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Rogue Report – A Fireside Chat: Rise of the Eldrazi

 

Good evening, and welcome to the Rogue Report Fireside Chat on Rise of the Eldrazi. I’m your host, Jon Loucks, and boy do we have some exciting ground to cover – or should I say, Annihilate. Hahahahaha

Before we get started, a quick note on the last show. That was in fact lighter fluid, though Rick the intern is on his way towards a full recovery. I’m sure he would thank you for the get well cards if he had regained consciousness by this show’s taping.

Back to the topic at hand: Rise of the Eldrazi. This set has more giant monsters than you can shake a Scourge pack at. We’ve also seen futuristic levelers that are heating up the forums, along with elegant protective enchantments and spells that pack a one-two punch. What I’m going to do tonight is take you on a walk through the spoiler and give you my thoughts on anything and everything that comes to my mind. Constructed, drafting, backdrafting – it’s all fair game.

Also, I’m going to avoid talking about the huge Eldrazi for today – if you want my thoughts on them check out this article. I will still talk about levelers today, but more specifically than last time.

Well then, let’s get started, shall we?

 

All is Dust  

Painter’s Servant silliness aside, I really like this card for multiple reasons, but I don’t think it’s particularly threatening in Constructed. Planar Cleansing hasn’t seen any play, but the WWW in its mana cost might have something to do with that. What intrigues me about All is Dust is that it can go into any deck, finally giving black a way to kill enchantments or red a way to kill Kor Firewalker. Now, I’m not saying that’s particularly viable, but I really like that the option is out there now.

Eldrazi Conscription 

 

This seems better in Limited than any of the actual Eldrazi are. Maybe the format won’t work out that way, but that’s what I’m thinking for now. I can’t wait to put it on a Spawn token.

Skittering Invasion 

 

I wonder if Eldrazi spawn tokens are going to be any good in Constructed. I would guess that they’re not going to be great, though there could be a card or two that makes them interesting. I wonder if people are going to start playing Earthquake again, though you can’t really put Bloodbraid Elf in the same deck.

Gideon Jura

 

It’s very hard to tell if this planeswalker is any good because it’s completely different than any we’ve seen before. I mean it. Most planeswalkers are very good against control because of one fact: if they stay on the table long enough you are almost certainly losing that game. Usually it’s because they build up to an ultimate, but then you have cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor who is hard to beat just because of the Brainstorm he casts every turn.

Gideon, however, can kind of be ignored. For a while, at least. Against a control deck he’s no threat if they have a Wall of Denial, or even a Path to Exile. He is basically an awkward 6/6 for five, which isn’t groundbreaking at all. That’s completely new for a planeswalker. He can stay on the board for the whole game and you can win.

Against a deck with creatures, however, he’s much better. That’s kind of odd for a planeswalker. That means in Limited this guy is going to be pretty awesome. In Constructed, look for Gideon to bust open midrange matchups like a champ. For once we might actually have a 3WW spell that’s better than Baneslayer Angel in a creature matchup, only because he’s much harder to kill but probably about as hard to beat. He kills creatures, makes them make horrible attacks, has a million loyalty, and even switches into “win the game mode” once you’re winning. I don’t expect Gideon to be the best card in Constructed, but if his job needs doing (winning creature vs. creature matchups) then he’s probably the best man for the job.

Guard Duty

 

You’re on Guard Duty! Best name in the set.

Near Death Experience 

 

The whole “at the beginning of your upkeep” trigger is what turns me off of this fun card. If it just triggered whenever you were at one life then I would be game. I’m sure there are enough pay life spells out there to get to 1 life if you wanted to. Since I can’t put myself to 1 life on the end of turn four then untap and win on turn five by casting the Experience I don’t think I’ll try this one.

Student of Warfare

 

This is the best leveler I’ve seen so far, but I’m still not falling over myself to play it. I recognize that the card is good, but that’s not a deck I’ve really been attracted to playing. Still, if the deck, white weenie, is good, it will probably have Student of Warfare. But this is just a creature that’s better than other white creatures, it’s not like it gives the deck access to anything it didn’t have before. It’s just better. If it’s better enough to push the deck over the top, I don’t know yet.

