Zendikar playables

I was curious as to what percentage of a Magic set consisted of “Constructed Playables.” For the sake of this research, I considered anything that made it into a deck played at a constructed Pro-Tour (Standard and Extended – I did not include Block, as that is a format that often requires you to plkay sub-optimal cards for lack of a better option.) This included 1-ofs and sideboard only cards (that is the sole function of some cards). Obviously, not all the cards on the list are of equal value, some appearing once and some becoming format staples, but the question here is whether a card was good enough for a “Pro” player to consider it for his deck.

I undertook the research with Zendikar, a set that’s been around for awhile and is soon to rotate. It’s always possible that 1 or 2 other cards could sneak into a Standard tournament, or even later in an Extended or Legacy deck, but I think it’s been around long enough for this analysis. Here is the result:

96 Pro-Tour playables:

Armament Master
Arrow Volley Trap
Brave the Elements
Conqueror’s Pledge
Day of Judgment
Devout Lightcaster
Emeria Angel
Felidar Sovereign
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Journey to Nowhere
Kabira Evangel
Kazandu Blademaster
Kor Aeronaut
Kor Hookmaster
Kor Outfitter
Kor Sanctifiers
Kor Skyfisher
Luminarch Ascension
Quest for the Holy Relic
Steppe Lynx
Sunspring Expedition
World Queller
Archive Trap
Cancel
Cosi’s Trickster
Hedron Crab
Into the Roil
Kraken Hatchling
Mindbreak Trap
Spell Pierce
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Sphinx of Lost Truths
Spreading Seas
Bloodchief Ascension
Bloodghast
Disfigure
Gatekeeper of Malakir
Grim Discovery
Malakir Bloodwitch
Marsh Casualties
Mind Sludge
Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
Quest for the Gravelord
Ravenous Trap
Sadistic Sacrament
Sorin Markov
Vampire Hexmage
Vampire Lacerator
Vampire Nighthawk
Burst Lightning
Chandra Ablaze
Elemental Appeal
Goblin Bushwhacker
Goblin Guide
Goblin Ruinblaster
Hellkite Charger
Mark of Mutiny
Plated Geopede
Punishing Fire
Pyromancer Ascension
Unstable Footing
Warren Instigator
Zektar Shrine Expedition
Grazing Gladehart
Harrow
Khalni Heart Expedition
Lotus Cobra
Mold Shambler
Nissa Revane
Nissa’s Chosen
Oracle of Mul Daya
Oran-Rief Survivalist
Rampaging Baloths
River Boa
Scute Mob
Summoning Trap
Vines of Vastwood
Adventuring Gear
Eldrazi Monument
Expedition Map
Trusty Machete
Akoum Refuge
Arid Mesa
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Graypelt Refuge
Jwar Isle Refuge
Kabira Crossroads
Kazandu Refuge
Marsh Flats
Misty Rainforest
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Scalding Tarn
Sejiri Refuge
Teetering Peaks
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Verdant Catacombs

There were also 9 other cards that I found used in other competitive decks, although I couldn’t find them in a Pro Tour decklist. If anyone can find such, please let me know.

Kor Duelist
Ondu Cleric
Rite of Replication
Roil Elemental
Sea Gate Loremaster
Trapmaker’s Snare
Obsidian Fireheart
Runeflare Trap
Blade of the Bloodchief

That makes 105/229 = 45.85%. This number would obviously be much smaller if we only counted format staples or at least regulars. Following up on some of my previous posts, this suggests that there is a lot of limited fodder in these sets. Still, over 100 cards in a set that can be played in competitive tournaments doesn’t seem too bad. This is just further argument for not opening booster packs unless you are drafting, as you are most likely to get limited fodder rather than constructed playables. If I ran further numbers, I would suspect that most of the unplayables are commons, which means booster packs are full of this garbage.

Shriekhorn – what is it good for?

I bought a Mirrodin Besieged booster pack today. I figured my odds of getting something cool were better in a small set, but alas, nothing really cool appeared. I won’t go into all the details this time, except to complain about my third Slagstorm. I know it’s a decent card, but at it’s current price, I only really need one, since I could proxy it, and it’s not like it’s a card I would have ever bought as a single. Again, not because it is a bad card, but because it’s a tournament niche card, and that is not really my niche. Well, maybe someday I’ll find a use for it (it does have some potential in multiplayer, for example, but you got to be playing some real fatties), or find someone who actually wants them and trade them for something better.

