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Thursday, July 3, 2014

M15 Previews! Some of the Last...The Chain Veil, 5-Color Sliver, Hornets, and Tokens!

Hey everyone!

We're about a week away from the Pre-release and we still have a few previews to go. I want to look today at a couple Mythics, an interesting Rare, and the new look of Tokens and Emblems.

(All pictures come from either the M15 card image gallery or an article from the WotC site)

First off, let's get a preview that goes well with our Planeswalkers because...well, it's a Planeswalker-themed card! You ever wanted to use more than one Loyalty ability in a turn on a single Planeswalker? Ooooh boy, is this preview for you.

Introducing, for the first time in card form since we were exposed to it in Innistrad...The Chain Veil!

Just what Planeswalkers have wanted for...well, their Planeswalkers. :p
Okay, so some lore first...the Chain Veil is what Liliana used to corrupt Garruk in Innistrad. We see the fruits of that corruption in M15's Garruk, Apex Predator.

So game-wise, what's this card doing? First off, you better have a Planeswalker and using one of its abilities each turn. If you don't, you're being zapped for 2 life each turn you don't do that. Ouch! But if you can gain life, it's not that bad a drawback.

I think its second effect is well worth the risk. For 4 mana and tapping The Chain Veil, you get to activate 1 Loyaly ability on each Planeswalker you control as if you hadn't activated one this turn yet!

Now, now, I know what you're thinking..."I can ultimate a Planeswalker with this ability!" Eh...not quite. You'll still need enough Loyalty counters, even with this ability.

Here's what it does do...let's say you have Ajani Steadfast at 3 Loyaly counters and Liliana Vess at 7. You use Ajani's -2 ability to give all your creatures a +1/+1 counter and Liliana Vess a Loyalty Counter (putting her at 8 and Ajani at 1). Liliana activates her +1 ability, discarding a card from your opponent's hand (Vess at 9 counters). You pay 4 mana and tap The Chain Veil. Ajani, if he uses one of his abilities, can only use his +1 (give a creature +1/+1, flying, vigilance, and lifelink until end of turn) because he doesn't have enough counters for the other abilities. Liliana Vess, though, can use any of her abilities since she has plenty of Loyaly Counters.

This will be a casual powerhouse. Use your Planeswalkers twice in a turn!? And what if you use a card that can untap The Chain Veil and you have enough mana to use it again? Or if you can copy its effect? You can keep using Loyalty abilities as long as you can activate The Chain Veil. Just look back on the history of Planeswalkers and the possibilities are limitless.

For Standard, the uses are a little more limited but still potentially devastating. With enough mana and an ability to untap The Chain Veil, Planeswalkers like Elspeth, Sun's Champion go from being difficult to deal with to "wow, did they design her knowing she could use abilities 2-3 times a turn!?"

Next up, we're getting 6 Slivers in this set (not counting the Sliver land). We're getting a new 5-color Sliver. It's a Legendary Creature, so add it to the list of "I just wanna play it all" possible Commanders. Without further delay...Sliver Hivelord!

Yes...yes, you read that right. The most efficient way of dealing with Slivers...is now gone if he's on the board. I don't think I need to share the ramifications of this. Just do remember we have exiling cards, so Sliver Hivelord isn't unbeatable. But you'll need to bounce it back to the hand or exile it to stand a chance against other threatening Slivers.

In Standard, I can see an attempt at a 5-color Sliver deck that runs 4 copies of this to try and get it going ASAP. But that's only really useful for about 2 months. When Khans of Tarkir releases, 4 sets rotate out of Standard: Magic 2014 Core Set, Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, and Dragon's Maze. M14 had the most Slivers we've had in a while, so come October we'll be down to 6 Slivers...this being one of them.

In Modern, I wouldn't be surprised, honestly. The decks doing the best against it at this point will be those that can sideboard exile cards easily. And you've got some nice old Slivers that can do quite a bit of damage (especially Virulent Sliver...and especially in multiples.).

Finally, how about something that doesn't seem so bad...until you read the effect closer. We're getting a Hornet Queen reprint, which is nice and all. But that's the only card (at least in recent memory) that made green 1/1 Insect tokens with flying and deathtouch. It's no longer the only one. Take a look at

Oooooh....soooo nice! Go ahead, attack me with your 6-power creature. You'll deal 6 damage to the nest, breaking it and putting 6 1/1 flying deathtouching Insects out, only one of which needs to block your 6-power dude to get revenge. Very very nice!

Defender-based decks will love this. It's an extra Defender, and when it needs to block it can give you some attackers that can be used either offensively (against non-flying boards) or defensively (just going up against creatures with too much power to make it worth attacking).

In Standard...we'll see. Exiling may be so prevalent it won't matter. If it dies to a non-damaging removal spell, you'll get nothing. You may really only want this against red decks where killing a creature mostly happens through damage.

In Modern, I don't doubt this'll see play at the kitchen table, especially in a Defender-themed deck. I just don't see the ability being relevant with Path to Exile, Oblivion Ring/Banishing Light, and other exile effects possibly running rampant. Also, combos like Kiki-Jiki + Pestermite or Valakut + Scapeshift + Mountains mean this guy may see no combat, thus pose no threat for their kill spells to focus on.

Finally, we have some token redesign going on. I'll post a couple tokens and an Emblem, then post a couple old tokens and Emblems so you can see the differences.


OLD (from store.tcgplayer.com)

Not too shabby! I think it's actually an improvement. Sometimes the name of the token would get washed out against the background. Now, there's so much of a gold and black contrast it'd be difficult to NOT see the token's name.

Second, they all got the new frame treatment.

Third...is that "token creature" in the typeline? And Emblems got a typeline that doesn't use the Planeswalker's full name? I wonder if that'll mean anything to the rules or if "token" and "emblem" being in type lines is just a helper to distinguish between cards and noncards, tokens and nontokens. ??

That's all I've got! The M15 Release Notes (FAQ) will release next week, so I'll probably be back for a couple day to show off the Pre-Release cards and run down any confusing rules from the Release Notes.

Until then, take care and enjoy M15previews!

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