Early Standouts from Hour of Devastation

Stu Somers
June 23, 2017
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It feels like I keep missing all sorts of important things to write about with my schedule. Last week I had both a PPTQ and RPTQ and then immediately afterwards was Announcement Week. Fortunately, this week we have Hours of Devastation preview cards. I am going to go over four cards that I think will become staples of everyone’s collections, whether that is the casual EDH fan or the hardcore tournament grinder.

 

Solemnity is the kind of card that is going to combo with cards that no will ever imagine. It completely shuts down Atraxa EDH decks, makes Cumulative Upkeep costs nonexistent and neuters many of Modern best cards. Let’s take a look, format by format, at how absurd this card is. In Standard, it basically stops the BG decks from functioning. Winding Constrictor, Walking Ballista, Rishkar, and many more all cannot receive or give counters. It also combos with Thing in the Ice to instantly give you a giant creature and upheaval for 2 mana. In Modern it stops Infect and the Devoted Druid combo. Sunburst cards enter with 0 counters and Aether Vial cannot add any more. Legacy the obvious spot is in Lands with Glacial Chasm ensuring you never take damage again and Dark Depths giving you a 20/20 without needing Thespian Stage. In Vintage with all the tutors I could see a new fast combo deck around Dark Depths forming along with it doing various hateful things to the Workshop decks running around that need counters. In EDH, it stops some of the better Commanders that are based on counters while on the flipside being something that will be fantastic to tutor for in various enchantment based decks.  I think of all the cards, this has the best chance of being like Collective Brutality with foils starting low and then spiking.

 

There are very few cards that let you play lands from your graveyard and they tend to be among the best ever made, so Ramunap Excavator has that going for it. Just looking at Standard you have both Evolving Wilds and the new cycling lands to abuse. This is going to be very powerful for various Green midrange decks. Using something like Grapple with the Past or Vessel of Nacency to get lands into the graveyard means you are free to take the powerful spells and not have to worry about taking the lands to make your curve relevant in the mid to late game. Modern is another home for this card in decks that want to attack manabases with Tectonic Edge and Ghost Quarter. It could even be a sideboard option for Tron decks that want to protect themselves from said attack. That is not even looking at the obvious abuses with Fetchlands. It is a Green creature so all the various tutors can dig this card up rather reliably, which thinking about it means that we will see a lot of this card in EDH as well.

 

Abrade is one of those cards that feels very simple, but in reality, it is very complex in an elegant kind of way. This is one of those perfect cards that help battle various control decks. The current builds of control have cards like Dynavolt Tower and Torrential Gearhulk that are artifacts and then they have creatures like Rogue Refiner that can get cheap chip damage in. Abrade lets you answer all of these problems at once. This kind of cheap flexibility will also be amazing in older formats. In Modern, this will be able to dominate the 2 finalists from the recent GP in Las Vegas. Affinity has targets for both sides, whether you are dealing 3 to a Signal Pest or Steel Overseer or taking out a Cranial Plating or giant Master of Etherium you will not run out of targets. Against the Hatebears, you can destroy their tempo engine in Aether Vial or use the 3 damage to start picking off their creatures. The flexibility of this cards makes me think this card will have the biggest impact out of any of the cards from the new set, and we are only 30% of the way through the spoiler at this point. The potential of this card is just that great!

 

The last card I want to go over is The Scorpion God. This card could really get out of hand quickly in control decks. Being able to single handily clear the board and refill you hand is something I would not ignore. Being a 6/5 means that it will finish the game by itself quickly or slow down an opponent’s army. It will return to your hand when it dies to be used later when the coast is clear again for it. The activated ability is the real draw to this card, no pun intended. Remember, this card is not just giving -1/-1 until the end of the turn, it is giving the creatures permanent counters. While you will not get a counter for shrinking a card like Walking Ballista, I think keep that counter under control at net of +1 mana is a deal most players will take. This might end being more of a sideboard card that gets brought in, but I can see it being powerful enough to start in the main and then be adjusted depending on the metagame.

 

Thanks for reading again this week. Hour of Devastation is shaping to be a set that has a lot of impact across multiple formats. This is the first set with R&Ds new approach to building new Standard formats and I am excited to see where this leads. In two weeks, I will discuss some simple tips to make you better at building sealed pools for prereleases.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

-Stu Somers

@Ssomers55 on Twitter

 

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