Surprising cards from GTC prerelease

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Hey guys, now that the first waves of prereleases are over what are some cards that flew under the radar, but ended up being good. Or the complete opposite cards that you thought were good and ended up being bad?

The good for me(played gruul at prerelease)
Crocanura - This guy is just a straight up champion
Mugging - Really helpful was not expecting it to be that good

Bad
Cinder Elemental - Removal on a stick I thought it was gonna be fantastic, very lackluster imo. I had 2 in my deck originally and cut it down to 1 after several occasions of not being worth it to use its ability or i needed it to block before I could. 
Guardian of the Gateless was good, although maybe that was expected.
Slate Street Ruffian and Balustrade Spy were both better than I expected.
The cheap Cipher (Last Thoughts and Hands of Binding) were insane when paired with extort, assuming you had the evasion.
The other cards I wasn't sure how good they'd be either didn't make my deck or didn't ever draw into my hand.
Disciple of the Old Ways was one of cards that carried many of my games.
Also look out for Madcap Skills.  Good lord does that single enchantment swing games and hard.

And to my absolute surprise, Zhur-Taa Swine dramatically underperformed.  I just could never find a use it at the right time to actually be meaningful.
Strong:
Pit Fight It often may as well have read "Destroy target creature".
Agoraphobia
Rapid Hybridization
Bomber Corps This guy is low on the curve and his battalion ability was really useful.
Crocanura This guy is a really nice and easy to cast 3 drop.
Spire Tracer This gal was a force in her own right. Winning for me a few times and keeping fliers from attacking other times!
Dinrova Horror    Voidwielder's big brother!
Prophetic Prism  This card was money for me all day.
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Disciple of the Old Ways was one of cards that carried many of my games.
Also look out for Madcap Skills.  Good lord does that single enchantment swing games and hard.

And to my absolute surprise, Zhur-Taa Swine dramatically underperformed.  I just could never find a use it at the right time to actually be meaningful.



I didn't get to play with the Swine yet but I saw it finish off a game as a creature and once as a bloodrush.

What part of +5+4 (for 3 mana)on the attack wasn't useful?  =  p

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
I haven't read -- in this thread or any others this morning -- about the set's planeswalkers.  Are/were they non-issues?  thx
I haven't read -- in this thread or any others this morning -- about the set's planeswalkers.  Are/were they non-issues?  thx



At my tourney I didn't run across one. A guy who picked Boros opened a R/G walker but I don't know if he played it or what happened. I would have been absolutely giddy if I had gotten that card in my pool!
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Disciple of the Old Ways was one of cards that carried many of my games.
Also look out for Madcap Skills.  Good lord does that single enchantment swing games and hard.

And to my absolute surprise, Zhur-Taa Swine dramatically underperformed.  I just could never find a use it at the right time to actually be meaningful.



I didn't get to play with the Swine yet but I saw it finish off a game as a creature and once as a bloodrush.

What part of +5+4 (for 3 mana)on the attack wasn't useful?  =  p



 As I said, the most useful aspect of bloodrush I've found is to use it to protect your creatures while simultaneously killing off one of your opponent's creatures.  For me, I never really found a situation where an extra 3 power would help me do that, and falls into overkill areas.  Simultaneously, I never really found myself trying to eek out an extra 2-3 damage over many of the other common, cheaper, and less mana intensive bloodrushers (Such as Scab-Clan Charager and Slaughterhorn).  What I'm saying is that the Swine is just an all-in overkill card that limits what it can cast the turn you either play it or bloodrush it, and generally isn't going to be much better at doing what you want to do when compared with other common bloodrushers.  I'd take 4 Chargers over 4 swines any day, as the damage output is really not that necessary.

Granted, it's nice to have.  But really only 1-of, maybe 2 at most.  It's a good body, but gruul has plenty else in that cost-range and plenty of things which don't restrict your mana useage.  It's a good finisher out of nowhere, particularly if you have Madcap Skills in play, but its central role-As a combat trick used as removal- seems to be mostly fulfilled by the Charger.  At least in my experience at the Pre-release.  I was never unhappy to see a couple chargers in my opening hand, but having the swine there never worked out in my favor.
I saw someone pull Domri and play it (There was a player with Gideon, didnt see it though)

Domri was a train. The guy got at least 2 cards out of it when I saw, and was fairly close to getting the emblem(closed the game out before that could happen)

Honestly, Madcap skills was the biggest curveball I saw, nothing ellse hugely suprising, although Zamek Guildmage performed extremely well for me.
I haven't read -- in this thread or any others this morning -- about the set's planeswalkers.  Are/were they non-issues?  thx



At my tourney I didn't run across one. A guy who picked Boros opened a R/G walker but I don't know if he played it or what happened. I would have been absolutely giddy if I had gotten that card in my pool!



Ran across Gideon at my pre-release.

He most certainly is an issue.  He's a very solid mid-range card for Boros that provides a ridiculous and huge creature that is damn near impossible to get rid of.
I agree about pit fight, it was really good + bloodrush and then pitfight was a good combo. I think the swine was mediocre as well he's a good card, but didn't seem to as much of a beast as I thought he was.

