The Chaos Turtle's Planeshift PreRelease Preview: Part One
By Rob Myers
||Chaos Turtle's Planeshift PreRelease Preview! ONE
The White, Blue and Black cards
Well, hello there!
Yes, yes, it's me again -- your friendly neighborhood freak-in-a-shell -- back from a hiatus during which I had no daring adventures, met no new and interesting people, and was responsible for no mayhem whatsoever. Well, two out of three ain't bad.
I've been silent long enough (since Prophecy, actually) so it's time for me, once again, to tell you what to think.
This is a special series, wherein I will reveal to you what cards you should pick on Prerelease Day, based upon their usefulness to you in Sealed and Draft environments.
I'll also clue you in on what to rare-draft*, so you can be sure to have some of the cards you need for the upcoming Standard Environment.
Today, we'll deal with the white, blue, and black cards. Tomorrow, we get to the Red and green cards, along with the Artifacts. Part 3 -- hopefully out in time for you to read Friday night before turning in (because you are going to get a good night's rest before PreRelease Day, aren't you?) -- will deal with the multicolor cards, and the details of a deckbuilding contest that could win you the first foil I open on Saturday (yup, even if it's a rare; no, the PreRelease foil promo doesn't count, greedy people).
While reading, keep and eye out for the Battlemages, which will prove very potent creatures indeed, in the Invasion/Planeshift Limited Environments. Also, pay attention to the black and red cards that are going to define a new deck archetype.
Starting with white, we get several interesting but not particularly powerful cards. The noteable exception is Orim's Chant, the "fixed Abeyance."
The rest is some stuff to fiddle around with in limited games, especially the Sunscape Battlemage and Voice of All, the standout creatures of this group.
Aura Blast - 1W (C)
Destroy target enchantment. Draw a card.
While lacking the versatility of Disenchant, this card is a contrip nonetheless that can take out annoying creature enchantments in limited. Not useful in constructed with Wax/Wane being a better choice (beides Disenchant of course) excpet maybe in U/w decks that need a little extr help against Fires and Burst.
Aurora Griffin - 3W (C)
Creature - Griffin; 2/2
Flying. W: Target permanent becomes white until end of turn.
Is this supposed to be something we'd add to our white-weenie decks? So we don't feel bad about branching into additional colors, and the off-color creatures can benefit as well?
And why, pray tell, would we bother doing that? Maybe when the Rebels rotate out this fall; but then again, if the rumors are true, Crusade won't be around anyway.
Still, a 2/2 flyer for 4 mana isn't awful. Draft it midway, after the Voice of All and Glimmering Angel is gone.
Disciple of Kangee - 2W (C)
Creature - Wizard; 2/2
U, T: Target creature gains flying and becomes blue until end of turn.
Well, at least this one gives flying. So it's blue.
Dominaria's Judgment - 2W (R) Instant
Until end of turn, creatures you control gain protection from white if you control a plains, from blue if you control an island, from black if you control a
swamp, from red if you control a mountain, and from green if you control a forest.
This is rare?
Strictly a limited card, so why wasn't it uncommon?
It's good, by the way.
Guard Dogs - 3W (U)
Creature - Hound; 2/2
2W, T: Choose a permanent you control. Prevent all combat damage target creature would deal this turn if it shares a color with that permanent.
Doesn't work against Blastoderm, so who cares?
In limited, what makes this useful is that it's a 2/2. What makes it suck is that you have to tap it to use the ability, which means it will spend most of its time hoping to block and stop another creature's damage before it dies.
Heroic Defiance - 1W (C)
Enchanted creature gets +3/+3 unless it shares a color with the most common color among all permanents or a color tied for most common.
Well, this is interesting. Will see limited play in sideboards, once it's known what color the permanents of the opponents deck are. Until then, the risk of it being useless are just too high.
Hobble - 2W (C)
When Hobble comes into play, draw a card. Enchanted creature can't attack. Enchanted creature can't block if it's black.
This is okay. Pacifism is strictly better, but if you are only worried about the creature attacking, then the cantrip effect may make this card better for you. Try it in your W/U control decks to give you the breathing space and card economy you need to get your Millstone to work.
Oh, wait, that's what Teferi's Moat is for. (This works on flyers, though.)
Honorable Scout - W (C)
Creature - Soldier; 1/1
When Honorable Scout comes into play, you gain 2 life for each black and/or red creature target opponent controls.
This is a good card for limited, I think. There's a pretty good chance you'll gain two to four life just for the mana, gaining a chump blocker in the bargain.
Reminds me of Soul Warden in Rath/Saga white weenie days, but nowher near as good.