My real issue with this booster pack comes in the form of Shriekhorn.

MTG Card: Shriekhorn

This was my third one, but I haven’t really paid it much attention until now. What kind of deck would ever want this card? It comes with three uses, unless you have something to recharge it (proliferation or what have you), but why would you bother? I could see some usefulness if it milled 6 or 10 cards at a pop, but 2?? Even with a Megrim, this card by itself represents 6 damage. Might as well just play 2 Lightning Bolts. Even 6 cards in a limited match with 40-card decks isn’t that much. How do you get value out of this card that would be better than just playing a different card? Even in Standard? I’m on a quest now to see if any decent pro has even played with this card.

Commander Update

No, I have not bought anything from the new Commander set just released. I don’t think I even saw anything at the game store tonight when I bought the booster pack. On another note, I have now built my third Commander deck, so I’m ready for some multi-player rumbles if my kids ever get their chores done. This one is an adaption and expansion of my old Discard Damage deck, that looked to make your opponent discard and then suffer because of it. Cards like The Rack, Megrim, and Reanimate are the main point, with Crosis, the Purger as general and all around finisher. We’ll see how it competes with the Vampires and Elves. I like the singleton aspect of the format for deckbuilding, at least.

The Looming Ban

There seems to be a lot of anticipation for the upcoming Banned/Restricted announcement from the DCI. It sounds like Stoneforge Mystic is the current frontrunner, with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Batterskull also on the ballot. I’ve read quite a few articles debating the banworthiness of each of these cards. Here’s my take: Wizards should ban more cards more often to maintain a healthy Standard format. I understand their hesitation to ban cards – people buy cards with the expectation of playing with them, and if you drop $400 for a playset of Jaces, you darn well want to play with them. But let’s consider this from other perspectives.

Imagine that Wizards made a banned/restricted announcement every month, say the 1st just for convenience. And they tended to ban around 4-5 cards each month, while unbanning maybe 3-4 previously banned cards. What would be the impact of this? Well, first, let’s remember that the only people who really care about the B/R announcement are tournament players. Tournament players, for the most part, keep up on the latest Standard news and cards, or at least would expect to have to modify their deck if it includes a banned card in it. So, more regular bannings doesn’t seem like much of a problem for them, and if Wizards devoted a little space on their website for the list to be easily found, it seems quite workable. We do live in the Internet age, and there’s no point in denying it or trying to live in a cave.

We should also remember that I can play Channel at my kitchen table any time I want. With a ban-happy approach, each playgroup would essentially have to develop their own B/R list, since everyone would know that the official B/R list was prone to regular fluctuation designed mainly to keep Standard interesting. I don’t see much of a problem there. If everyone in your playgroup says, “quit playing your Worldgorger Dragon, it’s no fun for the rest of us,” you can either stop playing with the Dragon or stop playing with those friends. Simple enough. Heck, if you play in a shop, the shop could have its own public list of B/R cards, and maybe even have a regular vote by its regulars, with a very prominent and public poster list in the shop, which would let anyone playing there know exactly what’s up.

So, how might this work in practice? Far be it from me to tell Wizards how to do their job, but in the interest of showing how this could create healthier Standard formats, let me elaborate. One of the common complaints from players about Standard is that it usually evolves into a 1 or 2 best decks, plus some second tier chaff, format. Right now, there is one deck perceived to be “too good” and therefore ruining Standard, although that hasn’t stopped some other decks from putting up some good finishes lately. Still, if the DCI looked at some of the dominant decks of late and banned a key card from each of them, it would force the tournament players to find new strategies. Let’s say you banned Stoneforge Mystic, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and Vengevine this month. What would Standard look like? Well, probably lots of Splinter Twin decks and Vampires. So, next month you ban Splinter Twin and Bloodghast and Inferno Titan, but you unban Jace and Vengevine. Now you have to adapt again. Jace goes back in your BW control deck, but you still don’t have Stoneforge Mystic to fetch swords and Batterskulls for your Caws, so the deck looks for different strategies, maybe some more Venser, the Sojourner action. Too much Preordaining going on? Ban it for a month or two, see what happens. Even if you ban the wrong thing, Standard only suffers for a month, and then you correct the problem. Plus, with the possibility that every month your favorite tournament card might get unbanned, you hang on to your investments, and think more about how to use what you have. Tournaments stay fresh, and archetypes that are often not viable because of a dominant deck become more possible.

