Spoiler season is finally kicking into gear, and we have had quite the first day. With 3 new and exciting mechanics and several potentially constructed playable cards, there is a lot to talk about.
I won’t go over every card spoiled (we got 14, and some are pretty irrelevant), but I will hit all the notable cards. Let’s start with the biggest reveal of the day:
In all honesty, the first thing that jumped out to me here is the rarity disparity, which is quite irksome. Why is Bruna Rare while Gisela is Mythic Rare? Yeah, it’s irritating, but oh well. Moving on.
If any of the 3 pairs of meld cards will see play in constructed, this is it. Meld requires specific deckbuilding, setup, drawing the right cards, and putting together both pieces to actually work. This pair is both easy to set up (relatively) and highly rewarding. Gisela is a pretty powerful card on it’s own. Running 3-4 in a Standard deck would not be embarrassing, though it probably wouldn’t be worth it on its own. Bruna is not as much of a Standard playable card, but when you can play it, rebuy Gisela (or Archangel Avacyn, or any Humans you happen to be running) and flip into Brisela on end step, it becomes an appealing 2-of. And Brisela is pretty much impossible to beat. It locks your opponent out of casting any of the playable removal spells in Standard while draining for 9 when it attacks and gaining 9 when it blocks. Pretty absurd, I would expect this to see play in Standard.
I would rate this pair at being about half as likely as Brisela to see play in Standard, but it isn’t terrible. Hanweir Battlements, as a land, is clearly playable. If Hanweir Garrison sees play, then this will be slotted into the same decks. Hanweir, the Writhing Township is a great payoff for sure. The final piece of the puzzle is the quality of the Garrison itself.
The obvious comparison is Goblin Rabblemaster. A powerhouse during its time in Standard, it’s shoes are hard to fill. It was a 2/2 that, if everything went right, would be attacking for 6 on turn 4, and 8 on turn 5. It could even get in for 1 the turn you play it. Hanweir Garrison has an important point of toughness, and attacks for 4 on turn 4, 6 on turn 5. Not as incredible, but certainly respectable. The number of bodies scales faster once it starts attacking, but the Garrison itself doesn’t get any bigger.
That is fine, and could see some play in, say, big red/Eldrazi decks, where the Battlements add useful mana.
Wait, what’s that you say?
Which creature type?
Yeah, Hanweir Garrison is a Human. It also makes two Human tokens every time it attacks. It also costs 3 or less mana. Get my drift? Naya Collected Company Humans, or Boros Humans aggro, both just got a real shot in the arm with this card. It fuels Thalia’s Lieutenant like nothing else, while being a respectable aggressive creature. It is also absurd with an Always Watching in play. I don’t know about the pair, but the Garrison will almost certainly see a lot of play in Standard before rotation.
While this card in particular is not the most exciting, the ability it carries certainly is. It is rare that we see sacrifice effects with cost reduction attached. If there are a few good cards printed with this ability, you could potentially really cheat on mana. It goes very well with enter the battlefield effects, and it also goes very well with itself, as you can put a card with a high converted mana cost into play for fairly cheap.
Oh, by the way, Delve and Affinity are both mechanics. Just something to keep in mind.
I really want to see a flash creature with this mechanic, and will likely be toying around with some designs of my own.
I am in love with this keyword. As a Spike, I love modal spells, and I love ways of adding extra choices to modal spells. Blessed Alliance effectively has 7 modes, which is pretty awesome. Escalate is going to enable a ton of cool designs.
This card in particular is actually very likely to see play in Standard, and will be pretty excellent in Limited. It is perfect for a Standard control deck, in which it acts as an easier to cast Celestial Flare that has “Kicker 2: Gain 4 life.” That is a card I would be very excited to play. In limited it is blowout.card, allowing you to surprise block, kill an attacker, and even gain life occasionally. Very strong card, expect to see it a lot.
Another Escalate card to keep your eye on in limited:
Let’s finish up with one of the more potentially powerful cards spoiled today:
I was among those who thought Traverse the Ulvenwald was going to be completely busted. I was wrong (at least so far). So when I see this my initial reaction (“Holy cow this is pushed!”) was immediately squashed by my memories of how generally okay Traverse the Ulvenwald ended up being. A 1/1 deathtouch for G is pretty good in limited, and this has a very relevant upside. I doubt the upside will be substantial enough or easy enough to trigger in Standard, nor powerful enough for Legacy, a format with Nimble Mongoose, but I could see this being powerful in Modern. Its potential homes are Temur Delver and Suicide Zoo. Temur Delver has Hooting Mandrills and Tarmogoyf so I wouldn’t expect it to see play there, but it certainly could, as it comes down on turn one, when tapping out can’t really punish you. Suicide Zoo, however, runs a ton of cheap cards, including Mishra’s Bauble, making turn-2 Delirium entirely feasible. Having never played the deck I can’t say for sure, but I would expect that it is a viable option.
Here are the other cards spoiled today:
See ya’ll tomorrow!