Oath of the Gatewatch

By Byron King
@DoneTheMath

 

Oath of the Gatewatch prerelease is this weekend, so it’s time to take a look at the new cards. Battle for Zendikar’s biggest contribution to Standard was the land cycle, making it absurdly easy to cast all of the gold cards from Khans block. Unsurprisingly, gold cards are usually pushed harder than single color cards, and Battle for Zendikar really only added Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger to the format.

This time should be different. Several Devoid cards look pushed hard enough to break into Standard and even Modern. The Eldrazi ramp deck should get enough of a boost to break into the top tier of Standard, headlined by Kozilek’s Return and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. There are some cards like Goblin Dark-Dwellers and Oath of Nissa that I can confidently say will find homes in Standard. And there is the usual smattering of cards like Jori En, Ruin Diver that could make the jump to constructed if the right deck is found.

A couple things before we get started.

I’m going to ignore the 2 Headed Giant applications of the Surge mechanic. I will assume that you want to play the card in a standard deck, so those cards will be evaluated as if you had to cast them after another spell on the same turn.

Because of the presence of Eldrazi Temple and Eye of Ugin in Modern, I will take a closer look at each of the cards with the Eldrazi creature type. That deck is in the early stages of development, so new potential cards deserve additional consideration. For non-Eldrazi cards, assume that a card probably doesn’t have what it takes for Modern/Legacy unless I specifically mention it.

Alright, let’s get to it.

AyliEternalPilgrim

The base stats on this card, a 2/3 for 2 with deathtouch, make this a playable card. Most of the abilities are not going to be used in a competitive tournament. Gaining life as a goal has never been a particularly effective plan, but someone will definitely try to combine this with Felidar Sovereign. It won’t work.

The sacrifice ability might put a copy or two of this into the Rally the Ancestors deck. However, attaching a mana cost to the sacrifice effect greatly diminishes the power. This won’t be replacing Nantuko Husk, and will mostly be a backup sacrifice effect to combat Infinite Obliteration.

 

BearerOfSilence

This is the throwback to Gatekeeper of Malakir from the original Zendikar block. Devoid has been pushed as a mechanic, but it is still unclear if it will be a player in Standard. Crackling Doom has already pushed the format into a place where this ability won’t be great, so I don’t have a lot of faith in the card. The body is not strong enough on its own, but this could be a sideboard card for certain matchups.

The Modern deck might be a different story. Currently, the deck is filled Processors and exiles cards with Scrabbling Claws and Relic of Progenitus. Bearer of Silence could take the place of Wasteland Strangler, freeing the spots that were dedicated to Claws and Relic for more impactful spells.

 

CallTheGatewatch

This card is packed with flavor and casual appeal. None of that is going to make it a constructed playable card. Call of the Gatewatch just costs too much mana, particularly with the heaping piles of powerful three cost cards already legal in Standard. A card that doesn’t interact with the opponent or progress your board needs a better impact than this to see any serious play.

 

CaptainsClaws

This doesn’t seem like a reliable way to trigger Rally or to generate a token army.  It’s just too slow, vulnerable, and the token is likely to die before doing anything relevant.  Bulk rare.

 

ChandraFlamecaller

I’ve seen multiple articles about this card, but I really don’t see the power. Memories of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion are still fresh in people’s minds, causing people to be more generous with their initial impressions of six mana planeswalkers. Or maybe there is some other reason that I’m just not seeing.

Chandra, Flamecaller has some decent abilities, but nothing that I would want to spend six mana on. The plus ability to make tokens is a decent way to close a game, but they are easily halted by some common threats in Standard (think Siege Rhino and Tasigur, the Golden Fang).

The zero ability draws cards, but Chandra, Flamecaller should only see play in midrange/control decks (due to the mana cost). A pure control deck won’t always want to activate the ability if the hand is already full of good, reactive cards. The draw ability is fine, but I wouldn’t consider it great most of the time. Unless you really need ways to fuel Delve or dump cards in the graveyard. Chandra’s got your back in that case.

