It’s always the same when it comes to spoilers season. Each and every time a new card is revealed we all have to get our puzzle-solving brain on and try to figure out where this card fits into our game plan. I’m going to talk mostly about the Standard environment, because that is where most of my play time has been in the past 6 months… largely due to the strength of Khans. And, well, it doesn’t look as if Fate Reforged is going to change that.
The first card I saw spoiled was the ‘new time walk’ Temporal Trespass. My son had it as one of his picks in the video, and he is exactly the type of player the card is made for. Putting this in his Green/Blue Ramp deck, he will use the second turn go to kill you to death with his huge creatures. I am not looking forward to that happening.
But the spoilers come thick and fast and before you have time to grab your breath, there’s another one. I don’t know about everyone else but I tend to run one maybe two Standard decks at any one time, so the spoiled cards go into two categories. I like to think of them as allies or threats.
Another card we talked about in the video was the Monastery Mentor. This guy went straight into the ally camp. I’ve been playing the UW Heroic deck off and on for a while and this card looked like a decent card to think about in that deck. A lot of your cards are non-creatures and trigger his prowess, which in turn means they trigger the tokens too. But three mana is the top end of that curve so you don’t want to be pulling out one and two drops to cram this in. More likely that you might want to cut a few of those Heliod’s Pilgrims.
The mentioned Pilgrim is an amazing card, for he can search up exactly the right aura for the situation you’re in. However, it can be a bit rubbish if drawn in multiples. The Mentor is much better in many-copies scenario, so I think it may find a home in UW Heroic. If not, there is always Jeskai Tokens deck to keep him warm at night.
Whisperwood Elemental is a classic example of a card I would consider a threat. Threats don’t always come in Green, but I’ve not been playing Green for a few sets now and the Abzan menace is real. So when a card like this gets spoiled, I start to try and figure out if it will see play and what I need in my deck to beat it…. particularly along the lines of ‘Is the answer to this already out or is the answer a card that is printed in Fate Reforged’? Did anyone else find themselves struggling to get the uncommons they needed for Standard?
I would consider the threats in two camps. To borrow a phrase from an ex-Vice President of America, there are known knowns and known unknowns. What I mean is there are the top decks, the ones that have been chewing up your FNM each week, and then there are decks that don’t exist yet, mad brews that are going to come out of the dark with cards we had forgotten about the day after pre-release. I’m looking at you Sandsteppe Mastodon.
New mechanics also fall into the two categories but, instead of allies and threats, it’s much more like useful tools and spanners in the works. Sometimes it’s obvious that the mechanics are going to be around in Limited play, but that won’t add up to a Constructed playable thing. Inspired was one of those that fell short of making the upgrade to a 60-card format. Heroic looked as if it might only be a fringe deck for a while, but the UW Heroic deck has done very nicely for itself.
Only time will tell with this new bunch of mechanics. I would have thought that Manifest will see some play. Just like Morph it will turn up in a few decks, but out of the others… whose to say? Will we be Bolstering this time next year or will still be Dashing out hasty creatures?
Ah, but there is a third category of cards. These are cards that I have no possible use for but I need them anyway. Nope, not even the old ‘for my EDH deck’ line that gets thrown around. These are mythic cards, most likely planeswalkers, that I just have to own. Big unwieldy cards with silly price tags and huge mana costs, yep these are the cards I want. Ugin, The Spirit Dragon typifies this sort of card. When someone at your pre-release opens one of these you’re going to turn a little bit green, even if they never ever get to cast it because their pool is all Jeskai aggro.
I hope you guys open massive bombs in all your packs at pre-release and all your dual lands support your pool.