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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
May 23 2017 11:00am
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

> summary <

 Welcome to Amonkhet, home of the (currently hidden) Nicol Bolas and all Ancient Egypt-inspired stuff (which actually doesn't include the name "Nicol Bolas", but I can't blame the current designers: the big bag dragon was created back in Legends; it could have been much, much worse).

 It's a nice, fun set, continuing the exploration/appropriation of real-life iconic cultures (of which I had previously talked about here), but without introducing any groundbreaking new mechanic, just a bit of a reworking of split cards, flashback for creatures, and the return of cycling. Honestly, the most striking novelty is the fact that now we have a full-fledged Jackal tribe, of all things. And five new Gods. And there's no creature with more than two subtypes in the set. And good ole Giant Spider has been reprinted again.

 Because of the setting, a lot of the classic tribes are absent: no Elf, Goblin, Merfolk or Vampire on Amonkhet. Also, Shaman is not an available job around here, there's only a modicum of Soldiers, no Advisors at all (which is somehow surprising), while the vast majority of the population seems to belong either to the Warrior or the Cleric caste, both benefiting from a huge boost. There's also a definite, if expected, focus on half human/half animal beings, like the abovementioned Jackals, but also Bird, and of course Minotaur and Naga, yet only a couple of non-humanoid Snakes is in the set (I guess Naga stole all those spots, being humanoid snakes themselves). Cat has a strong presence as one of Ancient Egypt's sacred beasts (Crocodile is of course represented, too), but doesn't get the human/animal hybrid treatment. The death theme, also from the Egyptian source, makes Zombie perfectly at home, albeit in an unusual white flavor due to an interesting take on the mummy concept.

 Anyway, let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are listed alphabetically, but you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 272 (+15 duplicated basic lands but including 18 cards only found in the planeswalker decks or Deck Builder's Toolkit)
  • New cards: 241
  • New creatures: 123
  • Reprinted cards: 31
  • Reprinted creatures: 4 (Ancient Crab, Aven Mindcensor, Giant Spider, Gravedigger)
  • Creature types affected: 38
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Human (+30), Warrior (+30), Cleric (+14), Zombie (+14), Jackal (+10), Minotaur (+9), Naga (+9), Bird (+7), Cat (+7), Wizard (+6)

Angel: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 138, online: 137

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Behold the famed Ancient Egyptian Angels! It's a thing that exists! (Well, sort of). (Okay, not really). Anyway, a couple of these are merely perfunctory ones, but the mythic Angel of Sanctions is a robust addition. Giving a temporary exiler a la Fiend Hunter to the Angel tribe is useful to win the tempo battle, although you might still be better off by casting something packing more of a punch as a 5-drop in your Angel deck (and possibly elsewhere). This is where the embalm mechanic comes to the rescue, essentially turning Angel of Sanctions into a removal that also costs the opponent one additional removal spell to get rid of. Also, it's the odd male Angel. Also, there's a token for his mummified state (embalm has caused Amonkhet to be the set with the most specific tokens ever).

 I wonder, though: how did he fly post-embalming if they mummified his wings?


Antelope: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 8

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Amonkhet makes ample use of -1/-1 counters as a way to justify a reduced casting cost. Taking it at face value, it may signify the creature has basically lower stats than those printed on the card, but there are several ways to remove those counters or abuse them for value, both in Amonkhet and elsewhere, especially since the Amonkhet version of this mechanic has the counters go on any creature from your team, if another is present. The vanilla Ornery Kudu is just a very baseline example of this, but yes, it impacts Antelope at a high level because... well, are you familiar with Antelopes? One of the other 7 members is a 2/3 for 4 mana. Just saying.


Archer: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 67, online: 63

 Related Tribes: Human, Minotaur

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Neither of these two new Archers are particularly exciting, but an ability linked to discarding cards and activatable multiple times is not that bad. Plus, it comes on a 1-drop with 2 toughness.


Bat: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 18, online: 16

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Even within Bats, a 4-mana, 2-powered haste guy is not bound to make much of an impact.


Beast: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 340, online: 335

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: So Beast gets its own Viridian Shaman, uh? Well, a strictly better Viridian Shaman, actually, since the Kismet-like ability might be relevant on occasion (affinity decks surely don't like it).