This also returns Magic’s focus back to one of its best parts: deckbuilding. I think a ban-happy policy would increase the likelihood of brewing among a greater percentage of the Magic population. Netdecking will still go on, but remember: those netdecks likely become unviable after a month when its key card gets banned. There would be as much reward for brewing your own deck as for tweaking an existing deck.

I’m sure there are some drawbacks to such an approach to tournament Magic, but any choice we make in life has potential negative and positive outcomes, and I think the upside here would outweigh the downside, after years of complaints of “stale” Standard formats. So, go ahead Wizards. Don’t just ban Stoneforge Mystic: Ban Jace! Ban Batterskull! Ban Valakut! Let’s keep it interesting and fresh.

Terrageddon? No… (K)night of the Terravore!

I noticed today that some StarCity grinder played a Terravore/Armageddon deck* at a recent tournament, which immediately caught my eye because I have such a deck myself – it’s one of my favorites, actually. But I call it (K)night of the Terravore. It began life as an Erhnam Djinn/Armageddon deck and then when I got a Terravore (those things are over $10 now!), it became “Terravore Djinn”. After buying the Knights vs. Dragons Duel Decks, though, I have a Knight of the Reliquary, and it seemed like a natural fit for this deck and called for some further tweaking. Here’s the latest version…

Land (28)

You need some basics for the Knight and the fetch lands.

2 each of the only fetch lands I can afford. These are a great way to get a land into the graveyard without losing a land, and with the Riftstone Portals, they can sometimes even produce mana.

This is so perfect for this deck. There are numerous ways to get it into the graveyard, and then it not only boosts your Knights and Terravores, but it improves all your lands. And it’s in the right colors!

Nice GW utility lands for the deck. Krosan Verge puts a land in the graveyard and gets you a Plains AND a Forest! If that’s not synergy with the Knight, I don’t know what is!
A 4/4 manland never seems like it would be too bad, and this deck gets threshold so easily…

A dual land is certainly not out of place here. I’m also looking into getting Sunpetal Grove for the deck. I have some Graypelt Refuges, but you don’t want too many lands that come into play tapped.

Instant (4)

I recently found this card, and I love it! (Note the flavor, design, and artistic nods to Gifts Ungiven.) This puts two lands into your graveyard besides fetching two. All of my lands are useful, and I have a wide variety in the deck to choose from.

Enchantment (2)

I put this in because it’s one of my best GW cards for a creature-based deck. I’m wondering if it shouldn’t just be a Rancor, but Rancor is so easy to pick, and you only build so many GW decks.

Creature (22)

This guy (or lady) has so much synergy with a ‘land in the graveyard matters’ deck! I knew it had to go in as soon as I got my hands on one.

The other namesake card of the deck. After an Armageddon, this guy is a monster!

I could just play some Llanowar Elves, but this guy allows me to pitch a Riftstone Portal into the graveyard and potentially gives you more than just 1 or 2 Llanowar Elves per game that you might draw. And a deck with Armageddons wants lots of other mana sources to put you ahead of your opponent.

Here’s the other mana accelerator, who can become a beatstick once you get threshold. Have I mentioned that this deck gets threshold really easily?

A 3/2 1-drop that only requires you to put a land into the graveyard? Sign this deck up!

I’m not completely settled on this one, but I need something that will give me a little time to set things up. This blocks the weenies early, and later can block some fatties. Plus it flies. I don’t know what else would be more useful. Of course, I only have two in the deck right now – that may need to change. Wall of Vines is another option – a 1 drop in Green might work better in the deck.

Sorcery (8)

The real engine of the deck. Wrecks your opponent and pumps your Knights and Terravores. Perfect!

Nice, right after an Armageddon with an elf in play and that land you were holding onto before the ‘geddon. Now, you’re three up to your opponent’s 0 (hopefully) or 1 land.

Artifact (2)

This is really too expensive, but I have it, and it is right for the deck. If only it was only 2 mana… but remember, this deck is “Super Casual” not Legacy competitive.

*P.S. I don’t think you should be able to name a deck after a card that’s not really a 4-of in the deck. I would call Mr. Eisenhauer’s deck “Knight of the Zenith” since he only runs 2 Terravores and 2 Armageddons.