The minus ability will wax and wane in power depending on the metagame shifts in Standard. If 3-4 damage is enough to kill most creatures in the popular decks, this ability is worth a lot. If Standard is filled with Siege Rhinos, things look grim for Chandra, Flamecaller.

This could pop up occasionally in decks, but my overall opinion is that Chandra, Flamecaller will join a long list of bad red planeswalkers.

 

CorruptedCrossroads

This is the Ally Encampment for Devoid creatures. Just worse in most ways, since it actually costs life to make colored mana, and it doesn’t have any additional utility. For this to be constructed playable, a multicolor Devoid deck will need to exist. It will also have to need sources of colorless mana, since the fetch land/battle land mana base would be stronger otherwise. If those criteria are met, this will be an auto include in that deck.

 

CrushOfTentacles

I’m unimpressed overall. It is possible that a deck can’t play white or black and needs a way to sweep the board, but that is the only reason this card will see play in the near future. The Delve mechanic limits the number of cheap spells available in the format, so it is tough to cast this and something else meaningful in the same turn. This could be a possible role player in a deck, but unlikely to see much real play.

 

DeceiverOfForm

This is a giant idiot with a cool ability. Unfortunately, cool does not mean good, so I don’t see Deceiver of Forms finding a home.

This isn’t going to see play in the Modern Eldrazi deck either. It costs too much and doesn’t do anything the deck needs.

 

DeepfathomSkulker

Turning all your creatures into Scroll Thiefs is a useful ability, as recently seen with Bident of Thassa. That ability is a lot worse on a six mana 4/4. The unblockable ability is a nice bonus, but not anything that usually sees constructed play.

I don’t think this card is better than Drowner of Hope, and that card has only seen fringe play in the U/G Eldrazi ramp deck. That deck used the scions as a defensive option normally, instead of using them to push through damage

 

DimensionalInfiltrator

This does a bunch of things almost good enough to make it in Standard. A 2/1 Flash, Flyer with an ability to protect itself is almost good enough. It might see play as a way for blue decks to pressure opposing planeswalkers. It might see play if blue is a primary color in a Standard Devoid deck, but I feel like black and red are the most likely colors to see constructed play. I don’t expect this to be a big player in Standard.

This can fit in a blue version of Modern Eldrazi, but I don’t think it has a home there either. Costing 1U keeps Eldrazi Temple from providing a significant mana reduction, and blue doesn’t add much to the deck overall.

I had someone suggest Dimensional Infiltrator as a way to fight Miracles in Legacy, which I guess is an option. The activated ability can mess with Counterbalance triggers, but they can just rearrange the top of the deck to minimize the effect. It also doesn’t pitch to Force of Will, for whatever that is worth.

Overall, there are a bunch of places this could potentially show up, but I don’t think it’s quite good enough for any of them

 

DranasChosen

Bulk rare. Not even a dedicated Ally deck will want this creature.

 

DreadDefiler

This is a giant idiot with an ability best suited for Commander games. There are some cute things you could do if you get this in play, but Dragonlord Atarka has the same converted mana cost. Not good enough to see constructed play outside 100 card decks.

Modern Eldrazi won’t want this card either. It costs too much, even with the reductions. The ability is pretty useless too.

 

EldraziDisplacer

Anyone who has played with Mistmeadow Witch should recognize the power of Eldrazi Displacer. This might as well be the Eldrazi Slap Chop because it does everything you could possibly want. It stops attackers; it clears out blockers; it murders Hangarback Walkers; it clears out tokens; it negates removal spells; it rebuys Siege Rhino triggers. You can have all this for only $19.95 plus shipping and handling. Or more like whatever the preorder price is at right now.

Eldrazi Displacer has enough power to see constructed play, but I don’t really know where it will find a home. I’ll leave that to the deck brewers. I might start with Zulaport Cutthroat and Brood Monitor, because that is adorable.

The Modern Eldrazi deck could easily end up playing this card. Blight Herder can’t be retriggered with the blink effect, but Wasteland Strangler’s trigger will happen again. There might be a place for Eldrazi Displacer in Modern.

