink is actually a theme in this deck, so he’s not just a good-stuff inclusion)
Cavern of Souls (None of the other lands will work here, so might as well, right?)

Jenara, Asura of War
Infinite Reflection (A wacky sort of win con that no one will see coming… or a dead card in hand?)
Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Obvious choice is obvious, but can you blame me?)
Alchemist’s Refuge (Flashing in Enchantments is pretty cool)
All in all, this deck gets very few new cards, but Bruna is so much awesome in one package that I don’t care.

Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Deadeye Navigator (Such an amazing card, I can’t wait to play with it)
Stolen Goods (It’s no Bribery, but stealing stuff is one of the main themes of the deck)
Barter in Blood (Already running it, but the new art is better)
Dark Imposter (Another janky but on-theme card to try out)
Griselbrand (Not that I need more card-draw, but why not?)

Okay, so those are my current decks. I have a roster of decks that are mainstays of my EDH stable, but aren’t together right at the moment. These are decks that I’ve built and rebuilt multiple times, and am very likely to do so again and again. Here’s a rundown on theoreticall changes to those decks, if I rebuild any of them soon enough.

Rafiq of the Many
Divine Deflection (Once Rafiq gets going on the offensive, I usually just sit back on responsive spells like this one)
Nearheath Pilgrim (Soulbond has some interesting interactions with Exalted’s one-attacker mechanic)
Silverblade Paladin (Rafiq’s back-up dude. Double Strike is hella good in this deck)
Deadeye Navigator (Just cause it makes spot removal very difficult to use)
Latch Seeker (Swings for 8 with just Rafiq. 9 With just Finest Hour. 24 with both.)
Tandem Lookout (Could replace almost any one of the several combat-damage-card-drawers)
Temporal Mastery (Not a lot of card draw, makes this slightly more likely to Miracle, one extra turn usually wins me the game)
Soul of the Harvest (As I just said, I don’t have a whole lot of card draw, so this might be a great opportunity)
Wolfir Silverheart (Makes all those small, evasive guys look utterly scary)
Sigarda, Host of Herons (This deck already has a bit of a weakness against Thraximundar and Barter in Blood)
Alchemist’s Refuge (Such a damn good Land!)

Thraximundar
Arcane Melee (My Thrax build was just “good stuff control” with a LOT of Sorceries and Instants)
Deadeye Navigator (… and it had a LOT of ETBF effect creatures, and temporary theft effects)
Ghostly Flicker (see above, same explanation applies)
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (It also featured lots and lots of Planeswalkers)
Temporal Mastery (Good stuff, like I said)
Griselbrand (really, really good stuff…)
Harvester of Souls (straight up replaces River Kelpie)
Killing Wave (just because It That Betrays is already in the deck)
Bonfire of the Damned (Maybe not, but it could go in)
Dual Casting (As before, the deck plays lots of powerful Instants and Sorceries)
Reforge the Soul (More Wheel of Fortune, not less!)
Rush of Blood (Can shave a turn off Thrax’s already-short clock - surprise win!)
Zealous Conscripts (Already playing a few Threaten variants, this is a good one)
Desolate Lighthouse (With enough recursion, the discard is a boon, not a drawback)

Kaalia of the Vast
Avacyn, Angel of Hope (C’mon do I need to spell it out?)
Herald of War (In case I need to hard-cast some Angels)
Defy Death (In cast I need to Zombify some Angels)
Griselbrand (Kaalia decks need more gas)
Harvester of Souls (As I said - gas)
Reforge the Soul (Okay, that might be enough gas)
Seraph Sancutary (Usually runs enough Angels to make this viable)
Slayers’ Stronghold (Haste is really good for Kaalia to have)

Ghave, Guru of Spores
Cathar’s Crusade (This card alone is enough to make me want to rebuild Ghave immediately)
Craterhoof Behemoth (This one, too)
Champion of Lambholt (Synergy!)
Druid’s Repository (Run those tokens into the red zone, for mana!)

