The Chaos Turtle's Planeshift PreRelease Preview!
By Rob Myers
||Chaos Turtle's Planeshift PreRelease Preview! TWO
Part 2: Red, Green, Artifact, and Land
One advantage of publishing things in installments is that you get some feedback on the method as the work progresses.
Some folks seemed to think that I was liking too many of the cards I previewed in part ONE. I certainly didn't mean to give this impression; I suppose maybe I'm a little too subtle when I put something down. Also, don't mistake my tendency to try to think of the rare situation where a crappy card might be useful as actually thinking the card is any good.
Addressing an oversight:
I want to credit the CPA's own Gizmo (David Sutcliffe) for posting the spoiler on our message boards in an easily cut-n-pastable format. (Those sites with the mana symbol gifs are cute, but don't lend themselves very well to a task such as this one.) Gizmo couldn't reveal his source, and there are so many spoiler sites now -- most of them with inaccurate information --that it's unfair to try and pick one to credit. If any of you webmasters/editors feel slighted by this, I'm sorry.
Besides, if my guess is correct, the actual source isn't any of those sites anyhow. ;^)
Moving right along...
Getting into red, we find one of the weirdest cards ever printed, a long-awaited legend, a slow Lightning Bolt, and some decent limited ground-pounders.
Caldera Kavu - 2R (C)
Creature - Kavu; 2/2
1B: Caldera Kavu gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
G: Caldera Kavu becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
Hey, this is pretty good in limited. Three mana for a 2/2 with two useful abilities is easy mid-to-high range draft material.
Deadapult - 2R (R)
R, Sacrifice a Zombie: Deadapult deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
I love the name, and I like the card. It's rarity and zombie-specificity mean that it won't do much in limited, but I'll bet I can think of a decktype that might be able to use this as both creature control, and a kill card.
Whether Dark Crusade will need this card is certainly open to debate, but finding out is your job* (though I intend to give it my own best shot).
Flametongue Kavu - 3R (U)
Creature - Kavu; 4/2
When Flametongue Kavu comes into play, it deals 4 damage to target creature.
Am I really liking Planeshift cards too much? I only ask because this one seems so amazing. An obvious top pick in draft, it might even make it into constructed decks. Could Fires use this card to clear the way for an attack? Maybe so, if you're willing to give up some space.
But who in there right mind would replace Blastoderm or Saproling Burst? Probably no one, but thos two will be gone this fall, while the rest of the Fires deck's cards will still be legal.
This also makes Fires something to think about for Invasion Block Constructed, as if it wasn't already.
Goblin Game - 5RR (R)
Each player hides at least one object, then all players reveal them simultaneously. Each player loses life equal to the number of objects he or she revealed. The player who revealed the fewest objects then loses half his or her life, rounded up. If two or more players are tied for fewest, each loses half his or her life, rounded up.
Did you get all that?
I wonder why it didn't just say "write down a number" or something like that?
If I was one of those all-pro guys, I'd just come right out and say "this card sucks." But I'm not, and it doesn't,
Heres is this set's FUN card, a la Thieve's Auction, and -- like that card -- a lot of thought could go into outguessing the opponent(s) in order to maximize the loss of life (sounds brutal doesn't it?).
A detailed analysis of this card just isn't feasible in a short space, so many are the considerations. But the fact is, the only time this is any good (at 7 mana for heaven's sake) is when you're way ahead in the life category, in which case you obviously don't need this card to finish your opponents off.
Implode - 4R (U)
Destroy target land. Draw a card.
Sorry, I'll take Stone Rain at 3 mana. By the time I get to 5 mana I'd much rather play Frenzied Tilling. Don't even think about it in limited either; Benalish Emissary and Pain/Suffering both outshine this card.
Insolence - 2R (C)
Whenever enchanted creature becomes tapped, Insolence deals 2 damage to that creature's controller.
Not a bad limited card for obvious reasons, and might get used against mana creatures in constructed (casual only... burn spells are strictly more effective in that regard).
