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CardShark Content - Dave Andrews (5/31/2001)

These days each Magic expansion to come out is peppered with several themes – interesting concepts or mechanics spread across multiple cards. R&D’s latest offering, Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
, is teeming with a number of interesting new themes, such as Disciples and Volvers, as well as some new additions to some existing themes, such as Invasion’s split cards. Rather than examine this new expansion card for card as has been popular among Internet Magic columnists in the past, I’d like to take a look at this set in terms of the various themes it provides.
The Disciples
Necra Disciple
Necra Disciple
Necra DiscipleSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
44
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
G, TAP: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. W, TAP: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.
, Ana Disciple
Ana Disciple
Ana DiscipleSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
73
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
U, TAP: Target creature gains flying until end of turn. B, TAP: Target creature gets -2/-0 until end of turn.
, Raka Disciple
Raka Disciple
Raka DiscipleSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
66
Artist:
Arnie Swekel
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
W, TAP: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn. U, TAP: Target creature gains flying until end of turn.
, Ceta Disciple
Ceta Disciple
Ceta DiscipleSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
19
Artist:
Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
R, TAP: Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn. G, TAP: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
, Dega Disciple
Dega Disciple
Dega DiscipleSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
4
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
B, TAP: Target creature gets -2/-0 until end of turn. R, TAP: Target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.


First on the list of themes to explore is the almost familiar-looking disciple. The Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
disciples are opposing-color versions of the Invasion apprentices. Just like the apprentices, the disciples cost 1 mana each, and have 2 abilities activated by a single mana and tapping, only the disciples’ abilities are activated by opposing-colored mana. For example, the Necra Disciple
Necra Disciple
Necra DiscipleSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
44
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
G, TAP: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. W, TAP: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.
, which costs B to cast, has a G ability and a W ability. The abilities are:

U, T: Target creature gains flying until end of turn.
B, T: Target creature gets –2 / -0 until end of turn.
R, T: Target creature gets +2 / +0 until end of turn.
G, T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
W, T: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to target creature or player this turn.

On average, these abilities are a little bit weaker than the abilities on the apprentices. However, these are still common 1-mana creatures that bring some versatile utility to the table, so they will be played in limited. There really is no use for them in constructed.

The Volvers
Necravolver
Necravolver
NecravolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
46
Artist:
Dave Dorman
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Kicker 1G and/or W If you paid the 1G kicker cost, Necravolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has trample. If you paid the W kicker cost, Necravolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has "Whenever Necravolver deals damage, you gain that much life."
, Anavolver
Anavolver
AnavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
75
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker 1U and/or B. If you paid the 1U kicker cost, Anavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has flying.If you paid the B kicker cost, Anavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has "Pay 3 life: Regenerate Anavolver."
, Rakavolver
Rakavolver
RakavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
68
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Kicker 1W and/or U If you paid the 1W kicker cost, Rakavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has "Whenever Rakavolver deals damage, you gain that much life." If you paid the U kicker cost, Rakavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has flying.
, Cetavolver
Cetavolver
CetavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Kicker 1R and/or G If you paid the 1R kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has first strike. If you paid the G kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has trample.
, and Degavolver
Degavolver
DegavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
6
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Kicker 1B and/or R. If you paid the 1B kicker cost, Degavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has "Pay 3 life: Regenerate Degavolver."If you paid the R kicker cost, Degavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has first strike.


In Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
, each color receives a rare, small-sized creature with the potential to become much larger by paying either or both of the 2 available opposing-color kickers. Because they are creatures with 2 off-colored kickers each, the obvious comparison is to the battlemages from Planeshift.

