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Insider: Amonkhet First Look

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We’re entering a new plane and finally back to the desert! One of the best parts about Magic is the intricate and interesting new worlds we visit. Some are better than others, it's true, but Amonkhet is going bring us groundbreaking new cards with Egyptian themes, and that sounds amazing. Sure, we’ve had sphinxes, clerics and gods before – but never like this!

Let’s jump in and break down some sweet new cards as well as some financial info you need to know.

Gods

First up, we have gods for the first time since Theros.

hazoretthefervent1

Last time around, we had gods like Nylea, God of the Hunt and Athreos, God of Passage, who only became creatures when the player's devotion in a given color was high enough. In Amonkhet, though, we see a completely different way to activate this god. It’s almost like we want to utilize the hellbent mechanic from a card like Jagged Poppet.

Unlike when hellbent was a mechanic, though, we have a built-in way to reduce our hand size for profit! Hazoret lets us Shock each opponent and get rid of a card. So, not only does his ability help us activate him as a creature, but it is also a win condition on its own. I like that in the end game, when your hand is already low, that he has haste so you can just attack immediately.

While the current meta doesn’t seem open to this strategy, at least for this red god, it’s super cool that they are revisiting the god concept and reworking it for this block. Thassa, God of the Sea and Erebos, God of the Dead had huge impacts on the metagame the last time around, so it will be exciting to see if any of these new Amonkhet gods can also shape the meta as well.

I don’t think Hazoret is going to be breaking your wallet or your life total any time soon, though. He does remind me of a Surrak, the Hunt Caller or Hero of Oxid Ridge, but I actually think both of those cards are better than Hazoret, and they both saw minimal amounts of competitive play.

Cycling Duals

Next up, we have a new land cycle and it is awesome!

irrigatedfarmland

First of all, all of these lands have some sick artwork. So far, I’ve been really impressed with the art quality of this set, and this land cycle is a huge part.

We’ve had cycling lands for a while now. Lands from the Lonely Sandbar cycle have been in multiple reprint products like Commander decks. These lands even see play in Legacy.

Until now, though, we have not had any variations as powerful as dual lands with cycling. They may always come into play tapped, but just like Temple of Malady and the other scry lands, there is too much value to not play these new duals. Think about games where you flood out, but instead of flooding, you can cycle a couple lands from your hand to get to other cards.

I love this cycle, and I think they will be great. If players initially undervalue them, as I think may happen, I’d try to obtain as many copies as possible. The new fast lands from Kaladesh, like Spirebluff Canal are great too, and I highly recommend picking those up if you haven’t already. The fast lands we already know are Modern quality lands, but I think the dual cyclers might be Modern quality as well. They might be more niche, but I think they will find a home.

Cool New Cards


First up, we have a surprising reprint in Aven Mindcensor. We’ve already seen a dip in price on this Modern hoser, and it will likely go down a bit more. The new card is a rare, but there will be tons of them floating around in the market once the release hits. We also get a Masterpiece version of this card, and the art on both looks amazing to me.

Competitively, I’m not certain there is much to gain from playing this guy in Standard. We may see some ability from this set or in a future set that gets nullified by Aven Mindcensor’s ability, but for now, it’s just a cool inclusion in the set.

flamebladeadept

Flameblade Adept reminds me of Monastery Swiftspear. Maybe I’m reaching too far on this one, because a lot of Flameblade’s power comes from the cycling cards in the set. He does work well with Hazoret’s discard ability, though.

My favorite part about this new card is the possibilities it seems to portray. Flameblade suggests that the cycling mechanic will be well supported with benefits based on cycling cards from your hand. The last time that happened we had Astral Slide and Lightning Rift. That was a really cool strategy, and I’d love to see that type of game plan again in Standard.

prowlingserpopard

Prowling Serpopard, besides having an annoyingly difficult name to say, is a very efficient creature. For three mana, it's already a pushed 4/3 body, and we also get the ability to resolve every creature we cast as long as this remains on the battlefield. Previously, we would have had to rely on much weaker versions of this effect like Gaea's Herald. This prowling cat-snake hybrid is a huge upgrade from a decade ago. I don’t know if this is well positioned in Standard right now, but not only does he have Modern potential, but I think its time for the Standard limelight will come down the road once the format rotates some cards out.

Embalm

Wow! This mechanic looks sweet. Not only is it full of Egyptian flavor, but it also seems really powerful. So far, I haven’t seen any creatures that seem particularly pushed that have this ability as well, but I’m watching the spoilers for them. I think the best we have is Trueheart Duelist, a two mana 2/2 that embalms for three mana. That seems pretty great in the long game, but we need something better than that.

trueheartduelist1

If embalm creatures are running around the format, we may need to jump back to more white removal spells like Declaration in Stone and Stasis Snare to prevent the card advantage from occurring.

New Foil Full Art Lands

One cool thing Amonkhet has to offer is a set of new full art basic lands. This time we only get one of each color, but they all have Nicol Bolas's horns in the background! We got our promo copies of these lands at my store already, and they look amazing. You can get one for helping out at the Magic Open House, so stop by your local store and see if you can help out with that event. They will also be in the set, but they will be quite rare, so track down as many copies as you can.

That’s all for the first installment of Amonkhet cards. What do you think of this new gods so far? What about the cycling duals or other cards spoiled so far? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,
Unleash the Force!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

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