Bonesplitter and Loxodon Warhammer did not take very long to puzzle out. I remember doing my first draft and being greeted by the sight of each of these two in my very first pack. I eventually chose the game-breaking Warhammer and was—predictably—quite pleased with the results. After that first draft I asked a few friends about what they would have taken faced with the same choice. Opinions were split and a number of people were put off by the six mana it would take to play the Warhammer and equip it.
One piece of equipment that has seen its stock on a tremendous uptick is Neurok Hoversail. In the early days of this draft format it was much-maligned and lumped in with Vorrac Battlehorns as unplayable equipment. Perhaps it was the fact that Kai Budde chose to include the Hoversail in his Atog based Affinity deck in an online article but slowly people have been coming around to the once scoffed at flying equipment.
What is not to like? It only costs one to cast and once it in play you can give almost any creature you control flying. It has practical applications on both sides of the red zone. You can equip up your Fangren Hunter and send it flying over the other side’s blockers and then pass the equipment off to an expendable creature or regenerator to block a critical flier on the counter attack.
My question regarding Darksteel is whether or not people are going to take to today’s preview card as slowly as they did the Hoversail when Mirrodin first came out.
Like the Hoversail, Whispersilk Cloak also gives a creature evasion but in this case it is 100% unblockable evasion. Neurok Spy wishes he was this unblockable. In addition to its Hoversail-like features it also functions as a more expensive Lightning Greaves in terms of making the equipped creature untargetable. Once your creature is equipped they need two cards to dispatch it. One to deal with the Cloak and—failing a favorable ambush block on the table—another to deal with the creature.
The card strikes me as eminently playable in limited and I would not be surprised to see it show up in constructed decks in more casual circles. The card definitely presents a potent Catch-22 for your opponents with Leonin Abunas but I think ultimately the relatively high casting cost will prevent this guy from seeing much in the way of higher level constructed tournament play. If the more economically costed Bonesplitter and Mask of Memory have not caught on yet in Constructed formats what hope does the Cloak have? (Loxodon Warhammer did recently show up in a Top 8 decklist from an Extended PTQ and Lightning Greaves saw more than its fair share of action in the George W. Bosh deck from Pro Tour New Orleans.)
Cloak should really shine in Limited and will combo nicely with any number of cards you will commonly draft. Without even looking into the aspect of unblockability anything that protects your Bonesplittered Spikeshot Goblin while it is keeping your opponent’s creatures off the board is going to be desirable. Any of the Slith creatures that are on color for you will certainly be tempting to play with this card in your deck. I expect to see Arcbound Sliths grabbing this equipment all weekend at the Prerelease.
Like the Hoversail this card is going to be a very attractive card for green drafters. One disadvantage this card has over the Neurok Hoversail is that it does not give you the option of blocking fliers. On the other hand it does not allow your creatures to be blocked by fliers either—I’ll call it a push.
The Whispersilk Cloak can also make your other equipment better. It allows you to put all you eggs in one unblockable, untargetable basket. Whether you are looking to draw cards with Mask of Memory or going for the finishing blow with a Fireshriekered, Bonesplittered Elf Replica the Whispersilk Cloak will make your other equipment operate more efficiently. Although you need to remember that you can’t attach other equipment to your creature while it is equipped with the cloak (or a Lightning Greaves for that matter). Attaching equipment targets the creature so you need to pick up the other pieces before the Cloak or move it, attach other equipment, and then move the Cloak back again. It may sound expensive but in a landlocked late game it will certainly be worth it.
Hopefully you will be the guy (or the gal) at the Prerelease. I am excited about seeing the whole set and playing with some new cards. I will more than likely be attending the New York prerelease on both Saturday and Sunday (and maybe even the midnight tournament on Friday night/Saturday morning).
Brian may be reached at email@example.com.