Hi folks! If you’re reading this then spoiler season is complete for Oath of the Gatewatch! We hope you’ve enjoyed this commentary and look forward to seeing you again in a few months for Shadows Over Innistrad! Until then, may all your prize packs contain Expeditions and your draft packs contain planeswalkers!

January 6th

Hedron Crawler


Rich: I really did not think Wizards was keen on 2-mana colorless rocks like this anymore.

Jess: Plague Myr finally gets a friend who won’t scare the shit out of people who fear poison? I like that it’s a common, it’s going to be an interesting card in draft.

Carrie: I want to say this won’t be great in limited, but I have a feeling it will be pretty good. Hedron Crawler is no Leaf Gilder, but there look to be plenty of rewards for extra colorless mana.

Zach: Adorable Manakin is a card. While I’m uncertain just how good ramping will be, this ramps and fixes your expensive Eldrazi while coming down early enough that you might not be under too much pressure (whereas turn 3 was usually a creature turn in BfZ, making Seer’s Lantern appreciably worse).

Warping Wail

Jess: My initial reaction was skepticism, as I look at things from a Commander perspective these days. The more I think about it, though, and the better I see this card being in Modern or Legacy. There are a lot of powerful creatures the first ability hits and some powerful spells that get stopped by the second (Ad Nauseam is probably going to have to always play like their opponent has countermagic now, at least after board, for example). The third is probably terrible as a body, but as an end step ramp to get you to jump up the curve the next turn it might have some value. Anyway, this is probably going to be a chase foil; I may not like the sound effect waves, but between them and the blue skies getting the foil treatment it’s going to be one hell of a pretty card.

Rich: I don’t know if this card is going to be any good as a Modern/Legacy answer card, but people are sure going to try to make it work.

Carrie: Colorless charm is going to do some work. This could have Kolaghan’s Command level influence on Modern, and I think that’s great. Cards like this provide a real reason to play fewer colors in Modern decks. This punishes small creature decks (including Splinter Twin) and powerful sorcery decks, while also “cycling” into a scion token. Sounds good to me. In addition to the many colorless decks in Modern that will happily play this, control decks might want to go two colors and harness some sweet colorless lands. Like my personal favorite, Nephalia Drownyard. One can dream.

Zach: If this card really is the bee’s knees, I wonder just how much people will contort their Modern manabases to make it work. I absolutely love the design; the Eldrazi got a Command, but it isn’t templated like one because they’re WEIRD ELDRAZI!

Lexie: This is a great card for Tron and the Modern Eldrazi deck, at least in my opinion. It answers Twin, Scapeshift, Affinity, Burn, Infect… it has a lot of good targets. It will also see play in Standard. I’m pretty hyped for this card, not going to lie.

Goblin Freerunner

Rich: Even for two mana in a Goblin deck wouldn’t you rather have Piledriver or Subterranean Scout to make Piledriver unblockable, or Dragon Fodder? This will be cute in limited, but it isn’t making Goblins better.

Carrie: A 3/2 menace for 3R is a solid limited card. The surge makes this look really good.

Zach: If the format is appreciably slower than Magic Origins, a 3/2 Menace for four should be great. Getting to cast it on turn four alongside another spell will be all the sweeter.

Lexie: I’d love to see this guy in limited. a 3/2 with Menace for four is pretty good, and a 3/2 with Menace for two is insane.

Jwar Isle Avenger

Rich: Ancient Tomb. Mox Sapphire. Jwar Isle Avenger. Go.

Carrie: This is a sweet limited common. The surge ability is basically free here. Free stuff is good.

Zach: A 3/3 flying for 5 has gone from a top pick common to still quite decent. If Surge is easy enough to trigger without throwing Bonesaw in your deck, this card could be amazing. I like it when great commons require work to be great – that’s just good Limited design.

Lexie: Love this card for limited, especially since it is a common. One of my favorite archetypes is Ux fliers and cards like these make me excited for the draft format.

Relief Captain

Rich: The problem with support is that the higher the support number, the less likely you are to maximize the effect. It’s possible, but unlikely.

Carrie: How many creatures are we having in these games? The existence of support makes me think this will be a swarmy draft format. Games will get faster.

Zach: Every support card asks the question, “how many cheap creatures can you play?” I wonder/worry that the cheap creatures of OotG will be as lacklaster as those in BfZ and that you’ll either get an amazing draw that resembles GW Travel Preparations or you’ll have a lot of terrible creatures that can’t attack past a 2/3.

Lexie: I still don’t know how I feel about support. I mean, it’s cool with Eldrazi Scions?

Mina and Denn, Wildborn

Jess: I love this card. I like how we got another Oracle of Mul Daya (without the Future Sight ability, which is super powerful, but still), and I like the synergies between those abilities. I don’t know how strong that ability is yet, but in the right deck that seems like it could be crushing.

Rich: This week’s forecast in Bala Ged is landfall on Monday followed by more landfall on Tuesday, and for the rest of your life.

Carrie: I went 8-1 in sealed at GP Montreal with Polis Crusher. This one looks sweet too. Calling Matt Jones!

Zach: I’m tepid on this card. It synergizes well with Nissa’s Pilgrimage, but would an aggressive landfall deck play that card or a ramp deck play this? Perhaps it could top off the curve of a landfall deck, but is it better than Thunderbreak Regent, Surrak, the Hunt Caller, or any of our other Phoenixes or Dragons?

Lexie: This card is cool, I like the trample ability on it. It’s effectively “free” because you can just play the land again. I think it is a cool design. And a 4/4 body isn’t too bad in itself.

Dimensional Infiltrator

Creature – Eldrazi
{1}{C}: Exile the top card of target opponent’s library. If it’s a land card, you may return Dimensional Infiltrator to its owner’s hand.

Rich: Uh… yes please? Looks like blue control decks in Standard are back on the menu.

Carrie: The exile ability is really weird, but a Welkin Tern that can block and has flash? Ridic.

Zach: Straight into the cube. It’s a weirder Mindshrieker with the second point of power it wanted all along. This card looks awesome.

Lexie: You have no idea how excited I am for this card, no idea.

Void Shatter

Counter target spell. If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner’s graveyard.

Rich: Hello Dissipate. We missed you oh so much.

Zach: Just in time to return to Innistrad.

Gift of Tusks

Rich: A lot of people don’t like this kind of removal in blue. Really though this is just a way to protect your Delver of Secrets from Warping Wail. You’re welcome, blue mages.

Carrie: I might like this card more if the illustration weren’t so goofy.

Jess: This is a Surge enabler.

Zach: They fixed the blue removal by making it feel really blue. It’s pretty much always going to be worse than Diminish and Turn to Frog, but it feels more in color pie than Pongify and Rapid Hybridization. It does have the benefit of randomly being a combat trick (which works really well with a Simic +1/+1 counter theme which doesn’t exist in this set).

Seer’s Lantern

Rich: Any ramp effect is going to be good in this block’s limited environment. It may even be good in Standard if there’s an Eldrazi Ramp deck.

Lexie: I always love seeing new ramping mana cards for Commander. Usually I want 2cmc mana rocks, but I like this one because of the scry.

Jess: While I’m not personally excited for this in Commander, I can definitely see playing it in the right circumstances.

Zach: For Limited, this is probably worse than a colorless land most of the time, until we see some more giant, common Eldrazi spoiled (which, by the time this goes live, I think the whole set will be up – in which case we’ll know). I like this for Cube, too; two-cost mana rocks are generally insane, so I like finding decent, but not broken three-cost mana rocks. This could go alongside or possibly replace Pristine Talisman.

