Avacyn Restored: Flavor Review, Part 1

David, Ralph, and Jesse review the flavor of Avacyn Restored

I’m Ralph Colby, you probably know me. My text will be Green today. I run most of the Magic events here at Games of Berkeley. I’m a level 1 Magic Judge and a flavor goob. I’ve been playing since about 5th Edition. My favorite blocks are Ravnica, Lorwyn, and now Avacyn Restored.

My name is Jesse K., my text is Purple. I’ve been playing this game on and off since Revised. Psychographically speaking, I am a Johnny-Timmy and I like EDH and Limited formats. I feel that the most important part of any set is flavor, it’s what separates this game from poker or chess. However, attempts at flavor can also be deeply silly and misguided (see: Star Wars chess). This review aims to look at the flavor hits and misses of Avacyn Restored.

I’m David Cross. I’m Red. Pay no attention to the man behind Angelic Wall. I’ve been playing Magic since Revised/Fallen Empires. In that time I’ve gone in and out of the game, but never forgotten how much fun it is. I like the strange, the creative, and some might say the troll. I mostly play Commander, where I run Norrin the Wary and am working on a Bird-themed deck. I have thought long and hard about how best to play multiplayer Magic.

Flavor: It Tastes So Good?

When looking at the spoilers my initial thoughts of Avacyn Restored were lukewarm .This mostly had to do with the Miracle mechanic, which still doesn’t sit right with me. After playing in a couple of sealed events, my general thoughts is that Miracle is not the type of mechanic I enjoy playing with.

On one level, the mechanic does what it’s supposed to do: It creates large memorable events that can quickly change the tides of battle. This is great if you’re the person who windmill slams a miracle card. If you are on the other side of the board, it’s frustrating. It seems that stellar play has taken a backseat.

It’s kinda reminiscent of the ‘clash’ mechanic, only instead of getting a minor added effect, you win the game every time you win a clash.

This doesn’t mean I dislike the set. In fact, what I’ve really come to enjoy is the Soulbond Mechanic. I’ve been telling everyone who would listen for at least the last two years that Wizards should make a mechanic that linked two creatures. My idea wasn’t quite Soulbond, but it was close.

I like the Soulbond mechanic because of its complexity. Players have to decide when and if to link two creatures and more often than not might make a poor decision. If you add flicker effects to the mix, the ability becomes more complicated.

Wizards made a good decision pairing these two mechanics together. Miracle leans to younger players, while Soulbond lends itself to more complicated strategy.

I also love Soulbond. It works so well with flicker effects. My only problems with Soulbond are the poorly worded reminder text and the confusion it’s created for players. A lot of players think they can pair more than two creatures, or that they can pair with another player’s creatures. Also it tricked me into thinking it wasn’t a triggered effect, when it is.

Miracle, unlike David, I think is awesome. It’s so exciting when it works but I don’t feel it happens too often to warp the game. Perhaps when we see it in constructed it will be broken but in Limited environments, it’s not bad. Most people understand how it works and are only confused when it comes to casting Sorceries during Miracle’s resolution.

Have I mentioned the angels? I love angels! Any format where you can draft an angel deck is A-OK with me! I’ve already converted two of my Commander decks to Gisela and Sigarda; and I’ve started building a Bruna deck!

Interesting, I wasn’t aware that Soulbound was a triggered ability. It makes absolute sense that it would be, but not having the triggered keyword on the card does make it somewhat confusing to play with.

One aspect of Soulbound that seems to have popped up in a few games I’ve played is my opponent binding two creatures that are separated by another permanent.  For example, if my opponent has three creature in play and first and last are Soulbound together, it can be difficult to remember.

I’ve taken to asking players to keep their Soulbound creatures next to each other. I’ve also started having my own Soulbound creatures slightly overlap or touch in some way. I’m interested to see how mechanic might play out in higher level tournaments. Will high level players purposefully separate their Soulbound creature to obfuscate game play?

