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Avacyn Restored: Week One part 2
Tuesday, April 10th was the release of a few new cards in articles on the Wizards of the Coast Magic the Gathering website. Although released on the same day I published Avacyn Restored: Week One part 1, I chose to compile them with the rest of the week's previews.
Moonsilver Spear (4) is an artifact equipment that was revealed as the special pre-release promo. It equips for (4) and gives equipped creature first strike, making it a pretty decent equipment provided your creature is worth it. Its real power lies with its second ability, which states that whenever the equipped creature attacks, you get a 4/4 Angel token. The best part is that these tokens are permanent- they are not exiled or sacrificed at the end of the turn. Sure they don't have haste, but after a few turns swinging with this spear you'll have enough Angels to lead an entire angelic assault!
Latch Seeker (1UU), a spiffy 3-cost 3/1 spirit that is unblockable. It's not as cool perhaps as Invisible Stalker with its hexproof and but on turn three this guy can start dealing a lot of damage- if you can keep him on the field long enough. Since Stalker is a 2-cost for 1/1, Seeker is more powerful in that respect. There are lots of other 3-drops that would probably be a better choice, but if the board is in your favor then Latch Seeker should be a fair pick. I think it would be better in drafts than constructed- unless of course your deck is built around Invisible Stalker, in which case it should feel right at home.
Killing Wave (XB) is a sorcery that forces each player to choose- creatures or life. This seems like a really good card for "loner" decks that have been introduced with AVR. Especially if your deck doesn't deal with a lot of creatures, but you're up against a weenie or aggro; your opponent will be devastated either way. Against a deck that relies on creatures- either they lose all their creatures (and likely their win factors) or they lose however much life you deem necessary. The X-cost is great- you can pay as much mana of any color you want to make your opponent cry, and if you have mana-generating cards it's even better. I'd probably keep it in the sideboard though, in the event you draw a couple but you're not up against a creature deck.
Temporal Mastery (5UU) is such an awesome card, whether you hardcast it or spend its miracle cost. Since you'd be unlikely to have very many copies of this card in your deck, by the time you draw it you should have enough mana to hardcast it, but if you can set it up with Ponder to draw it first on your turn, you're in for a treat. Its not as good as Time Warp except for its miracle cost, but since Time Warp isn't Standard anymore, we'll take what we can get.
Craterhoof Behemoth (5GGG) is a monster of a card- literally. While its 5/5 power/toughness is nothing to gape at, its Haste and ability are. The fact that it costs so much doesn't really bother me because it's better late in the game, preferably after you've gotten a good-sized handful of creatures on your side of the field. If he does not win the game for you on the turn he's played, simply Cloudshift him the next turn and you're good to go. Overrun would be a great combo to play, assuming you've got the mana to do so!
Druid's Repository (1GG) is a low-cost enchantment that seems like it would be REALLY good for some of these Angel creatures out there- but in a G/B deck I can see this baby paying a hefty amount for the aforementioned Killing Wave. Unfortunately these two cards are unlikely to see play in the same deck, since Repository demands creatures attacking to charge it, and Killing Wave could care less about all those creatures. However, if you're hiding a nice big monster in your hand, sacrificing all those creatures should not be too hard. Pay Killing Wave's X cost with Repository, sack your creatures and then summon a big meanie. It sounds good in theory, anyways.
Angel of Jubilation (1WWW) is another Angel- as I mentioned in Awaiting Avacyn the Angels are going to be a hard-hitting force to be reckoned with in Standard. Since every color except for black has been seen paired with white in AVR, it makes sense that Jubilation pumps up any nonblack creature. What's really spiffy is her stifling ability for paying life or sacrificing creatures to cast spells or abilities. This means trouble for Mirrodin/Phyrexia players especially- who tend to thrive on paying 2 life instead of mana to cast some of their artifacts.
Arcane Melee (4U) I really like as an enchantment. With this card out, even cards like Temporal Mastery can be hardcast much more easily without any repercussions. The only downside its Arcane Melee's own casting cost. With a CMC of 5, and a lot of other cards having the same CMC, there are probably better choices. However, AVR brings with it tons of heavy-costing cards, so Arcane Melee would probably still be a good choice.
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight (4RWW) is another gold Legendary Angel, this time a R/W combination. She costs (2) more than Sigarda for the same basic abilities- 5/5 flyer plus one extra ability. In Sigarda's case, it was hexproof, in Gisela's, its first strike. Unlike the protection that Sigarda offers, however, Gisela deals double damage to opponents and permanents from any source that the damage comes from. For example, with a Mirran Crusader on the field, that's a potential for 8 damage from a little 2/2 creature; not including any other possible buffs that come with a white deck. Gisela is really expensive though, and for one more mana you could have Avacyn out on the field instead; though you'd lose the double strike ability, you would gain indestructible.
Tandem Lookout (2U) is a three-cost 2/1 with soulbond. As stated on the Wizards site it is the new and improved Ophidian for standard. Unlike Ophidian, which won't deal damage if you draw a card, Lookout will still deal the damage and you draw a card- two cards, in fact, if it's paired with another creature. Since the draw card mechanic is really strong in AVR, I imagine this to be a good card for a good theme.
