MTG Arena Core 2021 Spoilers
It’s our favorite season as MTG Arena fans: Spoiler season! MTG Arena’s Core 2021 set is coming on June 25 digitally, but starting today (June 4), spoilers are here. Jumpstart previews will go from June 17-19. But what is Jumpstart?
Jumpstart takes the best parts of Limited and Constructed MTG together and blends them into one place! Cats, Phyrexian, Pirate packs are all coming, with Unicorns and more. Each Booster will have 20 cards, and fit into a particular theme. Themes like “Doctor,” “Garuuk.” “Cats” and more still.
It’s important to note that Core Set 2021 and Jumpstart share a lot of content, but Jumpstart is its entity. Jumpstart is scheduled to come to MTG Arena sometime this year, and all cards in it will be legal in Historic. We’ll do what we can to cover that too, as it will be coming to the “best” format. I mean, Jumpstart is going to have almost 500 reprints in it, so it’s going to be colossal, and also introduces 37 new cards.
Those cards are only legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander (and likely Historic). The physical edition of Jumblapstart launches on July 17. Without further ado, let’s get started with the MTG Arena Core 2021 spoilers! Keep an eye on this blog daily, because we’ll update it just as much as humanly possible!
We’ll sort these by color and rarity to make it as easy as possible to find what you’re interested in.
Consecrated Veteran (2-Cost Creature – Human Warrior):
Hey, Adanto Vanguard! We missed you! Fun Fact: Regenerate, some years back was replaced with “gains Indestructible until end of turn.” This card feels like a tribute to that. When you’d regenerate a card, it would tap, and all damage was removed from it. So, enter the 3/1 Consecrated Veteran! You can discard a card and tap it to give it indestructible until end of turn. I know I talk about this a lot, but it’s a discard engine! In three-color reanimate, or perhaps Boros Phoenixes, you could do a lot with this card. Just pitch something with him in play, and reanimate it at your leisure! Plus, you can do this when you’re attacking! The tapping it isn’t a part of the cost, it’s just a result of activating the ability. So, you can attack, make him indestructible, and put your Polukranos in the grave. Oh yeah, he’ll see play.
Angelic Ascension (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
So, I find myself really torn on this card. A lot of people have said “garbage card, won’t see play”, but I’m not so sure. I don’t think it’s going to be an S-Tier, Must-Play spell. But here’s what it does. For 2 mana (1 white), at instant speed, you exile a creature or planeswalker. The controller of that card gains a 4/4 white Angel token with flying. You can use this on your own cards too. In response to someone killing something of yours (say, a 1-drop), you can cast this to exile it instead, and gain a turn-2 Angel. You can play a turn-1 weenie, and during your opponent’s turn, transform it into a 4/4 Angel. I think it has potential. I want to see more cards before I decide, but I like it in theory at the very least.
Selfless Rescue Dog (1-Cost Creature Dog):
That may not be the accurate name; we’ll see. But this is one good doggo. A 1/1 for 1 that can grant indestructible until end of turn? His sacrifice will never be forgotten. Plus again, it has adorable art! A turn-1 Bodyguard that doesn’t have to pick a target first, making it far superior to the last Bodyguard we had. Yes, Dog Tribal or Dog/Cat tribal is going to be a thing, and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it. Not that I would, I love seeing stuff like this. From what I understand, the “Hound” creature type is going to be errated into “Dog,” so we’ll have more options in non-standard.
Faith’s Fetters (4-Cost Enchant – Aura – Permanent):
Here’s a really interesting reprint: Faith’s Fetters! It enchants a permanent, so it works on lands, artifacts, and planeswalkers. When it enters the battlefield, you gain 4 life, so that’s already worth it. But the enchanted permanent can’t attack, block, and it can’t use its activated abilities unless they’re mana abilities. So you can’t stop planeswalkers passive, but you can stop almost everything else they can do. It can stop Nissa lands from attacking/blocking as well. However, it’s been upgraded to an uncommon instead of a common. It makes sense because this card does a lot for 4 mana. This is definitely going to see use in control decks as a new Pacifism-style option.
Siege Striker (3-Cost Creature – Human Soldier):
A 1/1 that has Double Strike? It’s been done, but it still sounds silly. But this particular creature is going to be a bomb in limited, especially at the uncommon rarity. Whenever Siege Striker attacks, you can tap any number of untapped creatures you control. He gains +1/+1 for each creature tapped that way (until end of turn). So you can run him in a Token/Fling deck! Spam the board with tokens, and then declare attack, tap out, and in response to the blocker, Fling him for lethal damage. Oh I like that idea. Or you can run him in Boros and slap Embercleave on him. The Double Strike doesn’t stack, but he’d gain Trample and another +1/+1. He’s here to get pumped! I’m curious to see how he’ll fit into this upcoming meta. I like the card a lot, though.
Light of Promise (3-Cost Enchantment – Aura):
Are you like me (and everyone else that’s ever run a white deck) and wished you could have more Ajani’s Pridemate in your life? Is having the creature, and a planeswalker that can churn them out like butter not enough? Light of Promise, for the low, low cost of 3 mana, can turn any of your creatures into Ajani’s Pridemate! This enchantment gives “Whenever you gain life, put that many +1/+1 counters on this creature.” So, we just combine this with Heliod and Daxos – instant POWER OVERWHELMING!
Vryn Wingmare (3-Cost Creature – Pegasus):
This isn’t a bad creature, but being a 3-cost 2/1 with Flying is mediocre at best. But it has a nice ability. Noncreature spells cost 1 colorless more to cast for everyone. This was originally rare, I believe. But this is a version of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Instead of a 2/1 First Strike, it’s a 2/1 Flying. I’d honestly rather have the First Strike. Thalia’s also a 2-drop, making her much better (but she’s not playable in standard). It’s a weaker Thalia, but it might be fun in limited.
Tempered Veteran (2-Cost Creature – Human Knight):
What an interesting card. Some say this “complicates combat and board state,” but that’s the talk of someone who is going to be mad that they can’t kill their opponent’s creatures, perhaps. This is a ½ for 2 (1 white). You can tap 1 white and tap it, to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature that already has one on it. Or you can tap 6 (2 white) to give a creature a +1/+1 counter. I have a feeling you won’t have to use that second ability quite as often. White has an absolute mountain (no pun intended) of +1/+1 counters they can drop. Plus for 1 mana, you can give them even more? Perhaps we put this in the deck with Conclave Mentor?
Falconer Adept (4-Cost Creature – Human Soldier):
I’d like to see this in Azorius Flyers, even if it doesn’t have flying. We could give it flying I’m sure. But whenever this ⅔ attacks, you create a 1/1 white Bird token with flying that is also tapped and attacking. With Watcher of the Spheres, you can buff it during the attack step! It’s a little bit steep at 4 mana (1 white) but creating more creatures that attack is nice. Oh hey! This could go in with Winota! That might be a fun addition to the deck.
Griffin Aerie (2-Cost Enchantment):
A card that makes life gain useful instead of just annoying? What a world we live in. This is an incredible common for any deck that splashes white and uses a lot of lifegain. So Mono-White, and White/Black. At the start of your end-step, if you gained at least 3 life this turn, create a 2/2 white Griffin token with flying. Not to mention, it’s so easy to gain life for those decks in the first place. This is going to be a monster (no pun intended) in Historic Soul Sisters I think.
Basri’s Acolyte (4-Cost Creature – Cat Cleric):
You might be asking “Who is Basri?” and I’m here to tell you, they’re a planeswalker in this set! He’s a brand-new planeswalker as far as I’m aware, Basri Ket. We’ll be covering him here as well, don’t worry! This 4-cost Cat Cleric has Lifelink because of course, it does. This cleric puts a +1/+1 counter on up to two creatures you control. For 4 mana, that’s… eh, that’s not bad. In a Blue/White flicker deck or Mono-White Devo deck, this could be quite powerful. If you can bounce this out of play, and back in, oh boy. Charming Prince! That’s who this synergizes with! Get as many +1/+1s as you can!
Revitalize (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
Not a whole lot to say here! Revitalize has long-since been a staple in White. For 2 mana, at instant speed, you gain 3 life and draw a card. Simply a great card to drop during your opponent’s turn! I’ve often wondered why it’s not an uncommon though.
Alpine Watchdog (2-Cost Creature – Dog):
A 2/2 with Vigilance for 2? What an absolute good boy. Perhaps the goodest boy! He’s a nice, simple, easy-to-play dog for Dog Tribal/Mono-White. Vigilance is always great. Now to just slap some +1/+1s on it and give it lifelink. That’s easy now!
Valorous Steed (5-Cost Creature – Unicorn):
When does Unicorn Tribal become a thing? It won’t be with this card! It has a great kit, but it’s a 5-drop for it, so I don’t think it’s worth it. This is a 3/3 with Vigilance, and when it enters the battlefield, you create a 2/2 white Knight token with Vigilance. So if you had a way to make it cheaper and/or flicker it out a bunch of times, it could be nice. But it’s pretty cost-prohibitive other than that.
Celestial Executioner (3-Cost Creature – Human Cleric):
This is an okay common. Not the worst, but certainly not bad. It’s a ⅔ for 3, and it’s not too bad. You can tap 2 (1 white), and tap it to tap a target creature. This can only be done if you have a creature with flying. This is white, so you can do that on turn 1! Easy peasy.
Rambunctious Mutt (5-Cost Creature – Dog):
I want to love this card so bad. Look at its art! That dog is adorable! But for 5 mana, that’s ridiculous. It’s a ¾ at least. But when this doggo enters the battlefield, you destroy target artifact or enchantment your opponent controls. So it can blow up your opponents wincon (say, Bolas’s Citadel, Witch’s Oven), or free your creatures from being exiled via enchantments.
Containment Priest (2-Cost Creature – Human Cleric):
White is seeing some serious power show up! Containment Priest is a 2-drop (1 white) with Flash. So you can play it during your opponent’s turn, and it’s very much an anti-Gyruda, anti-Winota card. What this creature does, if a non-token creature would enter the battlefield, and it wasn’t cast, you exile it instead. Now, this affects you too, so don’t do it! For those decks that reanimate, or simply fetch off the top of their deck and put cards into play, that’s all done for. You aren’t allowed anymore. That’s the word of the Containment Priest.
Runed Halo (2-Cost Enchantment):
This reminds me of True-Name Nemesis, in a way. For 2 white mana, we name a card. You have protection from that card name, for as long as Runed Halo is in play. It’s also important to note that this card is not a legendary enchantment, so you can make copies, or play several to protect yourself! Is your opponent only running Dream Trawler as a creature? Well, now it can’t harm you! This could be a very powerful tool to go in multi-colored control decks. In particular, I see this being key to Esper control’s success.
Pack Leader (2-Cost Creature – Dog):
Okay, so Dog Tribal is confirmed with this card. It’s a 2/2 for 2, and he’s a Very Good Boy (™). Other Dogs you control gain +1/+1. It gets better! When Pack Leader attacks, all combat damage that would be dealt to dogs you control is prevented. I’m so glad this isn’t a Creature – Lord. I can see Dog/Cat Tribal being a fun aggro deck that shapes up over the course of this year.
Basri’s Lieutenant (4-Cost Creature – Human Knight):
Before I get started, I think he’d go really well in a Tesya Karlov deck. Protection from Multi-colored is really underrated, I think. There are so many multi-colored cards in the meta, and he’s got protection from them. This is a ¾ that also has Vigilance. When it enters the battlefield, it puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control. But when it, or another creature you control dies, if it had a +1/+1 counter on it, you create a 2/2 white Knight creature token with vigilance. There are so many ways to give +1/+1 counters in this set too, so you can see the board will be flooded with jerks in no time. Now, I’m not sure if this is a “busted” card, because the answer to this problem is clearly board wipe. But I can see mono-white and white/black doing quite a lot with this card. As long as he is in play and you have ways to dole out +1/+1s, you will always have an army to contend with. Just look at his best synergy – Basri Ket!
Idol of Endurance (3-Cost Artifact):
I’ve spent the past 10 or so minutes trying to figure out who this card is for. Most cards have a purpose, but now I think I’ve figured it out. This is an option to deal with control decks! When Idol of Endurance drops, you exile all 3 or lower CMC cards (converted mana cost) from your graveyard. However, you can tap 2 mana (1 white)and this. Until the end of turn, you can cast a creature spell from those exiled by this card without paying its mana cost. However, this still obeys the rules of casting. So unless it has flash, you have to play them on the main phases. I’m not sure how great I think this is though. It feels like having another Lurrus, but now you have to pay mana for it, and exile the cards in the first place. I don’t hate it, but it feels more like a sideboard card. I don’t know what deck would run this mainboard, except maybe one or two in a mono-white devotion deck?
Speaker of the Heavens (1-Cost Creature – Human Cleric):
As far as Historic goes, let’s be glad Heroes’ Reunion isn’t in the game! That would give you a turn 2 4/4 Angel. This is a 1/1 for 1 that, if you have 7 life higher than your starting total, you can tap it to create a 4/4 white flying Angel. However, it can only be done as a Sorcery-speed ability. In Soul Sisters Historic (again), this is going to be an amazing card. It also has Vigilance and Lifelink, as an aside. I’d like to see this in Mono-White Devotion for Standard. Here’s another card for white that will splash well into several decks. Sure you can say “Lol it dies to removal” but I think it’s still worth putting into play.
Glorious Anthem (3-Cost Enchantment):
This is what Crusade could have been. That is, if the people who developed it weren’t potentially very harmful, awful human beings. That having been said, this is a much better Honor the Pure. This gives all of your creatures +1/+1 for 3 mana (2 white). This screams to me “Selensya Deck”! This isn’t just “White” creatures you control. So your Nissa lands? Now they’re 4/4s! Your Angel tokens? 5/5s! There’s a lot of use for this card. Of course, the most practical use is Mono-White Devotion, but you could slide it elsewhere like UW flyers if you wanted.
Nine Lives (3-Cost Enchantment):
A Hexproof White enchantment? This card can cost you the game but I love it anyway. If a source would deal damage to you, instead you prevent it and put an incarnation counter on this card. When there are nine or more incarnation counters on Nine Lives, exile it. When Nine Lives leaves the battlefield, you lose the game. Of course, if you can remove counters from this card, you can live forever. Good thing Vampire Hexmage isn’t standard, huh?
BANESLAYER ANGEL (5-Cost Creature – Angel):
I’m sorry, but Baneslayer. . . I mean BANESLAYER ANGEL deserves to be in all-caps. Why? It’s the mightiest, most-face-beating Angel that isn’t a legendary. Baneslayer Angel is the definition of #value. For 5 mana, you get a 5/5 Flyer, First Strike, Lifelink, Protection from Dragons and Demons. Baneslayer Angel 100% does not mess about. If you aren’t running her in your Mono-White decks going forward, you’re wrong. You. Are. Wrong. Bant/Esper control is also going to run it because back in my day, this was the win-con. You lock down the board and use Baneslayer to win. She’s big, she’s mean, and she does not mess about. MTG Arena Core 2021 spoilers are not messing about.
Mangara, the Diplomat (4-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Cleric):
Card draw…? In WHITE?! That’s right, it’s here, and it’s real! This is a 2/4 with Lifelink with some pretty awesome abilities. Whenever an opponent attacks with creatures, if two or more of those creatures are attacking you, or planeswalkers you control, you draw a card. Whenever an opponent casts their second spell for the turn, you also draw a card. That’s major card draw for mono-white. Plus they’re a 4-drop, so that’s reasonable. This is going to be amazing in mono-white humans/devotion. I’d also potentially put this in an Esper control deck. But the wording is interesting: “When an opponent attacks with creatures” has me confused. Does that mean attackers that are lands, enchantments, or planeswalkers don’t count towards this? Hmmm. I still like this card a lot.
