Sneak Attack: Magic 2015 Set Review (Part 1)

Sneak Attack: Magic 2015 Set Review (Part 1)

Jun 27, 2014

Hey everyone and welcome to to the beginning of another spoiler season. Just like last time I’m going to go through the set, every day until Magic 2015 spoilers are done giving what’s IMO the future prices of cards on MTGO. Since we’re starting a little late to the party – thanks for the reminders guys – I’m going to be catching up today by doing every card spoiled so far that’s going to be over 10 cents. When we have slow days, and wow will there be some slow days, I’ll also talk about my thoughts on the Limited format since I’m looking at this format for drafting as well. I’m qualified for Pro Tour Portland, and so I will sometimes have thought processes that aren’t my own and will explain any differences between mine and other people in my playtest group. So let’s get started.

A quick reminder on my prices: I’m going to have a price set on Prerelease Day 1, the end of Releases and a week before the release of Khans of Tarkir.

White

Ajani Steadfast

Okay now we’re talking about new cards. First it’s 4 mana which isn’t a killer here since all of White Weenies power plays are at 3 mana. This allows them to increase Devotion, which is a solid start. It’s + 1 is good, especially because it has Vigilance which allows the donk to protect said Ajani. I would like to see Flying over First Strike but meh. It’s second ability is worse than Ajani Goldmane’s second, because it’ll only happen twice. However, it’s better than Sorin, Lord of Innistrad’s second ability so it does have something going for it. I’ve heard rumors about Superfriends and this card but Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is miles better in that deck. It’s Ultimate is blah which is expected from every Ajani ever. This will see play, but not a ton. However it’s a new Planeswalker so at some point it will be worth money.

Verdict 6/3/2-4

Avacyn, Guardian Angel

This is another new card. There is a very specific metagame where this is good and there’s a ton of them where it isn’t. On top of this, the 2 mana ability isn’t Protection or Indestructible, so it’s not even good enough. This reminds me of Angelic Overseer, which just never had the right metagame. With that said, I have played Overseer in tournaments so this does have a fringe potential. However, this is unlikely until after rotation.
Verdict .50/.10/.20

Mass Calcify

This saw zero play when it was originally printed and while there’s no chance in hell this was killing Affinity, I still see it seeing zerp play in standard. 7 mana is nearly infinite and it’s pretty much worse than Fated Retribution for control. Since 7 mana is an actual infinite in Aggro, this card is infinitely bad.

Verdict .05/.05/.03

Resolute Archangel

This is one of the first new cards we see and one of the many I’m going to be ignoring.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Return to the Ranks

This is a card I’m excited for in White Weenie sideboards with the potential for 1 to 2 main deck. Against control you can have them wrath, then play out one to two donks and Convoke for one to two more, forcing a second wrath. If they don’t have it, they’re up against three donks which can be backbreaking immediately following a wrath. Against other aggro decks, if there’s enough trading this will be a 3 to 4 for 1 as well. Convoke makes this a lot better than Immortal Servitude or other cards like this. It will take awhile to catch on if it does.

Verdict .50/.40/.50

Soul of Theros

Welcome to the new set of Titans. These are all lacking ETB [Sorry for editing CIP – E.] abilities which is what made Titan’s amazing. To make up for that they get mana abilities which all cost 5 + mana and don’t do enough. I’m not a fan of any of these as build around cards, which means they’re fighting against Elspeth, Sun’s Champion after rotation for win condition slots in control at best.

Verdict 4/1.50/1

Spirit Bonds

I think this is just too mana intensive to be good enough. It’s like if you tried to put Blind Obedience in Aggro. Obviously, this doesn’t work in control. This might work in some kind of GW aggro or Rw aggro where white isn’t the major color. I don’t see this in White Weenie at all. It’s just costs 1 mana too much on the sacrifice part. I could easily be wrong and this could be a decent speculation target on rotation.

Verdict 1/.30/.30

Blue

Chasm Skulker

I could be wrong on this, but this is doing the exact things UW Control wants. It comes down on Turn 3, (could be 2 but that’s greedy) gets bigger on drawing cards which UW wants and has built in wrath protection which UW wants. Expect this to see some play, and if Path didn’t exist I’d say Modern play too.

