Avacyn Restored Wishlist

While I can’t say that I’m super excited for the new set, there are always some cool new cards in every set. Here’s what I have my eye on:

Good Cards

Cathars' CrusadeCathars’ Crusade seems like a potentially useful and powerful card, but realistically, by the time you get it out, you’re probably already winning or losing and this isn’t going to change much, since it costs 5 mana. Still, I can imagine this doing some awesome things with some big card like Conqueror’s Pledge. I suppose even a flashbacked Lingering Souls could put your spirit token army out of reach of a lot of targeted removal or big enough to deal with the threats on the other side of the board. I definitely want to try this out.

Archwing Dragon

Here’s a dragon that basically protects itself when it’s not your turn, and potentially combos with stuff that rewards you when a creature comes into play – this guy’s coming in every turn.

Tyrant of DiscordPretty pricey for a red deck, but I love the potential to wreak havoc on the board with Tyrant of Discord.

Abundant GrowthNo card disadvantage with this aura, and it fixes your mana for cheap. Imagine splashing for other colors in a Dungrove Elder deck, for example (Druids’ Repository could do it too, but not as efficiently).

Essence HarvestIf you like playing with fatties, here’s a cool new drain life, or combo it with a shade to really finish them off with a double whammy!

Bonfire of the DamnedIn a deck with Seething Songs, Pyretic Rituals, and Geosurges, this could be really awesome. And it doesn’t kill your guys, just theirs!

Somberwald SageDon’t you think this should be an Elf? I do. But it’s not going in an elf deck anyway. Perfect for casting that RRR creature in your Green deck, though.

Wolfir SilverheartThis is going into my Werewolf deck.

Mill Deck

I’m planning on building a dedicated mill deck soon – love those alternate win-condition decks – and I have a self-mill deck that might find some use for these as well. In the late game, Dreadwaters is 4 mana for 6-7 cards; Rotcrown Ghoul might find a better home UB Zombies, filling your own graveyard with reanimation targets, since otherwise it’s just 5 mana for 5 cards with a delay; Stern Mentor gives you 4 cards per turn for 4 mana, so it may be the best of the lot.

Dreadwaters Rotcrown Ghoul Stern Mentor

New Planeswalkers

I’d like to collect all the planeswalkers eventually (don’t know if I’ll ever get a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, though). I’ve created my own “Planeswalker Jousting” format, and here are some new Jousters:

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded

Crosis, the Purger Deck

I turned my old “Discard Damage” damage deck into a Crosis Commander deck (UBR), so I’m always on the lookout for good discard cards, or reanimate their discarded creatures cards, and even better bounce cards. (An interesting side note: I noticed that I found a lot more Black and Red cards that I want in this set than White ones.) Appetite for Brains is likely to hit something big and good in an EDH game; Mental Agony might be a little pricey at 4 mana; Once Crosis is out, Triumph of Cruelty has a good chance of doing some real work.

Appetite for Brains Mental Agony Triumph of Cruelty

Vampires!

I have a vampire-themed Commander deck, and a Sorin deck based around vampires, so vampire-themed cards always attract my attention. Bloodflow Connoiseur looks like it will combo better with Kalastria Highborn than Bloodthrone Vampire.

Barter in Blood Blood Artist Bloodflow ConnoiseurDark Imposter Driver of the Dead Exquisite Blood

Venser Deck

I have been on the lookout for nice cheap things to flicker in my Venser deck, but I guess Cathedral Sanctifier is just Healing Salve on a stick. Maybe I should rethink that one. Conjuror’s Closet would be an even more perfect complement in the deck if it was a little cheaper.

Cathedral Sanctifier Conjuror's Closet

Zombies

I’m slowly getting the cards together for a Zombies deck – I want hordes and hordes that come back from the dead. I’m not sure, yet, whether to go mono-Black or Blue/Black.

Butcher Ghoul Dread Slaver

Red Deck Wins

Red looks like it got some good stuff in this set. Here’s some decent considerations for aggressive red decks. Pump out the creature rush, and then get some more cards in your hand, and finish them off with a big Fireball!

Battle Hymn Burn at the Stake Dangerous Wager

Elves!

Some people don’t seem to like Elves. I’m not one of those.

Descendants' Path

New Decks?

There are a few cards which do seem to be begging for a deck to built around them, either because they present a unique challenge or just seem really cool.

Otherworld Atlas Rite of Ruin Gloom Surgeon

Others seem like they have the synergy for a deck built right into the set. Demonic Rising is asking for these others to follow him into a deck. That Demonic Taskmaster becomes a 7/4 flying menace, and you have fodder for some other sacrificial outlet like Corpse Trader, Bloodflow Connoisseur, or Bone Splinters in a mono-Black control deck.

Demonic RisingDemonic Taskmaster Homicidal Seclusion Predator's Gambit

What if we built a multiplayer deck with Descent into Madness and Griselbrand? Ouch!

Descent into Madness Griselbrand

New Commanders?

While Black, and Red to a lesser extent, seemed to get some of the best cards, there are some multi-colored Angels with some potential as Commanders.

Bruna, Light of Alabaster Gisela, Blade of Goldnight Sigarda, Host of Herons

Land Collection

I’d like to collect all of the dual colored activation lands from the block. These will complete the collection:

Alchemist's Refuge Desolate Lighthouse Slayers’ Stronghold

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Avacyn Restored Mechanics

I haven’t had a chance to really go through the whole card list for Avacyn Restored yet, but a quick glance through, plus spoiler season, hasn’t gotten me too excited. The impression I got with my quick glance through was ‘lots of limited fodder,’ which is probably to be expected from a ‘stand alone’ third set, but I’ve made my feelings known on that topic before. For me, Mr. Super Casual, the question with each new set is really whether there is something thematic and mechanically interesting to build new decks around. Sure, there will always be at least a few cards that either will fit right into a deck I already have, or may beg to be built around in true Johnny fashion, but what else is there?

In recent sets, for example, I just had to build a werewolf deck full of transform cards–unlike most pros, I’m sad to see that there aren’t anymore in the third set, although there may still be a couple of wolfir cards that could go in the deck–or a self-mill graveyard-pumping deck, or back even further, a Myr deck with the Mirrodin watermark and a Phyrexian watermark Poison deck. What does Avacyn Restored have for us? To start with, there are the angels vs. the demons for a thematic/tribal direction, then there are the soulbond and miracle mechanics. (Undying is also back, but it didn’t do much for me in Dark Ascension, and it doesn’t seem worth another look here.)

Angels vs. Demons

Apparently some Magic players really love Angels. I suspect what many of them really like is the amount of bare leg and/or bosom they tend to show in their artwork (all going back to the original busty angelic babe, Serra Angel). I’m not sure I like Angels all that much, and there doesn’t appear to be much incentive to create a tribal Angel deck. That is, there are very few cards that really care if you are playing Angels, which means that the Angels you like can just go into any deck you want with no reason to have them congregate in a single deck beyond purely thematic reasons. The three multi-colored ones might be interesting commanders, though.

Demons do even less for me. The art is rarely pleasing to look at or exciting: that Griselband is just plain ugly–frankly, he looks like a ‘demon dork’–big head, mishappen horns, bad dental hygiene, etc.–he seems to be saying, “run away and hide, not because I’m a murderous demon, but because you don’t want to have to look at my ugly face anymore!” There may be a ‘build around me’ demon in there somewhere, but nothing that says, “Man, I need to build a Demon deck!”

Soulbond

I don’t think soulbond is a bad mechanic, but it’s not registering much on the Super Casual excitement meter. This seems like one of those mechanics where a few cool cards might slot into some other decks, but a lot of the soulbond dudes are probably just ‘limited fodder’. Again, nothing is screaming out to me, “Build a soulbond deck!” Chances are, the coolest soulbond creatures will be overpriced while in standard, so I’ll have to wait to even get them. Nothing particularly Johnny-tastic is jumping out at me either. I’ve seen some people talk about blinking these guys in and out to change up the pairings, but I think they were thinking mainly about limited; still, I may add a couple to my Venser blink deck.

Miracles

I just read an article today suggesting that Miracle is another bad mechanic that messes around too much with how Magic actually plays. It doesn’t strike me as all that amazing or bothersome (even Temporal Mastery–as others have pointed out, an early Time Walk is probably just an Explore). It certainly isn’t begging me to build a Miracle deck. Obviously the miracle cards want to be in a deck with a little library manipulation, a la Ponder, but the effects are of such varying nature and quality that putting a bunch in one deck doesn’t even make much sense. So, there may be a few that slot into one of my decks, but that’s about it–the card has to be good enough to play at its regular cost to really consider it.

Conclusion

So, overall, Avacyn Restored is looking like a yawner sort of Super Casual set. It may or may not make waves on the tournament scene (looks like a few cards will for sure, as always–wonder how long until Cavern of Souls gets abused and then banned in at least one tournament format?), but it seems unlikely to make any here at my house. I will look forward to going through the spoiler to find the few Super Casual gems I’m sure are in there for me. I do know that I will be collecting a copy of all the AVR lands to go with their Innistrad counterparts in my collection, as per today’s Magic Arcana.

Humans are People too

Need some human tokens? Not too impressed with the stock human tokens provided by Wizards of the Coast? Digital alters to the rescue!

The humans of Innistrad may be waging the eternal struggle against the forces of evil, but other humans on other planes have other problems. Who can we enlist in our plane’s struggle against decency, modesty, and just plain common sense? How about THE PEOPLE OF WAL-MART!