Ralph is a judge and I’m still not entirely sure I believe him that Soulbound is a triggered ability. Is it targeted too? I also thought that I could bond with my opponents guys when I first read the reminder text. Keep in mind that we are three very experienced players and we still find the wording confusing.

Yes, triggered, “702.92a. Soulbond is a keyword that represents two triggered abilities.”
Not targeted, “ if you control both that creature and this one and both are unpaired, you may pair that creature with this creature” http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/faq/avr

At first I thought it wasn’t triggered because the reminder text doesn’t start with ‘when,’ ‘whenever,’ or ‘if’ which signifies an ability being triggered.

 

White:

Angel of Glory’s Rise

Starting with a big one, the reverse-zombie apocalypse angel. I think this card is overall a flavor win, even though it kind of messes with the ‘specialness’ of Zombie Apocalypse. It is the angel of revelation, calling forth for true believers to rise again and smiting the wicked. A powerful trope, and executed well. It’s too bad about the flavor text, reminds me of that Donald Rummsfeld quote about ‘known unknowns’.

This card does raise tricky philosophical questions about the difference between a zombie and human who has come back from the dead, but I’ll let the religious studies majors tackle that one.

I love this card! (I’ll be saying that a lot…) I love cards that twist or reflect unknown loved cards. This is like Damnation to Wrath of God or Blightsteel Colossus to Darksteel Colossus but reversed. First you saw the evil version, now the good version. Also, I killed Winston with this in draft on Monday, and that was awesome.

I’m not as excited about this card as everyone else. I agree, Jesse, the flavor is excellent, and it’s tough-but not impossible–to kill. When I look at in terms of a Commander, I see a seven cost white creature that brings your human’s back from the dead. In the right deck, this could definitely be a bomb, but mostly for what is built around it.

Angel of Jubilation

Card from the school of ‘one cool ability and one that is just kinda randomly tacked on’. I wish the two things this card has going on had something to do with one another. As is it feels like a weird rare stapled to a powerful uncommon. That said, I do like the subtly of the black hosing that’s going on here and I think it is deceptively powerful. I also like that not all of the angels are about retribution and war. This one just likes to party and have a good time. The Andrew WK of angels.

I really wanted a Green White captain in Avacyn Restored to mirror the four monster captains in Dark Ascension. I guess this will have to do. It is an Angel lord, so I do like that. I read on Wizards.com that the tacked on text was for constructed reasons. They wanted cards to fight Birthing Pod and Phyrexian Mana.

I like this card and think it will see play in Commander. I’d like to know Wizard’s decision to make it a four drop with three white mana. This would be the only that would keep me from playing it. Perhaps, that was the point.

Angelic Wall

A very cute reprint, well done. It’s an interesting card that hasn’t seen print in a while that helps with the task of cramming angel flavor into the common slot. My only complaint- why is this not a Creature – Angel Wall?

My only comment is what Jesse said, why isn’t this an Angel Wall?

While not a first pick in draft, this is a strong early pick. If you plan on taking some time to built your board state you’ll want this to keep red human’s from toss themselves at you.

Angel’s Mercy

Ok, we get it, you’re going to reprinting a bunch of cards with the word ‘angel’ in them. I think this is a fine reprint, although I’m not fond of the romance-novel-cover art. See also – similarity to ‘kiss of the amesha (link)’. Is this a deliberate homage?

Even I won’t play this card…I would have rather seen Angel of Mercy. At least the art is pretty.

So, you doubt this card’s usefulness. So, do I. In most cases you’re going to cast this as a stall tactic.  

Archangel

Another card I was excited to see reprinted, holds up well at its new rarity. It communicates the power of the resurgent angels very well by being extremely powerful for an uncommon.

What a great card to bring back. I love it when they bring back old Rares as Uncommons.

This card is fine in Limited. I would have liked to see other types of angels. Where are the chubby faced cherubs.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope

Ok, here’s our new poster-angel. How does she hold up to the likes of Akroma and Baneslayer? I think the card has significant ‘wow’ factor and gets across the message that you want the set’s marquee card to have. Casting her is the good-guy version of ‘all hell breaking loose’. While she does feel a little ‘pushed’, I like Avacyn from a flavor standpoint. I only hope she doesn’t ruin too many games I’m playing.

