Today is a weird day as far as days go. I took the day off in order to go see Avengers Endgame as an 11 am matinee in a hope of avoiding the majority of the crowds. Past that I got up and around like a normal day but because of the lack of pressure it is meaning that I am doing everything a little big slower than normal since I am not actually required to get out the door and on my way to work by 7 am… aka the time I am actually starting this blog today. Yesterday was the beginning of War of the Spark on Magic the Gathering Arena and with that I finally got to open my 50 pre-order packs. If you are playing Magic the Gathering Arena you too can also get three free packs by entering the new “PlayWarSpark” code. On a whim I decided to stream opening the packs last night and I am super thankful to a bunch of people who tuned in to watch and comment on my pulls. I love opening packs, and honestly so far I am really liking what I am seeing of this set. If you are curious you can check out the full opening over on my YouTube channel or through the Twitch VOD. Be warned however with the VOD there is a bunch of faffing about with sound levels early on that I cut out of the eventual upload to YouTube. If you are simply curious about what I pulled I exported the list to Google Sheets including everything I currently have from War of the Spark including the 50 pre-order packs and the 3 free packs that you get from the “PlayWarSpark” code.
This morning I am going to talk about a few of my favorite cards so far from the expansion. Please not that I have deep ties to green and black and as a result am mostly going to be talking about the cards that I know I will be playing. I can already tell that I will be building an amass zombies deck sooner or later.
What is not to love about this card. It is a 2/3 for 1BG with Deathtouch, Lifelink AND is a Bird of Paradise. It allows you to be offensive with it when you need to… but if for some reason you can’t be… you can tap it for mana. It is a weird card but man do I love it. I think mostly I just love it because it is a standard legal bird of paradise that happens to be in my favorite Golgari colors. Even if you take the tap effect off of it… 2/3 with deathtouch and lifelink for 3 seems really good.
This is another of what seems to be a stupidly good common card…. its a one drop black 1/1 with lifelink and haste. Sure this probably does not matter at all if you are not getting this on turn one… but still it seems like something worth playing and probably godly in sealed. It is going to add a lot of turn one pressure I think.
Another one of the really good commons I think is Duskmantle Operative. You get a 2/2 for 2 that cannot be blocked by creatures with power 4 or greater… which probably won’t come into play when you are actually dropping this on the board but later in the game it might be useful. Definitely playable in sealed, potentially less so in constructed… but I still like the card.
So the initial problem with Eternal Taskmaster is the fact that it enters the battlefield tapped, meaning you are going to get this a turn later than you probably want it. However still a 2/3 for 2 seems pretty okay… but why you would really play this is for its effect. When it attacks you can play 2B and if you do so return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand. What I like about this… is it is triggered on attack… not dealing damage meaning just turning this card horizontal is going to allow you to bring back a creature regardless if your plan actually works. I view it as a capable early game creature with an optional resurrection card built into the text.
Another card that seems just stupidly good is Arboreal Grazer. Firstly this is a one drop that gives you a 0/3 with reach… so basically you are just going to use this as anti-air defense. If it was just that I would probably play it… but it also allows you to put a land card from your hand into play tapped, adding some mana ramp. In a Standard format that already has Llanowar elves… this might not be a first round choice depending on your draw but it would definitely be an alternative slightly slower mana fixing option.
Now this card sorta falls in the stupid party trick category… but it might be fun to build a land dredge deck around it. Living Twister is a decent creature for RRG at 2/5 but then has the ability to plink any target for 2 by discarding a card and spending 1R. Additionally you can pay G to return a tapped land you control to owners hand… giving you potential fodder for the first ability. It has a lot of weird use cases, but I still think if you are running this you will want to build a deck around setting up a condition where you can keep pulling lands out of the graveyard and throwing them at your opponent for 2.
Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord
I’m only calling this one out because at some point I will be building a Castlevania deck full of white/black vampires with Sorin as the focal point. Vampires are already good but if you can dredge up a creature from your graveyard and turn it into a vampire along with the other types that seems interesting… and worthy of building a weird deck around that mechanic… and then using the various Ixalan block cards that buff vampires to make it stupid. I’m not entirely certain what I will be doing with it but it should be fun… also Sorin is absolutely Alucard.
That was mostly just a first pass and some of the cards that I will probably be playing around with. Again if you want to see everything that got opened I am embedding the youtube video. So far I think War of the Spark looks like a fun set. I might do some sealed later and see what it feels like in a more limited environment. My big takeaway is that I think aggro decks are going to get a lot of fuel for early game with cheap powerful creatures.