fbpx

Rogue Report – Exploring Eldrazi

 

Let’s talk about Rise of the Eldrazi!

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

E is for Epic

What is Rise of the Eldrazi all about? Why, the Eldrazi of course! To put it lightly, these guys are monsters. So far we know:

Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn
15
Legendary Creature – Eldrazi
Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn can’t be countered.
When you cast Emrakul, take an extra turn after this one.
Flying, protection from colored spells, annihilator 6.
When Emrakul is put into a graveyard from anywhere, its owner shuffles his or her graveyard into his or her library.

15/15

Pathrazer of Ulamog 

Ulamogs Crusher

 

Kozilek 

 

The “must attack each turn” drawback on U’s Crusher reminds me of a game my friend Eli once played at the Shards of Alara Prerelease. Why wouldn’t you attack with your huge monster? Well, sometimes you just have to block, and that’s exactly the position Eli found himself in when casting his Hellkite Overlord. Casting Hellkite Overlord passing the turn is one of the most depressing ways to say “go”. Imagine how Eli felt on his next turn when he had to cast his second Hellkite Overlord and again had to pass the turn without attacking. Those are some sad Hellkites, and unfortunately Eli lost. Rough beats.

But we’re not here to talk about Eli, dragons, or sadness – I just liked the story and happened to remember it. Instead I want to see if this new breed of monster will actually make an impact.

So for Ulamog’s minions are pretty tame. Sure they are huge, but they don’t give us anything that new. I see Ulamog’s Crusher being a cornerstone of the Limited format, one of the cards that makes the Eldrazi deck work, but that’s easy to say because it’s the only common monster we have so far. It’s funny to say, but Ulamog’s Crusher might actually end up being too small, which is kind of mind blowing. However, it’s not hard to imagine that the turn after you cast the Crusher your opponent casts his own, even bigger monster, eating yours on the next attack. I think this format will be a clash of the titans like we’ve never seen, a strange relief from the go-go-go format that was Zendikar.

The Annihilator mechanic worries me for the fun of Limited. I’m sure it’s a fun ability to wield, but getting hit by it is probably pretty devastating. I’m scared that whoever sticks the first Annihilator will win simply by making the other guy unable to cast his own giant monster, defeating the whole point of the format. It seems like a flagship mechanic that makes players sacrifice permanents isn’t the best for a set about casting giant expensive spells. This is just my first impression, and I’ve been assured that the format is actually a blast, so what do I know? On the “wow that’s totally awesome” scale Annihilator is a perfect 10, and I’m really glad it’s a keyword. Fun fun.

Two mana is more than one mana. How much more? Strategists argue that it’s more than double, but it’s all fuzzy logic anyway. I accept that casting an eight mana spell is more than twice as hard as casting a four mana spell, and probably much more than twice as hard. Magic’s mana curve isn’t linear – once you get past eight mana it’s really hard to evaluate spells. For Chapin’s UW control deck with the single Iona, Shield of Emeria, it’s easy to imagine when that spell comes online. The deck slows the game down, tries to make as many land drops as possible, and then closes the game up with Iona. How much mana is reasonable in this slot though? And can we really say Chapin’s deck is about casting monsters? To me, it’s incidental that Chapin can cast Iona, but it’s not like that was his goal all along.

What I’m getting at is, what happens to the mana curve when you actually set out to cast a massively expensive spell on purpose? Let’s say your goal is to cast Emrakul at a whopping 15 mana. In principal the spell is almost infinitely “harder” to cast than a one-drop, whatever that means, but that’s entirely out of context. Sure, if you just throw him in a Shards of Alara block draft he’s likely to never be cast, but in a format like this is he a first pick? I imagine you still have to spend a fair bit of resources to hit fifteen mana in this Limited format.

But what happens in Constructed? When you build the deck that can hit 15 mana, how much harder is it to hit 15 mana than, say, 13 mana? Once you’re there, your kind of there. At least, that’s how I imagine things are going to go down. Imagine there’s a deck that can actually cast Emrakul, and it’s actually good. Then the next morning Emrakul magically costs 16 mana instead. There’s a good chance the deck can still be good. However, if we woke up tomorrow and Tarmogoyf cost 2G instead of 1G, he probably wouldn’t even be playable.

The point I’m trying to get to here is that the upper echelons of our mana costs are really fuzzy. We just don’t have the tools to understand what it means to cost 15 mana. Is Emrakul efficient? Does it actually matter? How much mana would you spend on a spell that said “win the game,” and how close is that number to 15? What if Emrakul is just straight-up under-costed by two mana, how much does it really matter when you’re that high up the mana curve? Does “under-costed” even mean anything up there?