Verdict .40/1/.60

Illusory Angel

Yes I know it’s uncommon, but it’s big enough to be noted. This is IMO going to see Modern play in the UR Delver of Secret decks. I don’t think this gets to see maindeck play, but seems good out of the sideboard in UW control, especially around Turn 6 where you get to cast Divination or Banishing Light and then lay this down out of nowhere.

Verdict .25/.10/.15

Jalira, Master Polymorphist

This is a card I can’t wrap my head around. It’s either good or it’s not and I can’t figure out how to make it good for constructed. It’d take a bunch of legendary donks, then an amazing nonlegendary (Worldspine Wurm) to make if function. It will be worth above bulk IRL due to casual love but on MTGO when M15 hits casual players won’t exist to crush in 2 Mans since the Beta sucks so much.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Master of Predicaments

This card’s cute. I mean Conundrum Sphinx cost 4 and saw zero constructed play. So therefore, his fatter brother who looks the same size isn’t either. 5 mana, GG.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Mercurial Pretender

Bulk Rare

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Soul of Ravnica

6 mana for a 6/6 flyer isn’t seeing play by itself. It’s ability costs 7 so I’ve got nothing here. And if it does, is this a Standard format we want to be playing in?

Verdict 1/.50/.30

Black

Cruel Sadist

Is it just me or does every one of the “designed by” cards about 1 mana too much on one ability and 1/2 too much on the other to where it looks playable, but isn’t going to be? I’m only on Black and I’m already seeing this. [A minor case of the Homelands? – E.]

Verdict .50/.25/.10

In Garruk’s Wake

This will be a promo, and MTGO’ers are too busy crushing donks efficiently to need to get all the way up to 9 mana to do so. This card is complete shit because of this.
Verdict .20/.05/.03

Indulgent Tormentor

This could see play, but reminds me of Bloodgift Demon too much. That also had potential and saw very very minimal play. Stranger things have happened of course on rotations, but this seeing Constructed play probably isn’t one of them. This will be slightly higher than bulk for the same reason Bloodgift Demon was. Lousy speculators on magicgatheringstrat.com, if you write an original article on speculating I fully expect to see this card included.

Verdict .20/.10/.10

Liliana Vess

So this card has people thinking it’s another bad Liliana. This card though is amazing in the Mono Black Mirror, forces an answer against Control in MBC and Jund, and will be in the sideboard of said Jund against MBC as well. I like this card a lot, and have won PTQs / Regionals with her in the past. Expect this to see play in people’s decks who are ahead of the curve. With that said she’s not a 4 of superstar, but a solid roleplayer.

Verdict 4/2/2

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled

Umm, a 4/4 flyer that punishes people for searching their deck. As of right now there’s minimal being played that does this, and more importantly this costs 6 mana which means it’s unplayable in Modern. The fact this is a rare and not a Mythic means it could be a plant for the next block, or it’s just garbage. So conspiracy theorists, OMG fetches.

Verdict .20/.10/.05

Soul of Innistrad

This might be the best one since I can discard it to Grisly Salvage and then get extra cards. Other than that it’s a 6/6 Deathtouch for 6 with no ETB abilities. I’m really not a fan of this design, as I think it’s wasting Mythic slots on garbage.

Verdict 1/.75/.50

Waste of a Card (Certainly)

Thank you Magic Community for showing how inept masses of people can be. This is easily worse than ten other options that could have chosen, and if I remember right there were only eight possibilities. Well done.

Verdict .05/.03/.01

Red

Aggressive Mining

Now this is a card. Obviously we don’t know how to even think about a card like this, or even what decks it goes in. Do you put this in RDW? It doesn’t do anything on it’s own and you can’t kill it. Do you play it in a RW deck so you can destroy it if necessary? Is there a Wr deck for it? I honestly don’t know, but I know this card will do something. Any card that gives Red a way to draw a bunch of cards has to be looked at. Hard.

Verdict I Don’t Know

Burning Anger

Limited Bulk Rare

Verdict .05/.03/.02

Chandra, Pyromaster

Ahh Chandra welcome back. Thank you for not being shit. With that said she may have to fight with Aggressive Mining for slots in RDW but she’s a good Walker; she’ll get there.