I love this card! Same casting cost as Akroma, but a little bigger and more defensive. Who wouldn’t want this Angel on their side? I only wish there was some mechanical tie between Sorin and Avacyn. Other than her goth look, there isn’t anything showing Sorin created her.

I agree with both of you. Great card. This will easily make it into Commander decks. I’m already pondering what I can do with her ability.

Banishing Stroke

Eh, art’s a little silly, but at least it doesn’t have flavor text (which is pretty bad in this set, in my opinion). Oh, and the card itself is fine and probably feels like the most ‘balanced’ miracle to me.

This card is pretty sweet. It’s going in all my Commander decks. Putting people’s commanders on the bottom of their libraries is one of the meanest and most fun things to do.

I disagree Ralph, this is staying away from my Commander decks. If I’m going to troll a general, I’ll use a card that will actually cost one mana. Other than that, I’ve played with this several times and it good card for its miracle cost and even a good card for its converted mana cost. With a set low on removal this gets the job done, sort of.

Call to Serve

Great card, makes a dude into an angel, what more do you want. This card is much more compelling to me than the otherwise strictly-better Spectral Flight. This is the power of concept.

At first I thought this card was awful, but having drafted it a few times, it’s not bad at all. This means I probably undervalued Spectral Flight a bunch. Also, turning my guys into angels is always awesome.

Surprisingly, you can draft a vary fast Boros deck. This is one way to keep laying on the damage. I thought it was bad at first, too, but would put play one in the right deck.

Cathars’ Crusade

Eh, I guess I like ‘Ajani’s -1 ability’ every turn enchantment. It is distinctly different in feel from the typical ‘anthem’ effect while still filling the same slot.

This card is sweet.

Why you hatin’? This is the first card of the set that I saw and knew I immediately wanted. It’s weird, and possibly very powerful. The best part is the effect triggers with every creature, not just nontokens. This is a snap pick for my Teysa commander deck.  

Cloudshift

A little common that does a lot of mechanical work adding complexity and coolness to the set. Especially in a set that is pretty much ‘big stupid things’ themed.

The art in this is pretty cool.

This card isn’t that great on its own. It has to be built around. Thankfully, this set has creature to make this card shine. If you are planning on a w/u strategy this is a must have. I’d take as many as I could get my hands one. But I should also note that flicker cards are to me as angels are to Ralph.

Commander’s Authority

like the art and the flavor on this card a lot. Good thing this is a flavor review, or I’d have to also mention how this card is too expensive by at least 2 mana.

My question is why is this an Aura? It’s similar to Bitterblossom and Goblin Assault. I feel it doesn’t need to be an aura, why make it one?

I’m glad it’s an Aura. It makes the card easier to deal with, unlike Bitterblossom.

Cursebreak

I like the flavor of enchantments as curses and think this card does a good job of calling back to a lot of stuff from earlier in the block, from the werewolves to the actual curses. Before we had a Magic website to read, cards like this were what told us the story of the block. Good expositional flavor text is rare nowadays, savor it.

It does, indeed, have good flavor, but I’m not a fan of the art.

Is that Cloistered Youth?

Defang

Creepy, dark card that implies a lot about a post-Helvault world without actually saying anything directly. Who are the real monsters here? (It is the monsters)

You’re absolutely right, Jesse. I like that the card depicts a vampire out of its element. The flavor text is especially entertaining.

The art and flavor text are hilarious together.

Defy Death

Great card name, suffers from ‘unnecessary flavor text’ syndrome. Make a donation today to stop flavor text from clogging elegant cards.

I actually like the flavor text. It talks about Gisela being a badass. The fact that this is a Resurrection with a boost for angels is awesome. Another auto-include in all my Commander decks.

Devout Chaplain

Finally answers the age-old question ‘how many human does it take to exile a lightbulb’. Turns out it’s 3.