Kozilek is another giant thing we’ve seen, and again, 10 mana is just out of our normal spectrum. He also seems really good, and maybe undercosted, but once you’re up there, would you rather just find an extra five mana and cast Emrakul? I have a feeling that Rise of the Eldrazi is going to give us tools that stretch our manacurve to the max, but that it’s going to have a breaking point somewhere. There’s going to be a critical amount of mana you can reasonably assemble, in that most games with the number of cards you see you’re going to get to a turn where you have around X mana. Where that X lies, be it 9, 13, or even 20, is probably going to determine which monster we cast.

At least, that’s my gut feeling.

Levelers!

Leveler

(…but not that one)

The next flagship mechanic of the set is Level Up. So far we know:

Guul Draz Assassin

Enclave Cryptologist

Knight of Cliffhaven

Lighthouse Chronologist

Beastbreaker

 

 

So far I’m very torn when it comes to the levelers. I’m excited to play with them, and assuming it’s not too hard to actually keep track of, I bet they are going to be a lot of fun. However, perhaps an odd statement to follow what I just said, but I don’t like them from a game design standpoint.

But first, what about their playability? The leveling cards we’ve seen so far look like great Limited cards, but they don’t impress me for Constructed. The mechanic lends itself a bit more to Limited play just by the fact that it’s asking you to invest a lot of mana into one permanent, even if over time, but that’s not to say there won’t be Constructed playable ones. So far I’ve found three primary questions to ask each of these creatures, and while they are pretty straightforward, it’s worth listing them out. These each apply to Limited and Constructed, though to varying degrees

1) How are the initial stats? If the thing starts big enough it might be Constructed playable just off of that fact alone, but that’s probably unlikely. Starting stats, however, may be the most important figure. Knight of Cliffhaven, for example, has a pretty good answer to question 1. This is about opportunity cast – what are you giving up in the short term to play this guy? When you’re casting a two mana 2/2, your not giving up anything.

2) How good is the second level, and how easy is it to get to? It’s possible to look at some of these creatures as starting on level two, it just costs (original mana) + (level up mana) * (Levels to get to next stat). For Limited, Lord of Shatterskull Pass has a very favorable answer to this question. A total of 4RR gets you a 6/6, not to mention his favorable question 1 score. Lighthouse Chronologist, however, requires 1UUUUU just to get to a 2/4, but he scores high in another department.

3) The final criteria is about pacing, and it’s the strength of the whole mechanic really. Leveling allows you to essentially pay for a creature over time by spreading your mana payments out. Paying 4RR for a 6/6 is much worse than paying 3R THEN 1R, and you net a 3/3 in the meantime. Good pacing usually implies a cheap level up cost, but it also matters how a leveler might fit into your curve.

Look at Guul Draz Assassin in terms of Limited, for example. His initial stats are pretty lowly; 1/1s for 1 are not known for their impact. Then, if you want to level up all at once, paying 2BBB for a 2/2, even with that ability, is not anything jaw-dropping. However, this guy paces so well it’s almost magical. First, you can play him on turn one, go to level 1 on turn two, then go to level two on turn three and give something -2/-2. That’s such a beating in Limited, and sacrificing your first three turns for something like this isn’t that big of a deal even if they do have the removal spell. Second, you can also just squeeze this guy onto the board sometime in the first three turns, finding a space B shouldn’t be that hard, and then double-level him on turn five and activate the ability. Snap!

Beastbreaker of Bala Ged is another good one. You can hardly expect to get better out of your second and third turn than an attacking 4/4, at least in Limited, and maaaybe in Constructed.

You could then ask a fourth question, 4) How good are its final stats? But that’s kind of what I’m trying to get at through all of this – you don’t need the fourth question. At least, you shouldn’t need the fourth question assuming the cards are designed with a powerful top level. It doesn’t really matter how good that top level is, though. If the creature has good enough initial stats, and is easy enough to get to a good set of secondary stats, or paces well enough, then the final level is just incidental. I don’t imagine there could be a powerful enough final ability that you’re going to slog through two sets of bad stats with terrible pacing just to get there.