Verdict 4/4/4

Crucible of Fire

Still bad.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Goblin Kaboomist

Ummm, yeah limited playable but Constructed gawd IDK. It can punish attackers which is nice, but not Red’s style. This could see play in UWr sideboards if you can figure out how to cast this Turn 2 against decks that play small creatures. So in other words not right now.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Goblin Rabblemaster

I don’t see this seeing play in Standard at all. It could see play in Legacy but still seems mediocre. As a Goblin it’s something they had to make eventually but it had to be rare since multiples in Limited might be too good.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Hoarding Dragon

Bulk Reprint

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Siege Dragon

It would take both the Great Wall of China and the Berlin Wall getting printed in Khans for this to be playable.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Soul of Shandalar

Easily the mot playable of these so far. Because it’s 5 mana does something that impacts the board position, giving away X for 1s. If the other Souls were like this I’d be much more impressed. Well done on getting one right at least.

Verdict 3/1/2

Green

Genesis Hydra

I had to read it, so it must have been a submitted design. You can’t go degenerate with it. As a 4/4 for 6 plus another spell it is just off a mana IMO, but had to be. X + 1 counters or look at X + 1 might have done it here.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Hornet Queen

Not quite a bulk rare since it does more than the average bulk. It’s not going to see Standard / Modern / Legacy play so it should be, but it’s huge in the casual world so expect slightly above bulk.

Verdict .20/.10/.08

Nissa, Worldwaker

This Planeswalker has some power. It also doesn’t have a home. Green/x decks aren’t looking to ramp right now. The only exception to this is G/x Devotion, but they are more often than not needing cards and not mana. So while this is powerful, I’m not seeing it being OMGZ amazing.

Verdict 15/7/4.50

Phytotitan

This screams of Gigapede to me except better in a lot of ways. Gigapede did see some play, not a ton, but considering it saw play in Standard where Psychatog and Goblins existed I’m okay with it. [However, not in Vintage Master’s Limited where Psychatog and Goblins also exist. – E.] This didn’t see much play when Affinity was the top Standard deck, but I doubt anything of that power level will exist in Standard. I have faith you’ll see this at some point in time.

Verdict .50/.25/.20

Restock

This is not very good at all. It just doesn’t do enough.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Soul of Zendikar

So I know we’ve been comparing these to Titans, and maybe that’s not fair. Because Primeval Titan was amazing. So let’s compare this to another 6/6 for 6. Meet my friend Rampaging Baloths. Does anyone know how much play he saw? Are you going to tell me this is better than Baloths? Okay then.

Verdict 1/.50/.30

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

This card reminds me of Hibernation’s End which saw no play in Standard. However, there’s something about this which is telling me to not overlook it. It of course might just be that it single handedly searches up the entire Melira combo in Modern, and I play too much Melira? I’m not sure, but maybe it could see play.

Verdict .50/.30/.20

Artifacts

Avarice Amulet

This is very cute.
Drawin’ cards is what we want.
So why does this suck?

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Obelisk of Urd

This is also cute, but creature types don’t matter enough to be good. And 6 mana too. Unless creature types matter, GG.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Perilous Vault

So I was told that Mono Black would love this. It still costs 9 manas. But then I was told that Oblivion Stone costed 8 and MBC used that. My response: yeah MBC couldn’t kill its own Phyrexian Arena otherwise. Oh and Cabal Coffers, the one thing MBC doesn’t really have right now. To play this card you’ll need Nykthos and then you’re nuking your own shit. There are times I wish we had a Wrath, but this isn’t it unfortunately. I would play All Is Dust, but this is just too bulky.

Verdict 5/2/1

Shield of the Avatar

Another card that looks cute and doesn’t do enough. Was this created by someone? Yep, it sure was. I would like to note it’s not overcosted, it’s just not good this time.

Verdict .10/.05/.03

Soul of New Phyrexia

So when I saw this had trample I actually had to recheck what greens was. LOL, Green got Reach again. Is it sad that I see this being a better win Condition than four of the other five? Well done New Phyrexia, take this shit down. Too bad this doesn’t have infect as that would have been the LOLs. This should see play somewhere.

Verdict 6/4/3

Land

Sliver Hive

This is a Sliver land. This is not for MTGO people. [Yeah, we aren’t counting those who claim to be but never actually play and instead sing songs on YouTube dedicated to their favorite tribe. I’m a nice guy so I will refrain from posting a link. – E.]

Verdict .20/.10/.10

So welcome to Magic 2015. Upcoming spoiler article won’t be as long, but I will continue to give out Limited advice as well. So stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment.

James Beltz (sneakattackkid)
Owner of Sneak Attack’s Games
Twitter: sneakattackkid

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