Preview season for a new set is always one of the most exciting times to follow along with Magic, and fortunately for us there are multiple sets that come out every year! When I first heard about the possibilities of an Egypt-themed set where Nicol Bolas was apparently lurking in the shadows, you better darned believe I was ecstatic.
Growing up, I loved watching documentaries about ancient civilizations, my favorite of them being Egypt. Sometime during my youth, (around the 17th century, if I'm recalling correctly, trust me on that), I received a degree in anthropology, hoping to transition my childhood passion into a career. Ultimately I would venture on a much more Magic-al path, but my interests never dissolved.
With Amonkhet previews now underway, the set has seemingly bridged my passions with exciting new cards, art, and maybe even some historical references. Let's take a look at some of those cards here, going over what their Constructed and Limited applications might be—starting with Enigma Drake.
Hotline bling, indeed; this card is certainly an enigma. Historically, this type of creature has never made any waves in a Constructed environment, the last similarly produced card being the Spellheart Chimera from Theros. Notably, however, there have been blue-red control decks in the not-so-distant past that performed very well in the Standard environment that is now dominated by Vehicles and crazy cat ladies (Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian). Wait a minute! Crazy cat ladies . . . Egyptian themes revering cats right after Kaladesh . . . this has to be a conspiracy!
Err, apologies for the derailed train of thought, but you never know . . .
Anyway, back to my point about blue-red. It definitely has potential. Here's a quick main deck that I threw together that can really harness the power of Enigma Drake while being a decent contender.
Of course, Amonkhet might provide some more spicy additions to the deck, but this definitely seems like a fine rough draft if you're looking for one! While the Constructed applications are plausible, though not very likely, Enigma Drake has a vastly higher potential in a Limited environment. A 4-toughness flier for only three mana is a great deal, as it provides early defensive capabilities that can become a potent piece of flying power in the penultimate stage of the game. Your instant and sorcery count will generally have to be higher than you're used to for this card to shine in a game of Limited, but it doesn't take much to turn this from an Angelic Wall into an Azure Drake. At three mana, that should serve you just fine.
Speaking of serving, I have another card to preview!
Oh baby, this is a thriller—and I don't just say that because it sort of looks like a dancing Zombie. Wayward Servant looks like it could be a real contender in both Constructed and Limited. It's a pseudo-mix between Soul Warden and Blood Seeker whenever a new Zombie enters the battlefield under your control, so I don't imagine this card making initial waves in any 60-card format. Rather, what's more likely is that as more sets continue to come out, the power level of this card will rise until it is viable for a Constructed deck. The last time we saw an ability akin to the Wayward Servant was back when Zulaport Cutthroat was a mainstay in Standard. Clearly the abilities are different, but they are oddly reminiscent of one another. A unique and powerful ability such as this often finds a home somewhere. While there are a decent number of Zombies that have been played in competitive decks in the recent Standard format (I'm looking at you especially, Cryptbreaker), we won't know the full extent of this card until we get more Amonkhet and the following sets. As such, let's jump to Limited with this card for the time being.
In Amonkhet, there are going to be an increased number of ways to procure Zombies. While you might be able to open a few creatures that are Zombies in their own right, the new embalm ability means you'll be able to make Zombies in a pinch. That's right; even if you aren't playing any other Zombie creatures in your deck, you can still have Zombie synergies. Weird, I know. What kind of creatures might you pair the Wayward Servant with? How about the Anointer Priest? There will be plenty of ways to make the Wayward Servant a useful card, and even triggering its ability only once or twice is already a decent swing in life points that shouldn't be overlooked. It might not be a card you take very highly in Draft or one that you're super excited to open in a Sealed build, but mark my words—the Servant will do some solid work wherever it fits.
As preview season continues, make sure you folks keep up to date with all the other articles here on DailyMTG. There are plenty to be excited about! As for me, you can always find me streaming over on my twitch page, but I'll also be bringing some more articles about Amonkhet in the very near future.
Until next time,