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By: runeliger, Sebastian Park
May 06 2008 1:39pm
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“If everything goes well, hopefully it won’t be another 3 months before my next article.” –Sebastian… 3 months ago…
*grumbles* It’s been three months… Was my last review that bad?

“Yours was one of the best there were” –JXClaytor. Then why the HELL has it been 3 months!?

“Because you’re out of ideas” –JXClaytor.

Oh yeah. Good point.On the bright side… I got another set review. In red! The color of Kings (In some countries), and the color of fire! What devious awesome spells shall we encounter this time? Let’s find out…


*Day before article is due*

“Oh sorry, I completely forgot. I gave red to jam instead and green to myself” –JXClaytor

… *Sebastian is a sad panda*

“But you can have the rest of set”


So let’s start over. I got a set review! In every color! And every land! The colors of Magic! The artifacts of everything! I welcome you to runeliger’s review week.

Shadowmoor Review  - Red  Hybrid Part 1.

On the menu today will be the hybrid combination Blue/White. Note that all the hybrid color combinations in this set are ally colors. You’ll be seeing more of me over this week.

 But first, the perennial disclaimer:

I’ll be reviewing the set specifically on the basis of playability in standard. I’ll analyze how the cards fit into certain archetypes (and be completely wrong), how they could make for a new crazy archetype (and still be wrong), and how they’re amazing (and how so wrong I’ll be about this too). If you don’t get the disclaimer portion yet, please don’t take my advice. There is definitely a high probability I’m wrong. So anything I get wrong, blame someone else (Please!). But on the off chance I did get something right... it was all me!

I apologize in advance to all of those individuals who want me to evaluate the limited playability. However, trust me when I say it’s for your own good.  I’m not a limited expert, and my limited rating is a measly 1700+ on MODO, therefore I don’t feel qualified to evaluate the limited playability unless I get another twenty drafts with Shadowmoor under my belt.

However, I will say that hybrid mana costs make deck building a LOT easier. Unlike single mana color cards, hybrid mana cards allow you to use two colors to pay for the cost (big surprise right?). Therefore, utilize this function to your advantage to take control of the amazing abilities they offer.

So let’s get started (some 420 words after introducing this article as a Red preview).

Æthertow - 3{wu}
Instant (Common)
Put target attacking or blocking creature on top of its owner's library.
Conspire (As you play this spell, you may tap two untapped creatures you control that share a color with it. When you do, copy it and you may choose a new target for the copy.)
Illus. Warren Mahy

Hm. Removal. Blue got removal! But wait… Does Blue really need removal? At this price, I doubt it. Presently, the major archetypes of blue decks pair Blue with colors like Black (the removal king) and white (which has better removal spells like Condemn. I don’t see this seeing play. Emphasis on that period.

Augury Adept - 1{wu}{wu}
Creature - Kithkin Wizard (Rare)
Whenever Augury Adept deals combat damage to a player, reveal the top card of your library and put that card into your hand. You gain life equal to its converted mana cost.
Moonstones grant limited foresight but unlimited advantages.
Illus. Steve Prescott

Life gain on a creature? A 2/2 for three mana?  If only it had evasion. And 2 more toughness. Oh didn’t depend on the shuffler to determine how much life gain. As it stands it doesn’t do any of those things thus it isn’t very useful in this current metagame.  

Barrenton Cragtreads - 2{wu}{wu}
Creature - Kithkin Scout (Common)
Barrenton Cragtreads can't be blocked by red creatures.

This is an example of clashing between archetype needs. A Kithkin that is anti-red creature on the attack with a 3/3 body would be a decent addition to a Kithkin aggro deck, if it had a 2 CC. Unfortunately, it’s currently an overpriced creature with an irrelevant ability

Curse of Chains - 1{WU}
Enchantment - Aura (Common)
Enchant creature
At the beginning of each upkeep, tap enchanted creature.
The giant's real punishment was the fleeting moment when he was allowed to stand before being dragged down to his knees again.
Illus. Drew Tucker

Leave it to magic to give any excuse to give blue a removal spell.  Anyway, although this removal spell is decently priced, it fails in comparison to many of the better removal spells in the format as of right now, and also suffers problem of being unable to deal with creatures that have relevant tap (and some of those new ones with a relevant untap ability!)

