Happy Thursday, everyone-
It’s an eerie quiet around here without Mr. P, who is off doing job-related things in New Orleans for the week.  It’s been a while since I was on the hook to hold down the fort by myself.  In any case, it’s a good thing to get back to basics every once in a while, and I’m enjoying a little seat time.

Monday’s article got quite a response!  Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting.  I think my nature as a player is to get pretty emotionally invested in the games.  It’s something that I’ve always done, whether I want to or not.  (For the record, Prereleases are sheer hell for me as a result; I want to enjoy the experience, hang out with friends, and grab some new cards, and what usually happens is I go into the tank when I start dropping games, and spend a good amount of time pacing the parking lot and fuming.)
Anyway, all that aside, I tend to react the way that I do on the spot, and post about it a day later with a cooler head.  For that reason, it’s interesting to get the responses that I do on this, since I’m seeing it with fresh eyes as well. 
I think the big takeaway is that the game may have been a bit broken from the get-go, and (no offense intended to the player at all here) being held hostage by Merieke placed a tension on things that didn’t help.  The scoop, while within his rights, was just enough to push me over the edge. 
Don’t get me wrong – I still don’t like the flippant way it came down, or the reason given for it, but it is what it is.  That game probably needed to die. 
Is it crazy that I get more excited to play when things like this go down?  I should be sitting by a pool for a week sipping cocktails and relaxing instead, but I’m ready to get back in there.  No clue.
Anyway, on to Dragon’s Maze-

Man, have we seen a lot in the past few weeks.  We’re about a week off from the Prerelease and a little more than halfway on the cards spoiled.  This set is going to be polarizing for EDH players by the looks of it so far; there are a ton of new general options, which will undoubtedly fuel a huge amount of new decks.  That’s exciting.  There are some strong cards in the set in general, which is great.  However, there are a few cards that should prove to push the edges of what EDH players find socially acceptable.  It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Here’s a little look on some of the stuff that has elicited a reaction from me so far (head over to MTGSalvation here for the spoiler itself.)-
This one hit today, and may or may not be correct based on a translation from Chinese.  For me, there are three things that stick out-
My Angus Mackenzie deck loves Wild Pair, Aluren, and Equilibrium shenanigans.  Being able to take advantage of any/all of these things at instant speed is pretty critical to the deck.  If this is as spoiled, it also gains a decent shot in the arm from being able to block blue flyers all day.  Kind of excited about this guy.
Deputy of Acquittals

See above.  Now, with 100% more Sawtooth Loon interaction.
Emmara Tandris

The first guild champion on the list.  This thing is stirring up a ton of discussion online.  Very polarizing. 
What I will say is that Mr P can tell you about his Rith deck, and how Wizards of the Coast keeps printing better token-related cards that have the deck basically at critical mass.  This kind of falls in line there as well, although outside of being a general, I’m sure it’s just worse than Eldrazi Monument in the maindeck.  I think this ends up a dud in EDH overall; the best thing I think it does is protect your army from a Wrath effect one time.
Exava, Blood Witch

For all those red/black ‘counters matter’ decks out there?  I will say this – WotC is certainly providing EDH players with outside-the-box options to play with in this set.  Still, trying to get excited here and failing.
Goblin Test Pilot

Thank goodness it’s in red.  It’s the sequel to Steamflogger Boss.  Another sixty-odd in-joke cards, and Mr P will have a new theme deck to build.
Lavinia of the Tenth

Tenth what?  It’s both confusing and satisfying at the same time that I don’t particularly care for the back-story of expansions.  Confusing because I feel the need to ask questions like this.  Satisfying because I don’t particularly care if I get an answer or not.
Anyway, this is a slight up-tick in power level as far as a new general to build around.  Great answer to token strategies, in bounce-friendly colors, aggressively sided and costed…this will see some play.  
Master of Cruelties

Aaaaaaaaand there it is.
This card is the first to get the finger in this set.  People will put this in Kaalia and think they’re being cute.  Some people will cheat it out early, and their opponents will want to literally kill them for doing it.  39-point life swings that early in the game are less fun than Magister Sphinx 30-point life swings later on in the game, and those weren’t much fun either. 
Still, if you have an annoying life-gain deck in your metagame, this is an acceptable answer.
Melek, Izzet Paragon

On the one hand, it’s a very narrow design, and I typically dislike those.  On the other hand, it’s a perfect fit to the “instants and sorceries matter” red/blue deck I’ve been feverishly trying to make work without it being a combo machine that puts people to sleep, so I’ll allow it.
Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

This is going to annoy people to no end.  Hitting four lands could take a significant chunk of a deck out in the process, and again, it’s an aggressively-costed creature with evasion. 
To me, the real downside here is that there will be an increase in people running Eldrazi if this thing sees any sort of real play.
Notion Thief

…And now I want to build a black/blue deck again.  The best thing about this card is how hard it screws over Rhystic Study.  How much am I paying for what I just played?  Retail.  Bring it. 
Obezdat’s Aid

