FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – LET’S TALK M14

Hello, readers! Today I’ll be going over some of the more noteworthy cards spoiled from the newest set, the 2014 Core Set. There are approximately 175 of the set’s 249 cards spoiled, so there’s a lot to go over. Let’s dive right into it.

WHITE

I’m not exactly sold on this whole enchantress idea. I’m sure it’ll supplement the archetype existing in EDH already quite well, but so far I’m not exactly impressed with the enchantment theme that’s being pushed. Only one enchantment sticks out as attention-grabbing so far, and I’ll talk about it when we get to it.

That being said, I like the idea of the Chosen. In 60-card, having multiples of this just seems absurd, and it’s a sizeable body that gets its returns off the first enchantment you resolve. It’s got some pretty decent value attached to it. In EDH, I find creating Cat tokens pretty useless given the natural gameplan of the deck being to either take control of all permanents or destroy all the permanents you don’t control. Why would a deck like that want blockers when it can run Ghostly Prison and Elephant Grass?

Our Mythic archangel is actually quite a house. Having a single Soul Warden-esque effect on the board makes playing any creature a difficult proposition for any opponent. Overall, this card is an absolute monster if given the right support, and functions just fine on her own.

In 60-card, she’ll stand alongside Centaur Healer for the duration of her time in Standard (and it might be a long shot, but I think she’s got the chops, due to how prevalent creature-heavy mirrors are becoming, or at least will become at the time Unburial Rites rotates), but she has Thragtusk for three months as well. In EDH, however, she’s absolutely absurd. I have my eyes on her for my own Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice shell, as the thought of her alongside Soul Warden and Mycoloth is just gross.

Before I discuss the card itself, let me just say – I’m not the biggest fan of Slivers, myself, but I think WotC did a pretty decent job giving the opponents of the archetype some relief that the most worry some of the bunch won’t be in Standard while giving the proponents of the archetype some glorious new toys to abuse, Bonesycthe Sliver prime among them.

We’ve yet to see the set pan out, but Slivers could very well be a thing if it has the right curve. Mirran Crusader and Silverblade Paladin were both very powerful cards, and while the others were both three and the former had extremely relevant protections, Bonescythe gives double strike to your entire army, which gives it a 1-up over Silverblade. I think WotC did the right thing by shifting the archetype’s power from being degenerate and combo-oriented to being a unified hive mind of sick beats. I think having a 4-mana Fury Sliver is definitely a step in the right direction.

I really don’t see this being that good of a card, to be honest. It’s strictly “win-more”, which has never been good. I understand the flavor of it, but really, I can foresee this easily being one of the “jank mythics” of the set.

It’s 7 mana, meaning 60-card will never want to cast it, and in what situation does a bigger army not lose that much harder to Wrath of God in EDH? Funny how a prayer to the gods is shut down by their wrath. Religion is fickle like that, I suppose.

It’s the Power Ranger Jedi Master! Honestly, hate cards are just fine by me, and I actually really like this guy in not only Standard, but 1v1 EDH as well. In the former, he says “Suck it, Dreadbore!” while having first strike and lifelink says that two of these will wall just about anything an aggro deck will do barring a Ghor-Clan Rampager.

BLUE

I like that Wizards supports fringe archetypes from time to time. This guy is just the perfect card for brewers like myself, and I really enjoy that they print gems like this one.

In 60-card, he’s pretty clearly not up to the cut, being 3 mana for only a 2/2 in the era of 2-mana 3/3′s, but in EDH and more casual formats, this guy shines. Being able to make all of your fliers that much cheaper to smash your opponent’s face in is great value and really good for your curve, and I look forward to making angrybirds.dek sometime in the future with this guy.

Windreader Sphinx is the only other real noteworthy card in blue, in my opinion. Clearly not something for Standard to look at, but in more casual formats, like Warden before him, the Windreader is fantastic.