Damia, Sage of Stone (previously Vorosh)
Deadeye Navigator (Abusing the shit out of ETBF effects is already what the deck does best)
Griselbrand (Thank you, Grizzlebee’s, I was hungry)
Alchemist’s Refuge (Flash is pretty sweet in a Damia deck)

Animar, Soul of Elements
Deadeye Navigator (Every. Blue. Deck. Ever.)
Tyrant of Discord (More likely to go into a Riku deck, but possible here)
Soul of the Harvest (Essential)
Somberwald Sage (Not quite as good as Bloom Tender, but almost)
Timberland Guide (Puts two counters in Animar, not one)
Desolate Lighthouse (Dig for more creatures!)
Alchemist’s Refuge (EOT, dump my hand for the win?)

Riku of Two Reflections
Arcane Melee (This discounts your spells exactly what Riku charges to copy them. Coincidence?)
Deadeye Navigator (…)
Ghostly Flicker (Make two guys. Copy them. Flicker them. Re-copy them)
Temporal Mastery (Hey, at least I can’t go infinite turns, right guys?)
Burn at the Stake (Seems fun to copy)
Dual  Casting (MORE COPIES!)
Malignus (Big, dumb, but kinda cool)
Reforge the Soul (You saw this coming, right?)
Rite of Ruin (Potentially devastating, when timed just right, or copied)
Tyrant of Discord (Even more potentially devastating!)
Soul of the Harvest (Doesn’t trigger on the tokens, but still pretty good)
Alchemist’s Refuge (Clearly a must-run)

Stonebrow, Krosan Hero
Reforge the Soul (This deck, too, needed more drawing power)
Rush of Blood (Plenty of big, trampley targets in this deck)
Craterhoof Behemoth (Very dangerous in a deck with Avenger of Zendikar, Tooth and Nail and lots of Haste)
Rain of Thorns (Excellent removal spell for this deck)
Soul of the Harvest (Draws cards AND has Trample? Fuck yeah!)
Uvenwald Tracker (My dudes are usually bigger than theirs)
Wolfir Silverheart (Pair with anything with Trample for maximum devestation)


Wow. That’s quite a list. Apparently, Avacyn Restored has plenty of goodies for you, almost no matter what you’re playing. I’d say that’s a clear hallmark of a terrific set – a little something for everyone.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Avacyn Restored EDH Set Review Portal



As is the custom here at The Command Zone, I've set up this post as a convenient page of links to all six parts of my AVR set review. The links below are broken up by color.



Please leave a comment if I missed a card, if you think I assessed a card wrongly, or if you just have some cool uses for a card in the set.

Enjoy!

Avacyn Restored EDH Set Review; Part Six: The Rest

Heading up the final section of our EDH Set Review is a trio of Multicolored cards, followed by a handful of Artifacts and Nonbasic Lands. This section is full of awesome and win.

Angels

Well, by now, you already know where this is going. Already, all three of these beautiful Legendary Angels are generating a metric ton of buzz and hype in the EDH scene.

Bruna is on overwhelmingly powerful creature, balanced nicely by the fact that's she's very specific about what she wants to do. Obviously, she is drawing all sorts of comparisons to Zur, Uril, and Sovereigns of Lost Alara. She's not the kind of card you just throw into every UW deck you've got, but if you build around her, she's insanely powerful.

She can clearly stand on her own, or be a finisher in some other General's Aura-themed deck (like a Zur deck, for example).
Gisela is the only card in the set to drop more jaws and cause more squeeling nerdgasms than Avacyn or Griselbrand themselves. Gisela seems poised to be the breakout star of the set, with the fourms and blogs going nuts over her incredibly sexy set of abilitys, not to mention she sports one of the best illustrations in the set, possibly even the whole block. Jason Chan really outdid himself her, and so did WotC's R&D department.

Gisela's high CMC makes her very unlikely to make any sort of waves in Standard or any other competative tournament format, so the demand for her should come almost entirely from the EDH crowd. Hopefully this will keep her affordable, because I expect we'll be seeing her all over decklists for a long while now.

This is easily my favorite card in the set, no question.
Sigarda is the odd lady out, in this trio. Not that she's not good in EDH - she most certainly will see plenty of action in our format - but she's also the most aggressively costed, at 5 mana. This means she has a bit more potential to have some crossover success. She's definitely a constructed-worthy card, in a vacuum, but it really depends on if there's enough other good stuff in her colors to build an archetype around her.

