Welcome ladies and gentlemen to another edition of Cards n’Flux. I am Corlando, your guide through the wonderful world of Magic the Gathering. This week we are heading to a party, a Planeswalker party to be precise to welcome the new Planeswalkers of Magic 2012. Everyone have a gift? Then let’s go partying.
I have to say it is good to see Sorin Markov and Gideon Jura in Magic 2012. Granted it is at the cost of Ajani Goldmane and Liliana Vess, but it is good to hear Liliana will be back in Innistrad. I can only assume Ajani, my favorite Planeswalker, is off having some awesome adventure. I mean this is the cat who took on and defeated Nicol Bolas, so I think he deserves a breather.
Anyway, now we have Gideon Jura and Sorin Markov, two expensive yet powerful Planeswalkers. Gideon use to be one of the planeswalkers to get, back when Blue/White control was popular. Now he is in the Core Set and I have to say it is for the better. With Gideon now in the Core Set, casual players will have more access to him as a card they can invest in because he will considerably cheaper. This will allow more casual players to consider making the leap into more professional playing. With that in mind I gladly raise a glass to the awesome White warrior and hope he finds a strong deck to slip into in the new standard.
As for Sorin Markov, I am not too sure exactly what I think of him just yet. I mean I am happy to have him in the Core Set. There are few cards as cool and flavorful as Sorin Markov, however I just feel he may end up in a position where he might not find a standard deck. One of the biggest problems with Sorin Markov is the fact he has such a high mana cost. Six total mana to get him onto the field, the same amount of mana for the heavy-hitting, token summoning Grave Titan meaning Sorin has quite the competition for the six spot slot. Not to mention, most of the vampires that are currently in play are cheap, fast vampires. As I said in a previous article, current Vampire decks are fast kill decks. If you do not kill your opponent by turn 4 or 5, you are doing something wrong. This relegates Sorin to the role of a Vampire Overlord, never really ever seen only heard of, whispered in the shadows by deceitful souls and fearful wizards. However, with the rise of such cards as Sangromancer, Sengir Vampire, and Bloodlord of Vaasgoth, are Vampires obtaining the power to fight on into later turns? Only time will tell.
With old friends met and chatted with, it is time to meet the new guys. First up is the new Jace. Jace , Memory Adept is the most expensive Jace we have ever seen coming in at five total mana. Is this increase in price validated by the powers you gain access to? Well, that has yet to really be determined. His first ability is a +1 and allows you to draw a card while your opponent puts the top card of their library into their graveyard. That is not a shabby first ability. It is almost like Jace reached into their mind and used what he found there to give you a hand, both figuratively and physically. Next his second ability costs 0 to activate and mills the top ten cards from a player’s library. Okay, this is good. Essentially you can look at Jace as a pay five and mill ten of your opponent’s library every turn for the rest of the game. Of course, if you have been looking at the M12 spoiler, you know that this ability becomes flat out broken when you see Visions of Beyond, a card that if there are 20 or more cards in a graveyard, you get to draw three cards for all of one blue mana. This card alone might make Jace, Memory Adept a really sought after card. And of course with the graveyard centered Innistrad rumbling our way, Jace and Visions will become even more desirable. I do not want to say that these cards will become the must have cards in the future, but I would at least recommend getting a few just in case they do go big. However, Jace, Memory Adept is not done. Jace’s ultimate ability which can be activated by paying 7 loyalty, allows any number of target players to draw twenty cards. If you want an instant kill combo, this ability plus one Jace’s Erasure. You draw 20 cards, your opponent draws 20, and mills 20. If your opponent has a library after that, I will be impressed. This is just further proof that Jace will be good… but maybe not till after Innistrad comes out.
Stepping pass the Memory Adept, we come across a trusty friend who has changed. Garruk, Primal Hunter replaces the original Garruk Wildspeaker and I have to say it might just be for the better. First up, unlike his first version, Garruk Primal Hunter summons a 3/3 as his +1 ability instead of it being a -1. This means Garruk has the real capacity to protect himself instead of essentially dealing himself damage to summon something. Now he makes himself stronger by making you stronger. Next up is probably the most awesome ability Wizards could have put on Garruk. “-3 draw cards equal to the highest power among the creatures you control.” Dunbarrow Elder just became even more amazing. “Yes I’ll use 3 loyalty counters from Garruk to draw seven cards.” Effective card draw in Green is so hard to come by, and Wizards just gave us the best thing they could. As we have seen with Jace, Memory Adept every Planeswalker has an ultimate ability that is designed to end games. Garruk, Primal Hunter is no exception. By paying 6 loyalty, Garruk, Primal Hunter summons a 6/6 Wurm token for every land you control. Green Ramp Decks, tired of working with Valakut? Wanna try something new? Try swarming your opponent with an army of 6/6s. There will not be enough of your opponents to stuff in a deck box. I love Garruk, Primal Hunter and I hope to see him make his way into many green decks.
With Garruk discussed we come to the smoking hot lady in the room, Chandra, the Firebrand. Chandra, the Firebrand is the first Chandra to arguably not suck. In fact she down right rocks. For a very splashable three and one Red mana, Chandra comes into play ready to ping your opponents and your opponent’s creature for 1 with her +1 ability. Good bye Lotus Cobras, Llanowar Elves, Elite Vanguards, and any other one toughness annoying creatures. Of course this is also hello to certain Bloodthirst activation. Next up we have a -2 ability which copies the next sorcery or instant spell you cast this turn. Why have one Lightning bolt when you can have two? Or, as many of you have probably already discussed at length with your gaming buddies, Tezzert’s Gambit, Proliferate and draw two cards, or Volt Charge, proliferate and 3 damage to target creature or player. Yes, you can activate Chandra’s second ability and erase any damage done with the power of proliferation. That is all well and good, but I think you can have some real fun if you copy Melt Terrain. Destroy two of their lands, possibly screwing up their mana base, and deal them four damage. It might be considered underhanded to blow up lands, but it is a perfectly legitimate possibility. Now, Chandra the Firebrand’s final ability is a bit of a fun one. For up to six target creatures or players, Chandra can deal six damage. In total, Chandra has the ability to deal up to 36 six damage, decimate your opponent’s board, and leave your opponent open to serious hurt. Some have not been too enthralled with this ability and I can understand why. However, I still find it to be a perfectly functional ability and it will serve its user well.
Well everyone, the article is coming to its end so it is time for the Closing Questions Section:
1. Which of the new Planeswalkers is your favorite and why?
2. Which do you think is better, old or new Garruk?
3. What is your opinion of Chandra’s final ability? If you are not a fan, what would you rather had seen?
Well, thank you my faithful readers for being patient with me. My summer courses are taking a rather strong toll on my writing schedule, but it should be over in just a few weeks. Stay tuned for next week’s edition, hopefully it will be on time this time. Just remember my good friends, “Etherium is Limited. Innovation is not.” This is Corlando signing out.