Enchanted Evening - 3{uw}{uw}
Enchantment (Rare)
All permanents are enchantments in addition to their other types.
Illus. Rebecca Guay

First of all, this is masterfully drawn. Unfortunately, its ability isn’t relevant. I’ve heard that some people  (like Evan Erwin) have been pitching around an idea that utilizes this card to abuse persist (some combination of a cheap destroy all enchantment ability combined with a recurring ability). Honestly, I don’t see that strategy ever becoming tier 1. Or Tier 2. Tier 2.5 is a long shot… With that I dismiss this card as unplayable citing its ridiculously high cost, and irrelevant ability. 

Glamer Spinners - 4{wu}
Creature - Faerie Wizard (Uncommon)
When Glamer Spinners comes into play, attach all Auras enchanting target permanent to another permanent with the same controller.
Illus. Jesper Ejsing

This is the type of card I’d love to have in multiplayer. The reason? There’s always that guy in the corner who insists on having a huge protection from removal colors creature with a bunch of buff enchantments. Having him attack with his masterpiece creature and removing all of those enchantments onto my creature makes me smile. Of course, people who play standard know better than to put all your eggs in one basket (so to speak), and Glamer Spinners loses its flare. If some enchantment based archetype comes out, Glamer may see some sideboard play, but outside of that, it doesn’t seem very likely it’ll see play.

Godhead of Awe - {WU}{WU}{WU}{WU}{WU}
Creature - Spirit Avatar (Rare)
Other creatures are 1/1.
"What she saw crawling upon this world repulsed her. Yet she could not tear her gaze away."
-The Seer's Parables

Illus. Mark Zug

Freaking amazing is all I can say. This card is a beating. Making all other creatures 1/1 just screams of a combination. I believe that eventually there will be an archetype that can not only incorporate this Avatar into its strategy, but abuse it to the nth degree. I’m thinking of  a blink archetype, but at this point, I’m unsure as to what exactly. Definitely one of the stronger cards in the set, and a possible sleeper (if it hasn’t already awakened).

Mirrorweave - 2{wu}{wu}
Instant (Rare)
Each other creature becomes a copy of target nonlegendary creature until end of turn.
"Those who are different are untrustworthy, unpredictable. Put your safety in the hands of your own kind."
-Bowen, Barrenton guardcaptain

Illus. Jim Pavelec

I’ve personally been tossing back and forth ideas with my buddies on how to abuse this card, and needless to say it’s VERY powerful. It can be used as an instant fog, an instant death to all creatures, and instant speed lots of things. One idea we threw around was the idea of combining Groundbreaker with this card to have some ridiculous damage go through (or in a worst case scenario, have an instant WoG). I see the most potential of all the UW cards in this Mirrorweave. In fact, I’ll make the bold (and probably incorrect claim) that this will be a relevant card at Pro Tour Hollywood (Editor Note: Note the fact he said relevant. Even Squire is relevant if it exists in the format…). This card officially has runeliger’s stamp of approval!

Mistmeadow Witch - 1{wu}
Creature - Kithkin Wizard (Uncommon)
{2}{W}{U}: Remove target creature from the game. Return that card to play under its owner's control at end of turn.
Illus. Greg Staples

Woot! It’s a Momentary Blink effect! We haven’t seen something like this in… hmm… it hasn’t been that long… Well at least it’s relevant! We can have multiple blinks! As long as we pay 4 mana per blink…. On a 1/1 creature… Yeah… not so good. Don’t misinterpret this. Blink effects are ridiculously powerful (It’ll be a major archetype this new meta I believe), but the mana investment, not to mention the fact it’s a 2 mana 1/1 adds to its uselessness.

