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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Set Review: Planechase 2012

June 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Review

 

The travel hazards when planeswalking….

Planechase, a new way introduced to play our regular MtG, whereby players get to play with Plane cards. Each Plane cards has an effect which changes the nature of the battlefield according to the “Plane” the players are currently on. Planechase 2012 further pushed the “Planeswalking” mechanic by introducing Phenomenon cards, which are sort of like the hazards you faced when planeswalking. But enough of these over sized Planes cards and Phenomenon cards, the main focus of this article is not about them. Rather we are going to discuss about the new cards introduced for Planechase 2012 and review how each new card works in EDH and normal variant. So let’s get the ball rolling here.

 

Color Distribution:

Not all colors got new cards printed in Planechase 2012. In fact some colors got mostly reprints from other sets. For example, Black has no new cards at all while White has only one new card. But since EDH takes almost all cards (except those on the EDH banned list), these new cards are also welcome in your EDH decks if it so fit your purpose. And to top it all, Planechase 2012 also has its fair share of Legendary Creatures which you might consider as Commanders or just another regular Creature in your deck.

 

White:

 

 Felidar Umbra

  • Totem Armor is a very good way to protect your Commanders; at 1W this cheap Aura provides a cheap way to do that. As an added bonus to the cheap casting cost, Felidar Umbra also has the ability to be reattached to your other Creatures, allowing you to shift it around to protect the Creature you want.
  • This is also very useful even in normal variant. The casting cost is not too high, the set of abilities are also very suited to protect your Geist of Saint Traft or Invisible Stalker. Praises aside, it is still nothing too imba about it as compare to the Swords.

 

Blue:

 

Illusory Angel

  • This Angel might not be that good in EDH decks which pack a lot of bomb spells. The casting requirement of casting another spell before it may prove to be a huge drawback if you so happen to draw it on your opening hand. Other than that, it is still a very cheap beatdown at 3cc.
  • It creates quite hype among us for being another 3cc big Flying Creature. Now along with Skaab Ruinator, Stitched Drake and all the way back to the oldest Serendib Efreet, this might form a powerful base of Creatures which you could “vial” out with AEther Vial set at three charge counters. The idea was to use AEther Vial for the Creatures, and just sits behind a Standstill for card draws. Man-Lands like Mishra’s Factory or Faerie Conclave could also be used for additional beatdown. Worthy for normal variant.

 

Sakashima’s Student


  • Clone-styled Creatures are very good General killers. Since by Legend rule, both Creatures are destroyed outright with no chance of regeneration, not even Indestructibility could save it. The beauty of Sakashima’s Student is in the surprise element it provides with Ninjutsu. This will really throw your opponent math off, catching him or her totally off guard. And easily done so too as the Ninjutsu cost is at 1U, half the Ninja’s real casting cost of 2UU.
  • The low Ninjutsu cost is what really makes this Ninja shines even in normal variant. With the Ninjutsu , Sakashima’s Student is effectively the same as a Phantasmal Image. Both cost 1U and allows you to copy another Creature on the battlefield. Point to take note though that the Ninja entering the battlefield tapped and attacking, this means that you do not need to pay for any additional attack costs for it. At the same time though, this also means that all attack triggers do not happen for Sakashima’s Student too (No Titan attacking triggers but the Enter the Battlefield effect still triggers). Neat trick with afore mentioned Phantasmal Image since Ninjutsu does not targets, you could attack with Phantasmal Image and if it went through unblocked, you could return the Image to your hand and Ninjutsu Sakashima’s Student in. Now Phantasmal Image is ready to be recast as another Creature, perhaps the Frost Titan both the Student and Image were copying all this while.

 

Red:

 

Beetleback Chief

  • Great card for tokens. Cost effective too for 4 converted mana cost for 4 power over three bodies (one 2/2, two 1/1). A good add for additional token producing cards.
  • A good addition to Goblin deck. Since Goblin Warchief is must for most Goblin deck, the 2RR casting cost will most of the time be reduced to either 1RR or RR. That is very powerful when comparing cost to power as we are talking about 1RR or RR of 4 power; and because of Goblin Warchief, this damage all have Haste too. Not to mention the fact most Goblin decks use Goblin Lackey or Warren Instigator to cheat Goblins in, the tempo will be very fast if you have a godly if not good hand.