The Planeshift battlemages are very interesting critters indeed. Un-kicked, they are merely Grey Ogres, which we all know are not very exciting. With kickers paid, though, they gain interesting comes-into-play abilities, but these abilities come at a slightly higher cost than your average comes-into-play ability. For example, A white-kicked Thornscape Battlemage
Thornscape Battlemage
Thornscape BattlemageSet: Planeshift
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
94
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Kicker R and/or W. When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the R kicker cost, Thornscape Battlemage deals 2 damage to target creature or player. When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the W kicker cost, destroy target artifact.
is functionally equivalent to an Uktabi Orangutan
Uktabi Orangutan
Uktabi OrangutanSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ape
Rarity:
U
Number:
260
Artist:
Una Fricker
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Uktabi Orangutan comes into play, destroy target artifact.
, but for 2GW instead of just 2G, and while a red-kicked Thornscape Battlemage
Thornscape Battlemage
Thornscape BattlemageSet: Planeshift
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
94
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Kicker R and/or W. When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the R kicker cost, Thornscape Battlemage deals 2 damage to target creature or player. When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the W kicker cost, destroy target artifact.
costs the same amount of mana as a Flametongue Kavu
Flametongue Kavu
Flametongue KavuSet: Planeshift
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
60
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
4
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Flametongue Kavu comes into play, it deals 4 damage to target creature.
, it is spread across two colors, deals less damage, and results in a smaller creature. However, the battlemages are still sometimes played in constructed because of their versatility. While not as efficient as a Flametongue Kavu
Flametongue Kavu
Flametongue KavuSet: Planeshift
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
60
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
4
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Flametongue Kavu comes into play, it deals 4 damage to target creature.
or an Uktabi Orangutan
Uktabi Orangutan
Uktabi OrangutanSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Ape
Rarity:
U
Number:
260
Artist:
Una Fricker
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Uktabi Orangutan comes into play, destroy target artifact.
, the Thornscape Battlemage
Thornscape Battlemage
Thornscape BattlemageSet: Planeshift
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
U
Number:
94
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Kicker R and/or W. When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the R kicker cost, Thornscape Battlemage deals 2 damage to target creature or player. When Thornscape Battlemage comes into play, if you paid the W kicker cost, destroy target artifact.
gets played because it can serve the function of either or both of those cards.

Compare this versatility with the Volvers from Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
. Rather than destroying enchantments, bouncing creatures, or causing an opponent to discard, the kickers on the Volvers simply cause the Volvers to become beefier critters. The Cetavolver
Cetavolver
CetavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Kicker 1R and/or G If you paid the 1R kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has first strike. If you paid the G kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has trample.
is a 1 / 1 for 1U, a 2 / 2 trampler for 1UG, a 3 / 3 first striker for 2UR, or a 4 / 4 first striking trampler for 2RUG. At 2 mana, the Cetavolver
Cetavolver
CetavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Kicker 1R and/or G If you paid the 1R kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has first strike. If you paid the G kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has trample.
doesn’t match up versus other 2cc creatures, such as Stormscape Familiar
Stormscape Familiar
Stormscape FamiliarSet: Planeshift
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bird
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying. White spells and black spells you play cost 1 less to play.
. The 3 mana version doesn’t match up versus 3cc creatures such as Rishadan Airship
Rishadan Airship
Rishadan AirshipSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Pirate
Rarity:
C
Number:
91
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying Rishadan Airship may block only creatures with flying.
. At 4 mana, you’d probably rather have a Troublesome Spirit
Troublesome Spirit
Troublesome SpiritSet: Prophecy
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
52
Artist:
Adam Rex
Power:
3
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying At the end of your turn, tap all lands you control.
, and at 5 mana spread across multiple colors, the Cetavolver
Cetavolver
CetavolverSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Volver
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Gary Ruddell
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Kicker 1R and/or G If you paid the 1R kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with two +1/+1 counters on it and has first strike. If you paid the G kicker cost, Cetavolver comes into play with a +1/+1 counter on it and has trample.
has to compete with the likes of Shivan Wurm
Shivan Wurm
Shivan WurmSet: Planeshift
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
R
Number:
124
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
7
Toughness:
7
Text:
Trample. When Shivan Wurm comes into play, return a red or green creature you control to its owner's hand.
or Spiritmonger
Spiritmonger
SpiritmongerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
R
Number:
121
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Whenever Spiritmonger deals damage to a creature, put a +1/+1 counter on Spiritmonger. B: Regenerate Spiritmonger. G: Spiritmonger becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
. But the Volvers will be played in constructed formats for their versatility, right? Well, not exactly. For battlemages, versatility meant having creatures that could take care of specific problems as the need arose. For Volvers it’s just a matter of how beefy the creature gets, and there always seems to be a better option.

