What to Expect: The Impact of Gatecrash on the Metagame – White, Blue, and Black
The 2nd installment of “What to Expect” will be covering the White, Blue, and Black cards of Gatecrash. Today’s article will probably be centered largely around how control decks. We’ll dip our toes into aggro a little bit as well, since white also has some battalion cards. First off is white.
Blind Obedience is sure to be a high impact card in various archetypes. On the surface it looks like a great card for control. For 2 mana, you get an enchantment that acts like Kismet, tapping all creatures and artifacts that come into play. In a format FULL of creatures with Haste (Thundermaw Hellkite, Hellrider), as well as creatures with flash (Restoration Angel, Snapcaster Mage), this card works two fold. First, it slows down hyper aggressive decks, buying you time to set up your end game. It also gives control decks early aggression so to speak. You can start draining your opponent each time you Murder one of his creatures, counter a spell , or whenever you draw a card with a spell.
The second way this can be used is in an aggressive aggro deck such as RW humans or GW humans. Both decks tend to play a lot of fast creatures and depend on the opponent being unable to block in order to deal lethal damage. Blind Obedience lets you stay one step ahead of your opponent, tapping flashed in Restoration Angels or other would be blockers in turns 3,4, and 5. In aggressive decks like those, you could have the game finished by turn 5.
You’ll definitely see this in Esper, UWR, and BW control, but be on the look out for this card in two color aggro decks as well. If you play GW or RW aggro, consider putting 2 in the main to help you win those mirror match ups where every point of damage counts.
Frontline Medic is a great card, don’t get me wrong, but I think it was overhyped a little bit. Yes it’s great in aggressive Boros, Selesnya, and other White/X decks, but there are so many other great 3 drops (Loxodon Smiter, Silverblade Paladin, Boros Reckoner) that it becomes lost in the meta and takes a back seat to them. Will it see play? Yes, will it be as popular as the previously mentioned cards? That will depend on the metagame. It’s great to have an answer to Sphinx’s Revelation, Bonfire of the Damned, and Entreat the Angels in white decks, but until those strategies become dominant I think the Medic will only see some play.
Gideon WILL see some play, he’ll just be contained to control decks much like he was before in UW miracles, UWB Super Friends (with other WBU planeswalkers), or UWB (Esper) control. If your deck can continuously wipe the board after Gideon has gained some counters, your opponent is pretty much screwed. He’s an alternate win condition, and is difficult to take out outside of Selesnya Charm or Tribute to Hunger. He’s down to about 1800 yen here in Japan so far, but you can be sure he’ll be down to past Gideon levels soon (around 1200 yen).
Outside of the rares, I think that Daring Skyjek might see some play in a Battalion deck eventually, and Murder Investigation might pop up in a token deck as well. These are both low probabilities, but I think each card is playable in standard.
The only rare card from blue that I think will see some standard play is Enter the Infinite. This will probably be a fun card to use in older formats, but it also looks like a card for Omnidoor Thragfire control decks that are all about dropping a massive bomb at the last moment. Once you have the mana (and that deck gets to 12 mana pretty damn fast), you can drop an Omniscience then combo out your opponent for the win after drawing this card with an Increasing Ambition. It should be a lot of fun to play with, and I’m sure famous players like Travis Woo are already trying to make a deck with it.
Gridlock and Aetherize seem like good cards to use in a control deck that is looking to slow down fast aggro decks. I could see either of those cards finding 2 slots in a Bant (GWU) or Esper (WBU) deck, at least in the sideboard.
Sometimes non Red or Black control decks want to blow something up. Rapid Hybridization gives them just that. Kill anything, but give them a 3/3 token in return. I don’t think this will work in Blue/Black, BWU, or UWR control decks, but it could see some sideboard spots in Bant (GWU) and Simic (UG) decks to take out cards that couldn’t be countered due to Cavern of Souls. We won’t see a lot of right right now, but after a few weeks when Bant is back, you’ll see it getting some play.
Cloudfin Raptor seems like it could fit into a deck or two in the future, namely a Simic/Bant aggro build, and I also kind of like Spell Rupture in blue/X aggro decks that have large creatures like Loxodon Smiter early in the game. Not sure either of these will see a lot of play though.
Black has quite a few borderline cards. A lot of them are situational, but given that situation they are incredibly powerful. Take Illness in the Ranks for example. It’s a great card against token decks, but sucks against everything else. Thrull Parasite is another card that I think has a lot of applications (especially as a one drop), but in the current metagame it would get eaten and spit out as nothing but bones. Its ability and extort make it great against control decks however. So what cards do I think will see some play?
Sure we have Glaring Spotlight now to deal with Hexproof creatures, but before that many people used Tribute to Hunger from Innistrad to take care of a turn 3 Geist of Saint Traft. Yes your opponent gains life equal to the creature’s toughness, but isn’t +2 life better than you taking 6 damage? This card will definitely see some play in sideboards against decks like UWR midrange/beatdown where your opponent is running 4 Geists of Saint Traft.
I think this card could see some play in WB token or WB control decks in the future. Throw in plenty of removal spells like Murder, Ultimate Price, Devour Flesh, etc, and you’ll be swimming in rats in no time (shudders thinking of that image). Okay, bad choice of words, but you get my point. If you’re playing WB with 4 Intangible Virtues, those rats could be 4/4 deathtouch/vigilance rats, and that would be pretty scary. Add in Lingering Souls, Increasing Devotion, and some other token effects and you could have a pretty oppressive token deck.
Another card that I think could be broken in the future is Undercity Informer. He lets you sacrifice a creature and mill an opponent until they hit a land. In a token deck you’d have more than enough fodder to work with.
I’m still trying to decide whether or not to include multicolor cards in the next article along with Green and Red or to just do an article separately. There are tons of good cards in all of the remaining colors, so we’ll see. The next article will be out before the weekend, so be sure to check back in a few days. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome. If you think I skipped over a card that has been performing amazingly at standard events where you live, please share the information with us. Thanks for reading.