 

Mass Mutiny

  • This is truly an EDH Multiplayer card. Instead of just grabbing one Creature from an opponent, you grab one from each of them. This turns the tides around as oppone.ts pour in their best Creatures on the battlefield. You could turn them all against their own controllers or maybe just takes out one opponent with all those Creatures you grabbed. Grabbing the best Creature from one opponent is a pretty sweet deal, Mass Mutiny up the stakes on that by allowing you to grab one from each opponent.
  • Not too impressive in normal variant since you only got one opponent. A lot of other Red spells do the same thing and at a much lower cost.

 

Preyseizer Dragon

  • Good attacker. It is to be noted that Preyseizer Dragon only needs +1/+1 counters on it to deal the damage when it attacks. So in regardless of how the counters are placed onto it, it will still deals damage equals to the number of +1/+1 counters on it. You could Devour first and then Proliferate the counters; use Dragon Blood to put +1/+1 counter on it; or transfer +1/+1 counters from Spike Feeder onto it. Another good thing about it is the fact that you could attack one opponent and then take out the next opponent’s potential attackers at the same time. Better yet if life points are low enough, kills two opponents by attacking one and shooting the other.
  • Quite a decent target as a reanimate target. The attacking trigger allows you to do a lot of things too. You could take out blockers before they are declared; and if your opponent has no blockers, you could kill him or her faster with the trigger ability. You could also use that trigger to take out opposing Dark Confidant and Grim Lavamancer.

 

Green:

 

Brindle Shoat

  • Creatures die fast in EDH games, so relatively Creatures which replace themselves when they died are pretty valuable. Brindle Shoat is pretty powerful for 2 converted mana cost at 1/1 but replaces itself with a 3/3 when it dies. It’s a pity that you could only put one in a deck.
  • For its converted mana cost, this card is pretty good especially when you could find ways to kill it as and when you want. On offensive, this card would get through most of the time as opponents do not want a bigger Creature to replace it. On defensive, it would prevent opponents from attacking you if Brindle Shoat could block the attacking Creature. Though as effective as it may sound, there are a lot of other Creatures available in the format Brindle Shoat is legal for it to stand out against the other Creatures. More ever there are cards like Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile which exile the Creatures they dealt with instead of sending them to the graveyard, leaving you with no token as a result.

 

Dreampod Druid

  • This is functionally Verdant Force when it is enchanted. Except for a board sweep, this would serve you a lot for as long as you have it on the battlefield. Giving you tokens at the beginning of each passing upkeep for your attacking; blocking; sacrifice purposes.
  • Auras, except for those which returns to your hand like Rancor, are not so recommended in normal variant as you lose two cards when the enchanted Creature dies. Therefore even with the reward given by Dreampod Druid, it is still very narrow to be included in normal variant decks. It might be better off if it was an Elf Druid instead of a Human Druid.

 

Gold:

 

Baleful Strix

  • Although color dependant (UB), this Creature is still pretty good deal for having both Flying and Deathtouch at the same time. Not only does it serves as a good blocker the turn it spend while having summoning sickness, it also draws you a card as it enters the battlefield. Good target for blink.
  • Nothing too fantastic for the normal variant formats it could be played in. Worthy mention is that the combination of Flying and Deathtouch is a very good deal for the Creature, and also the card draw when it enters the battlefield.

 

Dragonlair Spider

  • This could work both ways when you have it on the battlefield. One you be aimed at for being the most dangerous target at the table as you have a growing army whenever someone tries to cast a spell. On the other hand, you could ally with others to grow an army and take out the greater foe at the table. Either way, you still have a big blocker sitting on your side of the table and a potential growing army every time your opponents try to react to it (with spells of course). This card could sometimes get out of hand though if you are playing against it and the controller is playing low profile, not noticing the increasing army until it is too late.
  • High toughness plus Reach to be able to block most Creatures and still survive. High power also discourages opponents from attacking unless they have tricks up their sleeves and finally the growing army of Insects as your opponent cast spells. Good factors that make it a good reanimate target. Though as a Creature it is still very vulnerable, it still provides some funky times when played.

