Magic Weekly Update

Friday_Night_Magic_3Happy Easter Weekend, for those Planeswalkers that celebrate, or Happy Spring Weekend to the rest. Now is that beautiful time of year where we reflect on vampires, werewolves, zombies, decay, corruption, madness and superstition. That’s right, Shadows Over Innistrad  is a mere two weeks away from stores and I’m here to fuel the fire of hype. So grab your chocolate bunnies and pray that no angels from Innistrad come your way.

More About Pre-Release:

There’s only one more week until Shadows Over Innistrad  pre-release my fellow Planeswalkers, so make sure you’ve registered at your favorite local game store. Spots for the event at Oogie Games in Niagara Falls always fill up fast, so call now if you plan on being there!

“But why should I bother with pre-release? Why not just wait until April 8 to buy the cards?” I hear the uninitiated among you grumble. Well, let’s take a look at all the great things pre-releases have to offer:

  1. At Magic pre-release events you receive 6 Shadows Over Innistrad  boosters IN ADDITION TO a sealed date-stamped promo card which could include the alternate art Angel of Deliverance mentioned in last week’s article. Success story: At the Battle for Zendikar  pre-release I received a holo Ob Nixilis as my sealed promo, so dreams really can come true.
  2. You build a 40 card deck using those 6 boosters, but the best part is you get to keep every card opened! Those boosters are part of the entry fee so even if you have the luck of the devil and open 6 Sorin Markovs, you will get to keep them. Don’t have any lands? No worries, the store will provide the lands for you. One word of advice, however, is to bring non-clear deck protectors to this event since we are seeing the return of double-faced cards and you won’t be able to use any without them. The store will always have some for sale too if you forget or just plain don’t have any.
  3. Did I forget to mention that the official release is April 8 while the pre-release is April 2-3. This means that you will get to open and play with cards a whole week earlier than most players. I give you permission to brag to any friends who miss out.
  4. And now the coolest part, at every pre-release event, you get a pre-release pack which includes a deck box with dividers and themed 20-sided dice. This week, Wizards revealed what the deck box will look like and it’s pretty awesome:

If you really need any more reasons to join us or are wondering how exactly a pre-release event works, Wizards has a nice, short article and video guide. Hope to see you there Planeswalkers!

But What About the Cards:

Last week I pored over the upcoming Planeswalkers and what my opinions were. This week, I’ll be taking a look at my personal top 5 Mythic Rares from this set. The cards that I personally think will most affect what cards and strategies people use. As of this weekend, all the cards in the set will be available on Magic’s official site for you to peruse at your own leisure. So let’s begin:

Relentless Dead

Honestly, I’m not sure why this is even a Mythic Rare. It doesn’t seem to have any significance story-wise and it isn’t a legendary creature, so why did I pick it as one of my favorites? Because the flexibility and synergy contained in this card is incredible. First off, with a ludicrously cheap casting cost and the menace ability, the card makes a powerful early game lead. Secondly, true to its namesake and creature type, this card can never die. For the low cost of just three mana, you can bring him back to block your opponent’s threatening creatures EVERY turn. Third, if you plan on making a zombie themed tribal deck, this card’s final ability is a must-have. He will ensure that even your most powerful zombies don’t stay in the graveyard for long. I expect to see a rise of Zombie decks in Standard solely because of this guy. Finally, you just got to love the artwork on this card. With the set theme of evil being a persistent and malevolent force, the art on the card showing a zombie in even the most holy of place on Innistrad is great.

Goldnight Castigator

Here’s another card that perfectly exemplifies the corruption taking over Innistrad. A once beautiful angel and savior of humanity now covered in the blood of those she was sworn to protect. With flying, haste, and a ridiculous defense for only four mana this card is an early game powerhouse. Red is shaping up to be very powerful this set, and having this card in an aggressive red deck will be insane. By turn 7, when most players are just getting out their powerful, game-ending cards, you’ll have already dealt 16 damage to them with this card alone! Couple that with just a few burn spells and that’s literally game over. Obviously, the drawback for this card is huge and if you can’t finish opponents off quickly, the consequences are dire. Still, even if you preserve the card for late game, a quick and cheap four damage can easily seal a win.