Plumeveil - {wu}{wu}{wu}
Creature - Elemental (Uncommon)
Flying, defender
"It was vast, a great sheet of soaring wings, and equally silent. It caught us unawares and blocked our view of the kithkin stronghold."
-Grensch, merrow cutthroat

Illus. Nils Haam

Honestly, I really hated the order in which they did the spoilers. If anyone remembers, Plumeveil was revealed earlier than a lot of the other cards, and made me going “HOLY >.>”, and Blue Mage and Retired Magic Pro Kelvin Hoon laughing at my situation. Then Flame Javelin was spoiled. I felt a lot better… Needless to say, the reason I was disgruntled at this spoiling, was it plays very well into the draw go nature of a blue control deck. It also functions as an amazing blocker, being effectively out of burn range (although luckily for the aggro players like myself Flame Javelin brings it back within range WOOT!). This I believe will see play in a lot of decks, as there’s always plenty of players who think they can play control ;) .

Puresight Merrow - {uw}{uw}
Creature - Merfolk Wizard (Uncommon)
{wu}, {Q}: Look at the top card of your library. You may remove that card from the game.
Illus. Carl Critchlow

No. Next card..

Alright alright, I’ll tell you why… This card is a 2/2 for 2 mana that does absolutely nothing that I care for or anyone else cares for doesn’t belong in Standard. For 2 mana, one could be drawing a card in addition to a 2/2, playing a 3/3 deathtouch creature, a ridiculous 8/9 green dude, and a bunch of other things. Paying a mana to untap a creature to look at the top of your library for the chance to remove a card from the game? Uh…. It’s not an 8/9.

Repel Intruders - 3{wu}
Instant (Uncommon)
Put two 1/1 white Kithkin Soldier creature tokens into play if {W} was spent to play Repel Intruders.
Counter up to one target creature spell if {U} was spent to play Repel Intruders. (If {W}{U} is spent, do both)

Honestly, I saw this and jumped in joy on the inside. I really love cards like this. Back a few seasons ago when Plaxmanta was all the rage, one of the best plays I ever saw was playing it without the extra color requirement. Repel Intruders opens up design space for the future to have cards like Plaxmanta. The careful readers may have noticed I used the word “future”. Although I love the concept, Repel Intruders doesn’t quite cut it, even if you pay both colors, the effects aren’t good enough to warrant play.

Silkbind Faerie - 2{wu}
Creature - Faerie Rogue (Common)
{1}{wu}, {Q}: Tap target creature. ({Q} is the untap symbol.)
"The bigger they are, the more fun it is to watch them fall flat on their faces."
Illus. Matt Cavotta

Matt Cavotta draws such amazing artwork! Look at that beautifu… er, Standard set review. Right. Got it. This card fails. I’m sure anyone can see that a major part of playability in constructed involves the right mana combination for the right amount of ridiculousness (or more than the right amount. Case in point, the majority of the cards classic players play with (Yes this is my customary one shout out to the Classic community in this article. Go Classic!) ). This card doesn’t ability doesn’t suffice the amount of mana it requires. Oh well, it’ll have to live with potential limited play.

Somnomancer - 1{uw}
Creature - Kithkin Wizard (Common)
When Somnomancer comes into play, you may tap target creature.
"Are you tired? You look tired."
Illus. Lars Grant-West

Hm. I’m actually a bit mixed about this one. It’s possible it could see play in Kithkin decks… I mean Somnomancer is such a cool name. Hm…. Naw. Not good enough. The strength of creatures has definitely gone up in recent years, and Somnomancer doesn’t quite cut the cut. Still, awesome name (I actually understand roots, so those who don’t you lose out sorry!)

Steel of the Godhead - 2{wu}
Enchantment - Aura (Common)
Enchant creature
As long as enchanted creature is white, it gets +1/+1 and has lifelink.
As long as enchanted creature is blue, it gets +1/+1 and is unblockable.

Enchantments = negative card advantage = bad. Apply for any enchantment like Steel of the Godhead. Also, why is it that Godhead’s have steel? I mean couldn’t they just stare at you with their freaky eyes and make you a 1/1? Just saying…

Swans of Bryn Argoll - 2{wu}{wu}
Creature - Bird Spirit (Rare)
If a source would deal damage to Swans of Bryn Argoll, prevent that damage. The source's controller draws cards equal to the damage prevented this way.
Any being that harms them quickly learns its lesson.
Illus. Eric Fortune