 

Elderwood Scion

  • Not a bad Creature to play for its converted mana cost. Since any spells you cast at it will be reduce by 2, it makes protecting it much cheaper and easier. The opposite also applies as your opponents got to spend 2 more to cast spells at it.
  • Very decent Creature for GW beats decks. At 4/4 with Lifelink, it could keeps you alive and Trample helps you to push damage through. And again its ability of 2educing your spells costs and increasing your opponent’s spells costs also serves you well here, making it easier to protect.

 

Etherium-Horn Sorcerer

  • Since Cascade is pretty much dependant on the casting cost of the Cascade, the higher the casting cost the better the spell. At 6cc, this Minotaur allows you to hit almost any spells you want and gives you a blocker at the same time too. Added bonus ability to bounce itself so you can recast it for more Cascade. Care has to taken though if you want to play Cascade in your deck as not every time you hit spell is the time you want to cast it.
  • The casting cost is a bit too high for normal variant. Most effective decks which use Cascade aims at lower casting cost.

 

Indrik Umbra

  • Usually having Lure on a Creature is not that good unless that Creature has Deathtouch or any similar effects. Otherwise that Creature will be the decoy for your whole army to break through your opponent defense. This card up the stakes by giving the Creature it enchant +4/+4 and First Strike to allow the Creature to survive the combat. And if that doesn’t help it, Totem Armor is there to help too. The cast)ng cost is high maybe due to all those abilities, but EDH is all about big spells, 6cc is not a lot to ask for really.
  • The casting cost is a bit too high for it to be play. Unless your deck has a way to cheat Auras in, this would usually be a pass when considering Auras for your deck.

 

 Shardless Agent

  • As per Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, only this guy is much lower in casting cost. Good if you had accustomed your deck withyour removal spells at 2cc or less.
  • Works very much the same way as Bloodbraid Elf, but without Haste and at a lower power. Requires work with choices of spells in the deck.

 

Silent-Blade Oni

  • Another Ninja but one which steals your opponents’ spells. In my opinion, the Ninjutsu cost is pretty much justified for stealing a nonland spell from your opponent hand. Especially powerful due to the huge amount of bomb spells frequently played in EDH.
  • Ninjutsu is pretty sneaky in that your opponents cannot counter it with normal Counterspells. But largely due to the high cost, you won’t be casting it early in the game to make it work. Nevertheless it is still a powerful mid game play.

 

Artifacts:

 

Fractured Powerstone

  • Just another alternate Artifact mana source. The second ability is not applicable if not playing Planechase.
  • As above.

 

Sai of the Shinobi

  • Low casting cost and equip cost Equipment which can go into any deck. Best suited for Aggro style decks. If you use a lot of Haste Creatureskin your deck, this Equipment will truly shines as it saves you the Equip every time you bring in a new Creature to attack with it.
  • This Equipment reminds me a lot of the Tribal Warrior Equipment, Obsidian Battle-Axe. Both Equipments reattach itself to a new Creature which enters the battlefield (Obsidian Battle-Axe attaches to Warriors, Sai of the Shinobi to any Creatures). And because of that ability, your 1/1 will be 2/2 due to the Sai auto-equip ability when it enters the battlefield, saving you the equip cost allowing you to cast more spells.

 

Commanders:

 

Krond the Dawn-Clad

Krond has a very powerful ability of exiling a permanent-type threat as comes when it is enchanted when it attacks. Due to that, it is classified as a Voltron type Commander if you so choose to use him as one. Though not a must, it would be better to use perpetual Auras so as to prevent the fact of losing card advantage when the enchanted Creature dies. Examples of these Auras are as follows. All these Auras return to your hand when they go to the graveyard from the battlefield.

Aura Abilities
Aspect of Mongoose Enchanted Creature has Shroud
Brilliant Halo Enchanted Creature gets +1/+2
Rancor Enchanted Creature gets +2/+0 and Trample
Spirit Loop Enchanted Creature deals damage, you gain that much life.

