Hey kid! Yeah, I’m talking to you. You lookin’ to juice up your Gladiator list? I got all kinds of unsanctioned tech, any color combo, any archetype, ready to augment your deck. All you gotta do is fork over the wildcards. Oh, and don’t go blabbin’ to any Imperials if you know what’s good for you…
This massive friend might have a rigid shell, but its applications are anything but. An Unsummon, a Regrowth, and a big flying idiot all rolled into one is a lot of flexibility for a Turtle. Each of these are overcosted compared to what you’d see in cards that only fill one of these roles, but the sheer versatility makes up for that. The Channel abilities also aren’t spells, meaning they can’t be countered except for by cards like Stifle. This allows some interesting lines where you can use the Turtle’s Regrowth effect to get back a card like Negate to protect yourself against a Control opponent. Unlike other Regrowths, this one can even be done at instant speed, letting you wait to see what your opponent does before you return a card and immediately untap. While this mode will often be the main reason to play this card, the bounce option can help to slow down early aggression, and playing it as creature is helpful when you need a way to end the game. This card is worth considering for Control and Midrange, and it’s a perfect fit in decks like Simic Turns, which already want a density of cards that return Time Warp from the graveyard.
Maybe it’s just because her enthusiasm is infectious, but I think this adorable Goblin is a great addition to artifact decks. A 2/2 flier for two mana is a good threat on its own, and that’s just the beginning. The artifact discount makes this comparable to Foundry Inspector. Enthusiastic Mechanaut has a cheaper and more relevant body, though the colored mana pips limit the decks that can play it. Any blue red artifact list should consider this eager little friend, and it even opens up the potential for an Izzet version of Artifact Aggro, since it’s an efficient threat that allows you to speed up your gameplan.
Did they accidentally slip an Ikoria card in here? This Cat Beast is only a 2/1 for three mana, but it’s our first three mana creature with a Regrowth style of effect on ETB. Unlike Timeless Witness, however, Gloomshrieker can only get permanents. This means you can’t use it to get Time Warp, so it won’t be played in Turns decks. Instead it may find a niche in grindy, value-oriented midrange decks, getting back a variety of troublesome creatures and planeswalkers. These decks can also play the Tainted Pact and Thassa’s Oracle combo, and this can be helpful as a way of retrieving the latter half of the combo if it ends up getting discarded.
Ever want to pay two mana for a Magma Opus? How about Sublime Epiphany? Or I guess one mana for a Fateful Absence is good too. Getting a huge discount on big multi-target spells is fun, but this card’s biggest strength in Gladiator is going to be as a 4/4 with flying and trample that acts as a Goblin Electromancer for your removal and counterspells. Hinata will also make your opponent’s removal less efficient across the board, and really hurts multicolor staples like Prismari Command. Hinata is an appealing option for any Jeskai deck, but is at its best in Young Pyromancer lists.
Invigorating Hot Spring
Ooh, now that’s relaxing. Nothing like a dip in a hot spring to make you feel.. faster and bigger? This card is similar to Rhythm of the Wild, except that you don’t have to choose between the counter and haste. It’s mainly going to be considered in Naya Counters, where it will synergize with cards like Basri’s Lieutenant. Unlike Rhythm this is limited to four uses, but that’s fine since you’re probably going to kill your opponent before you run out. Preventing your creatures being countered is nice too, but again is a fine exchange since there are a lot of matchups where that text won’t do anything. I can’t wait to give Halana and Alena, Partners the romantic getaway they deserve, right before they murder my opponent of course.
Isshin, Two Heavens as One
This sword saint is a 3/4 for three mana that can synergize with a variety of other creatures in Mardu. Examples include Robber of the Rich, Graveyard Trespasser, and Adeline, Resplendent Cathar. Huh, weird, all those cards happen to be Humans you could get with Winota, Joiner of Forces, whose triggers also get doubled by Isshin. I wonder if there are any non-humans that synergize with Isshin? Cards like Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin, Thundering Raiju, or Goldspan Dragon all fit the bill here. Thanks to his solid stats this tengu can tango just fine if you don’t end up drawing anything to complement his ability, and the potential value from it is huge. I would play this in any Mardu deck playing Winota, as well as Human Tribal.
This gentle flute player might seem unassuming to start, but slap a Skyblade’s Boon and an All that Glitters on him and suddenly he looks a lot less peaceful. Transcendent Envoy is the closest equivalent, but while that card is great in Aura decks, Jukai Naturalist fits into a wider range of Enchantress archetypes. Being an enchantment himself is great, as he’ll draw cards off of any kind of Enchantress’s Presence effects you have in play. Cost reduction is also useful in these decks, since once they have their synergy pieces in play they want to be playing multiple enchantments each turn while generating card advantage. The stats aren’t that impressive, but if you load it up with Auras the lifelink will be backbreaking against Aggro. Expect to see this in a variety of Enchantress decks as a cheap enabler.
Similar to his childhood friend The Wandering Emperor, Kaito is a planeswalker that your opponent can’t attack the turn he comes into play. This is a huge benefit, as one of the weaknesses of playing a planeswalker is that they often get killed by your opponents’ creatures the turn you tap out to play them. Kaito’s abilities are most suited to Tempo decks, which can make good use of the unblockable 1/1 tokens he creates, either with Ninjas like Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion or effects like Curious Obsession. The +1 ability offers card advantage on a three mana planeswalker, which is a great way of staying ahead of your opponent. Even if you’re not attacking, Kaito will do an okay impression of The Royal Scions, letting you loot every turn. It does take a long time to get to the -7 ability with only three starting loyalty, but like most planeswalker ultimates it’s undeniably powerful. Overall, Kaito is cheap, hard to kill, and draws cards, so I’d definitely play him in a Tempo deck, and consider him for Dimir Midrange.
