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Avacyn Restored First Thoughts – April 10, 2012 Spoilers

April 10, 2012

Angels, and Spirits, and Beasts, oh my! We have a few more cards spoiled from Avacyn Restored to think about for cube, and I’m going to see how they measure up to the competition.

How many Angels are there going to be in this set? From current spoiled cards and artwork, it looks like no less than eight.

Angel of Jubilation is much harder to cast than Restoration Angel, and slightly smaller. So what do we get for it? We get an anthem for non-black creatures, and a static ability that breaks new design space: “Players can’t pay life or sacrifice creatures to cast spells or activate abilities.” In cube this ranges from using fetchlands, casting phyrexian mana spells or Snuff Out on the cheap, drawing cards with Yawgmoth’s Bargain, all the way to using one of the most powerful cube cards, Recurring Nightmare. I don’t think this hosing ability is something I need for this cost or creature size in my cube (I would definitely consider it more on a smaller creature that synergizes with white’s more aggressive strategies), but it’s still very cool.

But there are more than angels in the set, after all. Green is looking to ramp into something big.

Druid’s Repository is basically the best Green Mana Battery ever made. It encourages you to build a deck with a lot of creatures, either tokens or other mana producers, and helps you ramp into something huge, like Upheaval or Banefire. This looks, to me, like a fun card to build around in constructed. Cube formats would probably rather have the consistency of traditional spell-based ramp. Kodama’s Reach gives you a permanent mana advantage for the rest of the game and never lets you down when you’re creatureless.

Craterhoof Behemoth is a big guy. And with just two other creatures on your side of the battlefield, is at least as good as Overrun with a hasty 3-mana 5/5 attached. If you’re looking for a big incentive to play green ramp, this could be it. It’s reliance on creatures while being best with land- and artifact-based ramp makes it a little at odds with itself. I expect it would do best in token decks with a high number of artifact ramp spells. A green-white shell with green ramp and Cloudgoat Ranger style creatures is its home. It also deserves the obligatory “it’s a great card for Commander” review.

What else can you do with a lot of mana? Wrath the board!

Killing Wave is a card in the same vein as Browbeat. It gives your opponent the choice to save his creatures or save his life. Unfortunately, this means you get the worse of the two effects. This card’s best use is going to be for lower mana costs while your opponent has a lot of creatures. But not in your cube. Put it in your binder, and give your trade partners the option. 😉

And lastly, we have a new blue evasive creature and equipment.

Latch Seeker is an unblockable, but fragile, 3/1 creature for 1UU. I might see this show up in Peasant cubes that support blue aggro, but it doesn’t compare very favorably to Vendillion Clique or Kira, Great Glass-Spinner in traditional cubes.

Moonsliver Spear is a build-your-own Geist of St. Traft. You get to keep the token, but the first one costs a whopping eight mana to produce, and it doesn’t enter the battlefield attacking. This is nowhere near the power level of other cube equipment, especially without boosting the equipped creature’s power or toughness.

This round of spoilers is a bit less impressive than the first, but I there are still new planeswalkers being spoiled in the next two weeks, and new cards with Soulbond, Undying, and Miracle that might prove to be just what we need to fill a role in our cubes.

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