 Furthermore, Plague Belcher is a pretty good card, but it's not meant for the Beast tribe.


Bird: +7

   

  

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 New Tribal Total: 216, online: 205

 Related Tribes: Soldier, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: We get a good number of new Birds from Amonkhet, but they're mostly a bunch of mechanical poster children. Bone Picker is good enough if you manage to activate the morbid-like cost reduction on an early turn, while Companion of the Trials is noteworthy to be exclusive of the Gideon, Martial Paragon planeswalker deck (its ability, which actually helps with exert, is a clear hint to its Gideon-linked status).

 Lacking any rare Bird, the best of the lot has to be Aven Wind Guide, since giving flying and vigilance to all your embalm tokens (and any other you may have) might sometimes become a big deal, if mostly in casual settings.


Camel: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 5, online: 4

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Amonkhet is a desert plane based on real-world Egypt, so it makes sense for Camels to be there. In fact, it's almost strange they didn't take the chance to add even more of them (although, do we really want more camels as creatures in a fantasy game? It's already silly there's now five of them to begin with). Still, this pair of new additions doubles the tribe's online ranks, turning it into a playable tribal deck ("playable" used loosely here). This unlikely situation came to be after the India-based Kaladesh set saw the printing of such an unforgettable card as Tasseled Dromedary, and now that we've moved to another suitable plane able to support camel life, there we are, 23 years sooner than I expected.

 We still miss the original Camel from Arabian Nights (and we're beginning to run out of settings that can justify the presence of such animals), but at least the two from Amonkhet are somewhat reasonable midrange creatures; both have decent stats and bring extra value to the board. Quarry Hauler's miniature proliferate (that also removes those pesky -1/-1 counters) seems particularly useful, making it the best Camel ever printed. What an honor.


Cat: +7

   

  

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 New Tribal Total: 150, online: 144

 Related Tribes: Snake

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Well, what do you know, Amonkhet gives us a Cat lord! Current Cat or Cat-based decks aren't generally the kind of decks whose curve tops at 5 mana, but maybe Regal Caracal will manage to change that. After all, it's a 3/3 and two 2/2s, plus universal lifelink, which sounds like a beating (the fact that it doesn't have lifelink itself is kind of a bummer, though, other than unmotivated).

 The second rare, Prowling Serpopard, is cool enough as an uncounterable 4/3 for 3, which also incorporates a smarter version of the old Gaea's Herald trick (or Surrak Dragonclaw's, but way cheaper). I won't comment on the fact that it's apparently a Carrollian cat-snake hybrid. Or on the word "serpopard".

 Nothing to say about the remaining Amonkhet felines, except to point out that Graceful Cat is another planeswalker deck exclusive.


Cleric: +14

   

  

  

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 New Tribal Total: 330, online: 306

 Related Tribes: Human, Minotaur, Naga, Shapeshifter

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Ancient Egypt was a theocracy, so it makes absolute sense for the Cleric tribe to get such an unprecedented boost from Amonkhet. It makes less sense the use of the term "vizier", which is of Arabian heritage (also, it should refer to Advisors), but oh well.

 We count one mythic and a whopping four rares among this lot. The former, Vizier of the Menagerie, applies the Oracle of Mul Daya shtick to creatures, which in the right deck (say, Elves.dek) may result in insane card advantage. The cost/body ratio is also pretty decent, he's not boltable, and comes with a bonus ability that lets his controller cast creatures with generic mana, which is a little weird considering it only applies to creatures from your deck, that you should be able to cast to begin with (to only rely on the Vizier to do it sounds like a bad plan). It can help with mana fixing and splashes, I guess.

 Vizier of Many Faces is the recurring clone Clerics never knew they needed (and still don't, but hey, it's a recurring clone), while Harsh Mentor is arguably the most powerful card the tribe gets in Amonkhet. Coming in a color, red, that's not very common for Cleric (there are only another 9 of them in that color), and merely costing Grizzly Bears mana, the Mentor loudly asks to be part of some kind of burn build, even just in the sideboard, to punish fetch lands and other greedy or less greedy activations.

