It would make me very happy to cast this in Constructed, and it’s the most aggressively-costed of the various Scriveners so far. At three mana, this would be busted, so hopefully four is the sweet spot. Of course, he’s going to be overshadowed by another similar card that we shall not name (thanks, Tiago!), but them’s the breaks.
As long as you have four or more decent to good targets, this is a sweet card, and once you start pushing 7+, it’s awesome. This being a common is great, and will lead to some pretty durdly draft decks — if I have my way.
I’ve always been a fan of Vampire Nighthawk, going so far as to put it in multiple sideboards (Standard UB at Worlds 2010 and even Extended Faeries at GP Atlanta 2011), and this isn’t that far behind. Having an activation cost is pretty tough, but even so, a 3/2 lifelink flier for three mana is no joke. If there is a decent midrange/aggressive UW fliers deck, this may well find a place in it.
Much like Vampire Nighthawk, this is a great first pick. It’s not quite at Nighthawk levels, what with the lower toughness and the two-colorness, but it’s still awesome. I can (and will) be splashing a couple Plains in my Blue/X decks when I have this, not only because the bonus is worth it, but also because I’m greedy.
Augur of Bolas
Now this is what I’m talking about! I like my cards with the maximum amount of value, and this delivers. Of course, it’s still way worse than [card snapcaster mage]Snapcaster[/card], but if that disqualified a card from Constructed, there would be no legal cards in Standard. I love guys like this, and I can think of plenty of control decks that could use a nice two-drop that blocks and picks up a card. One way or another, I’ll find out what the future has in store for this card.
I’ve been known to play 1/3’s for two already, so adding the potential of a free card does nothing to dissuade me. It usually won’t be all that likely to hit, but once you have 8+ things in your deck, I wouldn’t mind picking it highly.
Battle of Wits
You know you want to… (I sure do).
Whether or not this is good, rest assured that I will try it. Conley and I have a race; the first one of us to 4-0 a Daily Event on camera will be crowned victorious. I don’t know what the deck will look like yet, or even if it has merit, but I’ll sacrifice my tickets to find out.
If you manage to win a draft with this, you are my hero. I don’t think it’ll be easy, and certainly not strategically valid, but it’ll be awesome.
Phantasmal Image was too good; this does not suffer from that problem.
At the very least, you will be tied for having the best creature, and some percentage of the time you will have both of the best. Clone effects are still awesome in Limited.
This isn’t exactly thought-provoking when it comes to Constructed.
Assuming you’ve got a fair amount of combat-ready guys, this card seems awesome. It doesn’t work out quite so well in the all evasion deck, but once you get a couple 3/3’s into the mix, it’s hard for the board to be in such a state that this isn’t extremely relevant. It also looks like it plays pretty well, though given a big enough creature, it might be real frustrating to battle against.
As I go down the list, poring through every card for Constructed gems, this does not make it on to the list.
If you are in the market for an aggressive card, this is a pretty good one. You are throwing away a card for some damage, but this works on both defense and offense, making it good if you are racing with fliers or large groundpounders alike. It might also have some merit in mill decks, if that finally is a thing instead of a [card archive trap]trap[/card].
Blue getting actual removal is interesting. The last time I played this sort of card was when I sideboarded three [card narcolepsy]Narcolepsies[/card] in Blue/Green Turboland, where they did a decent job of keeping Putrid Leech under control. Encrust doesn’t solve creatures as well as Claustrophobia, which already doesn’t see much play, but the ability to answer Swords and other utility artifacts as well makes it worthy of consideration.
Worse than Claustrophobia, yet still removal, with the upside of barnacle-izing their random rare or uncommon artifact bomb. We aren’t so flush with removal that we can afford to ignore this, especially not in a Core Set.
Remove Soul is back, and this time it can target Soulless One with no repercussions! It’s even extra effective against Essence of the Wild. Flavordraft considerations aside, it’s nice to have this back, and even nicer that we get a break from Mana Leak.
I’d always play up to two of these, and even a third is still going to be pretty good. It’s no Doom Blade — but it’s still blue’s best removal spell. Two mana instead of three (Cancel etc.) really does make that big of a difference, and it shouldn’t be that hard to snipe their good creatures with this. It even makes being on the draw awesome, since countering their three-drop when you don’t have a two-drop feels real nice.
I remember the days when a five mana 3/3 flier was the best common. Those days are long past, yet a 3/3 flier for five with a sizable upside is still good, even if it’s no longer the actual best. Not running into this card is going to be an acquired skill for some, and learning to play around things that you may not see on the board is an important (albeit frustrating, at times) part of Magic.
Much like Encrust, this fits into the niche blue sideboard removal slot. If there is a deck using huge non-tramplers, and your blue deck can’t play actual removal for some reason, why not take a trip to the bank?
If you are looking for a little defense, look no further. Not every deck wants walls, but as walls go, this one does the trick. It blocks anything and everything, flying or not (offer not valid against creatures with trample).
