We’re on day 5 of the War of the Spark spoilers and it seems to be a day of common creatures with very good flavour text. Before we get to those, we have a rare creature and a rare sorcery to look at:
The first thing to catch my eye about Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves is the very specifically named token it generates; it’s not a simple 2/2 green Wolf creature but a legendary 3/3 green and white Wolf with the name “Voja, Friend to Elves”. It’s a nice naming convention and I like that the wolf type appears to be getting some more love. In this instance you’re getting 3 life when a wolf enters the battlefield and it gets to fight a creature1. This will play well with the previously spoiled planeswalker Arlinn, Voice of the Pack who can generate wolf tokens and gives them an extra +1/+1. I think the mana pricing is pretty good here; the colours could be tricky to cast if you’re going to a tricoloured deck but two 3/3 bodies, 3 life, and the chance to kill something definitely seems worth 5 mana to me!
- Swap your land in a colour your opponent can’t use for their dual land or splash that they desperately need for casting spells
- Swap a treasure token for a Gate Colossus thus ruining a gate deck
- Swap a creature token for something far bigger and scarier
- Swap a planeswalker that is about to die for a planeswalker that is about to ultimate
There is a huge amount of potential for this card and the fact you can swap permanents of the same type makes this insanely good. I’m not quite sure why it is so much cheaper than Switcheroo when it is way more versatile. Is it too powerful? Possibly.
“Weird” is not a creature type I’d come across before and with good reason; there have only been 7 in previous sets. Once again DailyMTG have a great article to coincide with these spoilers that explains the back history of weirds and some of the previous cards they’ve appeared on.
I’m fairly ambivalent on both of these cards. Spellgorger Weird seems the better of the two with the option to grow rapidly in the right noncreature focused deck. Spellkeeper Weird, on the other hand, is a fairly expensive defensive card that still falls to Lava Coil and requires you to pay more to fetch an instant or sorcery from your graveyard. In the right situation that could be invaluable but it just doesn’t seem a great investment to me in standard play. As with a lot of these common creatures, this could be genuinely useful when drafting but I think it is more of a niche fan card than something truly playable. I love that they’ve built these cards as a duo though with names and abilities that keep them in equilibrium; one consumes spells, the other belches them up.
Of the remaining cards, I’ve chosen to focus on these 3 as I believe they have the most interesting abilities and the greatest flavour text; I particularly like the text on Wardscale Crocodile and how it fits into the current story reveals of Ravnica fighting back against the undead invaders.
The Devouring Hellion interests me as it is slightly akin to a Galloping Lizrog with it’s +1/+1 duplication. Something that is becoming clear as we get through more cards is that creatures and planeswalkers are becoming a lot more interchangeable, something highlighted here by the fact that you can sacrifice a planeswalker – I don’t think that has ever been an option before3. If this had flash (using a card like Emergence Zone) it would be formidable when doing a large amount of chump blocking or when you are being swept by Single Combat.
Wardscale Crocodile is your typical big green creature. What it lacks in toughness, it makes up for with hexproof preventing it from being removed by Lightning Strike and friends. It’s a shame that at this price point it doesn’t have trample or menace as that would make it far more useful. Again, it’s something you might use in a draft but is unlikely to see standard play which is disappointing given the great artwork and text. Sidenote: I love the term wardscale to represent a hexproof croc.
Finally, Banehound deserves a mention just for being a nightmare hound4 and having artwork that may well actually give me nightmares! As far as I can tell, this is the first Magic card at 1 mana cost to have both lifelink and haste thus allowing you to get a life differential of 2 on your first turn5. Whilst the hound is unlikely to stick around for long, you can probably guarantee he is going to gain you 2 life in a typical game and he may be a decent deterrent against low toughness aggro decks for a turn or two. I can definitely see a slot for him and I love that this card has been able to have two firsts in Magic history.
That’s all for today but as usual all of the spoiled cards from today are available on my cards page. Once the set is released I’ll be opening a booster pack a day and talking about a single card in a load more depth and you can always catch me on my Twitch channel if you want me to talk about a card in more detail. If you think any of the other cards spoiled today deserve some attention, let me know in the comments.
And that flavour text is just wondrous. ↩︎
There are several cards that let you make an opponent sacrifice a planeswalker but I can’t think of a single card that lets you sacrifice a planeswalker for a benefit. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong! ↩︎
The first of it’s kind. There are plenty of nightmares and hounds in Magic’s past but never a nightmare hound. ↩︎
Whilst it’s the first card with lifelink and haste, there have been three cards in the past that have had haste with 2 power thus giving you the same life differential, just 20-18 rather than 21-19. ↩︎