Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spoiler Alert: Magic 2012 Part 1

Last spoiler season, New Phyrexia came a bit too early, rather a large disappointment, but hopefully with M12 we'll be back on track, and like usual, I'll be periodically posting articles going over the cards that have been spoiled so far and giving my opinions.  Trust me, I have a lot of opinions.


Now, first of all, you may have noticed an interesting wording there.  "Dies?"  Yes, that's right, dies.  Continuing with the flavor changes from recent core sets, 'put into a graveyard from the battlefield', a previous wordy phrase for a simple clause, has changed to 'dies'.  This frees up a lot of space on the frame, and allows some things that can now go at common which would previously be far too text-filled.

As for the card itself, this is a reprint from Eventide, and it was played then just as much as it'll see play now: not at all.

There have been a dangerous amount of sac outlets lately, however, so it's entirely possible that someone will find a way to abuse the Archon.  If reanimator becomes viable in Innustrad, then the Archon may fetch a pretty penny, so try to get a couple as throw-ins every now and then.  You'll thank me later.

For followers of Yo Mama, Gideon should come as no surprise at all.  This bad boy was confirmed for M12 thanks to a promotional video Wizards put together for the new version of Duels of the Planeswalkers (it has hats).

The inclusion of Gideon in M12 shows us that WotC is willing to put more and more complicated effects into their core sets.  I'd say that this guy is by far the most complicated planeswalker printed, except MAYBE Karn, but his complexity comes in only for his ultimate, when Gideon starts making awkward situations the turn after he hits the table.  Personally, I'm happy with his inclusion, but maybe that's because I've been holding onto them for a while praying that he wasn't going to change in M12.  I am unbelievably happy that I was right.

Flavorfully, Gideon is everything I expect about a white planeswalker.  He protects your life total.  He kills things that attack.  He's self sacrificial.  He mrotects himself even when beating down the opponent.  Gideon is THE white planeswalker, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  I hope I get to play with him for a long time to come.

Gideon's Avenger  1WW

Creature- Human Soldier  R

Whenever a creature an opponent controls becomes tapped, put a +1/+1 counter on Gideon's Avenger.


I like this guy.  He pairs very well with Gideon in the same way that Ajani's Pridemate paired well with Ajani (either one).  He's an inherently defensive white creature, but works very well alongside cards like Sleep or Frost Titan.  I almost want to build a UW list now that abuses the hell out of this guy in the same way that Soul Sisters abused Ajani's Pridemate.  The white Souleater in particular comes to ming when I think about the nasty things I can do with this guy, as well as the blue Exarch.  Hmm...
Gideon's Lawbringer  W

Creature- Human Soldier  C

W, T: Tap target creature.


Oh, speaking of ways to abuse Gideon's Avenger...

We've seen a lot of printings of this card, and I mean a LOT.  However, this may be the most useful that the effect has ever been.

What I find funny is that in a mirror match, players will just sit there tapping each other's Avengers until one player runs out of cards in their deck or drops a Gideon Jura.  This seems about as boring as getting stasis looped.  Hell, this seems about as boring as actually playing stasis.  And that's saying something.  If for whatever reason, Gideon.dek becomes the deck to beat, prepare for some verrrry long games, even worse than we have now with all the Caw mirrors.


Phantasmal Bear  U

Creature- Bear Illusion  C

When Phantasmal Bear becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it.


You heard it folks, blue mages now have turn one 2/2 beaters.  Not only is this card the coolest illusion ever aside from Chameleon Colossus, but it's the best non-merfolk aggro spell blue has ever had.

Now, let's consider all the 2-for-1 power to mana cards we have available in Standard.

  1. Goblin Guide
  2. Bloodcrazed Goblin
  3. Vampire Lacerator
  4. Gruul Draz Vampire (kinda)
  5. Pulse Tracker
  6. Elite Vanguard
  7. Glint Hawk
  8. Loam Lion (again, kinda)
  9. Steppe Lynx (pretty much)
  10. Hada Freeblade (same deal as Steppe Lynx)
  11. Glistener Elf (if you count infect's doubling)
  12. Scute Mob (later on though, this is the most fringe of the bunch)
  13. And now, Phantasmal Bear
Wow, power creep much?  At least Day of Judgment may finally be worth something again.  I think I have like 6-7 of both DoJ and Slagstorm in my binder right now.  I will be SO happy when aggro becomes a viable choice again.


Blood King of Vasgoth 3BB

Creature- Vampire Warrior  M

Flying, Bloodthirst 3

Vampire creatures you control have Bloodthirst 3.