Lashknife Barrier - 2W (U)
When Lashknife Barrier comes into play, draw a card. If a source would deal damage to a creature you control, it deals that much damage minus 1
to that creature instead.
Oh, now this is really good in limited. try to pick one of these up.
You might mess with your opponent's calculations ("Oh, crap, I fergot about the barrier!") and get some good trade-offs with it. At least you replace the card and give your creatures an effective 1-point toughness boost.
March of Souls - 4W (R)
Destroy all creatures. They can't be regenerated. For each creature destroyed this way, its controller puts a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying into play.
This is interesting. Follow it up with a Simoon and you're in business.
Orim's Chant - W (R)
Target player can't play spells this turn. If you paid the kicker cost, creatures can't attack this turn.
Much has been made of this card being as good as Abeyance. It isn't; Abeyance is a cantrip for 1W. But you can play this for just W if you're not worried about being attacked.
So this is good. But don't be fooled into thinking it's Abeyance.
Planeswalker's Mirth - 2W (R)
3W: Target opponent reveals a card at random from his or her hand. You gain life equal to that card's converted mana cost.
Lifegain is not terribly useful (unless you get 7 for 2 mana) but maybe this is a way of seing what the opponent is holding, but the other colors have better side effects.
Pollen Remedy - W (C)
Kicker-Sacrifice a land.
Prevent the next 3 damage that would be dealt this turn to any number of target creatures and/or players, divided as you choose. If you paid the kicker cost, prevent the next 6 damage this way instead.
Good limited card. Really good late-game when your lands are not as important, and where it could break open a hole in the opponent's creature lineup.
Samite Elder - 2W (R)
Creature (C)leric; 1/2
T: Creatures you control gain protection from the color(s) of target permanent you control until end of turn.
Another possibly useful limited card, but sideboard material unless you are playing 4 or 5 colors.
Samite Pilgrim - 1W (C)
Creature (C)leric; 1/1
T: Prevent the next X damage that would be dealt to target creature this turn, where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control.
Samite Healer, exchanging the ability to protect you with the ability to prevent more than 1 damage. A more-than-fair trade, I think.
Sunscape Battlemage - 2W (U)
Creature - Wizard; 2/2
Kicker 1G and/or 2U.
When Sunscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 1G kicker cost, destroy target creature with flying.
When Sunscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 2U kicker cost, draw two cards.
I like all of the Battlemages in limited. This isn't the best of them, though, which is saying something because it's pretty good. At the very least you get a 2/2 for 3 (yeah, Gray Ogre, I know) and you probably will kill a nice flier by the time you can afford to pay 6 mana.
Drawing cards is good, to, I guess. :-P
Sunscape Familiar - 1W (C)
Creature - Wall; 0/3
Green spells and blue spells you play cost 1 less to play.
I like all the familiars too! This one helps G/w get out Blastoderm a turn sooner, and U/w control gets to... uhm... well, I guess it makes it a little easier to pay the actual mana cost on Thwart and Foil.
Surprise Deployment - 3W (U)
Play Surprise Deployment only during combat. Put a nonwhite creature card from your hand into play. At end of turn, return that creature to your
hand. (Return it only if it's in play.)
This is almost great, but the nonwhite restriction could be trouble, especially since your green or blue creatures are probably white anyway.
It's the closest thing white has to instant-speed removal white has in Invasion block so far, though, so take it if there's nothing better.
Voice of All - 2WW (U)
Creature - Angel; 2/2
As Voice of All comes into play, choose a color. Voice of All has protection from the chosen color.
The double-white rules out splashing, but it's a 2/2 flier for 4 with protection from a color of your choice, which makes it good.
Blue gets the shaft in counters for this set, but the cool bounce -- along with the weird color-changing cards introduced -- makes up for it. Of course the Stormscape Battlemage is a great limited trickster.
Multicolor players may like the "domain" card drawing of our first blue card in the list...
Allied Strategies - 4U (U)
Target player draws a card for each basic land type among lands he or she controls.
Strictly limited-format card-drawing. You'd have to be playing at least three colors to make it worth the mana. Four land types makes this a really good deal, but if you're playing four colors, then you should have plenty of really good stuff to draw anyways. If you don't then this can help make up for your poor drafting.
Arctic Merfolk - 1U (C)
Creature - Merfolk; 1/1
Kicker-Return a creature you control to its owner's hand.
If you paid the kicker cost, Arctic Merfolk comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it.
Yuck. You get a 2/2 for 2 if you bounce your own creature? I'd much rather have a 2/2 for 1G that lets me make any color mana I want. If you draft this, you may be colorblind.
Confound - 1U (C)
Counter target spell that targets one or more creatures. Draw a card.