 The two legendary Clerics are both 2-drops as well, if multicolored. Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons (a not very subtle take on Cleopatra) is a bear that creates tokens and kills small guys/weakens big guys upon connection. That's a clause that's not always very easy to satisfy, especially through a smaller, unevasive beater, but Hapatra's double reward makes it worth a try. Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun is easier to handle, since he's just content to stay back and watch one of your tokens push damage through. It's not an extremely powerful effect, especially considering the most coveted token creatures are likely to be already evasive, but it's not useless, plus the guy is cheap enough and recurs via embalm.

 Speaking of token decks, the common Anointer Priest works as a Soul Sister for those builds; then again, token decks mostly operate in white, so an actual Soul Sister is probably going to be strictly better than this, although Anointer Priest is sturdier and has embalm.

 Finally, it's worth noting how Vizier of Remedies is the universal fixer for all the creatures that use -1/-1 counters as a downside. Unlikely to see play as such, but it needed to be pointed out.


Crocodile: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 17, online: 16

 Related Tribes: Demon

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The sacred Egyptian Crocodiles pop up in Amonkhet in the form of a couple of strong Limited beaters in green, and a black Demon, equally good for Limited, but also interesting for Demon tribal purposes, as we'll discuss right below.


Demon: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 89, online: 86

 Related Tribes: Crocodile, Scorpion

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: What's intriguing about the Demons of Amonkhet is that they're not extreme curve-toppers the way most Demons are when they show up randomly in a set that doesn't have a focus on the tribe. And sure, Archfiend of Ifnir is a Limited bomb that could also fill a midrange slot in Constructed, if one manages to pack enough cyclers or other discard strategies. But both Baleful Ammit and Soulstinger are just your regular low-rarity beater for 3-4 mana with a bonus ability. Baleful Ammit is especially alluring because if you find another target for its counter, then you have on your hands a 4-powered lifelinker for 3 mana, which nicely offsets the inherent self-damage potential of most black decks. Not a dramatic improvement, but still a welcome change of the way Demons are typically featured. It might not be coincidence that they both come with a secondary subtype.


Dragon: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 165, online: 164

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Well, it looks like the royal family of the 5-mana hasty Dragons got a new member. Compared to the likes of Thundermaw Hellkite and Stormbreath Dragon, Glorybringer is less about dealing damage fast, as the Hellkite is beefier and Stormbreath Dragon ignores white removal and grows bigger while dealing even more damage later. What Glorybringer brings to the table, thus gaining its cousins' respect, is the ability to immediately kill one fattie (but not the abovementioned cousins, coincidentally), if at the cost of reducing further its damage output by losing a turn due to exertion. Such a repeatable, free and built-in control element is kind of a big deal for a finisher, and puts Glorybringer up there with the best of 'em.


Drake: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 76, online: 75

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Same old, same old in the realm of Drakes: they're all uncommon fodder, not terrible but either overcosted (Angler Drake) or too run-of-the-mill (Shimmerscale Drake). Enigma Drake jumps on the "instants and sorceries matter" bandwagon, being in the correct colors for the task, and its low cost might make it slightly effective, playing the blocker role at first, then the finisher role later on. I'm not sure the kind of deck it wants to be a part of would even bother including it, though.


Druid: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 151, online: 147

 Related Tribes: Human, Naga

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: While the Nagas obtain their own versions of Harvester Druid and Fyndhorn Elder, and Oashra Cultivator is a worse Sakura-Tribe Elder, there's something more to be said about the rare Channeler Initiate, that essentially comes with two modes: you put the counters elsewhere and you'll get an aggressively costed beater; otherwise, it's a mana dork that doubles as a place where to dump any further -1/-1 counter you stumbled upon.


God: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 20

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: The first occurrence of Gods outside of Theros, this Egyptian-esque pantheon has actually a few things in common with the Greek-based one. For starters, all these Gods are equally and appropriately indestructible. Similarly to their Theros counterparts, they also need a little worship to get going, this time not in the form of the devotion mechanic but via specific requisites that vary according to each God's color. This is how we can delineate a hierarchy of effectiveness: first comes the green snake god, Rhonas the Indomitable, who only requires a 4-powered creature to awake, as his activated ability actually helps with that. As usual, deathtouch is not very useful on a fattie, but 3 mana is a very low cost to pay for all that, meaning Rhonas could easily start attacking on turn 4, or even earlier if you ramped (and you did, because you're in green).

