Theros prerelease is next week! I can’t wait! There’s a whole new Limited format to discover and draft! With 1200% more Greek mythology! Life is grand!

We’ve seen less than half of the set, so there’s only a handful of not-so-quiet speculation that we can do to predict what the set will be like. That said, I’d like to do a bit, myself.

Vanquish the Foul

This card looks pretty horrible compared to Reprisal, Radiant’s Judgment, and even Smite the Monstrous (all of which were common). Sure, this should hit against all the monstrous creatures, but it’s supremely slow. The most interesting thing about this card is that it’s uncommon—common removal has been downgraded in power lately and most premium removal has been upshifted to uncommon. Perhaps this is a bit better than it looks (and has been upshifted in rarity accordingly) or perhaps it’s just a low power removal spell (like Flesh Allergy). In two weeks, we’ll have a better sense.

Voyage's End

The value of Unsummon fluctuates. If you can get an early aggressive presence, unsummoning a blocker can be a Time Walk (in Innistrad, Silent Departure was blue’s best common). If you can knock off an aura, then it’s a Disenchant that makes your opponent spend extra mana.

In Theros, if the format lacks good early beaters (it seems slower than recent formats) and many auras have bestow, then Voyage’s End loses many of Unsummon’s best traits. However, it has a new area to shine: monstrous creatures. If your opponent taps out on turn four or five for a giant threat, then untaps, lays down a land, and activate monstrous, you can respond to the activation with Voyage’s End (so that any “becomes monstrous” triggered abilities don’t go on the stack), and get a Time Walk! With a Scry! This card could be quite good, decent, or quite bad. I’m excited to find out what else to do with it.

Battlewise Hoplite

Wingsteed Rider

I wouldn’t be surprised if Theros features a WU aggressive strategy akin to RoE’s levelers. Stick an early Wingsteed Rider or Battlewise Hoplite, protect it with Gods Willing (and hopefully power it up with some decent targeted spells, like whatever Test of Heliod and Thassa are), and win before any slower RG monstrous decks go off. Alternatively, you can build around Phalanx Leader (who seems awkward unless you’ve got a solid number of heroic enablers and cheap creatures to accompany him into battle).

Omenspeaker Ah, Omenspeaker. She’s no Sea Gate Oracle. She looks like Augur of Bolas, but can’t draw cards (or constantly whiff and bottom what you really need), only smooth draws. She is quite similar to Augury Owl, however. For the same mana cost, you get a much better defensive creature but lose evasion and a scry. If the format is a race to getting 4/4 or bigger creatures, I can’t imagine that her defensive body will be particularly relevant. If 2/2s are good in this format, then she should be quite reasonable. I’m super-stoked to draft her, but I question whether she’ll be something one snatches up in the first five picks or if she’s something you expect to reliably wheel.

Thassa's Emissary D’aww… Hedron Crab‘s all grown up and working for a god (as part of a cycle of divine emissaries, no less). I love me an Ophidian and a beefy Scroll Thief is sweet! Plus, you can have a Divine Transformation/Curiosity package that’s immune to card disadvantage (for the price of a Frost Titan). I wonder whether a 3/3 will be able to get in often and how often one will be able to bestow this crab’s blessings upon an evasive creature, but I’ll be doing plenty of testing in the weeks to come.

So, there’s a taste of Theros from this prognosticator (who’s definitely not a prevaricator). Here’s looking forward to the full spoiler by this time next week!

Standard Pauper Tournament!

Round three is complete (we’re almost halfway done with this enormous event), and there are prizes to be awarded! Again, huge thanks to gwyned for matching my participation prizes and for covering the event. That guy’s the man. Thanks to him and everyone else who are continuing to make this enormous tournament/league a smashing success!

  • Carrie O’Hara wins a booster pack of Exodus!
  • Luke Burnett wins a booster pack of M14 from gwyned! (Have y’all been reading his excellent articles?)
  • Steven wins a foil Murder of Crows for beating Monique!
  • Marcin wins a foil Ancient Grudge (Innistrad) for beating Tim!
  • Shea Strausman wins a foil Faithless Looting (Innistrad) for beating Hunter!

Come on, Hipsters! We can do this! Let’s put some of us into the top eight (except for ineligible me).

Round four pairings are already up, but you can check ’em (and standings, as I update the page throughout the week) right here.

