The best use of this is to protect you against combo decks, because as an anti-burn measure it’s a bit too vulnerable (burn spells double up as creature removal spells quite easily). Against Tendrils-type decks, Aegis can protect you, though it takes a very specific metagame to make this better than Ethersworn Canonist. I like the ability, but given how it doesn’t really stop Standard decks due to being a 1-toughness creature and there are more powerful options in Modern, I’m not sure where this fits. It is nice that it protects against discard, so there might be some leverage there.
As an anti-Supreme Verdict option, this could have a real presence in Standard. It’s certainly not better than Brave the Elements, but the very decks that want Brave the Elements often struggle against Supreme Verdict, and this offers a great tool to stop it. It saves one creature very cheaply, and paying a bit more to save multiples is a nice option to have. This will perform best in decks that build one giant monster, such as hexproof decks, but could even enable White Weenie decks to focus on Eidolon of Countless Battles (which is an anti-Verdict card in its own right).
While this doesn’t shake up the format this instant, thanks to Detention Sphere, there are still a number of relevant differences. Most importantly, any deck playing white gets to play Banishing Light, which opens it up to a ton of decks that otherwise wouldn’t have access to this effect. It also can kill Detention Sphere, which Detention Sphere cannot do, so decks that fear Sphere get to play Banishing Lights over Spheres, even when they can play both. Lastly, it gives Blue-White decks the option of playing 5+ Spheres, which some may well take. Once Sphere rotates, Banishing Light will become even more important, as this effect has always been awesome to have around.
I like what this card offers, but it’s treading dangerously close to the mana cost where it needs to have a huge effect on the game. In order to really get the wheel rolling, you need a deck that can pump this reliably and wants a 4-mana defensive finisher, which does narrow things down. This seems like it would perform best against aggro decks, where you really want the lifelink, so trying this in the sideboard of White Weenie with Eidolons or Hexproof both sound like reasonable paths to take.
Deicide is the real deal, at least for Standard. While it is not going to be a maindeck 4-of, the amount of impact it will have in the right matchups is huge, and it puts a huge target on both Thassa and Erebos. The most common use I can see for this is in UW-based Control and Black-White Midrange, though it can easily come out of the sideboard of a bunch of different decks. Deicide is rather specific, in that gods need to be heavily played for it to shine, but that does describe Standard for the time being. I do not expect this to see a ton of play outside Standard (not counting Block, of course). The amount this impact popular decks justifies its rating, even if it’s not going to be played in incredible numbers.
This is pricey enough that it’s certainly not a slam dunk, but +2/+2 is enough of a bonus to make it a consideration. I could see playing one of these as the top of the curve in a WW deck of some kind, especially if removal is heavily toughness-based.
This is an upgrade on Ethersworn Canonist in most decks that want Canonist, for the simple reason that it survives Lightning Bolt (and other 3-damage spells). No new dimensions are added here, but can you think of any good reasons why this won’t see play? (No need to answer that)
While this is a win-more in Limited, in Constructed you can justify it a little better by completely building your deck around it. In a deck full of cheap creatures and Glorious Anthems, Launch the Fleets can get pretty nasty, and it adds yet another option for WW onto the ever-growing pile.
Take that, burn decks! They are definitely going to feel like they are getting fleeced when your one card stops a 2-power attacker and counters multiple burn spells, all for the low cost of two mana. Not bad, not baaad at all, and certainly good enough to be a consideration in most control sideboards.
In a fast enough deck, this is actually an intriguing removal spell. If Swords to Plowshares wasn’t so absurd, some Legacy decks might be in the market, but Swords and Path to Exile likely have this covered. The fact that it deals with activated abilities is big, and even though I doubt this will ever be good enough to be oppressive, it’s something to consider. You have to be very confident that you are killing the opponent before they can just start paying, which is why I immediately went to an older format, but that has the double-edged sword of making this compete against the best removal the game has to offer.
