It Wasn’t Supposed to Happen Like This!

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In case you live under a rock, we had an influx of twenty cards spoiled that totally weren't supposed to be. In fact, Wizards is probably really pissed off about it because you know there was a big article about the first colourless planeswalker, not to mention the fact that every card was rare or mythic. Oh, and Phyrexian mana. They probably wanted that to be officially spoiled too. Since the spoiled cards are all rares, I figured it's worth talking about all of them, and I will do so from every angle possible.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with Phyrexian mana, here's the run down:

Phyrexian mana is essentially hybrid mana, except your choice is between paying one color of mana or two life. Written down, this mana is represented as {P/C}, where 'C' is the color. So 3{P/W}{P/W} would mean a costs of 3WW, 3W and 2 life, or 3 and 4 life.

With that out of the way, let's talk about some rares!

Karn, the Released 7
Planeswalker - Karn
Mythic Rare
+4: Target player exiles a card from his or her hand.
-3: Exile target permanent.
-14: Set aside all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with Karn, then restart the game. Then put all cards set aside this way onto the battlefield under your control.

If nothing else, this card is hilarious. However, it suffers the problem of being seemingly similar to other cards which I feel is making people misevaluate it. This is not [card Liliana Vess]Liliana[/card]. This is not Spine of Ish Sah. This is also not a multi-format four-of. With a casting cost of 7, this card is pretty much disqualified from being anything but a one or two-of in a deck. However, I guarantee you that Karn will see play. Karn's first ability is okay, but fairly underpowered. His second ability is very strong, and will be used a lot, though rarely the first turn.

So what is Karn's deadliest weapon? His loyalty. With a de facto starting loyalty of 10, this guy is nigh indestructible. It is obviously a card for control decks which will have means of defending him, but your opponent MUST kill him. Karn's ultimate ability, like most ultimates, is game over. Even dealing the three damage to take care of Jace, the Mind Sculptor can prove challenging at times, so trying to take this guy down will likely be a nightmare for many players. Oh yeah, it will also be in like 50% or more of Commander (EDH) decks with all likelihood. Not a $50 card by any stretch of the imagination, but a powerful card that's worth owning... as soon as the price drops.

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite 5WW
Legendary Creature - Praetor
Mythic Rare
Other creatures you control get +2/+2.
Creatures your opponents control get -2/-2.

This thing is a house in limited to be sure. I'd say it's just as soul-crushing to see drop down on the table against you as Massacre Wurm is, and that thing is quite the pain in the ass. Despite how powerful all of its abilities are I don't expect to see this making an sort of a splash in constructed. It's a good card for Commander (EDH) and a new general, but it's only the sort of thing you'd cast if you want to make enemies real fast.

Norn's Annex 3{P/W}{P/W}
Creatures can't attack you or planeswalkers you control unless their controller pays {P/W} for each attacking creature.

It's another card that feels like it was designed just for Commander (EDH)! It's interesting to see that after multiple blue cards with this ability they've shifted it permanently to white (Although [card Ghostly Prison]every[/card] [card Propaganda]color[/card] [card Koskun Falls]has[/card] [card Elephant Grass]a card[/card] [card Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs]that[/card] does this). If white weren't such a heavily played color right now, I would like this for standard. I'm a big fan of Ayesha Tanaka in Commander (EDH) because it screws them if they're not playing white, and forcing them to pay life to attack will slow some players down. This card has definite potential as a sideboard card if white starts seeing less play, and doesn't even need to be in a white deck which is also what makes it a very high draft pick.

Phyrexian Unlife 2W
You don't lose the game for having 0 or less life. As long as your life total is 0 or less, sources that deal damage to you have infect.

This brings us back to the age old question of "how much life do you need to gain for it to be worth playing?" Life gain is normally useless unless it's on a card that's already good (Loxodon Hierarch, Baneslayer Angel). Would you run this card if it said "2W - sorcery - gain 10 life"? No, you'd be pissed that it was your rare. And that's what this card says. Get this thing out of my face!