Basri Ket (3-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Basri):
Editor’s Note: Here’s another planeswalker that was teased. We initially had it listed, but then saw another Basri. So we’re going to reprint it since I’ve seen it once again as a card.
Here’s our new planeswalker! Well, one of possibly several. He’s going to be potentially seen in Winota decks, as well as Mono-White Devo. He’s a 3-cost (2 white), and comes in with 3 loyalty. I bet you’re wondering what they can do, too!
+1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature. It gains indestructible until end of turn.
-2: Whenever one or more nontoken creatures attack this turn, create that many 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens that are tapped and attacking.
-6: You get an emblem with “At the beginning of combat on your turn, create a 1/1 white Soldier creature token, then put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control”.
Basri Ket’s abilities all work great with Winota. It slows the deck down by a turn but should assure you a win even easier. Why? Because “Soldiers” are not “Human Soldiers”. So, say you attack with 4 non-humans, after activating his -2. That means you will get 4 Soldier tokens, which are also attacking. That gives us 8 proc chances with Winota! That’s the game, friends. If you want to wait out his ultimate, that works too, but that’s more likely going to be done in White Life Gain/Devotion decks.
Village Rites (1-Cost Spell – Instant):
Holy crap this card is so good! As a common, this is ridiculous, and playable in constructed. As an additional cost, you sacrifice a creature. But it only costs 1 mana. For that, you draw two cards. Need a card in the grave for some kind of effect, or you want to animate it again for an ETB effect? Maybe a creature has been locked down with an enchantment like Faith’s Fetters? Sacrifice them for the greater good. The greater good of drawing two cards, that is! This is a better Altar’s Reap, because it only costs one mana. What silly nonsense this is.
Grasp of Darkness (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
Grasp of Darkness! I knew you’d come! One of my favorite Black removal staples is back, and it’s now Common! Two black mana has some serious removal power. For 2 black mana, you give a creature -4/-4 until end of turn. The reason it’s 4 instead of -2, is likely down to it being Double Black (2 black mana) instead of 1 black and 1 colorless. This is amazing for pauper, and for standard ranked! All those stupid angel tokens coming into play? Put the kibosh on them, post-haste! That’s what makes this card so potent, it doesn’t allow for colorless mana. This makes it an immediate staple for mono-black, and likely dual-colored decks. You’ll pay that two black to kill most early threats, yes you will! Hold this for when Winota is cast, and laugh as she gets dragged into the darkness.
Plunge (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
“Destroy target planeswalker or creature with converted mana cost less than or equal to 3.” It’s Abrupt Decay, but it’s black! Plunge is a great early-game control option. There are plenty of planeswalkers it can bury, as well as early creatures like mana producers, or combo set-ups. I think this will see lots of play in Historic as well, with all the early game things we can demolish (Like Teferi). I think 2 mana at uncommon is pretty valuable for what this can do.
Carrion Grub (4-Cost Creature – Insect):
So, the most fascinating part of this card is the reveal to me that Mill is an official keyword! Mill has been slang in the community since the Millstone card back in the 90s. Mill means you put the top X cards of a deck into the graveyard. When Carrion Grub enters the battlefield, you mill four cards. This has so many uses, even as a 0/5. Reanimator/Graveyard decks are going to love this darling uncommon. It also gains +X/+0, where X is the greatest power among creatures in your graveyard. So we play mute Nethroi, Apex of Death onto them or something we love and laugh as we get tons of creatures into play. This is an incredible uncommon! It’s going to see play, I’m sure of it.
Maleficient Scythe (2-Cost Artifact – Equipment):
Did you think your Black or Black/Red sacrifice deck was missing something? Maybe you want to batter the other player with actual damage at the end, or simply having a defensive option from time to time? Say hello to the Maleficient Scythe! It’s got an equip cost of 1 colorless and costs 2 (1 black) to cast, so it’s in that cheap. I don’t know if it’s going to see a ton of play outside of limited, but I want it to. When it comes into play, it gets a Soul Counter. The equipped creature gains +1/+1 for each Soul Counter on Maleficient Scythe. Whenever the equipped creature dies, add a Soul Counter. So we put it on our Cauldron Familiar, and constantly sac/replace him. Then we slap this bad boy on something with haste and swing lethal when we’re ready. Not a game-breaker, but I can see it being just the right amount of jank for someone.
Bad Deal (6-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
This feels like Mind Rot and Painful Lesson in the same card, with a Commando reference for the card art. So, is the 6-cost (2 black) mana cost part of the joke? Like, 6-cost for this feels like a pretty bad deal. It’s not a great card. You draw two cards, and each opponent discards two cards. Then each player loses 2 life. In a deck that has excess mana (sacrifice decks as an example) might be able to utilize this. I love discard, but I don’t know that I’d want to run this. At least, not yet. I need to see more cards that provide more mana to make this worthwhile. I did see a sneak peek card that might use this well, but we’ll just have to wait. I’m on the fence about Bad Deal.
Archdemon’s Vessel (1-Cost Creature – Human Cleric):
Okay, so this is basically “A new beat stick for Lurrus decks”. You can also combine this with Village Rites to set up some nonsense and make this go faster. Oh, and it has lifelink! Whenever this card enters the battlefield, if you cast it from the grave, or if it enters play from the graveyard, you exile it. If you do so, create a 5/5 black demon creature token with flying. So you turn 1 Archdemon, turn 2 Village Rites, turn 3 Lurrus. Then you have a 5/5 as soon as you have a free 1 mana.
Pestilent Haze (3-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
Once Cry of the Carnarium rotates out, this is going to be the new staple. It’s the same cost (sort of) and has a similar effect. You can choose one of two abilities:
All creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn
Remove two loyalty counters from each planeswalker
And that’s what makes this so good: the flexibility. This is a tool against superfriends. If your opponent has low-loyalty planeswalkers and they’re trying to bump them up, you tap 3 mana (2 black) and tell them to politely sod off. This is amazing planeswalker hate, or token/creature destruction. It’s of course, still potentially harmful to you too. But that’s what makes it a black spell, right?
Liliana’s Devotee (3-Cost Creature – Human Warlock):
Oh boy, a Zombie Lord! Sort of! This Human Warlock gives your Zombies +1/+0. But at the beginning of your end step, should a creature have died this turn, you can tap 2 mana (1 black). If you do, you gain a 2/2 black zombie token. Mono-Black Zombies coming back maybe? I miss this deck! But he’s a Lord that can create more of the things he buffs. Combine him with a variety of Liliana’s, this is going to be pretty great. The art reminds me of a Penny Arcade character, Jim Darkmagic.
Kitesail Freebooter (2-Cost Creature – Human Pirate):
Gross, Kitesail Freebooter is back. When this creature enters the battlefield, you target an opponent’s hand. Choose a noncreature, nonland from it, and it’s exiled until Freebooter leaves play. It’s such a good card, but boy do I hate seeing this on turn 2. As a human, it’s going to go nicely into Mardu Humans. This is an easier-to-cast Tidehollow Sculler and I’d be a liar if I didn’t think it was amazing. I just hate seeing it on the other side of the field!
Demonic Embrace (3-Cost Enchantment – Aura):
This. Card. Is. Filthy. Right to Filthy Town with you! For 3 mana, a creature gains the following: +3/+1, gains flying and becomes a Demon in addition to the other typing it has. That on its own is worthy of being rare, but you can also cast it from the graveyard! By paying 3 life, and discarding a card, in addition to its other costs, you can cast this from the graveyard. So what does that tell me? It would be a miracle in a lifegain/sacrifice deck (White/Black), or in Mono-Black Devo as fodder to increase your Gary-wincon. Also consider that casting this from the graveyard, which makes it a discard engine. So I like this as a discard engine for Reanimator decks. Being that it only costs 3 mana (2 black), it’s also in the High-Value Range. I love this card, and I can see it getting used.
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose (3-Cost Legendary Creature – Vampire Cleric):
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose is screaming to me “Please put me in Orzhov Lifegain!” and trust me, that’s where he’s going. Perhaps also Mono-Black Devotion, or Rakdos Sacrifice. But I think White/Black will be the best fit. This is a 3-drop that we don’t know the Power/Toughness of yet. But whenever you gain life, the target loses that much life. Also, you can pay 5 mana (2 black), to give creatures you control lifelink until end of turn. So if they don’t block, they take the damage twice! Oh, this is just delightful. I’m a big fan of Vito, Thorn of the Rose. As a rare, this is quite the mighty card. It’s only 3 mana, and you don’t have to do anything to make his passive go. With a Oven/Cat combo, you gain double the life loss. When the Cat comes in, you gain 1 and they lose 1, and since you gained that 1, they lose another 1! Yes, they’re going to be amazing in Oven/Sacrifice decks.
Peer into the Abyss (7-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
With Underworld Dreams and Glint-Horn Buccaneer, this card could create quite the evil deck. That will probably happen more in Historic, I think. However, Core Set 2020 doesn’t rotate out until September 2020, so maybe it will happen in Standard. For a while, at least. This spell makes a target player draw cards equal to the half the number of cards in their library, and they lose half their life. Round-Up each time. So cards that make you take damage when you draw, like say, Underworld Dreams or Glint-Horn Buccaneer, just something to think about. Underworld Dreams deals the damage as they draw, and Buccaneer is when they have to discard. Either way, it’s a game-ender. If you get either of those cards in play, Peer into the Abyss = delete target player. You can also run this in decks where your hand has no maximum hand size, and you want to pull off crazy combos. But I prefer using it as a game-winning bomb. As an aside, Braids, dementia summoner is in the flavor text. Surely that’s random, and not a hint of “OH GOD BRAIDS IS COMING BACK GOD WHY?!”. After consulting with a fellow player, I just had a brilliant deck idea. Grixis Abyss is coming.
This is a card that’s seeing a lot of “controversy,” we’ll say. People think it’s either ruining the game because “exile is overdone”, or the granting of creatures at the cost of exiling cards gives your target early game power. Well, let’s look at what it does. For 3 mana (2 black), you choose a card name, other than a non-basic land card. So you can get special lands. You then search the opponent’s graveyard, hand, and library for any of those cards. Then we exile them. That player shuffles the deck and creates a 2/2 black Zombie for each card exiled from their hand this way. They only gain 2/2 zombies from cards exiled from their hand though. There are quite a few decks right now that hinge on one or two cards to really pop off (like Winota). If Fires of Invention were still in the meta, this would be the target so often. This is a mono-colored Unmoored Ego. Remember, Unmoored Ego gives card draw for things exiled from their hand. So, this card is not only playable but very strong. I’d like to see this used in twin-cast style Grixis decks.
Thieves’ Guild Enforcer (1-cost creature – Human Rogue):
A black rogue with Flash that mills people? Blue/Black flash is going to be really fun, but so is Rakdos! Why? Whenever Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, or another Rogue enters the battlefield under your control, each opponent mills two cards. On top of that, if your opponent has eight or more cards in their graveyard, this creature gains +2/+1 and Deathtouch. So it becomes a 3/2 deathtouch. I really like this, especially for a 1-drop. Rogue Tribal is annoying, so I’m a big fan of this.
Liliana’s Standard Bearer (3-Cost Creature – Zombie Knight):
Okay, I’m torn on this card. This doesn’t really improve or fix anything in mono-black. We already have a card that essentially does the same thing (Midnight Reaper). There are differences though. This is a 3/1 with Flash, firstly. This will probably be seen in Rakdos/Mono-Black Sac. Whenever this enters the battlefield, you draw X cards, where X is the number of creatures that died under your control this turn. So, you wait for your opponent’s turn, right at the end. You sac as many things as you’d like/can, and in response, cast this. You get extra cards to start the next turn and gain card advantage. Hopefully, a land to drop if you need, or plenty of things to play/sacrifice. This card could be looked at more as a card for the future. Midnight Reaper will rotate out, and we’ll need this to take its place.
Hooded Blightfang (3-Cost Creature – Snake):
Ooooh, Planeswalker Deathtouch! You love to see it. This is an anti-planeswalker card, and as a ¼, this is brilliant. A 3-cost (1 black) ¼ deathtouch. So let’s talk about what this little guy can do! Whenever a control you control with deathtouch attacks, each opponent loses 1 life, and you gain 1 life. Alright, that’s good so far (especially since we can give creatures deathtouch now). Whenever a creature you control with deathtouch deals damage to a planeswalker, destroy that planeswalker! Yeah, there we go. That’s the good stuff. Love this card. Plus, that art! Oh that’s brilliant.
Kaervek, the Spiteful (4-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Warlock):
Kaervek, the Spiteful sure is fascinating. This is a card you would without a doubt have to build around. It’s very anti-aggro, but as a 4-cost, it may be too-little-too-late. This is a 3/2 for 4 (2 black), that gives all other creatures -1/-1. While I would love to see this in a mainboard, I don’t think it’s going to. Where this belongs, is in a sideboard for anti-Cats. Any deck that relies heavily on 1/1s to get work done (such as Red Deck Wins) can also go side/mainboard. You just have to stall the game until he shows up. This can also be used in a decks where you have a “when creatures die” trigger payoff. There we go! Put him in Orzhov Aristocrats, making all creatures die faster, and giving you more life/making the other player lose more life. That could be the move!
Massacre Wurm (6-Cost Creature – Wurm):
Massacre Wurm is back! Plus it has shiny new art! This is one of my favorite mono-black creatures because it can do so much. Token/Weenie decks? They are fodder for the mighty wurm. Thi sis a 6/5, that whenever it comes into play, all opponent creatures gain -2/-2 until end of turn. Then, on top of that suck salad, whenever a creature an opponent control dies, that player loses 2 life! So in decks where we can just shrink/kill creatures willy-nilly, we can beat them just on this loss of life! Out of the creatures I’ve seen so far in the MTG Arena Core Set 2021 spoilers, this is up there with Baneslayer for “happiest to see” What about Massacre Wurm plus Massacre Girl? Board wipe and get all those sweet creature destruction triggers for low-life targets. You’ll lose creatures too for sure, but they’ll lose a potential dump truck of life.
Liliana, Waker of the Dead (4-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Liliana):
For 2 black, 2 colorless, we have a new Liliana. Is she powerful? I mean, she’s Liliana. Can you think of a bad Liliana card, because I sure can’t. She’s very much attuned to the graveyard, as her name implies, and she’s got a new set of skills to make the other player sweat having a graveyard. Her base loyalty is 4, mind.
+1: Each player discards a card. Each opponent who can’t loses 3 life.
-3: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your graveyard.
-7: You get an emblem with “At the beginning of combat on your turn, put target creature from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. It gains haste.”
Wow. She’s a discard engine, that also is a Reanimate engine! You have to discard also for her +1, but you just put the stuff you want to see in your graveyard. Protect her at all costs, and get that Emblem as soon as humanly possible. It’s also important to note that her Emblem is “a” graveyard. So if you’re making your opponent discard/killing their creatures, you can play theirs as well! Whatever their win condition was, it’s now yours. I’m playing Monon-Black in Core Set 2021. I missed my undead pals.
