Welcome back all!
I haven't had much time to update during spoiler season (stupid classes...), but I've cut into the day a bit and found some stuff to give you that you might enjoy!
First off, though, I've gotta give you hints.
1) Counterspell may yet see the light of day in Standard...thanks to a new mechanic.
2) See the title of this post.
3) Could Sleeping be dangerous for your opponent? They may wake up to find nothing left.
4) Masticore reincarnated? Hmm...it looks like we found a way around the Reserved List, then...
The previews and impressions...after the jump!
(All images come from the constantly updated WotC Visual Spoiler here: http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/scarsofmirrodin/spoiler# )
First off! What would a big set be without a "hard counter" (a counterspell you do nothing for except cast it)? The past few big sets of a new block have had Cancel in it constantly (along with Core Set reprints). This year, though, the Orb of Insight (which lets you find certain words of the cards in the set) revealed zero instances of Cancel. WOW! So what did we get in its place?
We're going to take Metalcraft and see it work a bit more like Affinity with this card. Presenting...
You read that right. It's not Familiar's Ruse or Deprive, which require you to bounce something back to your hand to get the UU cost of a hard counter.
At its worst, Stoic Rebuttal is a Cancel exactly. 1UU for "Counter target spell."
At its best, perhaps in a U/W Artifact-based Control deck, you might as well be considered to be packing 4 of the original Counterspell because the odds of you having fewer than 3 artifacts is slim, I think. And we all know how good Counterspell is, even to this day.
I do believe Cancel was starting to see some play, so I wouldn't put it past Stoic Rebuttal to see a lot of play in Standard. Extended may not get the love so much outside of Esper-based artifacts. In casual play, though, I don't doubt that this'll more than likely be just as good as the card that gave rise to the general "counterspell" classification.
NEXT UP! How far can Wizards of the Coast push a 0-cost creature? Well, it may not be too far, but offensive-wise it's an improvement over most anything out there. May I present the remnant of Memnarch...
You're seeing things right. A 0-mana 1/1 with no drawback. Will it help things? Maybe. A Turn 1 1/1 may be able to block a hasted creature, but it's only better than Ornithopter if that creature has 1 toughness. Still, it's another first-turn artifact for all those nifty Metalcraft abilities to come online early.
It's probably in here more for the sake of just doing it than anything useful, anyway, but it's interesting to see you can get 0-cost 1/1's that aren't Saproling tokens now.
HALFWAY THERE! Next up, an Angel that makes Sleeping either dangerous or beneficial...depending on if you're the sleeper or the sleepee.
Yeah, go ahead and put your opponent's creatures to Sleep. Tap them all, they can't untap, then next turn drop this Wrath + Body for 6 mana.
Seriously, that's how it reads to me. I see 2WW for Wrath of God with an additional 2 tacked on to get a 4/5 flier. I don't know about you, but 6 for a pseudo-Wrath PLUS a decently-sized flying creature is a heck of a deal in casual.
Will it hold up in tournaments? I doubt it, to be honest. To take full effect, you've got to have Sleep come down uninterupted for 4 mana, then next turn pay 6 mana for "pseudo-Wrath"+Angel. It's a slow, expensive combo that doesn't do much for you beyond the couple turns you used to get it going.
In casual, though? Effects like Sleep can see a fair bit of play (in the "powerful but not quite enough for high-level play" area) but may need a bit of a jump to get more serious consideration.
I'd say Sunblast Angel is that jumping point for Sleep.
(PS: It's the foil Rare in the mono-White Intro Deck)
AND THE LAST ONE! We may not be able to get Masticore directly due to the Reserved List, but Wizards of the Coast can come awfully close without being functionally identical.
Yeah, it looks like you might have seen this before, huh? Open the Masticore link from the start of this post in a different window and compare the two.
1) They're both 4 mana for 4/4.
2) They're both of the Masticore creature type.
3) They both require a discard on upkeep to keep them out.
4) They both do a direct damage effect for X amount of colorless mana and some kind of extra cost.
5) They both Regenerate for 2 mana.
The only differences are in the direct damage effect.
1) You've got to exile a creature in your graveyard. Yeah, there's no cheating this with tokens or Squee. That may be its main downside; you must get rid of a creature in your graveyard in order to get the 4 damage.
2) It exiles the creature. No re-re-re-returning of cards in order to constantly feed Molten-Tail Masticore. You've got Pull from Eternity in Future Sight, but I think that's about it.
3) You've got to exile a creature in your graveyard. You've got to either A) intentionally kill your own creatures to feed the effect or B) Mill yourself to get more creatures.
Maybe in a Dredge-style casual deck, I could see this. But unless you can guarantee a creature to exile, I don't see this being much more than a creature that can take advantage of Day of Judgment's design that helps regeneration.
That's all I have time for now! Don't forget we've got the Cube Draft coming up this Saturday. I've got some new additions I'm going to guarantee into the Cube piles and some better sleeves that should last us a while.
Until the next update, take care!