Hello all! Amonkhet has arrived. And with it we have a bounty of new cards, new ideas, and most importantly, new synergies for Magic players to find, unlock, and harness for future deck projects. We’ve got a lot of cards here that work well with cards printed previously.
Like most of you, I have been poring over spoilers each day to see what secrets I can unlock. Yesterday I shared with you my love of cycling, and gave you a trio of decks using it. Today, I wanted to bring my love of a cycle of cards that really caught my eye.
It’s the uncommon Monument cycle Take a look!
“Why does this cycle move me?” Excellent question, hypothetical person!!!
The first reason is mechanical in nature. For any combo (or heavily synergetic) deck you want to run, the Monument does two things in one card. Not only does it give you a key cost reduction, which can enable some broken things to happen, but you can also get a useful cast trigger at the same time. It combines a cheaper cost like a Jet Medallion with a useful trigger that can win the game after a few iterations. These things are money.
Another reason I like them is their wonky nature. Note that these are legendary uncommon artifacts. A bit odd, I know. So you can’t have four Bontu's Monument on the battlefield at the same time. Plus, they only work on creatures, both for cost reduction and for the casting effects.
Note that these Monuments give you the cast trigger when you cast any creature, not just ones of that color!
When I see these cards, just so many options invade my senses. I struggle to contain the synergies bursting in my mind like a thousand newly fallen leaves pouring forth from a tree in the fall.
What do I like with this cycle? What do I want to do? Excellent questions!
10. Evoke Creatures
Evoke creatures, such as Mulldrifter or Mournwhelk, often have a great cheap evoke cost that helps. The evoke cost should be reducible with the Monuments. Dropping the evoke costs on the leaves-play stuff like Slithermuse, Reveillark, and Nevermaker also really helps to use those alternate costs, and seems pretty good from where I’m sitting! Plus you’ll still get the cast trigger as well.
Let’s delve a bit more into Mournwhelk as a good example. Mournwhelk’s four mana evoke nets you two cards from someone’s hand. A little expensive, but okay at the right time. But if you have Bontu's Monument on the battlefield, things change. Now you’ll spend three mana for the evoke, and drain someone for one life as well. The difference in evoke cost on Mournwhelk from 4 mana to discard two cards down 3 mana is more in line with Mind Rot, and increases the play value considerably.
9. Bestow Creatures
Note that the bestow creature begins as a creature in your hand, and thus cost is reduced when you cast it as a bestow card as an aura. Note that most of the bestow creatures that are good have expensive bestow costs. Creatures like Celestial Archon, Hypnotic Siren, or Thassa's Emissary all look better when you slash a mana off that bestow cost. So getting the cost for less can really help you drop these costs to the point where folks will do a good job impacting the board earlier.
There are a small number of creatures out there that can bounce themselves on arrival at the battlefield. l think the best way to discuss this combo is just to show you.
- Your Kor Skyfisher now costs a single White mana to play.
- When you cast it, you get the cast trigger and make a 1/1 creature token
- When it resolves, you put its enter-the-battlefield trigger on the stack
- When the trigger resolves, return the Skyfisher to your hand
- Replay the Skyfisher over and over again and make any number of 1/1 creatures for 1 White mana each
And there are a number of creatures that can bounce their self on arrival like Shrieking Drake, (already one mana but you can collect triggers), Whitemane Lion, Fleetfoot Panther, or Man-o'-War. Netting a bunch of triggers for cheap will just abuse these Monuments all day long!
7. Rhonas’s Infect-a-Thon
Consider Glistener Elf with this thing and just a few pumps to kill. Rhonas strikes me with some useful value pumping up any given infect creature. Each infect pump of +2/+2 is really +4/+4, even in Commander. A Glistener Elf can be lethal very quickly with this Monument out, as can all infect bodies. Plus, it’s a cast trigger, so it cannot be countered easily, unlike other pump spells. Get that kill on!