 Also easy to appease: the white cat goddess, Oketra the True, who asks for three additional creatures but is able to create her own worshippers from thin air, if a bit slowly. Dropping at 4 mana, she's not as fast as Rhonas, but she strikes for 6 once she gets the chance. Also, token generators are always useful to have on the battlefield.

 The blue ibis god, Kefnet the Mindful, might be the hardest one to get online, as he strictly requires the Library of Alexandria clause. Once again, his ability helps with that, but the process might not be that brisk, even if we're still talking of drawing cards and possibly reuse mana, and that's card advantage 101.

 The black crocodile goddess, Bontu the Glorified, has an easy (and flavorful) trigger to be able to attack and block: she requires a sacrifice. That's especially easy since she can do it herself for just 2 mana, but then you'll need to repeat the process every single turn you want Bontu to be active, and that's how "easy" starts turning into "not-so-much". Plus, her sac ability doesn't seem to do enough.

 Finally, a very special case: the red jackal goddess, Hazoret the Fervent, really wants to be played as the last or second-to-last card in your hand, otherwise having haste becomes pointless. This makes her a perfect topdeck. Too bad it's not that simple to topdeck exactly the card you want, right? Still, if you disregard haste and drop her before running out of cards, you can use her ability as a discard outlet with bonus damage. In the right deck, that's going to be her role: discard for value, deal some damage, then finish them off with your indestructible beater.

 It's crucial to note how these Gods remain creatures all along, only "pacified" until the worship condition is met; they never lose the creature type the way the Theros ones did, which means they're always vulnerable to creature removal, provided it's something that kills indestructible stuff.


Hippo: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 3

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: And that's how Hippo arrived to 3 members, too. So we can build a Hippo tribal deck, isn't that wonderful? Here's the other two:

 

 What a wonderful tribe: a mana-stealer that I'm pretty sure doesn't work as intended anymore now that mana burn is extinct (it won't steal anything, but it'll make for a tortuous method to protect your spells from countermagic), and a vanilla islandwalker. And now Defiant Greatmaw, which is a fast beater that essentially either puts -1/-1 counters on its friends, or removes them. So it's probably the best Hippo ever printed. What a privilege.


Horror: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 182, online: 181

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Both these Horrors are sort of pathetic in Constructed. Let's leave it at that. (Now that I've said it, I fully expect the emergence of a Standard deck that combos Grim Strider with massive card drawing).


Human: +30

  

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 New Tribal Total: 1939, online: 1758

 Related Tribes: Archer, Cleric, Druid, Warrior, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: Human gets two mythic Warriors, a bunch of other stuff, and then a member with no additional subtypes, as it occasionally happens: Doomed Dissenter is a 1/1 that comes back from the dead as a 2/2, and isn't that just undying, but with a token? I guess that's not an evergreen mechanic yet. Apparently everybody who dies on Amonkhet comes back as a zombie. Did you know that? Now you do.


Hydra: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 35

 Related Tribes: Snake

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This is not a bad creature, since the recursion offered by embalm shouldn't be underestimated. Problem is, it's not very Hydra-like. I mean, it could have been any creature type, no? Everything gets embalmed on Amonkhet. The fact that Honored Hydra is made of a bunch of cobra heads never comes into play in what it does.


Hyena: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 3

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Rejoice! Hyena just attained 3-member state! (Along with Hippo and, for online purposes, Camel). And in the same set where Jackal has become its own tribe separated from Hound. (Yeah, Cat includes lions and tigers, yet the canines have three different tribes, and counting. I guess someone at WotC is a dog person).

 Anyway, the unabashedly vanilla Hyena Pack is the third Hyena ever printed, in as many colors.

 

 Looks like there's some kind of plan for Hyena as a tribe here, because it tripled its ranks over the course of 6 months after a 20-year hiatus. But I still can't get over the fact that they think a hyena is a "trusty companion" that "shows affection". It's because of stuff like this that you hear on the news of Rottweilers mauling children.


Illusion: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 81, online: 76

 Related Tribes: Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This is an Illusion all right, complete with the classic Illusion quirk. Not exactly sure what that downside is offsetting, though, the embalm ability? The slightly-higher-than-Grizzly Bears toughness?


