M14 got spoiled the other night, and boy, does it look… something. See, I am trying something new this season, and the fact that M14 is initially somewhat underwhelming should make it easier for me. Instead of rushing to judgment based solely on a list of the cards, this time around I think I am going to wait until I’ve actually gotten a chance to play through the set a little bit.

It’s revolutionary! The rest of this article will consist of pictures of my cat:

2013-07-08 16.44.14 copy 2013-05-31 05.18.44 copy

Okay, clearly that’s not serious. I mean, can you imagine if I were? Cats, all the way down! But in lieu of my usual set reviews (which will happen over the next few weeks), here are ten cards I find interesting, half for Commander and the other half for Pauper cube. There is no particular order:

Five for Commander

Elite Arcanist—Okay, so two things about this card: it should be imprint, and this is what I thought Kaho, Minamo Historian did when I first played with her. But this card is immediately being slid into Azami, Lady of Scrolls, because it’s a wizard that can help me go infinite in its own way (like, seems pretty good with High Tide)!

Dark Prophecy—While not a sac outlet, I do like the way in which this card lets you draw through your deck that much faster. It seems good in a deck like Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder, who abuses sacrifice mechanics, or even nastier in Ghave, Guru of Spores, where it reads “2, pay one life: draw a card” when your general is in play. But this card is even solid solely as protection from Wrath of God effects, and that makes me think it’s going to see a fair bit of play.

Ogre Battledriver—I have a Adun Oakenshield / Warp World EDH deck in which there are currently several different means of giving my exponentially increasing tokens haste, so that I can cast Warp World first main and then alpha. This is worse than Akroma’s Memorial, but better than Madrush Cyclops, so it sounds like a solid inclusion to me! And that’s the type of card that jumps out at me anyway; I couldn’t believe when this first got spoiled that they thought it would be a good idea to put In the Web of War on a four drop beater.

Garruk, Caller of Beasts—More like Garruk, Caller of Beats, amirite? Think of this as an honorary inclusion for Chandra, Pyromancer as well; both these walkers are awesome, and seem like a lot of fun in a casual format. I am still a bit wary of a) the viability of a six-drop planeswalker in standard, and b) the history of red planeswalkers seeing constructed play, so while I hope to open one of each in my prerelease piles, I wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire them until their pricing comes down.

Darksteel Forge—I am rounding this mini-list (listsicle? listette?) out with the most interesting of a fairly large number of reprints in this set. It seems like the entire point of putting Darksteel Forge in this set is to drive down its casual pricing, and that’s the type of thing I can get behind. I am more wary of Mutavault and some of the other reprints, because I don’t know that they have the same market-mismatch between their (limited) supply and ridiculous pricing, but if you’ve ever wanted to pick up one of the most irritating cards played in Arcum Dagsson decks, now is your chance!


Five for Pauper Cube

Dawnstrike Paladin—One of the problems with Seraph of Dawn in a cube environment is that often you want to sit back on here to stem the bleeding, since she’s a fairly solid deterrent to swinging in. The idea of a (slightly) more expensive Seraph that doesn’t fly, but also doesn’t tap, seems promising. We’ll see, though!

Zephyr Charge—First off, this card isn’t an aura, which I suspect some people might think upon first glance. Secondly, this card seems awesome, since two mana is not a bad price to be able to repeatedly jump creatures. Now, in draft you might be able to live the dream of combining this card with Dismiss into Dream, to leave you with a repeatable Murder for one less mana, but for obvious reasons that’s less relevant in the Pauper format.

Blood Bairn—The thing with this effect in my cube is that it becomes a question of how much is too much. My cube likes to sacrifice things, but I am also running Bloodflow Connoisseur and I have already cut Bloodthrone Vampire and some of their kin. I do like the +2/+2 bonus and the Gray Ogre starting attributes, but my black is pretty tight right now. So I hope to play with this card a bit and figure these things out.

Academy Raider—Is this card even good? I am having trouble figuring that out. Red intimidate has proved solid in my cube in the past, particularly with Heirs of Stromkirk bouncing around. And a red Scroll Thief seems reasonably good, even if you have to pre-loot to gain the advantage. I am leaning towards a yes, but we’ll see how it plays out first in a set with only one common artifact creature.

Sporemound—Better a Sporemound than a spoormound, because this card is not crappy. Or, at least it looks that way? A 3/3 for five isn’t the best deal around, but the (not templated) ability to spawn out Saprolings with your land drops might provide the same sort of inevitability that Sprout Swarm did, without being totally impossible to beat. Of course, this card could be a total bust… being able to get at best five power for five mana on the turn that it comes down, so long as you don’t meet any removal and have one of the few fetch lands in the format seems possible, but maybe not the most probable.

There are some other things that have piqued my interest, but they’re not really worth getting into until I can test my theories against how the cards play out. Suffice to say M14 has whet my appetite for Theros, which is looking like it might be less of an embarrassing call-back to Kamigawa, and more like an interesting callback to the enchantment themes in Urza’s Saga. With slivers hanging out to drive the old school connections home (although these are not your mother’s slivers), it seems like M14 might be the welcoming mat through which Theros makes its triumphant entrance. Or it could just be unmitigated crap; either way, let’s at least reserve our judgments until the pre-release!

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