It has something blue decks with a lot of creatures tend to lack – efficient card draw. It’s really hard to make room for draw spells in decks that want to spend their turns playing creatures and attacking, but this guy just does everything you want to do and then some. Your army of dinky little Bird tokens also manage to draw you cards, how about that!

BLACK

Previewed by StarCityGames.com, Dark Prophecy is just ripe for the picking for both Standard and EDH. My initial comment on the card was that Cartel Aristocrat and Skullclamp high-fived each other.

Drawing cards when creatures die is the name of the game for Skullclamp shells. This lets you double up on the card advantage, and can give you another out to Skullclamp dying – most decks that run Clamp tend to focus on the death of their own creatures anyway. Aggro, control and certain combo strategies will absolutely love having this around – it’s a Fecundity only you benefit from!

Grim Return is comparable to Angelic Renewal in that you’re re-using a dead guy for the EtB; it’s standalone due to being black, and being able to get your opponent’s creature. The ability to get all the benefits from having the best creature that forced the board wipe in the first place is fantastic, but an additional note is that it is especially powerful against Eldrazi in EDH due to the fact that it’s instant-speed, meaning you can respond to its shuffle trigger and snipe it, forcing your opponents to deal with it one more time.

Rise of the Dark Realms clearly has no place in Standard, so I’ll defer to its use in EDH. I honestly want to compare it to the “I win” flavor that the color insofar lacks – Storm Herd, Omniscience, Insurrection and Primal Surge all exist, and now this will join their ranks as a worthy finisher in both control and aggro. Resolving this will yield some great moments, I’m sure, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this will shake up the format.

Shadowborn Demon is a great addition to many black-centered strategies wherein things die on every angle of the table. It’s a 5/6 for 5, has a great EtB, and is a sacrifice engine in the right situation.

It seems just pushed enough for Standard. Being able to simultaneously answer the biggest threat on the table and become it is nothing to shake a stick at. In EDH, Conjurer’s Closet obviously adores this thing, and being able to trigger Grave Pact on its own is also valuable. The 5-mana 5-power flying thing is just a bonus.

I wanted to post this guy not because I’m convinced of its potential, but because I think it exists. I have yet to figure it out, but I’ll keep plugging away at it until I do.

It likely involves Teysa, Orzhov Scion and Human tokens. It just sucks that it can’t coexist with Angel of Glory’s Rise.

RED

This is actually one of my favorite cards of the set. Being able to punish greedy manabases is one of my favorite things to do, so I’ll very much enjoy this card.

In Standard, it seems like an excellent sideboard card for mono-red, should the archetype ever see a comeback. In EDH, it’s extremely easy to build a red/green strategy around nonbasic land hate, and this is easily one of the best cards for it. Suck it, Seedborn Muse!

Okay, let’s face it - this is what we were all waiting for. Chandra, while not exactly what I was hoping to see, is not disappointing in any sense of the word.

Creature mirrors are everywhere. The +1 will always be relevant in them, whether or not you can kill those creatures. It’s unimpressive on the surface, but being able to deny the opponent the ability to block with their key creature is vital in races.

Her 0 ability is obviously where she shines. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s really, really powerful. Future Sight is one of the most unappreciated cards for how absurdly powerful it is. It provides one of the most powerful engines of card advantage, and they just gave us that effect in red. Think about that for a second.

Her ultimate is a little subpar, but if you’re working with a Scroll Rack or Sensei’s Divining Top, it obviously goes up significantly in value.

Planeswalkers are getting harder and harder to judge these days with how powerful creatures have become and how high the bar has been set for 4-drops, but I’ll be a little disappointed if Chandra doesn’t see play, at least with how much hype she had coming into spoiler season.

You know the most disappointing part of In the Web of War? The fact that it wasn’t a creature.

Haste is such a difficult ability to evaluate. There really isn’t a way to make a non-creature haste enabler powerful when the ability revolves solely around creatures and their relevant in combat. Decks that have haste enablers want to turn their creatures sideways, and it’s really difficult to do that when you spent 5 mana on a spell that isn’t a creature.

