The notable cards of Magic 2012
There are a lot of returning favorites which I am going to talk about first. A new core set generally means a new set of reprinted favorites from the past. The most notable ones are “The Titans“. This cycle of mythic six-drops makes a return from their powerful splash from Magic 2011. Each of these guys has a nice ability to go along with a 6/6 body. These guys are always good and are good in many different formats. My favorite of the Titans is Sun Titan. The ability to continually recur things from a graveyard is worthy of a slot in any white deck. The odds on favorite for most powerful is probably Grave Titan. He brings an undead army with him that grows as he gets angrier. These cards have been sought after by the player base in the past year so it is no surprise that they are back again this time around. If you play Commander, that I seem to be doing more and more of lately, these guys will always make the cut.
The next card I am most excited about its return is Grim Lavamancer. I play this guy in my Legacy burn deck and he makes all those fetch lands (you know those ones from Zendikar) work twice as well. This guy will be a staple in red decks for his time in Standard and I can’t wait to play my “Legacy deck” in Standard, even if it is just for a few months. Oblivion Ring comes back to keep powerful Planeswalkers in check. Goblin Grenade makes it’s core set debut. This powerful spell can net you 5 damage or a forth of your opponent’s life total for just a single red mana. Yeah, you have to chuck one of your goblins, but isn’t that the point? Ponder is a deceptively powerful card and it’s “Shuffle” mechanic will be relevant in Standard. Quicksilver Amulet is fun for Commander decks and I’ve been itching to get a few for some of my more casual decks. And lastly, Solemn Simulacrum. I always start my decks with this guy whenever possible. He’s a commander staple that not only nets you card advantage, but helps smooth out mana bases. This should be one of the cards you start out with when building a Commander deck, especially non-green multicolored.
As for the new cards, there is plenty to be excited about in Magic 2012. Headlining the list of cards that I can’t wait to pick up, the new planeswalkers. Chandra, the Firebrand and Garruk, Primal Hunter are two of the stronger planeswalkers that have been printed in their respective colors. Chandra lets you copy sorceries and instants, or enables bloodthirst by pinging your opponent. The good thing is that she only requires a single red mana to cast. This means she can be played in many decks that are not entirely based around “burning their face”. She’s a little high on the curve for her to really make splashes in traditional burn decks (spending four mana for one damage is typically not what red decks want to do.) But if you can cast her and copy a back breaking spell and copy it you’ll come out ahead. Think of casting a Chandra, then copying a Lightning Bolt. Six damage for five mana is not a bad investment. As for Garruk, he’ll see heavy play. Even though he has a heavy green requirement he’s abilities are too good to pass up. Now, Garruk makes 3/3 guys and gets loyalty counters, before he lost loyalty to do this. A turn after you drop him you can get a free Ancestral Recall and draw at least three cards. Green traditionally doesn’t get good draw spells and this is one of the best there is. Not only does he bring his own blockers, you can reload your hand with presumably better fatties to drop on the board. If he survives two turns you could potentially drop seven 6/6 wurms into play. That will put some pressure on any opponent. I am really looking forward to putting this in my green based Commander decks. Most planeswalkers are really good in Commander and this one gives you plenty of options that help immensely.
I love lords so Adaptive Automation is going to be an auto-include in many of my decks. Chandra’s Phoenix is one of the best flying red weenie creatures ever printed. You can regrow your good burn spells and play them again and get a 2/2 flying, haste creature for only three mana? Definitely going to be seeing a lot of that card in the next year. Dungrove Elder is probably one of the best green creatures ever printed. Hexproof makes this guy a house against spot removal and he’ll continue to grow as long as you give him more forests. For three mana getting a 3/3 hexproof guy seems like cheating to me. My favorite combo of Blanchwood Armor and Troll Ascetic all combined on one card? The only downside is that he doesn’t regenerate, but in Standard you can bring along a Asceticism and regen your troll tree all day long.
Grand Abolisher is another great “hate bear” that will see play in Legacy and possibly Standard. Particularly if White decks continue to dominate the metagame. I’m looking forward to building an illusion deck based around Lord of the Unreal. I hope we get some cooler illusions that aren’t as fragile in upcoming sets to make the card shine. Sundail of the Infinite makes bad cards like Final Fortune really really good, and I’m also working on a neat deck to use it’s unique ability. Visions of Beyond will be really good in the upcoming graveyard themed block. You’ll likely have what it takes to draw three for one most of the time in the right deck. Swiftfoot Boots and Manalith are going into all my Commander decks both are kind of slightly weaker versions of cards already available. I can’t wait to play Jace’s Archivist and Consecrated Sphinx together for hilarity.
When all is said and done there is a lot to explore in the latest core set. I’ve been really happy about the direction these have been taking since the Magic 2010 overhaul. There is plenty to pick up for new and old players alike.
Magic 2012 is available at your favorite store. You can check out Wizards Locatorto find a store near you or you can wait until it is available on Magic Online next week (the online prerelease events start on the 28th.).