Oh man, check out that alliteration. And that new branding!
With every new set, I like to go over the top cards that pique my deck building interest. The cards that I typically choose are the good ones that fly a little below the radar. Well, moving forward I’m modifying things ever so slightly. From now on these lists will still contain cards that intrigue me, but they’ll also contain some of my favorites, whether they’re top tier or not. I’d like to think my personal preference in this area is obscure enough to avoid simply showing you the best cards in the set, but we’ll see!
My first goal is to provide you with a new perspective on some cards. Maybe you’ll see a card in a new light, or discover an application you might not have thought of—if so, then I consider these articles a success.
Without further ado, welcome back and let’s begin!
Honorable Mention: Hour of Promise
This card is great. It does a lot of cool things for a great rate, but I’ve talked about it at length already, from Magic TV to my podcast, Freshly Brewed, with Ali Aintrazi. Go forward and do cool things with it!
8. Angel of Condemnation
Okay, I’m not sure if this will see any Constructed play—it likely won’t. But this is a reasonably costed flyer that has two sought after abilities in the form of Cloudshift and Banisher Priest (or Fiend Hunter—whatever). Having the ability to reuse these abilities on a single creature is fantastic and can lead to some pretty ridiculous opportunities. I honestly don’t think this would be too powerful if it could blink itself for 3 mana, but what do I know? I just don’t think that a 4-mana, 3-toughness flyer is going to be doing much condemning in Standard. A boy can dream, though!
7. Fraying Sanity
“I don’t know why I read these articles. Frank always picks the most ridiculous cards.” -You Guys
But seriously, for 3 mana, is this a card that can make mill a viable strategy?
“No.” -Also You Guys
The land alone, Ipnu Rivulet (whatever the heck that is), can mill 8 cards per Desert. Compelling Argument mills 10. If they cast a spell of lose a creature during the turn, they’re milling even more. This also hits on each end step, not just yours. Finally, this is also an ability that stacks. Have 2 Fraying Sanity in play? Well, let’s say you mill them for 5 with something. The first Sanity is going to mill another 5. Then the second is going to mill 10. That’s 20 cards! I guess I get excited by some strange things, because this sounds like a good time to me.
I keep wanting to call this Dreamcatcher. Or Dreamweaver. Make no mistake—I will sing this card’s name to the tune of “Dreamweaver” on stream.
This is basically what the best iteration of a modern-day Hypnotic Specter looks like. Sure, it only deals 1 damage. Sure, it doesn’t have flying. Sure, the discard isn’t random. But! It can deal more than 1 damage, thus forcing multiple cards to be discarded. It does have menace, which is pretty evasive. It can also come back as a 4/4 menace with the same ability in the late game, making this ability significantly scarier. All in all, this card has a lot going on and I think it might be a little underrated right now. We’ll see.
5. Hollow One
This card is interesting. I’m interested in it.
That being said, boy is it boring. It’s a 4/4 artifact dude for 5 mana. Is it going to ever cost you 5 mana? No, probably not. In Modern you can play this for 1 mana on turn 2 after a Faithless Looting. I guess that’s pretty cool. That doesn’t change the fact that this is basically the Null Rod of creatures. It sure does a whole lot to costing less, to cycling by itself, but ultimately… it does nothing. Nevertheless, I look forward to being bashed by 3 of these on turn 2 after my opponent gets the nut draw, just like Eldrazi Mimics at the Pro Tour.
4. Neheb, the Eternal
Holy smokes is this dude boss. It’s a dude, right? I don’t want to assume this Zombie Minotaur Warrior’s gender. This guy survives lots of things, like Fatal Push and Grasp of Darkness. Want to chump block it? Okay, you still take 3 and I get a free Desperate Ritual in my post-combat main phase. Don’t block? Fine, take 4 and I get a, uh, I dunno, a Rite of Flame with 2 other copies in the graveyard! Whether you’re dealing 3 and getting 3 mana, or dealing 4 and getting 4 mana, that’s big game. If this is unblocked on turn 6 you can basically just hard cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. That seems good, right?
3. Refuse // Cooperate
I don’t even like red cards, guys. Why are there so many red cards on this list? I guess I don’t mind dealing 10 to my opponent for casting an Ulamog. Or even 5 for casting a Glorybringer? I don’t know if that’s good enough, though. This card is great is some very specific situations, but against a deck like Temur Energy or an aggro deck, I can see it being a little lackluster—no one wants to spend 4 mana to deal 3 damage to their face. Cooperate is super cool though, and is priced pretty competitively. Unfortunately, this card does require you to be blue and red, or have an efficient way to get it into the graveyard. While that fact might be a little tough to get around, this is still a card I think shows a lot of promise.
2. Hour of Devastation
Yes, there’s a card in the set named after the set. Yes, it’s extremely meta. Yes, it’s also extremely metal. Yes, it will probably cause a lot of confusion for years to come when using search engines. Yes, it lives up to its name. Yes, it’s as powerful as it looks. Yes, there are two and a half red cards on the list. Yes, that’s unprecedented.
I understand that sweepers are rarely mythic, but boy does this sure feel mythic to me.
Okay, Wizards, I’ll play Grixis Control. You twisted my arm.
1. Crested Sunmare
Power Horse. Horse of the Gods. God Horse. White Stallion. Horsepower. (That last one is just Power Horse backward.)
Whatever ridiculous name you end up calling this card, it’s my favorite card in the set, aside from old Nicky B. A 5/5 for 5 is meh, but two 5/5s for 5? One of which is indestructible? Now that’s a deal! Oh, keep in mind that, just like Fraying Sanity, this also triggers at the beginning of each end step, not just yours. So yeah, you could potentially untap for the first time with three 5/5s. That’s pretty ridiculous. Let’s try this out as a finisher in control decks, complete with some counter backup. Sure, it dies to Hour of Devastation, but that’s pretty much the point of that card.
And that’s the way the news goes! As always, I know some might not like some of my choices—that’s fine! Like I said in the beginning, these are the cards I’m excited to play and build decks with, so hopefully you’ll be excited to play with some of them too.
Either way, I hope I’ve given you something to think about and maybe you’ve seen some of these cards in a new light. Maybe comparing them to older cards helped, or maybe you just think they‘re all junk! (But that’s not very nice. Cards have feelings too.)
Be sure to let me know in the comments some of your favorites that you feel aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you later!