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The Biggest Hits and Misses of War of the Spark

God-Eternal Rhonas

This week we’ve been beset by some nice Conflict of the Spark previews. Once I first heard this set was going to have a planeswalker theme, I knew Wizards would make some low-powered or situational planeswalkers, and even predicted they’d look so much like enchantments. Some do.

What I didn’t anticipate was for the set to be this highly effective and fascinating, even outdoors the planeswalkers. I’m not notably within the lore of Magic: The Gathering, however after 20 years of enjoying Magic, that is the primary set that has me within the story.

That stated, we nonetheless have playing cards to guage, and this week, I would like to try a few of the stronger and extra controversial playing cards previewed.

I made an inventory of the 10 most fascinating playing cards I noticed up to now week or so, and need to give my ideas on how they may, or won’t, influence Commonplace. Listed here are my hits and misses from the current previews.

God-Everlasting Rhonas is definitely fascinating. We get a take a look at the brand new Zombie God mechanic that replaces indestructibility—you get to place it again into the deck, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria fashion, third from the highest. Whereas that is far worse than indestructible towards playing cards like Bedevil, it’s much better within the face of a Vraska’s Contempt and even Ixalan’s Binding. These Gods are inconceivable to cope with so long as they’re within the no counterspells, no discard, no land destruction video games. However sure, counterspells and Thought Erasure particularly seem like one of the best methods to work together with these Gods.

At first look God-Everlasting Rhonas looks like a mediocre card to me. Deathtouch on a 5/5 is near meaningless, and never giving your creatures trample actually detracts from the pump impact. There’s a few spots I might see this card seeing play.

This card might be a curve topper in a Mono-Inexperienced Stompy Metal Leaf Champion deck. Mono-Inexperienced Stompy wasn’t actually lacking a prime finish because it had Ghalta, and clearly if we’re dwelling the dream we will play this after the Ghalta and hit for 24, however that’s a bit a lot, don’t you assume? I’m extra considering in Ghalta’s place we might see this card as a result of it provides you speedy worth within the type of injury in your Nullhide Ferox, Metal Leaf Champions, and your Pelt Collectors, which at this level have trample. In an analogous vein I might see it in the identical fashion Gruul Monsters deck with Gruul Spellbreaker as this card’s worth will increase a bit with trample creatures.

Alternatively, the extra creatures you’ve in play the higher with Rhonas, and in a Selesnya Tokens deck with March of the Multitudes and such, you possibly can probably see a replica or two of Rhonas. It competes instantly with Trostani, which to me means it probably gained’t make the reduce as when you’ve got a bunch of 1/1 tokens Trostani is best, however for those who needed a further one-shot anthem impact that’s additionally a creature that’s robust to cope with you might flip to a replica of God-Everlasting Rhonas.

I finally assume this card will probably see little to no play in Normal, because it requires an preliminary related board presence and isn’t notably devastating on an empty battlefield, which isn’t what I would like out of my 5-drops in Commonplace.

God-Eternal Bontu

Okay, this can be a God I actually like. Bontu has tricked me up to now as I spent a number of days testing with Bontu the Glorified earlier than Professional Tour Amonkhet, solely to find within the waning hours that the cardboard and deck have been unplayable. Sadly for some teammates, they weren’t satisfied and did relatively poorly on the PT.

God-Everlasting Bontu seems promising in a Judith, the Scourge Diva-style Aristocrats deck. It’s a top-end finisher with an enters-the-battlefield impact that generates worth. Sure, sacrificing playing cards isn’t pure worth, however one of many issues with the Judith decks has been flood mitigation, and God-Everlasting Bontu won’t solely present loads of worth when issues are going properly and also you’re progressing your board, it’ll present that you simply’re flooding out and wish to show a few of your additional lands into spells. Bontu by no means goes away both, so in drawn out video games towards midrange decks, Bontu will proceed to return again and makes it almost inconceivable to flood out. Remember that these Gods’ largest weak spot is being countered.

This card will definitely see some play early on, and has the potential to be in a tier 1 deck if the Judith deck continues to enhance.

God-Eternal Kefnet

That is an extremely bizarre card. A Four-mana Four/5 that by no means actually goes away is fascinating however its capability requires you to fill your deck with sorceries and instants very similar to Delver of Secrets and techniques. Your opponents will doubtless have lifeless removing in case your deck is crammed with instants and sorceries, and thus, you’ll find yourself drawing Kefnet rather a lot because it turns your opponent’s lifeless playing cards into Time Ebb.

That stated, we now have a slew of amass playing cards which might be immediate and sorceries, and that’s the place God-Everlasting Kefnet might shine. If opponents are utilizing removing in your armies you possibly can ultimately stick a God-Everlasting Kefnet and begin chaining amass spells with it.

I’m a bit skeptical about this one too because it offers no speedy worth till you untap. Its physique is a bit above the curve and even dodges removing resembling Lava Coil, so it’s going to possible play nicely towards purple decks. I simply don’t assume Kefnet is a card most blue decks need. In decks like Grixis with amass it is going to immediately compete with Nicol Bolas, the Ravager as properly, and I want Nicol Bolas for Four mana.