Round 4 Pairings/Standings

[table width=”580″ align=”center”]

Player One, Points, vs, Player Two, Points, Results,

Justin Beckert, (9 pts), vs,Steven, (9 pts), (2-0)
Benito, (9 pts), vs,Zombii, (9 pts), (2-0)
The_Sir, (9 pts), vs,aceracerff, (9 pts), (2-0)
Edmilson, (9 pts), vs,Ben H, (9 pts), (0-2)
Andrzej “Onion” K, (9 pts), vs,Conor Moran, (9 pts), (1-2)
Charlie S, (9 pts), vs,Colin, (9 pts), (2-1)
Mrdarby, (9 pts), vs,Austin, (9 pts), (2-0)
P. Dalton, (9 pts), vs,Hugh Kramer, (9 pts), (0-2)
Andrew, (7 pts), vs,Jason Gray, (9 pts), (1-2)
Rich Stein (HotC), (6 pts), vs,Kyle S, (7 pts), (2-0)
JL, (6 pts), vs,Nils Hjalmarsson [drop], (6 pts), (2-0)
MattP81, (6 pts), vs,Danny DiPietro, (6 pts), (2-1)
James Bathurst, (6 pts), vs,Ahniwa Ferrari, (6 pts), (1-2)
Keith Richard Smerbeck [drop], (6 pts), vs,Shea Strausman, (6 pts), (1-2)
Sam Werbalowsky, (6 pts), vs,snapponder, (6 pts), (2-0)
Lollipop_Man [drop], (6 pts), vs,Carrie O’Hara, (6 pts), (0-2)
Kaziks, (6 pts), vs,Marcin, (6 pts), (2-0)
Hans, (6 pts), vs,Zach W, (6 pts), (1-2)
Neil Anderson, (6 pts), vs,Scumbag Judge James [drop], (6 pts), (2-0)
PurplePotato, (6 pts), vs,Marc DeLay, (6 pts), (1-2)
joekewwl, (6 pts), vs,Jesse S, (6 pts), (1-2)
rbernardinello, (6 pts), vs,Zachary Barash (HotC), (6 pts), (0-2)
Kevin Downs, (6 pts), vs,Monique Garraud (HotC), (6 pts), (1-2)
Paul Salerno, (6 pts), vs,flapjack, (6 pts), (2-0)
Dana, (6 pts), vs,mangol, (6 pts), (1-2)
Adam Bloom, (6 pts), vs,Chase [drop], (6 pts), (2-1)
HurricaneWaves, (6 pts), vs,David Wills, (6 pts), (1-1)
Brad, (6 pts), vs,Kevin Roman, (6 pts), (1-2)
ratsby, (6 pts), vs,DL Martin [drop], (6 pts), (2-0)
Will, (6 pts), vs,Tom, (6 pts), (1-2)
Lacio, (6 pts), vs,James J, (6 pts), (2-1)
John Mason, (3 pts), vs,MattLaZer, (6 pts), (1-2)
Carl, (3 pts), vs,Nivius, (3 pts), (1-2)
Vincent Sippola, (3 pts), vs,King Xia, (3 pts), (2-1)
Jamie B, (3 pts), vs,Dave Barman, (3 pts), (0-2)
Ideocl4st1, (3 pts), vs,Jesse Lee [drop], (3 pts), (2-0)
Grao, (3 pts), vs,Hunter Slaton (HotC) [drop], (3 pts), (2-1)
iAmQuantum, (3 pts), vs,Kenny, (3 pts), (1-1)
DV8tor83, (3 pts), vs,Maciej Chrzanowski [drop], (3 pts), (2-0)
Collecter [drop], (3 pts), vs,gwyned, (3 pts), (0-2)
Gibble [drop], (3 pts), vs,Matt Bobola, (3 pts), (0-2)
Edgar Magalhaes [drop], (3 pts), vs,togepi258, (3 pts), (0-2)
Chris de Lacy, (3 pts), vs,J.S. Bangs, (3 pts), (1-2)
Nick G, (3 pts), vs,Wolfmedic, (3 pts), (2-0)
sixfirhy, (3 pts), vs,d00n [drop], (3 pts), (2-1)
Daniel Gardner, (3 pts), vs,Wurst12 [drop], (3 pts), (2-0)
puzzles [drop], (3 pts), vs,ElPolloLoco, (3 pts), (0-2)
Nico, (3 pts), vs,Grociu [drop], (3 pts), (2-1)
Tim Akpinar (HotC), (3 pts), vs,bacon_music_love, (3 pts), (2-1)
ShiratoKai, (0 pts), vs,Landon [drop], (0 pts), (2-0)
MarkBGH [drop], (0 pts), vs,Skyboss [drop], (0 pts), (0-0)
Luke Burnett, (0 pts), vs,— Bye —[/table]

That’s all for this week. I’ll see y’all next week when we’re awash in Theros spoilers and the massive Standard Pauper tournament is halfway done (that’s right, it’s eight rounds to accommodate 152 players. It’s a PTQ).

—Zachary Barash

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Magic Online username: Zennith

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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