January 5th

Thought-Knot Seer

Rich: The colors and design remind me of Takashi Murakami’s artwork which is cool because I got to make an art comment before Matt Jones and lame because Murakami is kind of a jerk. But his art is gorgeous. So is this.

Carrie: Is this set of abilities worse than Tidehollow Sculler, where your opponent gets the exiled card back? It is if you want to process the exiled card with Wasteland Strangler.

Sylvan Advocate

Rich: Wow, a 2/3 for two mana is already a good start. Vigilance is a bonus and then a threshold-like ability to boot? Yikes.

Zach: Elvish Warrior just got a more powerful cousin. I really, really like it (though it does feel weird that it’ll want to go into a deck with Nissa but its treshold is one lower than hers).

Carrie: “We heard green sucked in BfZ. Does this help?”

Lexie: I’m glad it is good in both the early game and late game with the +2/+2 effect. I don’t know how great the land creature clause is right now though – I guess we do have the sweet landfall uncommon bros for limited…. But I don’t quite know for constructed yet.

Reality Smasher

Matt: I love this card. I love the way it looks. I love the Fauvist rainbow of the creature’s body. I love that the pyramids are falling apart and being absorbed by the earth. I love that the sky isn’t some shitty generic blue sky and that it’s a complex rich cloud layered dramatic but not over the top sky. Also: “Trample, haste”. Huge fan.

Zach: Big, strong, protective thing. Good work, if you can cast it.

Carrie: Super strong. I guess requiring colorless mana is a significant drawback in constructed, because this card is ridiculous if it isn’t. Lots of planeswalkers are going to be dying to this thing.
Rich: You’re going to want to draft Wastes pretty high I think.

Lexie: I love, love this guy. It is sweet value for 5 mana, and I think the second ability he has is quite relevant. Wish it was target of a spell or ability though… that would be sweet.

Chandra, Flamecaller

Jess: I like this card as a utility planeswalker for Commander. I don’t think it’s powerful enough for competitive formats, though?

Zach: Six mana is a ton to ask of a planeswalker. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Karn Liberated, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (and maybe a tiny bit of the two Garruks) were strong enough to be constructed staples. She fails to protect herself (unlike the other three), her plus ability doesn’t affect the board or provide card advantage (unlike the other three), and her ultimate doesn’t dramatically change the game (unlike the other three). I expect to have a lot of fun playing with this card, but I expect very little of her outside of Limited.

Matt: When she stops adhering to steampunk aesthetic rules I will start giving a shit about Chandra. If the goggles have no use value, just get a freaking headband.

Carrie: Chandra will be all over Standard. Her -X ability is ridiculous. Her +1 does a lot of damage, and it “protects” her by pressuring your opponent, who either has to block the 3/1s (and potentially lose creatures that could attack back) or has to “race” by attacking Chandra while you throw Ball Lightnings at their face. Her 0 ability might be amazing too. Siege Rhino poses a challenge, but nobody’s perfect. It will be a nice change for Standard if red decks want to spend more than two mana on their spells.

Rich: Get a freaking headband? What is she, an athletic trainer? She’s the multiverse’s most fearsome pyromancer. The goggles protect her eyes from the solar flares she creates when obliterating her foes. Get with the program Jones.

Matt: That’s what I’m saying. She’s wearing a glorified headband. If she’s so awesome you think she’d look less lame. She’s partially made of fire. In this illustration her eyes are literally FIRE. Why would she need goggles to protect herself from more fire? It just gets worse and worse the more we attempt to make sense of it. Just let the fire be magical and lose all the poser technology special effects.

Lexie: One day they will make a good Chandra… one day… I don’t think she is strong enough for constructed, yes, her abilities are cool, but her +1 pales in comparison to the past 6-mana walkers. I’d rather just wait 2 mana and get Ugin while playing relevant spells. I dunno though, maybe I’ll be wrong. I hope I am.

Oath of Chandra

Jess: Feh, none of the ‘walker triggers in this cycle seem particularly valuable in Commander.

Matt: The consistency of the “oath” illustrations sucks.

Zach: This is half of a Volcanic Hammer with some trinket text. Removal ain’t bad, but I don’t expect too much of this inflexible removal spell.

Carrie: A bad Lightning Strike will still get played in limited. For 40 card decks, this oath might be the best, although Nissa’s is in the same ballpark.

Rich: How often is that trigger going to actually happen? Not impressed.

Lexie: Her flavor text is the coolest out of all of them, in my opinion. But, this is still pretty abysmal. The Nissa one is by far and away the best. I don’t know if any of the others will be constructed playable or not. I could see this one at least being played in limited…. but I would not want to open it as a rare. I guess it is better than Call the Gatewatch, at least.

Bonds of Morality

Jess: This, on the other hand, hits a sweet spot for me. It’s a hoser that a) increases the value of regeneration, an ability that’s been pushed out in favor of indestructible things, and b) draws a card when it hits the battlefield, thus letting you at least cantrip the thing even if it’s not immediately relevant.

Zach: This is a far better version of Glaring Spotlight, a card that did nothing. I wonder if this means we’ll be soon seeing powerful hexproof and indestructible creatures, because this card feels like a development weapon (though it does a decent job of demonstrating Nissa binding the Eldrazi… even though Kozilek doesn’t have hexproof).

Carrie: Ground Seal for Bogles. There was much rejoicing.

Rich: As Carrie says, this is likely a development tool for an existing problem, not a new one further down the road.

Lexie: I wonder if there will be any good use for this in constructed. At worst, it cantrips – I’d probably play a copy of this in limited if I had nothing else… wouldn’t be a first pick at all though.

Fall of the Titans

Zach: This is a pretty neat burn spell. It looks a fair bit like Comet Storm and Bonfire of the Damned, but will play quite differently. If you don’t surge it, you still do 1 damage per each mana you invest. If you do surge it, you do 2 damage for each mana. That’s a good rate at both ends, and at instant speed.

Carrie: I guess it would pose an existential crisis to the Magic multiverse if four planeswalkers (who are supposed to be our big heroes) couldn’t join together to beat two Eldrazi titans.

Matt: Amazon has great deals on Surge at the moment.

Rich: I have to admit, the idea that the way to beat the Eldrazi is for Chandra to just unleash the flames is a bit anti-climactic.

Lexie: Has some sweet value if you get the surge cost. X spells are always fun.


Hedron Alignment

Jess: Who is this for? It’s not a Commander card, and it’s not good enough for constructed play. You can’t even trigger it in Limited! Unlike something like Biovisionary, where there are ways to cheat the effect in a singleton format, this is just the useless bastard child of Near-Death Experience and that one from Time Spiral block no one plays.

Zach: Hooray! It’s a weird Johnny card! For those who want to play with it, it’s a really bad Thassa.

Carrie: If you are going to print useless rares, might as well make them weird like this. The art is super lazy, though.

Rich: It’s the win condition your janky blue/white Legacy control deck was waiting for! Pitch one copy to Force of Will! Discard another copy to

Lexie: Fo’ reals WotC? Like, really? Why? >_<

Editor’s Note: As of publishing there are at least a half-dozen combo kills being discussed for this card in Modern and Legacy. Someone figured out an incredibly janky turn-one win in Modern. So, this may be the most Johnny/Jenny card Wizards has printed since Battle of Wits. It’s not good, but it sure gets the combo creative juices flowing. 

Drana’s Chosen

Jess: Summoning sickness really weakens this card. Like, not only does Drana’s Chosen need to survive a turn, but it takes you shields down and only gives you a tapped zombie for all of that? I mean, it’s probably worth playing in an ally-themed Commander deck, and it’s good in Alesha and Her Allies, but other than that… meh?

Matt: Yeah I wish it cost B and had haste.

