Hello, everyone! I hope most of you were able to get out and hit up the M13 Prereleases this past weekend; life got in the way for me, so I’ve been relegated to reading Twitter feeds and forum posts to get my fill of the new stuff. I’m itching to play with these cards, so today I’m indulging in the time-honored tradition of discussing the new set in terms of what cards are under consideration for replacing in to existing decks.
It’s been a while since I’ve done something like this, mostly because Innistrad block was (at least for me) a bust both thematically (Sorry, MaRo…I’m sure I’d be digging the “gothic horror” thing if I was a drafter) and also functionally; once I liquidated my zombie decks, my shopping list took a serious nosedive because there just weren’t many cards that did things better than what I already had slotted. There were a few hits, such as Sigarda, Deadeye Navigator, Tragic Slip, and Balefire Dragon, but for the most part, this block resonated with me about as much as Kamigawa or Lorwyn block did.
Which is to say it really didn’t at all.
As a result, M13 is a bit of a breath of fresh air. It looks like R&D made some solid strides to add in some new and interesting cards to the mix, and quite a few of the reprints are exciting to see again. (Completely on topic, I had been in need of an Akroma’s Memorial to finish off my Sigarda list, but I was balking under $15-$20 pricetags just a few days before the card was spoiled.) Also, Core Sets tend to be my cup of tea thematically because (for the most part) they’re devoid of back-story. (Yeah…I’m into a fantasy game but I don’t want a fantasy story to get in the way of my enjoyment. Figure that one out.)
So in a nutshell, M13 has got me in a mood to talk upgrades. Let’s take a look at what I’ll be looking for in the coming weeks, as well as a few possibilities that are on the button at current time.
(Disclaimer – Thought I was going to dig the heck out of MW. Instead, he tends to make games un-fun in my experiences so far. I’m in the process of trying to decide if he fits in the deck rather than as the general, but for the time being, I’m reserving him for substitution for those times when certain players show up to the shop.)
Archaeomancer – I’m in the process of transforming Intet from a ‘top-of-the-deck matters’ build into a ‘ETB triggers and synergy’ role-player. (In other news, there’s a good chance that this change will result in Intet becoming something else entirely – probably something that includes white or black…) He’s cheaper than Izzet Chronarch or Mnemonic Wall, so he’s a consideration. This deck needs to re-use things like you read about, which has led me to go heavier on Regrowth effects as of late.
If I pull a foil, the decision will probably be easier…
Boundless Realms – Just kidding. This card actually gets the finger. Green doesn’t need more stupid ramp or ways to make Avenger of Zendikar more obnoxious. Just wanted to throw that in.
Mindclaw Shaman – I have a feeling this card is going to become a hated one in short order in the same way Bribery has. Still, the effect is limited to hand, so it may prove to be fair. It’s a great way to snag a needed Wrath effect in these colors, though, and I’m excited to start catching people who are trying to ramp out to Tooth and Nail or Genesis Wave with it.
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker – I’ve pulled Survival Of The Fittest and Fauna Shaman recently because I like linear games about as much as I like root canals. That said, this cousin of Eternal Witness seems kind of fun in comparison, and with these colors lacking solid tutors and narrow answers at times, it would be really nice to…
…Eh. Never mind. I just looked at the deck list again. This card finds Primeval Titan, and that’s about it.
Did I mention I need to redesign this thing?
Omniscience – Only mentioned because Mr. P may or may not have reported to me that there may or may not have been a draft happening somewhere in his area that may or may not have featured M13, and that in this theoretical draft, there may or may not have been a copy of this card wheeling as he watched.
Roaring Primadox – Furthering the ETB theme in a strong way. Also, making everyone hate me if I do find a slot for Maelstrom Wanderer.
Spelltwine – This is the blue card of the set that has me excited. I’ve been steering toward Reverberate and Redirect effects lately in Intet, and this seems like a cool way to explore the theme. Again, this color combination frequently hurts for a way to come up with board sweepers, so this slots nicely next to Knowledge Exploitation.
Thundermaw Hellkite – Low-hanging fruit is low-hanging. This is one of the ‘bubble’ cards, since the effect is lessened in EDH, but can be a repeatable tapper with blink effects. It’s worth it to note that this wouldn’t be on my radar without haste.
Void Stalker – The jury is out on this one. In fact, I’m not sure why I would include it in Intet. Then again, I’m not sure why I’ve included Intet in Intet these days, so a utility creature that can tuck a relevant threat might be worth it to try out.
Boundless Realms – Okay, so I’m a huge hypocrite. Thromok likes splashy big mana ramps as much as the next green deck, so this might actually serve a purpose.
Or maybe I’ll just figure out some other options that don’t make me feel evil. Jury’s out.
Cathedral Of War – I’m hesitant to add more colorless-mana producers to this list, but Exalted is potentially relevant for a deck designed to go Voltron.
Fungal Sprouting – This I dig. This has the potential to make for an enormous Thromok very early in the game. Often times, I find myself stuck looking at three tokens on the board, not wanting to waste casting him for such a small return. With the way the deck is built at current time (read: ample sacrifice outlets), this serves to make Thromok immediately huge off of relatively few devour targets. Alternately, it’s a great way to make a huge mob of hasty sidekicks for a huge late-game swing.
Yeva, Nature’s Herald – Yeva may get the nod over the Vedalken Orrery that I’m currently trying out on the list due to tutor-ability and the ability to not bend over to artifact hate.
Faith’s Reward – Bubble card all the way. Sigarda is all about finding ways to recover from board sweepers, as in current incarnation the deck is an enchantment-based token deck. However, is this better than Replenish? Does it complement Replenish?
Sublime Archangel – Could be a role-player. Certainly will be funny with Sacred Mesa. If I happen across one, I’ll toss it in to try out.
Staff of Nin – Another draw effect for mono-red. Hallelujah.
Trading Post – Slobad loves to discard and sacrifice artifacts to get Goblin Welder online, and wants desperately to regrow artifacts and draw cards by any means necessary. I have a suspicion that this card ends up being an engine somehow in this deck, but I can’t quite figure it out yet. One of the cards I’m most excited for in the set.
Wild Guess – Cheap early draw stapled to a discard outlet. I’ll always include cards like this. Faithless Looting gets a new friend.
Diabolic Revelation – I’m hesitant to add more tutor effects to this deck. Still, it wants to make big mana and find answers to the current board state, so it’s possible this card replaces something like Increasing Ambition. We’ll see.
Disciple of Bolas – If the redesign maintains a reasonably-high creature and/or reanimation count, this should be a natural fit.
Liliana of the Dark Realms – This is another natural fit for the deck. She finds lands, removes creatures from the battlefield, and helps make huge mana.
If one pops out of a pack, I’m stoked. Otherwise, I’ll be waiting for it to drop way off in price somewhere down the road.
Murder – Because it’s called Murder. How it took nearly two decades to make this card is beyond me.
Nefarox, Lord of Grixis – Again, this depends on the density of creatures after the general swap and subsequent redesign takes place. But I hate Eldrazi (well, to be fair, I hate annihilator), and Baby Thrax is a solid option as a result.
. . . . .