As far as planeswalkers go, I played against Domri and he is not a huge bomb, but hes at least a pit fight or a scry/creature draw, overall good.
 
Firefist Striker was better than I expected. I didn't get to see too many different cards in action even with 7 rounds so I'm not sure about other stuff being underrated. 

I only saw one planeswalker yesterday. It was a Gideon, but it came out on game 3 of the last round  and the turn before I won.

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All five of the Denizens are better than they look, though they are better in one guild than the other (White and Red in Boros, Blue and Black in Dimir, Green in Simic). Bioshift and the +1/+1 and untap trick both seem pretty decent in Simic. Mortus Strider surprised me (it is pretty good with the blue Denizen). Firefist Striker is obviously powerful and so is Madcap Skills. Gift of Orzhova is also really good, and Smite is very powerful in Orzhov but also perfectly fine in Boros. The Boros hybrid spell for [mc]2(R/W)[/c] was also pretty good. Mugging is cheap removal which is very much needed and is good as a falter effect later. The 2/2 Gargoyle for 4 was surprisingly relevant.
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I heard one guy singing the praises of Holy Mantle  as he cruised to 4/0 claiming "you're doing what?  I don't care take four damage every turn."  But I can't really speak for it outside that one instance.
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All five of the Denizens are better than they look, though they are better in one guild than the other (White and Red in Boros, Blue and Black in Dimir, Green in Simic). Bioshift and the +1/+1 and untap trick both seem pretty decent in Simic. Mortus Strider surprised me (it is pretty good with the blue Denizen). Firefist Striker is obviously powerful and so is Madcap Skills. Gift of Orzhova is also really good, and Smite is very powerful in Orzhov but also perfectly fine in Boros. The Boros hybrid spell for [mc]2(R/W)[/c] was also pretty good. Mugging is cheap removal which is very much needed and is good as a falter effect later. The 2/2 Gargoyle for 4 was surprisingly relevant.



I thought the denizens were excellent when I saw them. I really like the white one and the green one for play style reasons.

Did you get to play with or against Crocanura at all. I know he's a common 1/3 and all but it seemed like if I got him out on turn three that I just always had the better game. The guy really hampers a lot of opposing decks. He loves fliers, Battalion little guys, and Spire Tracer. He usually got really big in Gruul!

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
 I think the most potent denizen I faced was the black one. A dimir deck that had to quick starts with a t1 or 2 denizen is fearsome.
Also, I saw Frilled Oculus wrecking shop in Simic decks.  He was often ciphered with Hands of Binding and the target of a friendly pit fight.
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Did you get to play with or against Crocanura at all. I know he's a common 1/3 and all but it seemed like if I got him out on turn three that I just always had the better game. The guy really hampers a lot of opposing decks. He loves fliers, Battalion little guys, and Spire Tracer. He usually got really big in Gruul!



I had one in my Gruul deck. It was very solid. I was in love with the card from the moment it was spoiled and it has not let me down. My Boros opponent in one round spent a premium removal spell (Homing Lightning) in response to me casting a Rubblebelt Raiders because otherwise it would grow out of range and his creatures could never stand up to it. Too bad he had removal for the Raiders too though I could have told myself that I guess. I killed him with a Firemane Avenger I had in my hand instead
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I played Gruul splashing Simic and I was really pleased with Gruul Charm. Never had to do the ol counter an act of treason trick (or the dimir enchantment, I suppose), but killing fliers or opening up the ground was really helpful. 

Gruul Keyrune had one very amusing MVP performance where my friend playing dimir had a hand of: 3x Grisly Spectacle 2x Call of The Nightwing and 2x Consuming Aberration and only 4 lands. Artifact Rhino w/ trample ftw. Still not a great card but it worked out.

I'll echo Disciple of the Old Ways too. Given how a gruul deck fills up with combat tricks, people treat the first strike as unblockable when she swings in.  
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Alms Beast was an all star for me, the drawback was rarely relevant as my opponents rarely if ever had creatures big enough to kill it. Also putting a gift of orzhova on it singlehandedly won me a game.
Gideon was a house!  I pulled him and he was so good.

Jan 27, 2013 -- 8:47AM, Lobster667 wrote:

All five of the Denizens are better than they look, though they are better in one guild than the other (White and Red in Boros, Blue and Black in Dimir, Green in Simic). Bioshift and the +1/+1 and untap trick both seem pretty decent in Simic. Mortus Strider surprised me (it is pretty good with the blue Denizen). Firefist Striker is obviously powerful and so is Madcap Skills . Gift of Orzhova is also really good, and Smite is very powerful in Orzhov but also perfectly fine in Boros. The Boros hybrid spell for [mc]2(R/W)[/c] was also pretty good. Mugging is cheap removal which is very much needed and is good as a falter effect later. The 2/2 Gargoyle for 4 was surprisingly relevant.




I thought the denizens were excellent when I saw them. I really like the white one and the green one for play style reasons.

Did you get to play with or against Crocanura at all. I know he's a common 1/3 and all but it seemed like if I got him out on turn three that I just always had the better game. The guy really hampers a lot of opposing decks. He loves fliers, Battalion little guys, and Spire Tracer . He usually got really big in Gruul!



