June 27, 2017

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Daily Dose of Hour of Devastation – Are two halves better than one?

Welcome all to the second preview week on the Daily Dose of Hour of Devastation, where I’ve been talking about some of the exciting cards from the new set coming out on July 14th. Some of the most interesting cards from a design standpoint from Amonkhet were the split aftermath cards. Being able to get such great value out of one card, even over two turns at times, is just too good to overlook.

But despite their great design, only a few have gone on to see Standard play (Commit // Memory, Cut // Ribbons, Never // Return), while most of them shine in Limited formats. Hour of Devastation brings 10 more aftermath cards for us to look at. Today I want to focus on four of the enemy colour rare spells. I’m going to talk about how each half of the card is by itself, how well they would work if both halves were cast in the same turn, and their likelihood of being played in Standard.

grindtodust

Main Half of Spell – Even as a sorcery, this is a relatively good removal spell. Using it as a 1-for-1 removal spell is a great use of this card. There could be the odd time, post combat, or against a deck like Mardu Vehicles where you’ll even be able to use it as a 2-for-1 removal spell.

Aftermath Half of Spell – This is a very situational removal spell, as you need to have placed -1/-1 counters on creatures without killing them previous to playing this to get some advantage out of it. It is possible to combine it with Archfiend of Ifnir to have a one-sided sweeper.

Casting both in the same turn – So for 4WB, it reads, “Exile any two target creatures.” If this were at instant speed, it would be a bit more impressive, but you do get a guaranteed two-for-one removal spell for six mana.

Likelihood of being played in Standard – Unless a new deck emerges in the format involving placing -1/-1 counters on your opponent’s creatures, I don’t see this making its way into a Standard deck soon. There are just better removal spells out there in the format now.

reasontobelieve

Main Half of Spell – Scry is a very powerful mechanic, but most often it gets its greatest value when accompanied with some other ability or part of a spell like card draw. By itself, scry 3 just isn’t valuable enough.

Aftermath Half of Spell – Played by itself on a turn where you’re unaware of what the top card of your library is a crap shoot. There is some return in the fact that you replace the card itself no matter what’s on top of your library.

Casting both in the same turn – So for 4UG, it reads, “Scry 3, look at the top card of your library. You may put it onto the battlefield if it’s a creature card. If you don’t, put it in your hand.” In a world where there are still some very big creatures like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, this is where Reason // Believe shines.

Likelihood of being played in Standard – This is a tough one. This could see play in a Temur deck that takes advantage of a lot of great creatures that want to be drawing every turn. This is a great counter against an opponent who is playing Commit // Memory. I think that someone will be able to figure out how to make this work, since when it does work, it could have a huge reward.

driventodepair

Main Half of Spell – There are many possibilities for this card in a colour like green, which often focuses its deck on having strong creatures on the battlefield. Most times you want to play this when you have two or more creatures so that you gain more card advantage. Don’t ignore the addition of trample in a world of small creatures that block like Thraben Inspector.

Aftermath Half of Spell – This is an equally strong spell that can even be used to just get in more damage thanks to all your creatures gaining menace. Throw in some card advantage and we’ve got a party.

Casting both in the same turn – So for 2GB, it reads, “Until end of turn, creatures you control gain trample and menace and ‘Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, draw a card and that player discards a card’”. Since it’s relatively cheap, I could see this getting played on turn four after putting two creatures on the battlefield on turn two and three. In most circumstances you’ll deal some damage, draw two cards, and force your opponent to discard two cards.

Likelihood of being played in Standard – I can see this easily fitting in to a Green/Black Energy or Counters deck to gain some much-needed card advantage and to get in some damage in the early or late game.

refusetocooperate

Main Half of Spell – This could be a great way for a Burn deck to deal a lot of damage quickly against Control decks. Playing this against a Torrential Gearhulk or a Pull from Tomorrow could lead to six damage or more.

Aftermath Half of Spell – This is another great way to maximize the effect of a mid-to-late game burn spell. It can also duplicate a great spell that your opponent throws your way as well.

Casting both in the same turn – So for 5RU, it reads, “Deal damage to target spell’s controller equal to that spell’s converted mana cost. Also copy that spell if it’s an instant or sorcery.” It’s unfortunate that you can’t copy the first half of the spell with the aftermath half of the spell to be able to deal double damage. Since they’re both instant spells, you’ll rarely be playing this both in the same turn.

Likelihood of being played in Standard – I can see this seeing play in the Blue/Red Burn deck that already sees some play in Standard. A great late game play that will make your opponent scared to cast large spells in fear that it could finish them off.

So, what are your opinions on these new aftermath cards from Hour of Devastation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I hope that these new aftermath cards find a home in the new Standard metagame coming up, as I want them to keep creating new and fun cards like these.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Hour of Devastation. Join me the rest of the week as I continue to breakdown the new set in advance of prerelease weekend on July 8-9.