I can definitely be mistaken about this one however I’m going to label God-Everlasting Kefnet a miss.

Ilharg, the Raze-Boar

A 6/6 trample is nothing to sneeze at, and if Ilharg will get to assault, you higher have a Settle the Wreckage coming otherwise you’re in hassle.

In some matchups—usually creature matchups that may’t work together with it very nicely—Ilharg will take over the sport and put an extremely quick clock on an opponent, however outdoors of that, management gamers can draw sufficient playing cards with Teferi, Seek for Azcanta, and so forth. to maintain Illharg at bay for some time.

That stated, that is the precise sort of card I feel Rhythm of the Wild wanted. With Rhythm of the Wild, you possibly can all however assure this no less than hits the battlefield, and when it does, if it will get to assault you’ll be able to put your Carnage Tyrants or Ghaltas into play and hit for large chunks of injury.

I virtually put this on my miss record as a result of I feel it’s shut and probably an exploitable technique, however Ilharg makes plenty of sense within the Gruul 5-drop slot, and should make the deck a bit higher than it’s now. I’m not bought on the concept the deck can be tier 1 due to Ilharg, so I’m giving this a cautiously optimistic hit.

The Elderspell

I used to be tremendous excited at PAX to listen to about The Elderspell for the flavour. Once they introduced it, loads of the gamers on the Mythic Invitational speculated on what it might be and the way a lot it will value, and one factor most of us thought for positive was that The Elderspell was going to value 10 mana and do one thing loopy. This tackle The Elderspell is shocking. It’s not some over-the-top sorcery that blows up the world or wins the sport—it’s a 2-mana, slender planeswalker sweeper that has a bit extra upside.

The query I get requested probably the most nowadays is how good The Elderspell is, and sadly, I don’t assume it’s excellent. It’s very cool, however not excellent.

This card is extremely slender, and due to that I think it is going to see little to no play outdoors of a one-of in some sideboards. It’ll be lifeless in loads of matchups and there are usually not many decks nowadays which might be curving out planeswalkers into one another. Decks like G/W Tokens from when Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar have been in Normal don’t actually exist in the intervening time. In the event that they do, I might see The Elderspell as a one- or two-of out of sideboards to punish an opponent from curving out their planeswalkers, however even then after every week of getting Elderspelled, individuals will adapt their play fashion and plans towards the cardboard.

Generally it will kill one planeswalker and get you no further worth, or perhaps 2 loyalty after some unimaginable setup. When competing with Bedevil, a card that may virtually by no means be lifeless, I like including 1 purple mana for some flexibility and on the spot velocity, and even Vraska’s Contempt if I’m not enjoying purple.

To these enthusiastic about including loyalty counters and ultimating a planeswalker, I feel that may occur occasionally. I do assume this can be a very candy card for multiplayer video games like Commander, however outdoors of that, I anticipate the sweetest flavored card within the set to be a miss.

Blast Zone

Once I first noticed Blast Zone I considered it as a bullet for Tron decks. You possibly can Map or Sylvan Scrying for it when you will have Tron assembled and no motion, and use the Tron lands to spice up it up lots.

It’s a really sluggish Engineered Explosives or Ratchet Bomb, however for a land, the impact is exclusive. The truth that it comes into play with a counter on it prevents it from blowing up tokens by itself—that’s fairly sensible. It’s additionally fairly punishing to decks like Elves that play plenty of 1-drops when you possibly can play a land on flip Four and it sweeps up the battlefield.

This card gained’t see a lot play in Commonplace because it’s simply too sluggish and mana curves differ lots in Normal, however in Trendy and Legacy the place mana curves are a lot tighter I can see this performing some injury, particularly as a one-of out of Tron that they will entry repeatedly. If it does see play, it is going to be in a management deck with excellent mana—so possible not a Three-color deck—and in low numbers. It’s value noting that with Teferi, Hero of Dominaria you’ll be able to truly play Blast Zone, activate it for XX to get it to the quantity of counters you want, then untap it and crack it, which might come up in a really lengthy recreation with U/W Management because it’s nonetheless a hefty quantity of mana to spend in a single flip.

I gave this successful as a result of I do assume it’s an fascinating card in Trendy and probably Legacy, nevertheless it’s robust placing it right into a Commonplace deck in the intervening time as a result of Goblin Chainwhirler and gold playing cards pressure you to have particular mana necessities.

Soul Diviner

I really like this card. The artwork is implausible, and the cardboard is incredible. Soul Diviner is a 2-drop that’s going to reside by way of removing like Shock and Second of Craving, and because the recreation continues it can generate worth for those who play results that add counters.

