March 08 2016 Tuesday at 01:15 AM

Telling Time - Shadows Over Innistrad Episode 1

As the releases of both the Oath of the Gatewatch and Shadows over Innistrad expansions creeps ever closer, day by day, minute by minute, second by second, one can only speculate what new toys Wizards will see fit to bestow upon us.  With no certain certainties, I can still fill a few pages and a lunch break with some speculation about what I would do with some fancy new Shadows cards in Magic Duels -

Heir of Falkenrath

Without any synergies at all, this card could become the best two-drop in Duels.  Forerunner of Slaughter almost competes, but the evasion is key, especially with Ramp so popular.  At uncommon, building some discard/graveyard synergies into your deck is reasonable.  Ideas?  Well, this set beats you over the head with some ideas, but without getting into other new cards, what about discarding Gaea’s Revenge and Necromantic Summoning it two turns later?  Reanimator will be a lot better if we don’t have to play a third color to stock our yard.  Not spicy enough?  OK, I’ll hit you over the head with the synergies -

Incorrigible Youths

I was there for the first go-round of the Madness mechanic.  Wild Mongrel + Arrogant Wurm.  Psychatog + Circular Logic.  The mechanic turns the disadvantage of discarding into a serious beating with only upside.  In Duels, I fear we will likely not get enough enablers or payoff cards, as has been the case with Ingest and Allies, but perhaps the card picker team (I picture a bunch of nerdy-types locked in a lab, paid outrageously for what should be a simple task) will learn from their follies and get it right this time.

So yeah, remember that Rakdos deck we’ve been working on since yesterday’s Oath card review?  We can do better.  Turn two Heir of Falkenrath, turn three discard Incorrigible Youths, attack with a 3/2 flier and a 4/3 haste.  Go ahead, Moss me.

Worried that I am living in magical fairy-tale unicorn Christmas land with this curve-out?  Looking for more raw power, less synergy?  I think I can accommodate you.

Archangel Avacyn

What the what?

What comes to mind when I read this card is “raw power”.  Either side of this card would be amazing.  As a Duels one-of, building up the synergy around this card is unnecessary.  You can’t plan on drawing it, but when you do it will just wreck the opponent.  What deck doesn’t this go into?  It is fantastic for aggro or control, and the dual nature of the card just ensures that it goes into all the White decks available.  Currently, white has it pretty rough.  Most of the creatures are vanilla losers.  If we get more good white creatures to stand with Gideon and Avacyn as the mythic killers, White will be a color to be reckoned with.  So how to flip Avacyn?  Sacrificing a Scion Token sounds easy enough.  Nantuko Husk also lives for the job, as does Fleshbag.  It will happen, and there will be hell to pay.  The card is also the planeswalker killer and finisher that Esper Control and UW Control really needs.  If nothing else, 3WW untapped could mean things a lot worse than Hixus.

So how about those good White creatures?

Bygone Bishop

Remember Mentor of the Meek?  This is his slightly upgraded cousin.  For the same 2W you get flying and an extra point of toughness, leaving this Spirit Cleric harder to kill.  Now tack on the ability - every cheap critter you cast lets you investigate, which gives you an artifact and later lets you draw a card.  Some things to note - Bishop triggers when you CAST a creature with converted cost three or less.  It doesn’t have to resolve, you still get the Clue.  You don’t have to pay one upon casting like with Mentor, you get the Clue for free and you can use it whenever you want.  A Clue is an artifact.  This means you can use it to keep Esperzoa around for another turn.  You can also loop your Esperzoa to make a Clue each turn if so inclined.  You can tap your Clues to activate Whirler Rogue, or for the spicy, Ghirapur Aether Grid!  Pia and Kiran Nalaar can fling Clues at the opponent and their creatures.  Clues can trigger Thopter Spy Network.  Barrage Ogre can throw them!  I think that is about it, oh wait, you can pay 2 mana any time and sacrifice a Clue to draw a card, turn every weenie in your deck into Elvish Visionary….even Elvish Visionary!

Declaration in Stone

If we get this, it will be some of the finer removal in Duels.  Sure, the opponent gets a Clue, but you get to exile their Ulamog, Reality Smasher, or other amazing thing for just two mana!  But what if you target one, just one, Thopter token?  Well unfortunately for the Duels Origins sweetheart deck, all the Thopters get exiled!  Same for Elf Tokens, Omnath Elementals, Gideon Knights, Dragon Fodder Goblins and so on.  And no Clues if you nail the tokens.  This card is a good one.

Erie Interlude

I doubt we get this card.  If we do, I will spend a lot of time trying to cast this on my opponents end step, and casting Planar Outburst on my turn, only to see all my creatures return on my end step.  Blow-out!  I will also enjoy doing this with cards like Whirler Rogue on the table.  More Thopters please!  Since this card targets, you don’t have to exile things like tokens that would fail to return.  Oh, and this plus Possessed Skaab and Greenwarden of Murasa will create a potentially endless loop that will require instant-speed removal to break up.  Too good for Duels?  I suspect so.


I am not much for one mana 1/1s, but this little spirit has me interested.  The problem I see is getting Delirium active in a color like White that traditionally doesn’t have self-mill options.  Sure, you can add another color, but because Duels dual lands EtB tapped most of the time we really reduce our chances of casting this on turn one.  And of course, Twin Bolt makes this card look really bad if we have any other one-toughness creatures in our deck.  I don’t think this will turn out to be a big deal.

Geralf’s Masterpiece

In most formats, this card will likely be a bust.  In Duels, this card will be a big game.  Remember Heir of Falkenrath?  Discard this guy on turn three, use the ability on turn four, have a 7/7 flyer on turn five if you can cast another card or two.  High risk, potentially high reward.  Oblivion Strike will likely keep this card from being a runaway success in Duels, but just having it in the set would really add to the power level of the format.  7/7 flying is a planeswalker killer, a player killer, and it dwarfs Avacyn herself.

Sticking to the theme of big mythic monsters -

Mindwrack Demon

More great rates that continue to push the power level forward.  Go ahead, Acid Moss me, I just cast a 4 / 5 flying trample on turn four!  The Delirium effect could be an issue as life-gain is not easy to access in Duels.  I am thinking about cards like Jorubai Murk Lurker and Ondu Rising to keep up in the life race, but it may all be unnecessary.  The card reminds me a bit of the days of Suicide/Hatred/Necropotence Black, where finishing with 1 life was fine as long as the opponent was at zero.

Hey, those Suicide Black decks had a lot of zombies, which reminds me of -

Relentless Dead

Now that is an awesome Zombie, among the best of all the times.  In Duels, we could use it to set up endless regurgitations of Fleshbag Marauders and Nantuko Husks.  Honestly I feel this card is too good for Duels, and I doubt we get it, but if we do there will be sad stories about the turn two Relentless Dead.

Alright readers, I am calling it a night, but you better believe I will be back with more Shadows speculation and more Duels Diaries!

<3 CGB

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