Clap…clap…

Devout Chaplain would have made more sense if you gained control of the artifact or enchantment. Other, wise the flavor text is off.

Entreat the Angels

I guess miracling up a bunch of angels to your aid right in your time of need is pretty flavorful. I just have a hard time writing something positive about a card that I know is going to blow me out so many times.

I’m going to love blowing out Jesse with this card. Sure, you can’t cycle it for soldiers, but when you cast it for almost half the price it’s awesome!

Ok, we all know this card is good. I can’t wait for Ralph to play this card and for me to Terminus.

Herald of War

Compare to Jubilation Angel- here is a card with two abilities that do something together. I like how the cost reduction mechanic fits in with her flavor of leading the war charge- once she gets rolling you’ll be able to dump your forces onto the battlefield on the cheap. Good flavor.

I want to like this card, I really do. I just don’t think it’s that great. The art is cool, but the abilities just don’t seem that relevant. I’ll try it out sometime and hopefully grow to like it.

Leap of Faith

Does this card make any sense? It seems to be flavored as ‘your guy jumps in the air and does a sweet flip that prevents him from taking any damage’. I guess I can get behind that.

Of all the white cards in this set, Leap of Faith is the one I despise the most. The art is poor and it is basically way to stall for one turn. I don’t see much use for this in any situation. Did I mention how hideous the art is?

I agree, the art is pretty bad. Shouldn’t he be attacking a flyer?

I’m sorry to go back to this, but the art is just terrible. This looks like someone gave a commission to their kid brother. I don’t even think the card name accurately describes the art.

Midvast Protector

Protector? I hardly know ‘er! Anyway, this card is fine. Does something that is distinctly white and common that is not usually done in this way. Also adds some much-appreciated trickiness when combined with blink effects.

I’m lukewarm about this card. I like the cards come-into-play ability, but dislike having to exhaust my mana during my pre-combat main phase. Paired with a flicker ability Midvast Protector can be solid, though it’s definitely a utility card.

I like the art.

Moonlight Geist

So you Moonlight as a Geist? Don’t quit your day job. I’ll talk more about this guy and his black counterpart later on, but suffice to say I think he does a good job of subtly communicating the different philosophies of black and white.

I like the pair of Moonlight and Searchlight Geist.

Not only is the art good, this is going to keep some big flying fatties from dealing damage. This was a must have in this set and I’m glad Wizards recognized it.

Nearheath Pilgrim

I don’t trust this dude to give me lifelink, feel like I would get sick from it or something. Candidate for ‘shadiest looking cleric ever’.

My thought, Jesse: Hey bro, I hear you’re sick. Try some leeches. This card is fine, if un exciting. It would be better if there were more one-drops in the set and removal is limited, this guy will likely be a net gain.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great card, I’d just be apprehensive to buy any of the ‘all natural herbs’ he’s peddling.

“What’re you buyin’?” Agree with Jesse. this art is creepy.

Restoration Angel

This seems like a good ability for an angel to have, especially in this set. I think it’s a bit of a flavor-miss that she’s got that weird ‘no angels’ clause attached to her, but I guess we have to make concessions to mechanics sometimes. Wish she wasn’t showing so much leg, but that’s a topic for a different article, I think.

Love the card, love the leg, love the foil promo, too.

The flavor of this card is perfect. An angel swings in from on-high and saves some poor soul. I’m looking for a playset.

Riders of Gavony

Flavorwise, what component of this card gives all your guys protection? Is it the horses? Do they bring horses for everyone? Protection is an ability that is hard to convey with flavor. It’s basically big glowing shield or bust.

In the story, there are guides that help travelers from one town to the next. Protecting them from threats, giving them “protection.”

How much will protection from angels matter when they are swinging over top? Also, Ralph, you’re knowledge astounds me.  

Righteous Blow

What does it mean, flavor-wise, that the removal in this set is scarce and narrow? It probably means something…the world is a safer place. Unless you’re a vampire, I guess (is this the same guy from Banishing Stroke? He’s having a terrible day).