Wall of Omens 

 

Reveillark is the first card thought of when I saw Wall of Omens. There’s no way an Extended Reveillark will ever lose to Zoo now, and it’s much better against Mono-Red, too. Now it’s crafting the deck so that it can actually beat the combo decks consistently that’s the issue. Aggro is a given.

I thought Calcite Snapper was going to put more Oran-Rief, the Vastwood into Jund decks, and now Wall of Omens has me convinced. This wall is likely very good in Standard, but I’m not sure where it goes yet. Obviously it will have to be tried in UW control, and it will likely be great, but that answer doesn’t satisfy me. I feel like Wall of Omens opens up a whole new strategy in Standard that we just need to find. I can’t think of a better way to protect a planeswalker. Still, once Jund has an Oran-Rief, they can still get most of their creatures through the wall. The Jund decks will adjust accordingly, but at least it slows them down.

Red decks continue to get worse. Nice Hellspark Elemental.

Domestication 

 

I know there’s a difference between this wording and “Enchant creature with power 4 or less,” but it doesn’t seem like a very big one. I see that it gets Eldrazi out of the way of your attack, among other marginal things, but is that relevant enough to make the card more complex? I should bring this up next time I see somebody from Wizards. I’m sure they had their reasons; I’m just curious what they were.

Enclave Cryptologist 

Perhaps the best looter in Limited since Looter il-Kor. A looter that starts on turn two is already good enough, but then it turns into a straight-up draw? Wow. I also like that this set and Zendikar‘s looters have cost a total of three mana, which feels a bit more fair to me. Maybe that wasn’t entirely intentional, but I like the additional investment required.

Lighthouse Chronologist

 

The situation where this card is potentially good is in some control matchup in a mono-blue deck. Play this on turn two, level up three times on turn three, then four times on turn four. Bam! You probably win. I find that situation to be pretty unlikely, but I like the idea.

Mnemonic Wall

 

I really hope this card is good enough. Please? I know I’m going to love casting this in Limited. But can I bring this back with Reveillark? Or can I just get back a good spell in Standard? I want this to happen so badly, but I don’t think it will. This is yet another card that makes me wish that Vengeful Rebirth didn’t remove itself from the game.

Sphinx of Magosi

 

Wow Wizards, you don’t mess around with your six drops anymore. Remember Admonition Angel? A 6/6 flyer for six with tremendous upside. Same thing here, except Admonition Angel seems better in Constructed. It’s seen some play in Mythic, but the Sphinx doesn’t seem nearly as impacting. In Limited it’s still a beating if you can assemble triple blue. Still, the Sphinx and Angel shows a trend towards serious six-drops.

Surrakar Spellblade 

 

We’ve seen this card before many times. A three-drop that draws cards if it hits your opponent aka Dimir Cutpurse aka Augery Adept. Shadowmage Infiltrator is the only recent one to have success, and that’s because it had good evasion, not to mention three toughness. I don’t expect Surrakar Spellblade to be very good as history is against it, but it also comes with humongous upside. I don’t think that upside is very relevant because you were winning the game when Augery Adept was hitting anyway, but it never happened. But does the upside make the card more fun? Maybe.

Consuming Vapors 

 

I predict people will like this card for its surface text and pipe dream promise, get frustrated with the results, and dismiss the card entirely. Consuming Vapors certainly requires effort to pull off, but if you put in that effort you will be rewarded.

In Limited, the biggest danger of Vapors is not to get greedy. Every turn that goes by is another chance for your opponent to throw out Spawn fodder. These tokens are literally designed to be sacrificed; their existence means you can’t wait around for the perfect target(s).

Easy scenario: You’re on the play and you cast a three-drop, or maybe a two-drop. Your opponent has some normal three-drop. On turn four, if you have nothing else to do, just cast the Vapors. You’ll knock out the blocker, and have a rebound shield left over to negate their four-drop. This analysis depends on your hand and board of course, but the point is, if you wait for that Conscripted Eldrazi (solo!) you may have lost your window to do anything meaningful at all. And hey, once in a while you will draw it when they have some tripled-aura monstrosity and the card will look 11/10. But since that’s not particularly likely, for this format if you see your shot to do something, you probably want to take it.

In Constructed, this is the quintessential sideboard card. It’s wondrous against Walls and Angels, somewhat weaker against Sprouting Thrinax and Goblin Bushwhacker. Even then, you need to give it a little push; some pre-Vapors Doom Blades will go a long way.