I think Standard will really enjoy the Battledriver, and it may or may not be one of the premiere 4-drops post-rotation in red creature-based strategies. Time will tell.

Really?

Really?

Really, though?

This thing’s stupid. Absolutely bomb diggity bananas stupid.

Looking at this card makes the inner Timmy in everyone absolutely giddy. And they just printed two insane Dragons in RtR block, too.

The synergy with Dragon Broodmother is just stupid. The synergy with Utvara Hellkite is just stupid.

This card is just stupid.

I want a foil so incredibly bad, you cannot even begin to fathom.

There are buzzings about this card in Legacy. I can see it. Tacking subtle incrementals to Goblin Piker is just absurd. Controlling more than one is absolutely insane.

I think this will easily find a home in Standard and EDH, and I’m looking forward to seeing how its potential Legacy playability pans out. I’ve got my eyes on this card.

GREEN

Jolly Green Giant, AKA Garruk the 4th, is a really tough card to evaluate. Personally, I don’t like paying 6 mana for Show and Tell, especially when you compare the ability to Tooth and Nail, but the word “all” on the +1 and the emblem being reasonable to obtain are worth noting.

I don’t see him impacting Standard because cards that cost 6 or more absolutely must win you the game, and in EDH, he’ll be niche at best, but I personally am a fan of what he does. Being a card advantage like his Primal Hunter self is quite powerful, and it’s interesting to see how he’ll stack up as a card advantage engine with his past self. Time will tell.

This thing will seriously get me to dig up the quickly-buried Vorel of the Hull Clade list I gave up on. Oh boy, is this guy ever sweet.

In order to really get decent footing, +1/+1 counters had to rely on proliferate to increase threat density. This guy. This guy. This guy just cranks that up to 11 and says “HAVE ALL THE COUNTERS!“, making your army instantly massive the second he turns sideways. I am going to seriously enjoy making decks with this little lizard.

This has to be my favorite card of the set. It’s easily one of the most versatile and powerful tools for a creature strategy to employ.

The creature clause lets you recover from Wrath of God extremely fast by giving you an extra dude to bash face with.

The noncreature clause lets every creature you have become threatening. It enables an incredibly wide range of +1/+1 counter shenanigans, as +1/+1 counter enablers are few and far between (and most are extremely underwhelming).

The land clause lets you fight things like Insurrection and Sorin Markov, and is icing on the cake.

I want a foil of this almost as badly as I want a foil of the Scourge.

OTHER

I want you to be aware this exists.

Not because I know how good it is yet. (Spoiler alert – I don’t.)

But because I want you to know it can do things. Not things I’m aware of, but things.

Mind Unbound was the first thing that came to mind.

I’m going for the shot at the “Worst Johnny of 2013” title. Think I’ll get there?

CLOSING THOUGHTS

So those are the M14 previews we know so far in a nutshell. I want that dragon and green enchantment so bad it hurts. Blah!

With prerelease season just around the corner, let me take this opportunity to remind you that you should play at the CG Realm because our prereleases are better than yours. (And before you ask, no, Shawn did not pay me $100 to write that…totally.)

Schedules for the prerelease events are as follows:

July 13th, 12:00 a.m.
July 13th, 10:00 a.m.
July 13th, 2:00 p.m.
July 13th, 5:00 p.m.
July 14th, 10:00 a.m.
July 14th, 1:30 p.m.

Entry is $20.

So I hope to see you all there! (And I’m only going because I’m getting a foil Scourge of Valkas while the getting’s good.)

-L

Check out my previous articles here:

Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454

Building on a Budget:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1522

Choose Your Champion:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1594
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1868

Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1810

Hits & Misses of Dragon’s Maze:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1870

Let’s Build:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214 

Planeswalking and You:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2184 

Resource Management:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2200

Trial & Error:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2089

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