Hour of Devastation: The Locust God and Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign

It’s that time again—where content creators who like to make Magic Online videos don’t want to touch Standard because of an incoming set, and where new previews of said set have begun rushing out. While one of these is frustrating, the other is more than exciting enough to balance things out.

This past weekend I was at Grand Prix Vegas with ChannelFireball and it was an absolute blast. Thanks to everyone who came up and said hey—you guys make events worth going to. During the event, we were treated to a ton of new previews, like The Scorpion God and the Invocations.

Well, this week we’ve begun to see even more cool cards and I’m excited to talk about two of the blue ones that, uh, excite me today. Coincidentally, both of them happen to be 6 mana flyers!

The Locust God

As I mentioned, The Scorpion God was previewed over the weekend. I assumed that this would be an Allied-colored cycle, what with seeing a black/red God, but apparently we’re just getting the 3 pairs that form Bolas’s Grixis colors. Regardless, I do like the concept of these Gods so far. Sure, they seem difficult to deal with, but they’re 5- and 6-mana mythics, so… they should be.

The Locust God reminds me of Niv-Mizzet. Instead of drawing cards and dealing damage, you’re drawing cards and making 1/1 hasty flyers to deal damage. In a way this is better, as it’s repeatable damage. In another way it’s worse as it can’t target something. Hmm… chump blockers, or the ability to pick off creatures? Ultimately, you don’t really get to choose and both abilities are great. Making a 1/1 that can attack every turn is awesome.

Untapping with this thing and casting something like Pull From Tomorrow could just be game over. Make a 1/1 for your turn, draw 5 with Pull and make 5 1/1s, and attack for 10. Seems good. Of course, even if you’re just activating its own ability, it’s pretty insane. This is the perfect control card for the blue/red decks:

  • It keeps coming back if they have removal and not just at the end of your turn, but at the end of any turn. No matter which turn they kill it on, that’s the turn you will be getting it back, allowing you to cast it as soon as possible. The only exception here is if they kill it on their own end step of course, in which case you’re not getting it back until your own end step.
  • It has a draw engine built right into it, allowing you to keep counterspell or removal mana up on your turn until you’re able to lower the shields and draw cards.
  • It makes its own evasive army by doing things you’d be doing already: Drawing cards or activating The Locust God’s ability.

The only problems I see are in dealing with Cast Out, competing with Torrential Gearhulk, being legendary, and being 2 colors—not many of these are actual problems. Otherwise, this thing seems like a powerhouse that I’m excited to try. And I don’t even like red cards!

Of course, these Gods are pretty susceptible to Hour of Glory, but that’s a card for another article…

Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign

The other card is another 6-mana 4/4 flyer, as I mentioned earlier. Typically, Sphinxes in Magic are extremely hit or miss. You either have Consecrated Sphinx, or Sphinx of the Chimes. I think this one is pretty good, despite not having any kind of God removal clause.

As a 4/4 flyer for 6 mana, Unesh isn’t the best deal around, but it does have a pretty epic ability, especially if you’re trying something like Sphinx tribal out with cards like Curator of Mysteries, Glyph Keeper, and Sphinx of the Final Word, all of which are pretty decent in their own right. This guy also slots perfectly into the curve, allowing you to go 4-drop, 5-drop, 6-drop, and 7-drop. Of course, if Unesh survives, your 7-drop Sphinx of the Final Word will only cost 5 thanks to its discount ability, but that wasn’t even the ability I was referring to.

While it’s one card shy, Unesh basically triggers one of the most powerful draw cards in Magic’s history every time a Sphinx enters the battlefield. The fact that it includes itself is the best part. Even if they kill Unesh, you still get a Fact or Fiction out of it, which will usually net you at least 2 cards.

If I’m breaking this down by mana cost, it’s actually a very good deal. I know Fact or Fiction costs 4 mana and reveals 5 cards. This only reveals 4, so I’ll generously knock it down to a 3-mana ability (which is pretty ridiculous). That being the case, you’re getting a 4/4 flyer that discounts all of your other Sphinxes and makes them all Fact or Fictions as well, for a mere 3 mana.

I get it. 6 mana is expensive and usually casts cards that you expect to win the game: Torrential Gearhulk, Primeval Titan, Grave Titan—you know the drill. While Unesh doesn’t do that immediately, Standard might be slow enough that a card like this can have an impact. I also wouldn’t mind casting this into Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, but unfortunately you don’t get a Fact or Fiction out of that.

So far, Hour of Devastation looks like an incredibly powerful set. I’m looking forward to what you guys think of these two, so be sure to let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you later!

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