As many of you know we are going back to Zendikar and I, unlike many others, am rooting for the Eldrazi. Why? Because I want to see what would happen if the Eldrazi went to New Phyrexia. Would the Phyrexian Oil have any effect on these monstrosities? I don't know about you, but I think Emrakul, the Aeons Torn needs infect! That and my Twitter handle is @Alieldrazi.
I know not all the cards have been spoiled yet, but I'm going to write about some of the cards I'm interested in and what new Standard might look like. Spoiler season is a pretty exciting time, so let's dive right in!
Let's start off with the obvious cards.
Ob Nixilis Reignited: Looks like our fallen planeswalker has somehow gotten his spark back and he's not messing around. Ob Nixilis is going to be a staple in Standard and you can expect him to instantly go into Abzan control decklists. All of his abilities are very good. He gets you card advantage, protects himself, and can end the game. Those things are a recipe for success. I'm happy to have this planeswalker join new Standard.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar: Gideon is another one you will see a lot of in new decks, but I don't think he's as amazing as everyone thinks he is. Sure, he passes the "Can it protect itself?" test. He can generate value and end the game as well, but this one doesn't go straight into decks without thought like Ob Nixilis can. For example you just can't jam this into your Abzan control deck. He fights with Sorin, Solemn Visitor for a spot and I believe Sorin is just better than Gideon in that deck. Don't get me wrong Gideon is very good, but not an auto include in decks playing that color like Ob Nixilis basically is. Gideon is decent for control decks too but he's not Gideon Jura.
Kiora, Master of the Depths: Sigh. I love everything Simic usually but I'm not in love with this planeswalker. She doesn't protect herself but her minus two ability is good since it has already proven itself to be constructed playable via Satyr Wayfinder. She not only fetches a land but also a creature and fuels delve spells in the process. She's not as good as Jace, Architect of Thought but she'll probably find a home in Standard alongside Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and/or Rattleclaw Mystic.
Leading with those planeswalkers is a perfect segue to our next card:
Looks like Hero's Downfall is here to stay...well, in a way. So the most noticeable difference is this spell is a sorcery and not an instant. It does however have the new keyword, awaken. I believe this will make it as good as Hero's Downfall. This card is much better in a ramp strategy than Hero's Downfall since it can swing a game heavily by itself. The fact that we will have Ruinous Path over Downfall does mean that Planeswalkers are much better now, especially early on when players can't awaken it. That means Planeswalkers can and will generate a huge tempo swing when players have to kill the Planeswalkers on their own turn and might not have a follow up play. On the other hand awaken is a very strong mechanic and I am happy to have Ruinous Path replace Hero's Downfall.
My favorite type of deck to play is a ramp deck, especially when backed by blue spells. When I saw these green cards spoiled I was very excited. Let's have a look!
Greenwarden of Murasa: Many people underestimated Den Protector when she first came out saying things like, "Eternal Witness is just way better. Five mana for Eternal Witness? No thanks." Well...they were dead wrong. Den Protector has been really good in any green deck. While this card isn't good in every green deck it is very good in ramp decks or just midrange decks. It's double Eternal Witness with a good body to boot. You don't even have to exile it if you just want to just cycle your Greenwardens of Murasa until you find something better to get. Some Eldrazi ask that you put some cards from exile back into the graveyard, your opponent will have to Think Twice about putting this card back into your graveyard from exile. The only problem? It will compete with Den Protector. Den Protector might just prove to be too good to replace.
Nissa's Renewal: This is a ramp players Sphinx's Revelation. Just like Sphinx's Revelation drew you cards and gave you time to cast them by gaining you life, so too will Nissa's Renewal. It allows you to ramp up to your Eldrazi-esque spells and gives you the time you might need to cast them. I know I'll be playing this card to help me cast my Ugins and Ulamogs.
From Beyond: Frontier Siege is pretty good and it was amazing before Dromoka's Command was printed. The downside to Frontier Siege however was, if you ramped into Ugin with it, sometimes that same Ugin also ate your Frontier Siege. Well no more! Thanks to Devoid, From Beyond will never be exiled by Ugin, in fact From Beyond can actually kill Ugin thanks to the 1/1s Scions that can either ramp you, protect you, or kill your opponent. If that wasn't enough this card is never really a bad topdeck and has pseudo protection from Dromoka's Command. You can just sacrifice it to get that Ulamog, Void Winnower, Desolation Twin, Conduit of Ruin or some new Eldrazi that hasn't been spoiled yet. This card is just awesome and I'm very excited for it!
Retreat to Kazandu: This seems to be a cycle. I really like this one because of the gain two life clause. It's a weaker Courser of Kruphix overall but it does give you a lot of time if you're hitting your land drops, especially fetchlands. What if you don't need time? Well you can just grow your Rattleclaw Mystic or 1/1 Scion and slowly make it a bigger and bigger threat. Not sure if this card is good enough but it definitely has potential to be.