Fortunately, she is, in my opinion, the least exciting member of the trio. Not to say I dislike her - not at all! She just hoses things I happen to like quite a bit - cards like Barter in Blood (whose presence in the set may well contribute to Sigarda seeing a bit of tourney action).

She's very good, just has less of a "holy shit!" impact when you first see her.




Artifacts

This lacks impact. Will probably not have enough presence on the board to matter much. Seems good in a Tempered Steel deck, but I don't think that's a particularly viable archetype in EDH.
Well, this is certainly interesting. EDH is a format where creatures with ETBF effects are played extremely often. This combos with any of them nicely. Titans. Mulldrifter. Shriekmaw. Eternal Witness. Nucklavee. Woodfall Primus. Sharuum the Hegemon. Karmic Guide. The list is endless.
This isn't going to break the format in half (it's already broken!), but it will see play, guaranteed.
Well, this will be fun in mono-White Soldiers! Until someone gets annoyed and just Wraths all your Humans away. The problem with cards requiring you to tap multiple creatures is that they pretty much force you to overextend into a Wrath of God.

Then again, White already has pretty good removal options. It's probably worth noting that there are a LOT of Blue Wizards that are also Humans... this might not wind up being too relevant, but it's nice to have a potential removal card for colors that don't get a lot of good options.
 Terrible. Just posted it cause it's cool art.
Ooh, ooh! I know! Put this on Geist of Saint Traft!

Yeah, that's pretty much what every single person ever thought when they first saw this a few weeks back. It's super obvious, to the point that it's already going to be lame by the time anyone every actually does it in real life.

Problem is, I still haven't come up with any other use for it. Believe me, I'm trying.
I've had pretty good success with Temple Bell so far. It doesn't even matter that it's not in a Group Hug deck. Sometimes I'm just so desperate for a card-draw solution that I run the Bell anyway. This is likely going to just be a stricly worse Temple Bell. It costs one more mana, AND you have to put a charge counter on it before you can use it.

But, I can't wait to play with this anyway. I can imagine being able to set it up nicely enough that I don't care that my opponents are drawing cards too. Obviously if I have Consecrated Sphinx in play, I'm still coming out way ahead.




Well this is certainly an usual and interesting take on the three-mana, any-color mana rock. It's an unusual melding of disparate utility effects. The kinda, sorta issue here is that you really want to be droping mana rocks as early as possible, and at that point, Graveyards are likely to be empty that early in the game.

However, mana rocks are usualy kinda dead draws late game, so this little bit of extra utilty keeps it from being a completely useless draw at the late game stage. It's a nice gesture but I don't see this replacing Darksteel Ingot or Coalition Relic in most decks, but for metagames where GY hate is desperately needed, this will be a godsend to players.









Lands

Holy cow, this is amazing! Pretty much an auto-include into every deck with the right color identity. There's almost no strategy out there that can benefit from being able to play everything at Instant speed.
Bomb land! Basically it's a Command Tower meets Boseiju. Set this to your General's creature type, and you never have to worry about Hinder or Spell Crumple again. The only downside here is that this is gonna be highly sought after for nearly every format in existance, so it's never going to be cheap to acquire.

Obviously, it's best in a Tribal-flavored deck, but really this can be played in almost any deck.
Another great land. This one is just a little bit less awesome than the other two in it's cycle. Still it's going to be pretty good in almost any deck it fits into. Unearth and Flashback are just two of many mechanics that will be happy to see this land.
Obviously, you're only playing this in heavily Angel-themed decks, with enough Tribal support to matter. Not great, but narrowly useful when it does fit in.
 Wow. Another exceptionally strong ability for a cheap activation cost. I've already been biting the bullet and playing Hall of the Bandit Lord in a number of decks. Clearly, Hall can go into any and all decks that want it, but this will be VASTLY better than Hall in those decks lucky enough to have the proper color requirements. Without question, this land is extremely strong.















That wraps up our Avacyn Restored EDH Set Review. The final verdict: Awesome! The set is chock full of playable cards in every color, and nothing, save the two flagship Legends seem to be over the top, power-level-wise. It's not quite Ravnica: City of Guilds levels of awesomeness, but it's the closest they've come in a long while. I'm very pleased to say that WotC appears to have knocked this out of the park.