Limited, however, is another story. You don’t get to pick out four of each of the most efficient creatures in the format to build your deck from. 4 / 4 first striking tramplers are a rare and valuable commodity, even at a cost of 2RUG, so a Volver becomes a nearly automatic inclusion in a deck with the mana to support it, and can even be a strong factor in deciding which colors to play.
The Critter-Diggers
Grave Defiler
Grave Defiler
Grave DefilerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
U
Number:
40
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Grave Defiler comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Zombie cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library. 1B: Regenerate Grave Defiler.
, Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin RingleaderSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
U
Number:
62
Artist:
Mark Romanoski
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Haste (This creature may attack and TAP the turn it comes under your control.) When Goblin Ringleader comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Goblin cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.
, Tidal Courier
Tidal Courier
Tidal CourierSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
U
Number:
31
Artist:
Wayne England
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Tidal Courier comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Merfolk cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library. 3U: Tidal Courier gains flying until end of turn.
, Enlistment Officer
Enlistment Officer
Enlistment OfficerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
9
Artist:
Wayne England
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
First strike. When Enlistment Officer comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Soldier cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.
, Sylvan Messenger
Sylvan Messenger
Sylvan MessengerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
U
Number:
87
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Trample. When Sylvan Messenger comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Elf cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.
, Kavu Howler
Kavu Howler
Kavu HowlerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
79
Artist:
Wayne England
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
When Kavu Howler comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Kavu cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.
, and Brass Herald
Brass Herald
Brass HeraldSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
6
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem
Rarity:
U
Number:
133
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
As Brass Herald comes into play, choose a creature type.When Brass Herald comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all creature cards of the chosen type revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library. Creatures of the chosen type get +1/+1.


Each color in Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
receives an uncommon, small-sized (between 1 / 2 and 2 / 3) creature for 3 generic and 1 colored mana with a comes-into-play ability that allows you to look at the top 4 cards of your library and put any creatures of a specified type found there into your hand. Black digs for zombies, green digs for elves, and so on. Additionally, each creature has a color-flavored creature ability, such as haste for the red critter-digger and first strike for the white critter-digger. There is also the Brass Herald
Brass Herald
Brass HeraldSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
6
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Sub Type:
Golem
Rarity:
U
Number:
133
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
As Brass Herald comes into play, choose a creature type.When Brass Herald comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all creature cards of the chosen type revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library. Creatures of the chosen type get +1/+1.
, a 6cc artifact creature that digs for the creature type of your choice, and the Kavu Howler
Kavu Howler
Kavu HowlerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
79
Artist:
Wayne England
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
When Kavu Howler comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Kavu cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.
, a 4 / 5 kavu critter-digger for 4GG.

If the term “Critter-Digger” sounds a little funny to you, you should know that at first I just planned to call these guys recruiters. However, I was afraid of causing confusion with the Rebel or Mercenary recruiting mechanic of Masques block, causing undue excitement in anyone who hasn’t seen the real deal in a spoiler list yet. Make no mistake, critter-digging is not nearly as strong as rebel recruiting. If you’d like to look at and keep a few of the top cards revealed from your deck for 4 mana, stick to Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction
Fact or FictionSet: Invasion
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
57
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
Reveal the top five cards of your library. An opponent separates those cards into two face-up piles. Put one pile into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
. Skyshroud Poacher
Skyshroud Poacher
Skyshroud PoacherSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Rebel
Rarity:
R
Number:
119
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
3, T: Search your library for an Elf card and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library.
and Seahunter
Seahunter
SeahunterSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mercenary
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
3, T: Search your library for a Merfolk card and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library.
from Nemesis are rarely if ever played in today’s T2 environment, so certainly we wouldn’t want to play with their inferior cousins, Sylvan Messenger
Sylvan Messenger
Sylvan MessengerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
U
Number:
87
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Trample. When Sylvan Messenger comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Elf cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library.
and Tidal Courier
Tidal Courier
Tidal CourierSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
U
Number:
31
Artist:
Wayne England
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Tidal Courier comes into play, reveal the top four cards of your library. Put all Merfolk cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library. 3U: Tidal Courier gains flying until end of turn.
. These might be worthwhile in a draft deck with a decent number of the specified creature type, but that isn’t something I would make a drafting goal.

The Desolation
Desolation
DesolationSet: Visions
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Artist:
George Pratt
Text:
At the end of each turn, each player who tapped a land for mana during that turn sacrifices a land. If a plains is sacrificed in this way, Desolation deals 2 damage to that plains' controller.
Twins
Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
, Desolation Giant
Desolation Giant
Desolation GiantSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
59
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) When Desolation Giant comes into play, destroy all other creatures you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all other creatures instead.


Now this duo is a pair of heavy-hitters sure to make an impact on any Magic game they happen to pop up in. Neither creature can be expected to be a good value without paying the kicker, but with the kicker paid, each becomes a serious asset to the caster. As a 5 / 4 flyer that destroys all lands upon coming into play for 3WWBB, the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
can usually be relied upon to end the game before an opponent builds up the resources to deal with her. The Desolation Giant
Desolation Giant
Desolation GiantSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
59
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) When Desolation Giant comes into play, destroy all other creatures you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all other creatures instead.
is not so certain to be the game-ender himself, but sweeping the board of creatures for 2WWRR and getting the jump on the redeployment race with a 3 / 3 warm body isn’t a bad way to start.

