Curious to learn more about Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013? Then be sure to check out this article by Magic R&D member Max McCall to know what to expect when you buy Duels 2013 for your PC, iPad, Xbox, or Playstation 3.
But while Sublime Archangel is likely to make its presence felt in Constructed formats, the fact that it's a mythic rare means it won't come up all too often in Magic 2013 Booster Drafts or Sealed Deck events.
You aren't going to wind up with Sublime Archangel in that many of your Limited decks—but when you do, your opponents better watch out.
My preview cards for this week are a cycle of five pieces of uncommon Equipment that will be in both Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 and Magic 2013.
Unlike most pieces of Equipment, the Rings will undergo some significant changes in value depending on what colors you are playing. While you can cast and equip the Rings in any deck with lands and creatures—none of the Rings (except for maybe Ring of Valkas) are good enough to include in Limited decks that don't have creatures in the corresponding colors.
Ring of Evos Isle | Art by Erica Yang
If you are playing a Ring in a multicolor deck, it's going to be important to keep an open mind about where you're going to equip it and when you're going to re-equip it. If you simply graft your Ring of Thune to one of your white fliers, that might be enough to win you some games, but you very well might miss some crucial opportunities to give a big green creature (that you desperately want on defense) vigilance.
And just because you wouldn't want to include a Ring of Kalonia in a non-green deck doesn't mean you won't get into situations where you will want to equip it to a big red creature that's ready to trample all over your opponent.
The bulk of the time, the fact that Ring of Evos Isle can give one of your creatures hexproof (for two mana) will be of minor significance. But if you have a monstrous threat that you need to protect at all costs, then you should have little problem leaving up some mana to keep it alive in the face of your opponent's removal spells.
Why, And Why Not?
Even if you are playing the appropriate colors, the Rings won't always be a good fit in your main deck.
Ring of Kalonia | Art by Erica Yang
A common reason to exclude an "on-color" Ring from your deck will be if you don't have that many creatures of the appropriate color in your deck. If you are playing a black-red deck chock full of red creatures and black removal spells, Ring of Xathrid probably won't be good enough for you.
As a general rule of thumb, you should look to have at least six or seven on-color creatures before adding a Ring to your deck. If some of those creatures are expensive, then you will probably need to skew that number upwards since your biggest creatures shouldn't need to get a bump from your Rings to become relevant.
Then you will find decks that just don't have a strategic need for any Rings.
Sure, it will be nice to grow your blue fliers to huge sizes while simultaneously protecting them from opposing removal spells, but if you're playing a white-blue control deck that already excels in the mid to late game, then Ring of Evos Isle probably won't be a very good fit for you.
And, of course, you will also find decks that just have better ways to enhance their own creatures. In this case, you shouldn't try to shove any more pieces of Equipment into your deck "just because they're good," but should instead be content to ride your top-of-the-line Equipment and pump spells to victory.
However, if you're playing a green deck that needs a way to break through in the late game or a black deck that doesn't have a clear way to gain inevitability, then Ring of Kalonia and Ring of Xathrid (respectively) could give you just that extra push you need.
Ring of Thune | Art by Erica Yang
And if you're playing an aggressive white deck that doesn't have many ways to stay in the game should an opponent handle the initial onslaught, then Ring of Thune might very well be the card you need to keep your 2/2s relevant as the game drags on.
Sometimes the Rings won't be good enough fit to include in your main deck, but will be just the right sideboard card to tip the scales in your favor in an otherwise close matchup.
If you know a match is going to drag out, and your opponent doesn't have much removal, then any of the on-color Rings can give you that extra push you need to eventually go over the top on your opponent with a creature you have grown to a monstrous size.
Equipping, And Re-equipping
While you usually won't have the mana necessary to move any of the Rings around that much in the early game, Ring of Valkas isn't the kind of card you're going to want to leave attached to any one creature unless you're using every bit of your mana elsewhere.
Ring of Valkas | Art by Erica Yang
You will often find yourself tapping out to cast creatures, leaving mana up for instants, or simply bluffing the possibility that you could have a key combat trick in your hand. But if you're not, then you should be happy to move your Ring of Valkas around to set up some nice hasty attacks. And you might even hold back one of your highest-impact creatures in your hand until you can surprise an opponent (who has foolishly left himself or herself without any good blockers) with it.
It's also important to note that if you have the mana to spare, you shouldn't be afraid to move your Rings around multiple times in one turn.
For example, if you have an abundance of mana at your disposal, you can move Ring of Xathrid onto every one of your creatures and put up a regeneration shield on each of them before launching a gigantic attack.
And while this won't be an appropriate play all that often, if you're worried your opponent might have any instant speed removal spells you can move around your Ring of Evos Isle, giving each of your important creatures hexproof before you attack with them.
If you do this, then your opponent will be unable to knock out any of your creatures with combat-only instants like Righteous Blow (which is a standout in Avacyn Restored Limited). Similarly, your opponent will be completely unable to respond to your pump spell by killing your creature with a Searing Spear.
The Rings have a lot of potential applications, but you won't always need to bounce them around between a bunch of your creatures for them to do their job. If you play a 2-power creature on turn two, then equip it with a Ring on turn three, that might be all that you need to win the game.
Ring of Xathrid | Art by Erica Yang
I'm going to need to know a lot more about the rest of Magic 2013 and Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 before I make any assertions about just how high of a draft pick the Rings are going to be, but I already know that if I get a Ring in my Prerelease Sealed Deck and I'm playing the appropriate color, then I'm almost certainly going to play it.
One Ring to Rule Them All?
Currently, I think Ring of Kalonia is going to be the most powerful Ring. The ability to grow a creature to monstrous sizes, then trample all over your opponent with it, seems like exactly the kind of thing I would want to do with a piece of Equipment.
Which Ring do you think is going to have the biggest impact on Magic 2013 Limited?