Honestly, do I even have to talk about how good this card is? There’s at least 9 other writers who have heralded Swans, or Aflac (which is by the way… a TERRIBLE nickname! That’s right Evan! Think of better nicknames please if you’re going to influence magic culture!!) as the second coming of (Reviliark) or better. It has amazing potential, but there are a few flaws that must be compensated for. For instance, Playing him with no counterspells backing him up and no way to win that turn against a burn deck wouldn’t be the best idea in the world. Imagine, an end of turn Incinerate just became a 3 for 1. Very dangerous. Of course, in the right deck, Swans won’t give your opponents a next turn… Swan definitely registers a very high number on the Richter scale of awesomness and is THE card to watch as deck builders attempt to break it in the following weeks leading up to Hollywood.

Thistledown Duo - 2{wu}
Creature - Kithkin Soldier Wizard (Common)
Whenever you play a white spell, Thistledown Duo gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
Whenever you play a blue spell, Thistledown Duo gains flying until end of turn.

Again… NO! Although a Soldier Wizard Kithkin is really cool, its ability is not. It would be better if it only costed one mana… Then again, any 2/2 for 1 mana would be amazing. I suppose that defeats the purpose of that comment. I digress! In practice, this card offers a couple of disadvantages, requiring one to play the spell prior to combat or during combat before damage in order to take advantage of the abilities. Considering we’re talking about white and blue spells, proactiveness isn’t exactly on their to do list.

Thistledown Liege - 1{uw}{uw}{uw}
Creature - Kithkin Knight (Rare)
Other white creatures you control get +1/+1.
Other blue creatures you control get +1/+1.
Illus. Adam Rex

This card is probably the one I have the biggest doubts about. Some have heralded its coming as definitively useful for a UW deck. And who am I to disagree with the potential to pump creatures +2/+2 continuously. However, I am a dissenter to this opinion. The fact of the matter is that in most cases, the creature will only receive a +1/+1 bonus. In addition, the steep mana cost combined with a 1/3 body (versus a 1/4 removal resistant body) adds to its ineffectiveness. I don’t like this card all that much, but I urge anyone who wants to try to prove me wrong to do so. Good luck if you’re trying to prove me wrong with this card though (you’ll have a lot of other opportunities to later)

Thoughtweft Gambit - 4{wu}{wu}
Instant (Uncommon)
Tap all creatures your opponents control and untap all creatures you control.

WAYYYYY TOO EXPENSIVE! I MEAN WAYYYYY TOO EXPENSIVE! tap mana for a global tap/untap effect? Are you kidding me? For six mana you could play Upheaval back in the day! For six mana, you could get off a ridiculous combo! Definitely not worth the cost for this not so powerful effect.

Turn to Mist - 1{wu}
Instant (Common)
Remove target creature from the game. Return that card to play under its owner's control at end of turn.

Blink! Except it has a global application! For anyone who misread Momentary Blink the first time they played it and saw how ridiculous it is to blink opponent creatures, Turn to Mist is very playable. Especially when Time Spiral block rotates out, Turn to Mist will see even more play. As of right now, Turn to Mist lacks the inherent card advantage that Momentary Blink’s flashback provides it, so it will take a backseat this standard season, but expect to see it back in full force very soon.

Worldpurge - 4{wu}{wu}{wu}{wu}
Sorcery (Rare)
Return all permanents to their owners' hands. Each player chooses up to seven cards in his or her hand, then shuffles the rest into his or her library. Empty each player's mana pool.

All I have to say is that I laughed at the last sentence of the oracle text. This is exactly Upheaval minus the brokenness. This won’t see play. The emptying of mana pools makes sure of that. In addition, the eight converted mana cost (with four hybrid symbols) doesn’t help the cause.

Zealous Guardian - {wu}
Creature - Kithkin Soldier (Common)
Parapet watchers patrol the outer edges of the doun, signaling to others who wait patiently in the shadow.
Illus. Steven Belledin

Haha… French Vanilla 1/1! Honestly, I’d hate to be a Zealous Guardian knowing that any random Stalwart could take you out… The blending of flash with Kithkin creatures was a nice touch, but this French vanilla won’t see any play (French vanillas by the way, are creatures that lack any ability text outside keyworded abilities such as Flying, Haste, Flash, etc.)