Notice that there are two beams of light, dealing two damage. I think art like this is awesome.

The only way to make lightning bolt more awesome is if it always showed three bolts of lightning.

Seraph of Dawn

This is a ‘wow’ common, it communicates the resurgent strength of this color. Remember, it wasn’t long ago that azure drake was an uncommon, and a good one at that.I feel like I’m using the word ‘wow’ a lot in the white part of this review. Wait til black and you’ll be hearing about ‘ugh’ commons.

I agree, Jesse, Wizards did a good job conveying angels with multiple rarities. I like everything about this card and would gladly play a pair in Limited.

I love this card! Life link! Angel! Common! Awesome Art! Sign me up! I’ll take 10!

Silverblade Paladin

I think that a good name for the ‘soulbond’ mechanic would have been ‘friends with benefits’. This guy gives all his friends double strike, which means I guess he teaches them how to dual-wield. Really quickly. Is it just me or has double strike lost some flavor meaning over the years?

It’s two guys(or girls) working together, they get two hits, doublestrike! Awesome art, Jason Chan is a master. And I’m going to think of Soulbond as “Friends with Benefits” forever now, thanks Jesse.

What can I say that the two of you haven’t? I hope he doesn’t fall off his horse.

Terminus

If a terminate kills one creature, and a terminus kills all creatures, what does a terminum kill? A terminuus? If you know the answer to this latin grammar joke, write it on a self-addressed, stamped postcard, and throw it into a river.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a fan of Miracle. I think this is likely to see play in Commander as punishment for playing your general. In this case, I’m all for trolling.

Another great Commander card. Weird name, awesome art.

Thraben Valiant

Word ‘devil’ twice in concurrent sentences–was this one written by the flavor-intern? Once again, I feel the need to point out that they included flavor text on every card that it could technically fit on, and I don’t think this is correct to do.

I’d like to point out that this young lady is swinging a cat-of-nine made with devil tails. And that, my friend screams flavor.

It’s me, the Thraben Valiant, I have a cat-o-nine-tails made of devil tails, I’m a huge badass. Oh, my power and toughness? Well, yeah, I’m a 2/1, I don’t know what that has to do with anything though. I guess it does kinda mean there’s not a single devil in the set that I don’t die horribly to. It’s not like I just bought these at the knock-off devil-parts store or something. Lay off me, geeze. I have vigilance, ok?

The card is fun, the art is ok, the flavor text is awful.

Voice of the Provinces
This card is great. I like how her appearance actually communicates something about her position in the hierarchy of angels. She is the people’s angel and everything about the card speaks to this. A big flavor-win.

I do like this card, but I feel it costs too much…

I like that she’s fully clothed and not in a lurid pose. I also think it’s over costed.

Zealous Strike

So, what is the deal when they print a combat trick in one set and then print the same combat trick in the next set, only strictly better? I guess you could say that they’re trying to communicate that humans are getting tougher? See what they did there? No? Well, maybe they’re just out of ideas, but I would hope that that’s not the case.

I read recently that they divided White and Green combat tricks into two categories. White gets +1/+1 and +2/+2 with abilities, green gets +3/+3 and bigger. So expect a lot of cards like this.

BLUE:

Alchemist’s Apprentice

This is the ‘black cat’ of the set for me. A card that looks simple and innocuous, but is actually a perfect flavor homerun. I love the idea that an alchemist’s apprentice could just accidentally mix some stuff together and vanish into a puff of smoke and knowledge. Every aspect of this card, from the art, to the flavor text, to the mechanics, works really well together for me, and it is eminently playable to boot. Blue Sakura-tribe Elder.

Cool card, but I wish it looked more like an Igor…

Amass the Components

Good card name, good art, good card. Not sure why we’re suddenly putting so much stuff on the bottom of our libraries, but whatever. Design space I guess.

Red draws and discards, blue will start drawing and putting cards back into the library (books back on the shelf).

Ralph, we are mighty planeswalkers in a duel to the death. I don’t have to time to put my books back.