Grim Tutor (3-Cost Sorcery):
Yup, Grim Tutor is confirmed! A classic, incredibly rare Tutor card is back! For those not “in the know”, a Tutor card is one that lets you go to your deck to fetch a specific card. Usually, it’s “any” card, but there are tutors for say, enchantments (Idyllic Tutor). This lets you search your library for a card, put it in hand, for the cost of 3 mana and 3 life.
Spiked Megalodon (7-Cost Creature – Shark):
Of course, as a 5/7 with Hexproof, you expect it to be a meaty cost. But 7? Well, I guess it is a common, so the cost has to be a bit prohibitive. However, this Shark is worth considering if you can get it out a bit faster. Whenever Spiked Megalodon attacks, you Scry 1. Consider this as a cheap (cost-wise) option to get creatures in the grave for Reanimator Decks. Since you can pitch that card to the grave instead of leaving it on top of your deck, it might be just what you need in the end-game setting. In a draft, this is going to be a monster though. I dunno about it being used in actually constructed decks, but in draft? I think it could see a lot of picks.
Frantic Inventory (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
It’s Accumulated Knowledge, but not as strong! That’s okay, because that card was pretty filthy. Frantic Inventory is also an instant, where for 2 mana (1 blue) you draw a card. Then you draw cards equal to the number of “Frantic Inventory” cards in your graveyard. Accumulated Knowledge checked all graveyards, so heavy blue metas would be drawing filthy numbers.
Lofty Denial (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
This is a really good counterspell for UW flyers or Mono-Blue Tempo. For 2 mana, you counter a spell unless the controller pays 1 colorless. But if you control a creature with flying, the controller has to pay 4 colorless instead! That’s absolutely bonkers. This is very easy to cast! We have plenty of 1 or 2 drop flyers in blue, as well as white. This is going to make people hella mad.
Rousing Read (3-Cost Enchantment – Aura):
As far as common enchantments go, this is wild. Very powerful! When this card enters the battlefield, you draw two and then discard one. So of course, you know what to put on your Bingo card – This would go great in a reanimator deck! Plus card draw! This enchantment gives a creature +1/+1 and flying. So that can make quite a few creatures really annoying to deal with. How about slapping this on a certain Merfolk? The only drawback is that this doesn’t have Flash. So maybe not there. It’s a nice thought though. I wish it didn’t cost 3 mana to play, but I still very much like this as a draft game-changer.
Library Larcenist (3-Cost Creature – Merfolk Rogue):
Eh. That’s this card summed up in one word. Eh. It’s not bad, but for 3 mana? This is a ½ for 3 (1 blue), and whenever this creature attacks, you draw a card. At least it’s not deals damage. The only deck I really see this going gangbusters against is a deck that runs no creatures/few creatures (like 0/2s and such). It does give card draw potentially though. If you could make it indestructible or unblockable, it would give quite a lot of value. But I’m not really sold on this common. Not every common has to be great, though.
Tide Skimmer (4-Cost Creature – Drake):
What a weekend for cards it was! There were quite a few revealed, so I’m back to discuss them! Tide Skimmer’s a bit costly for a ⅔ flyer, at 4 mana. But it’s likely a mid-game tool to get more card draw for White/Blue decks. Whenever you attack with two or more creatures, you draw a card, as long as this is out. One thing I like about this card though is that you don’t have to actually swing with it. Simply having it out is enough. That leaves it open as a defensive option since it is a ⅔ with flying. It’s a neat card. Not half as powerful as some of the previous uncommons, in my estimation.
Rewind (4-Cost Spell – Instant):
This isn’t the first time Rewind has been reprinted, mind. It’s been in Modern for a while, but I don’t think it’s ever been a “Modern Staple”. Why? Because it’s a 4-cost counterspell! Sure, when it is cast, you untap that mana (well, up to 4 lands). But it’s still a 4-cost counter, but I think it will see some play. It’s incredibly strong in the mid-game when you want to have that mana free to do other things (like in Flash decks). That’s where this will go! This will get slotted into Simic Flash decks, to counter, then have mana free to play something else! It’s neat, but I think it will be a very niche counter pick.
Tidal Whale (7-Cost Creature – Whale):
A 7/7 for 7 that makes your opponent’s creatures gain -1/-0? Ehh, that doesn’t sound so hot. But wait. . . it has a second ability from your hand? Let’s take a look. “1 Blue, 1 Colorless, Discard Tidal Whale: Look at the top two cards of your deck. Put one of them in your hand and the other in your grave”. So this 1: Fills your graveyard for reanimator and 2: is a better version of cycling! This is a card that will perhaps see use in janky combo animation decks. So you put it in your grave early and set up to cast it for less later in the game. It just sits in waits, lurking until you play a 7/7 for less than it would cost. This is a better Omen of the Sea. It has more power, and it isn’t cast a spell. It can also come back and win the game, which Omen of the Sea cannot. Love this card, 10/10.
Jeskai Elder (2-Cost Creature – Human Monk):
Neat, Prowess is back! Prowess is a keyword that gives a creature +1/+1 until end of turn when you cast a noncreature spell. This screams to me “Build Jeskai Feather! Build it now while you still can!”. Whenever Jeskai Elder deals combat damage to a player, you can draw a card. If you do, discard a card. I really like the idea of this card, to be honest. It may result in some new decks, which is always nice.
Shipwreck Dowser (5-Cost Creature – Merfolk Wizard):
Hey look! Another Prowess card! Whenever Shipwreck Dowser enters the battlefield, you can return an instant or sorcery card from the graveyard to your hand. I think this will be a very powerful limited (draft) bomb. I’d like to see this being put in any control deck that splashes in blue. Especially Grixis, with all of its really annoying creature removal. Or any deck that runs Thassa! Bounce this out every turn to get an instant or sorcery you played! Her, Mythos of Illuna, or Charming Prince. Shipwreck Dowser’s going to be fun. Well, fun for the user, not so much the other player.
Rain of Revelation (4-Cost Spell – Instant):
It’s Sift, but way better! Why is it way better? It’s an Instant! This is incredible for discard/dredge style decks. On top of that, you draw 3 cards for 4 mana! You then discard a card, but it doesn’t specify it has to be one of the drawn ones. This is also better than the older Enhanced Awareness, that’s for sure. 4 mana grants you a lot of power in Core Set 2021 for MTG Arena. That’s for darn sure.
Riddleform (2-Cost Enchantment):
This is a style of card I remember from the past. Not necessarily fondly, but I remember it. This is a 2-cost enchantment that rewards you for casting noncreature spells. Whenever you do cast one, you can turn Riddleform into a 3/3 Flying Sphinx until end of turn. This gives control decks a beat-stick to safely swat at the other player with. You can also tap 3 mana (1 blue) to Scry 1 with it. With this, creatureless blue or red/blue might become a bit more common.
Miscast (1-Cost Spell – Instant):
Here is another spell I’m intensely torn on. On one hand, as a control player? I. LOVE. This. Card. It’s a 1-drop counter for instants/sorceries. On the other hand, I’m so sick of all of these cheap counters that the starting player can drop on turn 1, without much effort. This counters an instant or sorcery unless the controller pays 3 colorless mana. It’s slightly better than Spell Pierce, but it’s more targeted in what it counters. I can see Miscast getting a ton of use. Absolutely on the train to Filthy Town.
Enthralling Hold (5-Cost Enchantment – Aura):
What makes this fascinating is the wording. “You can’t choose an untapped creature as this spell’s target as you cast it.” So, this is “Enchant Target Tapped Creature.” If the creature becomes untapped as you’re choosing it as a target, I imagine you still gain control of it. The wording is strange, but the effect is potent: You control enchanted creature. I like it, and Mind Control spells are very powerful in limited/draft. Especially with Agent of Treachery being banned, we need a new flavor of card theft. This is it! It’s only creatures that are tapped, but it will make your opponent hopefully consider what they do more carefully.
Tolarian Kraken (6-Cost Creature – Kraken):
Whenever you draw a card, you may pay 1 colorless. When you do, you can tap or untap target creature. Oh, my days. As a 4/6 for 6 mana (2 blue) this is an incredible mono-blue, or perhaps Esper creature to control the board state with. As blue has a ton of card draw, you can do so much with this. Or even in Simic! Do it in Simic big-boy control/ramp. Cast Opt on your opponent’s turn to tap their attacker, while also getting card advantage. You can truly slow down the game with this in the mid-game. I don’t know if it’s going to be a must-use, but I know in Draft it’s going to be a pure monster.
Unsubstantiate (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
Unsubstantiate is definitely an interesting spell. There are many very powerful counterspells coming in this expansion. However, this isn’t a counter, per se’. Instead, Unsubstantiate is a “slow-down” spell. This returns a target spell or creature back to its owner’s hand. So it doesn’t counter a spell as it’s played. Instead, once a spell hits the stack, you can drop two mana (1 blue) and force it back to their hand. The mana is wasted for the turn, so there’s that at least. Anything they had to sacrifice to cast said spell is also gone. It can also boomerang creatures back to their controller’s hand, which is mint versus Tron decks. In addition, anything that player can no longer afford to cast is also nice to return. It’s a nice card, and I’m sure it’ll see some manner of play.
See The Truth (2-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
Today on “cards I anticipate will be banned in six months”, I bring you “See the Truth!” You look at the top three cards of your library. One goes into your hand, and the others on the bottom of your library. While that doesn’t sound busted, especially at Sorcery speed, there’s more! If you cast this spell from anywhere other than your hand, put all those cards in your hand instead. So, Golos, Underworld Breach, Bolas’s Citadel, anything that lets you cast a spell from the grave, the deck, et cetera, will make this a vile card. Thankfully, duplicated versions of this don’t count. The spell has to specifically be cast, not copied, or played. Also consider if you’re running Robber of the Rich against this card, you’ll also get all three. Izzet’s going to be bonkers in the coming year.
Pursued Whale (7-Cost Creature – Whale):
You know, I figured when I graduated with my English degree, I’d never have to talk about Moby Dick again. Yet, here we are. Pursued Whale is a 8/8 whale for 7, with a very fascinating ability. When it enters the battlefield, all opponents make a 1/1 Red Pirate Token with “this creature cannot block” and “creatures you control must attack each combat if able”. On top of that, spells that target Pursued Whale cost 3 more to cast. This is amazing for decks that have “control creatures” or “ability creatures” they never swing with. We’re going to fix that for them. The time for big whale/shark decks has come.
Stormwing’s Presence (5-Cost Creature – Elemental):
Would you like to cast this 3/3 with Flying and Prowess for 2 mana (1 blue) instead of 5 mana (2 blue)? Well, just cast an instant or sorcery of any flavor this turn! You can cast Opt, for god’s sake! If you do, this costs 2 colorless/1 blue less this turn. Whenever it enters play, you also Scry 2. Plus Prowess! Which reads, anytime you cast a noncreature spell, it gains +1/+1 until end of turn! This could be a fun poke tool for Izzet/Mono-Blue spell decks.
Sublime Epiphany (6-Cost Spell – Instant):
What?! I mean. . . WHAT?! This card is absolute nonsense! With Rewind, you can do absolutely nonsense things with this! Not to mention Reclamation decks! So. Let’s look at this instant. It’s a 6-cost Instant, first off. You can choose one (or more) of these abilities:
- Counter target spell
- Counter target activated or triggered ability
- Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand
- Create a token that’s a copy of target creature you control
- Target player draws a card
Are you kidding me?! Thank God Dualcaster Mage isn’t in! That’s an infinite combo! You could do infinite removal/card draw and force someone to deck out. This card counters both Hydroid’s casting, and the triggered ability that lets them draw cards. For 6 mana, this is value. It can do so much nonsense! It won’t be used in every blue deck thanks to the casting cost, but more than you’d think.
Shacklegeist (2-Cost Creature – Spirit):
Blue Spirits are coming back! Not like they ever truly go away though. A 2/2 flyer that can only block creatures with flying. What I love about this, though is it’s alternate ability. It’s just a 2/2, but if you tap two untapped spirits you control, you can tap a target creature you don’t control. Get a nice chunk of spirits on board, and tap your opponent’s major attackers during their turn! Nice and safe. It’s not amazing, but I can see it finding some annoying, janky uses.
Discontinuity (6-Cost Spell – Instant):
Wow! Time Stop got reprinted, but it’s better! How is Discontinuity better? It costs 3 blue (and 3 colorless) instead of 2 blue, 4 colorless! Because, if you do this on your turn, it costs 4 less (2 blue) less! So if you play this during your turn, it’s only a 2-drop. Why would you cast it on your turn though? This spell “Ends the turn”. So all spells and abilities on the stack (including this) are exiled. They never get to see play. All damage wears off, and “until end of turn/this turn” effects will end. If your opponent is trying to kill something of yours during your turn, you can just stop it with this. However, if you use this as a counterspell on your opponent’s turn, and do it right, you functionally get a second turn. You immediately end their turn, provided they don’t counter this. The absolute state of this. Sure, it’s “six mana,” but look at how much power it has! It’s going to see use in Temur Reclamation, as long as that deck is around, as well as Mono-Blue.
Ghostly Pilferer (2-Cost Creature – Spirit Rogue):
There are a few positives about this card. First off, he’s a Spirit. That means he’ll synergize with the other stuff that’s coming in Core Set 2021 for MTG Arena; at least, what we’ve seen in spoilers. But he also gives you discard and card draw! Whenever this creature untapped, you can pay 2 colorless, to draw a card. So he can give a minimum of an extra card a turn. Whenever your opponent casts a spell from anywhere other than their hand, you draw a card. That makes him a response to Bolas’s Citadel/Underworld Breach. He can discard a card to be unblockable for a turn too! He may not seem amazing to some, but I really like what he brings to the Mono-Blue Tempo field. Or as a machine for Reanimator to put the big cards in the grave. He’s only a two-drop also! So he’s very easy to cast! Gotta love it.
Barrin, Tolarian Archmage (3-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Wizard):
Ah, yes. Urza’s Right Hand Man (™) and the teacher of Teferi (we believe). Barren, Tolarian Archmage will fit right in with the flicker-culture of White/Blue right now. When they enter the battlefield, this 2/2 will let you return a creature or planeswalker to its owner’s hand. At the beginning of your end step though, if a permanent was put into your hand, you draw a card. Do bear in mind, it doesn’t have to be from Barrin. This isn’t the first Barrin card, but he does have a nod to the original. Barrin, Master Wizard also bounced creatures back to their owner’s hand. I don’t think he’s great but in slower decks, he might be very useful.
Teferi, the Timewalker (4-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Teferi):
A planeswalker with FLASH?! Are you mental? Good lord, that’s ridiculous. I don’t care if he’s a 4-drop. Teferi, the Timewalker feels like it’s heading towards Jace-levels of ridiculous, most-use power. He can be cast on your opponent’s turn, and even if he starts with only 3 loyalty, he has some major skills. Let’s go over them.
+1: Look at the top two cards of your library. Put one in your hand, and the other in the bottom of your library.
-1: Exile target permanent you control. Return that card to the battlefield under its owners control at the beginning of the next end step.
-5: Take an extra turn after this one.
You’re meaning to tell me this planeswalker has Brainstorm and Time Walk in his basic kit?! WHAT? I have this feeling Teferi, the Timewalker is going to be banned within the year. He’s going to be in every single control deck with even the faintest hint of blue in it. He can cast Brainstorm for +1, -5 is Time Walk, and his -1 is a Flicker, so you technically don’t even need Thassa anymore. I’ll still run her, but still. God bless.
