I received a few good cards in my booster today including a duplicate of Glass of the Guildpact and a foil version of Thirsting Shade but I’m going to talk about a card which gave me a decent beating during the Ravnica Allegiance pre-release:

High Alert

High Alert is a 1 Generic ManaWhiteBlue enchantment with several parts:

  • Creatures you control deal combat damage equal to toughness rather than power (so a 2/5 is effectively a 5/5 during combat)
  • Creatures you control with defender can ignore that condition
  • 2 Generic ManaWhiteBlue Untap target creature

When I first saw this card during spoiler season, I instantly thought of my good friend Chris who likes to play with walls; this would suddenly make his defensive line up of 0/5 creatures become a rather more scary set of 5/5 attackers. I later realised during the RNA pre-release that this makes blue creatures far more scary as I lost 3 games to an Azorius deck. The majority of blue creatures in Standard have more toughness than power (61 cards) followed by equal toughness and power (58 cards) before you finally get to those creatures with more power than toughness (27 cards). Of those 27, the vast majority are only more powerful by 1 whereas of the 61 defence cards there are several with differentials of 3 or more. Walls like Amaranthine Wall and Wall of Mist are scary but consider the damage you can now do with Conqueror’s Galleon // Conqueror’s Foothold!

The only other card with a similar ability was the harder to cast Arcades, the Strategist (1 Generic ManaGreenWhiteBlue) which also gave you a flying, vigilance 3/5 and let you draw a card when a defender entered the battlefield. Still, this is probably the better card as it is far easier to cast and it has that cheeky second ability: untap target creature. That becomes important if we consider something like Windreader Sphinx that can swoop in for 7 dmg and is now effectively given vigilance as you untap it ready for defending.

With the first two abilities this card was incredibly good for those with tough defending blue creatures but the ability to give them pseudo-vigilance1 makes this one of the best cards of the set by my reckoning.

  1. Don’t forget that the 2 Generic ManaWhiteBlue cost can be paid multiple times to untap multiple creatures. ↩︎

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.