In limited, the Desolation Giant
Desolation Giant
Desolation GiantSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
59
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) When Desolation Giant comes into play, destroy all other creatures you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all other creatures instead.
is an automatic decision in any deck that can support the 2RRWW cost, and is probably reason enough to choose red and white as main colors in your deck. The Angel will probably be played more often than not, but is a little trickier than the Giant, as you want to make sure that playing the Angel puts you in a favorable position to win the race.

In constructed, you will be certain to see some players giving these two a try. You can never be certain on what strategies actually will pan out as the metagame evolves, but I expect the Desolation Giant
Desolation Giant
Desolation GiantSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
59
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) When Desolation Giant comes into play, destroy all other creatures you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all other creatures instead.
to have a much better chance to find a constructed home than the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
. The Angel’s ability is not as well suited to dig you out of a losing situation, and will often require you to at least have managed a state of parity before it is able to be played to your advantage. The Giant is much more capable of turning a losing situation into a winning one, or at least of turning a losing situation into a standoff. Because the Angel is almost strictly a finisher, and there are less risky finishers available that may be more useful during all phases of the game, I don’t expect the Desolation Angel
Desolation Angel
Desolation AngelSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
R
Number:
38
Artist:
Brom
Power:
5
Toughness:
4
Text:
Kicker WW (You may pay an additional WW as you play this spell.) Flying. When Desolation Angel comes into play, destroy all lands you control. If you paid the kicker cost, destroy all lands instead.
to pan out in constructed.

The Mutations
Aether Mutation
Aether Mutation
Aether MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
91
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
, Death Mutation
Death Mutation
Death MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
96
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.


Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
offers us 2 spells continuing in the spirit of Artifact Mutation
Artifact Mutation
Artifact MutationSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Destroy target artifact. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
and Aura Mutation
Aura Mutation
Aura MutationSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
232
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Destroy target enchantment. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
from Invasion. Like their predecessors, Aether Mutation
Aether Mutation
Aether MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
91
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
and Death Mutation
Death Mutation
Death MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
96
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
reward you with a small army of token creatures for picking on your opponent’s permanents. Each spell targets a creature in play; Aether Mutation
Aether Mutation
Aether MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
91
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
bounces the target creature to its owners hand, and Death Mutation
Death Mutation
Death MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
96
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
kills it. Both spells also provide a number of 1 / 1 Saproling
Saproling
SaprolingSet: Phyrexia vs. The Coalition
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Saproling
Rarity:
C
Number:
3
Artist:
Warren Mahy
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
s equal to the casting cost of the target.

Creature removal and armies of little green men are both pretty good in a limited deck, so as you can imagine, these cards are pretty good for limited. However, you don’t want more than 1 Death Mutation
Death Mutation
Death MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
96
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
in a deck, and probably not many Aether Mutation
Aether Mutation
Aether MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
91
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
s either, since neither spell is an instant, and both have high casting costs: Aether Mutation
Aether Mutation
Aether MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
91
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
costs 3GU, and Death Mutation
Death Mutation
Death MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
96
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
costs a whopping 6BG. It is because of these high casting costs and sorcery-status that these spells will not pan out in constructed in any effective manner, although I would expect someone to try Aether Mutation
Aether Mutation
Aether MutationSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
91
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature to its owner's hand. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.
as a token generation method for continuing attempts at an Opposition
Opposition
OppositionSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Todd Lockwood
Text:
Tap an untapped creature you control: Tap target artifact, creature, or land.
deck in Type 2.
Split Cards
Night/Day, Life/Death, Illusion/Reality, Fire/Ice, Order/Chaos

The split card theme from Invasion returns in Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
, but this time the two halves of the card feature spells from opposing colors. Just like in Invasion, no sweeping statements can be made about the playability of the split cards, such as “All the split cards or great!” or “Split cards aren’t playable!” Each split card has its own merits.

Night/Day has the black ability to give a creature –1 / -1 until end of turn or a white ability to give all your creatures +1 / +1 until end of turn. The –1 / -1 can remove annoying creatures like apprentices, disciples, Coastal Drake
Coastal Drake
Coastal DrakeSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
C
Number:
22
Artist:
John Gallagher
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying. 1U, TAP: Return target Kavu to its owner's hand.
, or Tidal Visionary
Tidal Visionary
Tidal VisionarySet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
80
Artist:
Glen Angus
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Target creature becomes the color of your choice until end of turn.
, or be used as a somewhat poor combat trick. The +1 / +1 to all your creatures can serve as a pretty decent combat trick making Night/Day a decent play for limited. It really has no constructed applicability.