The concept and picture are awesome, but the actual game text doesn’t quench my thirst for Constructed playables.
Is -4/-0 worth a card? I’d hazard that no, most of the time not, making this a way worse Fleeting Distraction. On the other hand, it still is a decent trick, and I’m not sure you can afford to pass it up in most blue decks. Note that multiples of this are pretty bad, since you do need some actual creatures to take advantage of the fact that one of theirs isn’t doing damage this turn.
I may have leaned on the side of banning Ponder, but rest assured I will not be advocating such when it comes to Index.
If you get anything out of this, it’s that you shouldn’t ever play Index.
*It gets a pass in dex with Battle of Wits, since they basically aren’t real anyways.
Thought Scour is going to do some work, isn’t it? This card is obviously quite powerful, so what remains to be seen is how quickly and at what cost you can get them to 10 cards in the bin.
If you are going really deep and [card mind sculpt]Mind Sculpting[/card], the speed part is handled — but Jace’s Phantasm isn’t all that impressive if it requires you to throw away cards. If you want to do it without losing cards, Thought Scour and Nephalia Drownyard eventually get you there, but not all that quickly. Jace, Memory Adept is also clearly a possibility, though resolving him is already fairly strong.
I’d probably look at this is as some kind of turn 4-6 play for a control deck with Thought Scours, even if you still want to Scour yourself most of the time. At some point, Phantasms just become one-mana Dragons, and even a non-aggressive deck is interested in that. I don’t think Delver decks are really looking for this, especially since they need to Scour themselves so much.
This might not be the fastest dragon, but a one-mana 1/1 flier isn’t the absolute worst, either. Ten cards is a substantial amount in Limited (anyone remember Odyssey block?), so don’t just assume this is huge on turn four. In a slow deck, it’ll eventually get there. In a mill deck, it’s amazing, and some aggressive decks will take the 1/1 with the offchance of getting a bomb. With people being what they are and focusing on upside, this will be taken way sooner than it should, so I doubt I’ll play with it all that much.
Master of the Pearl Trident
Did Legacy Merfolk really need another Lord? The answer may be “yes”, even though I still play against Merfolk in every Legacy event, but I’m not the one to ask. The ‘Folk aren’t as supported in Standard as they need to be for this to be a thing, but it’s definitely diving straight into Legacy.
If you can easily afford UU, why not play this? It’s a Grizzly Bear with a very relevant upside, assuming you have even one other Merfolk in your deck (though still not reason enough to play Merfolk of the Pearl Trident).
Look, I don’t mind if people try and make the mill deck, but even the most well-sculpted one has never been awesome.
I really hope that Limited rating is real, and that the mill deck is an actual supported archetype. If I were to guess, the actual rating is like a 1.5, so take that, people who just read ratings! M12 had all sorts of cool mill cards, but the deck was a huge trap, so we shall see how M13 stacks up. Milling seven for 2 mana is powerful, and it isn’t hard to see how grabbing a bunch of these could be really sweet.
Any card with this text has to be taken seriously, even if it’s never really meant to be cast. Show and Tell into Griselbrand, [card emrakul, the aeons torn]Emrakul[/card], and even Dream Halls is verifiably sweet. Show and Tell into Omniscience certainly sounds sweeter, and is at the very least worth trying. Nobody knows everything, and even improbable combos might be awesome. I wouldn’t rely on actually casting this in any capacity, not that it rules the card out.
You don’t have to know everything to see that this should never be cast in Limited.
Rewind is sweet, and I still have fond memories of casting it in Jushi Blue circa 2005. I even won the California State Championships with three in my deck! What it does now I’m not entirely sure, but in a control deck with expensive instants this becomes very powerful come the mid-game.
In a format where good counters don’t exist, the bad ones actually get better (even if counterspell-type decks in general get way worse). People stop playing around counters, make decks as if they don’t exist, and just give you plenty of ways to rack up the value with Rewind.
The value in Limited is substantially less, since this is basically just a four-mana Cancel. It’s rare that you will actually use the mana on their turn, and the more counters cost, the worse they get, at an extremely fast rate (even more so than normal cards). The sacrifice necessary to keep this much mana untapped in the hope that they cast a good spell is enough that I’d rather sideboard it in against specific bombs. In Sealed, as opposed to Draft, that changes, and Rewind is likely a maindeckable card.
What does this even do? I had to read it multiple times before I got it, and as awesome as it sounds, I can’t help but wonder what insanity can come of it. Relying on them to play awesome spells seems a bit dubious, so my guess is that this isn’t going to be great, but any time there is a card this ridiculous, all bets are off.
You better have a real good reason you are Spelltwining, and “value” isn’t it. If they have something ridiculous that somehow doesn’t kill you when cast, maybe, or if they have a metric ton of removal. I could see this being great in control mirrors, when both players have good spells to choose from, but maindecking this seems suspect.
