Welcome back to day two of our brew review here on TCGplayer.com! I am Conley Woods and all week we're looking at some of the cooler cards from Shadows over Innistrad. Unlike previous set reviews, this time around I got with the times and tried my hand at recording my thoughts on video. Don't worry though, if you are more of a reader, there are notes on the cards I discuss below!
We're looking at the new cards with an eye toward their deckbuilding potential and Standard applications. New cards are always exciting to think about and brew with and Shadows over Innistrad appears to be no exception. With that said, let's jump straight into the cards!
Broken Concentration: Cancel is back! Alright, this is strictly better than Cancel, but you need to be playing a very specific set of cards to make that true. Madness is a relevant ability to have, but this should still be rather niche and see play in small numbers in a few select lists. Circular Logic 2.0 this is not.
Compelling Deterrence: I am a big fan of this card when you meet the kicker condition, of course. That limits this to decks with a significant portion of zombies (say, 16 or so) but in those decks this ranges from just a strong tempo card to an instant-speed Vindicate.
Confirm Suspicions: I love the eventual output of this, but spending 11 mana on three cards and a Cancel is quite the investment. I think this brings enough raw power to the table that it will be played, but five mana counterspells have an uphill battle to fight.
Drunau Corpse Trawler: Hardly great, but a potential player in zombie decks, as it provides two bodies in play and one in the yard, unlike most token producers.
Engulf the Shore: One of my favorite cards in the set. Enabling control decks that don't want to play heavy white or black for other sweepers is a cool incentive to introduce in the format. Keep in mind that the Battle lands have island in their typeline. Here is a mostly blue that takes advantage of our new reset button.
Epiphany at the Drownyard: This is a neat card, but it seems like it requires too much mana to provide a reasonable output. If you want to use this as a bad Sphinx's Revelation, I suppose that is fine, but for anything under five mana, this is basically unplayable.
Erdwal Illuminator: I am not sure if clues will pick up enough build-arounds, but this seems like a nice piece toward making such an engine work. Two mana 1/3 fliers are pretty decent and this kind of draws you extra cards, so don't sleep on him (which you can't cause he always leaves the lights on).
Essence Flux: There are few people that like blink effects as much as I do, so fitting one on to a one-mana option with upside is pretty sweet. Cloudshift didn't do much, but I have hope for this one!
Forgotten Creation: A cool line of text that enables your madness cards and fills up your graveyard. Skulk is a nice touch, but you are playing this to loot away your hand every turn.
Geralf's Masterpiece: I can see this being a strong control on control win condition in long, grindy games, but because you get no immediate impact from casting this (aside from a body) I think it is difficult to justify this as your primary win condition in control.
Invasive Surgery: Dispel for sorceries is probably a little too narrow to see any maindeck play, but as a sideboard card this is really strong, even without the delirium trigger.
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets: Hardly the best Jace we have seen, but a viable one nonetheless. I find this close to Ob Nixilis Reignited in function and will probably see a similar amount of play as a one or two-of in some control decks.
Manic Scribe: An interesting mill build-around that also protects you early on. You can't mill yourself with it or else it would be very different, but if you think you can get away with milling your opponent, this is a decent place to start.
Pieces of the Puzzle: If my Engulf the Shores list is any indication, you can probably figure out how big of a fan I am of this. Putting four cards into your graveyard and two into your hand is a huge effect for just three mana. Expect this to be played in a few different places.
Rattlechains: If you want your spirit deck to play like a faerie deck, this is a good place to start. This sort of blends Spellstutter Sprite and Scion of Oona into a single card. Spirits might not be a real contender until Eldritch Moon, but the foundation is starting to come together.
Rise from the Tides: A crazy strong build-around in limited almost like Spider Spawning was, although more difficult to pull off. In constructed, I think this can be a viable win condition.
Stitchwing Skaab: As I have said many times already, any of these spell-like effects out of the graveyard have potential. This one isn't the best rate in the world, but who knows.
Welcome to the Fold: Mind Control comes with a restriction on size, although that makes sense. If you can manage to discard this to a Jace or something though, you get instant speed Control Magic, which is absurd, and you gain card advantage from not actually discarding a card. This should be very annoying for green decks to deal with.
Asylum Visitor: One of my favorite cards in the set and arguably one of the most versatile. This can be used in tribal decks, in discard decks, in madness decks, in midrange decks, in nontribal aggro, etc. The list is just so big because this does so many things well. Check this out in the vampire shell below as well as more vampire love tomorrow!
