Preview season for Magic: The Gathering is always a wonderful time to be a fan. You wake up and every day seems like Christmas. New cards, new mechanics, new rares, and new decks to brew. I would never have fathomed that I would have the opportunity to spoil and preview a card for the MTG community, but here I am, and here I go. I would like to thank PureMTGO for giving me the absolute honor of previewing the very playable card, and of course I would like to thank Wizards of the Coast for creating this fantastic game. Thank you. Now, on to the card!
Drink it in! Watchers of the Dead is finally an answer to all the graveyard recursion that’s plagued the standard for the past 4 sets. Decks that require Delirium, decks that use Torrential Gearhulk, and decks from this set leaning on Embalm and Aftermath strategies, prepare to have your options severely limited. While this is no Tormod's Crypt, it is a 2/2 body that is now the only card in all Standard that can severely limit graveyard based strategies with a simple, free, activated ability. The biggest place Watchers of the Dead will be in Standard is squarely in the home of various sideboards as they battle it out against Delirium, an effect that needs at least four different card types in the graveyard to turn on, Embalm, an effect that makes creature recursion a thing, and heavy control matchups that need diverse options in a graveyard for a tempo based swings.
Limited will see this card come to fruition as well. With Embalm and Aftermath, we’re sure to see our opponent have a plethora of choices to pick from that we need thinning. One positive thing from the change of a normal artifact to creature, is that it now can be a solid 2/2 for two in ground based strategies when you need that last creature. So while the ability for Watchers of the Dead may not be completely gruesome in limited, the 2/2 body it offers gives it the viability to at least not be a dead card to choose from.
Commander players will be quick to see that it says “each opponent”, and here is where the flavor truly lies. There are so many Commanders out there that play with graveyard interaction and so many tribal commander decks that rely on a stable and healthy graveyard. When you limit all other players graveyards with Watcher of the Dead, prepare to be the next target on their list in a multiplayer setting. I’m sure the zombie tribal player will just love you for this.
This card answers various strategies of current Standard matchups yet doesn’t overpower them, and I appreciate how balanced it is.While not Modern viable, it will see a ton of sideboard and Commander play, and there’s always room for that. Watchers of the Dead is great, and I can’t wait to pull it out of a pack at the pre-release!