If you’re playing an artifact deck with a sacrifice theme, this card is going to be your one-and-Oni. The anvil’s ability will provide you with a steady stream of fodder to sacrifice, whether to another sacrifice outlet or the Anvil itself. The card does have its limitations, triggering only once on your own turn, but for two mana it does enough. The closest comparison is Hidden Stockpile, which also gets you a 1/1 artifact creature every turn, though it’s somewhat easier to trigger. However, the sacrifice ability on the Anvil lets you get it going without investing additional mana, and the drain is great for grinding out your opponent. The two cards fill the same role, so in a Mardu Artifact Aristocrats deck you’ll want both for redundancy.
Risona, Asari Commander
Control decks hate her! Learn this one weird trick to survive Wrath of God. Risona is a 3/3 with haste for three mana, which is a decent start. Her ability is at its best against Control decks, which usually won’t be able to attack to remove the indestructible counter. Playing her on curve is also the perfect timing for an awkward to kill threat, as that’s often the turn before Control decks try to play their wraths. While she still dies to cards like Swords to Plowshares or Erebos’s Intervention, forcing your opponent to use single target removal on a turn where they’d rather cast a wrath is great. In other matchups she’ll be weaker, though she still has some benefits. Encouraging your opponent to attack you so they can remove the indestructible counter means they’ll be left with fewer blockers, which is nice in an aggressive deck. Being a Human is important for cards like Winota, Joiner of Forces or Expedition Supplier, which Boros Aggro often runs. For now I think she has a place in Boros Aggro and Human Tribal decks thanks to her strength against Control and her on-rate stats.
So you might be thinking: “How can Ninja Tribal work with less than 20 playable Ninjas?” While it’s true that Ninjas have far less density compared to Tribal standbys in Gladiator like Goblins or Humans, this Rat still has some tricks up its sleeve. First, there are a good number of Rogues that fit well in a Ninja deck, such as Brazen Borrower or Glint-Sleeve Siphoner. Giving a boost to not only your Ninjas but also a good number of the creatures that enable them is a big advantage for what would otherwise be a fairly limited lord. The fact that you can use Silver-Fur Master as a combat trick with Ninjutsu is potent as well, letting your creatures that were blocked trade up when they otherwise wouldn’t have. Another consideration is that since Ninjas are suited to a Tempo playstyle, you don’t need as high of a creature count as a more traditional tribe like Elves. So is Ninja Tribal the hot new meta deck? Well, no, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun, and will win more games than you might expect.
This five mana enchantment will let you exchange your Trash for Treasure at the end of each of your turns. However, the trash and treasure in question can be any permanent type, so you can exchange Stitcher’s Supplier for Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Binding the Old Gods for Elspeth Conquers Death, or a Treasure token for God-Pharaoh’s Gift. The fact that you get value out of this the turn you play it is very important, as five mana is too much if you’re not going to impact the board right away. The exile clause does mean that you won’t be able recur the same card over and over again by sacrificing and reanimating it, so you’ll want to be able to keep your graveyard stocked with juicy targets. The other issue with this card is that it can end up doing nothing if you don’t have the right permanents available to sacrifice. So is it worth the mana? I think it can be. In the right Esper Reanimator deck you already play some five mana reanimation spells anyway, and while this one is a bit less reliable, it also has more potential to grind out value across multiple turns with ETB creatures. If you want something a little spicier though, this card is great in Doom Foretold decks, where it can sacrifice and rebuy cards like Treacherous Blessing.
Tamiyo, Compleated Sage
Everyone’s favorite Moonfolk planeswalker is back and looking better than ever! Thanks to her family on Phyrexia, Tamiyo has a unique mechanic called Compleated. Well, unique for now at least. This allows you to pay the hybrid mana symbol in her cost by paying two life rather than a blue or green mana. If you choose to pay the life, she’ll come in with two fewer loyalty. This gives you flexibility, allowing you to play her as a four drop or a five drop depending on the situation.
So what about her actual abilities? Her +1 harkens back to Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, tapping down a creature until your next turn. This will let you lock down a troublesome creature or artifact, which is great on an ability that adds loyalty. Plus, it’s nice to see that being forcibly turned into a horrible abomination by Phyrexians doesn’t mean you have to give up your roots. The -X ability is powerful as well, letting you recur any nonland permanent from your graveyard, including other planeswalkers. Her -7 is the least useful, since unless you’re already ahead on board you’d usually rather use her previous ability to get back another threat, but it still has its uses. With her excellent suite of abilities and flexible casting cost, Tamiyo will compleat a wide variety of Midrange and Control decks.
So, you like what you see? Huh? You’re looking for cybernetic augmentations? I don’t know about that, but I’m sure I’ve got a creature that cares about Modified here somewhere… Hey, wait! Come back, I haven’t even shown you The Kami War yet!
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Long before Elle tapped her first plains, a teacher made the mistake of telling her she could write. Now you must bear witness to the consequences.