Welcome to the fifth and final MTGS set review for Saviors of Kamigawa. Today, we'll be looking over the Blue and Artifact cards of Saviors. Without much further ado, let's dive in!
Cloudhoof Kirin #31
, Legendary Creature - Kirin Spirit 4/4, Rare
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may put the top X cards of target player's library into his of her graveyard, where X is that spell's converted mana cost.
Suffering from the Crypt Cobra syndrome, the creature's beef will kick in before its alternate win will. Milling isn't exactly strong or terribly fun, so I wouldn't expect to see this really played a lot anywhere. If, someday, a Dampen Thought deck is played, I still would not recommend this card, despite the natural fit. It's one less card to Splice on to, and it's rather expensive for what should be a reactive blue deck. For defense, stick with Meloku. For milling, stick with the noncreatures. (Note, though: I hear 4/4 fliers are some good in Limited.)
Cut the Earthly Bond #32
, Instant - Arcane, Common
Return target enchanted permanent to its owner's hand.
Not worth the cardboard it's printed on. Its only potential reason for use over Boomerang is its one-mana cost. But by the time the game has gone on long enough to be able to use this spell (read: some local enchantments have been played), the cost difference won't matter. This could be useful as a Genju countermeasure, but again Blue has a better option in Boomerang.
Descendant of Soramaro #33
, Creature - Human Wizard 2/3, Common
: Look at the top X cards of your library, where X is the number of cards in your hand, then put them back in any order.
At six mana for the first Index, this is clearly not a card for competitive play. In Casual, though, this has chance for use. It reminds me of a seriously impaired Scroll Rack, in that you dig into your library equal to the number of cards in your hand. If you can find Scroll Rack, go for that. If not, this could see play in a casual blue control deck.
, Creature - Spirit 1/1, Common
Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may sacrifice Dreamcatcher. If you do, draw a card.
To my subconscious, this card screams "Spirit recycling combo time!!" To my conscious, this screams "not worth it!" If you've got a blue-based deck heavy on Soulshift, this seems like an excellent addition, as it gives you a pseudo-Fecundity. Outside of that, it hardly seems worth it.
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant #35
, Legendary Creature - Moonfolk Monk 1/1, Rare
Whenever the fourth spell of a turn is played, flip Erayo, Soratami Ascendant.
----- Erayo's Essence - Legendary Enchantment,
Counter the first spell each opponent plays each turn.
Erayo is one of those cards that people just itch to make work. It certainly has potential. The flipped Erayo's Essence is a potent lock piece which can not be ignored once on the board. The only problem is finding a deck that both has the ability to consistently flip Erayo and benefit from the ability. A deck like Affinity could certainly flip Erayo with ease, but the casting cost of two would screw up their curve and the deck certainly doesn't need Erayo's help to win. A blue Fish-like deck seems like the likeliest location.
As a side note, many have suggested a combo with Erayo's Essence and Arcane Laboratory/Rule of Law. The combo would certainly be effective once in place, but the problem comes in the deckbuilding. At any point before you flip, the Laboratory would be worse for you than for the opponent, given that you're playing a deck designed to play four spells in one turn. After the flip, your deck should be able to win without Laboratory. If it can't, then you certainly need some help in administering the act of beats.
Eternal Dominion #36
, Sorcery, Rare
Search target opponent's library for an artifact, creature, enchantment, or land card. Put that card into play under your control. Then that player shuffles his or her library. Epic (For the rest of the game, you can't play spells. At the beginning of each of your upkeeps, copy this spell except for its epic ability. You may choose a new target for the copy.)
Blah, blah, blah. Probably the worst of the Epic spells. Why? One, it costs TEN mana. That's more than any other. Second, it's the only one that relies on what your opponent is playing. What does this mean? That after you spend all your effort building a deck that can cast a ten mana spell and survive with casting no spells at all afterwards, you can't spend that same deckbuilding effort to make sure you'll get good stuff. If you want to build a deck around a ten mana blue spell, stick to Sway of the Stars.
NOTHING, Instant - Arcane, Uncommon
(Spells without mana costs can't be played.) Draw a card. Evermind is blue. Splice onto Arcane
First of all, kudos to the guy who made up this card. Second of all, utter blah for the way the card will function in the game. Likely not worth it in Limited unless you've somehow ended up with enough Arcane to reliably play this twice/game. In Constructed, the applications of this card are so utterly obvious that it makes me sad. This isn't like other obvious cards like, say, Frogmite, which really strongly encourages you to play it in a deck with Artifacts. Nope. Evermind does absolutely nothing, can't even be cast, unless you're playing it in a deck with Arcane spells. Well, that ends my rant.