Llanowar Visionary (3-Cost Creature – Elf Druid):
Whoo, this is amazing! Sure, it’s 3 mana for a 2/2, but it’s a mana dork, and when it comes into play you draw a card. This is going to be a monster in Pauper, and heck, just for mana ramp in general. It’s an Elvish Visionary and Llanowar Elf in one convenient package! Llanowar Visionary, I’m not convinced, isn’t just two elves in a trenchcoat. Its 3-mana cost might seem prohibitive, but I don’t think that’s the case. There are a lot of pretty high-cost cards in this Core Set so far. It’s a reasonable cost, common or not.
Pridemalkin (3-Cost Creature – Cat):
Here’s a really fun-looking Cat Tribal card. Dog/Cat tribal is going to be a thing. When this 3-cost (1 green) hits the field, you put a +1/+1 counter on a creature you control. Each creature you have with a +1/+1 counter on it for any reason now has Trample. This is going to be ferocious not just in tribal, but in Mono-Green/Gruul decks. Make all your weird Riot jerks have Trample!
Dozing Tyranodon (2-Cost Creature – Dinosaur):
A 3/3 with Defender for 2? That’s not too shabby. But, if you control a creature with power 4 or greater? Now it can attack as though it didn’t have Defender, so now it’s way more powerful. With as much +1/+1 counter access as we have in this meta, White/Green or Mono-Green might just be a fun deck to toy with. I have some ideas I’m mulling around as we speak.
Sabertooth Mauler (4-Cost Creature – Cat):
Do you want a cat that grows as long as something dies during your turn? Do you want it at the common level of rarity? Well, you got it, friend! This is a 3/3 for 4, but during your end step, you put a +1/+1 counter on this creature and untap it. The untapping is what makes it so great. All it needs is trample, and there’s already a cat that grants that if said creature has a +1/+1 counter. Green cat tribal looks like it might be a fun deck, if for casuals if nothing else. For a common, this is honestly not bad.
Ranger’s Guile (1-Cost Spell – Instant):
Great, now green has two ways to protect their creatures that would normally belong to White. I’m glad they’re branching out a bit, but whew. For 1 mana, you can give a creature +1/+1 and Hexproof until the end of the turn! It’s a great way to stop a creature from being exiled/destroyed, and can also give them enough strength to win a trade in battle. It’s a great card at 1 mana, and at instant speed, no less. I feel like this will likely be used in matches.
Fierce Empath (3-Cost Creature – Elf):
Honestly, this was a deadlier card when Fires of Invention was standard legal. This 1/1 elf lets you search your library for a creature with a 6-or-higher CMC, and put it into your hand when he enters the battlefield. I like this for Historic, but it will have its uses in standard. This could be a great way to set up a victory via End-Raze Forerunner, or other new, gigantic creatures that Core Set 2021 will offer in MTG Arena; we’ll just have to sit through these spoilers and see!
Quirion Dryad (2-Cost Creature – Dryad):
Back in my day, this was rare! Now it’s uncommon! For 2 mana, you get a 1/1, which sounds mediocre. But anytime you cast a spell that’s white, blue, black, or red, Dryad gains a +1/+1 counter. This is going to be horrifying in Mutate/Voltron decks. Anytime we cast a spell that isn’t green, the Dryad just gets bigger and bigger. We mutate it more and more and swing lethal when it’s time.
Fungal Rebirth (3-Cost Spell – Instant):
Green needs more spells that are Instant speed that is more than “Mana Ramp” or “Give something +X/+X”, and just when I was thinking that, I find Fungal Rebirth! It’s sort of reminiscent of the older Eternal Witness, but it is only permanents. Here’s what’s on the table. At instant speed, for 3 mana (1 green), you can return target permanent from your grave to your hand. If a creature (on any side of the table) died this turn, create two 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens. So you can use a creature to block, it dies, you bring it to your hand, and cast it again next turn. This is especially good in Mutate, or in decks with ETB effects (Enters the Battlefield). In heavy-mana ramp decks, I think this could be a whole mountain of fun.
Cultivate (3-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
CULTIVATE is back too?! They’re really pushing some ramp out for Ugin, huh? Cultivate’s an amazing ramp card for 3 mana. You go to your deck for 2 basic lands. One goes into play, and the other goes into your hand. If you haven’t played a land for turn, it’s two more lands! If you have and have the ability to play more, it’s more lands! This is 100% going to see play, I promise. It’s a card that pretty much always sees play when it’s reprinted.
Garruk’s Uprising (3-Cost Enchantment):
This is a beefy enchantment for an uncommon! It gives your creatures trample, first off. When it enters the battlefield, if you have a creature power 4 or greater, you draw a card. On top of that, when any creature enters the battlefield under your control, you draw a card. Some people have said this has no value anywhere but EDH/Brawl, but I’m not so sure. With how much ramp Green has at their disposal, this could be a great way to speed up your victory.
Warden of the Wood (6-Cost Creature- Treefolk):
I missed Treefolk! I don’t have to miss them any longer, because there’s at least one in Core 2021! This is a 5/7 with Vigilance for 6, which is a bargain. Whenever an opponent targets him with a spell or ability, you can also draw 2 cards. That brings us back to “Wizards is forcing card draw mega hard onto green” and this is further proof. I’m not against it, but it’s going to make Simic pretty infuriating. This can also be a great target of a Mutation or two. It’s almost going to have to be dealt with. With Vigilance, it doesn’t tap to attack, so you can be as aggressive as you please. Plus, with a 7 toughness, it’s hard as hell to kill.
Increase Vitality (3-Cost Spell – Instant):
Do you love the Stonecoil Serpent, but think it ought to grow? Or perhaps you’re a fan of Bandora/Rita Repulsa from Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and just want your monsters to grow? Well, green has the perfect card! This spell, which is an instant, adds a +1/+1 counter to a creature you control. Then you double the number of +1/+1 counters on them! This is perfect for all your Hydra needs. But the big winner here I think, is slapping Stonecoil Serpent into a Green Mana Ramp deck. You make it as big as you can, then cast Increase Vitality next turn. Say you put 6 mana into it. Next turn it goes from being a 7/7, to a 14/14! Then if you really want to be a jerk, put Hydra’s Growth on it. Voila! Instant Huge Creature! Just add water! There are so many creatures that can benefit from it. Personally, I want it in artifact decks the most, but that’s probably the Historic player in me talking.
Bramblefist Oak (4-Cost Creature – Treefolk):
Treefolk Tribal. . . is it back? Boy, I hope so! Treefolk are just so awesome. This is a ⅔ for 4, but it gains +2/+2 until end of turn, anytime you draw a card. You’ve by now, surely seen lots of card draw synergy for green. So, you’re going to want to consider sliding this into a deck where you have ready access to trample.
Azusa, Lost but Seeking (3-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Monk):
Azusa, in a standard with this much mana ramp and Wilderness Reclamation?! Good God. Azusa, Lost but Seeking is a ½ for 3 (1 green), that lets you play two additional lands on each of your turns. Consider this with Wilderness Reclamation, Growth Spiral, and even elementals. You could run this in Historic with some crazy combos. Azusa is incredibly strong for ramp in general, but I can see her doing some pretty fun things. At the very least, she’s incredibly easy to kill? Green is not relinquishing their choke hold on mana ramp anytime soon, it seems.
Primal Might (1+X Cost Spell – Sorcery):
It’s Prey Upon, but it’s way better! It’s a better Untamed Might to boot. Primal Might, you cast 1 mana + X. The target creature you select gains +X/+X until end of turn and fights up to one creature you don’t control. Pick a creature of yours that you want to win with, make sure they can’t counter or stop it (preferably when they’re tapped out), and swing lethal. I’d pop this on something with trample, or something with Embercleave (which is double strike/trample). I like this, and as a rare, the power level makes sense. You can make the creature exactly as strong as you’d like it to be. Just be grateful this isn’t an instant! That would make it a Mythic Rare or something. This can go in Gruul, Mono-Green, or whatever you want that has green, and not feel amiss.
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse (2-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Druid):
Remember how we were talking about Simic having synergy around a full hand? Well here’s a card that goes neatly with it. Jolrael creates a 2/2 green Cat creature token whenever you draw your second card each turn. She can also tap 6 mana (2 green), and creatures you control have +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in hand. She’s a fantastic utility creature and can go a long way to seeing victory. If you combine her with Pridemalkin, in Simic/Mono-Green, this could be your game winner. Tap 6 with a full hand, swing lethal with all those neat now-Trampling creatures.
Heroic Intervention (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
Green’s really getting a share of every color’s part of the pie, huh? Tons of card draw synergy, and now a classically White deck feature? Heroic Intervention, for just two mana (1 green) gives permanents you control hexproof and indestructible until end of turn. Tired of getting board wiped just before the game becomes winnable? Just say “No” with Heroic Intervention! This is such a ludicrously powerful card. At least it’s at the Rare rarity, but jeez. I’m going to hate every green deck that runs this when I go back to playing control.
Sporesilk Weaver (3-Cost Creature – Spider):
Here’s more “Protection from Blue” in the green color scheme. In particular, this ¼ spider has hexproof, reach, and protection from blue. It also brings back saprolings! Whenever this creature is dealt damage, you gain 1 life and create a 1/1 Saproling creature token. I really enjoy this, because I’m a big fan of Plant/Saproling decks. It rewards you for using it on the defensive, or aggressively as you’d like. If you can find a way to deal damage to it without killing it safely, you can create a flood of tokens. After all, it doesn’t have to be your opponent that damages it!
Garruk’s Herald (3-Cost Creature – Beast):
This is reminiscent of the “Search for Garruk” card we brought up in the Planeswalker decks, only it’s much better. Instead, this is a 3-drop (2 green), for a 4/3 that also has protection from black. Whenever Garruk’s Herald does damage to a player or planeswalker, look at the same amount of cards from the top of your deck. You can then reveal a creature or Garruk planeswalker, and put it into your hand. The others go on the bottom of your deck. So the harder he hits, the more shots you have at a new creature or a Garruk of any variety! It has potential card advantage, protection from a lot of removal, and is a reasonable cost. Gotta say I’m a big fan.
Feline Sovereign (3-Cost Creature – Cat):
Another Lord for Cats?! And it gives them Protection from Dogs?! Dogs are very satisfying in MTG, but I think Cats, mechanically speaking, are much better. Lupus is a Cat, for example. Ajani’s Pridemate? Also a Cat (Warrior). White/Green cats are going to be a thing I think. So other Cats you control gain +1/+1 and protection from dogs, but there’s more. Whenever one or more Cats you control deal combat damage to a player, destroy up to one target artifact or enchantment that player controls. Oh, that’s lovely in the right situation. Not always useful, but certainly nice. Heck, maybe Green/Black/White cat sacrifice? Hmm. Now there’s an idea.
Scavenging Ooze (2-Cost Creature – Ooze):
Oozes are making a comeback! This is a really good Ooze too. I’m glad to see you back, old friend! This 2/2 for 2 (1 green) lets you tap 1 green mana to exile a card from any graveyard. If it was a creature, you put a +1/+1 counter on this creature, and gain 1 life on top of that. Those reanimator decks and other graveyard nonsense you want to stop? Just use this! Sure, it only gains +1/+1/life whenever you exile a creature, but you don’t have to exile creatures. Get rid of anything you don’t want to come back again! This is your answer, as long as you have green mana!
EldGargaroth (5-Cost Creature – Beast):
This card to me says “Meh.” In theory, it can be incredible. There are simply so many different ways it can be removed though. But honestly, that can be said of almost every card. This is a 6/6 for 5, and it has Vigilance, Reach and Trample. Anytime it attacks or blocks, pick one:
Create a 3/3 green Beast creature token.
Gain 3 life.
Draw a card.
While you can say “It dies to Elspeth,” I think there’s still a chance this can be useful. This kind of takes me back to Magic: Origins. I think the reason this isn’t a legendary, is because there are equally frustrating “big” creatures for the other colors (RE: Black having Massacre Wurm). So, with that in mind, I’m pretty excited to see people use it. Kind of reminds me of the Thragtusk of old.
Garruk, Unchained (4-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Garruk):
As soon as I saw the Garruk planeswalker deck, I knew there’d be a cheaper, likely better Garruk. Wizards did not disappoint. He has a pretty interesting set of powers, which we’ll cover, well, right now!
+1: Up to 1 target creature gains +3/+3 and trample until end of turn.
-2: Create a 3/3 Beast creature token. Then, if an opponent controls more creatures than you, put a loyalty counter on Garruk, Unchained.
-7: You gain an emblem with “At the beginning of your end step, you may search your library for a creature card and put it on the battlefield. Then, shuffle your library.”
Oh my goodness. That -2 can become a -1 when the other player has creature advantage, and the +3/+3 (and trample) is very nice. But that -7? That -7 is absolutely filthy. Garruk starts at 4 loyalty, so it’s not hard to inflate him. I’d like to see this in Green/Red, as well as Green/Black. But it will do the best probably, in a mono-green ramp/big creature deck. This Garruk is closer to the original Garruk, and I like that.
Chandra’s Magmutt (2-Cost Creature – Elemental Dog):
Who’s a good boy? You are! Yes, you are! This also goes well with Chandra’s Spitfire! This neat little 2/2 for 2 can be tapped to deal 1 damage to a player or planeswalker. Pair this with Chandra’s Incinerator too, for damage to that player’s creatures (or planeswalker). Man, Chandra’s gonna be nasty this year. Mono-Red is looking feisty. Like a spitfire, one might say.
Igneous Cur (2-Cost Creature – Elemental Dog):
Here’s yet another good boy! A ½ for 2, that can inflate +2/+0 until end of turn, for 2 mana (1 red). It’s another nice, easy to use card, with plenty of upsides. It isn’t pushing some wild, outrageous nonsense. It’s a good dog, with a good cost and a good ability. He’s just not an indoor dog.
Goblin Arsonist (1-Cost Creature – Goblin Shaman):
Here’s a fun reprint! Nice and easy for the Goblin Tribal decks. But it’s a 1/1 for 1 that doesn’t have haste, so that’s a change of pace. This was a card back in… Rise of Eldrazi, I believe! When it dies, it deals 1 damage to any target. So you can use it as aggressively as you’d like, or simply sacrifice it to deal a free 1 damage to something! I really like Goblin Arsonist in a lot of decks. It’s a new Footlight Fiend, while also being a reprint of another card!
Mayhem Jester (5-Cost Creature – Devil):
Look, Mayhem Devil got balanced! Instead of it being anytime anyone sacrifices a permanent, this is whenever you sacrifice a permanent, Mayhem Devil deals 1 damage to a target. It’s also a 5/5 for 5, so it’s significantly harder to kill. The original Mayhem Devil was way overtuned. This one feels more reasonable and doesn’t require black to run it. This will no doubt be in quite a few sacrifice decks. It slows down the deck a bit, and that’s what Rakdos Sac needed. It starts going immediately, and as soon as turn 3 hits, that damage starts to get out of control. Maybe this will take Rakdos Sac out of Tier 1, once Mayhem Devil rotates out. I like this though, as a player. It makes more sense than that ridiculous Mayhem Devil. If you thought that card was fair, well, it was probably because you ran 4 of them in a deck.
Chandra’s Pyreling (2-Cost Creature – Elemental Lizard):
What a cute little lizard! It’s a ⅓ for 2, so it reminds me of Chandra’s Spitfire. It’s a weaker version in some ways (and stronger in others). Whenever a source we control deals noncombat damage to an opponent, Chandra’s Pyreling gains +1/+0 and Double Strike until end of turn. It’s not flying and doesn’t gain as much power, but that Double Strike more than makes up for it, I think.
