Top 10 Gatecrash Cards

 . . . for casual and multiplayer use! Everybody like the new cards, right? Well today, I’ve pulled out ten cards that I think are really going to blow the pants off casual players and multiplayer boards across Magic World. I even grabbed three cards with honorable mentions for you to start us off on the right track of Magicdom.

Are you ready to look at the cards? It’s new-set time, so I suspect you are champing at the metaphorical bit to see more evaluations on the new cards. NEW CARS NEW CARDS NEW CARDS! So, let’s just head into the meat of the article, shall we?

Honorable Mention 1 – Wight of Precinct Six

Later in the game, this is a 2-drop that can blast people for a lot of damage, but it sucks early, when its 2-mana cost would be a nice advantage. Because of that tension, it’s not a Top 10 card, but for your decks, it’s a strong adjunct to similar cards, such as Mortivore. Don’t ignore the ability to play a strong creature in a multiplayer game for little mana down. Of course, the smaller the game, the worse this becomes. It’s largely chaff in a duel outside of a very specific deck concept.

Wight of Precinct Six
High Priest of Penance
Obzedat, Ghost Council

Honorable Mention 2 – High Priest of Penance

One of the reasons I like Mogg Maniac, Loyal Sentry, and Typhoid Rats is that they punish someone for attacking on the ground. Some threaten the creature while others threaten the player. But I’ve never seen a card that threatens the best permanent the player has with destruction, and that’s what the High Priest does. It should keep back a lot of attackers in order to keep other plsyers’ stuff from blowing up. Plus, don’t ignore the ability to scare someone brandishing a Magmaquake or Pestilence.

Honorable Mention 3 – Obzedat, Ghost Council

A 5/5 ground creature for 5 mana in multiplayer is not hot, but adequate. In a casual duel, it’s a bit stronger. Draining one player for 2 life is strong in duels, but it’s weaker in multiplayer because you begin with a lot more life totals to take out. If that’s all it did, it would not make this list since it is weaker in multiplayer than in duels by far, right? Right? Well, there’s one thing this guy can do very well in multiplayer, and that’s the flicker at the end of your turn to pop back into play on your next turn. Not only do you net another 2 life every time you repeat this, but there is another powerful bonus: It avoids sorcery removal. That means it avoids opposing sweeping removal, and that’s a very powerful bonus. Now it ranks as honorable mention because not only can you drain a lot of life over a few turns, but you can also keep on trucking despite sorcery attempts to take it out.

10 – Prime Speaker Zegana

Who doesn’t like drawing cards? That right: Nobody dislikes it. It’s awesome! Drawing cards with this gal is nice, but it does require a creature out of some size so it doesn’t suck. If you have just a Grizzly Bears, it draws you three cards and is a 3/3 creature. If you have a Hill Giant, it’s a 4/4 and yields four cards, and that’s amazing for 6 mana. Anything bigger in play, and this thing becomes crazy-good. What keeps it down is the simple fact that it sucks by itself. It’s a horrible post-Wrath play or play onto a naked board or alongside great utility creatures such as Birds of Paradise and Noble Hierarch. Even played next to a Merfolk Looter, it’s just two cards and a 2/2 for 6 mana—not very good at all. However, of the ten legendary leaders of the guilds, this is the best one to build a Commander deck around.

Prime Speaker Zegana
Urban Evolution

9 – Urban Evolution

This card is so good that I tried hard to bump it up the list, but at the end, I couldn’t justify it. Combining a Concentrate with an Explore is massively powerful. Assuming you draw a land (likely), you can play it immediately and keep on going. The double-dip is nasty-good, and this is the sort of utility card that will never go out of style. The majority of decks that are playing green and blue will benefit from adding Urban Evolution to the conversation. It is a staggeringly good foundation card to build combo or control around.

8 – AEtherize

AEtherize is the highest-charting uncommon. Why am I so keen on it in multiplayer or casual? One of the best bounce spells ever printed for multiplayer is Evacuation. It is a great reset-ish button for emergencies. When you are all-out attacked, you can bounce everything and force the attacking player to spend a few turns replaying stuff. But it obviously has disadvantages. First, it bounces all of your stuff when you don’t want that. Second, other players can reuse enters-the-battlefield (ETB) triggers on their creatures. Third, it can make other players mad that they had to bounce and replay their things, too. But none of this is true with AEtherize. It just punishes the person who attacks you, and it does so for 1 mana less in cost. It helps in about ninety percent of the situations when you want to cast Evacuation, costs a mana less, and only does precisely what you want it to do, no more or less. This is a great card to unload on your foe.

7 – Mystic Genesis

This is the highest-charting Simic card (and second-highest-charting instant). I am really enamored with this guy. As you know, I don’t like counterspells too much in multiplayer. I love stuff like Draining Whelk, though. This guy nets you a counter and the potential for a ton of creatures for the counter. Even if all you do is counter a 1-mana spell, you spent an extra mana for a better version of Summoner's Bane (better because it counters all spells and not just creature spells). Its worst case scenario (barring the unusual chance of a 0-cost spell) is still pretty good. Anything better quickly scales from being really strong to being off-the-charts amazing. Remember that the average casting cost of spells in multiplayer is higher than that in duels; you have an amazing spell.

Mystic Genesis
Immortal Servitude
Hellkite Tyrant

6 – Immortal Servitude

Do you want a flexible X spell to bring back good stuff? (By the way, is there a large number of X spells recently, or is it just me?) You can carve this recursion spell to fit the situation. Now, if it returned each creature card with X or less to the battlefield, it would be the top card in the set. However, bringing back multiple creatures of the casting cost without giving your opponent anything is powerful on its own. Imagine you put 4 into it and recur a Solemn Simulacrum, Nekrataal, and Crypt Ghast. Wasn’t that worth it? What if you retrieve a Duplicant, Yosei, the Morning Star, and Angelic Skirmisher? If you can return more creatures, you have something truly devastating and remarkable.

All right; now, what five cards made the top of today’s list?

5 – Hellkite Tyrant

Don’t underestimate a Dragon that both steals artifacts from your enemies and wins you the game once it has enough stuff. Not only does it have flample (flying plus trample), but if it does even 1 li’l bitty trample damage to a foe, you get all of his cool mechanical stuff. That’s a permanent steal because this guy is so greedy he’s not giving anything back. Then, you can win when you have twenty shinies. Frankly, all Dragons have an issue with materialism, and they need a serious workshop on the values of sharing. This one in particular is so greedy that you’ll destroy all other opponents instantly with a successful roll on the Dragon Greed Chart (found on page 51). Do not combine with Mycosynth Lattice after dark.

4 – Aurelia's Fury

I love versatility, and this is quite versatile. After they made a pretty weak mythic X-damage spell (Comet Storm), it appears they are trying everything they can to make the next mythic X-damage spell actually worth the red price tag. It has everything an X spell needs to be great. Can it be played instantly? Check. Can it spread the damage to other targets? Check. That right there is a major X spell. Simply printing Rolling Thunder as an instant would be in the running for the best X-damage spell of all time. Making this red and white and then adding the ability to tap creatures or Silence players is nasty. The added versatility makes this the single best X-damage spell ever printed if you are playing red and white. That white caveat reduces it from the number-one or –two spot down to the number-four spot. That’s a nice place to wind up for a card this useful.

Aurelia's Fury
Merciless Eviction

3 – Merciless Eviction

Now we are in the top three. Just one Boros card charted, several Orzhov and Simic cards are here, but no Dimir or Gruul card was good enough to make the chart—sorry.

This is the highest-charting spell, and indeed guild-affiliated card, in the list. Today, a sweeping removal spell needs to offer something special to be recommended. With so many sweeping removal variants through the years, each deck can choose the best ones for it and its metagame—Hallowed Burial, Akroma's Vengeance, Life's Finale, Hour of Reckoning, and so forth. A card really has to do something special to make the list, and this one does in spades. This spell will exile all permanents of one choice (other than lands)—creatures, enchantments, artifacts, or planeswalkers. Whichever one you want the most, you smash. And since it exiles them, it removes any chance of shenanigans. (What this card really needed was to have a switch for nonbasic lands as well to clean out all of the virtually untouchable nonbasic lands that are problems at the multiplayer table.)This card has obvious and powerful uses. If it were hybrid W/B, it would chart at number one, but as it is, it requires the Orzhov to rock. Consider this strongly in any deck that meets those requirements.

2 – Gideon, Champion of Justice

Planeswalkers are fine cards for multiplayer, but they tend to be a little weaker than in duels as a mechanic, and as such, they aren’t always on the top of my lists. That is not the case with this amazing ’walker, who immediately becomes among the best options for multiplayer. First of all, the likelihood of adding a lot of counters from the first ability is quite high. It’s not guaranteed, but it will happen enough that Gideon will be played, use first ability, setting up an ultimate ability on the next turn. Get used to it. It’s not likely, but it will happen. Plus, his second ability rocks alongside sweeping removal. Were you about to slay Gideon with your Planar Cleansing? Don’t be afraid, just turn him into an indestructible creature for no loyalty loss, sweep the board, and then why not swing while you’re at it? This is a very strong Gideon.

Gideon, Champion of Justice
Luminate Primordial
Diluvian Primordial

1 – The Primordials

These five creatures each have a great combination of size and ability. Each one has a backbreaking ETB ability that swings the board to your position. Whether you are stealing creatures, animating them, or destroying permanents and fetching Forests, this powerful cycle will have an immediate impact on multiplayer games everywhere. This cycle seems clearly designed for multiplayer, and they will blow down the house with increasing numbers at the table. Man, I want to build a multiplayer deck called Primordial Soup so badly! Anyway, these guys are the obvious Timmies of power and strength, and they are going to be hot for a lot of formats (such as Type 4). Find them now!

Sepulchral Primordial
Molten Primordial
Sylvan Primordial

I hope you enjoyed a look at my choices for the Top 10 cards from Gatecrash going forward. These are the hits that will endure. Let me know what you thought in the responses.

See you next week,
Abe Sargent