Insect: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 151, online: 147

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Three new Insects, but unfortunately two of them are vanilla filler, and the third one, Decimator Beetle, has a cool ability that moves -1/-1 counters from your creatures to the opponent's, but it's a bit high on the curve, and doesn't do much outside of a deck that contains a good number of -1/-1 counters abilities already.


Jackal: +10

   

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 15, online: 13

 Related Tribes: Rogue, Warrior, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: And so there they are, the brand new Jackals, Amonkhet's contribution to the overall number of tribes (that is now 214). Actually, Anubis's totem animal used to exist as a creature type a long time ago, since Arabian Nights' Hurr Jackal (back when creature types weren't even clearly defined), but it was turned into Hound during the Grand Creature Type Update of 2007. Now it's back, and next thing you know, he's asked Hound to give back its five lost siblings, making an impressive comeback as a 15-member tribe.

  

  

 (As a side note, losing two aggressive 1-drops like Jackal Pup and Jackal Familiar didn't do Hound any favors. But hey, that's the price to pay for the privilege of having both Hyena and Jackal as tribes in the game. There's no such thing as too many canine scavengers, apparently. I expect for Coyote and Dingo to join the party down the line).

 But forget the boring Jackals of old. What about the fresh batch of Jackals from Amonkhet? Well, they're all bipedal humanoids, and they excel at beating (in fact, they mostly have Warrior as a secondary tribe, apart from a few Zombies doing Zombie things). They're early droppers that specialize in getting power boosts in various ways: prowess (Nimble-Blade Khenra), "discard matters" (Flameblade Adept), exert (Bitterblade Warrior). They also have an universal trampler in Khenra Charioteer and even an "exert lord" in Trueheart Twins. All in all, they look like a solid aggro tribe in Gruul colors.

 The only major exception is Champion of Rhonas, a take on Elvish Piper based on exert. It's cool enough but, I'm afraid, strictly worse than the Piper. Let's see, it has a larger body but it's still boltable; can't activate its ability at instant speed (in fact, it can only activate it during one specific step), and works only every other round. B+ for effort, though.


Lizard: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 54, online: 51

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Interestingly enough, Shefet Monitor is an update on Krosan Tusker: for one mana more, the land goes directly onto the battlefield, and can be a Desert. 4 mana is usually too much for a cycler, but it's the kind of cantripping ramp that I can see being used in Commander.

 Thresher Lizard is a good, not great pick in drafts, being a 4/4 for 3 in topdeck mode.


Manticore: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 7

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Manticore stealthily gets a considerable boost, as this is the first time a single set hosts more than one of them, since when they came into existence with Legends' aggressively terrible Crimson Manticore. These from Amonkhet are actually two of the tribe's best members. They're decently costed, with Manticore of the Gauntlet providing a little bit of extra direct damage, while the rare Heart-Piercer Manticore doubling as removal, but also as a finishing blow, depending on how big was the guy you sacrificed. You gotta love Fling on a stick with no additional cost.


Minotaur: +9

   

   

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 New Tribal Total: 62, online: 61

 Related Tribes: Archer, Cleric, Warrior, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: As far as Egyptian mythology goes, I'm pretty sure Minotaur is not really kosher, but I guess they felt that the whole concept of dudes with animal heads was enough to justify their inclusion. The tribe has become a minor hit since Theros has brought it back in the limelight (or for the first time ever, that is). Amonkhet adds a new legendary rare to their ranks, Neheb, the Worthy, which is a Minotaur lord, no less. He does a lot of different stuff, giving first striker to his horned team, then causing bilateral discard upon connection, which links to the fact that he wants for you to have one card in hand or fewer so all the Minotaurs can hit harder. He requires some build around, but he's not a bad lord, he's quick on the drop and first strike helps recklessly attacking into things to try and activate his discard ability.

 For the rest, the Amonkhet Minotaurs most notably jumps on the exert mechanic, with Emberhorn Minotaur being the most effective at it, and a prime pick in Limited. Bloodrage Brawler uses self-discard as a cost, in order to get on the battlefield a very early big dude, which is something that was more common in the bygone era of things like Weatherlight's Hidden Horror or, more recently, Dissension's Avatar of Discord.


