Arrival in Amonkhet
Three months is a gap that Magic players have gotten used to. It's usually the length between the release of a new block. Again, it's a pleasure to represent MTG Mint Card in each expansion's press release. Waving goodbye to Kaladesh, our new "planet" is Amonkhet, a world with Egyptian background design.
In Amonkhet we are going to see several mechanics, including old and new. Cycling, despite of being the only preexisting mechanic, is favorite from many players. There are no exception in this set. I just love cycling cards! Cycling increases the depth in Limited. It is important to find a balance between digging for answers, finding threats and preventing mana screw or mana flood.
Embalm is another new mechanic. We used to have spells with flashback, and now we have creatures with Embalm Creatures with Embalm generally has better value than those without. With cycling and Embalm we are going to have more playables than not in this limited format.
Aftermath is more similar to Flashback than Fuse. But since these cards come with completely different effects and different mana costs on both sides, it makes a huge difference in gameplay. Like Embalm, Aftermath offers card advantage and we all love value. However, there are some restrictions to take the full advantage of Aftermath cards because most of them are in different colors.
Vanilla creatures like Grizzly bears are never impressive, but they become much more welcome with relevant abilities. There are many early drops with the Exert ability and let's take Gust Walker for example. The Exert effect gives it +1/+1 and flying, which makes it not only useful on turn 2, but also matters greatly on turn 12. The ability has much more impact than a Grizzly Bears with Flash, for example. I expect to see much more interactions with early drops.
As for the Trials and Cartouches, they're fine by themselves but really shine when they're combined. Keep in mind that you don't always need Cartouches to bounce Trials since you can also use Winds of Rebuke to bounce them.
The Amonkhet Pre-Prerelease
If you haven't watched the trailer, I encourage you to. It shows the style of Amonkhet and gets you really excited about the Prerelease. Besides media from other channels, World Magic Cup Champions Tzu-Ching Kuo and Tung-Yi Cheng both got invited to this press release as player special invitations.
Tung-Yi Cheng, Tzu Ching Kuo and myself.
World Magic Cup Champion, Cheng Tung-Yi (left)
I had some fun games against Cheng where my green God outclassed his white God with the help from Sandwurm Convergence. I also love Shefet Monitor because it can help me out with mana problems and get me card advantage, but I also like how my double Naga Vitalist can help me cast it. Such a well-rounded card is great in Limited, especially if it is a great win condition. Also, since Cheng doesn't have Bonfire of the Damned, I'm less worried about the late game. Haha!
Against Kuo, he showed me the power of White-Red Beatdown with a turn one Bloodlust Inciter into turn 2 hasty Bloodrage Brawler. I also feel the power level of Bloodlust Inciter into Bloodrage Brawler is quite high that we might even see it happening in Standard. A cycled Deem Worthy also help clear the path while keeping your card advantage. I could see such premium removal being first-picked in a booster draft. We all love value and Deem Worthy offers exactly what we want.
Bombs are still real in the set and there is a game where I got crushed by a turn 5 Glorybringer. Though I don't personally hate powerful rares, I'd always like extra removals in the common slot to help prevent bomb rares from being overpowered in a Limited format. By the way, most of Masterpieces in this set doesn't do broken things like Sol Ring or Mana Crypt. Though most of them are still very powerful, I could definitely see myself passing a P1P1 Force of Will at Pro Tour Amonkhet if there are more powerful cards. Having said that, I prefer Mind Twist!
Blue-Green splashing Red was the first deck I built,, featuring Rhonas the Indomitable and a ramp strategy for Sandwurm Convergence. The reason I paired green with blue is obvious. We have been busying drafting Dinrova Horror in Modern Masters 2017 drafts and we have an awesome variant here. Angler Drake is a gigantic flying Man-o'-War and won me many, many games. I also had games where I cast Naga Vitalist into Crocodile of the Crossing. A 5/4 haste on turn 3 is no joke. We live in an era where creature quality is getting better and better, making Hill Giants seem unexciting nowadays.
I remember the first Limited event I had ever played was the Prophecy Prerelease back in 2000. Back then, Prereleases was a much more competitive events with Swiss rounds and Top 8 single elimination playoffs. Nowadays, Prereleases are much more casual and fun to participate for everyone. Like everybody else, win or lose, I always have fun at the actual Prerelease this weekend.
The frame design of Masterpieces are great and the new mechanics are great, in both Limited and Constructed. Join the world this weekend, as we arrive in Amonkhet!