Born of the Gods First Impressions: Winds of Change
With only 2 weeks until the Pre-release and about 10 days until the full spoiler is released, I think today is a good time to take a look at what we know so far about Born of the Gods and to speculate as to how it will change the standard metagame. There are there topics that I think are the most important to the metagame: Lands, the New Gods, and New Archetypes. All three of these will have a great affect on how we play Magic, so even if you aren’t too excited about what cards have been spoiled so far, you should at least start thinking about how the game of Magic is going to change next month.
By far, Temple of Englightment will make the biggest change in the metagame. UW control has up until now been using Azorius Guildgates, but that time is near its end. The addition of this scry land will make and already strong deck even stronger. Temple of Plenty and Temple of Malice will also effect the metagame. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but all the control decks in these colors will see increased play: Bant control, Grixis Control, Naya Control, Jund Control, etc.
Selesnya beatdown decks have also been doing well, and I think the GW scry land will definitely improve it’s numbers come February. I didn’t think too much of the lands when they first came out in Theros, but now I would probably recommend picking up a play set of each if you can find them at a good price. I remember picking up 4 of the Temple of Abandon at $2.80 a piece, so you should probably shoot for around that if possible.
So to sum up the impact of how the lands will change how we play MTG, I think there will be an increase of two color decks, there will be more control oriented strategies, and I also think that in turn this will mean a decrease in devotion decks (or at least how many people play them). The first set after a rotation is always said to have the most difficult metagame because of the lack of cards to play with. Thankfully we’ve gotten a variety of decks to choose from since October, but now the wait is over!
The New Gods
While all of the new gods haven’t been spoiled yet (I believe there is still one more to come at the time I write this article), the ones that have been spoiled lead me to believe that the gods are going to play a BIG part of the upcoming metagame, especially in aggro and midrange decks.
The most unexciting god so far is Ephara, but it’s not to say she isn’t a bad card. The reason I don’t like her now is because nobody has put together any UW competitive deck yet. Aside from Esper Midrange/Humans, there aren’t many other decks where this could see play. This card would actually fit well in that deck, especially if you were to use a Supreme Verdict on a bloated board. If you have a Xathrid Necromancer on the field, those zombie tokens would activate her second ability and let you draw an extra card in your next upkeep. Aside from that deck, I believe we could see more UW aggro decks in February, as well as some Bant decks where she could fit in. Card advantage in an aggro deck is always a great thing!
Xenagos, God of Revels SCREAMS to be played in a G/r devotion deck. He wants to give your Polukranos +10/+10 or your Arbor Colossus +6/+6. Teamed up with Nylea, God of the Hunt, he will be a force to be reckoned with. He could even make his Planeswalker’s form’s Satyr tokens into 4/4 creatures with haste. You would also have no problem activating his creature form in that type of deck. Naya Midrange would also be a good fit for the God of Revels, giving a card like Stormbreath Dragon +4/+4 (or +7/+7 if monstrous), and I even think Xenagos, God of Revels would work great with Kalonian Hydra (+4 when attacking, +4 when counters double for a total of 12 power and haste!). Better stock up on your Selesnya Charms and life gain cards like Trostani! We’re going to need it after GR decks go on steroids!
Mogis, God of Slaughter is a pretty solid card. A 7/5 indestructible creature that pings for 2 damage unless a player sacrifices a creature. I can see a Minotaur tribal deck with him as the center piece in the next month or so, and I also wonder if Rakdos, Lord of Riots could see play with him in an aggressive BR aggro or BR midrange deck. The deck has a lot of great removal, and it also the addition of the scry land come February. Look for him to add some oomph to BR midrange, Jund, and maybe even a Grixis midrange deck. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few Minotaur decks with him as well.
I think the god I’m looking forward to the most is Karametra, God of the Harvests. Besides being a 6/7 indestructible creature for 5 mana, it does a heck of a lot in the colors it’s in. You’re most likely going to play this card in a midrange deck, which means that you’ll play a turn 1 Elvish Mystic, Turn 2 Sylvan Carytid, and then play this on turn 3. From there on out you can start to suck the land out of your deck with Karametra while building up your devotion to her. I think she’d be great in conjunction with Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, and Aramada Wurm might even see more play. Another way to use Karametra would be in a 3 color deck. Mana fixing is hard right now in standard, but if you are playing with Sylvan Carytid and her, then you’re basically opening up the possibilities of some very strong Junk (GBW), Bant (WGU), and Naya (GRW) decks. Imagine grabbing a Godless Shrine, Hallowed Fountain, Temple Garden, Overgrown Tomb, Stomping Ground, Breeding Pool, or Sacred Foundry whenver you cast a creature. I believe this card is going to become a key card in green and white midrange decks in Spring.
As with any new set, new decks will emerge, and at the moment I think there are a few that have a chance of making it into Tier 2, and maybe even tier 1.
This guy is selling for next to nothing now, but I think that the aura archetype will become somewhat popular after the set is released. I played GW Auras with Gladecover Scout and Ethereal Armor, and I know how strong the deck can be. I think with this guy the deck might see some play. It would make previously unplayable Bestow creatures playable, and also add some playability to the heroic mechanic. Look for it to gain some traction in February.
There are quite a few cards that have been spoiled so far that create tokens, and this guy is already a frontrunner to be the best card in the set. Three mana for a 3/4 is already great, but giving him vigilance and also making tokens whenever he blocks or attacks? AWESOME. Put him in a deck with Voice of Resurgence, Advent of the Wurm, Call of the Conclave, and other token creators and you have a pretty potent deck. I think he’ll also do a lot for the white aggro decks such as Orzhov aggro and Esper midrange as well. He becomes a 4/5 for 3 mana when played with a Spear of Heliod, and that is scary, even for a 4/4 Loxodon Smiter.
I believe this card is better than Hero of Bladehold because it puts in tokens with vigilance which give you an extra blocker even when attacking. Sure you don’t get the Battle Cry, but this card is going to be pretty good in standard.
While I think that the Minotaur tribal theme will be great in sealed play, I don’t think it will reach tier 1 status in standard. Sure there will be a lot of people who play it for fun at FNM or other standard tournaments, but I don’t think you’ll see people playing it at Grand Prix or PTQs. This brings the whole tribe together nicely though. A Boros Reckoner for 2 mana, the Shaman that gives everybody +1/+1 would cost 2, Kragma Warcaller would be 3 and give haste and +2/+0 when attacking . . . there are quite a few minotaurs that I think would fit into this archetype well, and with access to Dreadbore, Doom Blade, and Hero’s Downfall, the removal package won’t be too bad either. This tribe will do a lot better than Slivers did in M14.
Other Things to Watch out for
While they won’t be changing the metagame any time soon there are a few other cards that will become incredibly important to the metagame. Drown in Sorrow and Bile Blight will be giving black a sorely needed board wipe against aggressive decks, and it will also give them a semi board wrath against devotion decks. Could you image casting a Drown in Sorrow against red devotion? It kills Burning-Tree Emissary, and Ash Zealot, and then all you’d have to do is use Bile Blight to take out all of their Boros Reckoners. I think these cards would be equally effective against mono blue, wiping out Nightveil Spectors and early Pack Rats.
With only a third of the cards spoiled, there are still more than a hundred we haven’t seen. Many people are already decrying this set as utter garbage, but I believe that it will do a number of things right. I think that limited/sealed play will be a lot better with this set than Theros alone, I think Born of the Gods will create new playable decks for the metagame, and I also think that it will improve many tier 2 decks that simply couldn’t cut it against the top decks like mono black and mono red before. We’ll have a full spoiler list in a little over a week, so don’t give up on the set just yet!