There were a number of interesting cards in my booster today including Rakdos Firewheeler, Lawmage’s Binding, and Angelic Exaltation, but I’m going to talk about a card which has the potential to really screw up my milling deck:

Cindervines

Cindervines is a RedGreen enchantment with two components:

  • Whenever an opponent casts a noncreature spell then you deal them 1 dmg
  • Pay 1 Generic Mana and sacrifice the enchantment to destroy an artifact or enchantment and deal 2 dmg to it’s controller

This card is yet another way for Gruul to provide a solid defence against control decks, especially when used in combo with Rhythm of the Wild. It also helps against the Izzet Spells decks that rely on instants like Beacon Bolt, Precision Bolt, and Shock. It really screws up my milling deck as nearly every spell is a non-creature one so I’m going to be pinged for at least 1 dmg nearly every turn. Worse than that, they can choose to sacrifice it and get rid of Psychic Corrosion which is key to the deck.

One of my issues when playing Gruul1 is that I can easily get screwed over by enchantments; I have a Naturalize included specifically for destroying enchantments but it always feels like it should be a sideboard card, something to use if I’m up against an enchantment-heavy deck. For the same CMC, I can now include this card which helps me ping for bits of damage2 whilst also providing the ability to rid my opponent of their enchantments and deal 2 dmg when I do that. That’s an incredibly good deal!

A couple of rules-based things to note:

  • The 1 dmg when an opponent casts a spell is activated even if the spell is countered. I mention this as I can see myself playing BlackBlue, stealing this from an opponent with Thief of Sanity, and then using it to get a free 1 dmg whenever they cast a spell but also being able to still counter those spells. It’s always nice when control can steal cards and use them for their own ends!

  • If an artifact or enchantment gets blinked or destroyed before you resolve your destruction, you don’t get to deal 2 dmg to the controller (but you have just lost mana and your enchantment). However, if the artifact gets given the indestructible ability3, then it obviously doesn’t die but the opponent does take the 2 dmg.

  • Whilst the first condition of the card applies to opponents only, the second part doesn’t; that means you can destroy your own enchantments or artifacts and take the 2 damage should you wish to. For instance, somebody might be trying to cast Switcheroo on your Gate Colossus; by killing it yourself, you prevent them from gaining it and you’ll be able to get it back the next time you play a gate.

Something that I say time and time again is that I wish all cards had flavour text, even if it was just available to read online. The artwork by Mark Behm4 is really good and I’m intrigued to know more about these vines which the goblin isn’t even holding; they remind me a little of the chains wielded by Angrath, Minotaur Pirate. I was hoping there would be a mention in the recently released Gruul story, “Rage Unsung”, but alas not.

  1. Such as with my dinosaur deck↩︎

  2. Which can help as a spectacle trigger if using a few Rakdos cards… ↩︎

  3. i.e. you try to destroy Amaranthine Wall but they pay 2 Generic Mana to give it indestructible (or, if they don’t have mana available, maybe they sacrifice a Dauntless Bodyguard). ↩︎

  4. A relatively new designer with 30 cards under his belt including one of my favourites, Polyraptor↩︎