6. Strong Gold Creatures with High Generic Costs
Sure, you may not be able to run multiples of a Monument at the same time, but both Kefnet's Monument and Oketra's Monument can be under your control. Imagine that with a Cloudblazer as a simple example. Three mana for two cards, two life, a 1/1 Soldier token, no untap for a turn of an opposing creature and finally a 2/2 flyer. Seems like a pretty strong deal, right? And that’s just for Cloudblazer! (other casual value might include something like Restoration Gearsmith, Pharika's Mender, Underworld Cerberus, Possessed Skaab, Murderous Redcap, or Reaper of the Wilds). But for serious power, consider the potential of a two-mana Bloodbraid Elf with both cast triggers or a two-mana Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, with both cast triggers and adding another cast trigger for your stuff after she’s on the battlefield. Slip out Sire of Insanity two turns earlier to make sure people get caught discarding good stuff. See also — Momir Vig, Simic Visionary.
5. Slow Re-bounce
Because the Monuments have a cast trigger, not an enters-the-battlefield one, they reward decks that bounce and replay their creatures, rather than just get them onto the battlefield with something like Momentary Blink or Conjurer's Closet. Cards like Crystal Shard and Erratic Portal will tap, bounce something of yours, and then keep on going. And then you can run bounce effects that you might normally use to target foes like Capsize or Tradewind Rider to hit your hand with alacrity and collect another cast trigger. So you can play and replay stuff over and over again, collecting more cast triggers each time, even if they are a little on the slower side of life!
4. Zero Cost Creatures
Memnite, Kobolds of Kher Keep, and many more. These creature won’t have their cost reduced, but as a free trigger, you can get that fired off. Getting free triggers makes me a happy Abe. And these creatures are likely to be part of any major combos moving forward. Don’t forget that these cast triggers work for artifact creatures as well, so Shield Sphere, Ornithopter, Phyrexian Walker and such will all get zero-cost triggers as well. (See also: Aluren for a way to make your 3-drop creatures free, and yet still collect that cast trigger)
Duh. I know it may be the obvious choice, but Commanders are a guaranteed use in your deck of the right Monument and trigger. You’ll net the reduction every time you cast your Commander, as well as the trigger. Even if all you get is to keep a creature tapped for an extra turn for free, it’ll work so well. And the creature-heavy nature of most decks and their creature-based way of doing things like Eternal Witness instead of Regrowth or Mulldrifter instead of Deep Analysis or Zealous Conscripts instead of Threaten is another opportunity for triggers.
2. Mana-Making Creatures
With the right Monument on the battlefield, you can turn a few creatures out there into mana-makers. Consider Red’s Priest of Urabrask as a good example. With a Hazoret's Monument on the battlefield, it’ll cost you just two to play, and make 3 mana on arrival, so you are up a mana. And you got the cast trigger as well. Another great way to abuse this is with the untap land creatures and Kefnet's Monument. Even though you play a Cloud of Faeries for one mana, you still get to untap two lands though. And if you untap lands like Simic Growth Chamber or Temple of the False God you can make even more mana with just a single Monument out. Now remember you are only getting reductions on your creature spells of that color, so you can’t use it on a Rewind or a Cabal Ritual. but you get the idea I’m sure.
1. Replay that Creature with Cloudstone Curio (See also Equilibrium)
Unlike the chincey slower gating effects that cost you mana or the slower steady bounce of Erratic Portal, the Cloudstone Curio is a massive engine, that you can use when you want, to bounce stuff for free and keep on trucking. The Curio is a powerful intoxicant that will both let you bounce pre-existing creatures to your hand for another go around the rink, but then you also have the reduced cost hoping here as well.
Note that a lot of cards here work pretty well together. Here, let me give you a quick example:
Curios and Kobolds ? Casual | Abe Sargent
- Instants (4)
- 4 Murder
- Lands (24)
- 24 Swamp
I went with a quick shell to show you how the Kobolds can win the game right there. They bounce each other with the Curio and over again while you collect either token making triggers and/or life stealing ones. Game on!
And the Monuments have so many synergies like these. From an Aluren deck that casts Aether Adept over and over again racking up Monument triggers to running these alongside classic combos like Pebbles (Shield Sphere, Enduring Renewal, and Goblin Bombardment) as another way to get a win against those protected from the damage of the Bombardment (with a card like Worship or Ivory Mask) or many more shells, these Monuments are a very potent slate of colors that is getting added to your Johnny palette.
So get ready to get your Monument on!