Enjoy!

Avacyn Restored EDH Set Review, Part Five: Green

Ah, Green. The ultimate Timmy color. I don't have much to say this time. Green has always been solid in EDH, and it's not likely to change over night. So let's just dive in and see what Green goodies AVR has to offer.

I can't imagine running this in anything, when Increasing Savagery exists. Not even the Miracle possibility is enough to warrant running this in Animar or Ghave, arguabley the two decks that can best take advantage of this.
 Awful.
This could be pretty powerful. It gets bigger, and as it does so, it becomes increasingly hard to block any of your creatures. Then again, this is going to be a big target for spot removal, so it might not live long enough to give you value. I think it should do well enough in Ghave or other token decks.
Holy win condition! Resolving this should kill at least one opponent every time. Very much an EDH-only card. Should see tons of play in this format, where Avenger of Zendikar is one of the most ubiquitous Green cards in print.
Yup. It's a Hidden Predators for half-price, if you're playing Tribal. Combine with Changelings (try Mutavault, in particular), for greater chance of success. Outside of decks with heavy tribal themes, this ain't going to do much, but there are plenty of decks that can support this.
There's a cycle of these guys in Green that just give vanilla +X/+X bonuses. None but the Rare one stand any chance of being worthwhile, and even that one is iffy. This just doesn't do enough in EDH to be relevant most of the time.
Obvious choice for token decks. Gives you incentive to just start running your hordes of tokens into the redzone, blockers be damned. When used properly, will generate obscene amounts of mana. When not used properly will be utterly dead on the board.
Cool flavor, love the name! I like Wing Snare and Plummet already. This is strictly better than Wing Snare. Should be playable in the right metagame. If the only Sword of Stuff and Junk you ever see is Feast and Famine, this won't get you very far.
Meh. Good limited card, maybe.
 Not even Undying makes this appealing for EDH.
Possible inclusing in creature-saturated Animar decks. Mimeoplasm has better options. Usually, I'd rather just Harmonize or something.
 Bad ass art, cool effect. Only problem is, it competes with Krosan  Grip and Beast Within. This is unlikely to stack up against those two, but if you're already running those two and still in need of a third option, this could be worth considering.
Here's a fun scenario for you. I have Scroll Rack and Stranglehold on the board. I tap out for a Weird Harvest for x= 8 to 10, getting a huge handful of creatures. Next turn, I use Scroll Rack to stack the top of my library with 7 or more hand-picked creatures, then cast this. Okay, that's so convoluted it'd likely never happen, as one of your opponents is bound to disrupt your plans even if he has no clue what you're up to. Still, seems like a fun, epic play if you did pull it off.

Done right, this card should win the game for you on the spot. But it is a ten mana Mythic, so that's pretty much the only outcome that would make it worth casting. Seems like it could get a fair amount of play in EDH. You have to set it up, though, or it's gonna let you down.
Exceptionally versatile and powerful, this is a choice removal spell for Green. Most of the time, I'd just rather have Beast Within, but there's no way this isn't going to see some play in EDH. Even at six mana, it still has the potential to be a much easier to cast Violent Ultimatum. Just wish it could hit creatures too.
Meh. I could almost see actually paying six for this once in a while, and not being too unhappy about it. Especially targeting a creature with Deathtouch.
Animar decks will absolutely love this. Maybe some Mimeoplasm decks, too. There are probably more than a few ways to get infinite mana from this, if that's your thing. Most of the time, though, the spending restriction on her will just make her terrible.
YES! This is a dude I can really get behind. Obviously this is going to be in a lot of decks, starting with Animar. The nontoken clause makes it unappealing for Ghave and other token decks, but they have other toys for drawing cards. This is a worthy draw engine for all those nontoken decks out there. Suck it, Primordial Sage!
 In EDH, this is likely to be your first creature cast, and thus will target itself, making it a Grizzly Bear. Which is utterly unplayable. However, I could see this in Animar decks, where it's a cute techy choice, but still unlikely to be very good.
 Too slow and conditional. Most green decks that need or want card draw from large creatures will run Greater Good and/or Momentous Fall. Not to mention Soul of the Harvest or a host of other, better choices.
Tired of your opponents not running headlong into your Acidic Slime or Vampire Nighthawk? Force the issue.