I, along with just about everyone else, assumed that “Switcheroo” couldn’t possibly be a real name. Luckily, it is, and that makes me very happy. The thought of playing this in Constructed doesn’t, but let’s just call the name a win and move on.
This is no Mind Control, and for that I’m thankful. It’s still a great card, since it shouldn’t be too hard to maneuver the board into a position where this is a huge swing. It isn’t the crushingly oppressive power that just stealing their best guy is, but it isn’t really that far behind. They at least get a 2/2 or something, which softens the blow a considerable amount. There are also decks that basically can’t play this, and decks against which you’d side this out — a few ways of telling that this is definitely not Mind Control.
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Can you imagine casting Talrand, and immediately casting a Gitaxian Probe and a Gut Shot? Clearly I can, and it sounds good! It doesn’t take much to get some good value out of this guy, and even though the four mana slot is at a huge premium these days, I’d be disappointed if Talrand doesn’t summon some Drakes in Constructed. Even something like him plus Vapor Snag is a huge swing, and every turn he’s on the board you are generating massive value.
Assuming you can draft appropriately, Talrand can easily move into the 4 or 4.5 category. The current rating reflects a normal-ish deck, with 5-7 spells, and it shouldn’t be hard to exceed that. Beating an active Talrand seems nigh-impossible, and I just hope I’m on the right side of things come this Limited season.
You know what might actually be better than the man himself? His invocation. Getting two Drakes for no work could just be what you are looking for, and is at the very least more consistent. This card is no joke, and oddly enough, fights with Talrand for slots. It’ll be interesting to see who wins. He’s created a monster! (Two, actually.)
The winner of this set’s Lingering Souls award goes to… Talrand’s Invocation!
Much like Souls, this card is absolutely ridiculous, and should almost never get passed. It is actually better than Talrand in most decks, and is going to be the first pick in the vast majority of packs it gets opened in.
Tricks of the Trade
One of the tricks of the trade when it comes to Constructed is “don’t play Auras”.
This card is a giant beating. If you are at all interested in killing them, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way. Any random creature becomes a 3-4 turn clock, and that number goes way down in the lategame. Some (few) decks aren’t going to be offensively-minded enough to want this, but that just means more for everyone else. This is also a sick splash as a finisher in decks with random large creatures, and I expect that to happen relatively often.
As entranced with the notion of the mill deck as I am, I at least know enough to leave it to Limited.
Now this is what I’m talking about! Unlike Merfolk Mesmerist, you don’t have to be dedicated mill to want the Entrancer. He stops most ground guys, and provides an alternate win condition in a normal deck with no card sacrifice required. In an actual mill deck, he is obviously awesome, and should rarely get passed. Funnily enough, the mill deck might be hurt by how generically good this is, because you won’t get 12th pick Entrancers like you would Mesmerists.
I usually try to avoid paying five mana over multiple turns to kill my opponent’s creatures, but the initial guy being a 2/1 for two makes this at least somewhat interesting. It’s really terrible as actual removal, but as a kind of a beater with an upside, you could do worse. It’s still incredibly niche, but it’s at least something.
It’s pretty hard to go wrong with unconditional removal, and that’s essentially what this is. Eventually they might draw their guy again, but you are just as likely to draw Void Stalker (more even, if you do this on their turn and get the first draw step). It also comes down on turn two, and maybe gets a couple damage in. It’s no Talrand’s Invocation, but what is?
Of course this isn’t good enough for Constructed; just look at it!
You could do way worse when it comes to three-drops — and trust me, I have. A three-drop that trades up or gets in for bonus damage is pretty sweet, and every now and then you’ll have the pump spell to really go deep.
Welkin Tern/Wind Drake
Nothing really to note on this pair of reprints, except for the fact that they continue to point to M13 as a very aggressive set. Welkin Tern in particular is a harbinger of beatdowns, and I remember the days of Zendikar quite well (and not fondly).
Top 5 Blue Commons
Blue’s commons are all pretty flat in power level. I can easily see myself taking Tricks of the Trade over most of the cards on that list, depending on what my deck wants, and even the best common overall is unplayable in some decks. Welkin Tern is the most aggressive and best value for cost, but it’s very easy to imagine passing it for a Vedalken Entrancer or the like. Blue’s commons aren’t that impressive, but hopefully they play in a cohesive enough manner that they don’t rely on power level alone. Archaeomancer is a good example; it’s not high on the list, but if you have enough removal, it’s by far the best common.
Top 5 Constructed Cards
I purposely left Negate off the list, because it’s going to do what it always does: hang out in sideboards, and beat up on control decks.
The new offerings are pretty sweet. Snapcaster still casts a fairly large shadow, but some of these cards actually work quite well with ol’ Tiago, and the thought of Snapcasting Rewind is fairly exciting. It’ll be interesting to see if Talrand can actually beat his Invocation, or if either is even good at all, though they both seem kind of sweet. Blue obviously dropped in power level, what with Mana Leak rotating, but it’s for the best, and I’m looking forward to later this year when we really find out what it’s like without Leak.