Honestly, like with any set, there are combinations of good and bad cards within the set. I hope you enjoyed my random humor (and if you didn’t HAHA you’re stuck with me for another week!)

See you guys later (like tomorrow later)

-Sebastian Park

AKA runeliger

Airizel AT Gmail DOT com

PS like the new picture?


by runeliger at Wed, 09/17/2008 - 19:12
runeliger's picture

Time has shown otherwise I suppose

Graphics? by djdark01 at Wed, 05/07/2008 - 18:59
djdark01's picture

Can we get some graphics in part II to spice up your next installment?

by elrogos at Wed, 05/07/2008 - 12:18
elrogos's picture

the meaning was this:

"i know it seems that i speak only about some cards like "net-deckers" do (the most powerful cards in the set or in the format) but, it's not because I'm aiming to build a "net-deck", but simply because the other card choices coming with shadowmoor are bad; so i'm not choosing kitchen finks or the vigilant elf because everybody else chooses them, but simply because there is a giant gap between those two 3cc drops and the other 3cc drops the set brings except, maybe, shield of the oversoul (that is an aura, then bad by itself). So, unless i want to play a super-johnny-casual game, i'm not chosing bad cards just because the good cards are autoincluded in "net decks" "

Sorry i'm not english, maybe something was not clear 

Seriously? by Seriously? (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 05/07/2008 - 02:47
Seriously? (Unregistered)'s picture

cause you already have kitchen finks, imperious perfect, the vigilant 3/4 elf all in the 3cc spot of the deck that can abuse GW). I know this can seem a "net-deck" point of view, but maybe it's just that the overall quality of cards in shadowmoor is not so high

That seems contradictory.

by DarthWingnut at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 23:03
DarthWingnut's picture

That is true, though my disappointment isn't that this is an article that has its focus entirely on constructed, it is that this is a set review in 5 parts for a full half the set that ignores a huge chunk of the readers.  If the writer were to choose to write an article or a series of articles after the main set review was done, that would be completely different, and even though I may not read it, it wouldn't feel like a let down.

Because I listen to everyone! by runeliger at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 23:19
runeliger's picture

Just a few quick things.

First of all, my decision not to talk about Limited is very concise: I know for a fact I'm not a limited expert. I can win a sealed PE on occasion, but I'm not Rich Hoaen. As an advocate of high quality, I would be a hypocrite to assess the strength and weaknesses of Shadowmoor limited with my limited experience (no pun intended). My occasional comments on limited, which some of you may believe to be utter crap, is exactly why I'm not discussing limited.

To the first person's comment, although I have no problem with disagreements, you're plain wrong. Any half-decent player in general understands that a card's power is in its context. Counterbalance is legal in standard, but it's format defining ability only shines in formats that have a certain Sensei's top (IE not Standard). I play Classic (as many people know), as well as extended, vintage, legacy, and block, so I understand that cards in different formats have a different power level.

As to why I didn't talk about Classic, Extended, and PDC, I have 2 clear reasons. #1, there are people on this website who claim (and do a pretty good job backing up the claim) of being experts on Classic and PDC. As for Extended (which I have extensive knowledge on), nobody cares for Extended right now. Myself included!

The problem with Silkbind is that although that it isn't bad in the abstract, in comparison with the major archetypes that could utilize its abilities and cost, it doesn't add up. In an aggressive strategy, it would fail due to its low power-to-mana cost ratio. In a control strategy, attacking with a 1/3 isn't the embodiment of a strong play.

Walkerdog, you're so right... That's exactly why I'm not writing about a limited viewpoint! 

In terms of the Gambit, I concede that it's ability can seem ridiculously awesome, but from my mental magic practice with that card, it doesn't quite function as awesomely as I would like it to. Do go ahead and break it by all means.

Any other comments?

Not great by DarthWingnut at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 20:25
DarthWingnut's picture

For the record, I don't think a review of a set focussed completely on constructed is a very good way to go.  That is both because I, and many others do play more limited than constructed, but also because constructed formats tend to be dominated by net-decks, whereas limited formats actually need a lot more work from the player in evaluating the cards.  That said, for Shadowmoor, UW was stated as the absolutely most powerful, though in most sets for constructed you just don't see that many format defining cards.  Though even for constructed, I don't get why it is the author doesn't like Silkbind Faerie, something that can attack for one flying every turn, and then on the opponents turn untap to tap their biggest attacker, and leave themselves there to be a blocker.