Kavu Recluse - 2R (C)
Creature - Kavu; 2/2
T: Target land becomes a forest until end of turn.
What's this business with the land-type changing in this set? And don't give me any crap about evening out mana draws. That's what the familiars are there for. And Quirion Elves, and Nomadic Elves, and...
A Gray Ogre almost all of the time, becomes good if you manage to get a couple of Forestwalkers out (or even one big one).
Keldon Mantle - 1R (C)
B: Regenerate enchanted creature
R: Enchanted creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
G: Enchanted creature gains trample until end of turn.
Setting aside the obvious disadvantages of non-cantrip creature enchantments, this can be really good if you are able to produce the mana needed to activate each of the abilites. Has the potential to create a fearsome attacker, which pumps on offense,tramples, and can regenerate.
Magma Burst - 3R (C)
Kicker-Sacrifice two lands. Magma Burst deals 3 damage to target creature or player. If you paid the kicker cost, Magma Burst deals 3 damage to
another target creature or player.
This is desperation burn until the late game, when you might be willing to sac a couple of lands to take out a pair of medium-sized creatures (note that you can't use it to deal 6 to any one target) in which case it becomes good.
Mire Kavu - 3R (C)
Creature - Kavu; 3/2
Mire Kavu gets +1/+1 as long as you control a swamp.
In limited, you'll probably control a swamp, and a 4/3 for 3R is good.
Like most everything else in this set, though, meaningless in contructed.
Mogg Jailer - 1R (U)
Creature - Goblin; 2/2
Mogg Jailer can't attack if defending player controls an untapped creature with power 2 or less.
Is this right? If there's blocker that this guy can kill, he can't attack? And you thought the Conscripts were cowards.
Jeez. Might be useful if your opponent is playing one of those "do-nothing-til-I-have-enough-mana-to-play-Kavu-Titan" decks.
Can this little guy finish the job by turn 5? Maybe if he's on a Crusade...
Mogg Sentry - R (R)
Creature - Goblin
Whenever an opponent plays a spell, Mogg Sentry gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
Uhm, you mean one of those weird opponents who plays spells before Combat?
Yeah, I know Shock can't kill it. Everything else can, though.
Planeswalker's Fury - 2R (R)
3R: Target opponent reveals a card at random from his or her hand. Planeswalker's Fury deals damage equal to that card's converted mana cost to
that player. Play this ability only any time you could play a sorcery.
Well, the red Planeswalker card suffers the same problem of all the others (opponent holds a land or two to mess with you) but at least it might help you win.
At least maybe people will start holding excess land in their hands now.**
Singe - R (C)
Singe deals 1 damage to target creature. That creature becomes black until end of turn.
Slingshot Goblin - 2R (C)
Creature - Goblin
R, T: Slingshot Goblin deals 2 damage to target blue creature.
Another Gray Ogre... but one that freakin' wrecks limited blue decks.
A possible sideboard choice versus Skies for that deck I keep rambling about.
Strafe - R (U)
Strafe deals 3 damage to target nonred creature.
Do you need me to tell you that this is good?
Slow-Bolt. Great in limited, but it's inability to hit players is a liability. May see use in burn variants, where all the other good burn spells have been added to the deck already. Ironically, the more popular red becomes, the less useful this is.
Tahngarth, Talruum Hero - 3RR (R)
Creature - Minotaur Legend; 4/4
Attacking doesn't cause Tahngarth, Talruum Hero to tap.
1R, T: Tahngarth deals damage equal to its power to target creature. That creature deals damage equal to its power to Tahngarth.
Fear Tahngarth in limited. If you don't have direct removal, concede. God help you if I get an Armadillo Cloak on this guy, cuz he's MY Hero!
Great collectors potential, and will have casual decks built around him.
Might even see serious constucted use in a B/R control deck that direct-kills anything too big for MY Hero to take out on his own. Once you're wiped out, MY Hero will wipe the board with your a... sorry, but you get the point, right?
Thunderscape Battlemage - 2R (U)
Creature - Wizard; 2/2
Kicker 1B and/or G.
When Thunderscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the 1B kicker cost, target player discards two cards from his or her hand.
When Thunderscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the G kicker cost, destroy target enchantment.
Another versatile Battlemage, and this one has cheap kickers! It can be a bigger Monk Realist for 2RG, or a Really Ravenous Rat for 3RB.
Throw in an appropriate gating creature and empty your opponent's hand.
Thunderscape Familiar - 1R (C)
Creature - Kavu; 1/1
First strike. Black spells and green spells you play cost 1 less to play.
This is the familiar that could make Fires even faster, or that crazy Void deck really good.
Where are green's big creatures? This set is all about multi-color manipulation. Green is no exception, with nothig particularl interesting... other than the Thornsacpe dudes, of course.
Alpha Kavu - 2G (U)
Creature - Kavu; 2/2
1G: Target Kavu gets -1/+1 until end of turn.
Well, he can make himself (or any Kavu) into a big-butt blocker... once again, ythough, we have a 2/2 for 3 with a narrow ability.
Kavu attack, don't you know that?
Amphibious Kavu - 2G (C)
Creature - Kavu; 2/2
Whenever Amphibious Kavu blocks or becomes blocked by one or more blue and/or black creatures, Amphibious Kavu gets +3/+3 until end of turn.
This is better. Against many limited decks, your opponent will just let this guy through. Get you one of them color-change dudes (there are certainly enough of them) and you got yerself a dude that gets through every time.
Falling Timber - 2G (C)
Kicker-Sacrifice a land.
Prevent all combat damage target creature would deal this turn. If you paid the kicker cost, prevent all combat damage another target creature would deal this turn.
Uhm... wouldn't I rather have Tangle or Fog?
This can't even stop a Blastoderm (note the clever use of the word, "target.")
Gaea's Herald - 1G (R)
Creature - Elf; 1/1
Creature spells can't be countered by spells or abilities.
So I'll just kill this guy first.
Seriously, though, this should have been uncommon, so it would have been a nice sideboard option against Exclude and the like. I'll be calling him Gaea's Chump Blocker.
Gaea's Might - G (C)
Target creature gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of basic land types among lands you control.
Really good in limited, where it will at least be a Wax most of the time, and often a Giant Growth.
Magnigoth Treefolk - 4G (R)
Creature - Treefolk; 2/6
For each basic land type among lands you control, Magnigoth Treefolk has landwalk of that type.
For 5 mana I'd rather have a vanilla 4/3, but I can see where this could be useful in the inevitable creature stall. At 6 toughness, also makes a very nice blocker.
In constructed, he blocks Blastoderm all day long, though you'll still get hit if Fires is in play, twice if you didn't go first.
Mirrorwood Treefolk - 3G (U)
Creature - Treefolk; 2/4
2RW: The next time damage would be dealt to Mirrorwood Treefolk this turn, that damage is dealt to target creature or player instead.
Give me a break. I won't bother trying to find a situation where this would be good, as the activation cost is just too high and requires 3 colors to be worth anything at all.
Multani's Harmony - G (U)
Enchanted creature has "T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
This is not as good as Fertile Ground, and using it early mens tapping a creature that probably ought to have attacked. I'd need some big stuff that I want out early to make me consider this card. Maybe if the Harrows and Nomadic Elves I stupidly passed didn't make it back around the table...
Nemata, Grove Guardian - 4GG (R)
Creature - Treefolk Legend
2G: Put a 1/1 green Saproling creature token into play.
Sacrifice a Saproling: All Saprolings get +1/+1 until end of turn.
Treefolk-huggers rejoice! There must be a treefolk/saproling theme deck lurking in Invasion block somewhere...
Could be a real beating if a steep-mana-curve green deck comes around again.
Planeswalker's Favor - 2G (R)
3G: 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.
Here we go again.
If I've said anything good about these planeswalker cards, forget about it. I'm already tired of seeing them.
So what if you get to see your opponent's cards? He's still gonna beat you with them, because you played this instead of a 'Derm or Fires.
