Matter Reshaper

Posted in Perilous Research on January 7, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Welcome to the second week of Oath of the Gatewatch previews! Oath of the Gatewatch already promises to introduce a lot of powerful new tools to our current Standard canon, and today's preview card is an amazing threat that will be put to use by a wide range of Constructed strategies in the coming months.

Kitchen Finks has long been regarded as one of the best three-mana creatures ever printed. When looking for analogs for today's preview card, I couldn't stop thinking about the little finks that could.

Why is Kitchen Finks so good? First, it provides us with a body that's capable of applying real pressure to our opponent's life total and planeswalkers. Second, Kitchen Finks generates card advantage by leaving behind a body after the initial threat has been dealt with. Finally, Kitchen Finks provides us with a welcome boost of life that's especially valuable against the most aggressive opponents.

Let's take a look at Matter Reshaper and discuss why it may be the heir to Kitchen Finks' throne.

Matter Reshaper is an easily cast three-mana creature that provides the same initial body that we get with Kitchen Finks. Where Kitchen Finks left behind a 2/1 body, Matter Reshaper can leave behind a wide range of options, most of which are quite a bit better than a lackluster 2/1.

In an ideal world, we'll be picking up another three-cost permanent when Matter Reshaper bites the dust. We can build our deck in such a way that we maximize our chances of flipping up powerful two- or three-mana permanents. We may want to do this by simply playing a lot of these cards, but we can increase the possible synergy even more by playing cards such as Congregation at Dawn or Anticipate that allow us to stack specific permanents on the top of our deck. Things get especially exciting when we're lucky enough to flip up another Matter Reshaper off of our Matter Reshaper trigger.

Matter Reshaper is tremendously powerful even when we're not flipping up a perfect three. Finding a land on the top of our deck effectively ramps us into our endgame, and finding a powerful spell will usually be a welcome proposition.

The fact that our opponent will likely need to be spending a card to deal with our 3/2 while giving us another card in the process means that it's hard to find scenarios where a resolved Matter Reshaper won't put us ahead in the long run.

To effectively combat Matter Reshaper, players will need to use cards that exile it in order to get around the trigger. This is the type of thing we'll really only need to worry about if Matter Reshaper becomes so ubiquitous that players are actually building their decks with overcoming it in mind.

The life gain provided by Kitchen Finks was always a welcome inclusion, but in most matchups it wasn't too relevant. Kitchen Finks is definitely the superior card against aggressive red decks that aim to finish off an early onslaught with reach in the form of burn spells, but today's Standard red decks are usually trying to finish off the game with blockbuster finishes such as Become Immense alongside Temur Battle Rage, which dishes out enough damage that a measly 2 life wouldn't make much a difference anyway. Still Kitchen Finks was and is always one of the best cards against red because of its ability to trade twice while padding our life total.

When the dust settles, it seems like Kitchen Finks is the superior card against aggressive decks while Matter Reshaper is the superior card in most other places. That's a really exciting level of playability out of a new card.

Matter Reshaper | Art by Chris Rahn

We should be happy to play Matter Reshaper in just about any deck that can reliably produce colorless mana while playing a lot of permanents that cost three or fewer mana. The card is strong enough that it will likely see play as a four-of in any Standard strategy that fulfills these requirements. We'll want to be playing some good mana sinks to put the lands we might hit off Matter Reshaper to work.

Matter Reshaper is also especially good with cards that require us to sacrifice creatures. For example, a card like Bone Splinters that isn't necessarily the best tool for Constructed becomes quite strong alongside Matter Reshaper. Suddenly, we have more than just the basic Act of Treason synergy to work with the powerful one-mana removal spell.

Matter Reshaper provides passive card advantage, and that means it gives added value to cards that let us use it more than once, such as Kolaghan's Command.

Let's put together a deck that takes full advantage of Matter Reshaper in Standard.

We'll want ways to manipulate the top of our library. Catacomb Sifter seems like the best option in this capacity. It is a powerful three-mana permanent to play alongside Matter Reshaper, the Eldrazi Scion helps us cast Matter Reshaper more reliably, and the scry triggers we get off of our Catacomb Sifter will help us set up better flips with our Matter Reshaper. It's a match made in heaven!

We've already discussed the synergy of Matter Reshaper alongside cards like Bone Splinters, but this extends to just about any card that encourages us to sacrifice creatures. Evolutionary Leap, Nantuko Husk, and the like will happily play alongside our new three-mana threat.

We need to be playing enough colorless sources to make our Matter Reshaper castable with some degree of consistency. Rogue's Passage, an often-forgotten tool from Magic Origins is especially strong in a strategy that plays Nantuko Husk because it gives us the opportunity to kill an opponent out of nowhere if they're ever brave enough to tap all their mana and give us the green light for an all-in attack. A finishing move that lets us cast our namesake card while also serving as a mana sink in the later stages of the game! Sign me up!

When we put it all together, we end up with an incredibly synergistic Collected Company deck that's capable of grinding its way through most of the existing Standard metagame. Check it out!

JVL's Matter Reshaper Sacrifice Deck

Download Arena Decklist

This deck can reliably cast Matter Reshaper by sacrificing an Eldrazi Scion or simply tapping one of the nine colorless-producing lands.

Matter Reshaper is a powerful tool that's sure to make big waves in Constructed during its tenure in Standard; it may even break through as a three-drop for some Modern strategies.

There's a plethora of interesting three-mana permanents that we can flip into play with Matter Reshaper, including powerful Oath of the Gatewatch cards like Nissa, Voice of Zendikar. In the coming weeks, we'll find the best homes for this new threat! Don't miss your opportunity to be among the very first to have a chance to play with and against the exciting new cards from Oath of the Gatewatch at your local Prerelease.

Knowledge is power!

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