This will require a little bit of fiddling to make it work, but once it gets going it could be a great form of removal for some decks.
This is terrible even by today's standards. Pelakka Wurm is better than this in almost every single way, despite being one mana more, and even that get's virtually no play in EDH.
This is a hilarous card, but it's definitely more of a build-around-me card for 60-card formats. In EDH, instants and sorcery cards that target your guys are almost always removal spells cast by opponents.
This is one badass uncommon, but a 3/3 just rarely gets the job done in EDH. He's just gonna be a chump blocker most of the time. Sure he could be a roleplayer in some Voltron decks with lots of equipment that just need cheap, efficient guys to attach to, but that's about it.
Best when paired with cheap evasion guys like Blighted Agent or Invisible Stalker, or large tramplers like Deus of Calamity or Simic Sky Swallower. He's a bit janky, but I could easily justify running him in Rafiq, Edric or Stonebrow (had I not decommissioned Stonebrow already...). He packs a lot of punch for 5 mana, even if he is a vanilla beatstick most of the time.
Bad Chameleon Colossus is bad. Still, I'd play it in a dedicated Treefolk deck like Doran. Needs more Trample!



















Well, we're getting near the end, here, and Green stuff looks pretty good, mostly. Two really swingy Mythics, and a handful of playable rares and uncommons. Not the most exciting color in the set, but plenty to like nonetheless.

Next up, everything else! Lands, Artifacts, and of course the Powerpuff Girls.

Enjoy.

Avacyn Restored EDH Set Review, Part Four: Red

Red is usually thought of as the "worst" color in EDH. While it's true that Red mostly has a hard time with late-game reach and is much better at dealing 20 to a single opponent than dealing 40 to three or four opponents, that's not necessarily an insurmountale disadvantage.

Avacyn Restored brings us one of the most exciting Red cards to come along in a while - Reforge the Soul. An almost-reprint of Wheel of Fortune, Red mages should be happy to have yet another "draw seven" in their arsenal, and this time without the awkward Suspend mechanic.

On the down side of things, Vampires didn't get much love, just a couple of mediocre commons and uncommons. We did get a two-headed devil dog, though, so that's pretty cool.


Overcosted chaff, but likely to be someone's Secret Tech pick one day. Rhys or Ghave decks might cringe at seeing this, but there are far more efficient and effective ways to hose those decks. If it cost four, and could be a Sunforger toolbox peice, it'd be okay, but alas it is not.
I really think this could have been a 5/5 and been printable (and certainly more playable). Neat art, but terrible card. Shame, since the last two dragons in this block were both pretty awesome.
 Usually these one-shot "ritual" effects are pretty terrible if not outright unplayable in EDH. But there are decks that can do a lot with some big-mana for a turn. I could see playing this in my Rith token deck if I had a couple more X spells in the deck. Paying 1R for 8 to 10 red mana is not a terrible deal. Mostly, though, this is not an EDH-worthy card.
Lavalanche can be pretty devestating in a big-mana deck, sit stands to reason this could be as well. However, paying full price for it is wholly unappealing. It's pretty much the Miracle cost that makes this even remotely worth considering.
This could just straight-up kill a player dead on the spot in a token deck. I see this being useful in all sorts of Jund or Naya builds as a potential one-shot kill card.