On terms of the card's playability, I'm guessing at an overall positive in the place it is meant to be used in: Arcane control. A one-sided Unifying Theory is nothing to laugh at. The only question is: will Arcane control be good enough to play? In Casual, certainly, expect to see it turn up. The Splicing interactions look too fun to ditch. In competitive? The closest thing we've seen is the Gifts Ungiven deck, which looks much stronger than any potential U/R Splice concoction, and likely wouldn't run Evermind.
Freed From the Real #38
, Enchant Creature, Common
: Tap Enchanted Creature.
: Untap Enchanted Creature.
Essentially a Thirst in Limited, which isn't horrible (but certainly not first-pick removal). In Constructed, this will see play at the Casual tables in infinite mana combo decks as a replacement for Pemmin's Aura did. This is a bit weaker, since it can't protect the creature it enchants. It also makes me sad that it's a common, since that means I can't trade them to new Johnnies for rares like I could with the Aura.
Ghost-Lit Warder #39
, Creature - Spirit 1/1, Uncommon
, T: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 2.
Channel - , Discard Ghost-Lit Warder: Counter target spell unless its controller pays 4.
Ideas Unbound #40
, Sorcery - Arcane, Common
Draw three cards. Discard three cards at end of turn.
Certainly not a draw spell for every deck, but intensely powerful in the ones it fits in. Looks to be an inclusion in Madness, but it would have to edge out either Deep Analysis or Careful Study (likely Analysis). In terms of its graveyard-filling abilities, it could be used to fuel a reanimator deck in Standard or Block, but given the low quality of current reanimation (except for Ink-Eyes, which doesn't work on your 'yard and Nezumi Graverobber which requires at least nine mana for the first reanimation), such a deck will be confined to Casual (yet will be intensely popular there).
Kaho, Minamo Historian #41
, Legendary Creature - Human Wizard 2/2, Rare
When Kaho, Minamo Historian comes into play, search your library for up to three instant cards and remove them from the game. Then shuffle your library.
, : You may play a card with converted mana cost removed from the game with Kaho without paying its mana cost.
A little vulnerable for a Concentrate, but fun. If you can protect it (perhaps Lightning Greaves for instant card use as well), you've got a nice, $ cheap tutor for your casual combo deck.
Kami of the Crescent Moon #42
, Legendary Creature - Spirit 1/3, Rare
At the beginning of each player's draw step, that player draws a card.
Thbbbt. I've never been a fan of Howling Mine, considering its massive card advantage-losing properties. This moves the ability to blue, where the bad ability is made even worse by being compared to other blue draw spells which are actually good. However, I suppose if you're one of those people who loooooooves Howling Mine (and I know a few!), here are your 5-8. Have a blast.
, Creature - Spirit 2/2, Uncommon
When Kiri-Onna comes into play, return target creature to its owner's hand. Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, you may return Kiri-Onna to its owner's hand.
Even though this is reusable, it's not really worth it if the creatures you're bouncing are cheaper than she is, which they likely would be. This card would have been a lot more attractive, but still balanced, as a 3/3. Ah well.
Meishin, the Mind Cage #44
, Legendary Enchantment, Rare
Creatures get -X/-0, where X is the number of cards in your hand.
I reeeeeeeeally want this card to be good, but I know that at seven mana it rarely would be. I tested this out (can you tell I've an irrational love for this card?) and found it to be sadly lacking in tournament play. Too bad; it was so cool. Still, it will likely see play in errant Enduring Ideal decks, and those multiplayer decks designed to be annoying as all hell by making sure nothing ever happens (you know the ones).
Minamo Scrollkeeper #45
, Creature - Human Wizard 2/3, Common
Defender (This creature can't attack) Your maximum handsize is increased by one.
Not bad. Not good, either, but not bad. The hand-increasing ability will rarely come into play, making this mainly a 2/3 near-vanilla wall. Hey, what's that? Craploads of creatures that attack people are 2/2? You don't say! And this is fast enough to block them reliably without gumming up the blue curve? Why gee golly gee! Probably completely overdoing it in the creature control department if paired in a defensive deck with the infinitely superior defensive blue tool Vedalken Shackles, this could see some SB play versus weenie decks.