 The upshot is that for the most part the author here has made his review out to be not really worth the read by not looking at all at limited, and since that is half the set that he is reviewing, it really feels like the job of reviewing Shadowmoor hasn't been finished.

by elrogos at Wed, 05/07/2008 - 02:17
elrogos's picture

the gambit, however, can be broken just in ext (if it can be broken...) so from a std point of view not rating it a stellar card is right.

And about the faerie, it's a nice casual card, but you won't see it in any control nor faerie decks, cause it is or too slow or too weak,and we all should remember that decks are made of 60 cards, so when you have better choices for some spots, you are playing them (this is the same reason shield of the oversoul is not a great choice, cause you already have kitchen finks, imperious perfect, the vigilant 3/4 elf all in the 3cc spot of the deck that can abuse GW). I know this can seem a "net-deck" point of view, but maybe it's just that the overall quality of cards in shadowmoor is not so high. Even in casual constructed, if you wanna win or hope to win, you try to use decent card, and most of the cards spoiled here are simply bad.

True, by Dreager_Ex at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 22:55
Dreager_Ex's picture

But you could make the same arguement for articles that focus specifically on limited review. Yes they exist and are actually quite common.

Its not crazy or even inconsiderate to write primarily from a constructed standpoint its Honestly the writer's choice because its his effort he has to put into it.

by elrogos at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 16:30
elrogos's picture

Wow anonymous, do you actually play constructed? the author of this article has already said he writes keeping in mind only standard (not block, nor pdc, nor ext), he has all the freedom to do this and, over all, he has given a PERFECT analysis of the cards he has spoken of.

You watch the cards from a constructed view, and from a competitive one, and the cards here are just junk, as the author said, with the right exceptions (plumeveil, swans etc). Other cards cannot even remotely be a power in the format as you say with the great power red is having with shadowmoor, and the end of UW control decks not hevaily based on bounce (really. blu-white the most powerful what? are you joking? with GW elves, warriors elves, GR manaramp, the amazing allmighty faeries, and only reveillark being UW? do you actually play standard?).

An article based on true playability is for sure better than anything trying to defend crap like auras (and steel of the godhead is a bad aura, while maybe shield of the oversoul, if it can reach its target, is decent) or 1/1 for 3 that gets +3/+3 and trample IF they can attack etc.

BY the way, i just think that the analysis is wrong on thoughtwel gambit, that can easily br broken (it's almost a time stop) with cards like natural affinity.

Rune, I love ya but, by walkerdog at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 14:09
walkerdog's picture

Glamer Spinners - 4{wu}
Creature - Faerie Wizard (Uncommon)
When Glamer Spinners comes into play, attach all Auras enchanting target permanent to another permanent with the same controller.

 He's still a solid limited card, but he doesn't work the way that we'd like.

Wow, very poor by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 05/06/2008 - 14:41
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

I was really looking forward to a review of the power that is Hybrid in the new set, having dipped my toe into it at the release events, and all I can say is Wow, you need to look again at most of those cards, because man, you are dead wrong on almost every case.  Blue-White is the most powerful format, and you have just commented over and over again how these cards "fail".  Yes it is true the set seems more tuned for limited play, but try and understand this you can not judge each set by the power of Tarmogoyf.  At best you gave a bad Standard players view of the cards, you really needed to step back and take an unbiased (non-control player) view at the set from at least two perspectives (standard and limited are  amust for any review) and probably more (PDC in the reviews is very nice, and I expect Hammy will probably have something to say after all reviews are in on what this set does with classic *cough cough* vexing shusher* cough cough* If you had listened to some of the coverage from the GP on the weekend, or gone to a pre-release or a  release event you also might have noticed the absolute dominance of the hybrid auras in the set, to just say they are bad because auras are bad is... well bad.  You say you are the author doing the entire set of hybrid reviews?  All this week?  Great, I'll be back on the site next week.