Also, pretty good tech in Riku. You can copy the spell without having to tap more guys, and effectively deal 6 x the number of creatures you control to one or two targets. Not bad for 5 mana.
Yeah, Red decks can run out of gas easily. I'd rather have Wheel of Fortune and the like, but this could do in a pinch. It also enables some Madness, Hellbent or Flashback tricks. Pretty narrow, but mildly playable in the right decks.
I can see this in a lot of Riku or Intet decks, as well as Grixis Good Stuff builds that have a high Instant & Sorcery count. Copying shit is fun and popular in EDH, which the popularity of cards like Twicast, Kiki-Jiki, Rite of Replication or Wild Richochet can attest. That it's an Aura which carries with it that card-disadvantage baggage, it's still worth the risk at an amazingly cheap cost of 1R to cast, and R to activate.
Meh. If the second ability were worded like Spikeshot Elder's it'd be pretty good, but as it stands, this is likely to be a bit too janky to see any real play. I might try to shoehorn it into my Garza Vamp tribal deck, because it is a two-mana Vampire, but it's probably never going to be all that great.
Very underpowered for EDH. Nice in Limited, but that's about it.
Sorta interesting, but can't compete with Falkenrath Noble for a really good Vampire with a death trigger.
 This guy is super efficient for what he is. Basically a 4/4 for four mana, with Undying as a nice added-value bonus. This will be great in any Red Equipment-based Voltron deck. Imagine this guy carrying a Sword of War and Peacer or a Sunforger. Sweet. Plus, it's a two-headed hound. How awesome is that!
Meh. If human tribal becomes a real EDH deck archetype, will it contain Red? I don't see it happening.
Hmm, interesting. A very nice Haste enabler, but I don't know if this can compete with Anger and urabrask. If I were running Boros Guildmage in anything, this would likely replace her, but I'm not. Still, it's cheap and likely to give you some value before it gets caught in a Wrath effect. I definitely see this working in a deck that is really pushing the aggro envelope as hard as possible.
Poop.
As bad as this may seem on the surface, Red really can use this effect. I'd be happy to play this in a number of decks. Probably none with Blue in them, but for Red/Black or Red/Green, could be alright. Pairs great with Squee, by the way.
I usually hate creatures that are just big and dumb and have zero evasion, but a potential 20/20 for five is pretty compelling, especially in the color that already has Warstorm Surge and Fling.
Amazing. I will happily play Wheel of Fortune for five, even without the potential for Miracle-ing it out for two. Very, very good card. Should see plenty of play.
Seems good in any deck that is planning on copying it or casting it for free. Mostly this just looks annoying and obnoxious to play against, and isn't likely to benefit it's caster quite enough to warrant casting it. Time will tell, but I foresee this being avoided by most EDH players.
















This would have been a lock for my Stonebrow trample deck if I still had it together. Likely to get limited play in specific decks. Seems fun with Gisela,  or any large-ish Double Strike guy. Also, Malignus.
Virtually unplayable, but I still can't help but think about pairing this with Boros Swiftblade or something similar. Probably not worth it, though.
Not good enough. Sure, for one R it's great, but for six it's abyssmal.
I kinda hate this guy. Well, the card itself sucks. The character is awesome. Devil guy with a pimp coat. Yeah, I can dig that. Still, it's that word "random" in the first ability that absolutely kills any potential use I might have for Tibalt.
This guy looks like a fun, janky EDH bomb in the classic sense. Back before we had Praetors and Titans and Sphinxes that were just flat out amazing, EDH players were playing the shit out of cards like this guy. I love seeing cards like this because it's clearly gonna see play in EDH, but it's very, very unlikely to take off in any other format out there, meaning this will never be more than a bargain bin rare.

I'm not looking forward to seeing Riku copy this guy, though. Or Tooth and Nail for this plus Kiki-Jiki.

Oh, and this is pretty much the best possible target for Infinite Reflection (in this set, at least).
I'm looking forward to opening tons of copies of this guy. Because I'm gonna trade every friggin one of them to tournament players and RDW die-hards.
They're really trying to push Humans in Red. Seems cool. We'll see if players take the bate or not, but I see this card as more of a 60-card format card, not EDH.
Most of the time, I'd rather play Conquering Manticor. For one more mana we get a 5/5 Flyer instead of a 3/3 Haste body. But, this lady can steal Planeswalkers and the like, which the Manticore can't do. More importantly, this is yet another "Threaten" that interacts nicely with this set's new "Flicker" technology to allow you to permanently steal things, not just until End of Turn.














Well, that wraps up our look at Red. There are a handful of situationally cool cards, but the stand outs are Reforge the Soul and Tyrant of Discord. Red didn't fare as badly as Black, though, so that's something to be thankful for. Definitely digging the fact that the more expensive rares and mythics are pretty much Constructed-only cards, while the ones that look to become EDH staples are more budget friendly. I'll be happily trading away Tibalts and Vexing Devils for fistfulls of EDH dollar-binder rares.

Up next, obviously, is Green. Enjoy!