My multiplayer reviews are fairly straightforward: I look for cards that are better in multiplayer games than they would be in standard 1v1 games. Suncleanser looks like a great card and I am looking forward to playing with it in plenty of decks. However, Suncleanser only gets the most minimal of boosts when playing against multiple opponents, so it didn't make the list. This list isn't the best cards for multiplayer games; I'm looking at cards that get better because of multiplayer. Then I take what I think are the best cards from those cards and talk about them here.
There are several cards I'm really excited about in Magic 2019, so let's get started!
In a multiplayer game, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is forcing everyone to discard a card. Once he flips into his planeswalker self, he'll then be able to look through those graveyards and steal a creature or planeswalker there.
I particularly like how the planeswalker abilities interact. If you spend a turn drawing two cards, you can spend the next two turns taking the best creatures and planeswalkers from graveyards. You can take out the best creature or planeswalker on the table with the -3 ability, then follow up the next turn with the -4 and taking it for yourself.
It will be curious to see how this Commander deck will play out. Bolas only costs four mana to cast, so if he dies once or twice, it is still realistic to expect to see him back out again. Will players be willing to burn out the planeswalker version, knowing that they can recast him for only a couple extra mana? How will opponents react? The seven-mana activation cost will be tricky to do on the same turn as casting Bolas, so it seems likely that he will sit as a creature for at least a turn before flipping. Is this when opponents will flock towards the Bolas player or does that not happen until he becomes a planeswalker? Or will other decks with other commanders be seen as far more dangerous? I'll be interested to see where this deck lands on the power scale.
The obvious comparison to Austere Command makes Cleansing Nova appear lacking. Austere Command does everything Cleansing Nova does, but gives you more control. Maybe there are a group of enchantments that need to go, but you want to keep your artifacts that are giving you mana. Austere Command lets you destroy those enchantments, keep your artifacts and destroy either big or small creatures. Cleansing Nova forces you to make a hard choice, deciding if taking out the enchantments is worth losing your artifacts.
All of this should only act as a reminder of just how good Austere Command really is. Cleansing Nova costs only one more than Day of Judgement or Wrath of God and gives you the flexibility of destroying all creatures or all artifacts and enchantments. This flexibility is well worth an extra mana. While I don't see Cleansing Nova replacing Austere Command in any of my decks, I do see it replacing Day of Judgement or other limited mass removal spells. Enchantments are only getting stronger and stronger and players continue to not include enough removal. Adding another card to your deck that can do double duty like Cleansing Nova can, only makes good sense.
Forgetting about any other card in the deck, Resplendent Angel can make things happen. If you attack and activate the ability, you will be gaining five life, getting you the 4/4 flying vigilant Angel Token. If you leave her back to block with the mana to activate, opponents have to expect that you'll get another Angel Token if they come your way. The card all by itself is a wrecking crew!
The card will really shine in multiplayer when you put it in the right deck. Resplendent Angel will be amazing in every dedicated lifegain deck, and even in decks that are just running several creatures with lifelink. Decks with Soul Warden and others of its ilk tend to have ways to gain the five life needed on other players' turns so you can get the 4/4 Angel Tokens several times in a single round. Other decks with lifelink creatures will be even more miserable to deal with than they were before. With a couple of lifelink creatures to block, everyone knows that combat is not going to go their way. Decks with True Conviction or Odric, Lunarch Marshal just found another friend.
For me though, Resplendent Angel will be a welcome addition to my Firesong and Sunspeaker deck. There are plenty of ways for me to gain five life with various spells in the deck, and even more ways to do five damage that would also give me five life if Firesong and Sunspeaker are on the battlefield! Extra creatures, particularly vigilant ones that can fly, will really up the resiliency of the deck!
It isn't often when an uncommon card is one of the top multiplayer cards in a set, but here we are! Poison-Tip Archer causes every opponent to lose a life when a creature dies. Not just when one of their creatures dies – or when one of your creatures dies – but whenever a creature dies! When anyone destroys a creature with removal, everyone else loses one life. Whenever there is a mass removal spell played, everyone else loses a pile of life! In multiplayer games, this can easily be 10 or more life, and that isn't even considering the life loss if there is a token deck involved in your game.
The Archer works particularly well with one of my favorite cards, Tombstone Stairwell. The Stairwell looks at each person's graveyard and gives them as many Zombie Tokens as they have creature cards in the graveyard. At the end of each turn, those tokens die, so the Archer would deal X damage to each opponent where X is the number of creatures in all graveyards! On the next person's upkeep, Tombstone Stairwell does the whole thing again! Poison-Tip Archer would end that game quickly!
For a more modern take on things, try running Butcher of Malakir or any of the Grave Pact options. When you lose a creature, your opponents will all lose one life then they will all lose one more life for each opponent who is forced to sacrifice a creature! With green and black decks, you are likely running some graveyard recursion in your deck already, along with a variety of ways to sacrifice your creatures for some effect. Poison-Tip Archer can be added to those decks without changing anything. Add on the 2/3 deathtouch and reach body, and you have a very respectable blocker that will keep most creatures from attacking you!
When you play Vaevictus Asmadi, the Dire, if your game doesn't turn into an archenemy game with you as the archenemy then your opponents desperately need to learn threat assessment or that game is already over. This elder Dragon attacks and you get to force your opponent to sacrifice their most annoying permanent. Being indestructible doesn't matter. That thing is sacrificed. Then they get to show the top card of their library and put it on the battlefield if it is a permanent. Even if you assume the top card is a permanent, it is unlikely going to be a permanent worse than the one you just got rid of, since you got rid of the card that was the worst for you! With Vaevictus Asmadi, you can take out defending flyers, their biggest creature, that enchantment that has been pinning you down, that Maze of Ith or other land!
Vaevictus also allows you to play a political game. You can show your generosity by making them sacrifice a permanent that isn't all that important for a chance to flip a card that could be better. If that is all it takes to keep an opponent or two from directing their forces your way, go for it! You'll be focusing on them soon enough!
I should mention that Vaevictus Asmadi can take out lands, but if you are thinking you are going to lock an opponent out of a color, understand that isn't a long-term solution. When 40% of the cards they are going to draw are lands, odds are that you are going to spend a long time trying to keep them off a color. If you have that many attacks with Vaevictus, you are probably winning anyway.
In 1v1 games, there are going to be games where Runic Armasaur doesn't draw any cards. In multiplayer games, if your opponents don't destroy it, Runic Armasaur will draw every card from your deck. I would estimate at least a third of all creatures played have some kind of activated ability that would set off Runic Armasaur. Take those numbers and multiply them by three opponents. If an opponent happens to be playing a deck that abuses one of those activated abilities (Breya, Etherium Shaper, Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, and Slimefoot, the Stowaway quickly come to mind), then the number of cards drawn grows exponentially.
The benefits don't even end there. In some cases, opponents are going to decide that activating the ability just isn't worth it. Runic Armasaur will not only be drawing you cards, but slowing your opponents' decks down in the process! There will also be times when an opponent will want you to draw cards. Perhaps another opponent is dominating and you are working together. Perhaps there is a particularly annoying permanent that needs to be dealt with, so your opponents are willing to feed you cards in the hope of dealing with the problem.
The crazy levels of card draw on what looks like a rather innocuous 2/5 creature makes this the top multiplayer card in M19!