Saturday, July 10, 2010

Top Cards of Magic 2011

When I say "top cards", I don't mean: the most tournament viable. These are the most notable, interesting, or surprising cards of Magic 2011 (M11) for reasons changing depending on what card we're looking at.

Crystal Ball manages to exemplify something that Magic 2011 (M11) is pulling off that has never been done in a Core Set before. It's bringing sexy back. Err... I mean... it's bringing back a keyword that ISN'T evergreen! I've explained this before but if you're just tuning in: Evergreen keywords are keywords that will literally show up in every set. Flying, Haste, Trample, etc. The good news is that Core Sets will finally bring back old keywords while the bad news is that this means Scry isn't evergreen. This card is literally a fixed version of Sensei's Divining Top. For those not keeping score, SDT is not only a card that owns an acronym far too similar to sexually transmitted diseases but happens to be a card that was literally BANNED for being so sexy fine. This won't be as powerful but it's definitely playable. Remember all those times you got annoyed because you were drawing NOTHING but freaking land or nothing but spells and you really needed a land? This card happens to fix those issues. Remember that with Scry, you can shove things on the bottom of your library.

Just thought I would mention that Juggs here is not only capable of making everyone giggle at its nickname but it smashes right on through Wall of Denial. Stick it to the man.

This little fella is interesting. It's like he's trying to hint at something for Scars of Mirrodin... Hmmmm.

This is literally Akroma's sword. Or maybe it's the most badass basement replica ever? Either way, it's rather destructive. Remember that Mirrodin was the first set ever with equipment so we're going to be seeing a lot of crazy things coming up. This is just a prelude.

That's enough artifacts for now. There are other noteworthy ones but we'll be here all day if we don't move along.

I was going to blabber on about the Planeswalker's signature cards AND the Titans but I think everyone has discussed those to death. They've been spoiled for quite some time before I decided to type this up (though this isn't meant to be a spoiler) and if you really don't know what they are then they're easy to find anywhere on the web. Basically, the signature cards are literally two cards that each go with their respective Planeswalker and they happen to work in unison with the Planeswalker's abilities. The Titans are these massive creatures (one for each color - AKA a cycle of them) that each have two abilities. The first is usually static while the second is a triggered. The triggered ability is almost always a powerful effect and it goes off not only when the Titan enters the battlefield but every single time they attack. That's hardcore.

This next card has everyone talking:

Three mana to make your entire tribal team have indestructibility (well except for Exemplar of course) is already capable of dropping jaws. This does so much more. Knights finally get some support so that's an added bonus.

This next card has everyone talking more than that previous card that I've already forgotten about:

This thing is insane! Freaking insane! This may not see a lot of tournament play but casual tables everywhere are going to be turned upside down literally because someone just got pissed off and started flipping tables. This card is the single most annoying thing I've seen White get in awhile. This is literally Ivory Mask with the ability to target yourself (to gain life or do whatever it is you White mages do) and the chance to be played for FREE before the game even begins! Let's take a look at just a few things this card does:
1) Shuts down burn decks, discard, mill, and even 90% of combo decks.
While that isn't a big deal to tournament players, casual tables will cry rivers and then Islands. All of those are very common for beginners to play as archetypes and this card doesn't just stop one of them, it stops ALL of them.
2) It shoots Planeswalkers in the knee cap. All of Sorin Markov's abilities literally target the player. Most Planeswalkers in general need to target players to be effective so this severely injures an entire card type.
3) It protects your own Planeswalkers. The way the rules are now, the only way to target a Planeswalker is to target the opposing player and then state that you are redirecting the damage. You can never target them in the first place so this Leyline protects their Planeswalker(s).

Red and Black literally can't stop Enchantments at all. Black's only method to even attempt it is to discard and if this is played before the game starts then you're out of luck. Blue has counterspells and bounce. In M11, Blue literally has zero spells to bounce permanents and counterspells are useless if the card is already on the field. White and Green can take care of enchantments by merely sneezing. It's incredibly annoying to have to splash a certain color just to deal with a card that is this big of a wall. I'm not saying this thing is game changing (you can work around it) but I will say that I don't believe any single card should have this much utility. Take a look at the rest of the cycle on the web. Each Leyline is rather nifty but Leyline of Sanctity stands out just a little more than the rest.

Wow! Blue just got a beater! 4 mana for a 4/4 flyer in Blue is practically unheard of. It's even better than that because it combos with Scry, Jwar Jwar Sphinx, and Jace the Meta Sculptor.

Not only did Blue get some efficient Merfolk but they got a giant sea bass of doom! It's rare for Blue's big creatures to do anything effective at all so this is rather interesting. Keep track of all the nifty cards that work with Quest for Ula's Temple.

I never imagined Nantuko Shade would get reprinted. This alone makes M11 worth it. This is the single most playable Shade in all of Magic. The only one that gets kewler flavor and casual table points is Nirkana Revenant simply because she's a Vampire Shade that powers herself up.

A real Lich with real badass art? This is THE most flavorful card I've seen out of the entire set. This is straight out of D&D. Indestructible 5/5 for 3 sounds interesting to work around. The only sad thing is that the two cards I just showed off need lots of Black mana so you aren't going to see them in many multi-colored decklists.

Boom! Head shot! This takes out Walletslayer and many other notables. It doesn't get around Protection from Red but it's still literally the best option for fragging White and Blue creature's faces.

Fork is back! For those keeping score: Red had fork first, then Blue had Twincast, then this is the red Twincast which is based on Fork. Blue now has Redirect.

Green managed to get a lot of goodies this time around but I'm sticking to showing off just two. Since Fauna Shaman has been talked about to death (Survival of the Fittest with legs) let's take a look at something else.

This bad boy is easily noteworthy. He reminds me of Ravenous Baloth except even tastier. It's rather obvious that this is the best answer to Blightning that Green is going to get and it's a better answer than many could have hoped for.

It was difficult choosing just one more card but I think this is extremely noteworthy. Green has been able to damage flying creatures but I don't recall it ever getting instant speed removal. Green now owns creature destruction and it kills the most annoying ones: the itches you just can't reach to scratch. Now that every color in Magic has a cheap way to destroy Walletslayer (Baneslayer for those that don't know), she should drop down in price a bit. If she doesn't then you only have yourself to blame.

So many cards to cover! These are just a few of the top cards that are coming out in M11. Do yourself a favor and make your way to a Prerelease Event today!

This is Kylak signing out and finding more Baneslayers to destroy.


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