Welcome back to Switcheroo! Now that the Eldrazi menace in Zendikar has subsided, what new far away lands and adventures does our diverse cast of planeswalker protagonists visit next? What new quests and adventures must our heroes face in defence for the common good in the multiverse?
We’re going back to where?!?!?
Didn’t we just revisit a plane that Magic players have been clamoring for the past couple of years?
Switcheroo: What New Sights and Adventures Await Us.
Switcheroo: Return to Innistrad
If you are not familiar with the Switcheroo columns, I am here to to help with your deckbuilding dilemmas. Here are the basics: I will highlight a particular card from Magic’s history and see how a recently-printed card either replicates – or often supersedes – the original. Every card highlighted on Switcheroo is friendly on the wallet and can easily be found at your local gaming store or online retailer.
Trail of Evidence: Getting Clue-d In To Things
There is no mystery behind my love for “build around me” cards in Commander and Trail of Evidence is no exception to that. The card design is very similar to Eyes of the Watcher – it rewards you for playing instants and sorceries. If you are not familiar with “build around me” cards, their effectiveness is dependant on other cards in your deck to produce an outcome; For these two cards, your Commander deck needs to be highly focused on having numerous amount of instants and sorceries to make it worthwhile. This is where having a specific theme or strategy comes into play, you can tailor your Commander deck around these build-around themes to improve the quality of your deck and gameplay.
Should I try one or the other – or both of these cards? There is no harm in trying new cards or sets of cards in your Commander deck. If I had to choose only one, my gut tells me that the card draw effect from Trail of Evidence is better than the ‘Scry 2’ effect from Eyes of the Watcher, as card advantage from the draw effect is marginally better than card quality from scry effect. If you’re so inclined, you can revisit the debate between scrying versus card draw here.
Where will a Trail of Evidence lead us to the next storyline? Only time will tell…
Wild-Field Scarecrow: The Forgotten Tribal
Innistrad is often overshadowed by popular tribal themes like vampires, werewolves and spirits. Perhaps the one I am most excited to see printed are Scarecrows. Why am I excited about more scarecrows being printed in magic? Just look at the art from the original printing of Scarecrow – that’s definitely not a face you want to bring to the public eye!
The last time we got more than two scarecrows printed in a Magic set was the Shadowmoor block, nearly eight years ago. You can have your fancy flippy-flop werewolves or fearsome corrupt angels, but give me more scarecrows any day of the week.
Open the Armory: Do they Stash Aura Potions in the Armory Somewhere?
I don’t think we need to investigate why Open the Armory will be an excellent card in Commander. In a 100 card singleton format, the ability to search for your library for a specific card reduces the variance greatly and gives you the outcome that you want immediately. Having a toolbox of equipment and auras at your disposal is fantastic, and you need a way to find a way to fetch those tools. Open the Armory is the perfect ‘two birds, one stone’ way to fetch those tools you have in the deck.
I will, however, go over why Open the Armory is a flavor failure. The artwork shows a heavily armored soldier carrying multiple weapons readied for battle, which matches up with the title of “Open the Armory.” The card allows you to search for an Aura or equipment card. There is no stretch of the imagination about the equipment searching portion of the card; an armory inside a keep or barracks would store weapons, armor, and equipment just like what is pictured.
However, enchantments and auras are something that stretch beyond my perception and acumen. Just think – do people of Innistrad have a [Hushwing Gryff[/card] standing by inside their armory ready to give out Gryff’s Boon at moments notice? (That seems pretty awesome actually…) You can argue that enchantment auras can be instilled in a rune or scroll or oils, but then you are stretching the theme even further and by doing so making it even less believable. A change of name like “Preparations” would encompass more with what the card actually does.
I can understand the difficulty that the flavor of a card can tangle with mechanics or design, and the outcome can be messy or sometimes brilliant. Open the Armory just misses the mark and is too messy for my tastes, even though it functionally is a fantastic option.
Ever After: He Went to Jared
I am madly in love the flavor and design of Ever After. It depicts a couple either together in death, or undying love expressed in a very(necro)mantic way. It is left to the viewer’s imagination and interpret the couple’s fate from the art. Ever After brings back two creature from your graveyard and returns them as zombies. Eternal life is fitting for black at the cost of its humanity.
Ever After is more limiting when compared to Rise from the Grave, as it can only target creatures from your own graveyard. Its limitation is mitigated by giving your the power to bring back two creatures from your graveyard. In a game of Commander, you usually will have two creatures to bring back from the graveyard by the time you can cast this spell, so again, this is good value.
If I had a choice between what two creatures from Magic’s lore to flavorfully return with Ever After, it would be satisfying to finally unite Crovax the Cursed and Selenia, Dark Angel. Those two are meant for each other ever after.
Let’s Bring this Article to a Screeching Halt
I am listening – What are your favorite gems from the Shadows Over Innistrad? Are you as excited for more Scarecrows being printed as I am? What two Magic couples would be your picks for Ever After? I would love to hear your comments and feedback below or via Twitter – or find GDC via Facebook.
Until next time, lets chat Magic – @AlexckSzeto