I'd like to begin this article by thanking all those that attended the pre-release and congratulate those players that finished within the top five; especially David for converting the most Spirits to our cause.
As soon as I'd seen what Dave had opened I knew he was going to win. Pulling three decent mythics (Falkenrath Aristocrat, Havengul Lich and a foil Mikaeus, the Unhallowed) with some good supporting cards was enough to convince me of this fact.
As for myself, I was fortunate enough to reveal a Garruk, Relentless. Every game I was able to both cast and successfully transform him won me that game. The only exception being Robert's Reaper From the Abyss which flew over and ended Garruk's Veil Cursed existence.
Other cards that stood out for me were Increasing Devotion, Lingering Souls, Strangleroot Geist, Tragic Slip and Young Wolf. Token generation, especially 1/1 flying spirits, seemed to be the downfall of most players on the day; provided of course they weren't being savaged by a pack of werewolves which are incredibly powerful in this format.
But enough of these tales of woe from a dark weekends gaming, well, for humans anyway. Now I'd like to look at the impact that some cards from the newest set will have on standard. I think the obvious place to start is with a certain Mr. Markov.
Sorin's immediate impact will be in some form of White/Black token deck similar to its Green wielding counterpart. At four mana, the Lord of Innistrad is reasonably playable and curves nicely for an aggro deck. The only problem with his converted cost is that its 2WB. If you're planning on playing a pure White/Black deck then the mana base may prove unreliable. Four Isolated Chapels, four Evolving Wilds with eight plains and eight swamps could prove problematic.
To counteract this, W/B/G token decks may emerge that can utilise a better mana base. Imagine, if you will:
Turn 1: Razorverge Thicket - Birds of Paradise
Turn 2: Land - Mirran Crusader
Turn 3*: Land - Sorin, Lord of Innistrad then depending on the board situation either create a blocker or pump your crusader with an emblem.
*Alternatively, turn three could be used to cast Hero of Bladehold then drop Sorin on turn four to combine the emblem with the Battlecry mechanic from the Hero.
If your opponent can survive this onslaught then a top of the curve Grave Titan could be used but I think my imagination is running away now.
Sorin's alternate appearance my be in a control deck; either Esper control or Solar Flare. Here Sorin's +1 ability is the most important as is provides, firstly, a steady stream of blockers that also gain you life and, more importantly, time with which to establish a controlling position. Secondly, it builds towards his ultimate which has the potential to end a game by itself.
The second card I'd like to talk about today is a first striking, problem causing Human.
Thalia is a nice little card for white aggro decks to utilise. A 2/1 with First Strike for two mana is pretty good. The fact that she makes other cards more expensive to cast is incredible especially against control decks. Doom Blade and Mana Leak now cost three and Day of Judgement now costs five! Its' a good job she's legendary otherwise she'd be insanely powerful. As it is you'll most likely only need two or three copies of her. Having said that, Thalia will most likely be a sideboard card alongside the equally annoying Grand Abolisher to really leave a control player fuming.
Of course Thalia also makes your own spells more expensive to cast so if you want to cast a planeswalker or Lingering Souls for example, this must be taken into consideration.
Well that's it until next time