Zach: It’s cards like this that make me concerned about Cohort. It’s tough to make Constructed-relevant creatures that need to untap and require a board presence. This card is also quite slow for Limited, and while I don’t enjoy the thought of playing against a slowly growing stream of Zombies, I worry that either this (and most Cohort creatures) will be way too slow (kind of like how much of a trap Converge was in BfZ), or that the format itself will be unilaterally slow.

Carrie: You can tap this thing to another creature’s Cohort ability the turn you play it. So I guess the goal is to curve a bunch of these in a row?

Inverter of Truth

Creature – Eldrazi
When Inverter of Truth enters the battlefield, exile all cards from your library face down, then shuffle all cards from your graveyard into your library.

Carrie: An interesting riff on Abyssal Persecutor. You need a few cards in your graveyard to kill your opponent with the flying 6/6 before you deck yourself, which makes this tough to play on curve unless you are Gathering the Pack or the like. But as a late game draw in a control shell, this could be a crazy way to rebuy a bunch of awesome spells in your graveyard.

Jess: Now this is a Commander card. I’m personally not a fan of effects like this, but someone is definitely going to try to break it.

Zach: Seems like a hilarious way to draw four copies of Misthollow Griffin.

Carrie: Can you cast a Misthollow Griffin that is exiled face down?

Lexie: This is cool. I don’t know when I’d ever choose to play it, but I still think it is cool. And Carrie, you can’t cast it if it is exiled face down.

Baloth Null

Carrie: Dutiful Return looks a lot better when stapled to a 4/5.

Jess: This will see play in Commander. It gains you cards in hand while leaving behind a relevant body. Seems likely that it will show up. I hate the art, though. That null looks nothing like a zombie.

Zach: Card advantage is good and this card could be nuts… or incredibly slow in a color combination that was pretty awful in BfZ.

Rich: Yeah, that’s not a zombie. The effect is nice in limited though.

Cliffhaven Vampire

Carrie: A 2/4 flier for four mana is good in limited. The life drain ability is a nice bonus.

Jess: This is the type of card I like to see with two power, meaning it’s recurrable via Reveillark or Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.

Matt: I’m not a huge fan of his sword. What’s the circle at the end for? And the hook? Too much to ask for cool swords in Magic illustrations? Christ.

Zach: It’s Zendikar. Everyone has to have hooks, ropes, chains, circles, and hedrons. Come to think of it, I bet that those are the shapes in Zendikari Lucky Charms.

Rich: This could help make a playable allies deck. It would end up being the evolution of current Aristocrats decks I think.

Stormchaser Mage

Zach: Look at this all-keyword card! This is Wee Dragonauts powerful descendant. I could potentially see this in some weird Young Pyromancer/Monastery Mentor aggro shell.

Carrie: Two mana 1/3s with abilities are sweet in limited. This one might be good in other formats too.

Lexie: This card tickles my fancy. I love the evasiveness of this card and the aggro of this card. I want to draft it a lot – I like that kind of archetype.

Rich: Very elegant design for a UR creature.

Void Grafter

Jess: I will put this in Commander decks. It’s like Mystic Snake, only with super limited application.

Zach: I love Plaxmanta. I love 2/4 flashes for three. I love this card. This card will wreck people in Limited.

Carrie: Mizzium Meddler, we hardly knew ye.

Rich: This card has Blowout City written all over it.

Weapons Trainer

Carrie: What the hell is up with the illustration? Did Dan Frazier do the background?

Matt: Yeah this art is totally terrible. Why the black make up? Why the weird hair? What’s with the tiny knife?

Zach: Confusing artwork aside, this card has the potential to wreck people (who put Bonesaw in their decks just to enable this). If allies and equipment are abundant enough, this could be a linchpin in an aggro deck or a trap.

Lexie: I think the haircut is cool. 😮

Rich: They’re really pushing this equipment deck. Also now you know where Gozer the Gozerian got her start as Gozer the Traveler


January 4th

Corrupted Crossroads

Rich: This might be the worst City of Brass ever. Would you even play this in a Devoid aggro deck? Unless Devoid shows up in another block one day, I don’t think this is going to cut it.

Carrie: Five color devoid? I suppose if your entire deck is devoid, this is better than the painlands. I’d rather just play the painlands, though.

Jess: When they add Oath to Gatherer, I’m going to do a search to see just how many Devoid cards there are, to justify a card like this one (a 6-color rainbow land).

Lexie: SO HYPED FOR THIS LAND. I want to play it in my devoid aggro deck right now. That’s all. Edit: I have to pay a life for that? Meh, that’s kinda lame. Less hyped.

Bone Saw

Rich: Vorthos fail in not making this a worn-out version of something like Trusty Machete from the original Zendikar.


Jess: More like Surgesaw, am I right?

Zach: BONE SA- dammit. This card will enable surge, be a terrible piece of equipment, or be sideboard fodder.

Matt: spiderman-bone-saw-o

Pyromancer’s Assault

Rich: Four seems over-costed to me, but then again I like it when cards are playable I guess.

Carrie: Another card that rewards casting two cards a turn for multiple turns. This fits an attrition deck, and could be similar to Punishing Fire. This won’t be doing anything in a storm deck, though.

Zach: I’m always happy to see uncommon red shocking archetype-enabling or supporting enchantments. Unless there’s a decent amount of card drawing, I wouldn’t expect to trigger this very often.

Boulder Salvo

Rich: Now that’s a Surge card. Solid common removal for limited.

Carrie: Turn four two drop into this to kill opposing three or four drop? Yes please. It looks like four might be a key amount of toughness in the limited format as well, which would make this better.

Zach: Flame Slash is busted and this card being playable totally sells that.

Matt: The art = zzzzzzzz.

Eldrazi Displacer

Rich: C-c-c-c-combo breaker! Go infinite with Brood Monitor and Zulaport Cutthroat! In limited!

Jess: I like this! It’s disruptive, it has a relevant body, and it’s a white devoid card. Good job, dev team! Even if it is just a slightly different Mistmeadow Witch.

Carrie: A three-mana 3/3 is already good. If there’s a constructed deck that can use the flicker ability, there’s not a big cost to jamming this thing in the deck.

Zach: This card is sweet. A great, flexible ability on an aggressive body is just fantastic.

Matt: Daarken is easily one of my least favorite Magic artists. Not just cuz he was rude to me once. This thing looks phony.

Lexie: I’m excited to see what other white eldrazi will be in this set. This one is pretty cool.

Oath of Gideon

Rich: Curving this into Gideon, Ally of Zendikar will make you feel good and also give you a good chance of closing out games quickly.

Carrie: Giving extra loyalty counters is very powerful. You need to play some planeswalkers to make this worthwhile, but there are enough planeswalkers that make tokens to make this a coherent deck.

Zach: Unlike Jace and Nissa’s Oaths, you’re not getting a great deal on casting this card (unless you’ve got a bunch of Ally synergies).

Matt: I think I don’t like the planeswalker card type. I’ve never understood how I could use mana to summon creatures (pull them magically from the aether) to serve my purposes, and then I could also use mana to summon other people like me, and make them do my bidding as well … I mean, I can’t summon Hugh Kramer and actually get him to do anything, clean his room, wear pants that fit, listen to non-Nickelback music, etc. I could buy a dog though and teach it to get my slippers. Is any of this making any sense? Gideon’s a boring planeswalker anyway.

This Uncommon Land Cycle

Rich: I guess something had to replace the common mana fixing from Tarkir block but this is seriously awful and I hope Wizards is kidding when they say these will start showing up more often.

