Seedborn Musings – Innistradadavida, Baby (Into Innistrad, Part III)

I’m wrapping up the individual thoughts on cards that aren’t mythic rares or our preview card (which is a great card, by the way).  You know how this works, and you don’t want me blabbering with introduction, so here goes!

White/Blue Spirits makes sense of a flavor that got obscured by Kamigawa block.  It always felt weird that Spirits in the game didn’t autofly, but Kamigawa had different mechanical needs that dictated otherwise.  But this is what a Maggle (a Muggle relative to Magic) probably assumed a Spirit would be in the game: the ghost of someone that died and therefore might care about death a bit.

Here, there are great stats – a 4/4 flyer for 4W is more splashable than normal – and a sweet ability.  Yet another in a line of cards that can return changeling instants like Nameless Inversion and Crib Swap, the Angel has a surprising range of uses.  Do you want to return Karmic Guide to your hand a lot, or Kami of False Hope, or something else?  I bet you do.  Those are all hints that Angel would go nicely in my Karador deck, but she’ll win games on her own as a 4/4 flyer in any format, and she certainly can be built around both in and out of block.  As an enabler of a tribe she’s not in, she reminds me a lot of Emeria Angel, and I think that’s roughly where her power level lies.  The artwork is striking and beautiful as well, which doesn’t hurt.

Since Bruce covered this extensively, I’ll keep this short.  Thesis points: Only one card makes Human tokens explicitly, and that’s Stangg.  To get around this, you can confuse the mess out of New Phyrexia flavor, set Xenograft to Human, and let Myr Battlesphere make 4 Myr Humans and put 5 counters on Champion.  Melvin is happy.  Vorthos is confused.  Johnny wins!

Loyal MV readers know of my absurd love for Clerics.  This one’s a keeper for sure, probably getting a spot in my Lady Evangela Commander deck (formerly Sen Triplets but now all tribal Clerics/Zombies), my B/W Cleric deck, and possibly my Sundial of the Infinite deck that’s full of these effects.  For block/Limited purposes, note that it’s one of the best ways to deal with transformed cards if you’re having a problem drawing two spells you want to cast on the same turn; just yoink the dude and make him all sunny and normal next time it arrives.

Awe.  Some.  This might hit my Birthing Pod deck for Standard tournaments, as so many value creatures are 2 or less power (chaining Solemn Simulacrum into Acidic Slime with the chance of drawing even more cards sounds absurd on its face).  Eldrazi Spawn can sacrifice themselves to pay for their own card draw, which implies they’re being mentored for suicide, but whatever.  (Running theme: the horror flavor dripping from this set sits uncomfortably but hilariously with other blocks.  If you’re the type who enjoys that, then get to running amok.)  The Mentor’s uses are obvious but plentiful and open-ended, and somewhere down the line you will find a use for a playset.

And here’s a reason to play creatures in your first main phase every once in awhile.  You might find that your small creatures get there for damage when killing any of them gives you a 5/4 trample for 2WW.  It also pairs nicely with Mentor of the Meek.

Only 115 monoblue cards give +anything/+anything, including counters, and many of those involve off-color activations, like Ceta Disciple.  The list of pump for more than one creature (itself or another) in monoblue is this card, 4 Merfolk lords, 2 flying lords/anthems, 2 blue lords/anthems, Infiltrator’s Magemark, Ixidor, Lord of the Unreal, Master of Etherium, Scion of Oona, and Tidal Influence.  Most of these have been easily playable, and if people work at it I think the Geist will be the same.  As an uncommon it’s no slouch.

There is a tournament-viable combo with this and another recent card.  I never would have seen it had not someone else pointed it out to me, and since I think its inventor wants to keep it private for now, I’m not going to mention it here…heheheh.  Isn’t life cruel?  Putting my sadism to one side, don’t forget that you can use this guy as a defender threat, representing by a full hand that you could make the Scholar a 5-power blocker whenever you feel like.

As with Battleground Geist, never ignore blue when it gets things it ought not, like ramp.  Many a deck can be built where milling isn’t a cost, and even if it is a cost, you’re ramping in blue.  If you know an incurable blue mage, you also know that letting them have extra mana isn’t a good idea.  I predict that for a long time players will look at an opponent’s mostly tapped mana, feel safe about counterspells, and then get stunned when the Assistant and an Island combine for a Mana Leak.

And now there is an obvious use for Morality Shift.  Yay!?  Believe it or not, Modern speculation on this card has driven the price of Leveler to $3.50 at, but there are other cards that can exile your library.  I prefer instant speed responses such as Plunge into Darkness (assuming you have the life to pull it off) or Divining Witch (name a card that isn’t in your deck and you win!), but you could do it any number of ways.  Mainly I wanted to remind you that library exile is as effective as mill or card draw at giving the Maniac his ultimate dream.

It has two great creature types and a build-around ability.  These things are obvious.  What isn’t immediately obvious is its best Commander use, which is to hose a range of tutors, from the Vampiric Tutor cycle to Liliana Vess.  I don’t remember the full application now – I think it was stopping Enlightened Tutor – but there was a Legacy deck in which Pat Chapin ran Predict for this reason, and since then I’ve been on the lookout for useful cards that also have this function.  It probably won’t occur to players the first couple times you have this out that their tutors are wasted.  Advantage: you.  (Of course, they will think this way if they are loyal MV readers, which everyone should be, so there’s that.)