Even without Auras, standing at 6/6, combined with Flying for offense and Vigilance for defense, he is still quite the powerhouse. Unfortunately his casting cost is color-intensive and on the high end to be considered as a General. Creatures like him tends to draw a lot of attention to them, most of the time he hits the battlefield, he will die very soon with all your opponents trying to remove it, making casting him from the General Zone much harder each time. Therefore as always with Voltron Generals, Hexproof is his best friend. Otherwise it would be more recomme.ded as a normal Creature in an EDH deck.

 

Thromok the Insatiable

Another Voltron Commander, Thromok definitely needs a lot of work as it will surely dies when you do not let it Devour when it enters the battlefield. Having Devour X means its power and toughness will be the square of the number of Creatures it devoured.

 

Simply put:-

Devour X

No. of +1/+1 counters

End Result of power / toughness

1

1 x 1

1 / 1

2

2 x 2

4 / 4

3

3 x 3

9 / 9

4

4 x 4

16 / 16

5

5 x 5

25 / 25

As you can see from the above table, by sacrificing 5 Creatures you already have a Creature whose power had exceeded your opponent’s starting life total in normal variant. But Thromok has no other evasion abilities to accompany that huge power and toughness. That is probably the balance built into it by Wizards R&D team. Therefore as a Commander, you will need to give it all those abilities to allow it to punch through. If not, a lowly Saproling could hold it down all day, as long as your opponents can keep on producing them.

 

Maelstrom Wanderer

Maelstrom Wanderer has a very huge casting cost, but that is to compensate to its double Cascade trigger when you cast it. Given its high casting cost, there are very little spells which you can’t Cascade with it. That is both an advantage and disadvantage at the same time, as there will be times when you hit a spell with Cascade which you do not want to cast at that moment. To counteract that, library manipulation could be employ here to ensure you get the spell you want to Cascade into. Do take note that both Cascade triggers are reading the casting cost of Maelstrom Wanderer. You are to resolve the first Cascade before going to the second one. You also do not have to cast the Cascade spells if you don’t want to. Its casting cost makes it a bit hard to abuse its double Cascade. Other than using mana ramp, Creature casting cost reducing effects are needed here to make that happen. A nice combination would be to use it with Animar, Soul of Elements as it could reduce Maelstrom Wanderer‘s high casting cost, eventually reducing it to just URG, allowing you to cast Maelstrom Wanderer multiple times for its double Cascade.

 

Vela the Night-Clad

Due to her ability of giving your entire army Intimidate, anyone who is not playing the same color as you better have Artifact Creatures to block your army or else they will be totally overrun. If that tactic fails, Vela still has another trick up her sleeves with her second trigger ability which makes your opponents lose 1 life as any one of your Creature leaves the battlefield. That Creature does not have to die though. So any Creatures that could bounce or blink itself will actually let you kill your opponents without even having to attack. And the best part of the ability is that it makes EACH opponent lose 1 life as it triggers. No favoritism here, fair deal to all your opponents. Her color identity is not short of such bounce and blink effects. The colors are also good for control and disruption as you are bound to be the number most hated and dangerous player when Vela enters the battlefield.

 

General Conclusion

Maelstrom Wanderer is the best as a Commander because of its double Cascade ability. As most of its casting cost is colorless, mana ramp and ways to reduce its casting cost is easily done. A lot of effort is needed in deck building to use Maelstrom Wanderer though, making it a very skill intensive Commander. With the right choices of cards, every Cascade will then be a very powerful play. Making it your Commander gives you easy access to cast it as and when you want to. Vela the Night-Clad is the next best of the four to be used as a Commander, both due to her abilities and her color identity gives you many ways to control and disrupt your opponents. Krond the Dawn-Clad comes in third best as a Commander due to his tight color casting cost. The power of exiling a permanent when he attacks is very powerful. Last is Thromok the Insatiable as even though it is fairly easy for it to reach lethal power, it has no evasion abilities to accompany that power, making its power level not as imba as the others.

 

And so with that, we had covered our review of all the new added cards from Planechase 2012. Hope that the information had given you an insight of ways to break the cards or further improve your decks with these new cards. Till the next article.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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