Another good booster in terms of value today with my second shock land in as many days; Breeding Pool1. I also picked up extra copies of Stony Strength, Spirit of the Spires, and Basilica Bell-Haunt but I’m going to talk about a mana ramp card which I now have four copies of:

Growth Spiral

Growth Spiral is a GreenBlue instant that lets you draw a card and then put a land from your hand onto the battlefield. I’m always a fan of cards that let me play an extra land, especially when they allow you to bring them in untapped. Previously the only way to do this was with Broken Bond, Enter the Unknown, or Wayward Swordtooth. This incarnation is very similar to Enter the Unknown albeit at a higher cost due to the instant speed; if I was being picky, I’d have liked to have seen a scry attached to this so it acted more like Opt.

In terms of playability, this is obviously a good card to have on turn 2 allowing you to jump up to 3 lands relatively easily; that is especially good if you are on a budget and making use of guild gates that enter the battlefield tapped as you can get them cooking far earlier. However, there are also mid-to-late game benefits as well; drawing a card is nearly always a good play and the fact that this is an instant means you can cast it on your opponent’s end-step to use up any mana you may have been holding for counter spells. In any case, if you are playing Simic then this is probably something you want in your deck2.

As soon as I saw the artwork I knew it was going to be a Seb McKinnon card; the art style he uses is utterly gorgeous and always reminds me of the game Machinarium. Just take a look at some of his other recent cards: Bankrupt in Blood, Rite of Belzenlok, and Bedevil. I’ll also mention the Commander 2018 card Aminatou, the Fateshifter of which there is a play mat that constantly tempts me. All of this is a long-winded way of saying that Seb is my favourite MTG artist and I can’t wait to see his work in future sets.

The final thing I want to talk about is the Gyre Clade which is mentioned in the flavour text. You may remember the word “Gyre” coming up a couple of days ago when I looked at Gyre Engineer? According to the Planeswalker’s Guide to Gatecrash: Part 2:

Simic guild members are organized by clade rather than by species, role, or caste. Each clade is the natural-world equivalent of a project team: diverse individuals adapted to different tasks, yet related by a common goal. Clades often exist solely within a single zonot, but they need not do so, and large clades span two or more Simic communities. Some of the clades include:

  • Hull Clade. This clade’s focus is on protection, defense, durability, and the like. Its projects range from the strengthening of exoskeletons to the stabilization of zonot walls.
  • Fin Clade. The study of movement is this clade’s focus—both literal movement of creatures (especially flying creatures) as well as, for example, movement of resources through systems.
  • Crypsis Clade. This secretive clade develops strategies for obscuring other guilds’ views of the Simic. This includes literal camouflage as well as magic designed to hide knowledge or operations.
  • Gyre Clade. Cyclical patterns and metamagic are this clade’s specialization. Projects include finding ways to redirect or nullify magic and advancing nature.

So there you have it, the Gyre are a sect of the Simic Guild that look to advance nature. This card definitely seems on point with that philosophy!

  1. The name of that card makes me feel slightly grubby; sounds like something you’d find in a sex club. ↩︎

  2. And I’m putting my money where my mouth is; you can see it in my Ruse of an Ooze deck. ↩︎

This post is part of a weekday series where I open up a booster pack and pick a card to discuss. Whilst these are often the best cards from the set, I'll often pick one that is a bit niche or one that has cool artwork or flavour text. If there's a particular card you want me to take a look at, get in touch or join my Discord community.