Now what about leveling from a game design perspective? I bet my friends and I are going to have a lot of fun with these cards. You’re probably going to have a lot of fun. However, what about the new player who’s first pack is Rise of the Eldrazi? Their pack is filled with giant monsters (yay!) but also these weird, highly (and I mean highly) complicated levelers, and at common! These are the most complicated commons we’ve seen in ages. First, they are complicated to play with. You’ve got level counters to track and the card has THREE different power/toughness sets you’ve got to analyze. I walk in to on-board tricks as it is! Second, their frame is funky. We’ve already seen the negative impact funky frames has on new players with Time Spiral block’s timeshifted and futureshifted frames, and this is a whole new level.

Also, perhaps not as important, but one of the cool things about planeswalkers were their unique frames. Now that a similar layered frame is appearing on some commons, maybe that will diminish some of the awesomeness of a planeswalker? I’m sure planeswalkers will continue to be awesome, but it’s worth thinking about. I do kind like the idea of the card frames loosening up, and if this goes well Wizards might be able to do some other cool things. That being said, I would have started with a much smaller frame change to test the waters, instead of jumping in head-first with THREE whole power/toughness blocks. I hope for Magic’s sake that I’m wrong on this one. Even if I’m not wrong the game will certainly survive, I just like to avoid any hits we can.

Before I’m done talking about levelers, I should mention two rules about leveling I hadn’t noticed at first glance. Did you know you can only level as a sorcery? Sure it says that right on the card, but my gut reaction to a leveler is that it’s a great place to sink your leftover mana and get value. When does mana become leftover? Right at the end of your opponent’s turn. If they never did anything that makes you play that Neck Snap, then might as well level up. However, Wizards decided that they wanted you to at least have to commit to a leveler on your turn, a choice I can agree with now that I see it, but one I’m not sure I would have come to on my own. I also think this means that instants are going to play a smaller role in Limited than we’re used to as leaving mana open instead of leveling is a pretty clear sign.

The other rules quirk that I probably never would have noticed is that when you go up a stat block, your creature keeps any abilities on any previous stat block. For example, you get Enclave Cryptologist to level 3, gaining the “T: Draw a card” ability, but it still has the ability from levels 1-2 “T: Draw a card, then discard a card.” Isn’t that funky? Personally I find it very misleading as the card layout says, about as straightforward as you can get, that from level 1-2 this creature has ability X. It does not say level 1+. I imagine this was done for grokability, and I can agree with this choice, but it’s quite strange. I imagine that most of these creatures have been designed to have ability upgrades so that you’ll rarely want to use old abilities anyway, but I still find it kind of strange. Hopefully I heard this correctly and this paragraph isn’t just straight-up incorrect.

Tapping Out

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on the upcoming set. I like to take a look at things from not only the typical Limited and Constructed stance, but magic strategy as a whole as well as game design. Hopefully that showed in this article.

I look forward to the new Limited environment. More than anything I look forward to drafting with real packs again. Lately all we’ve been doing is cube cube cube, mostly because people are looking for a break from Zendikar-Zendikar-Worldwake between seasons. If Rise of the Eldrazi

Thanks for reading,

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

37 thoughts on “Rogue Report – Exploring Eldrazi”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Rogue Report - Exploring Eldrazi | ChannelFireball.com -- Topsy.com

  2. Cryptologist seems like it’s going to be the only one where your last point matters, as they were nice enough to restate “flying” on knight of cliffhaven’s final level, they will probably do it for any other levelers where that would matter.

    personally I’m excited that this format will be slow, and a bit disappointed that you didn’t mention the defender subtheme.

  3. Pingback: MTGBattlefield

  4. I’m guessing the Eldrazi spawn tokens produced by different cards at all rarities will go a good distance balancing out the Annihilator mechanic in limited.

  5. Perhaps level up is the reason they gave rebound instants, i.e. having instants that let you pay and then let them run themselves for a bit frees up mana for levels. Maybe not…

    Depending on the answer to question 1 on the various cards, I can squint and make a deck of the playable level 0s, continually advancing the threats, and just waiting until the opponent’s tapped out before beefing any of them up. It would play out similarly to how morph did, where if you see a lot of them you’re not really sure which one to kill. Maybe not, but if it even smells like morph I’m going to love playing it.

  6. @Doobs: Prepare to be surprised. At least, that’s what my guess is based on seeing common monsters.

    @Daniel: I hadn’t noticed that on the flyer, that’s really interesting. I bet there is some funky rules reason why this is so. I should ask Gottlieb about it if I see him at the Prerelease.
    Maybe in my next article. When I wrote this one we only knew about the Vine Trellis I think, so it’s hard to really expound on the mechanic as a whole from that. I love the idea and the execution so far, so maybe I’ll find time to talk about it once we know more.