Zach: I’m always happy to see non-rare dual lands and am shocked it took this long for there to be a tap-land cycle with generic names. I guess the Khans tap/life lands were too strong/not simple enough, which is unfortunate, since I’d love to see those with different art.

Carrie: Everyone starting at 22 life was a pretty lame part of Khans limited.

Matt: It’s in the right colors though, eh?

Sifter of Skulls

Rich: Just when you were worried that Aristocrats decks couldn’t get any better, here you go.

Jess: This is a straight upgrade to the one from Rise of the Eldrazi, whose name I currently forget. I mean, you pay an extra mana, and it doesn’t trigger on itself, but you get better bodies from this one. Waaaaay better.

Carrie: The big impediment to successful sacrifice decks in current Standard is the lack of free sacrifice outlets, not rewards for sacrificing. If something comes along to pair with Nantuko Husk (besides Butcher of the Horde) then watch out. I suppose you could play this card for value in devoid aggro.

Matt: I love this art. That bone pile is weird. The colors in the background are fucking awesome, subtle, damn near sublime. This harkens back to the beautiful and under-appreciated art of Fallen Empires. I totally love it.

Embodiment of Insight

Rich: Solid addition to the non-existent UG Awaken deck in block constructed. Completely unplayable elsewhere I think. P.S. I miss block constructed.

Carrie: Vigilance is sweet on land creatures.

Zach: A 4/4 for 5 with a supremely relevant ability seems amazing. This could be a bomb uncommon (if green doesn’t suck).

Overwhelming Denial

Rich: Hello Modern combo decks. Are you looking for an uncounterable and easy to cast counterspell to protect your combo? Say hello to Overwhelming Denial, the card that I would be willing to wager is what gets Splinter Twin banned in the future.

Carrie: Counterspell mirrors in our Standard future? Blue has gotten a lot of good cards in this block.

Zach: This and Sphinx of the Last Word suggest that control mirrors are going to be exceedingly common. This card is probably a lot worse than it looks; four mana is a ton of mana to pay for a counterspell and it’s only going to be actual Counterspell if you’re already fighting over something. If you’re using something like Quicken or Thought Scour to turn this into Counterspell, why aren’t you just running Remand, Mana Leak, Logic Knot, or Counterflux (depending on what you need)?

Lexie: Literally a better Last Word. I think that this spell is pretty cool, but I don’t know how good it’ll be. How often do you expect to see counter wars in limited and/or Standard? Just a thought.

January 1st

Wandering Furmarole

Zac Clark: I don’t hate this, but i really wish this was 1ur: 3/1 flying T: deal one damage. Still its serviceable and avoids bolt.

Jess: I was betting this one would be Frostburn Weird, and I was not too far off. While I get the “4 damage for 4 mana” thing, I still wish it had activated for three.

Carrie: Better than I expected. Izzet is the color combination that gets the worst creatures and poses developmental concerns with a creature land.

Matt: I went to the doctors about a wandering fumarole a few years back and he gave me some ointment that cleared it right up.

Zach: Despite how much weaker this creature land cycle is than the Worldwake one, I’m excited about this land… for my cube.

Lexie: I almost think four mana to activate this is a little much. I personally think that it should be 3 for this kind of effect. /shrug It’s cool, I love things that switch.

Oath of Nissa

Rich: My biggest fear right now is that there is going to be a four-color card that costs WURG called “Oath of the Gatewatch” which will be a Sorcery that says “If you control a Gideon, Jace, Chandra, and Nissa Planeswalker card you win the game.” Also, Oath of Nissa is waaaaaay better than Oath of Jace.

Jess: So the oaths are all enchantments with an EtB spell effect and a static or triggered ability that rewards you for Planeswalkers. I don’t know that is going to be good enough to see play in any format other than Standard, although it might push more planeswalkers into Commander (hooray.).

Carrie: The first ability is easily worth one green mana and a card. Not clear that you will want to play a multicolor green deck full of planeswalkers, but if you do, the second ability is nice gravy.

Matt: Nissa is generally well clothed. I don’t really have a complaint as to how she’s represented in this image, I mean not an intense one. She isn’t hyper sexualized like most female humanoids in fantasy games. Still, I thought about the way she’s portrayed so there must be something there. I’ve been reading a lot of Maggie Nelson, Lyn Hejinian, and Linda Nochlin and have been thinking about race, gender, and bodies much more than I had previously. Additionally don’t think a modified biohazard symbol speaks of protecting one plane, let alone all planes, or that it represents any kind of nature energy. Nature energy is Nissa’s thing, right? Mostly I want to use this space to show you how much cooler this card would look if Nissa was a clone of Captain Phasma (and think a little about the representation of gender in sword and sorcery type fantasy worlds).

Zach: If this were just a sorcery, we’d be playing it. It’s like Ancient Stirrings and Ponder had a weird baby. It smoothes, it finds a variety of good stuff at all of points in the game, and it randomly lets you splash Nicol Bolas, which I’m certain is what Nissa intended.

December 31st

Stoneforge Masterwork

Rich: Equipping this to your Eldrazi Scions is going to be a hilarious flavor fail.

Carrie: This is the crowning achievement of the Stoneforge Mystics? I think not.

Hissing Quagmire

Rich: Deathtouch is such a powerful effect but I feel like a 2/2 is really fragile for a creature land. I guess deathtouch complicates the power/toughness. I would have started with a 2/4 deathtouch and reach for five mana, and maybe someone did, but development probably would have laughed at me.

Carrie: I’m not a fan of the show Family Guy, but I like this land. It might end up as the Sad Panda Land, though, because a lot of people are going to forget it’s on the other side of the table, attack with their big creature, and be surprised to trade. Good thing this land won’t survive combat often or it would lead to a nonzero number of table flips.

Matt: “Panda Land” is my new favorite thing to say.

Lexie: I don’t know what I expected, but this is kind of a let down. I wish it was at least a ⅔ – I think that would be fair. /shrug Jund will just have to stick with Raging Ravine.

Deceiver of Form

Carrie: The ultimate Modern deck for style points: Deceiver Twin. Untap with Deceiver of Form and Deceiver Exarch in play, cast Splinter Twin on the Deceiver Exarch, make infinite exarchs, go to attacks, flip a Qarsi Deceiver, and then say “I choose not to copy.”

Matt: The colors on the illustration for this card are super pretty.

Lexie: I.. really like this card. The timmy inside of me comes out with this one.

Rich: Sweet Standard combo with Gravepurge is a thing I never thought I would say. Also plays nicely with Mortuary Mire and Reclaim. I hope this set has a colorless reanimator spell to make this deck work.

Aaron: I like the idea of using this alongside a Conduit of Ruin to set up what big dumb creature you would get to copy. Maybe a Bane of Bala Ged? That seems pretty fun when you have 5 or 6 Scions in play as well. If they somehow survive, you still guarantee the win. To follow up you can always tutor up Eldrazi Devastator most likely for the win thanks to trample.

Oath of Jace

Rich: Swing and a miss. Seriously though, if you can keep your Planeswalkers in play you’re already pretty far ahead. Getting to Scry each turn is just salt on the wound. This smells like a cycle (based on the artwork for the packs) so I guess we’re going to get a bunch of these. I’m not looking forward to seeing the other three.

Jess: I wonder if Ob Nixilis has an Oath, to complete the cycle. His Oath would probably be “fuck all y’all, I’m off this dumbass rock.” I don’t know what that looks like mechanically.

Lexie: Blah. Seems like I could play a better card draw spell in Standard.

Matt: Jace is the legit worst character in all of medieval sword and sorcery fantasy adventure.

Carrie: I bet Jace took an oath never to cast this garbage.