 

EldraziMimic

There is a chance that this shows up in a constructed Devoid deck, but that will only be due to a lack of good two drops. Eldrazi Mimic will not reliably be larger than a 2/1, which is not a good enough rate. The ability to sometimes get larger seems inferior to Bearer of Silence, and I didn’t have great hopes for that card.

The Modern deck could technically play it on turn one, but I don’t think it has a home there. That could change if the deck takes on a more aggressive build.

 

EldraziObligator

There are a lot of unfavorable comparisons to Zealous Conscripts, but a card can be worse than Conscripts and still be good. Devoid has several good options at three mana, so I don’t see Eldrazi Obligator making the cut in a main deck. Any deck with 23+ lands should be able to run this card as a superior Threaten effect. It will normally be relegated to the sideboard though.

 

Endbringer

That is a lot of abilities to stick on one card. Unfortunately, I don’t really think it will make much of a mark in Standard. There are a lot of things that it can do on the opponent’s turn, but it is first and foremost a six mana 5/5. There aren’t going to be many decks interested in that rate.

Six mana is really the upper limit for most of the Eldrazi creatures in the Modern deck. I don’t really think this card is better than Oblivion Sower in that slot.

 

FallOfTheTitans

This is not a fun card to trigger Surge without a 2HG partner. X spells inherently want all the mana you can generate when you cast it, and triggering Surge will require spending some of your mana on something else. Fall of the Titans is packed with flavor, and it will be packing bulk boxes for the rest of time.

 

GeneralTazri

If you ever wanted to play Allies in Commander, this is your card. If you didn’t, you can just be sad when you open this in a pack.

 

GladehartCavalry

There is probably a Commander deck that wants this. There will be Draft decks that want this. No Standard deck will want this.

 

GoblinDarkDwellers

Goblin Dark-Dwellers will be a Standard powerhouse. It isn’t quite as powerful, but there is definitely a comparison to be made to Bloodbraid Elf. Cascade got around counterspells, but knowing the spell in advance makes Goblin Dark-Dwellers a more reliable card. There are tons of great spells to rebuy, and I feel obligated to point out the strength of Crackling Doom here. If nothing else, there should be room in Dark Jeskai for a little more card advantage stapled to a decent sized threat.

A converted mana cost of five will probably keep Goblin Dark-Dwellers out of Modern.

 

HedronAlignment

Alternate win conditions are sweet, but this won’t be seeing any play in successful Standard decks. But I feel like I need to repeat how sweet this card is.

Legacy has access to Intuition, which is the easiest way to find multiple cards with the same name. Probably still not good enough, but that is the most likely home for Hedron Alignment

 

HissingQuagmire

Lands that can activate to become creatures are good. I’m not going to waste time explaining why, since Shambling Vents has been performing well for the last four months. The only reason that Lumbering Falls doesn’t see any play is because of the dearth of decks running both green and blue.

If you are playing green and black, you should be playing Hissing Quagmire. If you want to make your deck better, you should probably add more of them.

 

InverterOfTruth

This is a giant beater along the lines of Abyssal Persecutor, but even less playable. Decks that really want efficient creatures are aggressive decks. Those decks do not put enough cards into the graveyard. Inverter of Truth will deck it’s pilot before it can kill an opponent most of the time.

Maybe someone can combine Inverter of Truth with Laboratory Maniac in Modern or Legacy. Or maybe find some other convoluted combo.

 

JoriEnRuinDiver

Anything that lets you draw cards for casting spells requires a closer look. There might be enough power in Jori En, Ruin Diver to find a home in Dark Jeskai, but that deck might not have a spot. The fetch land/battle land mana in Standard encourages splashing colors in an Izzet deck. There probably isn’t room for Jori En, Ruin Diver in Standard until decks are back to playing less powerful lands.

This effect is probably too slow for a deck in Modern or Legacy to utilize. Most decks that want to cast spells and draw cards are either:

  1. A combo deck that wants to cast a ton of spells on one turn
  2. A control deck that does not want a target for Lightning Bolt

I don’t think Jori En, Ruin Diver will make it outside of Standard.