Leaping Augur (4-Cost Creature – Human Shaman):
Here’s another handy dandy tool for Izzet spell decks: The Leaping Augur! Their power is equal to the number of instant/sorcery cards in your graveyard, plus it has trample. On top of that, a 4 toughness makes it harder to damage down with direct spell casts. Not game-breaking by any stretch of the imagination. It’s still quite useful in those decks as a way to win with a creature. It doesn’t have Haste, but Trample makes up for that. Decks that run it will surely have plenty of ways to keep it around. Or conversely, you can run it in a Fling deck for a win-con! Now that sounds interesting.
Bolt Hound (3-Cost Creature – Elemental Dog):
Is “Boros Dog Tribal” being pushed? Mega. Hard. You better believe it. That’s going to be a deck you have to keep an eye on. Now, whether it’s fast enough to be viable at the competitive level, we’ll just have to see. But this is a 2/2 with Haste for 3, but it also technically has “Battlecry.” Whenever Bolt Hound attacks, other creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn. This is Battlecry, without reprinting the actual keyword. I like it though. It should be interesting to see a Boros deck that isn’t Feather, or more Human Soldiers than your body has room for. Plus, the artwork is incredible.
Soul Sear (3-Cost Spell – Instant):
Here we have a single-target Hour of Devastation. Tired of creatures gaining indestructible when they attack? Want to do something about it? Well, if you have 3 mana and at least 1 of it’s red, you have a solution! Soul Sear deals 5 damage to a creature or planeswalker. That permanent also loses indestructible until end of turn. This is a nice, simple, useful card. I’m so sick of things not dying when they’re supposed to, so Soul Sear will help fix that.
Furious Rise (3-Cost Enchantment):
Running a deck with 1. Red and 2. Has Big Creatures? Well, you can gain some great rewards for that, with the enchantment Furious Rise! During your end step, if you control a creature with a power 4 or higher, you exile the top card of your library. You can play that card, until you exile another card via Furious Rise. So this is going to be a monstrous card with Gruul. It says play, not cast also. That’s an important distinction.
Hellkite Punisher (7-Cost Creature – Dragon):
Ehhhh. This is a worse Shivan Dragon if I can be honest. 7-cost for a 6/6 flyer? Eh. It’s mediocre in all things. It does have the 1 red = +1/+0 until the end of the turn going for it, but for 7 mana? I’m not really a fan of that cost. This is another card that I “want” to like but just can’t bring myself to.
Heartfire Immolator (2-Cost Creature – Human Wizard):
This is a great uncommon. The only way it could be better, is if it’s ability could target anything. A 2/2 with Prowess for 2 is already pretty good. So, anytime you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gains +1/+1 until end of turn. In a Red or Red/Blue? This is going to be maddening. You can also tap 1 red and sacrifice this creature to deal its power to a creature or planeswalker. A fantastic way to clear a trouble creature, or the game-winning planeswalker. The best part of this is you can do it on the other players turn. This is going to see play in Historic also to bomb out someone’s winning creature.
Battle-Rattle Shaman (4-Cost Creature – Goblin Shaman):
Ehhhh. I’m not really thrilled about this card, mostly because it’s a 4-drop. It could be a potential game-winner though in the mid-game. At the beginning of your combat phase, you can give a creature +2/+0 until end of turn. That means you can give an opponent’s creature +2/+0! Why would you do that?! Maybe you want a creature of yours to die. I could see this going nicely with the various “damage enhancing” effects, like Torbran and Fiery Emancipation. I could see it being used in Historic with older Chandra, perhaps. I don’t hate it, but I’m not crazy about it. This is a card I want to see in action to see some applications I haven’t thought of.
Volcanic Geyser (2+X Cost Spell – Instant):
Oh boy, a new win-con for Temur Reclamation! It’s also going to be very popular in Mono-Red Damage Amp decks. Volcanic Geyser is, beyond all reason, a 2+X INSTANT damage bomb to any target. So you do this on your end step when you have all that mana just floating around, and obliterate someone. With Fiery Emancipation, you can kill off a player for a much more efficient mana cost. This is a very potentially powerful spell.
Unleash Fury (2-Cost Spell – Instant):
Okay, I guess if I yell about aggro enough, they get new cards. Unleash Fury will be used in any aggro deck that runs red in it. I can just about promise it. Especially if you can give the target Double Strike or Trample (Hello, Embercleave!) for added oomph. For 2 mana (1 red), Unleash Fury doubles the target creatures’ power until end of turn. Slap this bad boy down on Anax, with an Embercleave for example, and you might wind up getting an upwards of 20, 25 damage out of it. Better still if he remains unblocked. But you know where else this is going to see play for as long as she’s around? Feather. That’s right, Boros Feather has an insane new tool in the form of Unleash Fury. It’s only 2 mana, so you can do a whole lot of other really annoying nonsense on top of this! If you’re going to buff this creature, cast this spell last, so you can double on top of everything else.
Chandra, Heart of Fire (5-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Chandra):
Editor’s Note: So, I’ve now seen this Chandra too, so I’m re-adding her to the list.
Boo, Chandra! I’ve only ever seen one Chandra that I genuinely liked as a card. This isn’t it. But she’s got some really interesting cards, including some major discard power. In discard/Phoenix decks, she’s going to be a must-play, I think. She’s got a very powerful bomb for the late game, depending on how many cards are in your graveyard/deck are instants/sorceries, too.
+1: Discard your hand, then exile the top three cards of your library. Until the end of turn, you may play cards exiled this way.
+1: Chandra, Heart of Fire deals 2 damage to any target.
-9: Search your graveyard and library for any number of red instant and/or sorcery cards, exile them, and then shuffle your library. You may cast them this turn. Add six red mana.
My. God. In a Thousand-Year Storm deck, with plenty of mana, her -9 is the win condition. You pull the cards you need to win, use that spare mana, and obliterate someone with a storm of cards. You can do so much with her. You can discard your hand if you want, or you can simply deal damage to a target directly. The more mana you have untapped, the better her ultimate is, of course. At least it’s only “Red” cards. We can’t take blue ones. I have a feeling MTG Arena Core Set 2021’s going to have quite a few fun instants/sorceries for Red too in the spoilers. So we have a new version of Chandra, and a returning Ugin. Please, Wizards, don’t give us the five-drop Teferi again! Give us something new, and hopefully not quite as busted.
Fiery Emancipation (6-Cost Enchantment):
Hello, friend! Have you considered that Torbran, while powerful, isn’t quite enough oomph? Perhaps the life-gain decks are getting out of control! Does your Mono-Red deck need an exciting new win condition to come out of nowhere? Or perhaps you want Shock to simply hit for way more. Fiery Empancipation triples damage from all sources you control. Now, this can backfire on you, because it’s all sources of damage. Pain lands could cripple you if you play one and untap it in the late game. This is a 6-mana card (3 red), but boy does it seal the deal! I would cast this when I have enough damage to win on that turn, so the other player doesn’t have a chance to remove it. God, I love this card, high cost or not.
Terror of the Peaks (5-Cost Creature – Dragon):
Okay, I’m really torn on Terror of the Peaks. It feels a bit ridiculous. For Draft, I like this card. It’ll get wins there. But let’s look at what it does first. This is a 5/4 flyer for 5 mana (2 red). Spells your opponent cast that target this creature also cost 3 life. Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, this creature deals damage equal to that creature’s power to any target. In Historic? This is your game-winner. Just keep casting Ghalta. Get to that point where he costs 2 blue, and just cast him and win. I feel like you could use this and win, but it feels pushed.
Pushed: Cards that are pushed are cards that development feels serve an important role and are given a mana cost or power level higher than ordinary so that people immediately want to include them in their decks.
I can see this being a win-con for Mono-Red and Gruul (Green/Red). It’s a much more destructive Thunderbreak Regent. You don’t even have to attack at this point. Just play creatures and let Terror of the Peaks deal damage to the other player. What’s worse, he’s not even legendary, so you can play them back to back!
Double Vision (5-Cost Enchantment):
“Fill my eyes, with that double vision. No disguise, from that double vision.” Not my words, the words of Foreigner, as sung by Kyle Justin of the Angry Video Game Nerd. Do you know what Red decks/Red and Blue decks needed? More ways to duplicate spells. Double Vision lets you duplicate your first Instant or Sorcery each turn. That’s absolutely bonkers. There are so many cards that that will prove to be monstrous with this level of enchantment. The only positive I can say for it right now is it’s a 5-cost. That means it’s going to take some time to get to. Red’s not a very ramp-heavy deck unless it’s Red/Green. Gruul isn’t known for its instants/sorceries, either. So I like the concept of this and do admittedly worry about how strong it is. But at least that mana cost is a crutch. Remember, Fires of Invention’s gone.
Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge (3-Cost Legendary Creature – Dragon):
Speaking of Sac Decks, Gadrak will slot in neatly with that deck, or in Fling decks. Gadrak may be a 3-cost 5/4 Flyer, but he can’t attack unless you control four or more artifacts. At the beginning of your end step though, you create a Treasure Token, for each nontoken creature that died this turn. So, we use him as a blocker and wait. Consider that we’ll be running Ovens, as well as gaining Food Tokens from it! Those count as artifacts. It’s going to be very easy to use him as a beat stick, but we can just use him as a line of defense while we’re aggressive in other ways. Gadrak’s going to easily see use.
Chandra’s Incinerator (6-Cost Creature – Elemental):
Seems like several planeswalkers get “themed cards” that push what they can do into overdrive. Enter, Chandra’s Incinerator, a 6/6 for 6! It also has trample, as a side note. But, it costs X less to cast (up to 5), where X is the total amount of noncombat damage you dealt to opponents this turn. So you could definitely cast this for 1 if you dealt 5 noncombat damage (through Chandra, spells, et cetera). Whenever a source you control deals noncombat damage to an opponent, this creature deals that much to a creature or planeswalker that opponent controls. That is potentially very dangerous. It combines nicely with one of the commons above, Chandra’s Magmutt, as well as Chandra, Heart of Fire herself.
Conspicuous Snoop (2-Cost Creature – Goblin Rogue):
It’s been a while since we’ve seen an amazing Goblin. Except for Krenko, Legion Warboss, and cards like that. So we needed a new, fun, exciting Goblin. This is a very exciting card, not just for mono-red Goblin decks, but across the board. You play with the top card of your library revealed. You can cast Goblin spells from the top of your library, on top of that. But even better still, as long as the top card of your library is a Goblin card, Conspicuous Snoop has all the activated abilities of that card! Oh my god, that’s filthy. And for just two Red mana? There are so many goblins we can use this with right now. I’m going to list just a couple.
Tin Street Dodger
What a fantastic rare goblin.
Volcanic Salvo (12-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
“This spell costs X less to cast where X is the total power of creatures you control.” Okay, what? This is Ghalta but in Pog form! I mean, Sorcery form! This could be a fun form of control for Gruul decks or Mono-Red Elementals. So for “12” mana (2 red) what do you get? Volcanic Salvo deals 6 damage to two target creatures and/or planeswalkers of your choice. So it does target, so it can be protected against. There was some discussion on that since this card was revealed in German. This can be cast as cheap as 2 mana if you have 10 total power among your creatures. I like the card, but I am admittedly glad it can’t hit the player. That would be filthy.
Treacherous Greed (4-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
Oh boy, another “Act of Treason” style card! This one is technically cheaper though, because when you cast it, you add two mana of any color to your mana pool. This is a 4-drop that gives you control of a creature until end of turn. It also gains haste. So, you attack with a big creature, but what then? You don’t want to give it back, do you? You can use Witch’s Oven to sacrifice, or. . . we use one of those fun new cards. White has Angelic Ascension, to exile a creature. Its controller then gains a 4/4 white flying Angel. So we steal a creature, use that two floating mana to cast Angelic Ascension, and bam! They lose, we gain! Boros is going to have some wild options in the coming year.
Subira, Tulzidi Caravaneer (3-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Shaman):
Isn’t this Teferi’s wife? I’m pretty sure that’s who this is. She’s going to slot into Red Deck Wins incredibly well. A ⅔ with haste, with a pair of wild, powerful abilities. For 1 colorless, a creature with 2 or less can’t be blocked this turn. On top of that, you can tap her, and 2 mana (1 red), and discard your hand. Then, until end of turn, whenever a creature you control with power 2 or less deals combat damage to a player, draw a card. That’s especially potent when you need to discard, or when you simply have no cards in hand! You run her in RDW and laugh as your creatures just swing away and are unblockable.
Transmogrify (4-Cost Spell – Sorcery):
Oh God, it’s a new version of Transmogrify! Same cost, same effect! The only real difference is we exile the creature instead of destroying it (implying it goes to the graveyard). So, this can be used on your opponent, if they’re running only a few creatures. Or they have a god you want to get rid of. But primarily, this is for you. You exile a creature on the board. Then the creature’s controller reveals the top cards of their deck until you find a creature. Put it onto the battlefield, and then shuffle up your deck. I am so glad Agent of Treachery got banned. This would be a nightmare. You could use this in Winota, also I imagine, just to find her.
Brash Taunter (5-Cost Creature – Goblin):
A five drop for a Goblin?! Have you lost your mind? It’s a 1/1 to boot?! What the heck makes it so good? Probably it’s abilities. This Goblin is Indestructible. You can’t kill it via damage. On top of that, whenever it’s dealt damage, it deals that much damage to target opponent. You can tap 3 (1 red) to make it fight another creature. So, consider this: Pair him with Torbran, as well as Cavalcade of Calamity, just for laughs. This is a strictly better Stuffy Doll. This is my favorite Red creature so far.
Indulging Patrician (3-Cost White/Black Creature – Vampire Noble):
White/Black lifegain is going nowhere. Now, it has a useful tool to keep pinging away at the other player’s life. This combines nicely with Vito, which we covered in our black cards. Anytime you gain life, your opponent loses that much life. So, we make sure we gain at least 3 life a turn. That makes the other player lose 3 life, with Vito in play. Then at the end of our turn, the other player loses 3 life again. Shame Indulging Patrician doesn’t also grant life gain that way. The positive side, they’re a ¼ with Lifelink and Flying, so they’re very durable. Oh man, Orzhov Vampires is going to be filthy.
Lorescale Coatl (3-Cost Green/Blue Creature – Snake):
This is a spicy reprint! Simic Card draw is definitely getting pushed right now, and here’s proof if nothing else. Whenever you draw a card, Lorescale Coatl gains a +1/+1 counter. It’s for each card, mind. And there’s also a bunch of really silly ways to draw tons of cards for Blue/Green. I can see this being used quite a lot in the coming months. Plus, it’s a fun throwback. Specifically, back to Alara Reborn, which is a part of my favorite block in all of MTG. TAKE US BACK TO ALARA, YOU COWARDS.
Dire Fleet Warbringer (3-Cost Black/Red Creature – Orc Pirate):
Here’s a fun card for Rakdos sac! For an uncommon, this is really good. It’s a 3/3 that, on the beginning of your combat phase, you can sacrifice a creature. If you do, this creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn and trample. If you have sacrifice synergy in play, you can use this to put cards in the grave, and also have a 5/5 Trample for the rest of turn. It’s a win-win!
Vengeful Leafkin (4-Cost Red and Green Creature – Elemental Druid):
On its own, this is just a mediocre elemental druid. But when you combine everything it does? A 4/3 druid is pretty interesting too. You can tap this creature to add 1 green mana for each creature of power 4 or greater you control (so a minimum of 1G). For 1 red 7 colorless, you can make this creature deal damage equal to its power to target player or planeswalker. So you combine that with his tap ability, you can smash a player or planeswalker without ever having to attack! It’s absolutely delightful. With a deck heavy on mana ramp, this is going to be a must-use.