P.P.S. Nope, no Wastelands here… I would agree with the SCG writer that they would be perfect for the deck, but I wouldn’t pay $6.00 for them, let alone the $60 current asking price… that’s just the Super Casual way…

Into the Scrapheap? – Episode 3 (Vapor Snag)

In today’s episode we examine another new version of a spell that originated in Alpha. New Phyrexia’s Vapor Snag is the latest in a long line of spells that “bounce” permanents back to a hand:

There have been a lot of varieties of this type of spell, with the bounce sometimes being tacked onto something else, and the target ‘bouncing’ around from just a creature to any permanent. I want to focus here on only the most strict comparisons, though, and start with the mother of all bounce spells:

Unsummon (Alpha) U
Instant
Return target creature to its owner’s hand.

Vapor Snag would appear on the surface to be a strict upgrade, adding a point of damage to the exact same spell, but it’s important to remember that sometimes we want to bounce our own creatures. So, there are times when you would wish to have a simple Unsummon, but unless you have a specific plan to bounce your own dudes, you might just be willing to take the one point of damage in those few instances when it becomes necessary to bounce your own guy. I would definitely start with Vapor Snag in mind if an Unsummon is what you need, then adjust accordingly. I definitely like the thought of bouncing a guy that was stolen from me (with a Mind Control or Mark of Mutiny, say), getting him back and dealing a point of damage to the thief 🙂

Flooded Shoreline (Visions) UU
Enchantment
UU, Return two Islands you control to their owner’s hand: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.

Except for the fact that the effect is repeatable, and maybe there’s some weird reason that you want to bounce and replay an island (maybe in a Landfall deck?), why would you play this? 4 mana for a 1 mana spell that sets you back at least one land just seems bad. It would take a very specific combo to ever make me want to play this.

Man-o’-War (Visions) 2U
Creature — Jellyfish (2/2)
When Man-o’-War enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner’s hand.

Here, in the same set as Flooded Shoreline, we get the bounce spell attached to a creature. I know this dude has enabled a few combos in its day (I’ve had to play against some of them), and it’s reasonably costed: 2 mana for a 2/2 blue bear plus one more for the Unsummon. Just about right it seems.

Equilibrium (Exodus) 1UU
Enchantment
Whenever you cast a creature spell, you may pay 1. If you do, return target creature to its owner’s hand.

I definitely like this enchantment better than Flooded Shoreline. This makes every creature you play into a Man-o’-War. This begs to be combined with something that does damage to your opponent every time a creature enters the battlefield and some 0-drop like a Memnite or Ornithopter (Leyline of Vitality and Angelic Chorus could gain you a bit of life, and Carnival of Souls seems to be able to create an infinite loop that would kill you :-(, and Electropotence is too expensive . . . ah, found it: Pandemonium! Hey, it was in the same set… wonder if anyone ever did something with these two back in the days of Exodus? Well, I guess there wasn’t any Memnite back then, and this combo is probably too slow for the Legacy format. Oh well. . . a part-time Johnny can dream :-))

Sigil of Sleep (Urza’s Destiny) U
Enchantment — Aura
Whenever enchanted creature deals damage to a player, return target creature that player controls to its owner’s hand.

Auras are so fragile, and you only get to bounce stuff if you do damage. This was probably limited fodder back in its day.

Snap (Urza’s Legacy)  1U
Instant
Return target creature to its owner’s hand. Untap up to two lands.

A free bounce spell! Of course, you have to have the two mana initially, so this doesn’t quite render Unsummon obsolete, but it’s close. OK, it’s like those factory rebates – you have to pay upfront and then wait for them to mail you your check. But again, I’d have to think pretty hard before choosing Unsummon over this.

Withdraw (Prophecy) UU
Instant
Return target creature to its owner’s hand. Then return another target creature to its owner’s hand unless its controller pays 1.

Here’s another upgrade. It would be even better if the second U was a kicker cost instead of built in. As it is, there are times when that second creature is your own or not there at all (meaning you can’t actually cast this). Still, if you are using Unsummon to clear the way for your attackers, there are definitely going to be times when this is preferred.

Seal of Removal (Nemesis) U
Enchantment
Sacrifice Seal of Removal: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.