Naga: +9

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 23

 Related Tribes: Cleric, Druid, Rogue, Warrior, Wizard, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Second true showing for Naga after their debut on Tarkir block in 2014 (since then, the only new one was featured in Commander 2016), and they immediately take a big leap ahead from 14 to 23 members. Like in the case of Minotaur, the cultural flavor here is a bit off, since Nagas are from Hindu mythology.

 So what can we find among these nine new Nagas? First of all, the excellent Vizier of the Menagerie, providing all manners of card advantage, board position, and mana fixing. And if it seems too slow to play in non-Elf tribes, here's the Naga catching up with the accelerators, thanks to Naga Vitalist and Weaver of Currents. It's not a perfect ramp, but it's a ramp, and it's in-tribe.

 And then... well, that's more or less it, just a couple decent exerters, a graveyard-filler in Naga Oracle, and little else. A curious if useless one is Desiccated Naga, because it's apparently Liliana's zombie pet from her planeswalker deck.


Rogue: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 220, online: 206

 Related Tribes: Jackal, Naga

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Rogue is not a popular tribe on Amonkhet. Only two new ones, both unremarkable: a looter via exert and an unblockable guy.


Scorpion: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 9, online: 7

 Related Tribes: Demon

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The actual, honest-to-God Scorpion here is just a typical member of its tribe, i.e. a deathtoucher but in this case with the added value of cycling. Rest assured, it's not going to make history because of that.

 On the other hand, that Demon Scorpion, while not exactly memorable itself (it's a vanilla midrange beater that doubles as a narrow removal), but it's the first mating ever between the two tribes, so there's that. (Of course such pairing might have been hindered in the past by the fact that Scorpion is still a tiny tribe. It looks like an adequately demonic form, though).


Serpent: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 30, online: 29

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The always unexciting Serpent takes the graveyard route this time. Oh well, asking for cards in your graveyard is definitely a step forward from asking for islands on your opponent's board. And Cryptic Serpent is actually powerful as a finisher in an "instants and sorceries matter" kind of deck (man, this building approach should get a proper name). In fact, it already shows up in Legacy Delver lists.


Shapeshifter: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 78, online: 76

 Related Tribes: Cleric

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: So, the Vizier of Many Faces is a Clone for Clone mana (although more blue than generic), that also has embalm, which makes it a strictly better Clone. Also, it's one of only five Shapeshifters to have a secondary subtype: Jwari Shapeshifter is an Ally, Primal Plasma and Thornling are Elementals, and Shape Stealer is a Spirit. All of those additional types represent special statuses, whereas the Vizier is the first Shapeshifter to actually have a job. It makes sense for most Shapeshifters not to be anything else, because they can change shape and become anything else (hence the Changeling ability some of them have); this said, it's plausible for some guy to have a role in a government like, say, a vizier, while still being a Shapeshifter. I know, I'm overthinking this thing.


Snake: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 74, online: 67

 Related Tribes: Cat, Hydra

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Snake has its thunder stolen by Naga on Amonkhet, so the only two appearances it makes are through hybridizations of other tribes. Which is kind of absurd in both cases, because Honored Hydra could have easily been a giant Snake, since it has none of the characteristics that make Hydras... Hydras. And don't even get me started with Prowling Serpopard. It's a snake with legs? And a cat face? How does that even work? I mean, outside of a children's book? (It's still a good rare, though, above-curve enough to justify its inclusion in a main deck, despite being mostly useful as a countermeasure against permission decks).


Soldier: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 580, online: 521

 Related Tribes: Bird

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: I can't tell why, but Amonkhet is not a Soldier-friendly plane. One would think an Ancient Egyptian setting would provide the kind of strict discipline where Warriors become Soldiers (and guards and stuff). But they went with the exact opposite, for some reason. And for another obscure reason, only Birds make Soldiers around here, and they're not even particularly good at it: Oketra's Attendant is just an overcosted flyer with both cycling and embalm slapped on it, while Companion of the Trials is just Gideon's bird friend from his planeswalker deck.


Sphinx: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 40

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Two rare Sphinges who don't blow the mind but don't disappoint. Glyph Keeper has a fragile butt, but compensates by getting Kira, Great Glass-Spinner ability and embalm, which means it's actually pretty hard to get rid of this thing for good. Curator of Mysteries has cycling and a "cycling matters" ability linked to scry, which is appropriately being given more and more to Sphinx as a tribal keyword (you know, because they're prophetic and stuff). Also, here's what an embalmed Glyph Keeper looks like. (Again, those bandaged wings shouldn't really work anymore).


