Friday, 8 July 2016

EMN Spoiler Spotlight 1: Chaining Ancestrals

Welcome to the first installment of EMN Spoiler Spotlight here on the WanderingWinder games blog. My limited review will come later (need the full set to get the numbers right, also hopefully my own predictions are a little better than last time), but for now, we're doing some Constructed thoughts. These aren't meant to be comprehensive (there's too many cards) or very predictive of what you should play (too early to try to figure out the metagame).

Instead, I am going to point out some ideas to keep in mind which excite me - something powerful and at least situationally very good, something fun, something to keep your eye on. Like most ideas, I suspect most of these are not going to be good enough for serious competitive play, but some of them might, particularly under the right circumstances, and and hopefully some of the rest will be on the mythical level of "good enough to take to FNM", which I must admit I've never really understood. Or tl;dr My hope is these are fun and potentially powerful.

We start today with:
Influence of Emrakul
Whenever you cast an Eldrazi creature spell with Converted mana cost 7 or greater, draw 2 cards.

This card makes me think of that unplayable janky rare that can do wacky, potentially powerful things, but ultimately is unplayable in every format (except maybe EDH). Then I notice it's an uncommon... so maybe there's something in draft/sealed? I doubt it. But then there is this thought that built in my mind, and it's based around the first non'mrakul Eldrazi revealed in the set:

You'll notice that we have a CMC of 7, but that in practice, it costs less. This is something you're going to see on all of the Emerge cards (probably). Something I also expect to see on all the Emerge cards is a relevant cast trigger - in this case, the favorite words of most Magic players I read or listen to, Draw a Card.

With Influence of Emrakul in play, Wretched Gryff casting this guy draws you THREE cards. With a creature that has a CMC of at least 5 in play, you replace that creature with a 3/4 flier to draw 3 cards. Since the emerge creatures themselves all have CMCs that are very high (probably more than you are casting them for), you get to pay only the colored mana to do this kind of thing. So with one Wretched Gryff, you can cast a second for only U, you replace a creature with the same creature (ok, summoning sickness, but whatever), and draw three cards. You've just paid U to draw three cards. Ancestral Recall anyone? And then, if you have another one, you can do it again. "How likely am I to have another one?" Well, you've just drawn three cards, so ok still not too likely, but it helps a lot.

Obviously, Wretched Gryff is not enough, by itself, to make this engine run. Fortunately, we've already seen some other friends (wait, Eldrazi are our friends now?):

Okay, even having all three of these isn't enough. But I suspect that there are going to be at least some other creatures in the set that will fit the bill, and potentially you can even throw e.g. some World Breakers in. But assuming that we get some more reasonable cards in these colors, it could happen.

Other than Influence of Emrakul, and the Emerge creatures, what does this deck need? Well, it needs fodder to sacrifice to get your chain started, it needs to be able to survive, and it needs to be able to either find Influence of Emrakul and/or win without it.

As for the first couple of these, you probably want to have them work together. Matter Reshaper seems like the nutter butters. You also have lots of other creatures with ETB or dies abilities - Eyeless Watcher, Scion Summoner, Eldrazi Skyspawner, possibly Hangarback Walker, Youthful Scholar, Palace Familiar, Byway Courier, Elvish Visionary, Greenwarden of Murasa, Separatist Voidmage, Stitched Mangler, Tower Geist, Whirler Rogue, Pilgrim's Eye, Nissa, Vastwood Seer, Bounding Krasis... there are others, I am sure. I'm also sure that you're going to want to just play "Good cards" like Sylvan Advocate. I don't know if this is really going to be enough to survive against hard-core aggro decks, but building the right mix of cheap creatures to be able to survive, set up your sacrifices, and get the right bonuses, is going to be one of the big challenges of getting the deck to work.

The other problem seems bigger. There isn't really a great way of finding that enchantment right now. Worse, Dromoka's Command is everywhere to make you sacrifice it. This seems to be a pretty intractable problem right now, so I don't think this deck can possibly by viable, at least until rotation. Even then, I'm not sure whether you can spend so much time to play a 4 mana do-nothing enchantment. But at least part of me sure hopes you can.

A couple final notes: It's worth noting that there is also another sacrifice-based mechanic in Standard right now, and you might want to build a deck with some of those Exploit synergies together with your Emerge cards. Can I interest anyone in a Necromaster Dragon? And if you really want to throw playability out the window and live the dream, can I interest you in adding two superfluous colors (or getting very lucky off of Oath of Nissa) to play Sorin in your deck full of 7 and 8 drops?

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