Not the best booster pack today but I did manage to pick up two cards I need. The first was Absorb, a decent enough counter spell with some extra life gain tacked on. I felt I covered counters pretty well a few days ago so today I’m going to look at the second new card in the pack:
Gyre Engineer is a 1/1 creature that can be tapped to add to your mana pool.
Now you may wonder why I’d be interested in a creature which is essentially a Llanowar Elves for two extra CMC that gives one extra mana?1 The simple truth is that there aren’t many cards that let you tap for anything more than a single piece of mana and those that do are nearly always cards that need to be transformed first. By my reckoning, there are only five other mana ramp cards that deal in two or more mana per tap:
- Growing Rites of Itlimoc // Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun (when transformed) adds one for every creature you control
- Storm the Vault // Vault of Catlacan (when transformed) adds for every artifact you control
- Dowsing Dagger // Lost Vale (when transformed2) adds three mana of any colour
- Golden Guardian // Gold-Forge Garrison (when transformed) adds two mana of any colour
- Elfhame Druid adds but only for kicked spells
Do I think it’s a good card? Not necessarily but it is an interesting one. I do think you are likely better served by a couple of Llanowar Elves as you can get them out earlier and have extra defence on the board but I could totally see this as a turn two play after Llanowar Elves if you desperately need to fix into your mana pool and you’re not confident in drawing appropriate lands.
The other option is if you wanted to indulge in some mana shenanigans as you can hold mana in hand for an entire phase. For example, let us say you have no mana available from your lands but your Gyre Engineer is untapped. However, you want to cast a creature like Aeromunculus that costs 3 mana. You can do that by first tapping your engineer for and then playing Stony Strength to add a +1/+1 to the engineer and untap it. Now, with your still in hand, tap the engineer again for a further giving you all the mana you need to bring in your Aeromunculus. Sneaky!
When you look at Gyre Engineer as a possible 3 mana creator, it suddenly looks a little better…
This isn’t a card I’d come across before but I really like it. It’s an equipment that gives +2/+1 to a creature, gives your opponent two 0/2 creatures with defender, and then lets you transform (when it does combat damage to opponent) to a land that adds three mana. Pair that with Aether Tunnel or Passwall Adept and you’ve got a decent mana ramp! ↩︎
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.