Arcane Melee

The flavor of this card is sweet. It helps people that want to fight with Instants and Sorceries instead of Creatures. Sadly, I think it’s overcosted, and won’t see much play.

Well, I might put it in my ‘instants and sorceries’ themed EDH deck. It does make buyback better.. 4 mana Capsizes sound pretty good. Eh, still probably not.

That’s exactly what I thought, Ralph. It is overcosted, but I think Wizard made a good decision. If this set is mostly for newer players, it being over costed will keep end of turn tricks down.  Maybe this was a way to make opening hand Miracle cards better.

Captain of the Mists

I want to like the art on this card. I really do. But the captain’s face looks wrong. At least it’s no Leap of Faith.

The art looks fine, except for the head…

Crippling Chill

I’m glad that ‘making things cold’ made it into blue’s piece of the color pie. Gives the color a physical as well as a mental identity.

Sleep effects are perfect for blue. The card draw seems tacked on, but makes it a strong card.

Deadeye Navigator

There seems to be a little bit more of a nautical theme that made it into this set, I’m pretty sure I like that. This is one of the cooler cards for me, both mechanically and artistically.

This card is great, but why is a boat navigator a 5/5?

My assumption is that there are balance reasons. This card would possibly be broken at any less than 6 mana, and overlooked if it had stats any lower at that cost. Alternate answer: It’s a totally sweet ghost boatman, it’s basically Charon, it can have whatever power and toughness it wants.

Yes, this card is superb all the way around. I’d like to think that this card’s power and toughness are so high because a boat navigator can traverse rocky shores, making it difficult for others to chase him.

Devastation Tide

This card is fine, I guess. It can stall the game, I guess. It seems fine against bombs, until your opponent just plays them again. Also, the art is just a blue blob. I get what Wizards tried to do here, but it’s solid C work.The art should line up with the flavor text and be more divine.

Dreadwaters

This card is fine, but kinda feels like it belongs in another set. I like the art.

It’s true that this card feels out of place, but I appreciate the continuing of mill cards from Innistrad.

So, what’s going on here, Ralph? Is a mighty black planeswalker losing his army of the undead to a tidal wave? If that’s the case, this card fits right in.

It looks like the zombies are getting washed away before they have time to rise?

Elgaud Shieldmate

I like the art on this card because it doesn’t fall victim to any of the traditional fantasy-chick pitfalls. She is fully armored and looks like a badass. Here is someone I would be cool soulbonding with.

Love the art in this one. The shield looks almost sci-fi. And the card is super strong.

This might be my favorite blue card. And I agree, Jesse, she looks like a warrior, not a swimsuit model fondling a sword.

Favorable Winds

Bad art. So bad. I feel like the artist just didn’t buy into the concept. It’s like they just drew a bunch of pegassi and then were reminded that they’re supposed to have heron-heads and were like ‘ok, that’s dumb but whatever, I’ll just paint some heron heads over these suckers and bam, I’m done, pay me.’ On a mechanical note, I like that narrower anthem effects are at uncommon now. They’re cool, desirable cards, and make limited better and more interesting.

It’s sad that Wizards’ creative team came up with the gryffs, and they only got used for two cards, neither of which is just the gryff.

What goes together better than hummingbirds and horse?I feel like this card is so ugly that I have to like it. It’s like an ugly puppy. In a duel between Leap of Faith and this card which would be crowned worst art of the set?

Leap of Faith, hands down.

Fettergeist

I don’t really have anything to say about Fettergeist other than that I really love the art. It’s definitely a bottom-up design, though. It’s tough when you can see that the creative department was handed the skeleton of a card and told that they need to make this pile of numbers into a flavorful concept. Still, I’d say this is one of their successes.

This is a great success. I like the art and idea that humans are spending resources each turn to utilize a monster as a weapon.

Galvanic Alchemist

What exactly is going on in the art? I have no clue and there isn’t flavor text to guide me. Are these two buddies supposed to erase each others fatigue? I just don’t know. Other than this, this is basically a wall with an overcosted ability.