Sigarda, Heron’s Grace

At first glance, this card seems incredibly broken, until you realize that Sigarda doesn’t give herself  hexproof. And therein, lies this card’s greatest downfall. Without that vital ability, this card is just a huge target on the field and one that can easily be gotten rid of from burn spells, exile cards, or more powerful creatures. So, why did I pick it? Well, first off, giving yourself hexproof means that, save for a few exceptions, the only way to take damage is by creatures. Second, what does this card do best? Make creatures for a cheap cost and, just like you, ones that can only really be killed by other creatures. As long as you keep Sigarda alive and make tokens every turn, you’re essentially unstoppable especially if your opponent has no defense for flying creatures. This is exactly what you’d need to stop an aggressive red deck in its tracks. If you can manage to keep her alive, this card has the potential to flip games in your favor, especially if you shoot for a human tribal deck which seems like it could be a powerful option in Standard when combined with some of the allies from Zendikar.

Olivia, Mobilized for War

Okay, right off the bat a 3/3 flying creature that costs only three mana to cast is good on its own. On top of that, every creature you play, for as long as this card stays on the battlefield, can be boosted and gain haste! If you can get this card out early game and mix it with some powerful attackers, you’ve pretty much already won. Also, with how hard Innistrad is pushing the madness ability, this card becomes a powerful secondary agent for it (reminder: madness means you cast cards for an alternate cost when discarding them). So not only do you boost your own creatures, but have the option to trigger madness abilities as well. Third, if you’re looking to make a vampire tribal deck, making other creatures vampires may be a powerful option as well. The power and flexibility of this card easily makes it one of my favorite Mythics in this set.

Archangel AvacynAvacyn, the Purifier

And now, the big one. My favorite Mythic this set and one of the most vital cards to the story. Flash, flying, vigilance and the ability to make your creatures indestructible for a turn give this card incredible offensive and defensive potential. You essentially have the power for an all-out creature attack with absolutely no consequences on turn five. That alone is a potential game-ending move. Even if the game still continues beyond that point, a powerful flying attacker and blocker every turn is nothing to sneer at. On the flip side, if your opponent launches a powerful attack or uses a spell to pump up their creatures, this card could potentially save your hide and protect your minions. Now, I’ll admit that the flip side isn’t nearly as good as the front, but clearing the field of smaller threats while also dealing damage can be a powerful thing especially with the plethora of cards letting you bring creatures back from the graveyard this set. Also, this boosts Avacyn to a 6/5 making it a nice late game threat. Again, it seems my favorites are always the cards that nicely blend flexibility with power. It’s hard to think of a time when this card wouldn’t be useful to draw.

Now, I could probably write a whole other article going into detail about what these cards mean to the story and lore, but I urge you to find out yourself by checking out the official story on the official site. Peeling back the layers of the story using the context from the cards is always one of the more enjoyable parts of a new set in my opinion.

So, fellow Planeswalkers, what Mythics are your favorite so far? Do you disagree with my top choices? Why, or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

Card of the Week:

Alright, typically I shy away from bringing attention to one single card, but one of those revealed this week is just too great for me not to obsess over. Ladies and gentlemen, check out Triskaidekaphobia:

Triskaidekaphobia

Now, I know your immediate first reaction is, “WTF!?” so let me help:

Triskaidekaphobia (noun):
[tris-kahy-dek-uhfoh-bee-uh]
Fear or phobia concerning the number 13.

With that cleared up, you can see why the abilities on the card are what they are. One of the oldest and most well-known superstitions in the world is the unluckiness of the number 13 and having an entire card devoted to this in a set that plays on our oldest fears and superstitions is both hilarious and genius. But that’s not even gleaming the surface of the amazing synergy between artwork, abilities and lore featured on this card.

So, I’m ending this week with a challenge to all of you. There are, quite literally, 13 different instances of the number 13 appearing on this card in some way.

Yeah, did I just blow your mind? I thought so.

I’m challenging anyone reading to try and find all 13. If you actually manage to do so, let me know in the comments below. If nothing else, it’ll be a fun little puzzle to solve while you’re sitting bored at the computer. As always, thanks for reading! See you next week!

 

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