Very nice. Won't see much constructed play (like most cards in this set) but make a great counter for limited decks.
Dralnu's Pet - 2UU (R)
Creat. - Shapeshifter; 2/2
Kicker-1B, Discard a creature card from your hand.
If you paid the kicker cost, Dralnu's Pet comes into play with X +1/+1 counters on it,
where X is the discarded card's converted mana cost.
Really great in limited (so of course it's rare) making some just wrong combo with certain Planeshift artifact creatures. Even with a medium-cost (3-5 mana) creature to discard, this has the potential to be a huge flyer for only 4 mana. Your opponent has to answer this one, and quickly.
Ertai's Trickery - U (U)
Counter target spell if a kicker cost was paid for it.
The only possible use for this is deep in the sealed-deck players' sideboard, where it could be useful against someone who opened Kicker.dec.
Escape Routes - 2U
2U: Return target white or black creature you control to its owner's hand.
Not very interesting, but could be used in limited to pull some neato combat tricks, or put those Battlemages to work again.
Gainsay - 1U (U)
Counter target blue spell.
Bury this even deeper in the sideboard than Ertai's Trickery.
Hunting Drake - 4U (C)
Creature - Drake; 2/2
When Hunting Drake comes into play, put target red or green creature on top of its owner's library.
This is a little better. A flyer is always good in limited, and this one -- though pricey --is really good if the opponent has a green or red creature (pretty likely, I'd say).
Planar Overlay - 2U (R)
Each player chooses a land he or she controls of each basic land type. Return those lands to their owners' hands.
Oh, now this could screw the 5-color player up. If he's Harrowed already -- or kicked a Primal Growth -- you can slow him up a bit by returning all that stuff to his hand.
I doubt this would make it into any constructed sideboards, but I'm probably wrong about that.
Planewalker's Mischief - 2U (R)
3U: Target opponent reveals a card at random from his or her hand. If it's an instant or sorcery card, remove it from the game. As long as it remains removed from the game, you may play it as though it were in your hand without paying its mana cost. If it has X in its mana cost, X is 0. At end of turn, if you haven't played it, return it to its owner's hand. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Ah, big fun with the opponent's stuff. Too bad it's restricted to Instants and Sorceries, or it would be more than merely fun.
Rushing River - 2U (C)
Kicker-Sacrifice a land. Return target nonland permanent to its owner's hand. If you paid the kicker cost, return another target nonland permanent to
its owner's hand.
Is this really common? Mid-to-late game, kick this with a surplus land and attack, for heaven's sake!
Alternate version reported elsewhere: (Rushing River; Enchantment; 2UU; When Rushing River comes into play, tap all creatures. Creatures do not untap during their controller's untap step. At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player untaps a creature.)A Rising Waters for creatures, I like this a lot but I guess blue has enough lockdown stuff for right now.
Sea Snidd - 4U (C)
Creature - Beast; 3/3
T: Target land's type becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn.
Did't we get this creature in Invasion? Well, it's certainly bigger than Dream Thrush, so it's not bad.
There is another version of this card, reported at other websites. No word at the time this was written which verifies one or the other.
(Sea Snidd;1U;Creature - Beast;1/2;U: Sea Snidd cannot be the target of spells or abilities until end of turn.) A little better, but would die in combat anyway.
Shifting Sky - 2U (U)
As Shifting Sky comes into play, choose a color. All nonland permanents are the chosen color.
Fascinating, but what's it for? Change everything to a color you have protection from. Makes Protective Sphere better. Controls Djinn size.
In constructed, has some combos with Perish, Light of Day, and the like; but that doesn't make it good.
Sisay's Ingenuity - U (U)
When Sisay's Ingenuity comes into play, draw a card. Enchanted creature has "2U: Target creature becomes the color of your choice until end of
"Enchanted creature becomes a Blind Seer (with a higher activation). Draw a card."
Well, Blind Seer is good, so this must be good, right? Well, it is, but not for that reason. Think of it as a Sorcery costing U and reading "Draw a card." Then throw in the enchantment effect and you are getting a reasonable deal.
Sleeping Potion - 1U (C)
When Sleeping Potion comes into play, tap enchanted creature. Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step.
When enchanted creature becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice Sleeping Potion.
Yeah, okay. This card may be usefully played on those annoying Invasion Apprentices and Masters, but it will be gone as fast as you play it.
Don't you dare draft this card. I'll smack you.
Stormscape Battlemage - 2U (U)
Creature - Wizard; 2/2
Kicker W and/or 2B
When Stormscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the W kicker cost, you gain 3 life.
When Stormscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 2B kicker cost, destroy target nonblack creature. That creature can't be regenerated.
Oh, my. Now this is one of those "good" Battlemages. Decent for 2UW, and great for 4UB. See to it the game lasts long enough for you to play it.
Stormscape Familiar - 1U (C)
Creature - Bird; 1/1
Flying. White spells and black spells you play cost 1 less to play.
Add 'Geddon to your Skies deck and blow up all the land, cheap!
I think this would fit into a U/b control deck featuring a monster like Phyrexian Scuta, enabling an earlier play, leaving more available mana to protect it.
Sunken Hope - 3UU (R)
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player returns a creature he or she controls to its owner's hand.
Interesting, but too bad it affects everyone. The best uses of this are against creature-light (but consequently control-heavy) decks to force both of those Blinding Angels into play just to have a chance to hit you.
Vitually useless in limited, since your opponent will likely have just as may Battlemages and gaters as you to abuse with this card.
Waterspout Elemental - 3UU (R)
Creature - Elemental; 3/4
When Waterspout Elemental comes into play, if you paid the kicker cost, return all other creatures to their owners' hands and you skip your next turn.
Oh, wow. This is wonderful in limited, especially if you can keep mid-to-late game flyer from returning to the board. This could bust a stalemate wide open. It's main drawback (and it's a big one) is the heavy commitment to blue to pull it off. Even so, a 3/4 flyer for 5 mana is pretty darn good by itself.
Black finally gets some good stuff this time around. Some limited powerhouses (wait til you see that Nightscape Battlemage) are in here, as well as some rare beasts that will see limited and constructed play, including the over-estimated "new Juzam."
Fresh discard effects, an interesting twist on Black Vise, and a wonderful new tutor await...
Bog Down - 2B (C)
Kicker-Sacrifice two lands.
Target player discards two cards from his or her hand. If you paid the kicker cost, that player discards three cards from his or her hand instead.
Mind Rot Plus. Kick this one and you might just wreck your opponent in limited. Go ahead and play it constrcuted too, once 7th edition rotates Mind Rot into Stupor's place, in those Megrim / Avatar of Will / discard decks that are coming this summer.
Dark Suspicions - 2BB (R)
At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, that player loses 1 life for each card in his or her hand more than you have in your hand.
I'm not sure where you'd use this. If you're playing a black deck that cares much about the other players' hand sizes, you want them to have as few as possible. If it was 3B I'd like it a lot better, as a splash card against those decks that just seems to keep drawing cards.
Could see use in suicide-black or sligh style decks, which tend to empty their hands quickly.
Death Bomb - 3B (C)
As an additional cost to play Death Bomb, sacrifice a creature.
Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated. Its controller loses 2 life.
Please, why can't we have Dark Banishing back?
My whining notwithstanding, this overcosted version can at least get past Worship (more planning for the summer) and that wretched CoP: Black.
Diabolic Intent - 1B (R)
As an additional cost to play Diabolic Intent, sacrifice a creature. Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Demonic Tutor has raised the ante; now he wants one of your dudes, too. Still a good deal... this card will be pre-emptively restricted in type 1, no?
Sacrifice your Ravenous Rats on turn 3 to get that turn-4 fattie, or a necessary kill spell. (Thank God this wasn't around when Rector-Bargain was.)
Exotic Disease - 4B (U)
Target player loses X life and you gain X life, where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control.
Like it's blue cousin, you need at least three land types to make this worthwhile, and four makes it good.
Lord of the Undead - 1BB (R)
Creature - Lord; 2/2
All Zombies get +1/+1.
1B, T: Return target Zombie card from your graveyard to your hand.
Casual Players rejoice! A good Zombie Lord is here! Paired with Zombie Master, your zombies are a powerful force that will have to be dealt with (by Tsabo's Decree, most likely) before you steamroll your opponent.
And just wait til we get to the multicolor cards; more good news... with a new decktype!
Maggot Carrier - B (C)
Creature - Zombie; 1/1
When Maggot Carrier comes into play, each player loses 1 life.
And here's a Zombie to use with it! Even though you lose a life, too, don't worry about it... you're going to mow the opponent down anyway, right!?
Morgue Toad - 2B (C)
Creature - Toad; 2/2
Sacrifice Morgue Toad: Add UR to your mana pool.
I guess this could even out mana draws in 3-color non-green decks.
Here's another version that's been reported: (Morgue Toad; 2BB; Creature - Frog; 3/3; Sacrifice Morgue Toad: Target player discards a card from his or her hand. Play this ability only when Morgue Toad blocks a green or white creature.) A decent draft pick that can trade a good-sized creature and a card-from-hand for your 3/3. And a 3/3 for 4 isn't all that bad.
