As I get closer to finishing my RNA collection it is getting harder to find new cards in each booster pack. Today was a case in point with additional copies of Unbreakable Formation, Thought Collapse, and Light Up the Stage. Fortunately the one new card is an incredibly good one:
Pteramander is a 1/1 flying creature that can use the Simic ability “adapt”1. In this case it is ‘adapt 4’ for the high cost of , although this cost can be reduced by for every instant or sorcery in your graveyard2.
You may have noticed that I was already using this card in my ‘Etrata the Multifarious’ deck as I had several copies on MTG Arena. The reason for that is two-fold; it’s a nice cheap creature to cast on turn 1 but it is also incredibly easy to pump this up to a 5/5 in a deck with lots of instants and sorceries. Consider that you could play this in the mid-to-late game and adapt it for only on the same turn if your graveyard is fairly full. A 5/5 flyer for the low price of is insane; in fact paying anything under 5 CMC is likely worthwhile. It is also worth being reminded that adapt can be triggered at instant speed so you can trigger this after blockers are declared to get some extra damage in or on your opponents end step if you want to use up some mana you were holding for counter spells. I have said it over and over but choice is king in Magic; having a creature that you can upgrade when you choose to is very powerful.
Whilst the card is printed with the Simic watermark, the costs are all entirely so this fits in with a whole host of decks; I can see it doing particularly well with Izzet drakes3 which are known for their numerous instants.
It can’t be overlooked that this card sits at the uncommon rarity level making it fairly easy to fill a deck with four copies. It’s currently the fourth most expensive uncommon of the set (after Light Up the Stage, Rhythm of the Wild, and Wilderness Reclamation) but it isn’t going to break the bank at £0.61 per card.
Again, I wish there was flavour text for all cards as I’m intrigued by this artwork. As far as I’m aware, neither salamanders nor drakes have air sacs so what’s the deal with the balloon butt? You’d think it would make it incredibly hard to propel yourself in the air. I guess maybe there is an opening at the back with which to expel the air and launch forward like a party balloon?
The adapt ability allows you to pay a cost in order to add a number of +1/+1 counters to a creature but only if it doesn’t already have any +1/+1 counters on it. In this case, the cost is in order to Adapt 4: that means you add 4 x +1/+1 counters. It’s a nice ability that fits in thematically with the Simic notions of genetic modification but it isn’t something you can just keep pumping as you can only really use the ability once (unless you foolishly lose your +1/+1 counters somehow). ↩︎
Note that the cheapest cost you can pay is therefore should you have 7 or more instants or sorceries in your graveyard. ↩︎
Fun fact: this is the only card in Standard with the creature type “Drake” that doesn’t also have the word “Drake” in the name. ↩︎
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.