Nightshade Peddler (1G) is our first deathtoucher for AVR so far. Although he does not have deathtouch on his own, he can be paired with another creature. For only 2 mana, that's pretty damn good, especially paired with a good, strong hitter.
Angel's Tomb (3) was released as the first wallpaper for Avacyn Restored, and I have to say, to cost (3), it seems way too good for creature decks. In white human decks, when you are very likely to summon a creature every turn, Angel's Tomb will start to look really good, and because it returns to being an artifact at the end of the turn, creature removal is useless unless you are attacking with it. Notice the card says that you may have Angel's Tomb become a creature; you don't have to activate the ability, so unless you are attacking with it, it can't be removed just anytime by creature removal- but of course with artifact or other permanent removal it is still vulnerable. But for only 3 mana, it's definitely worth it.
Wizards really enjoys trying to slip some of these previews by us; here's a look at the updates for April 12th, starting with that new Planeswalker:
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (3UU) doesn't fit the flavor of Innistrad at all; she is a Soratami hailing from Dominaria and the Kamigawa block from long ago. While it's wonderful that we have a new blue Planeswalker, as Jace is now the only sole-blue walker, she really stands out amongst the cards and flavor of Innistrad. That does not make her any less amazing. For a CMC of five, she comes into play with four loyalty, and her +1 ability is a handy little Frost Titan of a scheme. Between those two you've got a pretty safe field in controlling your opponent's monsters. Her second ability is pretty nifty and can be used right off the bat; with cards likeFeeling of Dread, Frost Titan, and other tap-heavy cards, you've got a draw advantage with Tamiyo, but otherwise her second ability is not amazing for -2 loyalty. It's her -8 ultimate that makes her so awesome in a card-advantage deck. Personally, I just can't wait to see this paired up with Jace's Archivist or Forbidden Alchemy. Tamiyo's ultimate allows you to have infinite cards in your hand; but you aren't required to return cards to your hand from your graveyard. This makes her good in a self-mill deck with Splinterfright; creatures that are milled into your graveyard can stay there to pump up cards on the field like Kessig Cagebreakers and Boneyard Wurm, but if it isn't a creature you can put it in your hand instead. With Forbidden Alchemy, instead of worrying about a good card going in your graveyard, you basically can draw four for 3 mana. And with Jace's Archivist, you force your opponent to get rid of his entire hand, while not having to discard yours, and drawing new cards. Something just seems really good with this card but I have a feeling Tamiyo will be very slow, good for control decks but not much else.
Bruna, Light of Alabaster (3WWU) is the U/W gold Angel. We've seen R/W and G/W, and of course several mono-white legendary Angels come to play, so it's about time we see Bruna, the U/W. SO much can be said about this beautiful angel. Her second ability is vigilance, putting her there with Gisela (R/W first striker) and Sigarda (G/W hexproof) in her uniqueness. She costs (1) more than Sigarda and (1) less than Gisela, meeting them halfway in cost for the same 5/5. What makes her very different is her text. For a recap, Sigarda is a G/W legendary Angel who has hexproof, and protects your opponent from making you sacrifice permanents. GIsela, the R/W Angel, with first strike, pretty much gives all your creatures and spells (instants, sorceries, etc) double strike. So your Lightning Bolt does double damage just for GIsela being on the field. Bruna is interesting. When she attacks, you may attach any number of Auras, from the field, the graveyard, or your hand, to her. This has the potential to really pump her up, and according to her text, they are never discarded. So, each time this Angel swings she is more powerful than next time. Though there aren't very many Auras in the Innistrad block that would specifically work well with an Angel, there's still plenty to work with.
Harvester of Souls (4BB) is a meanie, but he's not quite up there at Titan-level, which cost the same with an extra power/toughness. He does have something going for him with deathtouch, making his 5/5 not quite so bad since he will still kill anything that blocks him. In addition, you have the ability to draw a card each time another nontoken dies, meaning anything he kills or anything, perhaps, that you or your opponent sacrifices, gives you the ability to draw a card. Pair him with some of the "loners" from AVR or the vampires from Innistrad/Dark Ascension that thrive on sacrifices and you're golden in the card-draw department.
Vexing Devil (R) is the second of the two monored cards revealed so far, and he's a doozy. When he enters the battlefield, your opponent decides whether he stays or goes- but in my opinion, whether he stays or goes does not really matter. If he stays, you've just gotten yourself a 4/3 devil for only one mana. However, if your opponent chooses to let him deal 4 damage to him, then you've just hit your opponent for 4 for one mana; there are so many instants and sorceries out there that deal the same damage or less for the same cost or more. In my opinion, it's really win-win for you; in a black deck you can always try to bring him back for another 4 damage or a nasty little creature.
Descendants' Path (2G) is an enchantment, and a pretty solid one at that. It seems like it would work really well for tribal decks- or Angels in Standard. Since most angels are at least 4/4 fliers, and usually cost more than 3 mana, Descendants' Path seems awfully good in that you have the potential to have a free-to-cast Avacyn as early as turn four!
Once again, Green/White is seeming like a really good combo right now with the G/W angel as well as the individual cards. I'm hoping we'll see some Auras come out to make Bruna good in Standard and Innistrad Limited.
The booster decks were also released today, but I won't bother getting into them here. You can, however, read the article at Wizards here, as well as see images for all these pretty new cards that are coming our way!
Until next time!