Aaron: So this is a bad Compulsive Research and then it only does something once you have Planeswalkers out? Maybe we’ll see other Oaths and it won’t feel so bad when Jace’s isn’t the worst of them.

General Tazri

Rich: So this is a five-color Commander right? This probably just became the best General for your 5-Color Ally deck. I’m excited. You should be excited. I suspect you can just take a Sliver Commander deck and swap out all the Slivers for Allies.

Jess: Yeah, allies got enough Commander support this time around to really make it a viable archetype. Being able to trade out Karona for Tazri is going to be good; she’s not amazing, but she is very much on theme, and plays well with flicker shenanigans.

Lexie: Pretty sure this will only be played in Commander. I don’t think it is really that good in Standard…. WUBRG for hopefully +5/+5 with no trample? I  don’t think that is justifiable in standard at the moment.

Matt: Why does everyone insist on spelling “Commando” wrong?

Prophet of Distortion

Rich: At some point, with a critical mass of {C} appearing in activated abilities, will Wastes become a first-pick?

Jess: I like cards like this. I mean, it’s comparable to Azure Mage in commander, trading a mana in the cost for colorless everything, plus an inversion of power and toughness. Azure Mage is good, but not amazing; maybe this one will be a better take on it? I like that they’re experimenting around the edges, basically.

Lexie: Snap play this in limited all day every day. I have an affinity for mana sinks … It’s why I love Warden of the First Tree.

Matt: “Draw a card” is a good mechanic. My dad knows a good mechanic, too. If you need one hit me up.

Carrie: This is like Triton Shorethief and Ordeal of Thassa rolled up into one card! I won (one match in) a PTQ with that sick combo.

Embodiment of Fury

Creature – Elemental
Land creatures you control have trample.
Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have target land you control become a 3/3 Elemental creature with haste until end of turn. It’s still a land.

Rich: The hills are alive, with the sound of slaughter. Maybe the Magic: the Gathering movie is just a modern remake of The Sound of Music but set in Zendikar instead of Austria.

Jess: Like, this is basically decent in my Omnath, Locus of Rage deck, but I don’t know if it’s going to make a splash outside of Limited. This seems too slow and situational for most constructed formats… my only hesitation is the trample factor: if that’s good, this is a cheap way to grant it to your land creatures. But a lot of things have to go right for that.

Matt: This is the first holiday season I haven’t seen The Sound of Music at least once.

Carrie: Hasty 3/3 lands are pretty good in limited. Broodhunter Wurm can’t even.

Aaron: Hey my top decked fetch land is a thinner and 2 3/3s with haste and trample? I’ll take it.

Skinning Tendrils

All creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn. If a creature would die this turn exile it instead.

Rich: Make sure you get four copies of this for you Devoid Aggro sideboard for the Devoid Aggro mirror for the new Standard environment.

Jess: I should just make a Commander deck with every version of this effect in it.

Lexie: Rich, you’re joking right? All of my dudes die….. They’re 3/2s >_< Edit: Of course you’re joking… I read the other half of that sentence…

Matt: German cards are good and terrifying.

Carrie: More like be sure to get four copies for your esper control deck so you never lose to an aggro deck all format. Instead you’ll lose to turn five Kozilek.

Aaron:  Can’t we just get Mutilate back? Do we have to keep getting new subpar black sweeper effects.

December 30th

Linvala the Preserver

Rich: Does the lifegain really need a condition? Is this better than Timely Reinforcements? If Timely Reinforcements cost six mana but also came with an extra 5/5 angel would it see play? Probably not.

Matt: The other Linvala is better. Just sayin’.

Lexie: I’d rather play Ojutai…. >_< But I do love me some intervening if clauses!

Carrie: They should have named her Linvala, Maker of Noise.

Aaron: Not even with a 10-foot pole.

Remorseless Punishment

Rich: I thought this card was garbage until I read the last line. Wizards once printed a four-mana card that let you Time Walk unless an opponent lost half their life. This is pretty much the same thing except instead of Time Walk you get double Mind Rot or double Cruel Edict. The Time Walk card saw zero competitive play and you can probably guess where Time Walk compares to Mind Rot and Cruel Edict.

I think Wizards® needs to chill on the “purple means something evil is happening” in their illustrations. There are a slew of black cards that do nasty things and have purple in them. That Linvala card would probably look better with more purple in it. White and purple look good together (as do blue, red, and green with purple). Or, get off your asses and make purple the new color in Magic®. Quit hedging by making colorless kind of the new color in Magic® for Christ’s sake!

Carrie: Over/under on how many times any player in the future history of the world sacrifices two planeswalkers to this? I’ll be generous and set the line at 2.5.

Call the Gatewatch

Rich: It’s like Idyllic Tutor but if Idyllic Tutor could find good cards.

Didn’t we just have a set called Gatewatch®? During Back to the Ravnica® block? No? I could’ve sworn we did. Side note: Jace listening to Gideon about anything is hilarious. Gideon sucks.

That was Gatecrash. Come on buddy. Gatewatch and Gatecrash are TOTALLY different.

My bad.

Carrie: Jace is Egon, Chandra is Peter, Nissa is Ray, and Gideon is Winston. Ulamog is the Marshmallow Man and Kozilek is Vigo.

Vile Redeemer

Creature – Eldrazi
When you cast Vile Redeemer you may pay {C}. If you do, put a 1/1 colorless Eldrazi Scion creature token onto the battlefield for each nontoken creature that died under your control this turn. They have “Sacrifice this creature: Add {C} to your mana pool.”

Rich: I’m really interested to see more design space in the vein of Gravestorm and this is as good a start as any.

Matt: Cards look arguably awesomer when they’re not in English.

Aaron: So I can sacrifice a bunch of Scions to cast this, with mana floating, then sacrifice all of those to cast something else? Why didn’t I just skip A and B and move onto C in the first place? I am playing green, you might think I could have ramped a bit already.

Eldrazi Obligator

Rich: I played a turn-two Ulamog the other day in holiday cube and my opponent dropped Zealous Conscripts and attacked me with it. I still won, but that was obnoxious. This card will be obnoxious.

Matt: It’s always seemed obnoxious and lazy to me that Wizards® designs cards that are versions of the same card using new flavor. How many sets have a “gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn” card in them? Probably all of them? At least one per block? The art on this card is totally awesome.

Lexie: I kind of want to play this card in my Lyzolda EDH deck….

Reflector Mage

Rich: Right in the feels. Tables might get flipped when people rip this off the top to win games of limited.

Matt: Which invitational player designed this card? It doesn’t look like any pro player I know of. It would be better if it had flash.

Carrie: It would be weird with flash because of the “until your next turn” clause.

Aaron: I could use this to slow down an opposing Tarmogoyf for a couple of turns, or I could play something that actually matters? Make this Legendary and UW Death and Taxes here we go!


Rich: If block constructed was still a format then U/B Ingest would totally be a fun deck to play but block constructed isn’t a format and THANKS FOR NOTHING WIZARDS.

Matt: No one played block constructed, Rich.

Carrie: Way worse than Dimir Guildmage. Why is this thing unblockable?

Joraga Auxilliary

Rich: Without a way to protect herself I don’t have high hopes for this card surviving to activate its ability.

Matt: 42 is a lot of mana.

Carrie: Way worse than Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage. Still probably good.

Aaron: 4WG? Why do I have to wait that long just to pump 2 guys that aren’t this perfectly boltable creature?

Relentless Hunter

Rich: You can certainly do worse for aggressive Gruul creatures. You can also do much, much better.

Matt: Matt Stewart continues to slay with his painting this set.

Carrie: She brings back the goods.

Flayer Drone

Rich: Hahahahahaha. The Devoid Aggro decks are going to win so fast that they just declared one the winner of Pro Tour Shadows Over Innistrad. Crazy fast kills.

