BOLAS IS COMING – Hour of Devastation Top Picks MTG
Hour of Devastation is Magic: the Gathering’s 75th set, that’s a massive number of cards printed over a life time of a game that has had ups and downs. This time around we are continuing along the Nicol Bolas inspired block, based on Ancient Egypt, that means GODS, EMBALMING (sort of) and a whole mess of fun!
Okay so before we dive in, you’re going to see some new mechanics that you may have never seen before and some returning, but Don’t sweat it because I have you covered.
The Masterpiece Series for the Amonkhet block are called Invocations. These are all premium foil cards with a special Amonkhet card frame and a separate expansion symbol . Amonkhet Invocations are all about the Amonkhet gods, their magic and their servants. They appear slightly more often than premium (FOIL) mythic rares (but are worth more because there is a heap of them. Well, usually worth more…*cough*). These cards are playable in limited and formats where they’re already legal.
That’s right, one of my favourite mechanics has made a TRIUMPHANT return… umm, again! Simply pay the cycling cost on the card, then discard the card and draw a card!
EXERT YOURSELF BEFORE YOU… UHHH WRECK YOURSELF?
Exert is back, and the cost is paid when the creature with Exert attacks… or you know, EXERTS itself… yeah. Exert means that if you Exert the creature, it doesn’t UNTAP on your next turn. Now, if you give vigilance to the creature or if you have a way to untap it, you’re golden and the cost meant nothing to you. That’s pretty exciting news.
EMBALM IS DEAD… SORT OF?
Embalm is gone and instead replaced with a Black version in Eternalize. Eternalize works in ALMOST exactly the same way, except the creature returns as a 4/4 Black Zombie in addition to it’s other types. Yeah, a 4/4. Luckily the Eternalize cost is fairly well costed and totally not broken at all. In fact, its so “fair” that I probably won’t be using it much in any of my modern or standard decks, and probably not much in my Commander decks.
Well, it was nice being able to block stuff and not have a drawback, AMIRITE? Now, Afflict means that when you block, you will lose X life, where X is the value of Afflict. Not a massive issue, but something to be mindful of as it should make your decision to block certain creatures a little harder.
WHY IS HOUR OF DEVASTATION LIKE EDH?
Christ all mighty, have you SEEN the card spoilers? HAVE YOU SEEN THEM, HAVE YOU REALLY SEEN THEM. This set is PACKED with EDH/Commander goodies from a massive demon to a Crucible of Worlds on legs.. Or on tail? Bloody Naga. Anyway, I may be a little racist towards Naga, but below are a few of my personal picks from Hour of Devastation.
NICOL BOLAS (BIG BAD BOLAS)
When Nicol Bolas drops, he stops traffic.
+2 reads “you get free stuff and sort of mill your opponent”, not terrible but I’m probably not going to use that when I can close out a game.
+1 seems fair, too fair to make it any good to use. Though intereating that the +2 and +1 are around the wrong way, is it just me?
-4 ability is just going to swing games the moment he enters play. We are VERY lucky there isn’t a cheaty spell/land in the current format that Nicol can abuse, because we would be royally SCREWED.
-12 MODERN TRON BE ALL LIKE “YO, BITCH! WHAT DID YOU SAY? WHY YOU GOTTA RUN YOUR MOUTH OFF AT ME LIKE THAT.” Or you know, it’s a great ability for Commander Superfriends decks.
I don’t even care of his mana cost, you can bet I will have at least one of this card in my Blue XX control decks to close out the game with.
THE LOCUST GOD
I love Izzet, I think we have established that. I love being able to create a whole stack of tokens and I love to draw a whole mess of cards. Lucky for me, I can have both. In commander, I’m going to be throwing down some fairly dirty combos to flood the board by mass drawing cards through something like Pull From Tomorrow and then making all my creatures a certain type (Wizards seems apt) and finally comboing off with Distant Melody.
When it comes to other formats, I’m sure this will see play in Standard in funky brews, but not in a staple sense.
THE ZOMBIE GOD. Because SCARAB God may be thematic, but LAAAAAME
Funnily enough I was hoping we would get a new Dimir God with this set, and BOY was I not disappointed. This god certainly is DIRTY DIRTY TRICKSIES LITTLE HOBBITSES. Seriously, this will be a massive player in multiple formats, his (?) cost is cheap, his ability is LUDICROUS and ETB triggers are going to be gravy. Exile a Gearhulk, PROFIT. The valuuuuuuuuue!
Razaketh, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.
Usually I would have some sort of BUSTED stupid combo in mind for a big card drawing demon, but Raz has an issue. He HATES friends. The TV show, yeah. He hates Joey’s smug face, and likes to sacrifice Joey and Ross and all of the crew because that’s the ONLY WAY he can find what he is searching for. Solitude.. OH and probably something busted, like you know, Grey Merchant?