 

KalitasTraitorOfGhet

This feels like it was tweaked to fight against Rally the Ancestors. It has a decent sized body (as long as you ignore Siege Rhino as a comparison). Lifelink is a nice bonus, along with the ability to grow itself by sacrificing creatures. This is a proactive hate card for Rally that isn’t embarrassing if you need to play an honest game. It should get additional support in the next block (Innistrad), since Vampires and Zombies were both present there. This will be a solid role player in Standard.

 

KozileksReturn

Why did this card have to be a mythic? I remember when mythics were supposed to be cards like Godsire. Rant, rant, grumble, grumble, grumble.

Kozilek’s Return will make an impact in Standard. Some decks that can generate the mana will prefer Radiant Flames, but the Eldrazi Ramp decks will use Kozile’s Return since they can trigger the back end. Decks with counterspells might also prefer Kozilek’s Return, due to it being an instant.

Getting a free board wipe when casting a giant creature is a huge advantage. Often, decks that swarm will be able to just go around a single giant monster, rendering it fairly useless on defense. Five damage clears out everything in the format that isn’t an Eldrazi, so this means your giant monster halts any kind of offense, as well as being a giant theat. Combining this with Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger will allow you to clear out any troublesome planeswalkers or utility lands. Combining this with Kozilek, the Great Distortion will give you the potential to counter any removal spells or additional waves of creatures.

Modern Tron decks could run this, as the triggered ability clears out all of the fair creatures in the format. However, the deck might not run enough creatures to trigger it reliably. The deck only runs three Wurmcoil Engines and no more than two copies of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and/or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. That could easily change with the printing of Kozilek, the Great Distortion.

I feel like this is the most powerful card in the set, and should push the Eldrazi ramp deck into the top tier of Standard decks. I can’t imagine this card not finding a home.

 

KozilekTheGreatDistortion

Kozilek, the Great Distortion is powerful. Let’s get that covered first so there isn’t any doubt that I think otherwise. Eldrazi ramp decks in standard will play some mix of Kozilek and Ulamog, but I don’t know what the correct mix will be. Both have powerful, but very different cast triggers, and will be strong against different decks. Kozilek and Kozilek’s Return will make sure that Eldrazi have a place in Standard. Requiring double colorless mana will require a little additional work to the manabase, but it shouldn’t be too hard. Shrine of the Forsaken Gods produces the required mana without any help, as does Hedron Archive. Haven of the Spirit Dragon can even help if the deck is still interested in Dragonlord Atarka.

Buiding the Eldrazi ramp deck in standard might require more work than simply slotting Kozilek into an existing shell. The counterspell ability requires a good range of casting costs in the deck. That shouldn’t be a problem, but three cost cards will become more valuable in the deck.

Modern Tron and Eldrazi decks could both be interested in Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Lots of testing will be needed to see if it is better than Ulamog, or if they should both be together in either of those decks.

 

LinvalaThePreserver

This is a solid finisher against aggressive decks. Both triggers are great at stopping an offensive rush, and then quickly closing out a game. It is much weaker against control, as the life does not matter much, and triggering the token will be very difficult. There are some control decks that will probably use Linvala, the Preserver to bridge the gap to Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. There will be other decks that use Dragonlord Ojutai instead. Anything but the most dedicated Dragon deck should at least consider Linvala as a finisher option.

 

MatterReshaper

This card is sweet. A three mana 3/2 is respectable, if not great. However, the trigger means it replaces itself when it dies, and the new card sometimes come with a Black Lotus and Flash attached. A deck playing this will want a decent number of cheap permanents, so it will be skewed towards an aggressive deck. Standard’s excellent mana could struggle to fit a colorless mana card into something like Dark Jeskai, but there will be plenty of other decks that try to fit this in. Expect this to see plenty of play in Standard. If it doesn’t show up initially, it should make a resurgence after Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged rotate, taking the fetch lands with them.