  7. Where did you see that the levelers keep old mechanics? Just curious.

    I haven’t seen a comprehensive rule entry on it yet, and while I’m not saying your wrong I would assume it would come down to the wording say “At least level X (level counters on it).” as opposed to exactly.

  8. About level up.
    The article in productsection about the new mechanics in RotE states:
    The number of level counters determins the current level and the current level determins the power, thoughness and abilities.

    Based on that, and the fact that the common would have double flying, I would say they don’t keep old abilities.

    I’m curious if there will be a creature who’s power thoughtness get lower, but gains some sweet ability.

    About the difficult template: I think it looks fairly simple. Didnt think of the future sight layout to be that confusing either, just the CC on the left instead of right.
    I think Flip Cards were the strangest thing they have done.

  9. We haven’t seen the comp rules for level up yet but it looks pretty clear that they work like CDA’s which are based on the cards level. It really doesn’t look like it gains or loses abilities by levelling up (it would say gains flying or something) so I’m pretty sure that the looter upgrades to tap: draw and no longer has the loot ability simply because it doesn’t say on the card that it has the ability.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @Jonathon – Not to sound too mean but – I dont care about a beginner opening their first pack, which happens to be Rise, and being all confused. These sets are “expert” level sets (at least, they used to be labeled as such). I remember when I opened my very first booster pack, it was Fallen Empires. I had no Lands and didnt have a clue what anything meant or how to play it. I still loved it! Would you prefer that Wizards just print sets whose mechanics are equivalent to a Core Set all the time? Personally, I would quit the game if they didnt release sets that were more advanced and potentially too complicated for beginners.

    As for the crazy frames, again, I loved all of the different frames from the TPF block and so far I like the looks of these. Planeswalkers suck and should never have been printed, they might as well have added that sixth color of mana when they decided to released walkers.

    @Morkje & @Rob – I would agree that it looks like the creatures only have the abilities related to their current level…however, if that were the case, wouldnt the creature loose Level Up once it hit Level 1? This leads me to believe it might very well be cumulative.

  11. Something else I finally realized I don’t like about the Level Up system is all the dead levels. It’s designed to mimic an RPG, and yet can you imagine the following converastion in an RPG:

    “Sweet! I hit level 3! What do I get?”
    “Nothing.”

    That’s annoying. I understand the desire to keep the level up costs consistent, but all the dead time is a lost opportunity. It would have been cool if the levelers used different types of power/toughness counters (+1/+0, +0/+1, or even -1/-1) and then had abilities related to those counters. That way you get something with every level.

  12. If you look at Knight of Cliffhaven, it looks like the creatures would lose the abilities from their early levels in their “final form” or why else would they print “flying” twice on this card?

  13. I am pretty sure they only have the abilities on the level they are on.

    @anonymus coward: Creatures wouldn’t lose the level up ability since its not connected to levels at all. Its just a ability that adds counters. And the different boxes then just list what happens to the creature if it has a certain number of counters. So if the cryptologist has 3 counters, it has T: Draw a card. And nothing else.
    A ability that reads: This has “T: Draw then discard if there are one or two counters on this permanent” would look at the counters, see that there are three counters, and then is ignored, since the conditions for it to be there aren’t met.

    My opinion

  14. It’s incredible to me how off the mark a lot of the writers are when it comes to Annihilator and limited, etc. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are several cards in the set that allow you to produce 0/1 spawn tokens that can get sacked for 1 colorless mana. Hard-casting something that costs 10, 11 or 15 doesn’t mean you’re planning on getting there by traditional means… don’t be so dense! 😛 It’s also worth noting that these same 0/1 spawn tokens will make ideal Annihilator victims should you be the victim of an attack.

    So what you get is a war between these titanic creatures where this new resource is the key component, offensively and defensively… it’s a different kind of tension than we’re used to and it seems rather exciting!!

  15. I’m also in the “looks like levelers loose prior abilities” boat (double flying and “levels X-Y” for the middle section). I think this is something that we have to wait for the CR update on, though.

  16. Without using any Alara block and using only the spoiled cards from RoE so far, you can design a deck which can somewhat reliably hard-cast Kozilek or Ulamog on turn 4, but certainly on turn 5. That’s goldfishing, but it’s still reasonably impressive. I mention this because the difference between Emrakul and Kozilek/Ulamog is typically the difference between t4/t5 and t6/t7. In the current standard, the turn 4 and 5 plays are really significant, especially if they have board impact in the case of Ulamog.

