Shadows aren't the only things falling over Innistrad; the entire world is falling into madness. For generations the residents had been protected, loved even, by the watchers that kept the darkness at bay—Angels. Now free from her imprisonment in the Helvault, Avacyn, Angel of Hope has led the crusade against the dark forces that jeopardized the balance of good and evil and sought to purge the likes of Demons, Werewolves, Zombies, and other wickedness. But something has been warped. Avacyn and many of the other s have now become tainted. Where once ichor and muck-stained weapons were the only blemishes on the pristine creatures from the skies, their wings and swords are now tainted with the blood of the innocents.
By now you have probably seen the new and...improved Avacyn, the true nature of that warped state apparent when she transforms. My preview card for today gives some insight into what has happened to some of the other Angels of Innistrad, and what we might expect as the storyline continues to unfold. I present to you Goldnight Castigator.
Do you remember Gisela, Blade of Goldnight? Seemingly from Gisela's brand of Angels, Goldnight Castigator embodies raw power. Something has definitely changed from the Angels we once knew. Flavorful on multiple levels (4 power and 9 toughness combine to a lucky 13), Goldnight Castigator speaks of a warped world. Angels are no longer the protectors of the meek and pious—no, they are instead the harbingers of a great purification. Battle-worn and bloodstained, the Angel in the art conjures images of a darkness that looms over Innistrad. Not worried about its well-being, or yours, Goldnight Castigator has one thing in mind: imminent doom.
Lore aside, this card is awesome. While the mythic rarity is going to make it unlikely that you'll pick this up too frequently in a Limited environment, it is certainly going to be a card that receives widely varying opinions on playability in a 40-card format.
At four mana, it has an aggressive cost attached to an aggressive body with very relevant abilities. Remember, Goldnight Castigator is only concerned with the damage that it takes or that you take, not your other creatures. The only text that I consider a drawback on this card is the fact that you take twice as much damage. It allows for your opponent to make attacks that would normally not be profitable, only because they might be able to force in extra damage by going wide. Goldnight Castigator doubling the damage that it receives effectively makes it only a 4/5.
If you are able to play this on curve, it is far more likely that it'll deal 20 points of damage to the opponent before they are able to abuse the drawback of the card, and it still leaves your other creatures perfectly capable of dishing out their own justice. The best part? It has a whopping 9 toughness, making it extremely difficult to destroy in any scenario beyond kill spells. As an aside, I think it's entirely fitting that if two Goldnight Castigators battle, neither of them die. If you enjoy playing Draft or Sealed, you can expect to lose to this card at some point—it's that good. That being said, it is of course a double-edged sword. If you are on the back foot and your opponent has gone wide with creatures, it might only serve to hasten your demise. Luckily, it is still a great blocker, though you won't want to allow too many other creatures to hit you.
"But Kenji, what about Constructed? I don't play much Limited, and I don't expect to see this very frequently even if I do!"
Well, random internet stranger, I'm glad you asked. With the addition of Shadows over Innistrad to Standard, Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged both rotate out. What does this mean? Fetch lands are gone, for starters, and no longer will you have to worry about your opponent playing a seemingly endless chain of Siege Rhinos. Many of the decks that have shaped the recent Standard environment will disappear or radically change. Fast, linear strategies tend to appear in abundance immediately following a new set release, and, wouldn't you know it, Goldnight Castigator seems to fit exactly into that style of deck.
For the current preview article, I won't try to brew a deck revolving around this awesome new card, as only a handful of the cards from Shadows over Innistrad have been previewed as I write this article. I will say this, though, I fully expect people to find new and exciting ways to include Goldnight Castigator into their 60-card decks. Four mana, 4 power, haste, and flying? Those stats alone are enough to warrant looking at the card in a serious Constructed manner.
Good news, everyone! Speaking of new and exciting things, I will be doing another exclusive preview on my stream concurrent with this article going live (on March 22)! That's right, this article went live around 8 a.m. PST, the same time my stream starts!
Goldnight Castigator isn't the only Angel being warped, and as I'm sure many of you have already realized, many other creatures and cards are becoming strange and wonderful. My stream preview will also be another wonderfully weird card, so don't forget to check out twitch.tv/numotthenummy for an exclusive look at another taste of the odd.
Many people consider the original Innistrad set to be one of the top Limited environments of all time, and I'm hoping that you will all enjoy this one just as much. I know I plan on playing literally hundreds of events with the new cards, in the likes of both Constructed and Limited. When Shadows over Innistrad releases on Magic Online, I promise to brew some new and spicy decks with Goldnight Castigator. Hopefully you'll be there to watch.
Until next time, friends, happy Magic playing, and may the Shadows over Innistrad not cast too much of their darkness over you.