Oath of the Gatewatch Cards to Keep an Eye On

Justin Clouse | 29 Jan 2016 12:00
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Between the fall set and spring set there's a bit of a lull in Magic, particularly towards the back half of the gap. Standard is new, but the card pool is at its smallest - so it often gets explored and settled pretty quickly. The only major event after the Pro-Tour in October is the World Magic Cup, which you have to be interested in team Magic to really enjoy. A quick aside, I actually miss the old format of having Team Constructed being three separate formats. Personally, I don't find Team Unified Standard, where the team as a whole can only have 4 of any card spread across three decks, to be really entertaining. All the interesting choices happen off screen, and we're left watching three handicapped matches.

But I digress. Oath of the Gatewatch released a few weeks back, and over the weekend we got our first look at the new Standard environment - sadly snow storms kept me from traveling to Atlanta Open. With a new Standard environment and a Modern Pro-Tour coming up shortly, I'm looking forward to jumping back on the wagon and having more frequent Hexproof articles again.

Here are some of the Oath of the Gatewatch cards making a splash from the SCG Atlanta Open. Ultimately the tournament was won by an aggressive red deck with only three new Oath of the Gatewatch cards - Reckless Bushwhacker, but that's not uncommon for new formats where everyone is trying new things and lists are not quite optimized yet. That didn't stop a few cards from making a good showing however.

These are all the cards that showed up in the Top 16 as greater than a four-of in a single deck.

Thought-Knot Seer 18

Magic players love comparing new cards to older cards, and Thought-Knot Seer draws a lot of similarities with the cross format all-star Vendilion Clique. On the surface this kind of effect doesn't seem like much, when it's all said and done they are not actually down a card, but the power of disruption can't be overlooked. Games of Magic are often about crafting a plan with the cards in your hand, so stripping out a key piece at the right time can be disastrous. Thought-Knot Seer had a strong presence in many of the ramp-style decks as something they could deploy in the mid-game to either slow the game down or clear the way for their bigger threats.

Reflector Mage 17

Initially, Stormchaser Mage was hogging the spotlight as the brand-new darling uncommon in a UR prowess deck, which was also using Slip Through Space and Expedite from the new set. As the day went on though Reflector Mage continually showed how annoying and backbreaking it could be. One of the reasons it was so popular was that it saw the most play out of the Rally the Ancestors decks, which struggle with Anafenza, the Foremost and the new Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet messing with their graveyard. Reflector Mage gives you some maindeck reprieve against them without watering the deck down with removal.

Matter Reshaper 10

Frankly, there's not a lot to in-depth analysis on why Matter Reshaper was seeing play. It's just a nice little 2-for-1 value, giving a decent body for the cost along with replacing itself when it dies. This can be especially potent when in a deck naturally crafted around its ability like Collected Company. Chances are high you're just putting a free creature or land into play, and worst case you're adding a removal spell or even better a Collected Company into your hand.

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