Life/Death features a black reanimation abilitity and a green animate land ability. At this time, Death is the only way to put a creature from your graveyard directly into play for only 2 mana in Type 2, making it an obvious choice if you were to attempt to build some type of reanimation deck in Type 2. Reanimation is also a useful ability in limited. The Life half is not so impressive as a sorcery, which makes it incapable of providing surprise blockers, and since it makes only 1 / 1 men out of your lands, it isn’t likely to provide a strong finish in games you wouldn’t have won anyway, even in limited.

Illusion/Reality can serve as artifact destruction from the sideboard of your draft deck if you didn’t grab anything else, but the blue Illusion half that gives a temporary color-change is simply outclassed by other color changing options in the set, and isn’t even a cantrip. All in all, Illusion/Reality is not a very playable split card.

Fire/Ice gives you 2 damage divided as you choose among targets for 1R, making it playable as removal in limited. The Ice ability to tap a permanent will occassionally come in handy, and is even a cantrip, which all adds up to make Fire/Ice a playable card in limited, although not one to get particularly excited about.

Order/Chaos is about as split as they come, with the Chaos half useful in aggressive decks to cause creatures to be unable to block for a turn, and the Order half useful in a more defensive deck, where it can remove an attacking creature from the game. Expect to see Order showing up in most limited decks with a white mana base, even without any red to support the Chaos half. This card shouldn’t see any constructed play, as Chaos has no place in constructed and Order is outclassed by other options.

The Sanctuaries
Necra Sanctuary
Necra Sanctuary
Necra SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
45
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a green or white permanent, target player loses 1 life. If you control a green permanent and a white permanent, that player loses 3 life instead.
, Ana Sanctuary
Ana Sanctuary
Ana SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
74
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue or black permanent, target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. If you control a blue permanent and a black permanent, that creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn instead.
, Raka Sanctuary
Raka Sanctuary
Raka SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
67
Artist:
David Martin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a white or blue permanent, Raka Sanctuary deals 1 damage to target creature. If you control a white permanent and a blue permanent, Raka Sanctuary deals 3 damage to that creature instead.
, Ceta Sanctuary
Ceta Sanctuary
Ceta SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
20
Artist:
Franz Vohwinkel
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a red or green permanent, draw a card, then discard a card from your hand. If you control a red permanent and a green permanent, instead draw two cards, then discard a card from your hand.
, Dega Sanctuary
Dega Sanctuary
Dega SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
5
Artist:
Ben Thompson
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a black or red permanent, you gain 2 life. If you control a black permanent and a red permanent, you gain 4 life instead.


Each color receives a sanctuary, an uncommon enchantment for 2 generic and 1 colored mana that provides a benefit if you control an opposing-color permanent, and an even stronger benefit if you control permanents of both opposing colors. The black sanctuary causes your opponent to lose life, the green makes your creatures bigger, the red deals damage to a target creature, the blue causes you to draw and then discard extra cards, and the white allows you to gain life. The abilities can be pretty useful, but are unfortunately conditional. Of course you receive no benefit if you control no opposing-color permanent, and the benefit is generally too small if you control only permanents of one opposing color. When you get to having permanents of both opposing colors, the benefits from the sanctuaries do start to become valuable, but generally by the time you get around to deploying such a variety of permanents, you should be doing well enough, which makes the rewards of playing a sanctuary not quite worth the times that the sanctuary is useless. A sanctuary may be useful to pull out of your sideboard in a limited matchup where you tend to get involved in stalemate situations with large numbers of creatures, as an Ana Sanctuary
Ana Sanctuary
Ana SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
74
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue or black permanent, target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn. If you control a blue permanent and a black permanent, that creature gets +5/+5 until end of turn instead.
or Raka Sanctuary
Raka Sanctuary
Raka SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
67
Artist:
David Martin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a white or blue permanent, Raka Sanctuary deals 1 damage to target creature. If you control a white permanent and a blue permanent, Raka Sanctuary deals 3 damage to that creature instead.
can help to break that stalemate in your favor. Be careful with the Raka Sanctuary
Raka Sanctuary
Raka SanctuarySet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
67
Artist:
David Martin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a white or blue permanent, Raka Sanctuary deals 1 damage to target creature. If you control a white permanent and a blue permanent, Raka Sanctuary deals 3 damage to that creature instead.
, though, as it is not an optional ability – you must deal damage to a target creature if you control opposing-color permanents, even if that means picking off your own critters.