Moonbow Illusionist #46
, Creature - Moonfolk Wizard 2/1, Common
, Return a land you control to its owner's hand: Target land's type becomes the basic land type of your choice until end of turn.
Decent in Limited simply by virtue of its 2/1 flier for 3 status. The ability is entirely underwhelming, given that it delays you far more than it will ever delay an opponent. Imagine a narrower Pale Moon that delays you as well.
Murmurs from Beyond #47
, Instant - Arcane, Common
Reveal the top three cards of your library. An opponent chooses one. Put that card into your graveyard and the rest into your hand.
Pretty decent at first glance. Then you think a little bit deeper. Compare this to Gifts Ungiven. I know, they seem to have different functions, but stick with me here. The chances that you'll hit a duplicate of a card with Murmurs is low, eliminating most chances for forcing a good card into your hand. Murmurs gives you exactly as much card advantage as Gifts. Gifts, however, shows its blatant superiority to Murmurs in that it's pretty much everything that Murmurs is, but it's also a tutor. A Gifts in a deck not built to use it is still superior to Murmurs.
Unless you're in dire need of some Arcane card advantage or are intensely scared of paying 4 rather than 3 on an instant, don't bother with this one.
Oboro Breezecaller #48
, Creature - Moonfolk Wizard 1/1, Common
, Return a land you control to its owner's hand: Untap target land.
One of those cards that's going to be pretty useless until it is broken wiiiiiiide open (if). It acts in a very Quirion Ranger-esque manner, except with lands rather than creatures. All you need is a land that produces more than two and you're set. Not likely to see play in Standard or Block, but there are a couple opportunities for use in the older formats.
Oboro Envoy #49
, Creature - Moonfolk Wizard 1/3, Uncommon
, Return a land you control to its owner's hand: Target creature gets -X/-0 until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand.
Underwhelming as both a body and a power reducer. If you're staring down a single midsize threat, this is about as effective as any other creature control, but requires much more maintenance. A really big threat? You'll slow him down a bit. A bunch of small threats? Good luck, bro.
Oppressive Will #50
, Instant, Common
Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each card in your hand.
Rather meh, if you ask me (and since you're reading this article, you are asking me! How 'bout that?) There are very few times in the game when Mana Leak would not be effective and this would. Of course, the better comparison would be the other three-drop counter in Standard/Block, Hinder, which so far outstrips this it isn't even worth discussing. In Casual this could fit into a hand size theme deck, but only if the playgroup welcomed counters.
Overwhelming Intellect #51
, Instant, Uncommon
Counter target creature spell. Draw cards equal to that spell's converted mana cost.
I so dearly want to cast Cranial Extraction naming Tooth and Nail and then cast this on their Sundering Titan or Darksteel Colossus. Then again, I also recognize that this play will never happen in a competitive format, since I'm expecting to cast a six mana narrow counterspell versus Tooth.
In Casual, expect this to be one of the few counters that people won't complain about. It has that exciting quality that makes it palatable in a fun environment.
Rushing-Tide Zubera #52
, Creature - Zubera Spirit 3/3, Uncommon
When Rushing-Tide Zubera is put into a graveyard from play, if 4 or more damage was dealt to it this turn, draw three cards.
In constructed, the "damage" requirement takes all of the sacrifice fun out of the creature type, as most people disposed of them with some sac engine. In Limited, Hill Giant in blue is some good I hear, especially when it can chump block a fatty for a Concentrate
Sakashima the Impostor #53
, Legendary Creature - Human Rogue 3/1, Rare
As Sakashima the Impostor comes into play, you may choose a creature in play. If you do, Sakashima comes into play as a copy of that creature, except its name is still Sakashima the Impostor, it's still legendary, and it gains " : Return Sakashima the Impostor to its owner's hand at end of turn."
Far superior to Clone, of course, unless you were counting on splashing him (or cloning Relentless Rats for some reason). Obviously not for use in competitive play, this will be extensively used in casual. Expect some fun Iname as One combos, since you can use this as a four-mana copy that came into play from the hand and search for a Spirit.
, Creature - Spirit 2/2, Common
As long as you have more cards in hand than each opponent, Secretkeeper gets +2/+2 and has flying.