The art is obviously a wizard and her familiar. I don’t know what that has to do with untapping though…

Ghostform

This is a flavor hit. Simple and makes perfect sense. Only question is, why two creatures? The answer lies with Soulbond. You can make your soulbonded pair unblockable!

Wait, how does this work exactly? Your creatures turn into ghosts and then turn back? I like the concept, but I feel there should have been a drawback in the flavor. Place one of the creature on the bottom of your library?

Ghostly Flicker

Cards like this help define a color’s identity in subtle ways. White gets a cheap version of this that flickers creatures. It likes to protect things on the cheap, or have a little combat trick. Blue gets to flicker two of anything. In doing so it shows itself to be the ‘tricky’ and ‘flexible’ color, at the cost of not being as fast. It’s mana fixing! It’s two surprise blockers! It’s ETB effects!

And it’s cool art!

Gryff Vanguard

This is how you illustrate a Gryff. See that Favorably Winds artist? It is possible to make it look not stupid.

The gryff does look nice here, but I still wish there was a gryff card.

It does seem strange that there isn’t a gryff card. I wonder if it was left on the cutting floor.

Havengul Skaab

This is a fattie that screams to be played in a deck where creatures have come-into-play abilities. I don’t see it being played anywhere outside of Limited.

I like the flavor of him knocking your guys back to your hand.

Infinite Reflection

Let’s reflect for a moment on how long this game has been printed and how many tricky ‘blue makes copies/changes everything’ rares have been printed. And they’re still making ones that haven’t been done yet, and in ways that make at least vague flavorful sense. Makes you wonder how long they can keep doing this for.

Forever! The art on this is pretty sweet, and the card is a blast to play.

Into the Void

I wish this was an instant. I’m not a fan of the art. I understand what’s trying to be conveyed, but it falls flat for me. I think an image of creature being sucked into a void would have been better.

The flavor text is entertaining. It would be way too strong at instant.

Latch Seeker

Good thing to call an unblockable creature, kudos are in order. And is he covered with little keys? Oh, that’s just adorable! Is it just me, or are the naming and art departments leagues better than the flavor text department?

I could have done without the second part of the flavor text. They conveyed the same thought twice.

                         Lone Revenant

Magus of the Bazaar got buff.

Is this basically the Grim Reaper with an Avacyn staff? Again, this goes well in the nautical sub-theme.

Lunar Mystic

Instants = the moon somehow. Good to know. Anyway, this guy’s got cool art and pretty important flavor text that at least hints at why Tamiyo might be visiting.

The art and flavor text go great together. The mechanics seem kinda random.

Mass Appeal

Because of this card I got to listen to that Gang Starr song a couple more times, so it’s ok in my book. Suckers be like playin’ themselves to have Mass Appeal.

This song, I mean card is a flavor hit.

Mist Raven

Wow, and to think that it wasn’t long ago that man-o-war was considered to be way too good. I like this card a lot, but I think it’s just cause I kinda like weird birds. I also love Moon Heron, so I may not be the right person to review this card. I am intrigued by the concept of a ‘ghost tide’ however. Is that what’s depicted on Dreadwaters?

Good card, but random flavor.

Misthollow Griffin

I tried to look this card up to see what it does, but apparently it doesn’t actually exist? Weirdly generic art for such a cool card.

You’re absolutely right about this. This is a great card. I’m not sure what it can be used for, but it’s great. And the art looks like any other griffin. It would have been better if it were coming in or fading out of existence.

I don’t like this card. Seems like a random rare, not a mythic.

Nephalia Smuggler

I don’t know what part of leaving play and immediately entering it again could be conceived of as ‘being smuggled’, but this is a gross, creepy, fat guy, and Magic: The Gathering could always use more of those.

The flavor text lost me with the second sentence.. Short and sweet, Wizards!

The flavor text is actually pretty good. Goes well with the creepy theme.

Outwit

They’ve still got good names for counterspells, huh? And they decided to use one of them on this card? I personally would’ve saved this name for a sweet one, but they’re the experts.

