Cards are hyped for a reason. Usually, it means that they are good. I’m not here to tell you that Archangel Avacyn isn’t good or that you shouldn’t try to figure out how to play Thing in the Ice or that Arlinn Kord is unplayable. Not only do I really like all of those cards, but I think that they will all be good.
But there are a number of other cards that have caught my eye as I scrolled through the spoiler time and time again. These are the kinds of cards that are what I like to call “borderline.” I can see them making an impact, or I can see them doing nothing in their lifetime in Standard. If history is any indication, most of these cards will end up doing nothing, but there are always those few diamonds in the rough, and it’s fun trying to figure out which ones are gems and which are just fancy colored rocks.
These cards are all sitting on a bike at the top of a steep hill. They’ve got potential. Let’s make it kinetic.
How the mighty have fallen. Compare this bad boy with Primeval Titan and you’ll see that nature isn’t calling quite as hard as it used to. Primeval Titan was a tad overpowered, though. It was a dominant force during its entire tenure in Standard and continued that tradition into Modern, where it beats me every time I play against it, while beating nobody else in the meantime. Good work Primeval Titan. Really top notch job there.
I think a worse Primeval Titan is still good. There are a lot of good colorless utility lands in Standard right now. There are also a lot of cards that care about colorless utility lands. Pulling a Shrine of the Forsaken Gods, Foundry of the Consuls, or Blighted Land out is pretty reasonable.
No trample makes me a sad man, but the reach is relevant. I like that Ulvenwald Hydra pushes Avacyn around a bit. Whenever I think about ground creatures that randomly have reach for no apparent reason, I always envision some bird, angel, or other flying creature soaring over the clouds. It’s a bright, sunny day, and they are flying high without a care in the world, enjoying life and the mystery of it all. Cheerful, uplifting music plays in the background. All of a sudden, a giant hand just comes out of nowhere—like God’s flyswatter—and just smacks them out the sky, snuffing out their life and ruining the beautiful scene.
When it comes to this card, 2 Rites do make a wrong, as extra copies of this card do nothing. But the first copy seems like it has a lot of potential to do some dirty work in the right shell. This is the kind of card I’m not good at building a deck around because I’m more of a brute force kind of person, and Cryptolith Rite is a finesse kind of card. But this card is good. Anything that can generate huge amounts of mana has the chance to be a big deal.
I thought Geralf’s Masterpiece was going to be a 3rd grade picture of him and Ludevic together in a laboratory with “Friends Forever” written on it, but this will have to do instead. Geralf’s Masterpiece might end up following in the failed footsteps of Skaab Ruinator, but I have higher hopes for this one. Skaab Ruinator was hard to cast from the onset, which ended up being the killing blow.
Masterpiece is easily castable to start and then the recursion part is the taller order, which makes it a much more playable card all around. Even if you can’t afford to send 3 cards packing from the hand to bring daddy back, at least you still got to play it normally.
From Under the Floorboards
I’m kind of surprised that I haven’t heard much about this card. Maybe I’m just horrifically bad at card evaluation (likely) because I think that this card is quite good. 6 power worth of Zombies for 5 mana isn’t bad, and gaining 3 life is an extremely relevant piece of text. I’d be perfectly happy playing this card for 5 mana, and that’s not even including the madness part.
This card feels like what Empty the Pits was supposed to be. If you get a chance to madness this card, it’s basically Zombie Revelation. I look forward to activating Jace at the end of my opponent’s turn, putting a bunch of zombies into play, and then also gaining some much needed life in the process. Time to start floorboarding my opponents.
Glorious Anthem has always been playable and this is Glorious Anthem with a little extra on the side, free of charge. Granted, Glorious Anthem was always at its best in a token strategy, and this card doesn’t play too well with the tokes, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a home. I fully expect this card to see play and be good. I’ve seen from Intangible Virtue just how good mass vigilance is. Even if it takes a while to catch on, don’t worry, I’ll be ready when it does. 2016. Always Watching.
I’ve seen a few of these sitting in people’s yards down here in the south. I’m guessing the engine doesn’t work. Speaking of engines, this card seems like a great value engine for decks that can utilize it. This isn’t the kind of card you can just stick into a random green deck. 2 toughness means it dies really easily, it doesn’t brawl well in combat, and it takes a long time to produce a meaningful advantage because of how expensive it is to crack Clues and then benefit from the card advantage they provide.
But I think this card could be quite good if you developed a deck that used Clues as an engine. For example, Thopter Spy Network or Ghirapur Aether Grid are both the kinds of cards that could play well with this gentleman. Maybe that’s too cutesy and not powerful enough for Standard, but this is still a card I’ve got my eye on.
Epiphany at the Drownyard
A lot of people are dismissing this card because of the bust that was Steam Augury. I don’t even think Steam Augury was a bust. It saw some play. It was just a bust compared to Fact or Fiction, which is what everyone was comparing it to. Well, Epiphany at the Drownyard also isn’t going to live up to one of the best draw spells of all time.
Must be unplayable then, right? Or maybe a card can be way, way worse than Fact or Fiction and still be good. I think Epiphany is better than Steam Augury. It doesn’t force you into playing UR, it’s playable on turn 2 if you need to fire it off, and it scales very well into the late game. I expect this to be played.
I really like this card. It seems like it has a natural home in a GW Collected Company shell or a GW Megamorph shell. Those decks have a lot of cheap creatures and are good at playing grindy games, which means that there will be a lot more opportunities to use Clue tokens as the game stretches on. This is exactly the kind of card I love playing so I’m really hoping it pans out, and I think it will. Mentor of the Meek saw play, and I believe this card is better.
Plus, I heard Bygone Bishop was saying some horrible things about Odric the other night at the bar. Things could have gotten quite nasty, but thankfully a helpful Cathar intervened, and they were able to let Bygone Bishops be Bygone Bishops.