This creature is the replacement for Malakir Bloodwitch, or at least one of them (read on).  I like him flavorfully, as he makes a very unique form of Lord.  He leans himself more toward a control deck where you keep someone at bay for the first couple turns, drop the blood king on T4-5, beat with him and then empty your hand of Lacerators and Gatekeepers and such onto the table for an army of 5/5 beatsticks.  Also becomes insane with Bloodghasts, which I like.

Outside of Standard, it makes me tingle thinking about what I can do with this card and Where Ancients Tread.  Cast it on T4-5, then bolt the opponent and drop a 6/6 Blood King, triggering Where Ancients Tread and hitting something for 5, probably my opponent.  Then attack, play any two vampires, including Viscera Seer and Bloodghast with a land, or even just having a fetchland and a sac outlet with a Ghast in the yard.  It's a great interaction, and a fun deck to play.  If you like the sound of it, you might want to pick up some copies of the enchantment now.

Bloodrager Vampire  2B

Creature- Vampire  C

Bloodthirst 1


This seems like a pretty poor card to me.  Decent in limited, able to take out some squishier bombs, but without much potential beyond that.  Sure, he could be a 4/2 for 3, but even that's not good enough anymore.  I mean, you saw all of the one mana grizzly bears earlier.

Darkhunter Bat  1B

Creature- Bat  C

Bloodthirst 1



Alright, this guy is okay in limited, mostly just because he flies.  It's pure inevitability.  He's bad in constructed, certainly bad in standard, and I don't plan on using him for anything anytime soon.  If they managed to make him a Vampire, then he'd be okay, because vamps doesn't have any cheap fliers, but as is I don't like him.

Segnir Vampire  3BB

Creature- Vampire U


Whenever a creature damaged by Segnir Vampire dies this turn, put a +1/+1 counter on Segnir Vampire


Remember when I said that there was another replacement for Malakir Bloodwitch?  Well, this is it.  An old favorite for many a magic player, Segnir Vampire often battled with Serra Angel for the title of best creature ever.  Nowadays, it's not even close, and SnV has almost no constructed value.  I'm happy to see him in limited, but worried that him at uncommon will have a negative impact on the format.  It should be fine, though.

Oh hey buddy, been a while.  Sorin's pretty much never talked about nowadays, and it's odd to hear why.  I know why Sorin replaced Liliana, because she's being printed in Innustrad, but Sorin doesn't really fit in the slot.  While Douse in Gloom is nice flavorfully and makes a good plus ability, Sorin's other effects don't quite match up to Gideon as I talked about earlier.  His second ability, setting an opponent's life total, is kinda black, moreso than the other colors, but it doesn't mesh with his other abilities.  The same goes for Mindslaver, which was seen once on a colored card, Sen Triplets, and that was esper colored.  By far, Mindslaver is more of a blue effect than a black one, and none of Sorin's abilities mesh with each other.  With Gideon, his first ability 'comboed' with the other two, something you don't see here.  Liliana was a much better representative of black.

As a card himself, he's still okay, not that good, but from a design standpoint, I personally think he's horrible.

Tormented Soul  B

Creature- Spirit  C

Tormented Soul can't block and is unblockable.


An unblockable creature that costs one mana is crazy, and his drawback is irrelevant since if it comes to the point where you need to block with him, you're dead anyways.  Again, I wish he was a Vampire, but we can't all get what we want.  Just know that for a while, this guy will get swords attached to him a lot.  And I mean a lot.  His only 'real' drawback is that he's not a one mana grizzly bear, but when he's not fighting other creatures ever it's largely irrelevant.

Vampire Outcasts  2BB

Creature- Vampire  U

Bloodthirst 2



Really good in limited, not so much in constructed.  Lackluster if you can't get bloodthirst, but awesome and potentially gamewinning if you can.  4/4s look like a popular number in this set for bombs, so getting one in for four instead of 5 is a nice touch.


Bloodstorm Beserker  1R

Creature- Human Beserker  U

Bloodthirst 2

Bloodstorm Beserker can't be blocked except by two or more creatures.


Yeah, more evasion, and this time on a creature with some power behind him.  A turn one Goblin Guide into this guy is an absolutely insane play in standard, making RDW more viable by the second.  These will see some play at the very least, so get your game day copies.  The art on them looks pretty sweet too.

I've talked about this card elsewhere before, but this is the first time he's appeared on the site.  Chandra's Phoenix is great, absolutely great, no doubt about it.  Flying and haste is good enough as it is, especially with swords, and the ability makes Chandra's Phoenix one of the easiest to recur in a long time.  This card may even see play in legacy burn, which will drive the price to huge numbers.  Get 'em while they're hot.  And they're definitely hot.

