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Insider: Amonkhet Constructed Gems

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Welcome to Amonkhet, a world of mummies, pyramids and gods! The full spoiler is now released, and we get to dive into one of the coolest sets in years. Make sure you check out my first two articles on this set, Amonkhet First Look and Amonkhet Powerhouse Cards. Today, I’m going to focus on the cards I think will be impacting our Constructed formats.

First up, let’s finish out the god cycle for this plane of existence.

Rhonas the Indomitable

rhonastheindomitable1

I know I included Rhonas the Indomitable in last week's article, but at that time we didn’t have the sweet Masterpiece artwork and I felt it needed to be included. One reason in particular that I want to point this new Masterpiece out is because it’s the only mono-green card in the cycle. I find that to be very interesting. Additionally, I wonder if it will impact the price in a positive way that he is the only green card. Take a look at the color break down of the Invocations.

White – 7
Blue – 11
Black – 6
Red – 3
Green – 1
Multicolored – 2

For a minorly OCD person such as myself, Wizards creating bizarre patterns of seemingly unrelated cycles like this drives me nuts. If the colors were slightly unbalanced, I’d even be fine with that, but for there to be only one green card and three red cards is strange. It’s possible that in order to find cards that fit the theme of the plane, these were the cards deemed most applicable, but I think we could have balanced it a bit more for players who enjoy red and green cards. Going forward, Wizards has stated that there won’t be an overarching theme (like with the lands from Battle for Zendikar or artifacts from Kaladesh), but rather they would print cards that fit the block, like we see here on Amonkhet.

Bontu the Glorified

bontutheglorified1

Alright, maybe I’m supposed to break down this card and say that although the 4/6 for three mana seems great, especially with menace and the indestructibility, the sacrifice requirement to allow it to attack or block is too harsh and will prevent it from seeing play. Maybe I’m supposed to say that, but honestly I don’t want to.

I’ll admit, I’m drawn to engine cards like this more than most players. So, my desire for this card to be good may be shifting my perspective, but I think Bontu the Glorified is much better than he seems.

The reason why I like cards like Bontu, Blood-Chin Fanatic, or even Cabal Archon from back when I started playing, is because they give you a great end-game plan. When the game goes long, these cards can provide a way to actually win. Basically, if you put these types of cards in aggressive strategies, they act as multiple burn spells to finish off your opponent.

They also pair well with other cards that let you sacrifice creatures for effects, like Nantuko Husk or Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. We can combine all these types of cards together to form great strategies like Aristocrats, one of my favorite Standard decks of all time. They have synergy and power as well as being super fun to play. With all that being said, I hope that Bontu will fit into this type of strategy in the new Standard environment, and I’ll be working to find his spot in this archetype.

Zombies!

Speaking of Aristocrats and decks of that nature, Zombie Tribal is looking extremely playable. We’ll have to see what happens with the banned list update coming soon, because Vehicles may be strictly better than a tribal aggressive deck even with some new sweet cards. Let’s look at some of the cards that stand out from this tribe.

Lord of the Accursed

lordoftheaccursed

When was the last time we had a lord like this in Standard? I think it's several years ago with Stromkirk Captain and Mayor of Avabruk in Innistrad block and then Elvish Archdruid in M13. Thalia's Lieutenant is sort of like a lord, I guess, but not in the way these other cards are. The point is though, it’s been a while since Wizards gave us a traditional type of lord like Lord of the Accursed. Not only does it give the standard +1/+1 to the tribe, but he also can grant menace to your army as well. That’s potent, for sure.

Dread Wanderer

dreadwanderer

We are also getting a one-mana 2/1 with a recursive ability. This iteration of Gravecrawler has more limitations, though. Not only does it cost three mana to bring him back, but you can only do so on your turn and if you have one or zero cards in hand. Even with these restrictions, I expect Dread Wanderer to be highly played. We could even see it paired with Prized Amalgam too.