This card could easily make its way into the Modern Eldrazi deck, and might be powerful enough to see play in other decks capable of generating colorless mana. Decks that could be interested would have to be grindy midrange decks like Jund, Abzan, or Grixis, which would all require a reworking of the manabase. Matter Reshaper is not enough to warrant that alone, but it could be worth it in tandem with other additions (like Thought-Know Seer)

 

MinaAndDennWildborn

Bulk rare. There is nothing to see here.

 

Mirrorpool

There is a lot of potential in Mirrorpool. This is the kind of utility land that only control decks can really use to full advantage.   The expensive activations and coming into play tapped are both strikes against Mirrorpool in an aggressive decks. Clone and Fork are both better with expensive cards, and those are found in slow midrange and control decks. Dig through Time is probably the best current target for Mirrorpool, but there are several juicy targets available. The first Dig through Time is often not enough to close out a game, but the second one is almost always enough. If a slow deck can afford another tapped land, and can support the colorless costs, Mirrorpool is a powerful addition.

 

MundasVanguard

Cohort is not a keyword designed for constructed. This is a bulk rare.

 

NeedleSpires

See Hissing Quagmire. There is some synergy with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar’s emblem, as another mark in favor of this land. If you are playing these colors, you should probably be playing this land.

 

NissaVoiceOfZendikar

There have been a lot of mixed feelings about Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and I’m still not exactly sure where it lands. Comparing it to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is a pretty rough example, since Gideon blows it out of the water. Let’s go over the abilities one at a time.

The plus ability to generate a 0/1 plant token is not exciting. However, it meets one of the golden rules for planeswalkers by defending itself (if poorly). The minus ability can turn the plant tokens, along with whatever else you have in play, into larger threats. Nissa encourages flooding the board with creatures with both the plus and minus ability, so the rest of the deck should synergize with that plan. The other option is to use Nissa as a way to soak up damage (with the plant tokens) to fog a creature several turns and attempt to ultimate. The ultimate is powerful, but that should rarely be a consideration for the playability of planeswalkers.

Nissa will belong in one of two decks. The first is a token deck that is likely built around Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Retreat to Emeria. The second is an Abzan superfriends deck, featuring Sorin, Solemn Visitor and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar.

Overall, I liked Nissa, Voice of Zendikar more before seeing Oath of Gideon. I can’t imagine Nissa, Voice of Zendikar in a deck without Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and the Oath of Gideon just does the same job better. Oath of Gideon is also a better draw when you are behind, generating two blockers with power instead of one blocker without a point of power. Nissa might find a home, but I’m not exactly sure where that is right now.

 

OathOfChandra

This is a Draconic Roar that works with planeswalkers instead of dragons. Pick the appropriate one for your deck if you need that effect. Remember that Oath of Chandra doesn’t synergize with Soulfire Grand Master.

 

OathOfGideon

Two 1/1 tokens for three mana is not a great rate, but there are a ton of upsides with Oath of Gideon. Giving planeswalkers an additional starting loyalty can be extremely powerful in the right deck. The minus ability Gideon, Ally of Zendikar does not kill it, Jace, Telepath Unbound can recast spells twice in a row, and Sorin, Solemn Visitor comes into play only one activation away from the ultimate. The tokens are beneficial beyond blocking for your various planeswalkers, as Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and Sorin, Solemn Visitor all provide power increases to creatures. The tokens from Oath of Gideon are also the Ally creature type, for whatever that is worth.

I expect Oath of Gideon to see quite a bit of play.

 

OathOfJace

As a pure card draw spell, this simply can’t compete with Painful Truths, Treasure Cruise, or Dig through Time. That means that a deck needs to value putting cards in the graveyard for Oath of Jace to be worth a spot. Rally the Ancestors might play it, but I don’t see a control deck tapping out to end up neutral on cards (drawing three, discarding two, and costing the card to play). When Khans of Tarkir rotates, the delve draw spells will be gone, along with the fetches that power Painful Truths. Oath of Jace might be worth a second look then if nothing better has come along.

The scry ability might as well not exist. Keeping a planeswalker in play until your next turn is a difficult proposition, and is reward enough when it happens. Getting free scry triggers is just an extra bonus.