Hour of Glory
Okay look, it’s a four cost instant that can kill gods. It’s splashable and most of all, instant. I’m wondering if it is REALLY good enough as I personally think nits one mana too much, but hey, you never know. The best part of this card is the exile effect, very potent against Gods from both sets. The secondary text is just filler for story purposes and really fails to make a big dent. Maybe if you got to search the player’s deck, perhaps this would have beenb an auto in.
Modern loves Lili kill. Sorcery restricts timing, black or Lili makes it fine, but not as godly as Fatal Push is. I rate this deece on the fact that its uncommon. At rare, I would have told you it was trash. This will likely see some sideboard play in standard, and next to no use in Commander.
INSERT HEART EMOJI. Modal cards are always fairly good, Doomsfall lives up to the hype. Just looking at the modes on the card, it can serve two different uses, though it does fall behind it’s single-mode breathren due to the B2 cost of the card. This should see some Standard and commander play, but I doubt it will make any impact outside that.
Torment of Hellfire
HAHAHAHA THIS IS STANDARD LEGAL. No, really. HOW is this Standard legal? surely this is a lateish game KILL. I really want to play some janky-ass Zombies deck in Standard now.
In Commander, this is going to be FEARED, and if I see you tutor for it, you will be number one on my hit list, no your mum jokes. I will make sure you die fast and painful.
COPY BLIGHTSTEEL COLOSSUS, GIVE IT HASTE.
Ramunap Excavator of Worlds
Get it, because its Crucible of Worlds? ha ha… Hilarious. Seriously though, still dies to Lightning Bolt in Modern (LOL), but should see play in Cycling Standard, right? I mean being able to Cycle a land and then play it seems very much like gas to me. Play this in a UG Cycling deck that abuises Drake Haven would be my go to. In commander, this is just a second Crucible, and that’s NEVER a bad thing.
Rhonas’s Last Stand
THIS CARD, I will play four in a heavy green splash X deck, 100%. Always always, this is going to be amazing in standard, right? RIGHT?! Maybe, don’t hype too much. Pretty powerful to get a 5/4 on turn two, or even turn three with a Cartouche of Zeal to it has Haste and an opponent’s creature can’t block, but it leaves those lands “depleted” for a tun. So with great power, comes a great tax on your land.
Unsure we will see this outside of standard as the land taxing is just too great an issue to play it in any other format where you have Tarmagoyf.
EDH HYPE! Too expensive for most other formats other than potentially Standard, Swarm is almost playable. Almost. EDH it will be amazing and terrible to be able to just copy stuff at will with a stupid Dream Halls combo deck. GET IT IN ME. That being said, I want to say again how fairly costed this card is, and that ruins it in almost every format.
Fraying Sanity MILL YOUR FOR EVERYTHING
MY GOD, MAN. I’M A DOCTOR NOT A MILLSTONE! Actually, you ARE a Millstone. Expect stupid sick brews for Frayed Sanity as YouTubers like myself try to break it in such a terrible way, that we turbo mill our opponents on turn five. What, you don’t think we can do it? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Sadly, no Sphinxs tutiledge in Standard, but holy crap is this still a valid weaapon and if I get two on you at once? You’re going to HOSE TOWN.
Look, it’s not terrible. It has scry, and it counters Blue spells. I think we should see this played as a sideboard option against Delver decks in both Modern and Legacy. I think in Vintage? Isn’t that where people play busted stuff like Jace the Mindsculpter? There is a full five “Defeat” cards, and am I the only one wishing there was a one mana colour change card in Standard?
Solemnity AKA INFECT WHAT?
Is turn three good enough to stop Infect in Modern from killing you? Maybe, but most likely this was designed in response to Snake/Ballista decks that we saw early on in Amonkhet Standard. I’m thinking that this will see some play in Modern VS Infect and Devoted Druid and wouldn’t be surprised to see this in ANY DECK that plays White in Commander. It stops so many cards and can be tutored for really easily.
As for standard, it completely shuts down Energy decks, including my beloved UR Tower Control deck. Excuse me, I have to go dry now.
Oketra’s Last Mercy
Sure it locks down your lands for a turn, but in Commander it also resets you back to 40 life. That’s just STUPID! Not sure if we will see this in Standard (even in Second Sun combo decks), and we may see it in Modern as a way to screw over Red Deck Wins/Burn. Actually, if this is tech VS Burn, it would really need to be instant. But I can see this being a great sideboard option.
On a less impressive front, we finally have the graveyard hate THAT WE NEEDED A YEAR AGO, WIZARDS. SERIOUSLY, WE NEEDED IT BACK WHEN DELERIUM WAS A THING AND WE ONLY GET IT NOW. At least this card can sac itself to itself for the ability, or I wouldn’t even have it on my list. This hate is welcomed, but it’s a bit late to the party for my liking. 3/10…
Well, that’s it from me and I hope you enjoyed my take on some of (IMHO) the best cards hitting in Hour of devastation. Pre-release events are on 8th and 9th of July and further information can be found at THE WIZARDS WEBSITE.