Matt: Didn’t we just have “Return to Slivers” block like one block ago?

Carrie: This thing is getting killed so fast, it’s like the dude with the rocket launcher guitar case in Desperado.

December 29th

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

Rich: Orzhov/Abzan Commander players all just collectively swooned.

Matt: I really really really like the word “swoon”.

Carrie: This is one of the cards that R&D told the creative team, make sure it has sweet art because people are going to play a lot of her.

Eldrazi Mimic

Creature – Eldrazi

Whenever another colorless creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may have the base power and toughness of Eldrazi Mimic become that creature’s power and toughness until end of turn.

Rich: I just don’t see this replacing Forerunner of Slaughter in the Devoid Aggro decks. Maybe one copy?

Zach: It’s a Renegade Doppelganger with a relevant initial body and a far more restrictive copy ability. I don’t have high expectations of this, but it’s definitely an interesting and fun card.

Lexie: The first time I saw this I definitely thought it was a 3-drop. >_< RTFC, Lexie. That being said, I think I will put it in my RB Devoid Aggro deck – probably will take the place of Hangarback Walker in my current build. Card seems sweet – I have an affinity for cards like this.

Jess: Yeah Zach! I love the flavor callback to Renegade Doppelganger. I don’t like either card as a card, but I think it’s an interesting connection between the sets.

Matt: Thallids are my favorite creature type.

Sea Gate Wreckage

Rich: Speaking of Devoid Aggro decks… Colorless card drawing seems sweet, especially on a landland.

Zach: I’m sensing a patternpattern, Rich. This card also tells a phenomenal story. I’d be interested if there were a whole cycle of these, but I imagine it’d be difficult to make five different rare nonbasic colorless lands that feel distinct, are reminiscent of a location, and don’t get stale. I can definitely see control decks combining a copy of this with Haven of the Spirit Dragon to grind out value.

Lexie: 10/10 will play this in my RB Devoid Aggro deck. It is good for those decks that just like… dump their hand.

Jess: Colorless lands that work as backup draw engines (i.e. Mikokoro, Center of the Sea) were good before, when it was a symmetrical effect. Between this, and the colorless matters cards which should be driving a slightly higher count of colorless lands, this will absolutely find a home in Commander decks. And you can copy this one with Thespian’s Stage! If you’ve got two of these, that lets you draw two cards, right? (Assuming proper stacking.) Anyway, good land is good.

Carrie: This is good when you are hellbent and draw a land. It’s probably good in the late game regardless, as you’ll have enough mana to cast most spells you topdeck and still activate the wreckage.

Matt: More like SeaGate DSV, amirite?

Ruins of Oran-Rief

Rich: Okay forget everything you knew about Devoid Aggro. This is your new Devoid Aggro.

Zach: This card tells an amazing story, just as Blightsteel Colossus did. An iconic card has been corrupted.

Jess: Yay to the story, meh to the card.



Immolating Glare

Rich: That’s going to see a lot of play in a lot of deckdecks.

Zach: Good removal spell is good. Kill Shot was decent enough and this could be close to a white Doom Blade. It’ll be a lot worse if white wants to always be the beatdown, but I doubt every white deck will be going wide with Allies and Support. This is good with Cohort, since it gives you more time to grind out value.

Carrie: Standard is happy to some two mana removal for Mantis Rider and Dragonlord Ojutai. And in limited this effect gets better as the mana cost goes down and it is easier to have the mana available without telegraphing what you have.

Matt: Perfected the full art card design. Zendikar’s aesthetic just doesn’t do it for me. Can’t wait for Lorwyn’s Lament (coming 2018, you read it here first)!

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Rich: This now-confirmed ‘Walker is pretty much everything you wanted right? Hello $50 prerelease price tag.

Zach: I’m skeptical of Nissa. On the one hand, she’s a three mana walker who protects herself and affects the board. On the other hand, that’s pretty much all she does. Alternatively, she could be an anthem for a green aggro deck, but I don’t know if such a deck exists. Perhaps it’ll be GW aggro with her Gideon to double up on creature bonuses? …actually, that does sound kind of sweet.

Lexie: I’d play this in Abzan Aggro – it is right on curve with Gideon and it is a lord for your bros. I’m a fan.

Jess: Not bad in a Doubling Season deck, but not busted in it either. This seems like a solid, but not amazing, planeswalker. It is cool how she’s basically Avenger of Zendikar, though.

Matt: Cards like this have be dangerously close to pissing my money away on Magic: The Gathering® again.

December 28th

Stone Haven Outfitter

Rich: The moment I saw this I Googled “Is Skullclamp banned in Commander?” and the answer is no, so here you go everyone who plays Skullclamp in Commander. Does this work? Maybe the +1/+1 will actually be a drawback when working with Skullclamp but that’s nothing a sacrifice-outlet can’t fix.

Zach: Auriok Steelshaper decided to stop being so persnickety and let everyone get +1/+1. I find the abundance of death triggers (of other creatures) on allies weird. How are they benefitting from their allies’ deaths? There’s no flavor justification. Or perhaps this is Wizards showing us the Zendikari losing the battle that they’re projected to win?

Shawn: Flavorwise, this is the guy who supplies the weapons. When a creature dies, he gets the weapons back and can outfit other allies right? I’m sure he’s not stoked about his friends dying, but there is some sort of utility in death, there are more free weapons!

Jess: Yeah, the +1/+1 is going to be a drawback in a lot of decks… Skullclamp’s at its strongest when it reads “1, sacrifice a creature: Draw two cards.” Some decks will definitely still use this, but it will probably find a primary home in voltron strategies, or a deck like Nahiri, the Lithomancer.

Carrie: Not many decks get multiple active equipment in a game. This reads like win-more to me. Trading up your bad creatures repeatedly through equipment already generates card advantage, so the +1/+1 and card draw feel redundant.

Jori En, Ruin Diver

Ed Note – The contributors used the normal art for this card but the full-art promo was too sweet not to throw up here.

Rich: Did Wizards start designing cards for Tiny Leaders? I doubt it, but this seems like a decent card in that format. Won’t see much play anywhere else though.

Zac Clark: How did WotC not give me this card to spoil? Let’s talk Storm. I might be willing to play 2 of these in Modern Storm. Then I’ll have Goblins and Merfolk in my storm deck! Seriously though. this card card keep you going once you start going off. I find that often removal gets sided out after board so Jori might be a great card to bring in.

Zach: We’re seeing a lot of reward cards for Surge, and Jori En is a sweet-looking one, but I want to see what’s going to enable Surge. Jori En into Anticipate isn’t that exciting.

Shawn: The more I look at this card, the more it sucks.

Jess: I wonder if we’ll see a new one-mana cantrip. I can see running this as a commander, I just don’t know that I’d like the deck that it wants. Because it’s not even a good storm commander… it’s really just good for an interactive control deck, like an Izzet take on Sygg, River Cutthroat.

Carrie: You can only draw one extra card a turn (sometimes on your opponent’s turn as well), so this needs a deck that wants to cast two spells a turn. Constructed Izzet decks tend to win by casting a lot of spells on a single turn. In that sort of deck, this is worse than Divination. This wants to be in a grindy deck, but those decks don’t want 2/3s that are easy to kill.

Matt: Not only have Wizards of the Coast® perfected the full art card design but Matt Stewart has painted his masterpiece! Congrats to the corporation and the freelancer! United in harmony if for only this brief moment.

Comparative Analysis

Rich: I hope there are more interesting spoilers with Surge at some point

Zac: Surge could have been <> less and I’d have been happy to include this in storm too. Oh well.