This is a cool card.  It’s a great effect, although I’m concerned that it ends up being a little undercosted.  I know there’s a delicate balance to be found in that area, but I thing this ends up going in a lot of decks because it costs less than six.
Sadly, I’m guessing that the number one use for this ends up being a way to cheat Omniscience into play on turn five.  I hope I’m wrong and it just ends up being a cool Regrowth-style utility card.
Progenitor Mimic
Wizards loves EDH.  This thing is going to see a ton of 99-card play.  I’m thinking about tossing it in The Simic Nightmare (just trying to come up with some decent names for the GenCon deck…this probably ain’t it.) as a decent Tooth and Nail pairing with Tidespout Tyrant.  That’s a win-condition that doesn’t involve giant, indestructible trampling one-hit poison kills.
Ral Zarek

Wizards hates EDH.  Or at least, I think sometimes Wizards doesn’t understand EDH.  Yeah, yeah…Krark’s Thumb.  I get it.  Just play Time Stretch and Eternal Witness instead and get it over with.  (Mr P is off the hook due to the existence of his ‘coin flip’ deck.  He was here first, so he gets the grandfather clause.  Still, I bet he gets it ultimate once with KT in play, and immediately regrets it.)
Ruric Thar, the Unbound

I stand by the fact that this thing is a decent, open-ended design.  People will love this as a general. 
Sadly, I think it ends up destined to be hated on in a similar fashion to Kaervek the Merciless.  There’s nothing quite like getting mana screwed in the early game and finding the right mana to cast the Cultivate in your hand the turn after this hits play on your neighbor’s board.
Sire of Insanity

I was right the first time.  Wizards hates EDH.  For the record, the answer is “20 turns.” 
The question is, “When this thing hits, how many turns do the other three of us get to sit back, drawing and passing, hoping desperately that someone pulls a Swords to Plowshares while dying slowly to six damage each turn?”
Seriously, they should have combined this with Master of Cruelties and just killed two birds with one stone.  (One of those birds is the will to live, and the other is the desire to ever play against this card after experiencing it just one time.)
Tajic, Blade of the Legion

Carrying on in the proud tradition of Jor Kadeen.  This is better, because it’s cheap and keyworded with the best static ability in the game.  If you play with general damage, this will end up being a solid general.
If you don’t, it will likely end up a 2/2 chump-blocker most of the time.
Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts

I liked the OG Teysa better.  It’s like that Teysa got together with Grand Arbiter Augustin IV to try to build a better pillowfort, and this was the result.  Not horribly impressed here at this point.
Varolz, the Scar-Striped

Let’s hear it for hyphenation! 
In all seriousness, the inexpensive casting cost, protection, and the decent passive ability mean this thing is a nice card to build a deck around.  This probably interests me the most of the new generals; sadly, it probably ends up the most expensive as well if the Death’s Shadow hype for Modern plays out.
Vorel of the Hull Clade

Phew.  For a second, I thought I was going to need make a decision on what general to use for The Simic Nightmare once this set came out.  Thank goodness.
Nothing to see here.  Carry on.
Plasm Capture

Does two extra green mana ‘fix’ Mana Drain?  I’m not sure it does.  I think this is one mana too expensive for me to make room for it in the GenCon deck.  Still, Cryptic Command is in there, and this is arguably up there on power-level too. 
Something to consider.  Hopefully the foil copies are reasonably cheap.
Zhur-Taa Ancient

I’m very happy this card got printed.  My opponents have stopped using Mana Flare effects, and I miss the free acceleration.  I’ll gladly take seven in order to untap with ten mana available on turn five.
Fuse Split Cards

I know there’s a ton of them, but man…I completely zone out on quirky mechanics like this.  Remember the thing with Goblin Test Pilot?  It’s like WotC wanted to just get the rest of the cute innuendos out of their system in one place, and now half the damn set has fuse. 
I’m sure a few of these will be decent for the cost.  I’ll let you know what I think later on when I can get myself to the point where I care about these.  (And with that, I’ll open multiples of each one at the Prerelease, while the guy across the table opens a foil Ral Zarek.)
The Cluestones

Not terrible.  I would have been far more excited if the card draw only required sacrifice, not a tap.  Still, three mana for a colored accelerator is par for the course, and it doesn’t come into play tapped.  Later on, it nets you a card.  Not bad at all. 
(Slightly related note – man, with these cycles taking up so much space, straight DGM drafts will likely suck.)
Maze’s End

It’s like a slower Thawing Glaciers.  It’s nice that five-color decks have new ways to fix their mana at a bargain price, I suppose.  There are worse effects out there.


That’ll do for now.  I just wanted to get a taste out there based on what I’m seeing.  I think Mr P is preparing to do a full review of the new generals, so I tried to stay light for today to leave him some space.  As things progress, we’ll come back with some updates.
What do you all think?  Am I spot on here, or am I missing something?  (Option C is “You have your super-casual, prison-and-combo-hating head stuck so far up your own backside that you’re probably wondering why it’s dark outside.  Expand your horizons already!”) 
What are the EDH sleeper cards of the set?  What are you excited to be building around?
Hit up the ‘Comments’ and let me have it.
àOh…I almost forgot!  I need help picking guild choices for the Prerelease next weekend.  What am I playing?  It’s up to you guys.  Top two choices are my Saturday/Sunday plans.