Let's make way for the some colorless spells. After all, this set does have a lot of colorless spells.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: What better to start things off with then the biggest one of all? Ulamog is amazing and will see play in Standard. He no longer has annihilator but he will still kill any opponent with two or three swings. He now also exiles two permanents instead of destroying one when cast which is an obvious upgrade. Costing one less mana is huge and adds to his playability. The fact that he also doesn't get shuffled back into its owner's library anymore means that we can rebuy Ulamog with Den Protector or the aforementioned Greenwarden of Murasa. I'll happily be summoning this Eldrazi.
Void Winnower: I can't even. You can't even. Nobody can even! Take that Siege Rhino! Your opponent can't even morph creatures if Void Winnower is out. Such a strange card. Oddly enough it doesn't dodge much removal. It can still be Ruinous Pathed, Abzan Charmed, Ob Nixilis, Stasis Snared, and more. I just have a feeling this card will be good somewhere. If not? Well, we always have Commander!
Oblivion Sower: People have forgotten about this card. It was spoiled early on and now everyone has their eyes on the newest cards spoiled leaving Oblivion Sower in the rearview mirror. Well Stop That! This card is very, very strong. It not only ramps you but it's also an enabler for things like Ulamog's Nullifier and Blight Herder. Did your opponent just cast a Dig Through Time or Treasure Cruise exiling a bunch of lands? Well, put them all into play under your control. This card is capable of some powerful game swinging scenarios. Stop looking at it from your rearview mirror.
Conduit of Ruin: Speaking of power Conduit of Ruin has a lot of it. You can play this on curve and Threaten a Void Winnower next turn. Imagine this scenario though: you play your sixth land then cast Conduit of Ruin tutoring up Ulamog. Conduit of Ruin survives. You play Shrine of the Forsaken Gods as your seventh land then cast Ulamog exiling your opponents two best permanents and leaving you with a huge indestructible body that is going to win the game in two to three swings. A Conduit of Ruin indeed. Conduit of Ruin is like Treasure Mage and Fierce Empath with a very relevant ability and body. I can easily see him as a one or two-of in Eldrazi decklists.
Titan's Presence: A very solid removal spell that gets around protection and indestructible clauses. Where was this card when heroic was around? Regardless, it's still a solid card. Again exiling things allows you to fuel cards like Blight Herder, Ulamog's Nullifier, and possibly other cards. Even if you don't run those things it just means your opponent can't delve that card away or return that Siege Rhino back to their hand with the help of Den Protector.
Hedron Archive: Mind Stone was good. Dreamstone Hedron was decent, but not really Constructed playable. So how will Hedron Archive fair? I believe this card is in that sweet spot. Ramping up to seven mana is very relevant and needed. It allows us to cast our big spells easier and then later in the game we can cash it in for two cards. Inspiration costs four mana. Hedron Archive can be Inspiration and mana ramp all in one. You can't ask for much more as a ramp player. This card is a great go-to for any midrange or ramp deck that wants six or more mana early.
Smothering Abomination: This card is just waiting to be broken. It has so much potential, especially for combo decks or just decks that sacrifice a lot of creatures. We have Scions and Nantuko Husk in Standard. You may say, "But Ali! Isn't Grim Haruspex strictly better?" No, it's not, Grim Haruspex is better in Rally decks but Smothering Abomination triggers off tokens where Grim Haruspex doesn't. This card reminds me a lot of Disciple of Bolas and it goes fantastic with a Scion generator like From Beyond or any future cards that get spoiled.
Fathom Feeder: It's so hard to rate Ingest. We've never seen it before and nobody is quite sure how powerful that mechanic can be. I'm just going off that this little guy fuels Ulamog's Nullifier and is in the same colors as that card. It also can also mimic an Azure Mage and draw you some cards while exiling some of your opponent's cards too. If nothing else I can see this little guy see play in some control sideboards.
Ulamog's Nullifier: Speaking of Ulamog's Nullifier this guy is a Mystic Snake in a better color combination. Not only that but it's also a little bigger and flies. Now if only we could get a solid way to keep some of our opponent's cards exiled. Hopefully we can when some more cards get spoiled. If not, well, this card is still pretty decent against any delve spells. This card could be a staple in this format. Again it just depends on a couple of good cards that allow us to exile some of our opponent's cards.
Forerunner of Slaughter: Last but not least I'd like to talk about Forerunner of Slaughter. I'm not one to really brew or talk about aggro decks much but this card is a beating. Even I know that I will lose to this card many a time. We've seen plenty of cards similar to it like Boggart Ram-Gang and Flinthoof Boar. The thing is though it not only can give itself Haste. It can give any colorless creature that ability. It also curves very nicely into Dominator Drone. Not a card I look forward to seeing across the table but it will be one for sure.
Well boys and girls that's where I'm going to stop for today. In my next article I'll talk about some more cards and brew a deck or two up. Here is to hoping the whole set is spoiled by then.
As always thank you very much for reading,
@Alieldrazi on Twitter
P.S. Make sure to check out Freshly Brewed, a podcast where Frank and I discuss many things Magic with a lot of fun banter in between. #CaterpillarSuicide #PoopOnHold