Watcher of the Spheres (2-Cost White and Blue Creature – Bird Wizard):
This is a creature with so much upside. It does force a slightly higher curve of Azorius Flyers, but I think it will be fine. A 2/2 for 2 (1 white, 1 blue), it makes creatures with flying that you cast cost 1 colorless less! How can you not love that? In addition, it gains +1/+1 until end of turn whenever a creature with flying enters the battlefield under your control. In fact, there’s a non-flyer that could potentially join this deck, Falconer Adept. But we’ll just have to see. I really sincerely like this card though. I love making my creatures cost a tiny bit less.
Conclave Mentor (2-Cost Green and White Creature – Centaur Cleric):
Oh God. A 2/2 for 2 that benefits +1/+1 counters! If one or more +1/+1 counters would be put on a creature you control, put that many plus one instead! Plus, when this creature dies, you gain life equal to its power. White/Green token decks are going to be a nightmare with Conclave Mentor. As a 2-drop, that’s also uncommon, it’s going to be very easy to get ahold of. Perhaps a 3-color deck to combine this with Lorescale Coatl. I really really like the idea of this card and what it can potentially do for a buff/enhancement deck.
Twinblade Assassins (5-Cost Black and Green Creature – Elf Assassin):
This is very similar to the old Deathreap Ritual. At the beginning of your end step, if a creature died this turn, you draw a card. It’s also a 5/4 for 5. There are a lot of folks complaining it doesn’t have Flash/Deathtouch, something. I mean, with “Asssassins” in the name, you tend to think something like that. But I think it’s fine like this. My problem stems from the fact that it feels like MTG Arena is only slowing down with all these high-cost cards. That plays into the hand, if you will, of control. 2020 has not been a good meta for aggro decks, and cards like this don’t help. Hopefully, that will change though. A world of only control/mid-range decks is not fun for everyone. Let’s not leave the aggro decks out in the cold, Wizards!
Radha, Heart of Keld (3-Cost Green and Red Legendary Creature – Elf Warrior):
Radha’s back, and she’s better than ever! This is the third “Radha” card, coming after Radha, Heir to Keld and Grand Warlord Radha. This is, for my money, the best version. As long as it’s your turn, this 3/3 has First Strike. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. You can look at the top card of your library at any time, and you can play lands from the top of your library. I think this is the first card that can do this for Gruul (Red/Green). I feel she’d be a monster in both Standard/Historic Gruul decks, especially at that 3-cost. You can also tap 6 mana (1 red, 1 green) to give her +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of lands you control. The obvious solution is to make sure she has trample, and use her as your mana-ramp win condition. Plus she’s an Elf, so she slots nicely into any Elfball deck. I love Radha and look forward to seeing what she can do.
Niambi, Esteemed Speaker (2-Cost Blue and White Legendary Creature – Human Cleric):
It’s Teferi’s daughter! It’s also her first card outside of the Dominaria planeswalker deck! So is she good? Well she’s blue/white with Flash, so she’s already strong. When she hits the field, you can return the target creature you control go back to its owner’s hand. If you do, you gain life equal to the creature’s CMC. When you can steal cards from your opponent, but have a counterspell waiting, this could be a lot of fun. I think she would go nicely into an Esper Reanimator deck. That’s because she can tap 3 mana (1 blue, 1 white) and discard a legendary card, to draw two cards. So pitch a legendary you want to cast from the grave, and then gain two cards as a result. This could go well in a variety of legendary-heavy decks. I really like this card. It could also go well in Flicker decks. Bounce that Charming Prince back to your hand, and re-cast him to gain the benefits yet again. Niambi’s an awesome legendary, especially at 2 mana.
Experimental Overload (4-Cost Blue and Red Spell – Sorcery):
Red and Blue Instant/Copy decks are going to have a ball with this. All you need is some time to drop a ton of instant/sorcery spells into your grave. When you cast this, you create an X/X blue and red Weird creature token. The X is the number of instant and sorcery spells in your graveyard. From there, you can return one of your instant/sorcery cards to your hand from the grave. Then you Exile Experimental Overload. This is going to be extremely fun with decks that can copy spells (say, Storm decks). This, combined with Thousand-Year Storm will be hilarious.
Rin and Seri, Inseparable (4-Cost Red/Green/White Legendary Creature – Dog Cat):
Now, this is an interesting card. Are we going to see Dog/Cat tribal decks now? Perhaps. This could be a card that’s aimed at a future expansion though. This is a 4/4 for 4 (1 red, green, white, colorless). Whenever you cast a Dog spell, you create a 1/1 green Cat creature token. Whenever you cast a Cat spell, you create a 1/1 white Dog creature token. And for 1 red, green, and white mana, you can tap Rin and Seri, Inseparable. It then deals damage to any target equal to the number of Dogs you have. You then gain life equal to the number of Cats you control. What a fascinating card. I haven’t seen a three-colored cats deck before, but it could very well be a thing we’ll see. I’m on the fence on this card. It feels more like a Commander legendary, but time will tell.
Obsessive Stitcher (3-Cost Blue and Black Creature – Human Wizard):
Oh boy, another exciting engine for Reanimator decks! This time, it’s in creature form! But you know what they say, “Art is suffering”. You can tap this lovely 0/3 Wizard to draw a card, then discard a card. That lets you put exactly what you want into the grave to prepare for her other ability. You can tap 4 mana (1 blue, 1 black) and sacrifice her to return a creature card from the graveyard and put it onto the battlefield. The best part about this is once it’s in play, the player can’t stop you from activating that ability through normal means. No counterspells! Sure, they can try to spot remove it, but if you have mana and a creature in the grave, it’s not going to waste.
Alpine Houndmaster (2-Cost Red and White Creature – Human Warrior):
Oh yes, Dog Tribal just keeps getting better. I think this is going to be a serious bomb in limited/draft, if the other players let you snatch up all the common/uncommon dogs. When Alpine Houndmaster enters the battlefield, you can search your deck for an Igneous Cur and an Alpine Watchdog and put them into your hand. On top of that, when he attacks, he gains +X/+0, where X is the number of other attacking creatures. Pair this with Pack Leader, and other fun dogs, and you could just batter someone down with this. Sure, Alpine Houndmaster will likely be a targeted block, but your good boys would survive and deal damage! We need something to give him survivability. Like an Embercleave, for example. . .Just a thought!
Tormod’s Crypt (0-Cost Artifact):
I feel like this card coming back was just a matter of time. With so many decks offering graveyard retrieval/play/reanimation, or simply to counter cards like Zenith Blast, Tormod’s Crypt shows up, with its 0-mana cost, and brings salvation. You can tap/sacrifice it to exile all cards from a player’s graveyard. Are you playing tired of seeing success from Cycling/Reanimation decks? Slide a few of these bad boys into your deck, and watch their defenses and plays crumble into dust.
Meteorite (5-Cost Artifact):
Now, I don’t like to yell about “bad” cards too often. Most cards ultimately have a purpose. I’m having a hard time discerning the use of Meteorite though. It’s a 5-cost artifact that lets you tap it for 1 mana of any color. Okay, that’s decent I suppose. But when it comes into play, it deals 2 damage to any target. So it’s targeted damage and any color. I don’t think that makes it bad, but I definitely don’t think it’s great. This could be useful in a variety of artifact decks, I think. It might be fun to flicker this a few times in the mid-game as surprise creature removal/planeswalker damage. In limited (draft) I think it’ll see use, but I’m hesitant to say this will be a must-use anywhere else.
Palladium Myr (3-Cost Artifact Creature – Myr):
As soon as I saw Palladium Myr, my hopes for a return to Phyrexia felt possible! Palladium Myr is a really fun artifact creature. It’s a 2/2 for 3 that lets you tap it for 2 colorless mana. I’d use it in ramp decks to speed-up the process even more. Maybe in a Kinnan deck? Really a big fan of this card coming back.
Chrome Replicator (5-Cost Artifact Creature – Construct):
Now this will be a fun card for your weird, annoying artifact decks! Though it doesn’t specify artifacts, I think it will wind up in a deck full of them. That or decks that need things to sacrifice. So this is a 4/4 for 5 colorless. But when it enters the battlefield, if you have two or more nonland, nontoken permanents with the same name as one another, you create a 4/4 colorless Construct artifact creature token. This will lend itself well to decks where you play a lot of the same card. With that in mind, it could be way more fun in Historic, when you can drop a pair of Ornithopters and use them. Then you flicker this creature in and out a few times and make an army of artifact creatures. Combine that with All That Glitters and you have a recipe for disaster for the other player.
Epitaph Golem (5-Cost Artifact Creature – Golem):
Golems are back, baby! Oh yes! This is a really fun Golem, too! A ⅗ for 5, you can tap 2 colorless to put a card from your graveyard back onto the bottom of your library. While that might seem far away, this is a meta that has access to a few Tutor spells (Idyllic Tutor, Grim Tutor). On top of that, there are several spells that shuffle our library, so those cards are just a hop, skip, and a jump away! 5 mana is a lot, but at least it’s any color! I’m actually a really big fan of this card.
Sparkhunter Masticore (3-Cost Artifact Creature – Masticore):
I’d like to see this in Wilderness Reclamation decks! The more mana we have, the deadlier this card is. In addition to the 3 colorless mana, we have to discard a card to play this though. What’s so great about it though? It’s a planeswalker killer. Sparkhunter Masticore has protection from planeswalkers, stopping Gideon right in his tracks. For 1 colorless we can have it deal 1 damage to a planeswalker, and for 3 colorless, it gains indestructible for a turn. The more mana we have, the faster we can demolish those annoying superfriends decks. Maybe not in the mainboard, but I can see this being in many sideboards. Though it would be fun to put in a blue/white artifact deck.
Cryptic Masterpiece (2-Cost Artifact):
Hey, it’s a replacement for Treasure Map in standard! Sort of! This is a 2-drop with a pair of tap effects. You can tap it to add a Page Counter and Scry 1. Conversely, you can tap 2 mana, and tap it to put a Page Counter on it, to draw a card. When it has 4 or more page counters on it, you exile it to gain 4 life. That’s a neat card for slower decks when you need to drop an early artifact to set up combos or synergy. Plus, scry/card draw is never a bad thing for decks that normally don’t have access to it.
Solemn Simulacrum (4-Cost Artifact Creature – Golem):
Hey! “Sad Robot” is back! Now he looks like Pepsi Man! This is a popular reprint, and a great one, if you ask me. When this creature enters the battlefield, you can take a basic land from your deck, put it into play tapped, and then shuffle your library. It’s a 2/2, that, when it dies, you can also draw a card. It’s a great way to get more land on the board, and when you invariably wipe (Shatter the Skies, for example), you can get at least this card draw! It’s going to see play, that’s for sure. It’s just a solid way for any deck to get a tiny bit of ramp in.
Ugin, The Spirit Dragon (8-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Ugin):
Ugin’s back too?! We know Teferi’s going to be in this set, Baneslayer’s back, and so is Massacre Wurm. So why not Ugin, The Spirit Dragon? This is my favorite form of Ugin, no less. He’s an 8-cost Mythic Rare, so he’s not cheap. But this would be run in mana ramp decks/control decks, most likely. Here’s what we can expect him to do:
+2: Ugin, The Spirit Dragon deals 3 damage to target creature or player.
-X: Exile each permanent with a converted mana cost of X or less that’s one or more colors.
-10: You gain 7 life, draw 7 cards, and then put up to seven permanent cards from your hand onto the battlefield.
Consider that Ugin, The Spirit Dragon comes into play as a 7 Loyalty Planeswalker! If you have some proliferate, you could in theory pop his ultimate in one turn in a Superfriends deck. This is doubly great if you have lots of cards in hand. Ugin is hella strong. In a huge creature/superfriends deck, you can do disgusting things with that -10.
Chromatic Orrey (7-Cost Legendary Artifact):
The five-colored orbs, the hexagons, this just screams to me that we’re going to be returning to Mirrodin/Phyrexia sometime in the next year or two. That’s my best guess. Chromatic Orrey is a high-cost (7 mana), but you can spend mana as though it were any color. On top of that, you can tap it for 5 colorless mana (again, any color). You can tap 5, tap this, and draw a card for each color among permanents you control on top of that. So, those annoying five-color superfriends/control decks? Yeah, that’s still going to be a thing. Any five-color deck will use this to great effect. Gates! It could be fun in gates. This is more of a card for EDH or something I think, but I like it for Standard/Historic too. Especially in Historic. Using Llanowar Elves for any color? Madness.
Now, we do have some rumored cards we’d like to highlight and discuss. When they get confirmed or debunked, we’ll cross them off here as well. This is according to MTGAZone, for reference. One of these cards revealed is the Birds of Paradise, a rare green creature. This 0/1 Flyer costs 1 green but can be tapped for any color. It’s an incredible card and one that we direly miss here. However, the word is this might be removed, due to an early leak, but I don’t hold stock in that.
The last time I remember seeing BoP is Tenth Edition, but it may have received a reprint after that. But perhaps the most interesting card I saw that was rumored is Grim Tutor. We don’t have a lot of “Tutor” cards in the meta, but there are some (Idyllic Tutor, for example). Grim Tutor is a wildly valuable card (in the $200 range) because it’s only been in two sets.
First was “Starter 1999” and then Masters Edition III. Masters Edition III was for Magic Online, no less. So it’s had one physical print. Grim Tutor is a 3-cost (2 black) sorcery, where you search your deck for a card, and put it into your hand. Then you lose 3 life. Having another Tutor in black can’t hurt, especially with all the access we have to multi-colored lands.
The last card I want to highlight is a White Rare Instant, Teferi’s Protection. Teferi’s Protection has had a few prints, notably as a Judge’s Gift Card, in 2018, as well as Commander 2017. It has the potential to be an overwhelmingly powerful card. Until your next turn, for 3 mana (1 white), your life total can’t change, and you have protection from everything. All permanents you control “phase out.”
Now, Phasing is a mechanic that’s essentially gone. Flicker/Exiling/Returning to the game has replaced it (such as Yorion, Sky Nomad, and Thassa). Since we can do this on our opponent’s turn, that’s very strong. We wait for them to declare the game-winning move, and then we phase everything out and buy ourselves one more turn. This is amazing when we can proc “entering the battlefield” triggers, or simply need a little more time to win.
Wooded Foothills (Mountain/Forest):
Fetch. Lands. Are. Back. That’s right, Fetch Lands are back in Core 2021! So, to people who are new to MTG through MTGA, these are different from the generic “fetch lands” we have already. You pay 1 life and sac them, to go to your deck for one of two lands. In this case, Mountain or Forest. That probably means people could fetch for the Triomes if they want, but it might be better to fetch a land that can come into play untapped.
They’re back! They haven’t even rotated out, but theye’re back. This is to confirm that the Scry/Tapped lands from Theros/Core Set 2020 are staying in the standard meta. I’m kind of glad, but I prefer lands that don’t come into play tapped. The scry function is nice though. Here are the land names/color pairings. These come into play tapped, but they let you Scry 1, so it’s a nice feature.