Primal Growth - 2G (C)
Kicker-Sacrifice a creature.
Search your library for a basic land card, put that card into play, then shuffle your library. If you paid the kicker cost, instead search your library for two basic land cards, put them into play, then shuffle your library.
An overcosted Rampant Growth that becomes a slow Harrow if you give up a creature instead of a land. What are you going to sacrifice to it? Mana elves?
Still, could be a big help in making those 5-color green decks, and maximizing the use of "domain" spells.
Pygmy Kavu - 3G (C)
Creature - Kavu
When Pygmy Kavu comes into play, draw a card for each black creature your opponents control.
You have got to be kidding.
Don't even waste a sideboard slot on this.
Quirion Dryad - 1G (R)
Creature - Dryad; 1/1
Whenever you play a white, blue, black, or red spell, put a +1/+1 counter on Quirion Dryad.
Rare because it would be too good in limited as an uncommon, it unfortunately isn't worth much in contructed, due to being a teeny little thing when you've got mauch better things to spend your multicolored mana on.
Quirion Explorer - 1G (C)
Creature - Elf; 1/1
T: Add to your mana pool one mana of any color that a land an opponent controls could produce.[/]
Fellwar elves. How cute.
Decent in limited, since it can help you deal with being color-screwed hen your opponent is playing three or more colors.
Root Greevil - 3G (C)
Creature - Beast; 2/3
2G, T, Sacrifice Root Greevil: Destroy all enchantments of the color of your choice.
I can't tell if this is good or not. I'd play it just because it's a 2/3 with an ability that might be useful later on. Most of the time, though, it's a big Capashen Unicorn.
Skyshroud Blessing - 1G (U)
Lands can't be the targets of spells or abilities this turn.
Draw a card.
Counter target landkill spell. Draw a card.
Narrow, but at least it's a cheap cantrip.
Stone Kavu - 4G (C)
Creature - Kavu; 3/3
R: Stone Kavu gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
W: Stone Kavu gets +0/+1 until end of turn.
A big guy with one good and one mediocre ability at a fair price. That's all.
Thornscape Battlemage - 2G (U)
Creature - Wizard; 2/2
Kicker R and/or W.
When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the R kicker cost, Thornscape Battlemage deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the W kicker cost, destroy target artifact.
The cheapest Battlemage of them all! And the red kicker ability makes it a good one, too.
The other kicker can kill Chimeric Idol, though why anyone would want to hurt a cute little turtle statue is beyond me. ;^P
Thornscape Familiar - 1G (C)
Creature - Insect; 2/1
Red spells and white spells you play cost 1 less to play.
You know the drill by now... Faster Fires? 'Geddon early and often? Yes, and more.
Get any combination of Familiars and really high mana-cost creatures -- like Dragon Legends -- and you will be a very happy PreRealease player.
Unlike most of the set, Planeshift offers little in the way of limited-playable artifacts. The only things that might make a difference are the two cheap mana artifacts.
Draco - 16 (R)
Artifact Creature - Dragon; 9/9
Flying. Attacking doesn't cause Draco to tap. Draco costs 2 less to play for each basic land type among lands you control.
If Draco would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, remove Draco from the game instead.
This text is wrong. Too bad, cuz the real one sucks.
Here you go (thank you Sideboard Online):
Draco - 16 (R)
Artifact Creature -- Dragon
Draco costs 2 less to play for each basic land type among lands you control.
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Draco unless you pay 10. This cost is reduced by 2 for each basic land type among lands you control.
I'd need at least four lands types to even consider using Mr. Big here.
Someone will try to use this in a 5-color limited deck, I'm sure, but it might actually be really good in extended (for a nice breakfast with Volrath's Shapeshifter). Another fun possibiltiy is discarding it to kick Dralnu's Shapeshifter into a flying monstrosity.
Also likely is that I'll foolishly draft it, play it, and randomly reveal it to my opponent's Planswalker's Fury.
