Arena Historic Preview Discussion: Momentary Blink
By: Intrepid_Tautog - 12 May 2020
"No more excuses, soldier!" The commander's bark echoed across the courtyard like the chime of a rusty bell. Loud, clear, and utterly grating to the ears.
"But sir, I swear he was right there! I had him in my sights. The shot should've been perfect!"
"Tell me, would a perfect shot have hit only air before bouncing off the watchtower? Cause' that's what I saw. Thought the famed 'Eagle of Hightower' never missed?"
"I never gave myself that name. Your men did. I just do my job. And I'm telling you, that arrow was aimed directly at the intruder's heart. No wind to compensate for. A distance short enough to have thrown a rock at him. I can't have missed. It was as if the intruder knew the arrow was coming and just disappeared."
"Ah, so now the enemy can teleport, can they?! We'd best watch ourselves, or they're apt to surprise us whilst we're asleep! Or even better, on the privy! Wouldn't that be an undignified way to die?"
"Sir, I'm serious. The enemy simply vanished. One second he was there, the next..."
"What is it, soldier? What about the enemy? Spit it out!"
"He's standing right behind you, sir."
Come May 21st, Arena unleashes a new batch of Historic tools for us thirsty brewers. Some, like the Honden cycle from Kamigawa, open the door to whole new archetypes. Others, like the preview card we'll discuss today, fill a different role.is the sort of card that's far more powerful than it appears on the surface. It's strength lies in its versatility. can act as combo enabler, removal-shield, combat trick, form of pseudo-vigilance, or way to abuse enter-the-battlefield effects.
And thanks to Flashback, you get to pick one of those "modes" twice.
Our current Historic card pool offers a tasty selection of targets. Many of these cards are already considered powerhouses in their respective decks, so enabling two-separate instances of "enters the battlefield" pushes things to downright silly degrees. Blink-centric decks are the obvious starting point here.has already shown itself to be potent in conjunction with and . further pushes this agenda, allowing for a mass-blink effect each time it enters play. A single copy of re-buys these powerful (if not game winning) enter-the-battlefield triggers. Twice. What's more, the aforementioned creatures already see play in various Standard W/U Control shells. Could the addition of (along with the newly-previewed ) push this archetype into the realm of Historic?
Additional ETB triggers are nice and all, but what if we just want to end the game on the spot? Well, Sultai Gyruda, allowing you to dig even deeper into your deck and chain together creatures until commences the alpha-strike. Heck, even if you do stall out, the card draw off a single blink could be enough to get you back on track. The deck already runs a full playset of , so the addition of White mana into the mix isn't even that much of a stretch. Thanks to Kagros for clueing me into this interaction!also has combo potential with
Jeskaidecks can also utilize , as each Cavalier benefits. and refill your hand with gas and is happy to removal problematic permanents, or recycle your own into golems, if you're so inclined.
But if it's ultra-greedy, mana-costs-be-damned card advantage we're talking about, well then...
As a parting note, I'll mention that Gruul and Mono-White Heliod make up >25% of the historic metagame at the moment, there will be a lot of large creatures attacking in your direction. If you can block and then blink your creature, no damage will be dealt. Even nicer than re-buying enter-the-battlefield abilities is the added value gained from nullifying an attacker. Just remember one important exception to that rule:can negate an attacker, provided you can block it first. This "combat trick" is by no means the most efficient, but seeing as
Trample totally gets around this trick. A trampling creature will push all damage through to your face if a blocker blinks out of combat. Once a creature leaves and reenters play, it's considered a brand new creature. Any spell that was originally targeting it (Ex.) fails to resolve, even after the creature comes back into play. The same holds true to removing the creature from combat. While this is usually a good thing for chump blockers, in the case of Trample, the blink-target getting removed from combat allows a trampling attacker to smash your face in just fine. Don't let this catch you by surprise!
Well readers, I hope I've convinced you not to overlook this humble little common.may not pack the dramatic punch of previews like or , but it will do serious work in the format.
Thanks for reading!