New Magic: The Gathering expansion, Oath of the Gatewatch, hits the stores today. It’s time to finally share some thoughts on last week pre-release events and to write a post after a year-long break. Even though Oath of the Gatewatch is a minor expansion it will change alot. Eldrazi will finally show their power in Standard (and probably have a Modern return) and thanks to many crazy cards in OGW people will try something different as we already looking forward for the rotation in April that will completely change Standard meta.
During the pre-release I took a part in three events: Open, Two-Headed Giant and Competitive finishing respectively at 2-3-0, 2-3-0 and 3-1-1 loosing only final round at the top and finishing 5th in the end (sic!) – pretty well taking into account that I opened 5 land cards as rares. Before I get to three cards that I recognise as a game changers in Limited let’s take a look at the promos I got.
Oath of Chandra is great in decks that uses multiple Planeswalkers – just like any other oath card in the set, period. Getting this promo is brilliant and I’m the red deck player and Chandra Nalaar is a staple of the red magic. Mina and Denn, Wildborn is absolutely insane card and it will see alot of play in Standard. For me, Pro Tour approved as it really makes Landfall decks tick – insanely! And the last (but not the least, not at all…) one is Linvala, the Preserver which is going to replace Wingmate Rock in every single aspect of the game… or play along it’s side while it’s still around. It gives you life when you need it. It gives you token (3/3 flyer – this is a token) when you need it. And if everything I mentioned is not needed it gives you 5/5 flyer body that will finish the job in most of cases. The only con is it’s mana cost – 6 is high for Standard but hey, it’s a bomb. Wrapping up – I’m very happy with my promos and won’t get rid of them anytime soon if ever. Now, let’s take a look at the game changers.
Elemental Uprising is a Limited easy second pick. It’s common and it will either clear the battlefield for a final swing for you or save your butt and let you counterattack when your opponent is swinging. Absolutely perfect (well, it could be uncouterable but then must have been mythic) evasion with big Standard potential. The most interesting play I’ve got with it was targeting Needle Spires turned into creature that gave me 4/4 double strike creature on the board (exiled by my opponent, but just imagine…) – waited 9 minutes for judge decission if it will be double strike when I do it, pure awesomeness.
Another brilliant common in OGW is Consuming Sinkhole. Most of the people were suprised that I played two copies in maindeck but just look at it. It has ability to get rid of land creatures which are powerful and highly played cards in both BFZ and OGW. And on top of that, if there is nothing to target on the table it shoots four damage to target player – in the face, at instant speed. Have red in your Standard deck manabase? Good sideboard option for you.
And the final card for this post – Fall of the Titans. I had a high hopes for it. It had a potential when I took a first look at it and played it in all three events. And it’s not what I thought it will be. First of all, don’t even think that you’ll be able to deal more than two damage to each target. For the most time you’ll be able to deal only one and therefore you need to constantly fight your thoughts to not keep it in your hand for the next turn when you think you will have your mana open – you won’t have. Best play I got was taking down Needle Drone and pinging my opponent. It might be better in mono-red decks when it will be the last card in your hand by turn four and every land you topdeck from that point only makes it better. But still, card on the right, Reality Hemorrhage, has more of expected (i.e. in not optimistic nor pessimistic situations) value and it’s common. I’d draft it over Fall of the Titans. I’ll play more copies of it in my Standard deck too. To sum up Fall of the Titans has great flavour but dissapointing reliability.
Pre-release is over, Two-Headed Giant turned out to be a huge fun and now it’s time to construct some decks around new meta. Have an idea or two – one of them might not be as rouge as people would expect of me in the neighbourhood (hope to see that Landfall on the Pro Tour!). I’ll share my decks ideas once I playtest them at the local FNM.