 

OathOfNissa

This card just seems phenomenal to me. Having Oath of Nissa in your opening hand allows you to dig for lands when you don’t have enough, and digs for action to improve your curve if you’ve got enough lands. That is a powerful effect for one mana. The only downside is a deck filled with spells can occasionally just whiff on the ability. As long as that isn’t a concern, any green deck you are playing will be a more consistent deck with this card.

The static bonus for mana fixing planeswalkers is nice. It makes the curve of Nissa, Voice of Zendikar into Gideon, Ally of Zendikar much more reliable.

Just in case you are skimming, I’ll say it again. Play this card in your green creature deck. Oath of Nissa will make the deck more consistent. More consistent decks are better decks.

 

OverwhelmingDenial

Four mana counterspells are not good enough in Standard. For Overwhelming Denial to see play, the Surge cost needs to be reliably triggered. Standard has very few instants that are both cheap and good, which is a strong mark against it. It also has to compete with Scatter to the Winds and Silumgar’s Scorn, where I can’t see Overwhelming Denial coming out ahead.

I originally had some hope for this in Modern, but I’ve given up on that. This is a two mana counterspell with cards like Lightning Bolt or Thought Scour, but you won’t be able to use it as a two mana spell on turn two. Unless you play something like Gut Shot. Overall, I’d rather have Mana Leak or Remand in Modern.

 

RealitySmasher

I like things that look like Ball Lightning, so I think Reality Smasher is a sweet card. Sweet cards aren’t necessarily good cards, and I’m not sure Reality Smasher will have a place in Standard. If it does, it will be the curve topper in a Devoid deck. Otherwise, it will be a sideboard card for something like Eldrazi ramp when it needs an answer to planeswalkers.

This is probably the second most exciting card for the Modern Eldrazi deck (I haven’t gotten to the best one yet). Getting Reality Smasher into play on turn three is a great way to smash your opponent’s face into the ground. Unlike Blight Herder, Reality Smasher doesn’t need to process something, making it a more reliable card. However, it is much weaker to Liliana of the Veil. I have high expectations for Reality Smasher in Modern.

 

RemorselessPunishment

I can’t imagine this making any deck in Standard. Trade all of these to that guy that likes playing with Browbeat. Just stay away.

 

RuinsOfOranRief

This is a sweet reference to Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. Unfortunately, that card didn’t make much of a mark on Standard when it was around. I don’t have much expectation that its ruined remains will fare much better. This effect is strongest in an aggressive deck, and those decks are the most punished for running tapped lands. If a Devoid deck exists that doesn’t have any plays on the first couple turns of a game, there might be hope for Ruins of Oran-Rief. I’m not hopeful for that happening.

 

SeaGateWreckage

Library of Alexandria is the first card that comes to mind, and that is a great card to be compared to. It’s obviously not that good, but there are definitely some homes for Sea Gate Wreckage. Any deck that can generate enough colorless mana and can support additional colorless lands should be playing this card.

 

SifterOfSkulls

This is a bulk rare. The only deck that could consider running this is the Rally the Ancestors deck, and Sifter of Skulls is essentially a less reliable Eyeless Watcher. Rally didn’t play that card either.

 

SphinxOfTheFinalWord

This will be a metagame dependant finisher for control decks. It won’t be good very often, but it will occasionally have breakout weekends. It is also worse than Pearl Lake Ancient, so it will probably see zero play until that rotates with Khans of Tarkir.

Sphinx of the Final Word seems like a sweet reanimator target in older formats, but I think it is going to fall short. Inkwell Leviathan is a faster and more evasive target against opposing blue decks, and Griselbrand is stronger against an unknown deck. There isn’t a lot of hope for this sphinx.

 

StoneforgeMasterwork

I could type a bunch of words about how there might be a hope for this card, but there really isn’t. Stay away.

 

StoneHavenOutfitter

I don’t think any deck can play this in Standard unless it is filled with Allys or (more likely) Eldrazi Spawn tokens. Neither of those are likely to be good decks, so I would stay away from Stone haven Outfitter.