Zach: It’ll be difficult to turn this into a better card than Divination, but with Divination not presently in Standard, folks can enjoy casting Inspiration with strict, but minor upside.

Jess: Surge is not a Commander mechanic. It’s a shame; I was kinda looking forward to more reasons to play 2HG Commander… but Surge is definitely not that.

Carrie: This is pretty good with cheap counterspells. Adding a slight upside to Inspiration might make it playable in constructed. In limited this is probably always going to be Inspiration, but playing a two drop and this on turn five could be decent.

Matt: Cards depicting Jace Beleren help me save money by removing any interest in playing Magic: The Gathering® I may have had.

Tyrant of Valakut

Rich: Good thing Seething Song is banned in Modern I guess. I’m sure some kitchen-table fun will be had with turn-one Land, exile Simian Spirit Guide, Desperate Ritual, Seething Song, Tyrant of Valakut, bolt your face, pass the turn.

Zach: If you’re not surging with this card, you’re doing it wrong. Even in Limited, we expect more of our seven drops than a 5/4 flying. How good this is depends on how good the surge enablers are. If there were a card like Manamorphose in the set (which I don’t expect), then all of the Surge cards easily have the potential to be nuts.

Jess: This is a 5/4 flier for at least six mana (assuming there’s no Gitaxian Probe equivalent in this set). That’s terrible, even with a Lightning Bolt stapled on. Also, it feels like the surge cost should be more than the mana cost, allowing you a decent body for like five mana, and a body plus an ability for five or more. Kinda like Prowl, the last time they saddled us with an annoyingly situational mechanic?

Carrie: This doesn’t seem worth the hassle.

Matt: An expensive dragon! THANK THE MAKER!

Gladeheart Cavalry

Rich: I guess this has synergy with all those Bolster decks everyone is playing. If you like playing with Avenger of Zendikar you’ll love playing with Gladehart Cavalry, maybe?

Zach: So… you’re supposed to go really wide, eh? This is a big, dumb creature stapled to an anthem and a flavorless death ability.

Jess: It’s another counter lord. This is actually kinda a good development in the macro, although individually they’re all rather boring cards… it means there’s another way to play Ghave, Guru of Spores-style decks. Those decks initially tended to focus on the combo potential, or tokens, but now you can lean into the counter side of the archetype, and that’s nice, I suppose. Everyone’s still going to assume you have Cathars’ Crusade or one of the MANY other combo enablers that go off with Ghave, and they’re all good in the counter lord deck, so you may want to go with Anafenza, the Foremost (though she’s more fun in Living Death), but still, it’s been a nice opening of the archetype in the last few years.

Carrie: How often will this make more than two counters?

Matt: I am not fundamentally opposed to magical goat-deer.

Shoulder to Shoulder

Rich: White doesn’t always get to draw cards, but when it does, it still makes no sense why.

Zac: OK, it a cycle right? Blue gets Head to Head, Green gets Toe to Toe, Red gets Heart to Heart and Black gets Back to Back. They all have the same rules text.

Zach: Obsianous Golem reprint confirmed by Zac Clark! I wonder if the flavor text will be intriguing or confusing; the last set made it clear that Sea Gate fell and was then retaken. Now, it has fallen yet again. …in other news, while I loved Travel Preparations, I have low expectations of this card. It’s not often you’re going to have two creatures to cast this on on turn 2 and later in the game it may not have much of an effect. Or there will be sweet one drops or token producers and this card will lead to decently aggressive starts.

Jess: How good would this be as an instant?

Carrie: Cantripping makes this reasonable in limited.

Matt: Gideon is the lamest character. His flavor is that of bark.

Munda’s Vanguard

Rich: Is OGW going to be a better set for +1/+1 mechanics than KTK which literally had an entire faction devoted to +1/+1 mechanics?

Zach: This card seems incredibly slow for an aggressive ally deck. Perhaps there’s a slower ally deck in this format?

Jess: Allies are actually getting vaguely deep in Commander. They had been close after Zen block, but all these new rally allies have gone a long way to making it a viable archetype, outside of five-color. Like, I have the five-color ally deck, helmed by Karona, the False God, but I’m also thinking about an Alesha, Who Smiles at Death deck that focuses on allies. I don’t know if two color allies is quite there yet (though it may be after Oath), but it’s definitely broad enough to be supported in all the wedge/shard decks.

Scion Summoner

Rich: Solid ramp creature. Also, all Eldrazi Scion tokens from BFZ that add {1} instead of {C} should henceforth be known as Hipster Eldrazi Scions.

Zach: If 2/2 is a relevant body in this format, this creature should be decent (though nowhere near as good as Eldrazi Skyspawner). If not, this is slightly better than Call the Scions.

Carrie: Kozilek’s aesthetic is so much cooler than Ulamog’s.

Matt: Oh good! I thought this set wasn’t going to have shitty colorless creature brain border.

Spatial Contortion

Rich: Our first top-pick limited uncommon hits the scene and boy does it look sweet. I bet foils of this are going to look fantastic. What’s up with those arms?

Lexie: I think this card will be showing up in Constructed for sure – cheap kill spells are always sweet and this is a cool one that can have the dual functionality of a pump spell.

Zach: We’ve found our Searing Spear and it’s an uncommon and harder to cast than any monocolored spell. This could be a splashable, excellent removal spell, or it could entice players to draft far too ambitious manabases. Time will tell if this is Processor Assault, Titan’s Presence, or Complete Disregard. I’d bet it’s between Titan’s Presence and Complete Disregard (and if colorless lands have a big opportunity cost to play, it’s much closer to Titan’s Presence than Complete Disregard).

Carrie: They are really pushing the Eldrazi ramp deck in Standard. This might not fit the primary plan, but it will shine against problem cards like Monastery Mentor and Mantis Rider.

Matt: Anyone else feel like Wizards of the Coast® didn’t spend too much time designing the colorless mana symbol? I imagine the meeting that lead to this decision went something like: “How about a concave sided diamond?” “Ok”.

Reckless Bushwacker

Rich: Cards that combo with Monastery Swiftspear are going to be very, very good for the next three months or so.

Zach: I expect far less of this Bushwacker than the last one. Goblin Bushwhacker only asked two mana; this one asks for a whole other spell as well. That said, this will still be crushing face with goblin tokens for some time.

Jess: I’m not a huge fan of cards that are only good when you’re ahead.

Carrie: Kobold lord!

Walker of the Wastes

Rich: Assuming you already have a Wastes to cast this Eldrazi, you’re getting a 5/5 trample for 5 mana which is pretty solid for limited. Another good uncommon for the colorless deck that everyone is going to be trying to draft.

Zach: I love build-around uncommons, and Walker of the Wastes rewards the dedicated devoid drafter. A 4/4 trample for five usually is decent, and this could conceivably be quite bigger, depending on how invested one is in attaining Wastes.

Carrie: I wonder if there will be a card that can turn basics into Wastes. Imagine Waste Moon!

Matt: First read this as “Waster of Wastes” and laughed out loud. Upon re-reading it’s much less funny.

Deepfathom Skulker

Rich: I guess Development is starting to realize that when you undercost these effects they end games too quickly. This seems like a bit too much though. Certainly a decent limited rare but not a bomb. Definitely not even close to constructed playable on its own.

Zach: Turning your entire team into saboteurs is awesome. This is substantially worse than Edric, Spmaster of Trest, but can still grind games out on its own. This might be too slow and clunky for Limited or it’ll be a solid value-maker. Only time and more spoilers will tell.

Jess: I love this thing. Coastal Piracy, Bident of Thassa, and Edric, Spymaster of Trest have a new friend, and this one gives unblockable to boot.