    Just my two cents. Goldfishing these guys is incredibly fun. I have a proxy pile that I plan to talk people in to abusing prior to FNM this week. Lovecraftian!

  17. @Jason: I see what you’re trying to get at w/ the “Spawn of the Eldrazi” tokens argument, but I don’t think you thought it all the way through.

    If both my opponent and I have 5 spawn tokens, I can sac all 5 of mine on turn 5 to cast Kozilek. My opponent now has one chance to cast an Eldrazi on his turn 5, which will require him to sac his tokens. Then I attack, he sacks 4 permanents, and has to block my Eldrazi. Alternatively, he doesn’t cast something big and still has the tokens, so when I attack he sacs 4 tokens and blocks with the fifth, but now he’s so far behind in mana development he can’t answer with his own enormous beater. His only chance at that point is to play a removal spell on my dude, but I’ll still be ahead on board development.

    I think we have to wait and see more removal cards spoilered before we can say for sure how limited is going to go, but both players having Eldrazi spawn tokens just speeds up the clock rather than avoids it.

  18. @Josh G – You make your point well, and you may end up being correct (although I hope Wizards designed the set well enough to avoid a “first man to summon an Eldrazi wins!” format.) Ultimately I agree that we will have to wait and see what the rest of the set holds, removal and otherwise.

    I have faith that they’ll come through on this, and I remain excited!

    Also, in re-reading my original post I realize I came off a bit harsh. I was talking the way I would talk to my friends (who would know I was joking around), so I want to apologize to Jon.

  19. @Josh G

    This is a part that’s bugging me. First person to swing with an Eldrazi, based on what we’re seeing now, should win unless they are already really low on life and can’t survive a counter-swing from an opponent who sacs all land or something like that and then comes in for lethal. Presumably the Eldrazi player does things other than lay land for 7-9 turns prior 😉

    Path to Exile, Earthquake and Marsh Casualties might be suddenly very important cards, depending on what comes out in the rest of the set. The ability to prevent spawn ramps and the ability to nail all of the Eldrazi for one mana at instant speed (other than Emrakul) might help keep this in check.

  20. In most formats, doesn’t casting a ridiculous bomb make you win the game? Same is true in this format, there are just more bombs. However, if the first bomb is the 8/8 annihilator 2, don’t forget that lands and spawn aren’t the only things you can sac. Just sac your 2 drop and 4 drop or whatever and then cast your monster next turn.

    And even if it is whoever casts eldrazi first wins, I will take that over ZEN block whoever casts more creatures in the first 4 turns wins ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

  21. The key issue with mana costs is that you want to play 1 land per turn but you will only draw ~0.43 lands per turn. Eventually you will stop missing your land drops, and this is the point where the power/mana ratio changes drastically. For limited thi typically happens at the 5-7 mana level. 5 mana is typically not enough to stop you from playing something, except in multiples. At 6 mana some decks want to avoid the cards unless they are really powerful like a big evasion creature or have a good repeatable effect. 7 mana cards need to be VERY powerful to even be considered. Getting stuck with these cards in your hand until turn 13 is simply not acceptable. 8 mana creatures typically needs some sort of acceleration or extra mana effects to be worth running even if they win you the game, considering the few cases where you hit your first 8 drops they might be too late. Iona typically sees no play whatsoever at 9 even though she’s 95% game over.

    In order for these extremely expensive creatures to be playable there needs to be a lot of ways to accelerate into them. I know there are various token creators that will, but this might just become clunky 2-card comboes. I predict in the beginning, way too many people will be picking these creatures and the accelerators way too early making their decks terrible. Later on, whoever has an opportunity to pick them up without missing much, will roll with the theme and sometimes get extremely powerful decks. Kind of like allies in the current set.

  22. @ Mark: But then what do you sac when they attack again the next turn? Using a single bomb to take out 5+ permanents in two turns is near impossible to come back from, which is a far cry from chump blocking a Mordant Dragon or whatever for 4 turns in a row. But you’re right, I’m totally agreed that I’m ready for a change from Zen!

    As for removal, only two cards have been spoilered so far that can reliably kill an Eldrazi before it gets to attack, Corpsehatch (uncommon) and Sarkhan the Mad (mythic rare!). I’m trying to reserve opinion on “First Eldrazi Wins” until I see more removal.