 

SylvanAdvocate

The best way to evaluate this card is to ignore all the text between Vigilance and 2/3. If your deck is in the market for a 2/3 Vigilance creature for two mana, this is your guy. Awoken hasn’t really made a mark in Standard, so the extra text is really only going to grow Sylvan Advocate when you have a bunch of lands. It’s a nice bonus, but not the metric you should use to evaluate the card.

Overall, Sylvan Advocate is a decent beater if you are worried about blocking against Atarka Red. It may be good enough in Abzan Aggro, but I think both Heir of the Wilds and Snapping Gnarlid work better in that spot.

 

ThoughtKnotSeer

This is my favorite card in the set. It might not have the raw power of Kozilek’s Return in the Eldrazi ramp deck, but the applications of Thought-Knot Seer are far wider reaching. As a four mana 4/4, Thought-Knot Seer has an acceptable, if unexciting, body. However, the ability is absolutely, completely, and totally busted. Black usually has similar abilities attached to weak creatures like Brain Maggot. Tidehollow Sculler has an appropriate sized body and sees some play in Modern, despite the strict color requirements. Vendillion Clique is the best comparison, and that card still sees play in Modern and Legacy. The only reason Clique didn’t see much play in Standard was because of its single toughness in a format filled with both Bitterblossom and Spectral Procession. Blue really appreciates the flash ability of Vendillion Clique, but this is the first time white, red, or green has had access to hand disruption. Not only that, but Thought-Knot Seer does not replace the card immediately. It does not return the card like Brain Maggot, Mesmeric Fiend, or Tidehollow Sculler. It gives a random new card, not returning the original target.

If a devoid deck exists in Standard, there will be copies of Thought-Knot Seer in it. If the Eldrazi ramp deck can generate colorless mana reliably on turn four, it will play Thought-Knot Seer. If Dark Jeskai can figure out how to generate colorless, it would play Thought-Knot Seer. The only deck I could conceivably see that might skip on Thought-Knot Seer is Abzan Aggro, since it already wants Gideon and Siege Rhino at four mana. Well, some control decks might pass on a four mana Thoughtseize effect, if they plan to win with something like Dragonlord Ojutai.

This is the slam dunk best addition to the Modern Eldrazi deck. You can get Thought-Knot Seer into play on turn two, which gives provides disruption against all the combo decks, establishes a quick clock, and enables processing if that is still a thing (I’m not sure it’s necessary after the addition of Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher).

This card is busted.

 

TyrantOfValakut

Another card that is only really good if you can trigger the Surge cost. That seems difficult on a card that costs 5 mana as a best case scenario. I don’t expect this card to see any play.

 

VileRedeemer

A three mana 3/3 with flash isn’t a terrible rate, but the ability has a history of not quite being good enough. This might have some niche sideboard applications, but it won’t be running rampant through tournaments.

 

WanderingFumarole

See Hissing Quagmire and Needle Spires. Play copies of this in your deck. Crush opponents with a blue land that can attack for four. Profit

 

WorldBreaker

I expect World Breaker to see play in Eldrazi Ramp decks, solely due to the existance of Kozilek’s Return. This is the best card you can cast to trigger it before reaching ten mana for Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Beyond that, it is a recursive threat that blocks flyers, which are both things that the Eldrazi Ramp deck would love to have. Expect to see this in the Oath of the Gatewatch Eldrazi ramp decks, either in the deck or the sideboard. I would expect the former more than the latter.

I don’t really expect this to make a showing in the Modern Eldrazi deck. That deck doesn’t really want to play green, and seven mana is a lot even with access to a bunch of Ancient Tombs. The only place this is likely to see play outside of Standard is in Commander.

 

ZendikarResurgent

We get to end the review with a casual card that will start at bulk prices. Think Mana Reflections without a supply problem to drive up the price. Pick up one for a quarter when you need it for a Commander deck, or take one late in a draft to sell as a bulk rare, but don’t put it in your Standard deck.

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