Wayward Servant

waywardservant

One of the best parts about the Zombie tribe from Amonkhet has to be Wayward Servant. I’m totally smitten with this card right now. It’s like Wayward Servant was made just for Diregraf Colossus and all these other zombie cards like Relentless Dead and Cryptbreaker that have been sitting around collecting dust. With these cards I’ve mentioned, we have an obvious tribal aggro strategy that’s possible in the format. I hope so much this deck is playable, because I want to swarm with some zombies!

We could even include cards like From Under the Floorboards or Dark Salvation in this deck. Zombies might not be the most supported tribe in Standard, but the tools are there to build something. We may still be missing some creatures to fill out our curve, but the shell is there.

Financially, Relentless Dead has already bumped up in price, and if this deck gains some traction in the community, I think other cards from the tribe will pop up as well. I think the gem we need to focus on is Diregraf Colossus. It’s barely more than bulk right now, but if players start building BW Zombies, this card will break out of its previous price model quickly.

As Foretold

asforetold (1)

Is As Foretold bonkers busted or are my friends and I living in Magical Xmasland? My PayPal account definitely thinks it could be real, because I just bought a couple play sets of Wheel of Fate. That card is spiking, by the way, so pick some copies up if you can still find a good price. This combo deck might not pan out, but the internet is selling out of this suspend spell pretty quickly.

In Modern, I can picture Birds of Paradise turn one and As Foretold turn two. Once that happens, we can cast Wheel of Fate, Lotus Bloom or Ancestral Vision for free. There is even Restore Balance or [/Card]Living End[/Card] if you want to go either of those routes.

With the free mana from Simian Spirit Guide and Desperate Ritual, it’s easy to picture a turn where you combo off using a bunch of free spells. Maybe the combo is too hard to assemble, but it seems as easy as having As Foretold and a card to cast for zero.

At first I was worried about the window being limited since you only have one turn with zero counters, but then I remembered time counters used to be a thing back in Time Spiral. There was Timecrafting and Clockspinning as well as Rift Elemental and Timebender. These cards would allow us to revert the enchantment back to zero and continue to cheat our suspend spells into play for free.

Cryptic Serpent

crypticserpent1

Is this giant blue sea creature the blue Goyf? Five instants or sorceries doesn’t seem like that much to ask in order to make this guy cost a mere double blue. I see Standard, Modern, and maybe even Legacy potential here. For Standard, pairing Serpent with a Thing in the Ice // Awoken Horror strategy seems synergistic, but it could easily fit into another type of controlling strategy as well as a finisher alongside Torrential Gearhulk. Maybe this creature will be enough to bring back UR Delver in Modern? We already have Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration and Young Pyromancer. If we add another threat like this, that deck could come back. It's possible that black mana in that deck for Tasigur, the Golden Fang and some removal spells is just better, though. I’d still track down foils whenever possible, because they should be cheap to start and there's a lot of upside.

Samut, Voice of Dissent

samutvoiceofdissent

Wow! I know I said the gods have a lot of abilities, but man what a pile of insane abilities. Talk about blowout potential. Even with how incredible these abilities are, the card still costs five mana. I wonder if it will actually see play. I hope so, because this red-green human is crazy. If red-green aggro emerges as an actual archetype, we could realistically see Samut as a finisher for that deck. Without that happening, I still like foil copies for the Commander players.

There are a bunch of other great cards in the set like Weaver of Currents, Vizier of the Menagerie, Harsh Mentor, Shadow of the Grave, and Anointed Procession, just to name a few. This set really has some interesting effects and abilities appearing in new colors. I hope Standard will grow and bloom into something much better than Saheeli vs. Vehicles vs. GB. There are so many cool things in Amonkhet, I can’t wait to start brewing!

Don’t miss next week as I try to boil down this amazing set into a top 10!

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

2 thoughts on “Insider: Amonkhet Constructed Gems

  1. You misread As Foretold (just like I did when it was first spoiled)…You can cast spells x OR LESS…So you never need to remove counters to cast free spells…

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