Puresteel Paladin WW
Creature - Human Knight
Whenever an Equipment enters the battlefield under your control, you may draw a card.
Metalcraft - As long as you control 3 or more artifacts, each Equipment you control has equip 0.

This card is great for limited where there's lots of metalcraft and lots of equipment, and it's great for Commander (EDH). Beyond that, there isn't currently a deck that would have any application for it, and I don't see one popping up any time soon.

Psychological Surgery 1U
Whenever an opponent shuffles his or her library, you may look at the top 2 cards of that library. If you do, you may exile one of them. Then put the rest on top of that player's library in any order.

Eternal sideboard card against tutor heavy combo decks or Mind's Desire decks if you're really lucky? I dunno, this thing has its applications, but it's about 10 cents shy of being a bulk rare.

Species Transplantation 4U
When this enters the battlefield, choose a creature type. Creatures you control are the chosen type in addition to their other creature types.

Yes, this is an infinite combo with Turntimber Ranger. No, it will not be a viable standard deck. It's a cute Commander (EDH) card, but worse than Conspiracy as it doesn't affect cards in your library/hand/graveyard. Even so, decks running Conspiracy shenanigans now have a second copy they can play.

Chancellor of the Dross 4BBB
Creature - Vampire
If this is in your opening hand, you may reveal it. If you do, at the beginning of your first upkeep, you may have each opponent lose 3 life. Gain life equal to the life lost this way.
Flying, Lifelink

This cycle of cards is cute, but at 7 mana they're all pretty useless. Sure you get to Lava Spike your opponent at the start of the game, but for the rest of the game most likely a dead card. Why not just splash Lightning Bolt?

Glistening Oil BB
Enchantment - Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has Infect. At the beginning of your upkeep, put a -1/-1 counter on enchanted creature. When this is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return this to its owner's hand.

It's the lovechild of Phyresis and Takklemaggot. Yay?

Phyrexian Canceler BBBB
Creature - Horror
Mythic Rare
Whenever a source deals damage to this, that source's controller sacrifices that many permanents.

This creature is a house when it's in play, but I don't think it's likely that there'll be a deck for it. The four black mana cost is simply too prohibitive for this to really be effective, and it requires Sphere of the Suns to be cast on turn 3. People are creaming themselves over this card, but I think it's all hype. If you open these at the prerelease, sell them while the selling's good.

Praetor's Grip 1BB
Search target opponent's library for a card and exile it face down, then that player shuffles his or her library. As long as it remains exiled, you may look at it and cast it as though it were in your hand.

Geez, remember when Grinning Totem was a $20 card? I hear this can be used in Vintage sideboards, and it will likely be a sideboard card in standard as well. Another awesome Commander (EDH) card though!

Chancellor of the Furnace 4RRR
Creature - Giant
If this is in your opening hand, you may reveal it. If you do, at the beginning of your first turn's upkeep, you may put a 1/1 red Goblin creature token with haste onto the battlefield.
When Chancellor of the Furnace enters the battlefield, put X 1/1 red Goblin creatures with haste onto the battlefield, where X is the number of creatures you control.

It's just like Chancellor of the Dross, except its beginning of game ability is worse and its in play ability is better. Still a nothing card.

Invasion Parasite 3RR
Creature - Insect
Imprint - When this enters the battlefield, exile target land.
Whenever a land with the same name as the exiled card enters the battlefield under an opponent's control, this deals 2 damage to that player.

If this guy cost 1 mana less or if land destruction was a viable strategy this would have a lot of potential. Fortunately, R&D has unanimously agreed that printing good land destruction spells is a terrible idea. Even so, seeing Stone Rain and Ankh of Mishra on the same card is nice.

Scrapmetal Fiend R
Creature - Construct
This creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of artifact cards in all graveyards.

This thing is awful situational. Fine for draft, but not really a first pick. Has potential in some weird artifact heavy aggro deck, but it lacks trample or a base toughness of one, both of which hurt it severely.

Urabrask, the Hidden 3RR
Legendary Creature - Praetor
Mythic Rare
Creatures you control have haste.
Creatures your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.