The Phyrexian Pyknite
Pyknite
PykniteSet: Ice Age
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Pyknite
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Draw a card at the beginning of the upkeep of the turn after Pyknite comes into play.
s
Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian RagerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Phyrexian Rager comes into play, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
, Phyrexian Gargantua
Phyrexian Gargantua
Phyrexian GargantuaSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
U
Number:
48
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Phyrexian Gargantua comes into play, you draw two cards and you lose 2 life.


If you’re not familiar with Pyknite
Pyknite
PykniteSet: Ice Age
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Pyknite
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Edward P. Beard, Jr.
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Draw a card at the beginning of the upkeep of the turn after Pyknite comes into play.
, it was the first cantrip creature, printed in Ice Age, and was a 1 / 1 for 2G that let you draw a card during your next upkeep. In Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
, we have the modern version. Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian RagerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Phyrexian Rager comes into play, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
is a 2 / 2 for 2B that causes you to lose 1 life and draw a card when it comes into play. Phyrexian Garguantua is the Rager times 2: twice the casting cost, twice the power and toughness, twice the life loss, and twice the cards drawn. As a common, the Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian Rager
Phyrexian RagerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Phyrexian Rager comes into play, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.
is certain to make an impact in Invasion-block limited, and the uncommon Gargantua won’t be far behind.

Despite the fact that the Rager is smaller than Invasion’s Kavu Climber
Kavu Climber
Kavu ClimberSet: Invasion
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
C
Number:
192
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Kavu Climber comes into play, draw a card.
and also carries a life-loss drawback with it, it is actually much more useful than the Climber. The Climber comes at 5 mana, which is the casting cost where you want to be casting your bombs, not casting cantrips to help search for them. Not only does the Rager’s lower casting cost place him into a better stage of the game for casting cantrips, but it also makes him a more effective card-drawing combination with Planeshift’s gating creatures. You can expect experienced players to be using this little fellow to scratch out a little card advantage in Invasion-block limited formats from here on out. Oh, and if you happen to pick up a Gargantua for your limited deck, there are definitely worse things you can do for 6 mana than drop 4 / 4 beasties that let you draw 2 extra cards to boot.

The Whirlpool Creatures
Whirlpool Rider
Whirlpool Rider
Whirlpool RiderSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
C
Number:
35
Artist:
Ray Lago
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Whirlpool Rider comes into play, shuffle the cards from your hand into your library, then draw that many cards.
, Whirlpool Warrior
Whirlpool Warrior
Whirlpool WarriorSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Whirlpool Warrior comes into play, shuffle the cards from your hand into your library, then draw that many cards. R, Sacrifice Whirlpool Warrior: Each player shuffles the cards from his or her hand into his or her library, then draws that many cards."
, Whirlpool Drake
Whirlpool Drake
Whirlpool DrakeSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
U
Number:
34
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying. When Whirlpool Drake comes into play, shuffle the cards from your hand into your library, then draw that many cards. When Whirlpool Drake is put into a graveyard from play, shuffle the cards from your hand into your library, then draw that many cards.


Here’s a series of blue creatures with a seemingly interesting comes-into-play ability: shuffle your hand into your deck and draw a new hand of the same size. At the Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
pre-release I had a Whirlpool Drake
Whirlpool Drake
Whirlpool DrakeSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
U
Number:
34
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying. When Whirlpool Drake comes into play, shuffle the cards from your hand into your library, then draw that many cards. When Whirlpool Drake is put into a graveyard from play, shuffle the cards from your hand into your library, then draw that many cards.
, and I figured I’d give him a go. Why not play a 2 / 2 flyer that lets me trade in a depleted hand of chaff for a new hand possibly containing better cards? Well, the final judgement is that he is pretty poor. Over and over again during the tournament, that Drake sat dead in my hand, because I had other cards in hand I didn’t want to lose. If your deck has enough good cards in it, the Whirlpool ability will be much more disruptive to you than the creature will be to your opponent. I don’t recommend playing these guys in any format.

The Bloodfire Brothers
Bloodfire Dwarf
Bloodfire Dwarf
Bloodfire DwarfSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dwarf
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
R, Sacrifice Bloodfire Dwarf: Bloodfire Dwarf deals 1 damage to each creature without flying.
, Bloodfire Kavu
Bloodfire Kavu
Bloodfire KavuSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
58
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
R, Sacrifice Bloodfire Kavu: Bloodfire Kavu deals 2 damage to each creature.
, Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire ColossusSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
[R], Sacrifice Bloodfire Colossus: Bloodfire Colossus deals 6 damage to each creature and each player.
, Bloodfire Infusion
Bloodfire Infusion
Bloodfire InfusionSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
57
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Bloodfire Infusion can enchant only a creature you control. R, Sacrifice enchanted creature: Bloodfire Infusion deals damage equal to the enchanted creature's power to each creature.


