Nice! Cycling is back in a back way, and from the looks of these cards it’s going to have a real impact.
Note that it triggers off of either cycling or regular discard. While it’s more likely to see competitive play in a dedicated cycling deck, the regular discard factor opens it up to some interesting interactions with cards like Cathartic Reunion and Hazoret the Fervent, the new red God.
Whether it does see competitive play depends on several factors, the two major ones being:
1) Whether it’s fast or powerful enough for the field.
2) Whether or not it has a supporting archetype that it slots into.
Fortunately, we have a few reasons to be optimistic. The cycling mechanic is supported in Amonkhet, and with the new rare duals having cycling we know that Wizards is taking the mechanic seriously and that cycling engines will likely have enough playables. On top of that, when some percentage of your mana base doubles as fuel for your engine that’s huge for consistency.
Cycling is a naturally consistent engine. Each cycled card has a chance to draw you into more fuel, meaning more cycles and more Drakes.
As far as the rest of the card goes, the flavor text is clever and the art does its job, evoking a chill place where a Drake might want to hang out (perhaps even more so than the glowing room in “Hotline Bling”).
It’s hard to make a 4-mana Oblivion Ring exciting, but Cast Out does the job with a few nice abilities.
For starters, flash makes it infinitely more versatile by letting you take out haste creatures, blow out combat tricks, or simply leave your mana up on the opponent’s turn. Stasis Snare was hard to cast and only hit creatures, and yet it still saw serious play because instant speed removal is so good.
On top of that, it has cycling. How good would Quarantine Field be with cycling? Or even a regular old Oblivion Ring? While Cast Out would normally be limited by its cost, being able to cycle it away early means you get away with more of them without negatively impacting your curve. In dedicated cycling decks constructed to abuse the mechanic, it’ll be a solid 4-of.
I can’t help but think about how crazy good this would be in a Replenish deck, and I bet that’ll be a thing in someone’s EDH or Cube.
As for the art, I think it’s easy to misinterpret the scene as a woman being left in the desert, her arm desperately reaching after her abandoner, her lips stretched open in a scream for help. Instead, I’m pretty sure her arm is outstretched in a commanding wave as she tells her driver where to drop her off. Her mouth isn’t open to scream, but rather to command: “Cast me outside, Amonkhet.”
Are these cards sweet? Are we seeing a fitting return to cycling? I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments.