The Chaos Turtle's Planeshift PreRelease Preview!
By Rob Myers
||Chaos Turtle's Planeshift PreRelease Preview!THREE
Day 3 -- Multicolor, and the Contest
At last, the day before the Big Day, we get to look at the multicolor cards!
Looking at these, you won't need me to tell you how good they are; but then again, maybe you will.
Once you're finished being ed-u-cated, check out how you can win my first Planeshift foil from the tournaments.
The multicolor cards offer plenty of opportunites for both constructed and limited use, which is refreshing after having to think about all the limited-only cards we've been looking at for the past two days.
Let's get right to work.
Ancient Spider - 2GW (R)
Creature - Spider
Ancient Spider may block as though it had flying.
At last, a first strike spider! (Homelands' Root Spider notwithstanding.)
Actually, the first strike is kind of a throw-in, since a 2/5 can pretty much handle itself anyway. The only real advantage this has over the Pincer Spider is the ability to wipe out a Skizzik and Vicious Kavu and live.
Cavern Harpy - UB (C)
Creature - Harpy
When Cavern Harpy comes into play, return a blue or black creature you control to its owner's hand.
Pay 1 life: Return Cavern Harpy to its owner's hand.
Our first 'gating' creature, this isn't one of the best, but it's not bad at all. A 2/1 flyer that's nearly impossible to kill so long as you've got life to spare.
It's an early-game gater, so if you pick it, be sure you get some other early game stuff to bouce for it. I recommend Faerie Squadron (to be played at 3/3 later) or Ravenous Rats (to be played as soon as possible afterward).
Cloud Cover - 2WU (R)
Whenever another permanent you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, you may return that permanent to its owner's hand.
This seems really good at first glance, but it lacks the ability to save creatures from dying in combat. Even so, it's only 4 mana and can save them from nearly everything else, like Terminate.
Crosis's Charm - UBR (U)
Choose one - Return target permanent to its owner's hand; or destroy target nonblack creature, and it can't be regenerated; or destroy target artifact.
All of the "Dragon Charms" are highly versatile, with excellent options in almost all cases.
The problem, obviously, is that they require three differntly-colored mana to play them. It may not be a big problem, though, what with the tri-lands going around.
The bounce and banish effects of Crosis's Charm are the most important. If you can get the mana -diversity to play it, then by all means do so.
Darigaaz's Charm - BRG (U)
Choose one - Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand; or Darigaaz's Charm deals 3 damage to target creature or player; or target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn.
All three abilities are useful, and it has a green component that makes it easier to justify than the previous one. I'd definitely give this one a try.
Daring Leap - 1WU (C)
Target creature gets +1/+1 and gains flying and first strike until end of turn.
Whoa. For three mana, you little dude can go all Keanu Reeves, leaping high and slaying the competition. The surprise factor is huge here, and three mana could easily kill you a creature.
Destructive Flow - BRG (R)
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player sacrifices a nonbasic land.
What's this for?
Someone tell me, please. I hate feeling like I'm missing something.
Doomsday Specter - 2UB (R)
Creature - Specter
When Doomsday Specter comes into play, return a blue or black creature you control to its owner's hand.
Whenever Doomsday Specter deals combat damage to a player, look at that player's hand and choose a card from it. The player discards that card.
Oh, my lord.
How hard is this one to figure out? B/u "bruiser" discard decks are coming back, I predict. Start off with Ravenuos Rats and work your way up to Avatar of Will. It won't take long.
Dralnu's Crusade - 1BR (R)
All Goblins get +1/+1, are black, and are Zombies in addition to their creature types.
This is it! The card that spawns a new decktype, and a fun one at that! (Not that Replenish, Bargain, or ProsBloom weren't "fun" -- whatever.)
On it's own, it's great, but combine with a Zombie Lord or two, and you are rolling! And in red/black, there won't be any problem coming up with some control elements to keep the balances tipped in your favor.
This is the basis of the deckbuilding contest, as well. I really want to see what sort of builds people come of with for this card and the other deck parts in this set.
Dromar's Charm - WUB (U)
Choose one - You gain 5 life; or counter target spell; or target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
Okay, the cost is a bit hefty for countering a spell, but the -2/-2 is the same as Terminate for many creatures. Not the best of the charms, and the lack of green in the cost makes it that much harder to get in.
Eladamri's Call - GW (R)
Search your library for a creature card, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
Worldly Tutor, new-and-improved.
I was never a big fan of Worldly Tutor, but this one is pretty cool. It's still an instant for only one more mana, and it doesn't cost you a draw step. (Regardless of what anyone tells you, putting a card on top of your library -- even from within -- costs you a draw step.)
Too bad it's rare.
Ertai, the Corrupted - 2WUB (R)
Creature - Wizard Legend
U, T, Sacrifice a creature or enchantment: Counter target spell.
Another long-awaited legend, pretty-boy Ertai has done gone and got all funky. Beefier than before, it's too bad he seems to have gotten a little worse at his real job. Sure, he works cheaper now, but how many little dudes are you willing to feed him?
The best recurring engine here involves a hapless Squee (Tahngarth would be proud) but even then, we're talking about a total 2RU to use this recurring counter.
Fleetfoot Panther - 1GW (U)
Creature (C)at; 3/4
You may play Fleetfoot Panther any time you could play an instant.
When Fleetfoot Panther comes into play, return a green or white creature you control to its owner's hand.
Yes, and oh-yes, how I love instant-speed creatures. This one could pop in unexpectedly and ruin an attacking line, at worst temporarily trading for one of your own early-game weenies.
Other uses include saving a white or green creature from targetted removal and restting Skyshroud Ridgebacks and Blastoderms.
Gerrard's Command - GW (C)
Untap target creature. It gets +3/+3 until end of turn.
More W/G combat tricks! Great on offense, fantastic on defense. Get rid of those 7-Ups (Heroes' Reunion) of yours and gtrab some of these instead. Same cost, and it help you win the game.
Horned Kavu - RG (C)
Creature - Kavu; 3/4
When Horned Kavu comes into play, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand.
This is okay, but you really need plenty small red/green creatures to bounce to make it worth the effort, since there are no special abilities involved.
Hull Breach - RG (C)
Choose one - Destroy target artifact; or destroy target enchantment; or destroy target artifact and target enchantment.
Won't get you your 2-fer-1 nearly as often as you'd like, but gives red/green some reliable enchantment/artifact kill.
Keldon Twilight - 1BR (R)
At the end of each player's turn, if no creatures attacked that turn, that player sacrifices a creature he or she controlled since the beginning of the turn.
Break those PreRelease stalemates, or try in some wacky deck with Pacifism-like abilites.
Lava Zombie - 1BR (C)
Creature - Zombie; 4/3
When Lava Zombie comes into play, return a black or red creature you control to its owner's hand. 2: Lava Zombie gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
Another mediocre gating card. I really like this mechanic, but there needs to be some useful ability attached to make it interesting.
Malicious Advice - XUB (C)
Tap X target artifacts, creatures, and/or lands. You lose X life.
Is this really common?
If you can keep your life total high enough, you can smash a creature-stalled board all to heck, or prevent an opposing attack atogether.
Tapping lands and artifacts probably isn't worth the life it'll cost you, though.
Marsh Crocodile - 2UB (U)
Creature - Crocodile
When Marsh Crocodile comes into play, return a blue or black creature you control to its owner's hand.
When Marsh Crocodile comes into play, each player discards a card from his or her hand.
Now, this is what I'm talking about.
Get a card-in-hand advantage, and you can go to town with this guy. He can bounce himself, and every time he does, everyone's hand size drops by one.
Even if you're at a disadvantage handwise, you can stack the discard on top of the return, so you can discard from your empty hand while others drop down to your level, all before the Croc makes it back to your hand.
Meddling Mage - WU (R)
Creature - Wizard
As Meddling Mage comes into play, name a spell. The named spell can't be played.
What might be the single most environment-altering card in the set, Pikula tells you what to do and say (I still tell you what to think, though). Figure out what card your opponent needs the most and Just Say No to it as long as you keep the little guy around. If you draw two of them, I'd recommend starting with a burn/kill spell.
Named the wrong card when you played him? That's what gaters are for!
Natural Emergence - 2RG (R)
When Natural Emergence comes into play, return a red or green enchantment you control to its owner's hand. Lands you control are 2/2 creatures with first strike. They're still lands.
Gee, I wonder what red or green enchantment you might bounce for this one?
Then again, do you really want to face the Breath of Darigaaz with this under you control?
Phyrexian Tyranny - UBR (R) Enchantment
Whenever a player draws a card, that player loses 2 life unless he or she pays 2.
Underworld Dreams redux. With a three-color mana cost, you may have some trouble working around this yourself. Though, if you could, you could make you opponent very sorry she ever picked up Magic
Questing Phelddagrif - 1GWU (R)
Creature - Phelddagrif
G: Questing Phelddagrif gets +1/+1 until end of turn. Target opponent puts a 1/1 green Hippo creature token into play.