In the spirit of Mogg Fanatic
Mogg Fanatic
Mogg FanaticSet: Tempest
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Brom
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Mogg Fanatic: Mogg Fanatic deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
, Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
brings us 3 red creatures with the ability to sacrifice to deal damage to other creatures in play. The Dwarf deals 1 damage to all non-flyers, the Kavu deals 2 to all creatures, and the Colossus deals 6 to all creatures and players. We also get Bloodfire Infusion
Bloodfire Infusion
Bloodfire InfusionSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
57
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
Bloodfire Infusion can enchant only a creature you control. R, Sacrifice enchanted creature: Bloodfire Infusion deals damage equal to the enchanted creature's power to each creature.
, a creature enchantment that allows us to sacrifice the enchanted creature to deal its power to each creature. As Mogg Fanatic
Mogg Fanatic
Mogg FanaticSet: Tempest
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Brom
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Mogg Fanatic: Mogg Fanatic deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
showed, creatures that can also serve as removal can be quite valuable, and these cards can expect to see plenty of use in limited. Their future in constructed is much more shaky. Bloodfire Dwarf
Bloodfire Dwarf
Bloodfire DwarfSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dwarf
Rarity:
C
Number:
56
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
R, Sacrifice Bloodfire Dwarf: Bloodfire Dwarf deals 1 damage to each creature without flying.
almost looks tempting in an aggressive mono-red deck until you compare it with Kris Mage
Kris Mage
Kris MageSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spellshaper
Rarity:
C
Number:
195
Artist:
Matthew D. Wilson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
R, tap, Discard a card from your hand: Kris Mage deals 1 damage to target creature or player.
, and the Bloodfire Kavu
Bloodfire Kavu
Bloodfire KavuSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
58
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
R, Sacrifice Bloodfire Kavu: Bloodfire Kavu deals 2 damage to each creature.
is doomed by his casting cost, as 2RR is too much to spend for a 2 / 2, even if it does have the bloodfire ability. Players attracted to fatties will certainly find the Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire Colossus
Bloodfire ColossusSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Giant
Rarity:
R
Number:
55
Artist:
Greg Staples
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
[R], Sacrifice Bloodfire Colossus: Bloodfire Colossus deals 6 damage to each creature and each player.
attractive as a 6 / 6 with the ability to turn into an Inferno
Inferno
InfernoSet: Fourth Edition
Cost:
7
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Randy Asplund
Text:
Inferno deals 6 damage to all players and all creatures.
, but at 8 mana it isn’t likely to be part of any serious tournament decks. Of course the Infusion will not be played in constructed, as it is strictly inferior to Nemesis’s Rupture
Rupture
RuptureSet: Nemesis
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
97
Artist:
Gao Yan
Text:
Sacrifice a creature. Rupture deals damage equal to that creature's power to each creature without flying and each player.
, which is already not being played in constructed formats.

The Penumbras
Penumbra Bobcat
Penumbra Bobcat
Penumbra BobcatSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat
Rarity:
C
Number:
82
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Penumbra Bobcat is put into a graveyard from play, put a 2/1 black Cat creature token into play.
, Penumbra Kavu
Penumbra Kavu
Penumbra KavuSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
83
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
When Penumbra Kavu is put into a graveyard from play, put a 3/3 black Kavu creature token into play.
, Penumbra Wurm
Penumbra Wurm
Penumbra WurmSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
7
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
R
Number:
84
Artist:
Jeff Easley
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Trample. When Penumbra Wurm is put into a graveyard from play, put a 6/6 black Wurm creature token with trample into play.


Each color got an interesting new creature mechanic from Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
, but green’s Penumbra mechanic has so far proven to be the most impressive to me. The Penumbra creatures come in slightly small for their casting costs, but when a Penumbra creature goes to the graveyard, a black creature token of the same size and type pops up to replace it. At the Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
pre-release my opponent’s Penumbra men were a continual thorn in my side, and when I drafted 2 each of the Bobcat and Kavu to go along with 1 Wurm in a booster draft, they just kept overwhelming my opponent’s defenses. However, I wouldn’t get too excited – there are plenty of bounce effects and other good ways to take care of the Penumbra monsters in Invasion-block limited, but they are definitely solid creatures worth slots in your deck.