Temple of Epiphany (Blue or Red)
Temple of Malady (Black or Green)
Temple of Mystery (Green or Blue)
Temple of Silence (White or Black)
Temple of Triumph (Red or White)
Fabled Passage (Fetch Land):
Fabled Passage is also going nowhere! Instead of rotating out, this fetch land sticks around. Which is great, because it’s amazing. You tap it and sacrifice it to search for a basic land and put it into play tapped. But if you control four or more lands at this point, untap the chosen land. This is okay at the pre-turn 4 points, but once you have 4 lands, this card pays for itself. So it’s going nowhere, don’t worry about that.
Animal Sanctuary (Colorless Land):
“I’ll never be your beast of burden,” not my words, the words of Beast of Burden by The Rolling Stones. Here we have a fun colorless land that will slot itself nicely into a few decks. For 2 mana, you can tap this to give a +1/+1 counter to a Bird, Cat, Dog, Goat, Ox, or Snake. I can see Dog/Cat tribal decks using this for a bit of a laugh. Maybe not 4 of, but maybe 2? We’ll have to see. I guess my problem is that it feels a bit weak as a rare. It’s not a card I hate, but I wonder why it’s a rare, instead of perhaps an Uncommon. Feels like a bit of a disappointing card to pull. Maybe there’s something I’m not seeing though.
Core Set 2021 Planeswalker Deck Cards
As with all Core Sets, MTG will have Core Set 2021 planeswalker decks. Each of the major planeswalkers for the set will have a deck. They will have different planeswalker versions (Basri Ket, vs. Basri, Devoted Paladin, as an example). They will also feature a set of three cards per planeswalker that are themed around what that planeswalker does. It’s not a massive set of cards, so we’ll go over these in brief.
Basri’s Aegis (4-Cost White Sorcery – Rare):
Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to two target creatures. You can search your library and/or graveyard for a copy of Basri, Devoted Paladin and put it into your hand. Also reveal it. Each of the colors has this style of card, to “do something”, and search for this particular planeswalker. 4 mana for a pair of +1/+1 counters and getting a planeswalker isn’t so bad though. It fits what they’re trying to do with White right now – Lots of creatures that constantly grow bigger.
Sigiled Contender (4-Cost White Creature – Human Warrior – Uncommon):
Sigiled Contender has lifelink, as long as it has a +1/+1 counter on it. You can’t escape the +1/+1 counters! Almost every single card White has it feels like gives them. You can’t tap a land without hitting a +1/+1 counter. This is a 3/3 for 4, and it’s so easy to give it lifelink it’s almost scary. But it being a 4-cost seems a bit prohibitive. Maybe that’s because it’s uncommon. I’m not really crazy about this card in an aggro-deck. Maybe in a mid-range/combo deck? We’ll have to see, but I’m not thrilled about it.
Adherent of Hope (2-Cost White Creature – Human Soldier – Common):
Now this is an interesting card for a two-drop. At the beginning of combat, if you control a Basri planeswalker, this creature gets a +1/+1 counter. What makes this great, is it doesn’t require Basri, Devoted Paladin. Instead, you can use that 3-drop Basri that’s coming with the set. Makes this way more viable to play outside of limited/planeswalker decks.
Basri, Devoted Paladin (6-Cost Legendary Planeswalker – Basri):
Here’s another planeswalker that is significantly different from what we saw earlier in the spoilers. So I’m wondering if there are two of him in the set, or what. We’ll probably shift him and Chandra down into rumors for now. So Basri, Devoted Paladin is a 6-drop built around getting lots of +1/+1 counters, which is mean.
+1: Put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature. It gains vigilance until end of turn.
-1: Whenever a creature attacks this turn, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
-6: Creatures you control get +2/+2 and gain flying until end of turn.
As a 4 loyalty planeswalker, that’s pretty rough. The casting cost is incredibly high though. I like him though as a mid-game bomb to win the game with. You built up your army with lots of +1/+1 tokens (trust me, there are lots of ways to do that in the upcoming expansion), and then give everyone flying and sweep overhead for an outrageously strong attack. I like Basri, but his casting cost is a bit restrictive.
Teferi’s Wavecaster (5-Cost Blue Creature – Merfolk Wizard – Rare):
A five-cost Merfolk? Well, at least it has Flash, I guess. Whenever this card comes into play, like the White creature before it, you can search your library and/or graveyard for a Teferi, Timeless Voyager card and put it into your hand. This Merfolk has no other uses, other than being a 3/3 Flash creature. So, positives, you’ll be able to play Teferi next turn, provided you haven’t missed any land drops.
Mystic Skyfish (3-Cost Blue Creature – Common):
Whenever you draw your second card each turn, Mystic Skyfish gains flying until end of turn. I kind of wish this were a ⅓ instead of a 3/1, but I guess Blue can’t have all super sturdy flying creatures. It’s still a very solid 3-drop, especially at the common rarity.
Historian of Zhalfir (4-Cost Blue Creature – Human Wizard – Uncommon):
Whenever this creature attacks, if you control a Teferi planeswalker, draw a card. Spoiler warning: We will easily have a Teferi planeswalker. A 3/3 that offers card draw when he attacks? Just wish again, he wasn’t a 4-drop. That’s what I hate about these planeswalker deck cards. The costs almost always feel prohibitively high without any real reason. Maybe it’s to purposely make the matches you play with them slow?
Teferi, Timeless Voyager (6-Cost Blue Legendary Planeswalker – Teferi – Mythic Rare):
Here’s a planeswalker for Blue decks that want to beat people down instead of simply winning by some other nonsense way. But he’s a 6-cost, which is ridiculous for what it does. It comes in with a base loyalty of 4, so let’s look at what it does.
+1: Draw a card.
-3: Put target creature on top of its owner’s library.
-8: Each creature target opponent controls phases out. It doesn’t phase back in until the end of your next turn.
So, draw a card. That’s neat. The -3 is probably mostly just to slow people down. Against Tron decks, that can be absolutely deadly. They build their mighty game-winner, and you just put it away and toss those enchants into the garbage. The -8 is honestly amazing. Until your next turn, the other player’s creatures don’t exist. So you can just swing lethal between the next turn or two.
Liliana’s Scorn (5-Cost Black Sorcery – Rare):
5-Mana to both destroy a creature, and to search for Liliana, Death Mage, and put her into the hand? Now that is value. It’s 5-mana, but you get a next-turn setup, while also destroying something right now? Yeah, this is my favorite of the “Planeswalker Fetch” cards. I do wish it could be for any Liliana, but I see why that’s not the case. It could be far too busted to use it for a variety of Lilianas.
Spirit of Malevolence (2-Cost Black Creature – Spirit):
Meh. Nothing about this card feels good to me. At least, at first glance. But with Lurrus, this could be mint in a sacrifice deck. Just sacrifice it to the Oven, re-cast it with Lurrus, and sacrifice it to another Oven. So, on second thought, it’s not so bad. This also pairs nicely with the new Liliana we’re going to cover.
Liliana’s Scrounger (3-Cost Black Creature – Human Wizard – Uncommon):
Okay, this card I like. The black planeswalker deck really appeals to me, and not just because I mained mono-black for like…a decade. At the beginning of each end step, if a creature died this turn, you may put a loyalty counter on a Liliana planeswalker you control. This counts for both players’ turns! It doesn’t have to be your creature either! On top of that, this synergizes with every Liliana, so it’s going to probably see play, even at 3 mana.
Liliana, Death Mage (6-Cost Black Legendary Planeswalker – Liliana):
Whew, another 6-cost. They’re all six-cost, though. So, this is a card that could still fit into some decks, based on her final ability. She’s very much built around the graveyard, with every single ability. So let’s look at that:
+1: Return up to one target creature card from your graveyard and put it in your hand.
-3: Destroy target creature. Its controller loses 2 life.
-7: Target opponent loses 2 life for each creature card in their graveyard.
So, that +1 would work great with Spirit of Malevolence! It also works great with anything you have to sacrifice, but want to use again. Her ultimate would be amazing in decks where you constantly destroy creatures. It would also do well as an alternate win-condition in mill decks. If you can’t quite get them down fast enough (or it’s a Yorion deck with lots of creatures), just mill them down to having enough to get lethal, and pop her -7. It won’t be hard to get either, starting with 4 loyalty.
Chandra’s Firemaw (5-Cost Red Creature – Hellion – Rare):
Here’s our “Search for Chandra, Flame’s Catalyst” card for red. It’s a 4/2 with Haste, so it fits in nicely with the rest of the red color. But at a 5-cost, I’m a little iffy. All of these cards are focused on having X specific planeswalker but ehhh. I’m not really sold on this one, compared to some of the others.
Storm Caller (3-Cost Red Creature – Ogre Shaman – Common):
This could be fun in a flicker deck, even at 3 mana (1 red). This 3/2 deals 2 damage to each opponent when it enters the battlefield. So in a deck where we can use this repeatedly, it could be a lot of fun.
Keral Keep Disciples (4-Cost Red Creature – Human Monk – Uncommon):
But here’s the real star of the Chandra Corps: Keral Keep Disciples! Anytime you activate a Chandra loyalty ability, Keral Keep Disciples deals 1 damage to each opponent! Ping away, and get some extra value! With the possibility of several Chandra planeswalkers being in play at once, this could really tidal wave out of control. Especially if we run cards that increase the damage we do from Red Sources. Just saying, there’s a lot of options for that.
Chandra, Flame’s Catalyst (6-Cost Red Legendary Planeswalker – Chandra):
Ahhh, Chandra. Chandra comes in two flavors: awful and OP. So, which is this? In the right deck, this is going to be absolutely filthy. In particular, instant/sorcery-heavy decks.
+1: Chandra deals 3 damage to each opponent.
-2: You may cast target red instant or sorcery card from your graveyard. If that spell would enter the graveyard this turn, exile it instead.
-8: Discard your hand, then draw seven cards. Until the end of turn, you may cast those spells from your hand without paying their mana cost.
Oof. That’s strong! She starts at 5 loyalty, to boot. So you use her +1 over and over, and empty your hand. Bear in mind, if you cast her ultimate with 0 cards in your hand, there’s no penalty. You discard 0 cards, and draw 7! Then anything in your hand gets cast for free. That means, if you add more cards, you can keep casting for free for this turn. Filthy Town, that.
Garruk’s Warsteed (5-Cost Green Creature – Rhino – Rare):
Thus, our “Seek out Garruk, Savage Herald” card. What confuses me, is it isn’t a ⅘. Instead, it’s a ⅗. I say that because most of the green cards right now synergize with 4 or better power, and for a 5-drop, it would make sense I think. Even if it’s “get a planeswalker and put it in your hand” the card. It has Vigilance, so that helps make up for the lack of power, at least. It’s a “meh” card if you ask me, unless Garruk, Savage Herald is your wincon.
Wildwood Patrol (3-Cost Green Creature – Centaur Scout – Common):
A 4/2 trample that’s a common? Fascinating. It’s a 3-cost though, like all the commons in this section. It’s not a bad card, though. I don’t think it’s a great one, but it’s certainly not bad in a deck where we can mana ramp like crazy.
Predatory Wurm (4-Cost Green Creature – Wurm – Uncommon):
Here’s another fun Vigilance card for Green! If you have a Garruk planeswalker of any flavor, this 4/4 gains +2/+2 on top of that. Having a 6/6 for 4 Vigilance for 4 is absolutely wild. This I’d consider running in my mono-Green decks. Maybe a 1 or 2 of at most, though.
Garruk, Savage Herald (6-Cost Green Legendary Planeswalker – Garruk):
Ahh, we’re rounding off the new planeswalker deck cards with the green planeswalker himself, Garruk! It’s been a while since I’ve seen a mono-colored Garruk, so let’s take a look at what he brings to the table.
+1: Reveal the top card of your library. If it’s a creature, put it in your hand. Otherwise, it goes on the bottom of your library.
-2: Target creature you control deals damage equal to its power to another target creature.
-7: Until end of turn, your creatures gain “You may have this creature assign its combat damage as though it weren’t blocked.”
Oh wow, that’s a lot of fun stuff! In a creature heavy deck, that +1 is brutal, and even better if you can see the top card of your deck already through whatever means you have at your disposal. The -2 is important because it’s not “fight.” You deal damage, but don’t receive damage back. Excellent creature removal. The -7 lets you swing lethal whenever you’re ready. You can choose to assign combat damage as though it weren’t blocked. That creature of yours still takes damage, but it doesn’t kill the other creature. It just ignores them! So, if you have enough to win with, go for it! He starts off at 5 loyalty, so again, not very hard to get to the top.
Shrines Are Back
I’m starting to wonder if this is just for the sake of Historic/Pioneer. Historic Anthology 3 brought back the classic Honden Shrines, which are all legendaries. Since they are legendary, you can only have one of each name one out at a time. However, we have six new shrines! One for each color, then one that features all five. It sounds like Wizards really wants five-color-fun to be a possibility. So I’ll go over what you can expect on each shrine.
Sanctity of All (5-Cost 5-Color Legendary Enchantment – Shrine):
At the start of your upkeep, you can search your graveyard and/or deck for a Shrine, and put it into play. If you search your library, shuffle it. If an ability of another Shrine you control triggers while you control six or more Shrines, that ability triggers an additional time! Lord, that’s potentially brutal.
Sanctum of Tranquil Light (1-Cost White Legendary Enchantment – Shrine):
Tap 6 (1 white): Tap target creature. This costs 1 less for each Shrine you control.
Sanctum of Calm Waters (4-Cost Blue Legendary Enchantment – Shrine):
At the beginning of your pre-combat main phase, you may draw X cards, where X is the number of Shrines you control. If you do, discard a card.
Sanctum of Stone Fangs (2-Cost Black Legendary Enchantment – Shrine):
Here’s my favorite. At the beginning of your pre-combat main phase, each opponent loses X life and you gain X life, where X is the number of Shrines you control.
Sanctum of Shattered Heights (3-Cost Red Legendary Enchantment – Shrine):
Tap 1 colorless mana, and discard a land or shrine card: Sanctum of Shattered Heights deals X damage to target creature or planeswalker, where X is the number of Shrines you control.
Sanctum of Fruitful Harvest (3-Cost Green Legendary Enchantment – Shrine):
At the beginning of your pre-combat main phase, add X of any one color, where X is the number of Shrines you control. This will make mid-game mana ramping silly.
Jumpstart was revealed as a new way to play MTG and it’s going to come to MTG Arena at a later date. We finally have some cards revealed that will be a part of the Jumpstart collection that releases on July 17, so we definitely want to highlight those. This is just a sampling of the good stuff we can expect.
Author’s Note: There is going to be a set of the Jumpstart cards that will be coming to the physical game, but will not be appearing in MTG Arena. This is likely due to balance issues. As we know more, we’ll share in an upcoming article. We can confirm the following cards will not appear though:
- Scourge of Nel Toth
- Time to Feed
Instead, alternate cards will be added, many of which will still be new to digital MTG Arena! So take heart. I’m not a fan of these cards not showing up, but it would make reanimator even more unpleasant to play against. Also, as there are just so many Jumpstart cards, we’re going to highlight some of our favorites. We’ll definitely do an article on the set later, from draft ideas or constructed decks.
Shambling Goblin (1-Cost Creature – Zombie Goblin):
This could be a very fun card to use in sacrifice decks! A 1-cost 1/1 Goblin, that, when it dies, gives an opponent’s creature -1/-1 until end of turn! Do they have a 1/1 mana dork or some kind of frustrating token that’s a 1/1? Just kill it!
Dutiful Attendant (3-Cost Creature – Human Warrior):
Dutiful Attendant’s going to be very helpful to decks that find their creatures dying. Or if they have to sacrifice/chump block with something. When Dutiful Attendant Dies, you can return another creature from your graveyard to your hand. It’s not a reanimator engine, but if you want to trigger another ETB effect, this is a fun way to do it.
