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Avacyn Restored First Thoughts – April 11, 2012 Spoilers

April 12, 2012

I’m back again with more Magic: the Dan Browning spoilers from the new Angels and Demons expansion. Is there anything cubeable in the today’s revealed cards?

We have one demon and one angel today.

Harvester of Souls is the foil card on the front of one of the new intro packs. It’s a cool dragon-style finisher with a mana cost appropriate for a budget rare card. Drawing cards when creatures die is a useful enough effect, and this is actually not a bad option as a finisher in a cube with a small budget.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight is pretty big, cost-wise, and gives you an insane ability. Your opponents have a Furnace of Rath, and you have a Ghosts of the Innocent. On a 5/5 first-striking flier (that’s 10 damage with her in play, of course). I’m not sure if this is a good for my cube or not. On one hand, some of my Boros cards are not all strong. Soltari Guerillas and Brion Stoutarm are really “fair” cards at a casting cost that in their component colors, get Hero of Bladehold and Hellrider, much better cards. On the other hand, f I decide that I want a high-end creature in this color combination, Gisela is probably the best “big card” you can cast. Maybe this is a good way to support the big Boros deck that happens from time to time (wraths, spot removal, finishers) in cube. In any case, I would not recommend running Gisela over the usual staples of Figure of Destiny, Ajani Vengeant, and Lightning Helix. If you run more than three red-white cards, however, Gisela is definitely in the running.

And a pair of Soulbound creatures.

Nightshade Peddler grants deathtouch to the paired creatures. This could be a cool way to squeak some damage in battle in limited, and probably worth considering in pauper cubes.

Tandem Lookout, sadly, is uncommon, so it can’t see play in pauper. I love Ophidian effects, and this is pretty interesting. I’m not sure it breaks the traditional cube power barrier at three mana (it would be a shoe-in at two), but pairing it with an already-evasive creature is strong.

Also spoiled were two build-around cards and a resilient artifact creature.

Arcane Melee is expensive, but makes other instants and sorceries cost much less to cast. I’m not sold on the symmetric effect in cube at all, nor even in constructed, when you can fine tune your deck better around the effect. This enchantment also simply costs too much, in my opinion.

Decendant’s Path is a tribal-deck enabler. Creature types in cube range wildly, and this effect is going to be much better in casual constructed, where casting a giant Beast or Wurm off of this is a lot more likely.

Angel’s Tomb requires a continuous stream of creatures to keep it going on the attack, or flash creatures on defense. It’s efficient enough for limited, and is typically immune to sorcery-speed removal. It reminds me a little bit of Chimeric Idol and Glint Hawk Idol, but the condition to turn it ‘on’ is a more restrictive. It’s a pass for cube.

Lastly, there is a new card for aggressive red decks with the ‘punisher’ mechanic.

Vexing Devil is a huge 4/3 creature for one mana, but your opponent can just take 4 damage to have you sacrifice it when it enters the battlefield. Like other ‘punisher’ cards before it (most notorious being Browbeat) you won’t always get what you want. On the other hand, if you build a deck around it, you can maybe use its Lava Spike +1 early-game behavior to your advantage. I could see a deck that plays very aggressive creatures and damage spells using this, alongside of cheap reanimation spells like Unearth and Reanimate. Once your opponent has already taken some early damage, a 4/3 (or even a 3/3, using Animate Dead) may be enough to push through to the end. I think this is worth considering if you have or want your cube’s red section to be extremely aggressive.

It’s almost time for tonight’s spoilers. I’m going to continue giving my impressions each day, so come back tomorrow for more of my new card impressions for cube!

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