The seal cycle in Nemesis was interesting, but essentially inferior to the originals. Basically, you have the same spell and same cost as Unsummon, but now it sits there on the table making it easier for your opponent to play around it. They could even force you to use it by trying to Disenchant it. I guess there’s a little card advantage in that situation, and there are times when you can use an extra mana on one turn to play this down and have it on another turn when you don’t have the mana available. So, it’s not useless, but still I would consider this a slight step down from the original.

Repulse (Invasion) 2U
Instant
Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
Draw a card.

2 mana for a cantrip? What a rip-off! I guess if you’re really desperate for that extra card, you’d be happy to pay it, but when designing a deck, I can’t see how this would be preferable unless you really just want to thin your deck, and nowadays there are better and cheaper blue cantrip cards. Take a pass.

Angelic Shield (Invasion) WU
Enchantment
Creatures you control get +0/+1.
Sacrifice Angelic Shield: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.

I suppose you play this for the W ability more than the U ability, but there’s only a few creatures that really need the boost to their toughness (I use Leyline of Vitality with my Protean Hydra, but that’s green not white). I guess the cool thing about Magic is that a card that looks pretty lame becomes perfect in just the right deck. I just can’t think right now what that deck would be for this card.

Crosis’s Charm (Planeshift) UBR
Instant
Choose one — Return target permanent to its owner’s hand; or destroy target nonblack creature, and it can’t be regenerated; or destroy target artifact.

I like all the various charms just because you get more than 1 card’s worth of action in only 1 card in your deck. If you choose the bounce ability, you are paying 3 mana for it, but you do get to bounce any permanent instead of just a creature. I guess you have to be willing to overpay for the flexibility.

Jilt (Apocalypse) 1U
Instant
Kicker 1R (You may pay an additional 1R as you cast this spell.)
Return target creature to its owner’s hand. If Jilt was kicked, it deals 2 damage to another target creature.

I do like the Kicker mechanic, especially when it’s reasonably costed. This one is a bit like the charm, though: Want an Unsummon? You will have to overpay for it, but we’ll give you some further options. Want to add a Shock to that Unsummon? You’ll have to overpay for both. But it all comes at the cost of only 1 card slot in your deck. Probably not worth it in most cases. I think I smell some limited fodder here…

Echo Tracer (Legions) 2U
Creature — Human Wizard (2/2)
Morph 2Blue (You may cast this face down as a 2/2 creature for 3. Turn it face up any time for its morph cost.)
When Echo Tracer is turned face up, return target creature to its owner’s hand.

A really expensive Man-o’-War!! You either overpay for a blue bear (3 mana) or really overpay for a Man-o’-War (6 mana!!!) I’d like to see how this is a good deal anywhere.

Consuming Vortex (Champions of Kamigawa) 1U
Instant — Arcane
Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
Splice onto Arcane 3U (As you cast an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card’s effects to that spell.)

I wasn’t playing during Kamigawa block, and I really don’t get this ‘Splice onto Arcane’ thing. The basic spell is already twice as much as the original, but to splice it, you’ll pay quadruple the cost! Does the ‘Splice onto Arcane’ help you get around a Counterspell? That’s all I can figure, and I don’t think that’s worth paying 400% for anything!

Æther Spellbomb (Mirrodin) 1 (1)
Artifact
U, Sacrifice Æther Spellbomb: Return target creature to its owner’s hand.
1, Sacrifice Æther Spellbomb: Draw a card.

This seems like a combination of the Seal of Removal and Repulse, except you only get one or the other effect. Unless you need Artifacts, for Metalcraft or something, I can’t see why you would play this. They definitely improved the spellbombs in Scars of Mirrodin by allowing you both effects instead of one or the other.

Crystal Shard (Mirrodin) 3
Artifact
3, Tap or U, Tap: Return target creature to its owner’s hand unless its controller pays 1.

Oh man. For 4 mana (or 6!) you get a situational Unsummon. This is worse than Consuming Vortex. I really expect spells to get better over time, especially if they are going to cost more.

Snapback (Time Spiral) 1U
Instant
You may exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay Snapback’s mana cost.
Return target creature to its owner’s hand.

This was a fun reference to the old Snap card, but they really needed to cost this at U not 1U. The only reason for the 1U cost in the original was that it was going to be free, so there’s no reason to overcost this Unsummon, since the cost of a card is pretty steep just to make a creature disappear for a turn (I mean, with Force of Will, you get to fully counter the spell, permanently).