Also worth noting is how well Chandra's Phoenix blends with the planeswalker herself, in the same way that Gideon's creatures sync with him.  It really makes me wonder how they'll make cards that interact with Sorin.  I suppose that technically, Sorin's first ability triggers Bloodthirst, so in a way he syncs with almost all the black creatures, but he then syncs with black creatures just as much as Chandra Nalaar does, and she's not black in the least.  WotC is definitely feeding my curiosity even as they spoil new cards.

Another reprint, FBD serves to be a great limited bomb in a world of 4/4 beaters.  He has just as much standard application as he always had, which is none whatsoever, but that's the same for all dragons.

I'm curious as to why we can't just have a Shivan Dragon to go with Serra Angel and Segnir Vampire.  That way, one bomb for another makes things much more balanced, not to mention that firebreathing is a much better ability for a core set than an optional Blaze that triggers by attacking.  He's so much stronger than the other two that it doesn't seem right, although admittedly he IS a rare.  There are some cards that are just TOO good in limited, and this is one of them.

I'm convinced that a Shivan Dragon reprint would have balanced out the set more had it been printed over Flameblast.  It's not a big deal, but it's still a disappointment.

Okay, now this guy is absolutely bonkers as far and only as far as your draft pool.  Furyborn Hellkite is a good card in draft as is.  A 6/6 flier for 7 is definitely playable.  However, you get bloodthirst with this guy and there's absolutely nothing your opponent can do.  You pretty much just win.

For constructed, I'm pretty much sure you always want a titan drop over this.  If he had haste, then and only then would is see a small amount of play in standard.  Pull them in limited, then shovel em off to little timmy after the event, or whatever the local scrub/vorthos player happens to be named.  If you're playing Magic Online, then go ahead and ship em for the tenth of a ticket because they'll never be worth more than that.

Gorehorn Minotaur is a good card by design standpoint.  A hill giant with a little extra with a change in mana (but not cmc).  He's a good midrange creature in draft, and getting a 5/5 for 4 is always nice.  Although a common, this card could make a great trade throwin for casual players just because of the flavor text (which really is quite good).  If you haven't noticed by profound frequency of the word, the overall feeling for this guy from a design standpoint is 'good'.

This is another bad card as far as constructed play is concerned, however.  It's important to keep in mind that all these bloodthirst creatures CAN be proliferated, but he's simply bad by himself and not worth the interaction.  He's a four-drop big enough to kill Vengevine, but to do it you probably need more than four mana, so at that point you have Baneslayers and such.  Cunning Sparkmage could make a surprisingly good deck, though.


As disappointing as it is to see the ability not named 'Trollshroud', I can see why WotC did it.  Assigning a specific creature type to the ability is a bad move, and even the Elder himself is a treefolk.

As for the card himself, I like this Maro variant a lot.  He's a great stompy creature, but he's not really three mana.  three mana puts him in pyro/slagstorm range, which is not good at all.

My thought with this guy is that when Primeval Titan stays in and Valakut rotates, there will still be a reason why the big green menace is relevant.  So is he standard playable?  Most would say know by reflex just because he's so stompy, but I'm going to say yes, at least at FNM level, maybe even higher.

His application in limited is rather... well, limited, since it's hard to stick to one color.  Even so, if you have a two-color deck that manages to only splash out of green, even a 2/2 with trollshroud... err, Hexproof, is a good creature.  The more forests you have, the better, but a small number is still okay.

Garruk's Legion  5GG

Creature- Beast  R


Play with the top card of your library revealed.

You may play the top card of your library if it's a creature card.


Now, what's interesting about this card is that his ability doesn't mesh with Garruk... the current Garruk.  UltraPro has announced some new product, including new sleeves with Garruk art on them.  Many players are now speculating that these two facts will lead toward a brand new green planeswalker to replace the old Garruk.  While nothing has been announced, I will miss the old one greatly if this is true.  Although his abilities don't really interact, they don't need to, as all three fit the flavor of green perfectly, unlike Sorin and black.  It would also be interesting to see how a new Garruk would accommodate the old Garruk support cards, if at all.  One last point to be made is that since there are so many versions of Garruk in circulation already, it's hard to believe that WotC would commission new art for the sake of new art.  Either it was ripped from the game/webcomic already, or there's going to be a brand new Garruk in M12.  Personally, I still don't know which is more likely. 

I really don't have anything to say about this guy other than the fact that he's the only printed card to be in every core set since Alpha since Wizards already announced on the mothership that Giant Growth was getting the axe.  Otherwise, he's no more significant than he always was.  An iconic and memorable creature, but not a playable one outside of limited.

Well, that's all for now, 20 cards from Magic 2012 for your viewing pleasure.  For updates on the rest of the set and other magic-related articles, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

This was Yo Mama, saying get your elbows off the table.


  1. It's SeNNNNgir... not segnir...

  2. you said know wrong when describing dungrove elder. it should have been no because you were describing what other people would say to him.