Some Thoughts On Apocalypse
Well, it's spoiler time! By now, most of you folks have taken a peek at the spoiler for Apocalypse that is running rampant on the net. I have a first thing to say to you: this is, by NO MEANS, a final, correct spoiler. As a community, we have been burned time and time again by rumors that run amuck before we get a true look at the set. When you're looking at the spoiler again, keep it in mind that it is quite possible you are looking at a card that just isn't going to be.
That being said, I have taken a very good look at the list of what *may* be available. And I must say, there are some fine cards that may make the cut. Vindicate and Gerrard's Verdict both look mighty fine, and will serve as a fantastic reward for people willing to work to make black-white viable. Suffocating Blast and Mystic Snake both look like viable cards, with Prophetic Bolt possibly being in the same vein. And people are already talking about the mighty Spiritmonger, with more than enough abilities to fill the green mage's sick hunger for beefy creatures.
I have a few issues with the way that this set is being introduced, though. WotC has gone to great lengths to make opposing-colored decks more viable here, introducing lands to make the transition possible, and creatures and spells that are quite powerful. However, I feel that they've done this at the worst possible time; with Invasion block providing some of the most solid contributing cards for constructed and limited play in a long time, they are tipping the balance away from stability and consistancy, and putting a higher level of dependency on the third color in decks. I feel this will be especially detrimental to draft and sealed play, making it considerably more difficult to construct a solid deck when your third pack consists of cards that are not of the allied colors of your first two packs, or your sealed deck. If you are lucky, something in the pack will fall into your deck as a primary-tertiary color mix. However, it's also possible you'll get stuck with a bunch of chaff you can't possibly use. Not having drafted the set yet, I can't say for certain; I'm only guessing.
Here's a brief card-by-card list of what may be influential in this set:
AEther Mutation: with Opposition catching on as possibly the most powerful blue card in Seventh edition, this card shows natural synergy with, it's green and blue casting cost being typically regarded as the most powerful colors to work with Opposition.
The lands: they will all find support roles, and some primary roles, in the new archetypes that will be created as a result of the release of this set. They will immediately command top dollar, so be warned! They'll be plenty difficult to come by.
Coastal Drake: when you all go play in your prereleases (I'll be judging, thank you), make sure you grab this guy early and often. He is a possible wrecking ball against red and green, and will cause many a headache.
Penumbra *whatever*: they're just card advantage in limited. It's good to make an opponent kill it more times, right?
Quicksilver Dagger, Razorfin Hunter: these things could get really nasty. Both common, both U/R, we're seeing common cards that make things into pingers, something that we have not had in this environment yet (the only previous choice was the U/W Samite Archer, an uncommon). With the card advantage of the Dagger, be prepared to wreck with these guys.
Whirlpool Drake/Warrior: with an efficient enough deck, you can Winds of Change yourself back into a happy hand, throwing away chaff in the hope of drawing a useful card. Not overpowering, just functional, and it's still a body. The Rider is a bit flimsy as a 1/1 for two mana, and the shuffle effect probably isn't worth it that early in the game.
Suffocating Blast/Mystic Snake: I only have one word for these: funny. Honestly, though, these appear to be the best 4cc counterspells that these not-yet existant archetypes could have, far surpassing Foil and Thwart, perhaps losing only to Spite/Malice in efficiency. I see the Snake possibly contributing again to the Opposition archetype, but the Blast doesn't really have a home that I can see.
Desolation Angel: I'm not quite sure what to make of this. This being as powerful as it looks, I'm sure that people will be wanting to work it into a constructed deck, since Armageddon has left the building, and this is pretty close to the next best thing, providing the best situation you could want to be in: no land in play anywhere, and you got fat in the air.
These are a few cards I've noticed, some for constructed, some limited. Honestly, I'm still not sure what to fully think of this set as it looks now. With the prerelease soon upon us, we'll find out more then. Also, I'm definitely still here for any ideas/questions you have, whether competitive or fun. Until later...