Cryptic Command (Lorwyn) 1UUU
Instant
Choose two — Counter target spell; or return target permanent to its owner’s hand; or tap all creatures your opponents control; or draw a card.

Once again, we’re going to overpay in order to have options. I could see this in an EDH deck, where you want to squeeze some extra utility out of a singleton and where mana is probably more readily available in larger quantities. Did this see constructed play in its day? I guess it does bounce any permanent not just creatures.

Banishing Knack (Eventide) U
Instant
Until end of turn, target creature gains “Tap: Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand.”

This does allow you to bounce any permanent, and for one mana, but at the cost of tapping one of your creatures. I’m thinking there are better options, unless you’re facing a planeswalker about to go ultimate, I suppose. There’s always some possible situation for these cards, but you can’t build a deck based on narrow possibilities.

Call to Heel (Shards of Alara) 1U
Instant
Return target creature to its owner’s hand. Its controller draws a card.

Here’s the 1 mana cantrip I was talking about, although you do have to bounce your own dude to get it. You’d never want to play this if you planned on bouncing your opponent’s dudes though; why pay double and give them a card? This is a limited use card ready for use on some ETB guy in your deck, I guess. Seems a little pricey to me.

Arm with Æther (New Phyrexia) 2U
Sorcery
Until end of turn, creatures you control gain “Whenever this creature deals damage to an opponent, you may return target creature that player controls to its owner’s hand.”

Here’s a Sigil of Sleep that only lasts one turn and costs 3 mana. Generally you want to bounce their dudes before you attack, not afterwards. And since this is a sorcery, they know you’re going to be bouncing them if they don’t block, so why would you even play this in limited? Too iffy… especially since this is in the same set as Vapor Snag.

Here are a few honorable mentions in the land of bounce:

Symbol of Unsummoning (Portal)

Remove (Portal Second Age)

Champion’s Victory (Portal Three Kingdoms)

Barrin, Master Wizard (Urza’s Saga)

Neurok Replica (Scars of Mirrodin)

Razorfin Abolisher (Eventide)

Jace, the Mind Sculptor (Worldwake) – the Planeswalker with some built-in bounce!

Æther Adept (M11)

Lumengrid Drake (Scars of Mirrodin)

Kiri-Onna (Saviors of Kamigawa)

Waterfront Bouncer (Mercadian Masques)

Escape Routes (Planeshift)

Sunscape/Nightscape Master (Invasion)

Into the Scrapheap? – Episode 2 (Corrosive Gale)

Wizard’s R&D has managed to sculpt out just enough new ground on this episode’s card that we may not have to pitch anything into the scrapheap.  But it’s still a repeat of an oft-done card:

Here we have the old ‘deal X damage to each creature with flying’ – one of Green’s quintessential answers to Blue flyers. I guess, technically, now any color can hose Blue’s (or White’s or Black’s) flyers. This is simply the latest iteration of the original classic (and I mean ORIGINAL Alpha classic):

Hurricane   XG (1)
Sorcery
Hurricane deals X damage to each creature with flying and each player.

Corrosive Gale would have been a strict upgrade if it had included the words “and each player.” But it didn’t. I like that. Keeps everything on the table. They even downshifted the effect back to Uncommon in this set, after a few Rare versions.

Tropical Storm  XG (1)
Sorcery
Tropical Storm deals X damage to each creature with flying and 1 additional damage to each blue creature.

In Mirage you only got to hit creatures, but with an added bonus against Blue. Arguably, unless you just don’t have the Green mana or you know you’re not playing against Blue, this is slightly better than the new Corrosive Gale.

Howling Gale 1G (2)
Instant
Howling Gale deals 1 damage to each creature with flying and each player.
Flashback 1G (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

In Odyssey you got a limited effect version of Hurricane, but at Instant speed and you could cast it twice.

Squall Line  XGG (2)
Instant
Squall Line deals X damage to each creature with flying and each player.

In Time Spiral you had to pay an extra G mana for the full effect, but you did get it at Instant speed.

Windstorm XG (1)
Instant
Windstorm deals X damage to each creature with flying.

The most recent version of the effect, in Magic 2010, was at Instant speed, but it only hit the creatures not the players.

Winter Blast  XG (1)
Sorcery
Tap X target creatures. Winter Blast deals 2 damage to each of those creatures with flying.