And good against that Skyblinder equipment as well.
Gideon was a house!  I pulled him and he was so good.


He was! Everybody poopood him, and while that might be true for constructed formats, having a 7/7 or so indestructible attacker for 2WW is crazy in limited.
Smite was surprising- I ended up using it on my own creatures more often than not, usually when they were about to die from a combat trick, just so I could extort it to deal damage to my opponent.

Also, I usually played Death's Approach in every game, just for the extort triggers. With three creatures with extort out, four mana gets you a six point swing in life. Even if it doesn't take out their creature immediately, it's usually worth it... and you know their creature's probably going to die eventually.
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I put a mad cap skills on a burning tree emissary on turn two. That combo is worth mentioning I suppose. I played naya and it seemed every other deck was struggling to keep up. I ran 19 creatures, mugging pit fight, and 2 madcap skills. The halberdiers, and the hasty goblin were also all-stars.. the biggest problem I ran into was a white enchantment that tapped out my creatures as they came into play.
Gideon was a house!  I pulled him and he was so good.



I'll agree with that.  Still don't think he's constructed playable, but in limited the man is a beatstick that is surprisingly resilient. 

In the same vein, I've seen Duskmantle Seer at work, and good lord does it wreck house in Orzhov splash blue.  In a deck that runs on cheap extort and wall creatures, I actually didn't *want* to draw more cards with that thing in play as I was getting bleed out for 2-4 every turn *on top* of the 2-4 extort from whatever he drew.  Extort makes the life payment negligible if you play it and downright painful if you're not Orzhov yourself.  Him drawing into Charms, smites, and Arrows while I drew my bombs was not good when I was sitting at 10-15 life (The fact I was drawing into bombs mattered not at all, as he had more than enough removal to take care of major threats, and had walled off the battlefield enough to stop me from getting damage through).  Honestly a ridiculous card for a blue splashing Orzhov. 
I'll try to opine about some cards that haven't been mentioned yet.  Ogre Slumlord was way more annoying to play against than I expected, as it kept pumping out rats with deathtouch.  Blind Obedience literally won me a game when I had my opponent down to 1 life and he forgot that enchanting my one Plains to a Swamp didn't matter for the Extort cost.  Boy, was he mad.

Overall, Bloodrush was much more useful than I thought it would be.  Once I got a couple of creatures out I kept my mana untapped and a few cards in hand, and my opponents dithered about whether to block or not.  If they blocked, I'd Bloodrush and kill their creature while leaving mine alive, and if they didn't block I'd often Bloodrush anyway and hit them for 5 or more damage.
Knight of Obligation was really good for me. Blocks all day and Extort is pretty tough to stop. I guess I expected him to be good so not really a huge surprise. Also, that art!

One Thousand Lashes is really good as expected, but I always seemed to draw Devour Flesh the turn after casting it which is awkward. 

Slate Street Ruffian was already mentioned, but he is really annoying in multiples. 

I played against Gideon, but he didn't do much. I had four creatures on the board to his two, swung at Gideon once to make sure he stayed out of ultimate range and then I landed Obzedat, so I suppose that is a bit of an unfair situation to judge. Had I not already been so far ahead, he certainly would have been really scary swinging in for around 10 the turn after casting him, but you need to be even or ahead on the board for him to really do anything I think.

I cast Obzedat four times and he needless to say he won all four of those games. Twice the opponent just scooped and the other two times they played it out and complained how dumb he was every turn.  
Gideon killed me a couple times, he's good, although obviously he won't help you stabalize so be aware.

THe White Denizen is a ton of fun with Boros, and is super-duper fun with Boros GUildmage.

Skynight Legionnaire is like Speed for Boros decks. 
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57817638 wrote:
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Moriok Rigger does absolutely nothing to boost other riggers. You are incorrect.
Moriok Rigger is not a Rigger in print. Only in Errata WHAT NOW! (yes, I did put that phrase in for that exact reason)
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Burst of Strength wasn't necessarily great, but was still way better than I expected (for Simic). 
The creature sizes in this set are similar, so the +1/+1 is often enough to net a card's worth of effect. 

I wouldn't use the untap part of it to surprise-block something against a deck that might have Bloodrush. But you could use the power boost to protect something from a Mugging or Killing Glare or something, or use it in response to an opponent's Aerial Maneuver.

The cheap cost really matters for Simic. With Simic, there are going to be these late turns where your mana is tied up as you keep tapping out to cast a big creature to evolve the rest of your team, sometimes even bouncing and recasting something like Leyline Phantom. It feels like you are stuck at a "cast only one spell per turn" stage longer than other Guilds. This is a tempo disadvantage.

The key to playing Simic seems to me to play as many cheap cards as possible that still count for A Card. You can't help playing expensive spells for Evolve shennanigans, but if you fill out the rest with cheap cards, you can have a turn where you cast a cheap evolve creature and also save another creature from dying using a low-cost trick. Having those turns where you achieve two things in one turn early in the game seems to offset some of the tempo drawback in later turns where you keep tapping out to play only one huge guy, or recast your own self-bouncing creature. Does that make sense?

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