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Reviewed August 22, 2002

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The Familiars are an interesting dilemna for 8th Edition. Because really
we're mostly talking about one specific Familiar aren't we? Nightscape. The
other 4 haven't seen that much play, and I don't expect that to change much
in the future. So does Nightscape Familiar belong in 8th Edition? Sure. It's
not overpowered, and the only deck it's "broken" in is Psychatog, and it's
just a very good card in that deck, not broken.

Limited: 4
Constructed: 2
8th Edition Readiness: 4



I'll break it down real simple:  all 5 familiars have seen some measure of play in decks.  Nightscape sees continuous play while the others only sportatic in some weird or block decks.  All could be viable in the future.

In limited, they're decent bodies with decent abilities.  They are often worthy of consideration and will make the cut in most non-amazing decks.

Would the familiars be good in 8th?  Sure - I'd love to see them around another 2 years.  Is WotC gonna reprint them?  I doubt it.  Base set stuff is simple, and things like reducing costs, no less costs for colors other than the familiar's color, might be a little out of what they want.

Current Price: $.20 - $.95


The familiars are much more similar than the battle mages, so I will review them as a group and I'll start with limited for a change:

Although these guys will ake a few of your spells cheaper, they are pretty much just overcosted creatures. I'll give the red and green ones a 2, the white one a 1.5 (walls are never that good) and the blue and black ones a 2.5 (the black one is  harder to destroy, and the blue one isn't that bad a creature for blue).
On to constructed. Lets face it, you play these cos you want cheap spells (eg psychatog wants to play upheaval/tog as early as possible) and the fact is,
there is not a single colour that can't benefit from getting cheap spells. However, of all the allied colour deck that I could think of off the top of my head, fires is the deck that could not easily include a familiar (as the familiars are naturally weak creatures). So they all get a 2 except the red and green ones that get a 1.5

They could go into 8th ed but I hope they don't just in case that wizards feel the need to up the mana costs of cards to stop them being abused via the familiars - and that would suck.

Judge Bill

Nightscape Familiar:
We start off with easily the strongest of the bunch. Right now, this is one
of the cards that enables Psychatog to be so good. Ever cast a Fact or
Fiction for 2 mana? How about 1 mana? The fact that this thing regenerates
is another bonus. If you're playing B/R, he's not bad either.

Constructed: 4.5
Limited: 3.5

Thornscape Familiar:
The fact that this guy has a backside of 1 with no other abilities that help
himself is one of the bigger drawbacks of this card. Also, playing green,
you usually want your green spells to cost less, not your red spells. Still,
good at the job he does.

Constructed: 3.5
Limited: 3.5

Thunderscape Familiar:
Now this is the guy you want in your R/G decks. Fires liked this guy, as he
provided a body, and enabled their Blastoderms and Saproling Bursts to go
off faster. The fact that he has First Strike really helps, too.

Constructed: 4
Limited: 3.5

Stormscape Familiar:
Right now, the biggest thing about this guy is his creature type - Bird. He
fits right into the fun bird decks everyone seems to be making. Other than
that, though, there's not many times I've wanted to reduce the cost of my
white or black spells, so I think this guys creature type provides more help
than this guy's abilities.

Constructed: 3
Limited: 3

Sunscape Familiar
And, finally, the worst of the 5. The only place you'd want this is in U/W
control, and it isn't worth it there for 2 reasons: First, it's only an 0/3.
It won't stop much of anything. Second, most of the cards U/W uses are
almost exclusively colored mana costs. For example, Counterspell is {U}{U}.
Absorb is {U}{U}{W}. Even Meddling Mage, if you choose to use it, is {U}{W}.
It might help some of the card drawing spells, but this isn't worth ths slot
in that deck, or the early tap out you'd have to do to have it be effective.

Constructed: 2
Limited: 3

I think these cards are perfect for 8th edition. They introduce the players
to play cost, which some people still haven't learned. Also, they are a grea
t cycle of creatures for 2 mana. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them
in 8th, and I think it would be a good move to put them there.

Andrew Chapman

The Familiars would make a nice contribution to 8th
edition, as they are all simple creatures with fairly
simple to understand abilities.  With no gold cards in
8th, there wouldn't be the confusion of how much is
reduced when a card is multiple colors, thus making
these all fairly simple.

Most of these guys are solid critters at worst (and
sometimes at best) for constructed, and they are all
quite playable in limited.


The familiars, unlike yesterday's Battlemages, do not utilize a mechanic and
can be considered for inclusion into the base set.  Are they unbalancing? 
No.  Are they good?  Yes.  Nightscape familiar sees regular type 2 play in
Psychatog decks.  Thornscape Familiar finds its way into some G/R decks and
could assist in a G/W deck if those were viable.  The Red, Blue, and White
familiars are generally poor creatures on their own so have not found much
place in Constructed play (White has seen a little in Block).  All are good
for Limited play.
White - C: 1.5  L: 2
Red - C: 1  L: 1.5
Green - C: 3.5  L: 3.5
Black - C: 4  L: 3.5
Blue - C: 2  L: 2
Michael Garten The planeshift familiars are two casting cost creatures which reduce the casting costs of spells of the allied colors. The blue familiar, stormscape, is the weakest at 1/1 flying. The red familiar, thunderscape, is the second weakest at 1/1 first strike. The white familiar, sunscape is potentially good, at 0/3, acting as a blocker for bears such as Spectral Lynx, Thornscape Familiar, and Meddling Mage, or 1/1 creatures including Merfolk Looters and Llanowar Elves. Thornscape Familiar is the second best; it offers mana acceleration, and bear-size at 2/1. The spell costs it reduce include things such as Flametongue Kavu, Violent Eruption, and Urza's Rage. 

The best familiar of all is the "Psychatog Familiar," Nightscape. It regenerates, allowing it to block Anurid Brushhoppers, Wild Mongrels, and Psychatogs. It reduces the cost of Fact or Fiction, Repulse, Upheaval and Psychatog. Thornscape Familiar deserves a 4 rating, Nightscape a 4.5 rating, and Sunscape a 3 rating (constructed). The other two are 2's in Constructed. As for limited, the 2 weaker familiars are both 2.5, the stronger three are 3's. These creatures would serve well in eighth edition. 


Copyright 2001


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