Carrie: A six-mana 4/4 Bident of Thassa seems great in limited too.



Dread Defiler

Rich: Is a Standard dredge deck in our future? Oh boy do I ever hope so. Then again, seven mana is probably way too much to pay to put your finisher onto the battlefield when it has an activated ability that costs four.

Zach: It’s the even more expensive cousin of Barrage of Tyrant. We’ll see how expensive seven mana is in Oath of the Gatewatch. Seven was quite castable in Battle for Zendikar, but the majority of the cards in draft will be Oath, changing things up a lot.

Jess: This has less universal appeal. Black decks tend to like recurring their graveyard more than consuming it. Also, Kozilek’s brood is weird.

Carrie: I will first pick this every chance I get and draft the grindiest decks possible. Now I just have to figure out how my Ruin processors end up in the yard.


Rich: This showed up in earlier spoilers but was also in one of the official spoilers so let’s talk about it. And by talk about it I mean let’s gush about how fantastic colorless Commander decks are going to be now.

Zach: It’s a value machine stapled to a 5/5 vigilance. Seems pretty good, if you can cast it.

Jess: Most Commander decks can cast this… there are enough good utility lands (like the Blighted cycle, or Rogue’s Passage, or any of the “sac to make creatures” lands) to ensure this is a card you can get full advantage from. And that’s a lot of advantage!

Carrie: I wish you could stack untaps with this and Prophet of Kruphix, not that anyone would ever make a deck using both cards.

Unknown Shores

Rich: Fair enough as a reprint. I wonder how many more reprints of lands that produce {C} we’ll get over the next few expansions as Wizards works to get the new mana symbol into circulation.

Zach: I wish we’d had more cards like Unknown Shores and Crumbling Vestigate in Battle for Zendikar to enable Converge and multicolor allies. Neither is particularly good at fixing mana, but they both do something. As is, I’d imagine these go into multicolor colorless decks which ‘splash’ a couple cards in two to three colors.

Shawn: Here I was hoping for a Shimmering Grotto reprint.

Jess: Are we sure that they’ll be working the new mana symbol into broad circulation? I could see them going back to the old way after this set, since even in Limited you’re going to be seeing a mix of old and new colorless symbology.

Carrie: I think the mana symbol is a permanent change.

Matt:  This is one of my favorite maps to play in Destiny®.


Crumbling Vestige

Rich: This land has so much Vorthos and Melvin in it that it’s really, really elegant in its design. This card has Ethan Fleischer written all over it.

Zach: I agree with Rich. This is elegant and fairly strong. It’s like a Tendo Ice Bridge you have to use the turn you play it.

Carrie: How much will it suck to draw this when you are desperate to get a colorless mana source in the mid-to-late game? I love the design, though.


Rich: This was another victim of Oathgate but it’s a really tricky mythic rare to evaluate anyways. Copying spells is an ability that traditionally struggles to gain traction but putting copies of creatures into play as an activated ability (making it less susceptible to disruption like Duress or Cancel) is very appealing. The “you control” part could lower the ceiling on this card’s playability since you can’t use it to recover from a bad board state immediately.

Zach: Never before has a land had abilities like this, and rarely have players been interested in self-only-Forks and self-only-Clones. A land which can cast spells this powerful bears consideration, but I’d expect this to be more of a Contested Warzone or Cathedral of War than relevant spell land..

Jess: This card is gross. Totally a Commander card, I want a million of these things, and I hope it fails miserably outside of Commander so that those million copies are cheap to acquire.

Carrie: Both abilities are sweet, but how often will a deck make good use of both? Is one of them enough?

Matt: Sub par art that could’ve looked really sweet.

December 18th

Goblin Dark-Dwellers

Rich: There’s no doubt that this is a solid ability but on a five-mana Goblin it’s going to pretty much be relegated to Commander. I expect it to shine in that format but that’s about it. Decent limited bomb as well thanks to Menace.

Zac: 10/10 would Goblin Lackey

Zach: This is awesome for cube. It’s a red creature that doesn’t need to be in monored.

Jess: This is going to be an interesting Commander card. Perhaps this is the push Living End needed to be Commander playable? It’s certainly good with all those free spells you can’t otherwise cast.

Carrie: Patrick Chapin says this card is busted. I agree, at least in jund-style decks.

Matt: Goblin Mole-People look sweet. Look how pointy their ears, noses, and, oh my!, teeth are!

December 12th

Crush of Tentacles

Rich: I’m looking forward to playing this in cube one day when you float nine mana to cast Armageddon followed by Crush of Tentacles for a brutal variation on Upheaval.

Zac: Get your foil Gitaxian Probes ready!

Zach: This is definitely better than Devastation Tide, but it works rather awkwardly. You want to put it into a ramp shell, but unless you’re only ramping with lands, you’re going to bounce your mana creatures and rocks. Plus, you have to surge it.

Jess: Yeah, I kinda hate Surge. And this is an irritating effect in Commander. Hopefully, the counter-synergistic nature of this card will keep it out of the format.

Carrie: Great combo with Mana Crypt. They have to reprint that with the new colorless mana symbol, right?

December 11th


Rich: Not much to see here anymore but I wanted this here for posterity. Any guesses what foil copies are gonna be worth? $5 apiece? $10? $100?

Zach: I’m hoping that this gets printed and reprinted a decent amount. It seems like this was made this way to help EDH players, but colorless decks having the option to use twenty copies of an expensive basic land doesn’t help the format much.

Jess: Yeah, these stupid, gorgeous, stupid gorgeous things are the main reason I’m considering getting a case of OGW. I like their existence, I despise their presumably limited availability.

Carrie: One of the most beautiful lands ever printed.

Matt: I strongly disagree with the positive reviews of this illustration. My eye directly goes to the concave diamond stain in the middle bottom of the card. What a joke piece of graphic design. So lazy, so over the top bad. Once I choose to ignore the horrific blight in design form and move on to the illustration itself I’m saddled with the burden of foraging through ruined potential. The physicality of the wastes are wholly mediocre. They are badly painted vaguely rainbow reminiscent objects. They are rendered like lesser issues of our favorite comics. They’re not dynamic though they employ dynamic trickery (diagonals, mostly) which get convoluted in their disproportionate scale shifts. Enough talk from me on this. Here are a few versions of Wastes that I think are more compelling than the official art (I made them in twenty minutes while at work). One is again from Destiny®. The next is a photograph of bismuth (which looks similar too and awesomer than the minerals depicted in the card art). The final image I tooled with is a simple hue shift from the bright blue skies of the original (which have nothing to do with any image the word “wastes” conjures in my mind) to a moodier and TS Elioter color representation of the mood.




Kozilek, the Great Distortion

Rich: Kozilek has been discussed at length already, but not here, so deal with it. Also deal with the fact that when it hits the battlefield your opponent will have a full grip of cards to use to counter everything you draw.

Zac: I want to cast this in Standard in a U<> control shell… SOOOOO BAD!

Lexie: Do you think this will see any play in Tron or do they not care? I guess the old one isn’t played.. but that one is even more expensive, CMC wise.

Zach: I’ve been impressed by both the new Ulamog and Void Winnower in Modern. I wouldn’t be shocked to see new Kozilek try to combine the two in Modern.

Jess: Taking Annihilator off the Eldrazi makes them a lot more fun in Commander, and this has evasion and kills in two hits. I’m probably going to stick with Nulamog, but I’m a lot happier to play this Kozilek than the old one.

Carrie: Kozilek solves a big problem for ramp decks: what to do with extra copies of ramp cards you draw late. I think this will be a chase mythic in Standard and maybe older formats too.

Matt: Kozilek looks fucking awesome.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.