This has nothing to do with being outwitted. It’s a bland blob of nothingness next to another blob. How does this convey being outwitted? I get it; this is what the Michael Bay version of a counterspell looks like.

Agree with Jesse, what a waste of a name. Not an awful card, just not the right place for this name. Also, the flavor text sucks.

Rotcrown Ghoul

This guy reminds me of a science fiction/comic book villain for some reason. I actually like the flavor text for once and ‘zombie granted intelligence’ is an interesting trope. Good flavor, too bad I will almost certainly never pay with him.

I appreciate the milling theme, that’s all I can say.

Second Guess

Countering exactly the second spell cast in a turn is such a flavorless activity that I wish they had just named this card ‘narrow counterspell #28’PS- it must be pretty cool to second guess a think twice.

Unlike Jesse, I do like this card. I think second guess is a perfect name for it.

Spirit Away

One of my flavor favorites of the set, there’s a couple of cool things going on here. First off, the art depicts one of my opponent’s creatures being literally just strapped to a ghost and flung right at them. That’s a thing that would definitely be on my bucket list if I were a wizard. Second, I like how the bonuses the creature gets are the same as Spectral Flight’s. There’s a consistent mechanical identity to ‘being carried around by a ghost’. I only wish the guy whose quotes on Spectral Flight’s flavor text was the same one mentioned here. A missed opportunity.

I only wish this card had been named Sprited Away… But I do love the card. Didn’t realize the connection to Spectral Flight, but that’s cool that it’s there.

Stern Mentor

Milling is another thing that’s tricky to capture in flavor. I guess she’s so strict that she makes you nervous and you forget all your spells? Whatever, it’s another woman who isn’t scantily clad, so I’m not complaining.

Art and name are cool. How it ties into milling? I don’t know… But thanks for the mill Wizards!

Stolen Goods

Good name, good effect. I kinda wished they had saved it til Return to Ravnica so it could’ve gotten some sweet Dack Fayden flavor text.

I love this card! The excitement it creates when you’re top-decking your opponent’s deck is awesome. Good name, good flavor, good card.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

For people who love flavor, there are two possible positions on Tamiyo. Either you love that they just randomly put a moonfolk into the set, or you hate it. I am strongly pro-Tamiyo. Planeswalkers gotta planeswalk, man.

I think Tamiyo looks awesome, and the fact that she was studying the moon is cool, but what do her abilities have to do with anything? I wish her abilities made more sense.

Temporal Mastery

I like the art on this card a lot. I seem to be saying that quite often in blue this time around. So, uh, good job on blue this time you guys. I also like that it exiles itself to keep it from becoming an aggressively unfun card to play against. EDH thanks you.

Who doesn’t love a Time Walk? This card is tons-o-fun. Also, a hit with name, art, and flavor text.

Vanishment

Let’s take a moment to talk about the miracle card frame. Yes, right now, after we’ve reviewed like 8 of them already. After a lot of  Ponder-ing, I think I like it. Changing the card frame is another way to add flavor to spells and give them a distinct feel. It also makes the card catch your eye when you draw it off the top, making the miracle moment more special. More than anything, I think the Miracle mechanic is a way to get a more visceral physical activity into the game and create moments of excitement.

I guess no matter how much I dislike it mechanically, I like what they were going for.

This card turns your opponent’s creature into butterflies, but then they’re back next turn, so I don’t know what the heck. I’m just going to enjoy the unusually colorful picture. Glad they resisted the urge to put some flavor text here like “Suddenly, Grak was butterflies.” or some snarky quote from Diane, Fluttermage.

I would have loved a quote from Diane, Fluttermage! I don’t have much to say about Vanishment, but I do about the miracle frame. I don’t mind the lines in the border but I hate the little trangle on the top. Eventually I’m going to alter all my miracle cards to full art (I do alters).

Wingcrafter

Interesting flavor, flirting with steampunk. Also, the bro-bond creatures are a cool way to make one drops relevant late into the game.

Not a bad card. I like that he’s the same cost as Flight.