As far as constructed goes, I think the Penumbra creatures have potential. They can do neat tricks like blocking a Blastoderm
Blastoderm
BlastodermSet: Nemesis
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Fading 3 (This creature comes into play with three fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you can't, sacrifice it.) Blastoderm can't be the target of spells or abilities.
and leaving a survivor behind to block again or strike back, or replacing a Flametongue Kavu
Flametongue Kavu
Flametongue KavuSet: Planeshift
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kavu
Rarity:
U
Number:
60
Artist:
Pete Venters
Power:
4
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Flametongue Kavu comes into play, it deals 4 damage to target creature.
victim, or forcing the U/W Control player to Wrath twice to clear any critters that snuck past the countermagic. Perhaps a deck can be built using global destruction such as Cataclysm
Cataclysm
CataclysmSet: Exodus
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
3
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Each player chooses from the permanents he or she controls an artifact, a creature, an enchantment, and a land and sacrifices the rest.
or Obliterate
Obliterate
ObliterateSet: Invasion
Cost:
8
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
156
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Obliterate can't be countered.Destroy all artifacts, creatures, and lands. They can't be regenerated.
and the Penumbra creatures, using a similar idea as the recently deceased NetherHaups decks but packing more creatures to be a little more aggressive. As with any prediction about a constructed format, you never know until you test.

The Flagbearers
Standard Bearer
Standard Bearer
Standard BearerSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Flagbearer
Rarity:
C
Number:
18
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
If an opponent plays a spell or ability that could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.
, Coalition Honor Guard
Coalition Honor Guard
Coalition Honor GuardSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Flagbearer
Rarity:
C
Number:
3
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
2
Toughness:
4
Text:
If an opponent plays a spell or ability that could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.
, Coalition Flag
Coalition Flag
Coalition FlagSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
2
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
Coalition Flag can enchant only a creature you control. Enchanted creature's type is Flagbearer. If an opponent plays a spell or ability that could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.


Some years back in my hometown, I played in a league called the Dream League. All the participants submitted their ideas for Magic cards, and myself and a few others weeded out the broken cards and proxied up the ones we thought were interesting, fun, and fair. Everybody drafted a deck from a card pool consisting of homemade cards as well as 4th edition. One of the made-up cards in that league was a creature enchantment for W called Lightning Rod, which stated that any spell that could target the enchanted creature had to target that creature. I remember a silly pencil-drawing of a cartoonish Juggernaut
Juggernaut
JuggernautSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact Creature
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Power:
5
Toughness:
3
Text:
Must attack each turn if possible. Can't be blocked by walls.
cowering in the middle of an open field with a Lightning Rod growing out of his back, storm clouds looming overhead. Apparently, WotC R&D was spying on our little league, as years later the Lightning Rod mechanic showed up in Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
as the Flagbearers.

Each Flagbearer bears the same text: “If an opponent plays a spell or ability that could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.” The Coalition Flag
Coalition Flag
Coalition FlagSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Number:
2
Artist:
Darrell Riche
Text:
Coalition Flag can enchant only a creature you control. Enchanted creature's type is Flagbearer. If an opponent plays a spell or ability that could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.
is the Lightning Rod, making the enchanted creature a Flagbearer for W. These little creatures can be a serious nuisance in a limited environment – the Coalition Honor Guard
Coalition Honor Guard
Coalition Honor GuardSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Flagbearer
Rarity:
C
Number:
3
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Power:
2
Toughness:
4
Text:
If an opponent plays a spell or ability that could target a Flagbearer in play, that player chooses at least one Flagbearer as a target.
in particular. Don’t just think that this means your removal will have to take our opposing flagbearers first, this also hinders a number of other spells and effects, like tappers, Armadillo Cloak
Armadillo Cloak
Armadillo CloakSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
229
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has trample.Whenever enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life.
, and Sleep
Sleep
SleepSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
71
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.
ers Robe. I don’t think that having flagbearers is reason enough to choose to play white in limited all on its own, but if you are playing white, these little nuisances can be a disruptive addition.

Of course, flagbearers bear no relevance to constructed Magic. Unlike previous creature mechanics like rebels that were worth building decks around, a flagbearer deck would require your opponent to cooperate by playing a deck that depends on targetted spells. You just can’t count on your opponents to be so obliging.

Well, I hope these thoughts have helped to get your brains storming on what to do with all of these fancy new Apocalypse
Apocalypse
ApocalypseSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
L. A. Williams
Text:
Remove all permanents from the game. Discard your hand.
cards. It promises to be a pretty exciting set for both limited and constructed formats, so enjoy the ride!


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