We are getting spoiled with removal at this point, but there’s no reason not to consider one of the newer options. Reprisal kills a fair number of common threats, and even some rare and mythic ones, but missing Stormbreath Dragon and Pack Rat (at least until it’s too late on the Rat) makes me hesitant. There may be decks that don’t have access to other colors that resort to this, but they will be few and far between.
While I suspect Xathrid Necromancer will be the go-to for most decks that are in the market for attrition cards like this, Tethmos High Priest does offer a powerful ability at a very reasonable cost. If your deck naturally can target it enough and has a number of candidates to bring back, it might be worth looking at the Priest for some help.
Top 3 White Cards
White gets an interesting mix of almost-reprints and narrow but powerful answers, but that mix is going to end up impacting Constructed a good amount. I like having access to all these new answer cards, and a solid sideboard card against combo certainly doesn’t hurt. White also has a ton of different options for constructing White Weenie decks, and it feels like some of them have to be viable.
I don’t know what exactly this guy’s going to get up to, but it’s gonna be something wild. Whether it’s a 3-mana Boulderfall, a very cheap Polymorphous Rush, or a slightly discounted Hypnotic Siren, something is bound to happen (and I can guarantee you that people will try regardless). Heroic Hexproof isn’t quite the same as actual hexproof, but it might serve, and offers a nice bit of protection if a deck using this is going to get off the ground.
This card just seems too powerful not to see play in something. Mono-Blue Devotion may be able to replace one of its flying 1-drops with Mystic, or just play more than 8, and any deck that can put a 1/1 for U to any sort of work has to be interested in trying this. The ability to draw extra cards for so cheap is worth looking at, since the asymmetry of choosing when to actually draw should give the owner of the Mystic a good enough edge to make it worth the trouble. I’d keep your eye on this, as I think it might be secretly one of the best cards in the set. It’s hard to evaluate, but those are exactly the kinds of cards that end up being busted.
Not only has this always been a powerful ability, now that you are the first person to draw an extra card, it’s gotten quite a bit more powerful. Howling Mine decks have been around forever, but this is the first Howling Mine that may actually justify itself in a deck that isn’t all-in. I’m interested to see how adding flash changes things, as I suspect it’s a big deal. I like that this provides a very hard to kill source of blue devotion, and combined with Dakra Mystic, may lead to some kind of Turbo Blue deck that uses extra card draw and Nykthos to fuel some broken turns.
I’m impressed by this one, and think it has a real future in a Bident-based blue devotion deck. Being a 1/1 flier for one makes the cost of playing a 7-drop so much lower, and the 7-mana version is so powerful that it’s worth losing a bit of functionality on the one-drop (when compared to alternatives like Judge’s Familiar). Split cards have always been awesome, and this is one of the most powerful bestow split cards we’ve seen. It’s even a 3 for 1, because when they kill the creature you stole, Hypnotic Siren hangs around to give you that additional bit of value.
I’ll give this one point for each card I’m going to draw. Seems simple enough to me.
Mirrorweave was always a powerful card, and this offers an interesting remake of it. Cards this powerful (and weird) are always worth keeping in mind, even if they don’t always rush into Constructed immediately.
In an all-Island manabase, this actually could be a decent sweeper. Seven mana is a lot, but bouncing your opponent’s entire side of the board is nothing to scoff at, especially when accompanied by a 6/6. It’s likely that the Island requirement will sink this, but if there’s a deck that can handle that, this might be a good fit.
Top 3 Blue Cards
3. Dakra Mystic
Two Howling Mines and an expensive Control Magic. That sounds about right for blue, which has never been short on tricky stuff to do. All of these cards offer big rewards for the right decks, and all of them are extremely high in power level. We live in interesting times, and I can see Dakra Mystic and Dictate of Kruphix being awesome or never finding a home very easily, though I’d be more surprised if Hypnotic Siren didn’t make some waves.
Next up I’ll look at red and black (which are sadly lacking in Howling Mines, though they may be able to borrow blue’s).