Tavern Swindler (2-Cost Creature – Human Rogue):
More and more I think Black/Red Rogues are coming back. I’m not sure how to feel about this creature though. I don’t trust coin flips in MTG Arena. Mostly because I don’t see the coin being flipped. But you can tap this, and pay 3 life to flip a coin. If you win the flip, you gain 6 life. There are some real potential possibilities to set up mean combos here, despite my misgivings about how unfair I think coin flip cards are. I am a sucker for some annoying nonsense, and decks where I win without my opponent getting a say-so.
Witch of the Moors (5-Cost Creature – Human Warlock):
Now, here’s a fun 4/4 Deathtouch! This could it be: we have another engine for sacrifice decks? Not an engine per se’, but a way to make them way more frustrating. If you gained life on your turn, then during your end step each opponent sacrifices a creature, and you can return up to one creature from the grave to your hand. Did you chump block something and you want it back? Here you go! This could be fun with flash too! Just flash it back in during your opponent’s turn!
Drana, Liberator of Malakir (3-Cost Legendary Creature – Vampire Ally):
I like this card a lot, but but I’m not as big on “Sengir” style creatures as I used to be. They rely heavily on actually hitting the other player. Especially with so many creatures and tokens going around, this is going to be harder. But this particular Vampire has Flying/First Strike. Whenever they deal combat damage to a player, each attacking creature you control gets a +1/+1 counter. So Drana is significantly different.
Tinybones, Trinket Thief (2-Cost Legendary Creature – Skeleton Rogue):
I love Discard! This is going to make Discard incredibly fun too! Well, fun for me. At the beginning of each end step, if an opponent discarded a card this turn, you draw a card and you lose 1 life. But for 6 mana (2 black), each opponent with no cards in hand lose 10 life. Here’s your Discard win con. It may be a weak little ½, but this is black! We can always return them somehow or another. I adore Tinybones, and I’m so glad she’s coming to Arena.
Sheoldred, Whispering One (7-Cost Legendary Creature – Praetor):
I know I complain about high casting costs from time to time, but Sheoldred, Whispering One is worth it. Plus, it’s the first time I’ve seen Swampwalk reprinted in ages. That means if your opponent has a Swamp at all, they can’t be blocked. At the beginning of your upkeep, return a creature from your graveyard to the battlefield. At the beginning of each opponent’s upkeep, they sacrifice a creature. Sheoldred can make your wildest sacrifice/black devotion shenanigans come true. She is power, she is grace. She will make Gary punch you in the face.
Talrand, Sky Summoner (4-Cost Legendary Creature – Merfolk Wizard):
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, create a 2/2 blue Drake create token with Flying. Because that’s what Blue needs: more incentive to slow down the pace of the game! Ugh. I’m less a fan of this card, but I understand why. It’s going to be in the Wizard build. After going through a list of cards, I saw a huge cast of Wizards, along with a land (Riptide Laboratory) that lets you return wizards to your hand. So, Mono-Blue Wizard/Control is going to be a thing to look out for in Historic.
Sharding Sphinx (6-Cost Artifact Creature – Sphinx):
Sharding Sphinx gets a reprint! Yes! This was a staple of my “Esper Artifact” deck during Alara Block. It’s a fun way to make more and more artifact creatures with 0 effort. Whenever an artifact creature you control deals combat damage to a player, you may create a 1/1 blue Thopter artifact creature with flying. I’d say “This would be amazing in UB Artifacts,” but that 6 mana cost might be a little prohibitive. Maybe they’ll include it as a “just in case things go bad” card, but we’ll just have to see. Could be a lot of fun in the Historic version.
Scholar of the Lost Trove (6-Cost Creature – Sphinx):
Another great, high-cost Sphinx is back! This is even better if you can give it Flash (through Leyline or other means). When Scholar of the Lost Trove hits the battlefield, you can cast an instant, sorcery, or artifact from the grave without paying its mana cost. But if it would be an instant or sorcery that goes to the graveyard this turn, exile it instead. Great way to get a creature back that was removed, or to play a game-winning spell. That’s why I’d love to have access to Flash. Flash this in response to a spell being cast, and play a counter from beyond the grave. That won’t get old.
Sporemound (5-Cost Creature – Fungus):
You’re about to see some anger about something this card does. Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, create a 1/1 green Saproling token. This is going to synergize well with Field of the Dead, and Zendikar’s Roil, which will be featured shortly. But I wrote about that first, and I was a bit salty. But then I remembered: MTG Arena is about solutions to problems. We have a lot of anti-Token technology.
Zendikar’s Roil (5-Cost Enchantment):
Now that we have tons of ways to play extra lands, you know what we need? More creatures! Preferably for a Field of the Dead deck! The solution is of course, Zendikar’s Roil. Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, create a 2/2 green Elemental creature token. So each land will give us a Zombie (at least one), and an Elemental! Vile. Absolutely vile. I’m not also deckbuilding this as we speak. YOU are! This isn’t even the only card that does this in Jumpstart!
Oracle of Mul Daya (4-Cost Creature – Elf Shaman):
Oh boy! Another card that lets you look at the top card of your deck! You can play an additional land on each of your turns, and you can play lands from the top of your library. I want to see this in GB Explore/Ramp. We can do some absolutely vile things with this to set up Bolas’s Citadel wins. Or you know, just play huge creatures and smush people into pieces. That’ll work too.
Lurking Predators (6-Cost Enchantment):
Now here’s a fun mid-game enchantment for Mono-Green decks. Lurking Predators rewards you for your opponents casting spells! Whenever they do, you reveal the top card of your library. If it’s a creature, it goes into your hand. Otherwise, you can put it on the bottom of your library. If you’re running cards that already let you look at the top of your deck (to play lands or such) this is amazing. Pair this with that and Bolas’s Citadel! Your opponent plays a spell when you have a land on top, and you can choose to put it on the bottom and have a new shot at winning the game in one turn. I really like this card, even as a six-drop.
Ulvenwald Hydra (6-Cost Creature – Hydra):
In a meta where it’s easier to ramp lands onto the board than ever before, this comes back?! Historic’s going to be wild. This is a / with Reach, so it can block flyers. Its power and toughness is equal to the number of lands you control. It also lets you fetch a land from your deck and put it into play tapped. Please bear in mind, it doesn’t have to be a basic land. So we combine this with some other cards mentioned like Oracle of Mul Daya, or cards like Sylvan Ranger, and we’re going to have a titanic creature to deal with.
Allosaurus Shepherd (1-Cost Creature – Elf Shaman):
I had never seen Allosaurus Shepherd before, and this is a horrifyingly powerful card. Sure, the argument can always be made “lol it dies to removal”, but it’s a 1-drop! They’re going to have more. This creature cannot be countered, and as long as it’s in play, Green spells you control can’t be countered either. Your clutch victories aren’t going to be so stressful with her in play. You can also tap 6 (2 green) to make each elf you control have a base power and toughness of 5/5, and is also a dinosaur until end of turn. So if your Llanowar was a 4/4 (base 1/1), now it’s a 8/8! Slap some trample on the table and you will make people very sad. But where will we get trample? The next creature is a good example.
Craterhoof Behemoth (8-Cost Creature – Beast):
There isn’t a lot to say about this creature but “Oh God.” This is a classic creature if you ask me. For 8 (EIGHT – 3 Green) Mana, you get a 5/5 with Haste. That sounds rubbish, right? But when it drops, your creatures gain +X/+X and trample until end of turn. X is equal to the number of creatures you control. So this is basically your Elfball Win-Con. This deckbrew is coming very soon.
Path to Exile (1-Cost Spell – Instant):
PATH TO EXILE GOT REPRINTED?! This is the card that single-handedly made me hate Kithkin Tribal, and so many other decks. Path to Exile is an amazing instant for mono-white (or any control deck). For 1 white, you can exile a creature. The controller of that creature can go to their deck to put a basic land into play tapped. Not only is this amazing to stop someone in the early game, but you can use it on yourself! Need another land? Pop this on your creature during your opponent’s turn to get a land that will be untapped during your turn. It’s got a ton of utility, and is worth the 1 mana cost.
Blessed Sanctuary (5-Cost Enchantment):
Ugh. Just what a mono-white deck/control deck needs: Prevent noncombat damage that goes to your creatures/you. At least it isn’t “combat damage” though. However, when a nontoken creature enters the field under your control you create a 2/2 white Unicorn token. Unicorn tribal is going to be real I think.
Lena, Selfless Champion (6-Cost Legendary Creature – Human Knight):
Ehhh. Lena is a neat card, but I don’t think she is worth more than using her to win the game by sacrificing her. I mean, she’s a 6-drop (2 white). When she comes into play though she makes a 1/1 white Soldier token for each nontoken creature you control. Then if you sacrifice her, creatures you control with less power than her are indestructible until end of turn. That’s what makes her powerful. I just wish she didn’t cost 6 mana to put into play. Thankfully, you don’t have to tap her to use her power. Simply sacrificing her after casting her will suffice.
Lightning Phoenix (3-Cost Creature – Phoenix):
How repulsive. Another Phoenix that comes back with absolutely no effort required! Lightning Phoenix is a 3-cost (1 red) 2/2 Flyer, that also has Haste. It can’t block though. It’s very reminiscent of some black creatures I can think of. Here’s why! At the beginning of your end step, if your opponent has taken 3 or more damage this turn, you can pay 1 red. If you do, return Lightning Phoenix from the grave. The absolute state of it. Like Red Deck Wins wasn’t strong enough?! I mean, it’s a great card, and it’ll see use in Historic, but man. That’s rough.
Skittering Surveyor (3-Cost Colorless Artifact Creature – Construct):
A Dominaria card is getting a reprint! This is, not surprisingly, a mana ramp card! When this creature, a ½ for 3 comes into play, you can search your deck for a Basic Land, reveal it, put it into your hand, and shuffle your deck. For decks that can play multiple lands, and have access to flicker, this could be a very easy way to set up an additional land ramp. There are plenty of options for it right now! I really like seeing this back.
This isn’t going to replace Witch’s Oven (because that won’t rotate out for a while yet). Eldraine won’t rotate until 2021, so Witch’s Oven isn’t going anywhere. However, Sacrifice decks now have an additional tool to be nasty with. Witch’s Cauldron is a 1-black artifact that you can use to sacrifice creatures with. You can tap 2 mana (1 black) and tap it, and sacrifice a creature. Doing this gives you 1 life, and lets you draw a card. Some people like it more than Oven, because it gives you life immediately and a card to draw. I’d run both, I think. They both have their uses. Cauldron helps us get to the cards we want to win with.
Lawmage’s Binding (3-Cost White and Blue Enchantment – Aura):
Oh, those darn Lawmages, always up to some shenanigans. This is an enchantment with Flash, that you can slap onto a creature. That creature can’t attack, block, or use its activatable abilities. Now passives are probably fine, but if they have to activate it? That’s a negative. So many creatures get shut down by this. Feels like a solid anti-tron card. When they build up their mighty Mutate, just slap this on it and tell them to stop.
Fusion Elemental (5-Cost 5-Color Creature – Elemental):
Oh boy! Another “Conflux” card reprint! Alara Block Return Confirmed! (Not really) It fits the current climate though. Wizards feels like they’re trying to push the possibility of 5-color decks, and this would slot in nicely. For 1 of each mana, you get an 8/8. Just slap a Shadowspear on him and let him hard carry for you. I absolutely love to see it.
Ironroot Warlord (3-Cost Creature – Treefolk Soldier):
Selesnya Tokens, ride! For 3 mana, you get a */5, and the Power stat is equal to the number of creatures you control. That just screams “TOKEN DECK. PLEASE JASON, BUILD A TOKEN DECK” to me. You can also tap 5 mana (1 white, 1 green) to create a 1/1 white Soldier creature token. That’s right, token swarm sounds like it’s going to be going down here in 2021!
Raging Regisaur (4-Cost Red and Green Creature – Dinosaur):
A “Rivals of Ixalan” card is already reprinted? Well, that’s fascinating. Raging Regisaur was a very potent deck in Gruul Dinos because you could use his ability to trigger any of your Dinosaur specials. Most of the Dinos of the time triggered a special power when they took damage. Wing with your 4/4, ping one of your creatures for 1, and get a land from your deck, or deal 5 damage to a target, or make a 3/3 with Trample. This feels more like a Historic card, more than anything else. Though it could get rid of annoying tokens or defenders.
Dinrova Horror (6-Cost Blue and Black Creature – Horror):
In a thought, this is an ability fresh off of one of our most recent planeswalkers. Dinrova Horror lets you return a permanent to its owners hand when it comes into play, and then that player discards a card. You can use this to set up a discard/reanimate combo for yourself. You can also bounce an opponent’s land back to their hand when it’s empty, forcing them to discard it. There’s a lot of fun in this. Just a shame it’s a 6-drop!
Maelstrom Archangel (5-Cost, 5-Color Creature – Angel):
AHHHHH! Yet another of my favorite 5-color fun cards from Conflux! Are we going to see Progenitus? Or Alara?! Who knows?? Let’s take a look at this five-color creature though! It’s a 5/5 flyer for 1 of each color mana. Whenever Maelstrom Archangel deals combat damage to a player, you may cast a spell from your hand without paying its mana cost! Just be glad there aren’t a whole ton of ways to give it Haste! It may be time to brew some five-color-nonsense!
Rupture Spire (Colorless Land):
Here’s a land that really takes me back. Originally produced back in Conflux, it’s seen a reprint or two over the years. It’s back, and it’s a really fun, useful land! When it comes into play, it enters the battlefield tapped. On top of that, you have to sacrifice it unless you pay 1 colorless. You can tap it to add 1 mana of any color. This makes me see immediate uses in Historic. If we run it in a Field of the Dead deck with cards that let us play lands from the graveyard, we can just not pay its cost and re-play it each turn to constantly swarm players under with Zombies. Yup, I’m very glad that Rupture Spire is back!
Terramorphic Expanse (Fetch Land):
For those of you who can’t afford the Wild Cards to run Fabled Passage (a rare fetch land), here’s a more Common option. Oh come on, I thought it was funny! You can tap and sacrifice this card to search your library for a basic land, which you put into play tapped. Would anyone run both of those cards in the same deck? Probably not, but I am very curious to see if there’s a way to make that a reality without being pointless or a waste of cards.
There are five of these, one for each color. They all come into play tapped, and you choose a color other than what’s on the card. You can tap this land for either that color or the chosen color! It’s a dual-land that you can pick for the right situation. They may come in tapped, but I can see these having marginal use in janky, interesting decks.
- Thriving Isle: Blue
- Thriving Bluff: Red
- Thriving Grove: Green
- Thriving Moor: Black
- Thriving Heath: White
Mirrodin’s Core (Colorless Land):
Another “Mirrodin” card? Perhaps we really are going back to the Mirrodin vs. Phyrexia war! Lord, I hope so. So many amazing cards/card types came out of that. This is a land that you can tap for one colorless mana. Conversely, you can also tap it to put a Charge Counter on it instead. Or you can tap it, and remove a Charge Counter to add one mana of any color. It’s a fun land for your artifact decks, but I don’t see a whole ton of uses unless we have some Proliferate options, or Untap options available to us. If we can untap it more than once a turn, it could definitely be useful. Say, in a Wilderness Reclamation deck to put a charge counter on it, and have it available to tap for mana at the end of your turn. Also fun fact, this card was originally printed in “Darksteel!”