To sum up, while it’s not as overpowering as it looks at first glace, there is a lot of potential. And for those who are willing to work for it, Consuming Vapors might be one of their MVPs.

Inquisition of Kozilek 

 

I really like Thoughtsmother. It even gets better the older the format is. Thoughtseize might just be straight-up better in Extended, though the Inquisition is a million times better against zoo. I expect this card to be very good.

Conquering Manticore

 

This is one of those cards that, if submitted for a BOO set, we would change. I think Gavin Verhey made one of these actually, and we made it smaller. Sure, his had haste, but still. I really like this card though, as I love Threaten effects but I hate the card disadvantage. A Threaten on a card that sticks around though? I’m in. I could see this being good in some matchup in Constructed, but that’s going to be a very specific matchup.

Kargan Dragonlord 

 

I’m not impressed. I know, I know there are a million reasons why the levelers are better than we think they are. Still, I’m just not impressed with this guy.

Surreal Memoir 

 

Can this card actually be good? You’ve got to construct your deck in such a way that you’re getting back a good spell every time. Lightning Bolt is a good start. Burst Lightning is another good start. What if I then get Surreal Memoir back with Mnemonic Wall? I’m going to try to make this work.

I really like the rebound mechanic the more I look at this set. I might just like the cards that I’ve seen so far, but I think there’s something about the mechanic itself that tickles a part of me deep inside. I’m happy thinking about casting a rebound spell, and I don’t entirely know why. That’s a good mechanic.

Tuktuk the Explorer

 

I just don’t understand the haste on this creature. Is there some story reason why it exists? Otherwise I just see an extraneous word.

Awakening Zone 

 

This card does a lot, but I’m not sure it’s good enough. I kind of want to suit these little guys up, with like Trusty Machete or something, but I doubt that’s good enough. You get a lot of value out of this card over time, either in mana or blocking, so I’m tempted to try to make it work. I don’t think it’s quite explosive enough to be a part of the big-mana Eldrazi deck, and it’s a little slow. If there’s a deck for it, though, I want to be there. I see this being very good on turn two off of an Arbor Elf or a Noble Hierarch. Maybe the mono-green Eldrazi Monument deck wants Awakening zone?

P.S. That deck also wants Joraga Treespeaker. I think that guy is insane.

Momentous Fall

 

I have no idea what to do with this card yet, but I really want to do something. I think the rest of the deck needs to be almost entirely creatures, but I’m not sure which ones. Maybe this is Eldrazi Green’s way of getting card advantage? I see a lot of cards in this set for an angry green creature deck with tons of mana. I’m not sure how the deck is going to pan out, but I hope Momentous Fall is going to be a part of it. If I had to place money on whether or not this card I going to be a top Constructed card, I would bet no, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Speaking of a deck with almost all creatures, Mul Daya Channelers wants to be a part of the team, too. I’ve never wanted to play so many green creatures in my life.

Realms Uncharted 

 

CAN’T WAIT! This card deserves a whole article, and I’m so happy it exists.

Sarkhan the Mad 

 

I don’t like this planeswalker. I don’t think it will be any good, at least in Constructed. Like Gideon it’s a planeswalker that you can actually ignore and not lose. Sure they get to Dark Confidant for a while, but it also costs FIVE! Sure, he also messes around with dragons or whatever, the situations where that is game-breaking are probably very few. Unless you’re doing Saproling shenanigans, it’s not like your creatures are going to be THAT upgraded when they turn 5/5. I just don’t see it. Calling unplayable.

Eldrazi Temple 

 

I can’t believe this card isn’t legendary. I really can’t believe it. Eye of Ugin I hated, but this? I love. It’s pretty easy to say, but if the Eldrazi deck works, this will be why. I want to Realms Uncharted for Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple, but I’m not sure what else to put in that pile yet.

Next, on Fireside Chats

I’ve enjoyed this little talk we’ve had. Please do turn in next time after the set has been released. I’ll probably take you through my experiences at the prerelease and start talking draft strategies. This looks like one of the most fun Limited sets in a while. It’s going to be a refreshing change of pace from the fast and furious landscape of Zendikar. Here’s hoping you get cast some Eldrazi at the prerelease.

Thanks for reading,

Jonathon Loucks
Loucksj at gmail
JonLoucks on Twitter
Zygonn on Magic Online

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