The Best and Worst of Journey Into Nyx

The Escapist Staff | 25 Apr 2014 12:00
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Journey Into Nyx is the last set in the Theros block, and is looking to shake things up a bit more than Born of the Gods did with its generally middling power level. It's not all good, though, as some of these cards are downright terrible. Keep reading to see what @encaen and @slycne think deserves your praise and what deserves your scorn.

The Good



Josh says: Godsend is going to be absolutely bonkers in Limited, it'll be fairly amazing in casual play, and it'll even be usable in Constructed. It doesn't go away when the creature dies, and it makes your creature mostly unblockable. Strap it onto a Vigilance dude like Brimaz, King of Oreskos and you're on the express train to value town. No, it won't win you games on its own, but it will sure make your opponent think twice about attacking into your tiniest defender.

Justin says: Wouldn't be a card evaluation piece if there wasn't something we disagreed on. I actually put this in my disappointment category. While Godsend gets some major flavor points for working as both God-send and Gods-end, the rest of the text on the card ultimately boils down to basically unblockable until it matters. It's more Greatsword with some fancy text than it is any of the Sword of blank and blank cycle.

Banishing Light

Justin says: Also known as the "fixed" Oblivion Ring. Oblivion Ring has been a white staple for years now. Its catch-all quality of being able to answer basically anything in play makes it a valuable tool for a wide variety of decks, but due to the specific wording, the card never worked exactly as planned. The trick was to bounce, flicker, or remove Oblivion Ring in response to the first trigger. This would cause the second leaving play ability to happen first, returning nothing since it hasn't removed anything yet, and the original target was then exiled forever. Banishing Light solves this by wrapping it all into one ability, but even without this rules and timing trick Banishing Light will still be an important card going forward. Versatility is king when it comes to Magic cards, the more options you have the more lines of play you can pursue. It's also incredibly important when building a sideboard needs to be considered as it effectively frees up space for additional cards by being universally useful. Premium removal in any limited environment and expect to see Banishing Light out of white based control and aggro decks for the foreseeable future.
Josh says: I like Oblivion Ring, and it's definitely got its mono-whiteness going for it, but I'm still more about the value potential of Detention Sphere for as long as it's available. Banishing Light will undoubtedly see a lot of play, but a "fixed" O-Ring just isn't very exciting to me.

Mana Confluence

Mana Confluence

Josh says: You can't really go wrong with "Add one mana of any color to your mana pool." Birds of Paradise is still one of my all time favorite Magic cards. Sure, Mana Confluence pings you, but so does City of Brass, and that still sees play. As long as people are playing multi-color decks, mana fixing will be essential. It might not be as nice as a 100% checkland/shockland manabase, but it's what we've got.

Justin says: Agree 100%. It's going to find a welcome space in aggressive two and three color decks that care more about consistency and less about the life loss.

Setessan Tactics

Justin says: Green has a little bit of a problem at the moment; it sees very little constructed play. As I broke it down a few weeks ago, there were just as many Dark Betrayal being run as there were Forests. Setessan Tactics is not likely to suddenly turn the tables, but it's still an important piece of the puzzle and another key card for Green's tool box when building their 75. Setessan Tactics has all the makings of a cheap efficient and multifaceted card. It can be used as a heroic enabler, combat trick, alpha strike for lethal and spot or mass removal. Setting up favorable blocks and then casting this will often be an absolute blow out across both limited and constructed. Heck, that problematic match-up with Mono-Blue doesn't seem so bad when your Sylvan Caryatid can punch out Master of Waves.

Josh says: I started really big on this card, and it's definitely got a ton of potential value, but my excitement has faded since I saw it spoiled. The +1/+1 is going to be relevant sometimes, but if you're opponent's playing anything other than little dudes, it's probably not going to be all that relevant. I'd have preferred a slightly bigger buff at a higher mana premium.

Dictate of Erebos

Dictate of Erebos

Josh says: Edicts are hilarious. Sure, you don't want your opponent to have choices, but the fact is that Hexproof critters and Protection from X are legitimate concerns when it comes to removing your opponent's creatures, and sacrifice effects get around them entirely. You can edict away a Progenitus all day long. Dictate of Erebos is a great way to trade up in combat (it has Flash, so you can cast it after blocks are declared ensuring you kill at least as many of their creatures as they do of yours,) and has potential for even more in the right deck. I'm probably going to have to reassemble Zombies with this in mind, because nothing's funnier than Geralf's Messenger and Gravecrawler that force a sacrifice each time they die.

Justin says: I do agree there's some potential to 'build around' with this. Flash makes getting 2-for-1s pretty readily available. Blocking with some 1/1 deathtoucher and flashing this in before damage seems pretty nasty for Theros block limited. The five mana casting cost likely pushes it from most constructed formats besides EDH, were it seems like you could do a lot of fun stuff with it and Grave Pact on the field.

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