April 19, 2019

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Daily Dose of War of the Spark – The Story Ends, but the fun begins

Welcome to the Daily Dose of War of the Spark, where today is the last day of preview season for the new set. That’s why I have 3 great new cards I haven’t had a chance to talk about so far. With the full set released, players can now take in all the information and start to come up with strategies on how they’re going to approach deckbuilding for this set. With 36 new planeswalkers and an overall powerful set, this is sure to shake up the current Standard metagame.

I want to start off by talking about a new Remand-like spell. Here is Narset’s Reversal.

I love the versatility of this card as it can be used in so many different scenarios. Let’s start off with your opponent casting an instant or sorcery. This acts as almost two different spells every time. First you get to copy the spell, allowing you to for example draw 2 cards from a Chemister’s Insight, or exile a planeswalker with Vraska’s Contempt. You also force your opponent to reuse their mana to cast the spell again. This becomes even better if they don’t have the mana to recast the spell in that turn. You then get to cast that spell for yourself! The other scenario is when you are casting your own spell. Let’s say for example you cast Mastermind’s Acquisition and in response copy it with Narset’s Reversal. You can still get a copy of the spell and have the original return to your hand to cast again. It’s like having a Buyback of 2 on any spell in your hand. For five mana you can Absorb a spell and still have the Absorb leftover for next time. I think this card will be a staple in Control decks in the coming months.

Next is a returning planeswalker that can help you reduce the cost of some of your spells. Here is Ugin the Ineffable.

I love colorless planeswalkers as they allow you to play them in any deck you want. Let’s break down the abilities of this planeswalker.

Colorless spells you cast cost 2 less to cast. – The power of this ability lies in what pool of cards it applies to. In Standard, you have the two Karn planeswalkers that would now cost 2 mana instead of 4. It would be nice to surprise your opponent with a 0 casting costed Blackblade Reforged and equipping it for 3 mana on a legendary creature. One of the current best targets would be casting The Immortal Sun for only four mana. When looking at the new cards from War of the Spark, it would be nice to cast God-Pharaoh’s Statue for only four mana and stifle your opponent!

[+1]: Exile the top card of your library face down and look at it. Create a 2/2 colorless Spirit creature token. When that token leaves the battlefield, put the exiled card into your hand. – This is a great way to gain some card advantage while putting some protection and pressure on to the battlefield. These spirits will be great chump blockers, as they will allow you to get an extra card in your hand when they die. These cards will also be protected from hand disruption spells as well like Thought Erasure.

[-3]: Destroy target permanent that’s one or more colors. – This should hit 90% or more of possible targets in Standard today. It is a nice way to destroy planeswalkers, enchantments, and anything else you would need to destroy to stabilize yourself on the battlefield. This is a great ability to have on a planeswalker that can be played in any deck.

Finally, I want to talk about the hero, the legend, the planeswalker. Here is Gideon Blackblade.

Gideon is back and ready to attack your opponent to the ground. Let’s have a look at the abilities for this planeswalker.

As long as it’s your turn, Gideon Blackblade is a 4/4 Human Soldier creature with indestructible that’s still a planeswalker. – Having this as a permanent ability means you don’t have to waste a loyalty ability on it, and you can attack each turn. There really isn’t much of a reason that you wouldn’t attack with Gideon Blackblade every turn you could.

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to Gideon Blackblade during your turn. – With him already having indestructible, there are a few instances where this will come into play. If will survive if you cast a Star of Extinction for example.

[+1]: Up to one other target creature you control gains your choice of vigilance, lifelink or indestructible until end of turn. – This will allow Gideon Blackblade to always start at 5 loyalty as there isn’t much else you can do the turn you cast it. If you need creatures to help protect Gideon Blackblade you can give them vigilance. If you need to gain some life, lifelink will do the job. Indestructible will come into play if you know that you will have a creature that would trade during combat.

[-6]: Exile target nonland permanent. – This is a little bit of an odd ultimate ability as it doesn’t win or take over the game like most other ultimate abilities. It can’t even be used until 3 turns down the line, which means most often you will have to wait if there is something important to get off the battlefield. Despite the waiting time needed, this can eventually allow you to remove there most powerful threat from the battlefield.

There you have it folks, the full set has been previewed and this focus shifts to the next step, prerelease weekend. Thanks for joining me in the past 3 weeks for the Daily Dose of War of the Spark. Join me again next week as we welcome prerelease week at the Daily Dose. Card rankings, removal guides and a practice prerelease build are all coming up for prerelease week on the Daily Dose of War of the Spark!