A 4/4 flier for 4 is appetizing. A 2/2 nonflier for 4 is entirely revulsive. The problem is, of course, the work you need to put into making him large. A five- or six-card-hand is five or six cards that you have not cast for your benefit! Good only as a beater in a dedicated Wisdom deck, not by himself.
Shape Stealer #55
, Creature - Shapeshifter Spirit 1/1, Uncommon
Whenever Shape Stealer blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, change Shape Stealer's power and toughness to that creature's power and toughness until end of turn.
The ultimate chump blocker! Nine times out of ten, this is a Tangle Asp for blue. Not bad in Limited. In casual constructed, you can pull off some fun last-minute pumping with Kabuto Moth or similar to kill off most attackers.
Shifting Borders #56
, Instant - Arcane, Uncommon
Exchange control of two target lands. Splice onto Arcane (As you play 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.)
A Donate and an Annex all in one! Or, rather, a Political Trickery with Splice. This is one of those cards that doesn't have any immediately obvious use (other than possibly a weak hate card against Tooth and Nail) but will inevitably show up a little while later when a deck is found in which the niche it fills needs to be filled.
Shinen of Flight's Wings #57
, Creature - Spirit 3/3, Common
Channel - , Discard Shinen of Flight's Wings: Target creature gains flying until end of turn.
Wow, Jump is such a good card. I'm so glad they made this uncounterable version. I'm not sure what I would do otherwise!
But sarcasm aside, 3/3 fliers for 5 are pretty good in Limited.
But sarcasm not aside, it's really fitting that they named the ability Channel, because the first thing that I think of when I think of Jump is a card that is about equal in power to Channel.
Soramaro, First to Dream #58
, Legendary Creature - Spirit */*, Rare
Soramaro, First to Dream's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand.
, Return a land you control to its owner's hand: Draw a card.
Flying Maro = Mmm Mmm Good. : +2/+2? Not bad either. Certainly an extraordinarily good blue fatty. Expect this card to compete with Meloku for deck space in competitive Standard when the metagame turns even more control-based (it has nothin' on Meloku in an aggro environment). Also expect this card all over the place in Casual. A fatty and an engine in one card? Come on, tell me that doesn't sound like fun.
Trusted Advisor #59
, Creature - Human Advisor 1/2, Uncommon
Your maximum hand size is increased by two. At the beginning of your upkeep, return a blue creature you control to its owner's hand.
Given the low number of blue CIP abilities, this card actually has a drawback as opposed to the green and black versions of the cycle. The other ability, increasing your maximum hand size, is relatively useless (and when useful is done much more efficiently by Spellbook). All this really has is its larger-than-average-for- body. Not really worth it, no?
, Instant, Rare
Copy target instant or sorcery spell. You may choose new targets for this spell.
Chase rare time! What can I say about good ol' blue Fork? It will see some play in all competitive formats, but not an overwhelming amount. It's just not a card you run four of. Expect this as a Cunning Wish target often. In Casual it will be a 4-of in whatever blue decks can afford the $60.
Ashes of the Fallen #152
, Artifact, Rare
As Ashes of the Fallen comes into play, choose a creature type. Each creature card in your graveyard has the chosen creature type in addition to its other types.
I laughed like hell when I first saw this card. It's just such a great buildup for a card that does little to nothing. It's like Conspiracy, except without the part that made the card mildly useful and/or fun to build a deck around. Expect this in some decks that seem to think that Patriarch's Bidding is a good card when you need to combo it with a useless two mana artifact to make it work with the creatures in your deck.
Blood Clock #153
, Artifact, Rare
At the beginning of each player's upkeep, that player returns a permanent he or she controls to its owner's hand unless he or she pays 2 life.
Umbilicus returns! Too bad Umbilicus was pretty crappy, and now any deck that wanted to use the bounce to their advantage has other options in the Stampeding Serow cycle.
Ebony Owl Netsuke #154
, Artifact, Uncommon
At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, if that player has seven or more cards in hand, Ebony Owl Netsuke deals 4 damage to him or her.
Quite the interesting li'l owl there. The problem, of course, comes in its exacting requirements for use. You pretty much need to bottle up their spell flow so effectively that they can't cast a thing. At that point, it seems like pretty much any win condition would work. The only legitimate use I can think of is a blue fish/bounce-style deck in which it could speed up the kill.
