The first of two Avacyn Restored planeswalkers was revealed today and it really shows off the similarities between the Innistrad block and the Kamigawa block with the fact that the planeswalker is indeed a moonfolk.
As many of noticed the last mono-blue planeswalker outside of a core set was Jace, the Mind Sculptor and while not nearly as game changing, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage is sure to do some work. Right off the bat it should be noted that Tamiyo is able to protect herself once hitting the field, passing the planeswalker test and the fact that it’s her +1 is pretty sweet too. While she might be a five drop which isn’t nearly as fantastic as a 4 or 3 drop she does enter the battlefield with 4 loyalty keeping her safe from Incinerates and un-metal crafted Galvanic Blasts. While not as fast as Jace she does do several really important things very well. Being able to lock down the board with her +1 is awesome and depending on the board you can draw a handful of cards. While her +1 might not be great against aggro or faster creature based decks you can just throw her down, draw 3 or 4 cards and still have her on the field which for five mana is a pretty sweet deal. While her first 2 abilities are powerful her ultimate is pretty amazing as well. Tamiyo is the perfect planeswalker for a control deck and her ultimate reflects that. Imagine it being late game and just getting her ultimate off and being able to counter everything your opponent throws out there with one Dissipate or killing every creature they have with one Go for the Throat. Everyone of your cards gets so much value. Blue is an incredibly powerful color and Tamiyo is the perfect representation of the color. She is going to be an all-star in most control decks and could even show up as a finisher in decks simply running blue. I doubt she will show up to much outside of Standard though, perhaps occasionally in Modern. All in all she is a great card and I am looking forward to seeing her in action.
Moving onto to other notable blue cards that have been revealed leads me to Arcane Melee. While this probably won’t see too much play due to the simple fact that paying the 5 mana probably isn’t worth the benefit but I am sure that there could be some sweet combos and plays revolving around this at one point or another. Keep an eye on this bad boy.
Tandem Lookout is another blue card which could end up being pretty powerful. This is the first Soulbond creature that has really caught my eye. I could see him ending up in blue aggro decks paired with Delvers, Invisible Stalkers or other flyers serving as that card advantage engine blue aggro decks are always looking for.
The last blue card I want to talk about is actually part of a cycle of multicolored angels including the previously announced Sigarda. The angel I am referring to is the aura oriented Bruna, Light of Alabaster. While Bruna is indeed powerful she feels very comparable to Sovereigns of Lost of Alara but slower and in a Standard environment lacking super powerful auras to abuse. In Type 2 right now at least the only auras worth utilizing are Angelic Destiny and perhaps Call to Kindred (If you are going with an angel tribal theme kind of deal). While she might definitely become more powerful as the rest of the set is revealed or with the release of M13 and the next Ravnica oriented block which is bound to have some enchantments but for right now she is kind of lack luster. She might show up in a couple Modern Bant decks as a back up if there Sovereigns fails but I really doubt she will see too much play at the moment at least outside of EDH where she could make for a pretty freaking sweet general.
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight is the last angel in this multicolored angel cycle, unless they of course have a BW one up their sleeve (I assume not because one of themes of this set is everybody versus black so having more BW cards doesn’t make a ton of sense flavor wise). Gisela is probably my favorite out of three so far simply because she is awesome. While she doesn’t have that untouchable style that Sigarda has she definitely is going to be trickier to kill than Bruna. One of the major downsides of Bruna or even Avacyn is that they don’t do anything once hitting the board and this is where Gisela really shines. Playing those other angels probably won’t let you win the turn they come into play but with Gisela coming into play she could really give you that edge you need. She might see some play in Solar Flare but she is definitely going to be showing up in Frites and perhaps even in ramp decks. Imagine playing one of those latter two decks and having an Inferno Titan in play and then reanimating a Gisela. Your Titan attacks right off the bat hitting your opponent for 6 or wiping out all of their tokens or simply killing an opposing titan and then having the actual titan hit your opponent for 12 before pumps. Not only does she make killing your opponent that much easier but it makes killing you and your team that much harder as well. While she not have the protection Sigarda has, she will most definitely be worth it. She will definitely be seeing play in Standard and possibly in Modern (probably not too much). And of course like all of the other legendary creatures revealed so far she is going to rock in Commander.
Now if you are looking for a card that is hands down going to be showing up in Legacy and Modern as well as Standard look no further because Vexing Devil is your man. Holy shit this card rocks. So worst case scenario you pay the 1 mana for him and your opponent pays the 4 life to kill him. So worst case scenario you are hitting your opponent for 4 life for one mana on turn one. Best case scenario you have a 4/3 turn one. Either way works for me! This is a card that is going to be a 4 of in all top-tier RDWs in all formats for some time to come. He feels like a Keldon Marauders on super soldier serum. While he is obviously going to be a mono red all-star he is definitely powerful enough to make it into UR Delver lists, RG Aggro decks and could very well show up in the Wolf Run decks. Probably Boros too. Really any fast deck using red. In all honesty this card would be ridiculously powerful for 2 mana but instead he is 1. Definitely going to be one of the most powerful cards in the set.
This is another card I am excited about and definitely see it being abused in Modern. Descendants’ Path is a great card just waiting to be abused in some tribal deck and with all of the angels showing up in this set. I think we might all know what are creature type is most likely to be abused here is. They have already announced one (arguably two) 3 drop angels and if any more show up expect to see some legendary angels flying onto the board turn 4 or 5 to accompany their smaller brethren. While angels are the creature type screaming to be cheated in we cant forget that WG Humans is a pretty powerful deck and this is only going to make it more so. While its going to be decent in Standard I am really excited to see the Eldrazi shenanigans with this bad boy in Modern. I can picture UG decks running Nest Invaders (which are also technically Eldrazi), Mutavaults and other Shapeshifters to cheat into play all of those giant Eldrazi we have learned to fear by now.
One last card worth mentioning is the newly announced demon, Harvester of Souls. Harvester is pretty powerful card in the right environment and I think he could be an invaluable source of card advantage in Junk Pod decks and even some zombie builds with the self-sacrificing sub-theme present in Mortar Pods and Fume Spitters.
All in all Avacyn Restored is shaping up to be one of the coolest and most game changing sets we have seen in quite a while. I really feel like the design team wanted to spice things up a bit and with the cards revealed so far it is safe to say they have. It is getting me incredibly excited for the titans to rotate out of standard because this set has really released so many awesome and unique finishers to replace them. For a complete list of the spoiled cards check out MTG Salvation!
One last thing I want to address is that I completely undervalued miracle. Holy crap is Temporal Mastery powerful. Especially in Legacy where you are able to put cards from your hand back on top of your deck. I could see TM or maybe even Brainstorm getting axed in the format simply because the combination of the two is going to be so incredibly powerful. Literally everyone is going to run blue. It is going to be stupid not to. For all of your AVR news tune in to Power Cords!