This guy is pretty damn good, if you're into the whole mindless aggro thing. A 4/4 haste for 5 isn't terrible, but tack Fires of Yavimaya and Kismet onto that and you've got a real force to be reckoned with. It's also pretty interesting as a Commander, even though it encourages mindless aggro strategies. I wouldn't expect this to be more than like a $6 card, of course, but it can certainly be a two-of main and maybe a couple more sideboard.

Spawning Shell 3{P/G}
1{P/G}, {T}, Sacrifice a creature: Search your library for a creature with converted mana cost equal to the sacrificed creature's converted mana cost plus one and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

So they banned Survival of the Fittest in Legacy, but then they put Survival and Recurring Nightmare on the same card? I'm in love with this thing for Commander (EDH). It's pretty amazing in that regard if your deck is all enters the battlefield/leaves play creatures. In terms of constructed, however, it has a severe drawback: unless the translation is incorrect, the creature you get must cost exactly one plus the CC of the sac'ed creature. This is severely limiting in terms of building a combo deck, but it also creates a nice chain of increasingly expensive creatures. My gut is telling me that there won't be a way to use this in standard, but I'm prepared to be wrong.

Fresh Meat 3G
Put a 3/3 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield for each creature put into your graveyard from the battlefield this turn.

It's like Caller of the Claw all over again! I like the Caller better since it can be recurred with Genesis, but this is still good for limited and nice [card Wrath of God]Wrath[/card] protection in constructed in decks that don't exist yet.

Caged Sun 6
When Caged Sun enters the battlefield, choose a color.
Creatures you control of the chosen color have +1/+1.
Whenever you tap a land for one or more mana of the chosen color, add one mana of the chosen color to your mana pool.

Grab as many foils of this as you can if you can find them cheap. Gauntlet of Power and Mirari's Wake say that this card will settle at $6, and $15 foil. Amazing card for EDH.

Hex Parasite 1
Artifact Creature - Insect
X{P/B}: Target a permanent. Remove up to X counters from that permanent. This creature gains +1/+0 until end of turn for each counter removed this way.

This thing is awesome. A one mana artifact that can go in every deck and says "I eat planeswalkers!" is just what we need. I'm not saying planeswalkers need to stop being played, but having a silver bullet against them is really nice, even if it's extremely fragile.

Screamwhip 4
Artifact - Equipment
Living weapon
Equip {P/B}{P/B}
Equipped creature gets +1/+1 for each Swamp you control.

Miss my article two weeks ago? If so, let me point out that this is not strictly better than Nightmare Lash, just better. This is a great card for Commander (EDH), as most of these rares are, and it's certainly going to help make Phyrexian Cancelor a playable card. I still don't think the pieces are there for that deck, but I also haven't played against an opponent with this equipped to a Vampire Nighthawk yet.

Spellsplitter 2
Artifact Creature - Horror
Rare{P/U}: Target spell or ability that targets only a single creature targets this creature instead.

...why isn't this uncommon? Oh well. It's fine, and the four toughness is key because it survives Lightning Bolt. Redirecting abilities is also key since it can eat a Journey to Nowhere for you. This isn't going to be an expensive card, but I suppose it has its uses.

Join us next week when hopefully there are more cards spoiled!

6 thoughts on “It Wasn’t Supposed to Happen Like This!

  1. Shouldn't this line:
    "So 3{pw}{pw} would mean a costs of 3WW, 3W and 2 life, or 3 and 2 life."
    "So 3{pw}{pw} would mean a costs of 3WW, 3W and 2 life, or 3 and 4 life."

  2. Cant say I agree with you on some of these but overall a fine summary, I can tell you have a hard on for EDH which is fine but your missing some of the applications of these cards in other formats. Ad Naseum and Phyrexian Unbirth is a solid combo after all. Doesnt mean it will see play but it will be extended playable for a few years which does deserve merit even if just casually. Also Scrapmelter fiend is actually nuts, guess is it will find a home in Legacy Affinity and possibly even Vintage play, where it can be upwards of 5 power/toughness fairly quickly, semi goyf in the right deck.

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