After getting to play a few of the new cards in this past weekend's Journey Into Nyx pre-release (in which I sucked, again. This block hasn't been kind to me), and with the set coming out on Friday, I figured I'd opine on the 12 cards that I'm most excited about from the new set.
The previous set, Born of the Gods, was fairly 'blah'. Journey Into Nyx seems to have more cards that really stand out and get my creative juices flowing . There isn't too much that is screaming 'Brew Around Me!' just yet, but there is potential.
#12 - Chariot of Victory
This piece of equipment looks rather innocuous, and doesn't boost power or toughness, but I could see putting this into many different decks. The combination of those three tasty keywords, and just 1 mana to equip?
Any equipment with haste will always get a look-see, and adding first strike and trample turns any creature into a mini-Akroma.
The chariot likely works best on high-power/low-toughness creatures, but is a great casual card for any player.
#11 - Dictate of Heliod
The guy who won our pre-release had this bad boy in his deck, along with the two rare hydras, and just destroyed everybody in his path. +2/+2 is just such a massive boost, turning those dorky 1/1s into actual threats, and being able to play it as an instant-speed combat trick can be backbreaking. I could see putting this into my token-based decks, or even my Angels EDH deck.
#10 - Nyx-Fleece Ram
Another gorgeous Terese Nielsen art (as was the last card), this little guy is a great defensive creature that will help against very aggressive decks. Gaining a life every upkeep makes this playable, and the cuteness factor cannot be denied.
#9 - Nyx Weaver
I love utilizing the graveyard, and have two decks that this spider will slide nicely into. Besides being a good roadblock, the ability to 'Regrowth' any card is pretty potent.
#8 - Tethmos High Priest
Recursion on a creature? That is always tantalizing. Turning any bestow or pump spell into a reanimate is serious business, even if it is just weenies you are getting out of the BBQ.
My UW Heroic deck will want at least one of these, given that almost every other creature is 2 mana or less.
#7 - Doomwake Giant
The one potential 'build around me' card is Doomwake Giant. Shrinking your opponents creatures with every enchantment can add up quickly and help win combats. The 4/6 body is beefy, and I could see myself rebuilding my clunky BW Enchantment deck around this.
#6 - Fleetfeather Cockatrice
The most beautiful card in the set, by far... the use of blue and green really evokes the colour-pie feel of the card, and it really stands out from most illustrations.
This card is one of my wife's favourites, and I'm sure my she will use this against me in nefarious ways.
#5 - Hydra Broodmaster
Mmm... Who is up for Hydra Omelettes?
Another card in our pre-release winner's pool, this Hydra is serious BEEF. A 7/7 for six mana is pretty typical for green, but if you untap and play another land, you get Three 3/3 hydras, and this thing becomes a 10/10. That's not bloody fair!
This is one of those 'must deal with right away' dudes that brings so much value for your investment.
#4 - Dictate of Erebos
Another awesome illustration! Here, we have an instant-speed Grave Pact that doesn't hurt your teammates. In our 2-on-2 environment, this is a much better card than Grave Pact. Block with your weeny 1/1s and then them all into removal spells.
#3 - Keranos, God of StormsThis card is pure value, and is an amazing card for UR control decks. Even if he never becomes a creature, you will storm over your opponent(s) with the constant advantage you get each turn.
Really, drawing a card or dealing 3 damage each upkeep will add up quickly, and we know indestructible enchantments are not easy to remove in casual environments. This is probably the easiest god to play, simply because it requires no other upkeep or investment, and devotion really doesn't matter too much.
#2 - Sigiled Starfish
♫ Oh, the fabulous Scryfish ♫
I had this in my crappy pre-release pool, and this little sea creature was the only reason I managed to not get completely stomped.
3 toughness makes this a pretty decent defender, and getting to scry every turn, for multiple turns, leads to some much-needed card filtering and selection. This card is easy to overlook, but can be deceptively powerful if left unchecked.
#1 - Athreos, God of Passage
As an Orzhov mage, I was obliged to pre-order and pay over $20 to get myself one of these. Being an Orzhov mage isn't cheap, after all :(
There is usually one card in every set that makes me jump up and down like a little girl, and this one was it!
Like Keranos, Athreos requires little upkeep after you cast it. Even if it never becomes a creature, you are going to get some value from Athreos as the game goes on. Either I get my dead creature back, or you take 3 to the dome.
The low mana cost is what will likely push this into Standard, as the BW-based beater decks can flush him out early, and then build from there.
The only downside is that decks with lifegain can easily take 3 life to not give you your creature back, and it doesn't give you as much 'free' value as Keranos will. Still, this is the card I'm most excited to own and play with. Better be prepared to pay the ferryman.
So, what cards are you looking forward to getting?