Return of the Splicers

Posted in Card Preview on March 2, 2017

By Meghan Wolff

Meghan is one half of the podcast Magic the Amateuring and an adjunct professor at Tolarian Community College. She loves Limited, likes Modern, and dips her toes into each Standard season. She's decidedly blue and is the #1 hater of Siege Rhino in the Multiverse.

So many things are better in pairs. Though, to be honest, the only thing I can think of at this very moment are shoes. Or mittens, which are basically shoes for your hands.

And, of course, creatures. Two creatures for a single card are one of my favorite deals in Magic because they help build board advantage and task your opponent with keeping pace without burning through their resources.

With that in mind, I'm thrilled to announce the return of the Splicers in Modern Masters 2017 Edition.

That, of course, is not a Splicer. That's a Splicer's plus-one, the guest they always bring to the party whether they're invited or not. If you're the one casting a Splicer, the second guest is always very welcome because Splicers and their Golem partners are great.

Splicers are great because they give you two creatures for the price of one.

Splicers are great because they're all about teamwork, each Splicer giving not only their own Golem, but all Golems, their ability of choice.

Splicers are great because they present your opponent with a difficult decision. Anyone facing down a Splicer and its accompanying token can either kill the larger, more powerful Golem in the hope that their opponent won't have any way to flicker, bounce, or otherwise make use of the leftover Splicer, or they can kill the Splicer to make the Golem slightly worse, but then they still have to deal with a pesky and larger 3/3.

Have I convinced you yet that Splicers are great? Perhaps you need to see exactly which Splicers we'll see in Modern Masters 2017.

For players like myself who weren't around during New Phyrexia, Blade Splicer might be most familiar of the Splicers thanks to its perennial appearance in Magic Online cubes. A 3/3 with first strike on turn three is huge in Limited.

Three points of power on a first-striking creatures is especially difficult to beat in combat, and an opponent is likely to spend more than a turn trying to stabilize the board. It's a great blocker the turn it comes down, and when it starts turning sideways, opponents trying to kill a first-striking Golem in combat will have to block with two substantial creatures and risk losing both to a combat trick or take a full 3 damage, which adds up quickly.

Master Splicer is a little more expensive than Blade Splicer, but it brings a 4/4 Golem along with it in return for the extra cost. Master Splicer is a Golem-specific anthem effect that, unlike many other anthems, helpfully brings along a token to boost.

The last of the white Splicers, Sensor Splicer, gives all Golems vigilance, meaning those 3/3s can play both offense and defense. While less flashy and more expensive than the other Splicers, Sensor Splicer allows you the freedom to play both offense and defense. It gives you more flexibility than your opponent when choosing whether to race or to hang back and play defense, as, with a vigilant creature, you can have the best of both worlds.

Wing Splicer creates a 3/3 flyer for just four mana, and if you already have a Golem on the battlefield, will launch it into the air as well.

While I understand the combat advantages that Blade Splicer and first-striking Golems have, Wing Splicer is the Phyrexian artificer closest to my heart. I've seen too many games of Limited hinge on an unanswered flier to underestimate Wing Splicer's power. I look forward to catapulting some Golems into the sky in Modern Masters 2017.

The final Splicer in Modern Masters 2017 is Vital Splicer. It's incredible that Vital Splicer allows you to regenerate a Golem for a single colorless mana, as regeneration is a powerful effect that can turn a single creature into an impenetrable barrier or an attacker they have to scrounge up blockers for every turn.

While Vital Splicer won't save your tokens from bounce effects or removal that gives a creature -X/-X, it limits the number of ways opponents can successfully interact with Golem tokens.

After Vital Splicer hits the battlefield, it's easy to leave up a single mana on subsequent turns to protect your investment. It also means that, so long as you can keep the human artificer out of combat, your opponent will have to use removal on the 1/1 before going after any of your 3/3 Golems.

The newest Modern Masters set will also be full of Golem- and Splicer-friendly effects, the first of which is Intangible Virtue.

Intangible Virtue appeared in the original Innistrad block, where it proved so potent in combination with Lingering Souls that both cards were banned in Innistrad-block Constructed. In Modern Masters 2017, however, you'll have another chance to give all your tokens a decidedly unfair advantage with this powerful enchantment.

The second card I have to preview in conjunction with the Splicers is Modern and cube favorite Flickerwisp, the 3/1 flier for three mana that "flickers" (or exiles and returns) a card to the battlefield. I assume the flavor text "its wings disturb more than air," was meant to be followed with "but its legs are the most disturbing of all," but I'm getting off-topic.

Flickerwisp is the type of card that increases the weight of the decisions your opponents make while playing against your Splicers. If they do opt to kill the Golem token rather than the Splicer, Flickerwisp can punish them for that decision.

Of course, Flickerwisp is also a powerful tool against the Splicers and their Golems. As many times as an opponent has flickered a Splicer, I've sent a Golem into exile, never to be seen again.

While each of these cards is exciting on its own, it's the synergies they point to in the Modern Masters 2017 Limited formats that makes me most excited. The best quality of each Splicer is how well they work together. Just as creatures are better when they come in pairs, Splicers are at their best where there's more than one.

Of course, if you can't get more than one Splicer into your deck, you might always find a way to get more than one Golem out of a single artificer. I look forward to making the most out of any creepy Phyrexian friends appearing in my boosters!

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