Behold the Beyond: This card has to be broken. The fact that you can go tutor up a Regrowth effect to get this back and repeat the process seems really strong. Expect combo decks in Standard and Modern to try this out. Control might even use it as a one-of to put away games late.
Creeping Dread: This seems like a good sideboard card against slow control decks that want to stock up on countermagic and not pressure your life total for awhile.
Dead Weight: There isn't much fanciness going on here, but this is an efficient removal spell against hyper-aggro. It also happens to be an aura if you want to get your Open the Armory on.
Diregraf Colossus: The black equivalent of Thalia's Lieutenant in that it provides you with an awesome bonus played early (in 2/2 bodies) or a reasonable bonus later by just being a giant monster. Here's a sample zombies list featuring it:
Ever After: Double Zombify is pretty strong, even if you aren't assembling a two-card combo with it. This has the functionality of going to the bottom of your deck which is definitely cool in anything where milling yourself out is a real concern.
From Under the Floorboards: Five mana for six power and toughness and three life seems borderline playable as is. This gets a real kick with the ability to scale higher than that and to be played off of madness. This seems like a really strong midrange card similar to Siege Rhino in some respects.
Ghoulsteed: Another self-reanimating creature. I like this one quite a bit because the body allows you to play defense for awhile while you continue to build up more resources.
Gisa's Bidding: I compare this to Arrogant Wurm although the front half of this is probably better than a five mana 4/4 is. I imagine that there are too many alternatives to this (for example, From Under the Floorboards) that will keep this from seeing a ton of play, but it has some use, especially in potential zombie shells.
Indulgent Aristocrat: Vampires don't have much in the way or one-drops currently, (which might change tomorrow) making this actually pretty relevant. A 1/1 lifelink is solid and the ability to anthem your team at instant speed can be quite strong, especially if you are sacrificing something like Carrier Thrall.
Liliana's Indignation: The rate on this seems poor, but if you must fill up your graveyard, this does come with some cool upside.
Mindwrack Demon: One of the better creatures on rate we have seen in some time. Milling yourself for four should be a bonus most of the time and the life loss downside won't matter in every matchup, making this a bonafide beatstick most of the time. You have to worry about casting this against aggro, but the aggro opponent probably also needs to worry in that spot too.
Murderous Corruption: Two mana to kill a tapped creature is pretty good although once we make it an instant with madness, the value goes way up — it can kill a creature before it stomps our face!
Olivia's Bloodsworn: Vampire Tribal should come together tomorrow when we move to red, but this card is quite exciting to think about. We have Olivia, Mobilized for War to look at later, which is another haste-granter, and multiple tier 1 constructed cards in the format are already vampires, like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet and Drana, Liberator of Malakir. Here is a really solid start to one of the better tribal decks we will see in new Standard.
Pale Rider of Trostad: An aggressive madness enabler that can also play defense. You won't want to play this on rate alone, as it isn't quite good enough there, but if you can turn the cost into a benefit, this is solid.
Pick the Brain: A Coercion, even one that exiles, is probably not good enough for constructed, but when it operates as a Lobotomy for only three mana, that is pretty strong. Should be an occasional sideboard option.
Sanitarium Skeleton: A simple design with a lot going for it. This is kind of Squee, Goblin Nabob that can come back multiple times in a turn, but for a cost. That seems like something that can be abused pretty easily and a one mana 1/2 is kind of cool too.
To the Slaughter: A weak edict when you don't have delirium and a strong one when you do. This will see play, but it is not as good as Ruinous Path or Hero's Downfall by any stretch of the imagination.
Triskaidekaphobia: One of the whackier cards in the set but one that most people have fallen in love with. I think this is a very viable Standard card and am going to build around it here in the next couple of weeks, so check back then!
That's it for day 2 of our week long brew review here on TCGplayer.com! I am quite a fan of the cards we saw today and they set up a great story for tomorrow as we see the rest of the vampires that Standard is going to have to work with (well most as the multicolor and double-faced cards will add even more). Zombies look like they might be a reasonable tribal deck now as well, although their synergies appear more controlling and grindy whereas vampires look to be more aggressive.
Tomorrow we will be back to go over the red and green cards from the set. Then on Friday we will round things out with the multicolor cards, the double faced cards, and a quick look at the best cards in the set. Until tomorrow, thanks for watching!