Ivory Crane Netsuke #155
, Artifact, Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have seven or more cards in hand, you gain 4 life.
A bit easier to control than the owl, this one is a bit less useful. In order to gain four life, you need to have a full hand. If you were actually using those seven cards to defend yourself and launch an offensive, you probably wouldn't need four life a turn.
, Artifact - Equipment, Uncommon
Equipped creature gets +1/+2 and has " : Destroy target Equipment." Equip
Not a bad card. Given the current popularity of Sword of Fire and Ice and Umezawa's Jitte, this could see a little sideboard play. Of course, the problem is that any deck that can effectively use equipment would rather stock up on the good and proactive rather than the narrow and reactive. Post-rotation, this may see sideboard play in decks already running Jitte in order to win Jitte wars against other aggro decks.
, Artifact - Equipment, Uncommon
O-Naginata can be attached only to a creature with 3 or more power. Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and has trample. Equip
A big creature gets bigger? Probably the most important part of the card is the trample endowment. Trample is a strangely absent ability on most of the recent fatties. Colossus has it, as do Iwamori and KoNorth, but after that the well runs relatively dry. Likely not quite playable in competitive, this will make a splash in casual. In Limited, this will be awesome if your deck can support it, but the chances of having a satisfactory number of 3+ power creatures is somewhat unlikely.
Pithing Needle #158
, Artifact, Rare
As Pithing Needle comes into play, name a card. Activated abilities of the named card can't be played unless they're mana abilities.
Hooooooly crap. That was my first impression upon seeing the card, as I'm sure it was yours. It has uses in each and every competitive constructed format. Vintage sees it shutting down Goblin Welder, Bazaar of Baghdad, and Wasteland. Legacy will of course have Survival of the Fittest as a main target, but also Wasteland and Fetchlands. Extended? Pernicious Deed, Isochron Scepter, and Goblin Welder (again). A majority of the Regionals decks in the forums look to be running 3-4 Needle, expecting to target Vedalken Shackles, Troll Ascetic, Sword of Fire and Ice, Umezawa's Jitte, ugh, the list goes on! There are dozens more relevant cards in each format that get hosed by the Needle.
This card's existence alone will force a lot of decks excessively reliant on a single activated ability to diversify or change entirely. Don't expect this card to win you the game single-handedly (you will end up disappointed) but do expect it to often act as a destroyable Cranial Extraction for . Oh, and also Affinity in Extended just had a celebration upon the announcement of this card. I laugh at the possibility that someone in Wizards originally thought this up as a way to hurt the deck.
My only opposition to the card comes with its rarity. Come on. It looks like an uncommon. It feels like an uncommon. It plays like an uncommon. There's a legacy of similarly overpowered one-mana artifacts being uncommon. But instead of buying four at a "high uncommon" price of $2 or $3 each (or $6 for you cityfolk), I have to spend or trade nearly $50-$60 in order to make my Regionals deck. Yes, it was likely a wise business decision on the part of Wizards, but you're breakin' my pocketbook here, Hasbro!
Scroll of Origins #159
, Artifact, Rare
, : Draw a card if you have seven or more cards in hand.
If I have seven cards in my hand, I'd rather spend my mana casting them, thanks. If this cost or and was free to activate, it would be much, much more useful.
Admittedly, though, if you've got a dedicated Wisdom deck, this will take a lot of the pain out of holding on to 7+ cards by allowing you to cast two a turn and maintain hand size parity.
Soratami Cloud Chariot #160
, Artifact, Uncommon
: Target creature you control gains flying until end of turn.
: Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and dealt by target creature you control this turn.
Might lend to the occasional assisted alpha strike in Limited, but is thoroughly pointless in constructed. Moving on.
Wine of Blood and Iron #161
, Artifact, Rare
: Target creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn, where X is its power. Sacrifice Wine of Blood and Iron at end of turn.
A little expensive for competitive play, but in casual constructed decks this Wine will be more popular than beer (well, maybe not that popular). Has the potential to end the game very quickly with stackable Berserks. Sadly, to stack them requires at least eight mana.
Well, that's the last of 'em! Be sure to come back in a month or so for our Ninth Edition reviews, which will be done in an entirely new format! (Excited? I bet you are ;)) I hope you've enjoyed this review of Saviors blue, and of Saviors in general.