Oh dear. With the Gruul smashing up the city and Chandra killing Dovin, it almost looked like the fight back against Bolas was working. Unfortunately he ain’t just bringing back zombies from Amonkhet; he’s bringing back gods…
So far Oketra1 appears to be missing but we do get three legendary zombie gods plus a sorcery that references them. Enter the God-Eternals likes referencing the number four with it dealing 4 lifelink damage to a creature, milling your opponent for four cards, and then letting you amass 4. For what it’s worth, I don’t like the templating on the card with the huge block of text making it a little more complex than needed to work out what is going on. The card itself is pretty good though; 5 CMC for potentially killing a creature, gaining 4 life, milling some cards, and then getting a 4/4 body (or giving an existing army a permanent +4/+4) is decent. As with most sorceries it would be nicer at instant speed but there are several ways to pull off that trick now.
As for the gods themselves, I really like the theme they have running through. Each one is in a specific colour (I imagine Oketra will be when she appears) and each one can be placed third from the top of their owner’s library whenever they are killed or exiled. You likely remember this text from yesterday when we were looking at Ilharg, the Raze-Boar who is the god ensuring that every colour has a god. Aside from that lovely piece of text, each one gets a keyword and then a triggered ability:
- God-Eternal Bontu: Menace plus ETB trigger to draw cards based on number of creatures you sacrifice
- God-Eternal Rhonas: Deathtouch plus ETB trigger to double power and give vigilance to all your other creatures until end of turn
- God-Eternal Kefnet: Flying plus you may reveal your card when you draw and if it’s an instant or sorcery you can cast a copy for less
The interesting thing to me is that God-Eternal Kefnet is cheaper than the other gods and thus has the lowest stats being a 4/5 creature. I’m not sure why they didn’t have the extra mana and just make this a 5/5 or a 5/6 and then be able to stick with the theme? The ability is an interesting one but the wording makes me wonder if you have to reveal the card before you know what it is; as you draw it suggests I need to show it to you as I’m showing it to myself and in that case it’s a bad card. If I get to choose when I already know what it is then that’s fine2 but you’d kick yourself if you didn’t reveal and it was one you really wanted to cast twice and similarly you’d kick yourself for showing off a bomb you can’t use yet. The other two are fine and the fact that they have ETB triggers means they’d pair well with Ilharg, the Raze-Boar.
If I had to guess, I’ll assume Okreta will appear in the next day or two and will be a with lifelink, some form of ability trigger based on “when you gain life, do x”, and then the same clause about being put back into the library when she dies. In summary, I love the god cards.
We’re not quite done with the gods though as God-Eternal Kefnet makes an appearance on Tamiyo’s Epiphany ensuring that Tamiyo’s usual role of a bystander recording events can’t happen. I always like a “draw two cards” spell and having the scry 4 before it makes this seem a good alternative to Chemister’s Insight3 or Pirate’s Prize, both of which are at the same exact mana cost. It’s probably also worth spending one extra mana than Divination to gain that scry.
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales is an interesting planeswalker with an ability that prevents your opponents making you discard cards or sacrifice permanents. This doesn’t prevent milling from something like Psychic Corrosion but instead stops cards like Drill Bit or Burglar Rat as well as Silverclad Ferocidons or Undercity’s Embrace. In fact, Tamiyo may as well be called “Screw You The Eldest Reborn”. Her first ability lets you choose a nonland card name, look at the top four cards, and then put any that match the name into your hand. This is effectively a reverse Unmoored Ego but the fact that you have to choose a nonland name makes this a hard trick to pull off unless you’re using her in a Persistent Petitioners deck! Her -3 ability returns a card from your graveyard which is actually far more useful given that the first ability is nearly always going to put 4 cards in your graveyard. Overall I don’t love this planeswalker but she could be useful against certain opponents that are doing the whole sacrifice or discard thing.
We now move onto the Gideon Planeswalker deck and the four unique cards that are contained in it. In my experience, the pre-purchased planeswalker decks are great fun to play with people new to magic but the cards in them are pretty poor (as you’d expect from a deck retailing at around $15). The planeswalkers are usually particularly disappointing and Gideon here is no exception having only two abilities rather than the usual three for a mythic rare in WAR. His base ability is pretty good giving any attacking creatures (minimum 2) that aren’t Gideon’s a permanent +1/+1 counter. His +2 is fairly interesting in that he turns into an actual creature and can attack but won’t suffer damage; the downside is that he can’t use this ability on the turn he was summoned (but you’ll nearly always activate it to give him the +2). Finally, he has a -9 ability that allows him to sacrifice himself to kill every creature your opponent controls. That is pretty good but it irks me that he’ll nearly always have 1 loyalty at the point he dies to cast it.
I say “nearly” because there is proliferate but there is also Gideon’s Company, a creature that lets you pay to put a loyalty counter on a Gideon planeswalker. It’s also effectively a Ajani’s Pridemate but you gain two +1/+1 counters when you gain life. This could actually be a playable card even without Gideon! Bearing in mind the other planeswalker deck contains Jace but we’ve already seen Jace, Wielder of Mysteries in the main set, I think it’s a safe bet there will be a better Gideon planeswalker card still to be revealed; that is likely the one you want to use with Gideon’s Company.
Desperate Lunge has some great artwork and could be an important plot point but aside from that it’s fairly forgettable. Similarly, Gideon’s Battle Cry is only useful if you are using Gideon, the Oathsworn which probably isn’t advisable; Unbreakable Formation is a cheaper way to give all your creatures a +1/+1 counter at sorcery speed.
The final card to talk about is very exciting for me. Spark Double is an illusion creature that becomes a copy of a creature or planeswalker you control apart from it has an extra +1/+1 counter or loyalty counter and it isn’t legendary. The first thing that excites me about this card is that it is a far better fit for my Etrata deck than Lazav, the Multifarious as it can duplicate a card on the field rather than one in a graveyard; getting an extra +1/+1 is a nice bonus too! The second exciting thing is the ability to clone planeswalkers and give them an extra leg up when they enter the field. You might think that this is useful in order that you have another chance of hitting an ultimate but in many ways this is going to be best used to duplicate the passive abilities a planeswalker has; for example two Domri, Anarch of Bolas mean that every creature as +2/+0; two Dovin, Hand of Control means your opponent has to pay to cast artifacts, instants, or sorceries; two Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted means your opponent takes two damage every time they draw a card. That is going to be fun to build around!
We’re almost at the end of the week and it looks like we’re going to have a good story to mull over the weekend. I’m expecting we’ll see Oketra tomorrow and maybe even see one of our heroes die. You can keep up with all the latest spoilers by joining my Discord community and you can check out all the spoiled cards so far on my cards page.
She’s the one that looks like a cat. ↩︎
I guess you could do a surveil beforehand but that’s beside the point. ↩︎
Although Chemister’s Insight is an instant so even without the scry it is more useful sometimes and the extra crack at it makes it very good still. This isn’t a drop-in replacement by any means but there are times when scry 4, draw 2 is going to be better than draw 2 instantly, draw 2 again at instant speed if you discard. ↩︎