We’re only one week out from the Eldritch Moon pre-release Planeswalkers and we’ve got more news, card previews and story updates to keep you going until then. Don’t forget to sign up at your local game store early, because spots will fill up fast and each store only has a limited amount of promo cards. Let’s jump right in.
All About Liliana:
Wizards’ 4th of July celebration didn’t really start off with a bang. More like a dying, zombie moan actually. If you’re a fan of zombie movies, The Walking Dead, or just really want to have a horde of zombie servants under your control-this week’s announcements are all about you. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the most anticipated Planeswalker in a while. Liliana Vess has finally joined the fray, and we’ve finally received our long-awaited black mana user of the Gatewatch. You can learn all about her in the third and final video of the Access Magic series:
Liliana has never been the most charismatic Planeswalker or the easiest to get along with, but the overwhelming force of Emrakul has forced her to seek help from unlikely allies-much to Gideon’s chagrin:
The look of nihilistic pleasure on Liliana’s face and the grimace on Gideon’s, along with the flavor text, is the perfect representation of their relationship. For Liliana, joining the Gatewatch is a selfish act, only meant to further her own goals, but she has an army of mindless zombies under her control who are the only beings capable of withstanding Emrakul’s disastrous, mutating, mind-bending influence. As far as Emrakul’s concerned, there’s no way to alter the brains of the brainless. Like it or not, the Gatewatch needs Liliana for this fight and she needs them (even if it’s only as a distraction for her enemies). Speaking of zombies, did I mention that it was a good time to be a zombie fan? You can thank Liliana for that, let’s take a look at her Oath card:
First off, hilarious flavor text and awesome art. Clearly, Liliana couldn’t care less about the Gatewatch, and her Oath is only to appease the other members. Second, an excellent card for a Planeswalker heavy deck. At this point in Innistrad, that extra cost of sacrificing a creature is more helpful than hurtful with they myriad of options to play cards from your graveyard or cards that benefit from having things in your graveyard. The addition of another creature every time you play a Planeswalker is a beautiful thing and using such a power with the combination of the card above can easily overwhelm an opponent. It’s especially good when considering Liliana’s actual new Planeswalker card:
You want zombies-have some zombies! First off, with one of the cheapest Planeswalker casting costs, playing Liliana early and building up to her final is pretty easy and convenient. While most Planeswalkers have a minus ability for creature removal, Liliana’s actually adds one to her loyalty and is effective for getting rid of early game threats. Meanwhile, her second ability keeps your graveyard and hand well stocked with potential zombies and is an excellent boost for cards like Diregraf Colossus. Finally, her last ability allows you to just swarm the battlefield with zombies which is incredible for zombie tribal decks. Last set, zombie tribal decks were so close to being competitively fantastic, but just needed that slight push to get there. Liliana, along with all the other zombie favoring cards, will definitely push them there this set. I expect to see zombie tribal have a big turnout in the new Standard.
That is also the bad thing about Liliana’s new card, however. She is only really useful in a zombie heavy deck. Any other deck, her final is kind of useless. Sure, she’s an amazing early game play, but late game that -2/-1 won’t even make a dent in bigger, more powerful creatures. Once we move away from Innistrad and away from decks that favor putting things in your graveyard, her second ability will become mediocre as well. Liliana is a perfect, must-have card while we’re in Innistrad, but sadly disappointing once we’ve left. Just like Liliana knows, power is fleeting, so enjoy it while it lasts. For those now intrigued on how to go about building any tribal decks, whether it be zombie, human, vampire or other, check out this handy guide.
That brings me to the other Planeswalker card revealed this week! That’s right, Liliana isn’t the only one crashing this party. After having found and deciphered her journal and searching for her in Shadows Over Innistrad’s story, Tamiyo has made her first appearance since her original card in 2012:
Now this is a Planeswalker card after my own heart. Another cheap costing card, with a +1 ability useful and versatile in both early and late game. She can constantly keep your hand refreshed and make even the lowliest creature a temporary threat. Not to mention, if you’re using blue and white mana in your deck you probably have plenty of flying creatures or a way to neutralize your opponent’s blockers. Tamiyo’s second ability actually forms an awesome combo with her first by paralyzing enemy threats and allowing your creatures to hit your opponent and fill up your hand. Honestly, those two abilities working together is so good that I might never build up to her final, but that final ability is almost unfair. Literally, by turn 6 you could be casting the most powerful creatures and spells in your deck with no consequences. Again, with her +1 constantly refreshing your hand, this combination of abilities is incredible. This is a very strong showing from one of the more underrated Planeswalkers, and easily one of the best in the entire block.
Now, the one constant behind all the Innistrad sets has always been the giant, mysterious silver moon in the sky and Tamiyo’s main research has involved studying the phases of the moon and its affects on Innistrad. Could Tamiyo be the key to saving Innistrad from Emrakul or will it be Liliana and her horde of undead that seal Emrakul’s fate? Which heroine will be the true hero of Innistrad? Only time will tell:
Eldritch Moon previews will soon be drawing to a close, but every day until pre-release we’ll get more cards to sift through thanks to the Magic Facebook page. As always, if you want one place to check out all the cards previewed thus far, check out the official site. Once again, we’ve got a round of articles showing new cards and detailing their uses and why they were chosen for the set. For the background info on each card, just click the link on its name:
Not only are zombie tribal decks getting the boost they need, but spirits as well. Spell Queller is the powerful addition that spirit decks needed to, “quell,” an opponent’s powerful spells and creatures. While it will be useless against powerful late game threats, a counter spell with the added bonus of being a creature for only three mana is an excellent early game play.
Alright, this majestic creature is awesome and one of those rare few useful in both Standard and Limited. Why? It could be the fact that it’s a 4/5 flyer for only five mana. It could be that it’s a creature type with tons of card support after having a whole set devoted to dragons with Dragons of Tarkir. It could be that whenever an opponent attempts to get rid of it, they only end up hurting themselves and damaging their own creatures. Or it could be all that put together. Another Mythic Rare that will be great in several kinds of decks.
This card may be on the expensive side, but its effects are worth it. Not only do you make your opponent think twice EVERY turn about casting spells, but you also have the chance to steal and play powerful spells right under your opponent’s nose. While the high casting cost will likely discourage most from putting multiple copies in a single deck, playing this card late-game can be an almost instant game changer.
Play by the Rules:
Now, if you’re a newcomer to the game, the one dizzying aspect can be the amount of rules you need to learn. Even for returning players, Eldritch Moon, has several new mechanics for you to wrap your head around. Luckily, there has been plenty of videos detailing how the newest abilities work. If you’re planning to play at an Eldritch Moon pre-release, watching these videos and learning about the new abilities will help immensely and add to the fun instead of making you frustrated trying to figure out what all those new words and pictures mean. Check it out:
After that, you can read some articles that will give you a more detailed look on how the new mechanics work and play as well as more card previews and why the development team chose the new mechanics.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and have fun out there Planeswalkers!