Nightscape Battlemage - 2B (U)
Creature - Wizard; 2/2
Kicker 2U and/or 2R
When Nightscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 2U kicker cost, return up to two target nonblack creatures to their owners' hands.
When Nightscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 2R kicker cost, destroy target land.
The best so far! For 4UB, you get a super Man-o'-war (the better way to go). For 4BR you get to blow up a land (still pretty good).
Nightscape Familiar - 1B (C)
Creature - Zombie; 1/1
Blue spells and red spells you play cost 1 less to play. 1B: Regenerate Nightscape Familiar.
Another cheap Zombie! And it regenerates! And it fits snugly into the new RB zombie decktype that's coming!
Draft it! Play it in your Standard decks! Donate it to your favorite charity!
Noxious Vapors - 1BB (U)
Each player reveals his or her hand and chooses one card of each color from it, then discards all other nonland cards from it.
Hmm. Ritual this out right away. You should be playing multicolor, with a Pyre Zombie and a certain 1BR Enchantment in your hand (yes, you get to keep them both) along with a couple of lands. Your opponent, hopefully, is playing mono-white Rebels.
Don't bother with this in limited unless you plan to reduce your own hand size to a safe (non color-redunadant) level by turn 3, when you could give your opponent (who you hope is paying a two-color decks with high-cost cards in it) a little grief early game.
Phyrexian Bloodstock - 4B (C)
Creature - Zombie; 3/3
When Phyrexian Bloodstock leaves play, destroy target white creature. It can't be regenerated.
Well, a 3/3 for 5 mana is not horrible in limited, and the leaves-play ability could certainly come in handy later on when one of a trio Dragon Legends shows up.
Not an ideal zombie for the Dark Crusade standard deck, though.
Phyrexian Scuta - 3B (R)
Creature - Zombie; 3/3
Kicker-Pay 3 life.
If you paid the kicker cost, Phyrexian Scuta comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it.
Hubbub, ballyhoo, and yippee-ki-yay... no, sorry, this is not the Juzam Djinn that so many people think it to be; it's not even a Phyrexian Negator. Nowadays there's just too much bounce and counter going on, and Terminate will be a nasty repsonse to this card. Even nastier would be Undermine (feel free to weep openly when this happens to you, cuz 6 life is a lot to give up for a whole lotta nothing).
That said, you should still play this card as the kill in U/b control, where you can protect it, or as a way to clean house in B/R, where your landkill and direct creature-kill can clear a path for this monster to lay some "Ow, quit it!' on your poor opponent. A shoo-in for the new suicide black decks, this guy takes down those pesky Blastoderms, too.
Planeswalker's Scorn - 2B (R)
3B: Target opponent reveals a card at random from his or her hand.
Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the revealed card's converted mana cost. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Another medicore planeswalker card that is actually pretty good in limited (so again, of course it's rare) where the knowledge of cards in your opponent's hand added to the chance of killing off his creatures is valuable.
Shriek of Dread - 1B (C)
Target creature can't be blocked this turn except by artifact creatures and/or black creatures.
What, was Fear so good it had to be made an instant to tone it down?
Sinister Strength - 1B (C)
Enchanted creature gets +3/+1 and is black.
Wowie. A killer in limited and fabulous in suicide black (yep, it's coming back, sort of). Makes a 2/2 into a terrifying 5/3 that is immune to most black removal.Snatch these up at your draft table, or you'd better well have drafted some Terminates.
Slay - 2B (U)
Destroy target green creature. It can't be regenerated. Draw a card.
Another great limited sideboard card. Not bad in constructed, since it's faster than Perish (essential vs. Fires, though it can't kill Blastoderms)
Volcano Imp - 3B (C)
Creature - Imp; 2/2
1R: Volcano Imp gains first strike until end of turn.
An excellent limited flyer. Reasonably priced, and can trade with Razorfoot Griffin and straight take out Glimeriming Angel, not to mention any other 2-toughness flyer.
Warped Devotion - 2B (U)
Whenever a permanent is returned to a player's hand, that player discards a card from his or her hand.
Oh, oh. Now here's a star. Every bounce spell is a Recoil, and a Recoil becomes just mean. This can punish the player who's invested heavily in gating creatures, as well; so be sure you're not.
Well, that's it for today.
Come back tomorrow, when I'll tell you what to think about the Red, Green, Artifact, and Land cards.
The Chaos Turtle
CTurtle on IRC newnet
*(Rare-drafting is a cheap and sleazy practice, frowned upon by anyone who knows anything about drafting, which is precisely why I advocate it. I mean, it was an Undermine, for god's sake!)