These days, that’s fairly straightforward to do. I simply stated which you could’t kill tokens with Blast Zone, proper? Properly, should you pair it with Soul Diviner, you would if we needed to! That’s a bit sketchy, however what Soul Diviner does work nicely with outdoors of planeswalkers are amass tokens. Amass tokens are zero/zero creatures, very similar to Germs, that get counters added to them. With Soul Diviner you possibly can shrink your military by 1 energy and toughness, and draw a card. If there are sufficient playable amass playing cards like Dreadhorde Invasion, that’s a reasonably implausible potential. Soul Diviner would require you to have a requisite variety of playing cards to peel counters off of, however for those who can hit that quantity and generate worth properly right into a recreation it’s received a superb shot at seeing play. 2-drops have been mediocre in Normal for the previous few units, so I’m fairly fascinated by exploring one that may generate a snowball impact.

I’ll be enjoying some Soul Diviners in Commonplace, so this can be a hit from me.

Enter the God-Eternals

Ribbons of Night time meets Flametongue Kavu. A 5-mana Four/Four creature that offers Four to a creature, positive factors Four life, after which mills 4 when it enters the battlefield is loopy good. Once I first learn this I couldn’t consider how robust it appeared. Then I began getting flashbacks to how mediocre Noxious Gearhulk turned out to be which is analogous, however I feel worse, than this card in some ways.

One difficulty with Enter the God-Eternals is that it should have a creature to focus on, which signifies that it’s a lifeless removing spell towards creatureless management decks. In the proper metagame this looks like a slam-dunk to me. Not solely can you discover this with Azcanta, the Sunken Ruins, you’ll be able to assist flip Seek for Azcanta with it, which is a large upside as a result of each discovering “creatures” with Seek for Azcanta is superb and flipping it virtually by itself could possibly be backbreaking on flip 5.

We’ll see some variety of these in most important decks on and off, and I consider this will probably be a closely performed sideboard card if creatureless management is extra prevalent. Whereas I feel this card is successful, it does occupy the identical mana value as each Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, and Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God, which can eat into its play time. The extra creatures we see performed in Normal the extra I like this card as I truly consider it’s higher towards linear creature decks than planeswalkers that may typically take in lower than Four injury, kill a creature, and depart nothing behind. Enter the God-Eternals will depart behind a Four/Four physique to dam with, kill a creature, and achieve you Four life in return. It is going to be essential to have some type of card engine impact after you stabilize towards these decks, so each a mixture of this and planeswalkers or Seek for Azcanta shall be needed, however this can do an unimaginable job of stabilizing, particularly after a sweeper.

Commence the Endgame

A flash, uncounterable menace that pulls playing cards? Signal me up. That is an unimaginable “win situation” for management decks. Whereas it is going to actually shine in management mirrors as a worth card that forces opponents to faucet mana in your flip if you’re untapped, permitting you to comply with up with a Teferi or Nicol Bolas, it is going to additionally punish them for tapping out for a type of spells themselves in the event that they don’t have a method to reply the amass token.

That is like an uncounterable Torrential Gearhulk that solely ever will get again a Glimmer of Genius. Which means it should nonetheless be nice towards management and midrange, however much less highly effective towards aggro. I really like how the amass mechanic additionally permits us to seek out threats like Begin the Endgame with Seek for Azcanta, so we truly can begin the endgame.

This can be a clear hit.

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God has some extremely sick artwork. However that’s not all that’s sick about this card. Nicol Bolas provides Teferi a run for his cash as the perfect planeswalker in Commonplace. Nicol Bolas has very comparable talents: +1 draw a card and get additional worth, -Three take away a menace and -Eight win the sport. The loopy half to me about Nicol Bolas is that the +1 generates two playing cards value of worth. Two. Additionally, it doesn’t say discard a card, so it avoids the annoying Nullhide Ferox, in contrast to Nicol Bolas, the Ravager.

When dealing with down Teferi, Nicol Bolas can even use Teferi’s talents if it might slightly do this. There could also be video games the place your opponent performs Teferi, you comply with up with Nicol Bolas, plus it to attract a card, untap lands, after which Bedevil Teferi so that you’ve Four additional loyalty in your Nicol Bolas. Don’t overlook you possibly can copy your personal planeswalker talents with it. Your opponent doesn’t assault Nicol Bolas whenever you play it as a result of they will put you on a one-turn clock? You comply with up with a Liliana, Dreadhorde Common and -Four on each Bolas and Liliana to wipe 4 creatures off the battlefield.

Nicol Bolas is pushed, and its restrictive mana value is its solely actual draw back. I anticipate to see a whole lot of Nicol Bolas, and I hope we don’t find yourself dwelling in a world the place the actual battle is Nicol Bolas vs. Teferi. I’m very excited to play each Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God and Nicol Bolas, the Ravager to see what they will do.

If I have been you I’d be choosing up Grixis twin lands and Bedevils as a result of Grixis is the actual cope with Bolas round.

These are the 10 playing cards that the majority me throughout previews. From a fast look at this set, Grixis colours generally appear to have gotten the strongest playing cards, which is horrifying when additionally they acquired doubtless one of the best card within the set in Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God.

What do you assume the perfect card within the set is up to now?

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