Mana Cylix - 1 (U)
1, T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
A Barbed Sextant that sticks around, but doesn't replace itself if it does get shttered.
Use it to smooth out your mana if you're playing 3 to 5 colors. The cost is right for the ability.
Skyship Weatherlight - 4 (R)
When Skyship Weatherlight comes into play, search your library for any number of artifact and/or creature cards and remove them from the game.
Then shuffle your library.
4, T: Choose a card at random removed from the game with Skyship Weatherlight and put that card into your hand.
I can't tell you how disappointed I am that the rumored "4: Regnerate Skyship Weatherlight" ability is not on this card. Now it just too risky, unless your goal is to make sure you never draw certain artifacts and/or creatures.
I might play in limited if I'm reasonably assured that opponents' artifact destruction is lacking, but guessing wrongly would be disastrous.
Star Compass - 2 (U)
Star Compass comes into play tapped.
T: Add to your mana pool one mana of any color a basic land you control could produce.
Ah... this will replace, or at least supplement the Mirage Diamonds in most decks. Its main drawback is that it doesn't help after 'Geddon until you get at least one basic land in play.
Stratadon - 10 (U)
Artifact Creature; 5/5
Trample. Stratadon costs 1 less to play for each basic land type among lands you control.
At least I'd be willing to try it with only three basic land types.
Getting to the lands, we have a keen-o cycle of triple-lands that could open up a slew of deckbuilding options, and some really sad attempts at City of Brass replacements.
Crosis's Catacombs (U)
Crosis's Catacombs is a Lair in addition to its land type.
When Crosis's Catacombs comes into play, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land
you control to its owner's hand.
T: Add U, B, or R to your mana pool.
Darigaaz's Caldera (U)
Darigaaz's Caldera is a Lair in addition to its land type.
When Darigaaz's Caldera comes into play, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land you
control to its owner's hand.
T: Add B, R, or G to your mana pool.
Dromar's Cavern (U)
Dromar's Cavern is a Lair in addition to its land type.
When Dromar's Cavern comes into play, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land you
control to its owner's hand.
T: Add W, U, or B to your mana pool.
Rith's Grove (U)
Rith's Grove is a Lair in addition to its land type.
When Rith's Grove comes into play, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land you control to its
T: Add R, G, or W to your mana pool.
Treva's Ruins (U)
Treva's Ruins is a Lair in addition to its land type.
When Treva's Ruins comes into play, sacrifice it unless you return a non-Lair land you control to
its owner's hand.
T: Add G, W, or U to your mana pool.
Yes, yes, and here we have a bribe to get us to play three-color decks.
It will work. You know what's great about these cards? You can play them and use them for mana even if you decide to let them be sacrificed.
They also have the potential to be really great in extended, resetting Gemstone Mines and going crazy with Exploration in play.
Forsaken City doesn't untap during your untap step.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may remove a card in your hand from the game. If you do, untap Forsaken City.
T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
Pays the upkeep on Stasis forever, huh?
Who pays the upkeep on Stasis anymore? Haven't you heard of Chronotog?
Meteor Crater (R)
T: Choose a color of a permanent you control. Add one mana of that color to your mana pool.
Hmm... too bad it's a horrible first turn play.
Terminal Moraine (U)
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.
2, T, Sacrifice Terminal Moraine: Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
Now this one, I like.
It can be used for colorless mana in a pinch, but what you really want it for is the Rampant Growth ability, which is uncounterable, deck-thinning, and does not need any green mana to pull off.
Almost done, now! Just one more installment, which is dedicated to the really amazing multicolor cards Planeshift offers us, and details on how you can win the first foil card I open on Saturday!
See you soon!
The Chaos Turtle
CTurtle on IRC newnet
*(A job for which you may be richly rewarded, if a foil something-or-other is your idea of riches.)
**(Mini-Rant: Man, does it ever annoy me to see people recklessly playing every land they draw, leaving themselves with no cards in hand. I mean, if I know exactly what you have in your hand [nothing] I have a big advantage; why do people seem to enjoy giving me that?)