A fun little variation on the theme, taps any creature with a special vengeance on the flyers.

This card sequence gives me a chance to applaud the creative team at Wizards, too. I can definitely appreciate the effort to create names for these cards that indicate the variation on a theme. It’s one of the things that makes the game such a rich experience for those who play, especially if you play for a long while.

As a bonus, I thought I would also mention a couple of creatures with a built in Hurricane:

Silklash Spider  3GG (5)
Creature — Spider (2/7)
Reach (This creature can block creatures with flying.)
XGG: Silklash Spider deals X damage to each creature with flying.

This effect is really more of a truncated version of Squall Line, but on a rather beefy body. This little arachnid really hates things that fly!

Arashi, the Sky Asunder 3GG (5)
Legendary Creature — Spirit (5/5)
XG, Tap: Arashi, the Sky Asunder deals X damage to target creature with flying.
Channel — XGG, Discard Arashi: Arashi deals X damage to each creature with flying.

This guy is like spider with a ray gun – a storm ray gun! Shoots ’em out of the sky one at a time like a sharpshooter, or goes Uzi on the little buggers.

Sweet Booster Pack

We bought a booster pack for my son’s birthday today. Like any booster pack, it was hit and miss, but this was definitely more hit than miss. It had a couple cards we had just been talking about yesterday, a rare that we didn’t have yet, and a foil rare as well (although of a card I had already bought).

Leeching Bite

We were just talking last night about possibly putting some of these in our Infect deck with the Mutagenic Growth. It  boosts our infecter and clears the path of a weenie blocker. It’s two mana though, so it might be too much for too little. Might try it out, at least.

Vapor Snag

I think I’ve commented on this before (and I’m planning a future article on it as well). At the very least, it’s some direct damage for the blue mage (not that they need any more help, IMHO).

Blinding Souleater

3 mana for a 1/3 isn’t bad, I guess, (I don’t think it’s that good either), but you probably only want this guy for his ability to tap something down, and it might even be value to tap it for the 2 life if it would do more than 2 damage to you if left untapped. Seems pretty situational.

Maul Splicer

I already bought four of these for my Golem deck, but it’s so expensive you can’t put more than one or two in the deck. I guess I need to find a way to cheat this guy in, or blink him in and out (2 more golems each time!). I’ll keep thinking about this…

War Report

It seems like there are some good ways to use this – I already have some in my Myr of Mirrodin deck – which is why I already bought 8 of them. Now we have nine…

Pristine Talisman

I already bought some of these, too. A definite upgrade on earlier 3 mana artifacts that only produce 1 mana (sounds like it’s time for another “Into the Scrapheap”…)

Priest of Urabrask

Once you get to three mana, this guy is basically free, and in some situations can convert off-color mana for the red you need for your fire-breathing dragon. I already bought 4.

Alloy Myr

I’ve written a post about this guy already, and I bought 4. I like him…

Triumph of the Hordes

We were looking at this one last night, too. The perfect alpha-strike card, even if you’re not playing an Infect deck, since the trampling damage might reach 10 with a good strike. A “win out of nowhere” kind of card.

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer

I could definitely see building a Commander deck for this guy. This Scars block has lots of W and R Metalcraft cards and some cool artifacts. Could be fun… 5/4 first strike for 5 doesn’t seem too shabby in its own right, either. Only a $1 rare right now, but still cool.

Moltensteel Dragon (FOIL)

I like this guy so much, I already bought one, for like $2. Now, I see that it’s a $1 rare and the foil version is only $3. Foils are really kind of lame unless you are a serious collector or pimping your EDH deck. Still, a second rare in a pack is nothing to sneeze at.

And the Limited fodder…

Dementia Bat – 5 mana for a 2/2 flyer that you can pay 5 more mana for a Hymn to Tourach effect? Even I think that’s ridiculous! Do drafters even draft this?

Apostle’s Blessing – Not that protection from artifacts or a color isn’t useful, but there’s got to be something better than 1 dude gets protection for one turn for two mana.

Spire Monitor – A 3/3 flyer for 5 is probably hot on a drafter’s radar, but why they gave this guy Flash, I can’t figure out. I left 5 mana open so I could surprise you with a 3/3 blocker???

I don’t know if we broke even financially (I’m paying full retail price at Kmart after all), but it felt like we got our money’s worth on this one, and it’s that feeling that matters.