Not that I plan to build this, but in multiplayer you could use this against one player to mill them out, then bounce the Alchemist and swing loads of Zombies for normal damage at another player.  This also seems loads of fun with phasing.  Oh, you’ll leave my Zombies unblocked because you have a full library?  Reality Ripple the Alchemist.  You just died to death.

First: Morbid is much cooler to me if I call it corpsethirst.  Second, black Cleric = love from Seedborn.  Third, a full grip, two other creatures, and instant removal make this guy all sorts of havoc on the board.  You don’t know entering combat whether SHP can make Demons or not.  Then you enter attack and you’re blown out.  Kill your best guy, make a Demon to block your second-best guy…it’s narrow but it’s there, and that plus its low converted mana cost make it a potential casual hit.  Remember also that you don’t have to been involved in the dying creature for SHP to care.  Demons are like Visa in that regard – everywhere you want to be.

The Welkin Tern (or Welk Intern) of this set is a black Vampire.  I’ve never found a place for good black flyers like Daggerclaw Imp due to tough creature type, but I like making the occasional offbeat Vampire deck, and this might get in there.

5 damage to a creature for 3 mana is exceptional, and in multiplayer it’s just not that hard to find some creature or another dying.  I don’t like facing burn decks as it is, and now they can kill my small dude, which lets them kill my big dude?  No thank you…I mean it’s a great card.

I forgot I was Preview Muse, not Hate-burn-spells-pointed-at-my-stuff-and-face Muse.

Yikes.  The monored builds I’ve seen in Commander like making mana.  Lots of it.  Gauntlet of Might/Extraplanar Lens type mana.  This is because they like X spells sumpin’ fierce.  Comet Storm’s getting to choose multiple players is a blowout among blowouts, and while Devil’s Play isn’t quite as devastating, it can be used as a 2-player Comet Storm in a pinch while also giving the option of killing someone later.  Do you want to stay away from the opponent who has this in the ‘yard?  Do you want to keep your life total out of this card’s range?  Yes.  Yes you do.

If only because I have 4 Personal Sanctuaries through drafts/prize packs, I’ve been wanting to do something with Coalhauler Swine – a variant on Stuffy Doll/Shivan Meteor decks.  I could send a Swine into the Maw of Hell (Pig roast!  Eat up!) and get that effect off, which I just might do.  This will prove a solid player in Commander as well, where having multiple targets ups the chances it resolves and where destroying two nasty things at once is welcome.  There’s usually some huge/huge you want to take out, so here you go.

The Werewolves make good sense in a discard-heavy deck so your creatures can stay up past bedtime.  You may see this a lot at the prerelease, where your opponent is frantically trying to find two spells to find the morning.  Werewolves prey most on the topdeckers, and this one does it even better because its night side’s Goblin War Drums ability also prevents a topdecked creature from being a stopgap, while the double strike up and kills them.  This seems to be the scariest Werewolf by its lonesome, and the turn it comes out will probably be followed by a spell – which is why you should follow it up with a Mind Rot or similar discard and bring on the night.

A conditional Loxodon Hierarch/Obstinate Baloth type is theoretically playable.  5 life and a 4/5 is a sizable swing, and the condition’s not that hard to meet.

This card’s a beating that takes a couple readings to get.  If you’re facing a werewolf-heavy deck, here’s what Moonmist does.  In the day, it sends all Humans to night and prevents the combat damage that all the creatures that aren’t them would do, more or less.  This is okay if you’re playing a similar deck (the effect is symmetrical) but it’s a blowout if you’re not.  (Even if you have Humans who transform, they need to be Werewolves/Wolves to deal combat damage.)  If it’s night, then your opponent still can use this as a Tanglesap variant.

Since the prerelease will only give everybody 6 double-faced cards, it’s unlikely this will turn up at your prerelease to do too much, but Moonmist can blow out so badly that I wanted to give the warning anyway.

Amazing art.  Not playable without support (Gaea’s Anthem, maybe?), but amazing art regardless.

It’s Inspirit but gives the creature reach, is common, and is in green.  Now that might be a prerelease blowout.  A lot of green 60-card decks would rather have this than an actual reach creature, as the combat trick is sometimes more valuable than the rattlesnake (that, and most spiders aren’t that effective at stopping large flyers).


Night Muse – Man, this card is bonkers.  There are so many things you can do with it.  Sure to be a casual hit; I mean, just look at it!  GWAAARGH!

What’s that?  You can’t look at it right now?  I don’t care!  GWAAARGH!

*You type two annoyed sentences in the comments*


Day Muse – Our preview card is Friday, and we’d love for you to join us then for a card you’ll probably want to get your hands on (seriously, Wizards gave us a good one).  Tomorrow, all Muses are at hand and on deck to discuss the set’s mythics.  Until then, enjoy the spoilers as much as we are, and let us know what cards you’re loving by dropping comments like they’re hot.


About Brandon Isleib

Author of Playing for a Winner: How Baseball Teams' Success Raises Players' Reputations; sometimes-writer at GatheringMagic and Muse Vessel; card name/flavor text team for Magic 2015; Wizards of the Coast's first Digital Event Coordinator; directly responsible for the verb "create" on Magic cards; legislation editor for Seattle; voracious music consumer; Christian.
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