This article is part of the Rise of the Eldrazi Alliance. Wizards of the Coast is working with Good Gamery, among other fan web sites, to help drum up excitement for the upcoming set. Take a look at the humorous and/or strategic content generated so far, and stay tuned for more new ROE-related articles and ‘chops!
The rest of the staff has done a great job at the difficult task of attempting to evaluate the six preview cards in a vacuum. Of course, the true test of their utility, especially in limited, will be how they perform in the context of the rest of the set. To that end, we’re here to take a look at how Rise of the Eldrazi might play out, based entirely on these 6 cards.
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Above all else, the format will be extremely slow for a myriad of reasons. There are also some color pie and balance issues, and finally some unorthodox choices that may upset the casual and collector markets.
First and foremost, it seems the average spell will cost 5.3333333333… mana. You’ll often have to keep hands with no action for the first several turns, and it will be very difficult to cast multiple spells in one turn. This will make ROE’s 41.5 spells similar to Prey’s Vengeance that can gain tempo very important. This dynamic will also mean you want to value highly the set’s 41.5 or so cards like Corpsehatch that create tokens which can be sacrificed for additional mana.
Just as important, though, is how common ground stalls will be. With no evasion except for about 41.5 instances of “can’t be blocked except by three or more creatures,” a lot of people are going to be holding their 1/7s back.
This will be further compounded by the fact that dozens of instants will be creating pairs of 0/1 chumpblockers, that a full third of the set’s creatures will have Defender, and that each of those Defender creatures will be capable of returning those instants from your graveyard to your hand.
Forcing colors is clearly going to be a highly effective drafting tactic, enjoying perhaps the highest relevance since OTJ. Black, for instance, will make a powerful support color, with an unprecedented level of removal that can target any creature in the set. It will, however, be difficult to build a balanced deck around Black due to its complete lack of creatures.
Apparently there’s no mana-fixing in ROE, so splashing for off-color bombs will be difficult. Thankfully, all of the bombs are colorless.
Finally, both drafters and casual players alike will need to be aware of the change in rarity distribution. There are no rares in ROE, and 5 times as many uncommons as commons.