Hello TCGplayer readers! Today I am honored to show you a special preview card exclusive to TCGplayer. Shadows over Innistrad preview season has been amazing so far, and to me it's extra special and unlike anything I've experienced before. I was working at Wizards of the Coast in the R&D department while Shadows over Innistrad was in development and I had the opportunity to play with these cards daily as a member of the FFL (Future Future League) Team. While Shadows over Innistrad cards are not new to me, it's been great to see everyone's reactions to the new cards. I'm really proud of what we did with this set and I can guarantee that the best is yet to come! Between the flavor, art, mechanics and gameplay, Shadows over Innistrad is awesome!
As for the actual preview card, here it is:
It seems like every new block has the standard strong removal spell. Theros had Hero's Downfall, Khans of Tarkir had Utter End, and Battle for Zendikar had Ruinous Path. Anguished Unmaking is just another one of those, right?
While that's what it looks like, Anguished Unmaking has a lot more potential than other similar removal spells before it (except Hero's Downfall which was hands-down the strongest of these spells and the format was warped around it). Anguished Unmaking is balanced enough where you're going to want to include it in your white/black deck, but you're not going to go out of your way to play white/black because of this card's existence.
Now that we know what Anguished Unmaking is capable of, what decks can we expect to see this card in?
This list is what an aggressive Eldrazi deck will probably look like in Shadows over Innistrad Standard. It can beat down really hard with aggressive two-drops like Eldrazi Mimic and Bearer of Silence. Those early creatures are backed up by efficient removal at two mana, and of course Anguished Unmaking in the three-mana slot. This deck is oozing with card advantage, as many of the creatures have abilities that either kill creatures (Wasteland Strangler, Bearer of Silence), or remove a card from hand (Thought-Knot Seer). This is the type of list where Anguished Unmaking works best. You are unlikely to care about the life loss.
Here's a much more controlling take on Orzhov. Our main win conditions are Planeswalkers. It's really hard to build a control deck in an open metagame, especially when we don't even know all of the cards, but this is a good starting point based on what we know so far.
I've included four Heir of Falkenrath in this deck because it's a really efficient card to beat down with. A deck like this will struggle against a permission deck, and in cases where we are the beatdown, we'll need an early threat (comparatively, most current Orzhov decks play Seeker of the Way to fill this role). A 3/2 flyer is as efficient as you can get and with all of the removal in this deck, we're probably going to have an extra piece to pitch to transform Heir of Falkenrath.
Another important card here is Linvala, the Preserver. With three Anguished Unmakings and four Read the Bones, we're going to need a way to Recuperate life loss. In a creatureless deck like this one, odds are that we'll get the full value off of Linvala, the Preserver.
I have some other ideas for uses for Anguished Unmaking but don't have decklists, as not enough Shadows over Innistrad cards have been previewed yet. My first idea is an aggro deck with aggressive one and two-drops like Dragon Hunter, Thraben Inspector, and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar will be our play on turn four while Archangel Avacyn is the top of the curve at five. Anguished Unmaking seems great in a deck like this.
Esper Dragons is another option. Counterspells like Silumgar's Scorn and Scatter to the Winds are strong in a brand-new format, and Dragonlord Ojutai is only going to get better with Crackling Doom leaving the format. The deck does have a limitation in its mana base, however. No fetchlands means that it's going to be really difficult to build a three-color deck. Hopefully Shadows over Innistrad will provide some mana fixing to help us.
The final deck I'd like to touch upon is another Esper variant, but this time without dragons. Thing in the Ice is an incredibly strong creature, and I think a control deck can be built around it. It's a great blocker as an 0/4 and can save you plenty of life so that you can actually cast Anguished Unmaking for little downside. Once it transforms, it can clean up the board and attack for seven which is very powerful. I'm really excited to see this card in action.
Anguished Unmaking is not a build-around or an enabler, but it is a strong support spell that should find homes in many different archetypes. I'm excited to have access to such a versatile removal spell and I'm looking forward to building decks with it.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of Shadows over Innistrad preview season!
www.facebook.com/melissa.detora on Facebook