Dragons of Tarkir Spoilers, Week Two
Another week has passed and we have yet more spoilers from Dragons of Tarkir to look at. We have many more options this week, so I’ll be skipping many. Below you’ll find my thoughts on a number of the cards I find most intriguing.
If you’re the type of player that loves to play some white weenie type strategy then this new Anafenza should be for you. Play dudes, then start making them all bigger. The problem with Anafenza is the cost that will make her only truly playable in a mono white deck. Then again, devotion is still a thing. The idea of curving Anafenza into Brimaz into Heliod is pretty appealing.
Wizards is pushing warrior tribal super hard. This card will likely fit into some warrior deck, along with another new 3 drop that is later in this list. Super scary as a follow up to your Chief of the Edge.
This is the kind of card that blue reactive decks have been waiting on for quite some time. If you need to find a land this should do it for you at instant speed. The ability to cast this on your opponent’s turn to dig for specific answers will be huge and it’s even great late in the game when you have a ton of mana.
Master of Waves is still a card and this guy will make him even better. We lost a lot of what made devotion good when Return to Ravnica rotated out of standard. This guy may be just what it takes to bring the archetype back for a few more months.
The second powerful warrior card we’ve seen from this set. I feel this is more of a sideboard card against removal heavy decks but could also be quite good against aggressive strategies as well. Untapping with this in play will be very scary if you’ve been as aggressive as you’d like to be over the first few turns, as you can now push damage through even a clogged up board.
Mono red decks, whether they are devotion based or not, now have a new two drop that seems to outclass the current ones. Mardu Scout can be very powerful in an aggressive strategy and Eidolon of the Great Revel is great if you’re ahead on board and the opponent has a lot of cheap cards. Dragon Whisperer lets you do something that neither of these can, which is take to the skies when you need to. Much better in a devotion shell (along with Flamewake Phoenix, your four drop of choice, and Stormbreath Dragon), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this in aggressive decks.
Amazing one drop for aggressive decks. Dash to get damage in when needed plus built in fire breathing.
This is a very interesting effect that hasn’t been done very much so far. There are actually a large number of cards that play very well with this (Nyx-Fleece Ram comes to mind), but ultimately the problem with building a deck around it is you have a bunch of walls without this enchantment. Likely a ton of fun for FNM, but I wouldn’t show up with it to a Grand Prix.
A 3/2 for 2 mana is already pretty decent but what makes this card potentially strong is when it enters the battlefield with a few +1/+1 counters on it. There’s not a ton at the moment that I can think of that makes this an amazing play on the first few turns, but that may change at some point.
decks that want to throw a lot of smaller creatures onto the battlefield should like this card. There are an abundance of good, cheap creatures that you could play to work with this and the option to do it at the end of your opponent’s turn (after a board sweep perhaps) will be problematic for control decks.
I hear that Whisperwood Elemental and Mastery of the Unseen are starting to see serious play. The raptor is going to do his best Vengevine impression in decks using these cards and will be a great resource for them. Being able to trade against bigger creatures and then come back from the graveyard thanks to your abundance of manifest seems very strong.
This card seems straight up nuts in modern burn decks if the mana base can support it. The 3 damage and no life gain modes give you additional copies of Skullcrack if that is what you need. More likely you’ll be playing a creature on turn 1 and then casting this on turn 2 for 4 total damage for 2 mana. There even may be times when you want to deal damage and put a land card onto the battlefield in certain cases. I also believe that since this doesn’t use the terminology “play a land” means you can bypass the normal timing restrictions and actually get a land from your hand onto the battlefield during your opponent’s turn.
4 toughness is sad thanks to Stoke the Flames and the number of 4/4 or bigger dragons in the block, but I could easily see this guy coming out of the sideboard for control decks. We’ve already established that Anticipate is good and Ojutai allows you to cast it every turn if you hit your opponent, thus fueling your hand with either more card draw, removal, or counterspells.
Initially I wasn’t happy about this card, but it has grown on me over the past few days. Electrolyze is a very good card and this can be very close to the inverse of that (2 damage plus opponent discards one), just having a few additional options. Likely a beating against Affinity decks in modern as well, which is always nice to have.
The main man from this set returned from the past. This version of Sarkhan seems very powerful if you are willing to commit to the colors. +1 drawing a card is always a great effect, and it even gives you mana to help cast it. Sorin, Solemn Visitor has proven to us how powerful playing a planeswalker and then putting a creature onto the battlefield can be, and Sarkhan’s -2 doesn’t disappoint there either. Unlike with Sorin, the token created here puts your opponent on an aggressive clock and forces them to have 2 answers very quickly (whereas the 2/2 from Sorin could be ignored for a while if needed). His -8 is very lackluster if you aren’t playing some dragons, but the odds of Stormbreath Dragon not being in your deck are slim, plus there is the new 4 mana dragon spoiled last week….
This is my least favorite of the new commands so far, mostly because of the mana cost of 5. There are cases where it could be very good (counter a spell and blow up their planeswalker), but they are unlikely to come up very often. -3/-3 is also very awkward for the removal side of this card as it misses a huge number of creatures later in the game and many of the ones it does answer (Goblin Rabblemaster and Mantis Rider) have already done huge amounts of damage before getting to this point.