Shadows Over Innistrad Spoilers: Second Look

Another week has passed and we have a few more spoilers to take a quick glance at.

I absolutely love this card. For starters we have a 6/6 deathtouch (because it’s so necessary) for 5 mana, which is a pretty decent rate. However, it does have a major drawback of having to sacrifice a land every turn (traditionally a drawback like this would push it down to only 4 mana, see Desecration Demon). But it’s not all downside, as we get to play an additional land each turn AND whenever one or more lands goes to our graveyard, from anywhere, we get to draw a card (this means if we get milled or put a set of cards in the graveyard, we only get to draw a single card regardless of the number of lands moved).

This seems like a solid card advantage engine, sorta, in standard. Drawing an extra card every turn is powerful, even at the cost of a land. If this is the top of your curve you shouldn’t have a huge issue with losing the lands, as you’ll likely be replacing them close to as fast as you lose them. Further abuse with cards like Evolving Wilds and Blighted Woodland allow you to draw cards for that land going to the graveyard, and still again when you end up having to sacrifice the new land you get.

Things get a bit more interesting if you start looking past standard, though 5 mana is a bit steep for modern. The card synergizes extremely well with fetchlands though, and cards like Life from the Loam and Crucible of Worlds. It’s certainly something I would consider trying in some decks, perhaps once I expand my MTGO collection a bit more (not fitting it into Scapeshift, and my only other decks right now are Eldrazi and UW Taking Turns).

Ah, the frog horror’s best friend in standard! Being able to sacrifice this every turn and just get it back for is amazing value over the course of a game and almost completely mitigates Gitrog Monster’s downside (it changes it to “pay during your upkeep or sacrifice this, draw a card”). I wouldn’t be surprised to see this pair do a lot of work in standard over the next 18 months.

Say hello to the new Dark Confidant. Now, this card certainly has hoops to jump through, but it does have 4 important bonuses over good ol’ Bob.

  1. 3/1 vs 2/1, for the same mana cost.
  2. Madness! So your opponent plays Liliana of the Veil (or you do)? Great, discard this and start making that effect really one sided!
  3. It’s always only 1 life that you lose. No longer do you need to worry about the converted mana cost of what you “draw”. However this is a slight downside if you hit lands frequently….
  4. Potentially twice as mana cards! If you get to the point of being hellbent, and your opponent is as well, it’s very possible that you can plow through cards very quickly.

I’m not suggesting that this will completely replace Bob in modern, but I certainly think it’s worth testing.

A 2/1 mana dork for 2 mana isn’t super impressive, however it’s about what we can expect recently (see Rattleclaw Mystic. The big upside here is that later in the game your mana dork is still relevant because it should gain deathtouch and be able to trade with something on defense. Acceleration that has late game relevance is always a big deal (see Deathrite Shaman), so this card is quite a bit better than it seems at first glance.

We get a new rare cycle of lands, but sadly it’s one that I’m very much unexcited about. These seem like strictly worse versions of the Scars of Mirrodin fastlands (see Razorverge Thicket). You have to give your opponent information to have them enter untapped, will generally be entering tapped later in the game no matter what, and they make certain hands unkeepable (2 of these is way worse than 2 Thickets). There’s also the fact that while these play very well with the Battle for Zendikar lands (Canopy Vista and friends), those lands do not play well with these new ones….

With all that being said: yes, they will see play. Dual lands are always a safe investment for standard, though I highly doubt these will retain much value long term as there are so many better options for dual lands in modern/legacy/EDH.

Hands down one of my favorite cards in the set (was #1, then they showed off that frog horror….)! Back in the day pure control decks were a thing because they could utilize lands (Nephalia Drownyard, Celestial Colonnade) as their win condition. This left them much more room to focus on controlling the game and thus making them more powerful. This land enables a return to that type of strategy (with supplemental threats like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy) that I would be very happy playing.

Chris Wendelboe

Chris is a level 2 judge from Ashland, New Hampshire. He enjoys Scapeshift, modern, and putting on the best events possible.