Saturday, 11:16 a.m. – M12 Cards to Watch

Posted in Event Coverage on July 16, 2011

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

With two formats ready to be explored, M12 is going to be a key component of any potential champion's bid for glory this weekend.

Let's take a look at some of the cards that might be pivotal:

Day of Judgment - Trading one piece of removal for one creature is fine. Trading for more than one creature is better. If Vampires, Goblins, Elves, and more start cluttering up the battlefield, it may be time for the iconic board sweeper to shine once again.

Grand Abolisher

Grand Abolisher - A 2/2 for two isn't exciting, especially in a color that wants more bang for the buck. So how good is that ability going to be in Standard?

Gideon's Lawkeeper - When it comes to Limited, getting your tapper online early can be good news, especially against the Bloodthirst deck that wants to hit you on turn two. A one-drop tapper? Thanks R&D, we love you.

Oblivion Ring - Permanent. That's the word you want to remember on this one. Permanent. Spelled p-l-a-n-e-s-w-a-l-k-e-r.

Jace, Memory Adept - Since there's also Jace's Archivist, Jace's Erasure, and Jace's Washing-Up Liquid (one of these may be fictional) it's not strictly true to say that anything with 'Jace' in the title is worthy of notice. But this definitely is.

Ponder - Go on. Just think about it. I'll wait.

Turn to Frog - Depending on your view, either the best or worst flavor since pistachio. Either way, turning their 6/6 trampling Carnage Wurm into a 1/1 anything at instant speed for two mana in blue is wonderful for Limited. Now this is a trick you can get behind. Ribbit indeed.

Vengeful Pharaoh

Vengeful Pharaoh - Sometimes they come back. Wait, that's catchy, someone should make a movie. But seriously, there were a lot of players here yesterday with this in their decks, testing for Standard.

We'll see.

Smallpox - The very definition of a symmetrical card, this is the kind of card that deckbuilders love to play around with, seeing if there's some way to beat the system. Early money suggests there isn't, but that's why we play the games.

Chandra, the Firebrand - For those of you who haven't read what this card does, pick one: (a) It's a Planeswalker, therefore it must be good. (b) It's a Chandra, therefore it must be bad. Now read the card.

What do you think now?

Fireball - You know that Green-White drafter who lays a Mountain as their ninth land in a draft match? That's because they're playing Fireball. Every time. Since this has been a truth universally acknowledged since the dawn of Fireball, the more interesting question is whether it finds a place in red decks within Standard.

Furyborn Hellkite - Just once this weekend, I want to see this on the battlefield as a 12/12.

Garruk, Primal Hunter

Garruk, Primal Hunter - You know how Planeswalkers generate the Star Trek red alert siren in your head when your opponent plays them? No?

Ah, just me then.

Rites of Flourishing - Just like Smallpox (the card, not the disease), Rites of Flourishing is a card that in theory you can't get any advantage out of using. Worse, it's like Howling Mine, in that your opponent gets to benefit first. Nonetheless, it would be awesome to see this doing the business in Standard. Anyone attempting to get value from this in draft is probably going to struggle.

Overrun - Good rules for Limited survival number one: If they're playing red, they're playing Fireball. Good rules for Limited survival number two: If they're playing green, they're playing Overrun.


Manalith - I've no idea whether this is going to be seeing much play this weekend in either format. All the fairly-cheap artifact mana producers through the years have been interesting barometers of the various expansions they've been a part of. Will this become an integral part of standard? Will players want this as a way to splash in draft, or to ramp towards fatties? Watch this space.

(I left a gap so that you actually can watch that space, because I'm thoughtful like that.)

Solemn Simulacrum - You probably won't know Bryan Connolly from the UK Magic scene, but if you do you'll be well aware that for two years, every time he cast Solemn Simulacrum, he would loudly announce 'JENS!!!', since this was the winning card from Invitational winner Jens Thoren. Now Bryan can spend two more years raising smiles at tournaments, and you better believe that Jens means business here this weekend. You may think 2/2s for four mana aren't exciting. You're wrong.

Elixir of Immortality - If you devour everything from the world of coverage, you're going to here more about this card this weekend. I know this, because three of them are sitting in front of me, courtesy of my foray into Friday Night Magic. Seriously, is there a more deliciously insidious route to victory than your opponents knowing that they can never, ever beat you?

Well, that's 18 cards to watch out for this weekend. How many will make our top 5 feature come Monday evening? We've got seventeen rounds to find out.

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