Eldritch Moon is turning a lot of heads, and why shouldn’t it? New mechanics, new creatures, and great spells — what more could a hoard of Magic players ask for?
As with any set there are those cards that you know are going to be great and format defining, like Archangel Avacyn or Siege Rhino. The trick is to figure out which cards are the busters and which are the bruisers before anyone else can.
So what makes a card good? Unique abilities; good stats for the cost; are there any better cards in the format that would take that spot; and are there enough cards in the given colors to support this card? All these things factor in to whether or not a card can be playable in any given format. Take Arlinn Kord, for example. It’s a reasonably costed, powerful planeswalker that plays well with and against creatures, but it hasn’t had a supporting cast so far to make it a Standard staple. So much has to go right for a card to see play that even missing one of the criteria is enough for it to stay in binders or boxes.
The card that has everybody talking and brewing right now is Eldritch Evolution. I won’t be the first or the last to say that this card is 100 percent busted in half. Combining Natural Order and Transmute Artifact is a very dangerous game to be playing.
A couple of days ago I wrote that Traverse the Ulvenwald would be the best thing to go find Bruna, the Fading Light. Well, I think we found our new path, even though it makes me sad that you can’t sacrifice Gisela to go find her. In Modern there may be a chance that you can actually play Deceiver Exarch again, which will make some people very happy or very upset, depending on which side of the table they’re on. In legacy it opens up literally everything — Cephalid Breakfast combos, Affinity combos, Food Chain combos. What I am trying to get at here is this card is better than good, and you will be seeing it for as long as WOTC can stand seeing it in top 8 lists.
Next I would like to discuss some of the better flip cards spoiled, starting with my vote for best story line via card art and flavor text: Docent of Perfection. This card is like Monastery Mentor and Young Pyromancer on steroids, and the flavor is just perfection. After the scientist takes whatever potion to turn into the Insectile Aberration he flies out and does God knows what. Then we see him as Aberrant Researcher tinkering with his mischief brew to turn into the Perfected Form. Then dude starts forcing others to take his perfected serum making them turn into delvers. Once enough victims have accumulated he transforms into that cockroach from “Men in Black,” except he also turns all the delvers into aberrations.
Now that we all have the same love and understanding for this card’s flavor and story let’s talk about how good it could be. The rate is pretty good; a 5/4 flier is essentially a dragon, and a dragon that can make 1/1 tokens is better than most. The fact that Docent of Perfection is a horror works well with Thing in the Ice, and they both work well with instants and sorceries so the support is there. My first inclination would be that this card is on the verge of being good enough to play, and with more help we could definitely see this one have its day in the sun.
Lone Rider isn’t particularly great on its own, but it isn’t particularly bad either. I think a card like this needs a dedicated cast of characters by his side. I know it isn’t difficult to gain three life in a turn with cards such as Martyr of Sands and Auriok Champion. I’m not saying this card is busted but I do think a 4/4 lifelink, first strike, trampler is a pretty good rate for 2 mana.
Lastly I would like to highlight what a pain Thalia, Heretic Cathar is going to be to play against. A 3/2 first striker for 3 mana is a fine rate to be casting this card, and its ability to mess with the opponents in a big way gives it the unique ability check mark. But by only costing 3, it fits perfectly into a Collected Company shell. I think this card will make many lives in both Standard and Modern miserable, and I’m kind of okay with that.
Devin Koepke is a Midwest grinder who will jump in a car and travel off to a far off land at any opportunity. Specializing in whatever the tournament is that weekend, he has a wide range of knowledge and skills that he is excited to share with you. So sit back, crack open an ice cold beverage and get your Hot Pocket out of the microwave, because this is going to be fun.