Cats Rule

Posted in Card Preview on June 21, 2018

By Maria Bartholdi

Maria is one half of the podcast Magic the Amateuring. When she's not working on the podcast, she's probably in an improv show, speaking Welsh, or thinking about popcorn. Rakdos is the true nature of her heart.

It's true: Magic players don't agree on a lot of things. Should you play aggro or control? Is Draft or Constructed the better format?

But, if I know the internet, then I know one thing that everyone (even Magic players!) can agree on:

Cats rule.

  • Brimaz, King of Oreskos
  • Longtusk Cub
  • Felidar Guardian
  • Leonin Arbiter

Whether in photo, video, or GIF form, cats are everywhere, and Magic is no exception. Putting together an awesome Cat deck has been a goal of many players over the years. We've seen Cats take over Commander, Standard, and various Limited formats. In fact, some of Magic's most powerful cards have sported "Cat" on their creature-type line.

Remember Brimaz, King of Oreskos? That was a good Cat.

Longtusk Cub? What a great Cat.

How about Felidar Guardian? Turns out that Cat was . . . a bit too good.

Leonin Arbiter? A good Cat with a bad attitude.

Well, guess what? Cat lovers rejoice! Because it may be time once again for Cats to reign supreme.

. . . Or, as Cats would put it, take their rightful place.

Leonin VanguardLeonin Warleader

I'm as happy as a cat sitting in an afternoon sunbeam to introduce you to Leonin Vanguard and Leonin Warleader! Not only are these cards awesome because they're Cats, they're awesome because they're super powerful. They also play very well together . . . which is something I wish my cats could learn to do.

These cards make me very excited to build a Standard deck. If you know me, you know I love playing white-based creature decks—which is exactly the direction these two cards point me. The best part? They offer some great Cat synergy. Leonin Warleader creates creatures to pump your Leonin Vanguard and gain you life. And if you know me, you know I love playing white-based creature decks with a lot of synergy. This could be the perfect storm. The perfect . . . cat storm?

But, wait! There's more excellent news! There are more Cats already legal in Standard to help your pride pack an even bigger punch.

Green-White Kitty Bois

If you're into attacking with creatures and (hopefully) a lot of them, you just might be into this deck. It's game plan is pretty straightforward and involves playing a lot of Cats and/or creating a bunch of Cat tokens, protecting them, and swinging for the fences. Pride Sovereign, Leonin Warleader, Oketra the True, and Regal Caracal are your token makers and can do double duty if Anointed Procession is in play. Leonin Vanguard gives you early gameplay and gains you life versus those pesky red decks. Adorned Pouncer is also an early threat that comes back from the graveyard bigger and badder than ever. Ajani Unyielding and Vivien Reid help you gain card advantage and give your team the boost it'll need to take home the win. Heroic Intervention is fantastic against any nonsense your opponents try, and Cast Out is just plain old good removal. I played a similar list earlier this year, and it was tons of fun. Adding more Cats to the mix is only going to make things even better.

A quick note about the power level of our new friend, Leonin Warleader. Cards that create more creatures upon attacking have a long history of being very powerful. Remember Hero of Bladehold? That card was a mythic rare that had a big impact. The same can be said of Brimaz, King of Oreskos. All three of these cards have a similar effect that is definitely something to be reckoned with. I can't stress enough the importance of multiple creatures being created out of paying a single casting cost. It's pure value built right into the card. It's like getting one-and-a-half cards for the price of one. And that's only with one attack! Once you are able to trigger the ability twice—watch out world. This kitten's got claws.

I am so excited to see what the magical world makes out of these two new cards. If you need some inspiration, Magic—like the internet itself—is full of wonderful kitties to spark your creativity. I'm crossing my fingers for a viable Cat deck in Standard, so go out there and make it happen when Core Set 2019 is released July 13!

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