W: Questing Phelddagrif gains protection from black and from red until end of turn. Target opponent gains 2 life
U: Questing Phelddagrif gains flying until end of turn. Target
opponent may draw a card.
Strictly cute, I think, but cute often works in limited. The white ability may be the one with the least drawback for you, as well as being the one most likely to save it from a burn/kill spell.
Radiant Kavu - RGW (R)
Creature - Kavu
RGW: Prevent all combat damage blue creatures and black creatures would deal this turn.
Well, a 3/3 for 3 is a great deal, if you can diversify your mana enough. The ability is secondary, but might come in handy against opposing Scutas.
Razing Snidd - 4BR (U)
Creature - Beast
When Razing Snidd comes into play, return a black or red creature you control to its owner's hand. When Razing Snidd comes into play, each player sacrifices a land.
A buyback Raze, looks like. I don't like this one much, especially since you don't get to pick which lands the other players sacrifice.
Rith's Charm - RGW (U)
Choose one - Destroy target nonbasic land; or put three 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play; or prevent all damage a source of your choice would deal this turn.
The land destruction and instant Saprolings make this a pretyy useful charm. Again, the green in the mana cost increases the chance of it being used successfully.
Sawtooth Loon - 2WU (U)
Creature - Bird
When Sawtooth Loon comes into play, return a white or blue creature you control to its owner's hand.
When Sawtooth Loon comes into play, draw two cards, then put two cards from your hand on the bottom of your library.
A way to cycle quickly through your library. Try to imagine combos with other gating creatures, such as Marsh Crocodile.
Shivan Wurm - 3RG (R)
Creature - Wurm
When Shivan Wurm comes into play, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand.
Hey, Fires player, chump blockers got yop down? Blastoderm about to fade into oblivion? Slap this sucker down on the board (with Fires in play) and renegotiate the terms of your beatdown.
Even without Fires, resetting your faders is well worth the mana, considering that ou're getting a 7/7 trampler in the bargain.
Silver Drake - 1WU (C)
Creature - Drake
When Silver Drake comes into play, return a white or blue creature you control to its owner's hand.
Again with the faders. Will Skies be able to splash some white for this card, and consider using Cloudskate again? Could replace Troublesome Spirit in the deck.
Sparkcaster - 2RG (U)
Creature - Kavu
When Sparkcaster comes into play, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand. When Sparkcaster comes into play, it deals 1 damage to target player.
Know what? I think this is even better in Fires than the Wurm.
Steel Leaf Paladin - 4GW (C)
Creature - Knight
When Steel Leaf Paladin comes into play, return a green or white creature you control to its owner's hand.
Pricey, but he could easily save your bacon in limited. A 4/4 first striker is really hard to kill off without blacks direct methods.
Terminate - BR (C)
Destroy target creature. It can't be regenerated.
A new staple card; I think this is undercosted. (That means you should play it.)
The impact such cheap removal is likely to have is tough for mr to predict. People might become very wary of playing high-priced creatures. Creature enchanments just got a lot worse, too.
Treva's Charm - GWU (U)
Choose one - Destroy target enchantment; or remove target attacking creature from the game; or draw two cards, then discard a card from your hand.
An Exile or non-free Frantic Search, the enchantment destruction is hard to feel good paying for, but versatility is -- as always -- a good thing to have, and green decks can probably manage the tri-color cost just fine.
Urza's Guilt - 2UB (R)
Each player draws two cards, then discards three cards from his or her hand, then loses 4 life.
I don't know where to start, except to say that this card does not appear on the Planeshift FAQ sheet. I can only assume it's fake.
Good thing, too, because I wouldn't play it. You'd lose card advantage and life.
Well, that's that.
By now your head must be reeling with all the possibilities, but I'm not ready to let you go just yet.
You want that foil don't you?
All you have to do is design Dark Crusade. The only required card is Dralnu's Crusade; the rest is up to you. Entries will be judged by a panel of volunteers drawn from the Casual Player's Alliance and the Franklin Posse (the local play group).
Send your Type 2 (as of March 1) legal Dark Crusade decks to me at email@example.com. Be sure to include you real name, CPA username, and email, along with any explanations for card choices that might not be obvious. A sideboard is optional.
Jusdging criteria include innovation and worthiness in the new Standard environment.
Entries are due by 8 pm EST Sunday, February 4th. We'll build and test the decks over the following two weeks, and our findings will be posted in the last week of February, just in time for the new Type 2 season to begin.
Don't feel confined to black/red, by the way. Think outside the box, as the maxim goes, and come up with something both original and viable.
Next week: My Own PreRelease report, win or lose... (pray for me)
Thanks for reading! Have a great PreRelease weekend, and good luck!
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