What to expect: Impact of M13 on the Metagame – Artifact and Lands
Well, you can’t win them all. I played on the second of day of the M13 Pre-release in Nagoya at Card Brunch and had pretty much the same results as the day before. I went 1-4 again, but got an extra pack for playing, so overall on both days I spent 4400 yen, but got 14 boosters. That’s about 315 yen a pack, which is cheaper than what I would buy them for at a store. Sunday’s pulls were decent. In case you don’t know those cards, that’s a Jace, Memory Adept, Odric, Master Tactician, Firewing Phoenix, Gilded Lotus, Sands of Delirium, and Spelltwine.
On Sunday I had awesome removal (2 Murders, a Divine Verdict) and lots of counterspells (Negate, Essence Scatter) so I thought I could get by with a UBW Control Mill deck. I actually won one game with Sands of Delirium and Jace, Memory Adept, but I lost my first game. The next game I went to UB Control, focusing more on killing and milling, but that also didn’t work. Blue and Black just weren’t good in limited. By the third game I decided to change it up so I went with a GB build using my green cards like Vastwood Gorger and Primal Huntbeast. I also had a Vampire Nighthawk and a Rancor, so this mix worked a lot better. I was able to hit quick and hard and won my 3rd game. But in the final 2 games I mulliganed quite a lot and couldn’t win another round, but forcing a game 3 each time.
Oh well, I still had fun and I got some great cards. I’m looking forward to using some of these M13 cards in standard next week, but overall I think that Magic 2013 will have about the same impact on the metagame as Dark Ascension did. There are some powerful cards that will sneak in to Naya/GR Beatdown, Pod decks, and maybe even Delver, but I don’t see any cards as a definite game changer. Well, at least not until Return to Ravnica comes out and we’re forced to find an alternate for your favorite cards. THAT, however, will be saved for another day and another post, probably in late September before the full Ravnica list is spoiled.
Today I’m going to be covering what I think will be played in standard starting next week. I’ll be covering lands and artifacts today, and will be covering the rest of the colors leading up to legal play of the cards on Friday.
Instead of wasting space showing each of the dual color land reprints, I’ll just say you can be absolutely sure that Glacial Fortress, Rootbound Crag, Sunpetal Grove, Dragonskull Summit, and Drowned Catacomb will be played heavily in decks after next week. Nothing will change. The only change in lands will probably be a change in artwork for Evolving Wilds to the people who like Eldrazi’s artwork instead of the DKA version. I think aside from Reliquary Tower, you’ll see every land getting some play. For example:
I definitely think you’ll see some Cathedral of War, but not in the traditional decks out there now. I don’t think we’ll see it in Delver or Beatdown because those decks focus mainly on attacking in groups, but I could see this card being used in Pod decks. It would combo nicely with a Strangleroot Geist, attacking for 4 after it’s sacrificed to the Birthing Pod. If we see a resurgence of UB Control, I think this card will appear in there as well since creatures are pretty scarce in control. Overall, I think this type of card will appear in control type decks, but you won’t see it in any beatdown decks. And of course WB Exalted will be a deck type, and you can be sure that deck will be running 4 of these.
I don’t know how I feel about this card. It seems useful, especially against control decks that will wipe the board of your creatures and leave you defenseless. By keeping it a land until you need it, you can protect it from all of those pesky removal spells (aside from Ghost Quarter). But where would it fit in? Well, it could be a defensive device for mono red decks, and with Volt Charge you can get that second counter on there without having to pay for it while upping the counters on your Stormblood Beserkers and Shrine of Burning Rage. It might fit in with the GR/Naya beatdown crowd as well. At the moment people are using Inkmoth Nexus, so they might choose to switch this out for it, or it could possibly fill that spot post rotation in October. I just don’t know . . . it feels like it could be useful, I just don’t know where yet.
The next card I thought would see some play is Tormod’s Crypt. It will definitely be a sideboard card, but most likely it will take the place of Nihil Spellbomb. With two ways to take out a Graveyard, this could be problematic for Frites/Reanimator decks in the future, as well other decks that rely heavily on their graveyard. Any deck that uses Snapcaster Mage could also be affected (UB control, Esper Control, etc).
Okay, so you probably won’t see a lot of this card, but after playing with it in sealed, I found it to be really strong in control decks. Yes you’ll have to deal with spells like Ancient Grudge, but at 3 mana it costs a lot less than Jace, Memory Adept, and won’t die as easily. With cards like Nephalia Drownyard, Jace’s Phantasm, and Mind Sculpt, I think there is a high chance that we’ll see a resurgence of UB control decks that just mill you to death. Cards like Murder also will find their way into UB control, and with the sheer number of mana you have floating around in UB control decks, I think this card would definitely have a spot in it. I plan on switching out my Jace for this card in my sideboard on Friday, even if it’s immediate impact isn’t felt. It also works with my Ghostly Flicker, which can save it from being destroyed.
Again, I don’t think you’ll see this deck in a lot of the popular decks, but I think this card will lend it’s power to decks that used to be powerful. For example, WR or White Tempered Steel. With all the Myr’s and other cards floating around, you’ll have more than enough fodder to sacrfice to draw a card, and you can also sacrifice a creature to get an artifact back. Another deck that this could see some play in is a UB Tezzeret deck along with Phylactery Lich and a Darksteel Relic. You could have a potent cycle of sacrificing your Mycosynth Wellspring or Ichor Wellspring then bringing back a different Mycosynth/Ichor Wellspring, all the time getting amazing card advantage and keeping your 5/5 indestructible Zombie for 3 mana on the field. Might need some time to set up and some other cards, but this would be one use for this card.
These are probably the two strongest rings of the 5 ring set. The black one will be amazing in any set running Zombies or Vampires, keeping your beater alive while as the same time beefing him up every turn. By giving your Zombie or Vampire regenerate, you’ll be able to survive those blasted Day of Judgments and Whipflares and come back stronger than the turn before on your turn. To a lesser extent, the ring can also be used in other sets on a non-black creature that dies easily to board wipes. For example, putting it on a Geist of Saint Traft would make the thing damn near impossible to kill.
The blue ring is almost as good, giving your creature hexproof for 2 mana. This could save it from a spell as long as you have the mana to do so (though board wipes are still a problem). What I like about it is the bonus for blue creatures. Blue creatures are really lacking when it comes to power, but this can let your Snapcaster Mage or Delver of Secrets become a beast with hexproof after on a few turns (well, even faster for Delver of Secrets if it flips). Just like the black ring, this can have applications outside of a UW Delver or UB control deck on non-blue creatures, but the greatest benefit would be in blue.
Wow, this article was a little bit larger than I thought it was going to be. After looking back at my Avacyn Restored speculation for the standard metagame, I think I was right on the money for most part. About 80% of what I said ended up becoming fact. I think these M13 cards are going to be a little bit harder to get right because it will largely depend on if the metagame changes. If you have any other cards you’d like to add to this list, please feel free to leave a comment! Otherwise, stick around for the other colors later this week.