We just had a round of new previews courtesy of Wizards of the Coast’s Streets of New Capenna Preview Stream. Let’s go over a few that caught my eye!
Ziatora is the head of the Riveteers family. The quality I want most in my six-drop creature is that I’ll get something out of it even if it meets with a removal spell. Ziatora doesn’t guarantee that, since her ability doesn’t trigger upon entering the battlefield, and since you do need another warm body to sacrifice. In practice, however, I think you’ll usually be able to pick your spot and cast her on a turn where the opponent isn’t prepared with an instant-speed removal spell.
Sorcery-speed removal like Doomskar and Rite of Oblivion still allow you to get your value. She’s too large for burn spells, March of Otherworldly Light or March of Wretched Sorrow to easily take her down. Conveniently, her creature types also allow her to dodge Power Word Kill.
Let’s talk about exactly what “value” you’re getting. The first thing that catches my eye is the three Treasure tokens, because that’s guaranteed no matter how lowly of a creature you sacrifice. In the modern era of MTG, most decks use all of their mana, even into the late game. In a B/R/G deck, you might be getting additional value out of sacrificing those Treasures too!
Next, you get to nuke any target. This means trading off against a troublesome creature or planeswalker, or finishing off an opponent who’s stabilized the battlefield with blockers. I particularly like that if you’re expecting a board sweeper the following turn, you can sacrifice something big to get a major influx of damage and treasures for it happens.
Here’s a short list of cards that have an obvious pairing with Ziatora. Shambling Ghast is the premier “disposable body” for any sacrifice deck.
Magda can power out Ziatora, or even find her with the “five Treasures” ability. If the game is a real slog, I could even picture getting three Treasures from Ziatora and later drawing Magda to cash them in for a Dragon.
Esika’s Chariot provides multiple bodies. Ziatora can crew, and then fling the Chariot for a very solid four points of damage.
Goldspan Dragon plus Ziatora will result in an unreasonable amount of mana.
In Historic, if you can pony up the six mana in your Jund Sacrifice deck, Ziatora can go absolutely wild with both Mayhem Devil and Korvold. Unlike Bolas’s Citadel – the primary competition at the six mana slot – Ziatora fits with Jegantha, the Wellspring’s companion restriction.