Jan 30, 2010

The Future of Peasant - Worldwake

I thought I'ld do things differently for a change. Instead of going over each card, I'm presenting you with a top 10 of personally anticipated commons. The first installement of The Future of Peasant(and yes, that means I'm planning to do more in this format) will of course be about Worldwake. While sifting through the spoiler, I shortlisted a whopping 21 commons. Curious which 10 made my list? Read on!

For reference, you can find the full Visual Spoiler here!


A poor man's Harmonize?

HM? Yes, I'm starting with an honorary mention. I do believe Mysteries of the Deep will see play, but there's a reason it's not in my top 10. See, there's another card in Worldwake that makes me just a little bit less excited about this one. Which one? Ah, you'll have to read on to find out! I do think Mysteries is too good not to mention though, so here it is.

The moment this card was spoiled, people were talking about running this in standard. Is it that good? Well, probably not, but time will tell. I do know commons that net you more than 2 cards are few and far between. Of course cards like Distant Melody and Rush of Knowledge can draw more cards, but their requirements are arguably harder to meet than that of Mysteries of the Deep, and they force you to build your deck in a certain way, unlike the new kid. Oh, and did I mention Mysteries is an instant? That's right, with a Terramorphic Expanse in play you don't have to choose between that Counterspell or this.


The new Peel?

I always loved playing with Peel from Reality. While that card hasn't seen much play in the format, Æther Tradewinds might just be the upgrade you want. Since it can target any permanent, and yes, that includes lands, it is much more flexible than Peel ever was. Since every deck plays land, you'll never be stuck with this in your hand. Worst case scenario, you'll return your own Brackwater Elemental and their Forest. Best case? You're saving your Mulldrifter from a removal spell while returning their Valeron Outlander. Which had two Armadillo Cloaks on it... Yes, I do love the possibilities.


Better than Giant Growth?

The first, and only, green card on the list is a fairly bland card at first sight. Thing is, in an aggressive deck, the difference between 3 and 4 is huge! I also love how Groundswell manages to put more oomph into a Giant Growth effect, without sacrificing anything. +2/+2 is all that is needed to save a bear from a Lightning Bolt and you still get to pump the creature that wasn't blocked at instant speed. All in all a lovely card that should see play.


Common at last!

Quicksand has long been a staple in various control decks, whenever it popped up in a set. Originally printed in Visions, is was reprinted in both 9th and 10th. But, here's the catch, we've always known it as an uncommon! Now, we all know the uncommon slot is a precious commodity in peasant magic, and frankly, there are better choices than Quicksand. Come Worldwake, however, you'll be seeing Quicksand in the common slot! What does this mean for peasant? I know there are some decks, like MUC, that have been struggling with creature control. This might be just the card those decks need to fight back aggressive decks. I'm sure we'll this one popping up soon enough!


Look ma, no green!

Ok, this is probably worse than Wayfarer's Bauble, but there's something about Pilgrim's Eye that catches my... well... eye. Unlike the Bauble, this can chumpblock for a turn. In that aspect, the Eye is more alike to Sakura Tribe-Elder. Of course it is more expensive, and the land goes to your hand, but more importantly, it isn't green! I wonder how long it takes before Pilgrim's Eye shows up in someone's Urzatron deck...


Larger than life?

And here's another... not so innovative card. But did you check those numbers? For a long time, the most efficient life gain spell in peasant was Nourish, and it saw play too. 6 life for GG, what a hammer against burn decks! Too bad it was a little mana intensive though, it wasn't really playable outside of monogreen or Sakura Tribe-Elder-heavy decks. Wizards, however, has deemed the time ripe for another kick in red's balls...

For a mere two mana, only one of which is colored, you can now gain a whopping 8 life! That's almost half your starting total! Only catch? You have to play a land first. So, for doing what you'll be wanting to do anyway, you're nullifying the equivalent of nearly three Lightning Bolts. Three!

It may look unexciting, but this little gem will surely end up in sideboards to stem burn and quick aggro decks alike. I mean, what's an aggro deck going to do when you drop this on your second turn, and then follow up with an Aven Riftwatcher?


Index never looked this good!

Back in Apocalypse, there was this card Index. Nobody played it of course, and I doubt anyone remembers it. I have a soft spot for it though, and I still love to play it in this convoluted combo deck I built with Research the Deep and Spellweaver Healix. In general though, cards like Index, that let you rearrange the top of your deck, are not worth the card slot. The main problem is that they don't impact the board, but still cost you a card. Sure, Sage Owl can attack for 1 or chump block, but we all know that doesn't cut it in peasant. Stacking the top of your deck once feels like such a small effect, that you really don't want to spent that card on it! Even dedicated combo decks are better off playing Brainstorm or Ponder.

Halimar Depths changes all that. Instead of tacking the ability onto a precious card, you have a land that does wonders for your decks consistency. Of course it enters the battlefield tapped, so it's not for all decks, but if you find yourself leaving up a useless Island on a regular basis, I beg you, enter the Depths. I feel stacking the top of your deck is worth entering the battlefield tapped.


Deceptively powerful?

Slowly but surely, we're getting to the top of the list. I'm actually on the fence on this one. Will it see play? I don't know... I do know that I want to try it out, desperately! I'm already having visions of swampcycling a Twisted Abomination on turn two and following it up with this on turn three. The list of playable creatures that can survive such a blast is very small indeed!


Can't touch this!

Speaking of that list of creatures that don't die to the Dead Reckoning scenario above; Say hello to Convertible Turtle! I'm predicting this card to be a nightmare for aggro decks for years to come! The high toughness stops nearly every unpumped creature in the format, and shroud protects it from anything except edicts. Maybe the best part though? It's a blue creature that can attack for four!


Remember Incinerate!

Finally, after all the blue love, a red card. But what a beauty it is! How many times have you had to choose between burning away an annoying creature and burning out your opponent? You just know you won't topdeck that last piece of fire if you don't blow up the creature, but if you do, you need to draw two burn spells. Damned if you do, damned if you don't! Well, your days of suffering are finally over. I do think toast is an appropriate description!


Ancestral Recall's illegitimate stepchild?

Ah, but we're not done with the blue love! You all saw this coming right? After all, there is only one card in Worldwake that can put a card as excellent as Mysteries of the Deep to shame. I fully believe this card is the nuts! In a 24-land deck with no stacking power whatsoever, this card will, on average, draw 1.6 cards. That's not a lot, but at least you will always replace your Treasure Hunt with something usefull.

The card really shines in a deck that is built to take advantage of it. Imagine a deck with aforementioned Halimar Depths and Brainstorm. With only four actual spells dedicated to stacking the top of your deck, you'll transform Treasure Hunt into a card that will regularly draw you three or more cards! You can argue what you will, that's a bargain for 2 mana!

For me, there isn't another common in Worldwake brimming with possibilities like Treasure Hunt does. I'm already looking forward to playing this, thinking of ways to abuse it! I'ld say this is a well deserved first place. It seems, looking at the rest of the top 10 as well, blue never looked better!

Well, how was that? I'm sure you missed some cards, and I'm curious whether you agree with my assessments. I know it was very hard to wittle down my shortlist to a top 10, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a few raised eyebrows! Leave a comment if you feel another Worldwake common needs more love!

Until next time,