  23. Just saying, if leveler creatures lose all abilities from previous levels, they would not be able to get past their second body (as the level-up ability is on their first body)…

    Pretty cool story

  24. Woe be to standard if there is a colorless terror printed. Since the one Eldrazi is pro-colors I’m going to assume there’s at least one destroy target critter.

    Pyroclasm / Marsh Casualties type effects are going to be the big hotness for drafting in this set. Being able to clear out the 0/1 chump blockers or keep someone away from Eldrazi mana range is going to be huge.

  25. All this discussion of ‘who annihilates first’ assumes that you are looking at an Eldrazi-archetype mirror match in limited. That’s like evaluating Zendikar limited cards based only on their worth in the B/x mirror. Just like any other limited strategy the lack of resources (at least in draft) will make the mirror not all that relevant. It does look like you will need a critical mass of Eldrazi and Eldrazi enablers to avoid either waiting until turn 13 to cast your crusher or sitting around chump blocking with your spawn tokens. I would imagine that it will be difficult for many players at a table to hit that critical mass. My question is: If I’m playing tribal walls or leveler bears + totems, am I finished if my opponent drops an Eldrazi on turn 6? Or does the Eldrazi archetype effectively trump?

  26. I agree with Josh that leveling up to a “do nothing” level is kind of lame, but i guess its necessary to allow the cards to be more aggressively costed. Maybe they will create auras or equipments or something that at least interact with the leveling mechanic to spice up the “dead levels.” A basic example would be an equipment that gives a creatute +1/+1 for each level or something… That could be too narrow though.

  27. I’d like to see market research, of course, but I don’t see the Leveler frames being an issue for new players. When I’m new to a game, I have no idea what it’s supposed to look like. A planeswalker or a leveler isn’t weird if you don’t know they weren’t there in any prior expansion.

    I actually find them pretty intuitive — it’s clearly a character sheet. Makes good sense to me.

    They’ll be weird to existing players for a while, but so were planeswalkers, and go was equipment to me when I returned to the game (“Equip? Attach?”).

    The amount of uptake and learning required for any given Magic supplement is less than most typical PS3 games, so that seems fine. It would be fun to run a “What is Magic to you?” survey that tries to correlate game impressions to which expansion a player began on.

  28. I agree that cheap board sweepers are going to become a big deal, it’s cool people thought of that (I sure didn’t). Look for Zealous Persecution to make an appearance =)

    Oh, and in my earlier list I forgot that Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre can also kill an Eldrazi (even Emrakul!), but he’s also mythic rare.

  29. Is it just me, or does it look like the Lighthouse Chronologist is completly broken, an opponent will have 1-2 turns, barring any exceleration and just spending mana on nothing else, to take him out or his card/tempo/mana advantage is rediculous…T2=LC T3=Lvl 3 T4=Lvl 7 (Activated perm ability 2 turns to opp’s 1). That seems pretty sick…He can already block 1 and 2 drops at lvl 0…I think having perma Time Walk as of T4 seems kinda insane.

  30. I’m really surprised that Cryptologist hasn’t gotten more buzz, or any, it seems. It seems really strong in control-on-control matchups. Reminds me of Jushi Apprentice, which was also pretty much dismissed for a while.

    There haven’t been any relevant Looters in Constructed for a while, but the ability has seen play. Biggest thing hurting Cryptologist is that there are so many ETBT lands in this format. Shame.

  31. @Oz,

    but the tempo loss when your opponent kills him when he hits lvl 7 is huge. Against agro that just means you are dead. Against control, that means you have been tapping out and not generating board position or hand advantage.

  32. I think the white flyer is a bad example against levelers not keeping their previous abilities. If you’re WOTC, and you know that levelers keep their abilities, you’re still going to put flying on your flying guy twice because you know it’s confusing otherwise. (We’ve seen irrelevant text on cards before.) So in either world, keep or don’t keep, flying is likely to be on there twice.

    Anyway, this is the rule I’ve been told, that levelers keep their previous abilities, but I guess we’ll see if they were right when the comp. rules are updated.

  33. Loucks,

    The way you have analyzed the Level Up ability has become my standard method to analyze the new Levelers as they are spoiled.

    Quality work!

    All I know is that this Limited format better have lots of removal to deal with Annihilator and Level Up nonsense. Some of the Level Up effects will simply be punished by one removal spell, and the same goes for Eldrazi Titans. If not, this is going to be a ridiculous Limited format, with huge swings on board.

    Also, love Student of Warfare….

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top