Amonkhet’s Overlooked Cyclers

Some cards draw everyone’s attention. It’s hard to look at Drake Haven, Channeler Initiate, or Liliana, Death’s Majesty and not think of the potential. I do have some thoughts on the cards everyone else is talking about, but I want to instead mention 2 cyclers no one is talking about.

1-mana cycling is a different ballgame than 2-mana cycling. 1-mana cycling is often effectively free to use. Everyone seems to instinctively recognize the advantages of Cast Out, but two other great options are being ignored.

Dissenter’s Deliverance

You need ways to kill artifacts, but you don’t want to commit to killing artifacts since many opponents (including most 4-color Saheeli decks) offer no targets. Dissenter’s Deliverance solves this problem for you, giving you removal that works when you need it, and it cycles when you don’t. Compare this to Cast Out. Cast Out costs 4 mana when it “should” cost 3 in exchange for cycling, and you are happy to take that deal. Dissenter’s Deliverance costs 2, where a slightly more flexible effect such as Naturalize should cost 2, but cycling seems obviously better in general than being able to hit enchantments. The new world might include a lot of Drake Haven and thus make you miss the enchantment option, but in general cycling seems like it makes this a much easier and safer main-deck inclusion.

The other thing this card does is put an instant in the graveyard on turn 1 at no cost, which is potentially important enough that I was willing to consider Scarab Feast for G/B Delirium. Getting this out of the way “for free” while giving yourself another shot at your elite 2-drops makes your great starts much more likely. I also like how 1-mana cycling interacts with Grim Flayer, letting you access the card you found right away at only a small cost. I imagine using this to deploy a second 2-drop off the top on your third turn will not be uncommon.

You will cycle this card the majority of the time, you will sideboard it out a lot of the time, and you will be happy about it.

Curator of Mysteries

A 4/4 flying creature is, in general, a better deal than an Oblivion Ring. If you were offered Curator of Mysteries at 1UU without cycling, everyone would be jumping on him.

Thunderbreak Regent did an extra 3 damage frequently, and counting as a Dragon mattered sometimes, but mostly it proved that 4/4 flying for 2CC was actually a good deal, especially if you accelerated the card out. Here you get the body on top of 1-mana cycling, in the same color as Drake Haven, and despite seeing a bunch of people building decks off of Drake Haven, I can’t find a single mention. Why are we sitting on this?

This seems strong in blue-green builds that accelerate him out, using the cycling to help play fewer lands and avoid flood, while cycling him on turn 1 if you draw too much top end, don’t find your Servant of the Conduit or Channeler Initiate, or if later you are up against the threat of combo and know you dare not tap 4 mana on your own turn but need to make more land drops. Such a deck has access to multiple good 1-mana cycling options to support Drake Haven.

If you do go that route, you’re likely splashing white, because Cast Out is pretty great and the cycling lands you want anyway combined with the mana creatures and Aether Hub make the third color free. The main problem I see with this approach is that it seems difficult to make the deck defend well against the combo. Perhaps the solution is to run counters. I am hoping that will cease to be an issue.

This seems strong in control builds as well. Giving a control deck a free option to put out big flyers makes dealing with planeswalkers or finishing out games easier, and it forces opponents to conserve and not sideboard out removal. It also enables Liliana at little cost. You don’t get full value there, but a 4/4 flyer is a pretty great free option.

The main problem with this card is Glorybringer, since that exchange lines up so poorly, although if you know you are in a bad spot you can just cycle. If Glorybringer becomes too popular, I become less interested in Curator of Mysteries despite the ability to cycle, but that takes a lot of Glorybringers. They also play well together. I am a mild Glorybringer skeptic at this point—but only a mild one.

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