Warrior: +30

   

   

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 New Tribal Total: 574, online: 557

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Illusion, Jackal, Minotaur, Naga

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Boy, this truly is an enormous influx of new Warriors. It's not every set that a tribe casually gets the same number of new members as Human without being a special focus of the set (like Eldrazi in Battle for Zendikar block or Artificer in Kaladesh).

 Of course, most of these 30 Warriors are filler, but there's some good stuff here, beside some highlights from other tribes, like Neheb, the Worthy for Minotaur and Champion of Rhonas for Jackal (many of which, as noted, are also Warriors).

 The mythic Samut, Voice of Dissent seems the star here. She has four keyword abilities (with flash and haste feeling somewhat redundant), an universal haste effect, and an untapping ability that combines pretty well with her vigilance and someone else's exert. Granted, she's awfully midrange and dies to almost any removal, but she strikes for 6 and impacts the board in more than one way.

 I'm more iffy on the other mythic, Combat Celebrant, mostly because additional combat phases always feel like overkill. Plus, with that toughness, I don't really see him doing this trick more than once, so it's basically one of those red sorceries that does the same, although he becomes better when paired with exert creatures, since he untaps them, allowing them to exert again right away.

 Honored Crop-Captain is more straightforward: just a typical Boros team-booster for alpha strike purposes; she's also a 2-drop with 3 power, so it seems pretty easy to add to aggro builds.

 Finally, we have a couple of exerters with interesting effects. Ahn-Crop Champion may be too high on the curve to be effective, but he certainly helps all other exerters to, you know, get some rest to start exerting again. And Devoted Crop-Mate is a minor exert version of Sun Titan, and recurring stuff directly onto the battlefield for free is always deserving of attention.


Wizard: +6

  

  

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 New Tribal Total: 592, online: 579

 Related Tribes: Bird, Human, Naga

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Wizard gets a number of filler dudes that aren't really on par with any kind of Constructed environment, and then the rare Soul-Scar Mage, whose main ability gives wither to your Lightning Bolts. It's not particularly relevant, but it helps killing Gods and other indestructible stuff. Mostly, though, it's a 1-drop with prowess, so, while he's not Monastery Swiftspear, there's a chance burn decks will give him a chance.


Wurm: +1

 

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 New Tribal Total: 82, online: 78

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I don't know, it's nice that you can't chump block against it and it's nice that you can cycle it away when it shows up too early on (plus, that means it has a built-in ability to become a reanimation target). I think all these elements correctly translate into "nice", but nothing more. It might be more impactful in Pauper, I presume.


Zombie: +14

   

   

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 New Tribal Total: 375, online: 369

 Related Tribes: Bat, Beast, Jackal, Minotaur, Naga

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: White Zombie! (Yeah, like the 1932 Bela Lugosi movie, the very first instance of zombies in film!)

 There had been four previous occurrences of Zombies in white (most notably, Tidehollow Sculler and Stillmoon Cavalier), but all them were also black (although you would be able to cast Stillmoon Cavalier with white mana only). The mummies of Amonkhet mark the first case of monowhite Zombies, and that's probably the most intriguing tribal innovation of the whole set.

 We also get yet another Zombie lord, Lord of the Accursed, but that's pretty bad. Way stronger are the two white quasi-lords, both using Zombie entering the battlefield as trigger (and about that, we must remember every embalmed token is a Zombie), and both being strictly better Grizzly Bears: Binding Mummy taps creatures, opening the field for an alpha strike; Wayward Servant offers an always welcome way to manipulate the players' life totals without actually attacking.

 The big deal for Zombie decks has to be Plague Belcher, though. The loss of life is linked to the more typical event of a Zombie hitting the graveyard, which is inherently easier to be abused in a Zombie build; and you may well consider the Belcher an astounding 5/4 menacer for 3 mana, because you know what you want to do here is dumping those -1/-1 counters on something like Gravecrawler, triggering the Belcher's ability in the process. Good times.

 As a final note, be aware Desiccated Naga and Tattered Mummy are both only found in the Liliana planeswalker deck (as you could easily guess from the former mentioning its mistress in its rule text).

 


SUMMARY

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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS