Tales of the Squire – Chasing Avacyn

As most of you know its spoilers season. Cards are being spoiled once again and everyone is blowing up over Temporal Mastery because “it is just a reprinted Time Walk!” Well if it is a reprint of Time Walk then why are they not in the hundreds of dollars? I do not want to go real in depth about this card because everyone has already done that. People realize than Temporal Mastery will be attempted to be played in Legacy and that is just fine. If it becomes a problem, people will just start dealing with it by playing cards like Thought Scour and Predict.  So far I am not finding any of the other cards to be something I would want to play in Legacy but I definitely think standard is getting some good cards. I just want to talk about some of those cards now so lets do it!


I first want to start with the first non-basic land spoiled: Desolate Lighthouse



This land right now is only valued around $2.50 which means it obviously not a junk card. Now I do not expect this card to go way up in price because none of the utility lands from the new sets ever do.  I do think though that this card is very good.  I feel that people are going to underrate it in constructed play.  Merfolk Looter was a very good card for sometime and still can be, but the problem is that Merfolk Looter was a pesky 1/1 that died to basically everything. I mean Squire could even take that chump down. But Desolate Lighthouse is a land that does exactly what a land is supposed to do, it adds mana. Library of Alexandria is a crazy card in vintage and cube because of the card draw, but I’ve found myself tapping that to cast Jace or a bomb in cube.  Desolate Lighthouse is the type of land that will see play in a Grixis type control deck.  Red cannot deal with a lot of creatures on its own without wasting a bunch of spells.  Blue obviously has very little creature removal so the deck needs black to deal with problem creatures in the form of Black Sun’s Zenith and other spot removal.  A Devil’s Play will kill a Grave Titan, but for a heck of a lot more than a Go for the Throat. Grixis may not be a top deck right this moment but standard changes so much it can easily come back.  Lighthouse gives those decks the ability to filter their draws much better.  I know that while Ryan McKinney was playing Grixis in standard that he was playing Desperate Ravings and while Ravings does get you up a card, why not turn that land into something much better with Lighthouse?  So keep your eyes open for decks playing Desolate Lighthouse and maybe it will even find a spot into one of your builds.


Tamiyo, the Moon Sage is the next card that I want to discuss



I first want to say that I do actually enjoy the flavor of this card.  Tamiyo is clearly something from Kamigawa block but it is just cool how they are incorporating her into this set.  In Innistrad and Dark Ascension the moon is important, there were many werewolves whose form was changed by the moon, Avacyn herself was said to be tied to the moon, and Tamiyo studies that silver Innistrad moon. Just neat in my opinion, but everyone is obviously allowed to their own opinion.  Now I do think Tamiyo is a good planeswalker in addition to being cool flavor-wise.  Tamiyo is simply 5 mana which is perfectly fine for a planeswalker starting at 4 loyalty.  Her +1 ability protects herself and in a very good way, as well. Tapping down a permanent and causing it to stay tapped down for a turn is pretty awesome. Ajani Vengeant had the ability to just keep something tapped down and people played him. Obviously Lightning Helix was pretty good too, though. But Tamiyo can deal with those problem creatures by just not letting them attack you. It also can lock out a color screwed opponent by shutting off that key dual land.  So now I have heard mixed reviews about her middle ability which draws you cards.  I just want to say if there was a blue planeswalker that doesn’t somehow give card advantage they do not deserve to be blue.  Venser is iffy in that aspect, but we will just let him go for now.  Tamiyo draws a card for each tapped creature a player controls.  If your opponent is on the aggro plan and has a couple of tapped dudes, drawing may be the way to go right then and there. Plus if Tamiyo survives for a turn you can possibly even get a second draw off of her.  Think of it this way: you are playing a UG deck and you obviously shoved some number of Birds of Paradise and Llanowar Elves in there because mana acceleration is always good and nothing is better than those two creatures.  So think of this scenario: Turn 1 Land, Birds. Turn 2 Land, Elf, and Strangleroot Geist. Turn 3 Land Tamiyo, attack and then draw 3 with Tamiyo.  Not a bad sequence of turns for a deck.  Especially if your opponent did not lay many threats or have counter mana up.  Obviously this will not always happen but Tamiyo can just bury your opponent in card advantage if protected.  Speaking of card advantage, look at her ultimate! Yes, she needs to survive for at least 4 turns but just image if she does. Your stuff just no longer dies, I mean talk about “undying”. Now I am not 100% sure if this works like I want it to, but I believe you can cast Mana Leak, have it resolve, return to your hand, and then cast it again on the same spell. I’m pretty sure once you have ultimated Tamiyo, assuming your hand isn’t total garbage, you should be winning that game. Tamiyo can easily fit into a blue control deck in the form of UB control to Esper control and even maybe a Grixis control list (see what I did there?)



Tibalt is a 2 mana planeswalker as we can all see, but he just seems meh.  Red has been getting a lot of decent card draw in this block and Tibalt is possibly decent draw.  The problem is he is randomly looting so you could be drawing a land and then losing that 3 drop you really wanted to cast.  His -4 ability can be obviously a maximum of 7 damage, unless the opponent has something fancy going on. Seven damage is always a positive for red decks, but at that point if your opponent has a full grip they either aren’t doing anything or you are in for trouble very soon.  Tibalt’s ultimate is pretty good but I do not see it ever really going off. He needs to survive for 4 turns and if he is, what creatures are you honestly stealing from your opponents to untap? Their creatures can’t do damage to him or are they just forgetting to attack? Tibalt is sitting at a pretty $25 right now and that is mainly because people always buy planeswalkers right away because they want another Jace, the Mind Sculptor situation, but I do not think it will happen.



Now before I said I did not see any cards I wanted to play in Legacy, which does not mean there aren’t cards that will see play in Legacy.  Vexing Devil is one of those cards that will see play. Burn is going to love this stupid guy, maybe even a UR Delver list.  Vexing Devil is the type of creature that sure is going to annoy me. He comes down and if you don’t have an immediate answer to him he will just bash your face in, so you opt to pay 4 life. If you have Swords to Plowshares then your opponent is picking up 4 life which can be a problem as well against burn.  I cannot decide if Vexing Devil is better earlier, later, or fine at either point.  I think if the person has stabilized against the deck then Devil is a lot worse late because you can just block him, but some decks just throw spirit tokens in front of everything. Devil is currently sold out at $15 on SCG so I know he will be seeing play.


One last thing I want to discuss about Avacyn Restored and that is the limited format that will exist. Avacyn is a stand alone set so we will be drafting triple and sealed will be 6 packs of this. This is similar to Rise of Eldrazi, but I hope that Avacyn is not as slow.  Right now it looks to me like this set is very bomb dependent.  There are a lot of good angels in this set and other crazy cards for limited. Revenge of the Hunted is one of those cards that is just going to be super annoying to play against in draft because not only is the miracle cost just insane, its actually quite castable at 6 mana.  So with this set being very bomb heavy, I hope it is not all about that. So far we only have 62 cards spoiled out of the 244 possible cards so there is a possibility for even crazier cards or simply cards that do not do much. I know regardless I will be drafting this set because I just love drafting in general. Just some food for thoughts.


[Avacyn Restored Spoiler Sources: Daily MTGMTG Salvation Avacyn Restored Spoiler]


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