Hello folks; I hope you are having an awesome-tastic day today!
I know that War of the Spark was released recently, but it feels like 20 sets ago as we've had both Modern Horizons and the full spoilers for Core Set 2020 by now. We are an infinite time zone away in Magic time. I get it. But there are a lot of fun cards in War of the Spark that I don't think are getting the play at the kitchen table, or the respect, they deserve. Hence, this article.
It's okay to have forgotten about some of these cards. It happens. Given the high volume of new cards that hit the shelves, combined with the speed of their release, it's only natural. There's no judgment here. But there are many great cards that I haven't seen get any sort of play or respect like they should.
What cards did you forget about? What do I think people have skipped past? Great questions!
Honorable Mention - Domri's Ambush
Unlike many of these pseudo-fighting spells where someone is punching your dorks face, but there's no retaliatory strike, for this one, you can go to a planeswalker. Most fighting or similar effects like this only hit creatures, and this one still can. But the Ambush can also finish off a wounded planeswalker. It's also flexible as you can toss a counter onto a dork even if you cannot take out your target, just because you need to counter-up something. It's a strong option, with a built-in slate of useful and flexible options. Why aren't you running it? Be honest - you forget it existed, right?
10. Mowu, Loyal Companion
Do you know what Mowu likes? Domri's Ambush - yup. Cast it the turn after you drop Mowu, something is eating five damage to their face and likely dying while you swing with your tramping, vigilance, 5/5 Hound of Yanggu Guarding. It's so synergetic with many counter builds, and yet I've seen Commander decks not add in our Hound, and that makes Mowu sad. Know what'd lift him up? Playing him!
9. Ajani, the Greathearted
Ajani didn't get a mad reception when he was spoiled, and he never wound up hitting folks' radar after release either, and now he's mega-cheap. I know he's a rare, but Ajani, the Greathearted is cheaper right now shortly after release than arguably the worst planeswalker of all time in Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded was for most of his Standard run. And yet... Ajani isn't bad at all. You get vigilance for your team at all times. He comes out with five loyalty, and his -2 is strong as he gives counters of size and loyalty to your other allies. And you have a way to increase his loyalty and gain some life should you find the need. Giving your dorks vigilance also helps protect Ajani as your folks swing and remain ready to block. Plus, his colors are going to often have enough beaters to make his final ability quite pertinent. Why no Ajani?
8. Heartwarming Redemption
This version of this effect is not the sort you get very often. You discard your hand, and then draw it back from your deck, which is something Red has done since Winds of Change way back in Legends. That's some way-back. However, one thing Red rarely does, is replace the card you used to discard your hand and draw. Unlike Winds of Change and many other Red effects, this is card equilibrium, not card disadvantage. And that's key to this card. Plus, it's an instant, and you'll gain some life when you cast it, which isn't nothing. I just don't think that y'all are giving this card it's due amount of play. Let's solve that!
7. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
For most of their history, planeswalkers have been mythic rare, although their first printing was just rare. Thus, for the first years, the initial Jace Beleren card was available at rare. And even though he was arguably the worst of the initial lot for Standard (with a duel with Chandra Nalaar for the worst one), he was still played here and there. But despite that, you would never have seen him for a couple of bucks. Here's a strong Jace, with a game-winning ability, and a card-drawing +1 for just 4 mana. This guy is all about that card drawing and library milling. And don't forget game-winning. And yet... nothing. I haven't even run into him in Best of One on Arena. Did you forget him again? Have you learned nothing? Don't turn your back on a Jace. Ever.
6. Mayhem Devil
There are so many ways that Mayhem Devil can used and abused. So many ways! If you were looking at Mayhem Devil and thinking to yourself, "Self, you can sacrifice your own stuff to make this work," and then you moved on, then you were only half right.
Let's drill down and unpack the Majesty of the Mayhem Devil.
Again, this card is massively more impactful and flexible than you suspect, and as a bonus? It's on curve. Smash away my good friends, smash away.
5. Lazotep Plating
I really enjoy what the Plating has to offer for just 2 mana in Blue. First amass to make a dork, or grow one you already have. Then you and your stuff get hexproof. That shuts down so much stuff! Graveyard hate usually targets a player, but not now! Creature removal does the same. Please note that this gives hexproof to all your things, not just your creatures. That makes this maximally flexible. Strip Mine or Wasteland got you bothered? Do you fear some burn or Swords to Plowshares style removal? Beast Within? Are they trying to steal your Commander? Anything that your foe does usually targets for doing anything, they cannot do, as long as it's you or a permanent you control. That's awesome for Blue (this would normally be a White or Green answer). Also, don't forget that you are normally going to make a Zombie Army too, so unlike your normal answer spell to a problem your foe drops, you can also just make a dork to block and survive a nasty attack or to sacrifice to your foe's Diabolic Edict so your solo big guy won't be sacrificed. There are many reasons you will want to run Lazotep Plating. So again... why aren't you?
4. Domri, Anarch of Bolas
This is the latest edition of everyone's favorite lil' Gruul Smasher. Let's review the many, many reasons why Domri has some serious game with a check list.
Three-mana planeswalker? Check. He comes down early with a big ol' face-punching suite of cards that all work early. And we know how good three-mana planeswalkers can be.
Pumps your dorks permanently without using a loyalty ability? Check. A three-mana anthem that will pump your whole team's front is nice. It's also not a temporary ability like Sarkhan Vol's that ends at the end of the turn, and thus allows you to use Domri's loyalty abilities for other effects.
Can make mana early on to accelerate stuff and make a creature uncounterable? Check. Early mana-boost is nice, and you don't have to use his mana to make a dork, you certainly can use it on something else.
Creature kill? Check. You can punch folks in the face and you are getting a boost to power when you do so. I mean, seriously, what's not to like here? Domri, Anarch of Bolas is strong.
I mentioned this card in my "Best Of" Top Ten list, and since then... nothing. (You can find it here if you are interested) I haven't seen anyone else play it. And frankly? I don't know why. Do you not like mad value tethered to removal cards you need to play anyway? Have you never been a fan of effects like Dismantling Blow or Orim's Thunder? Have you looked down your nose at the mad value of two-for-ones like Hull Breach? Do you hate ramp? No, you don't? Hmmm... then why not add this card to your decks and prove me wrong.
2. Karn's Bastion
Now don't get me wrong, this is a strong card and I've seen it in a few places here and there, but only in decks that are heavy on themes to proliferate, but it's a lot better. Compare this in Commander to, say, Smothering Tithe. While still in a Standard legal set, the Tithe has crossed twenty dollars (even though it's exclusively for Commander and other kitchen table formats).That's a lot of dollars. But the Bastion around two months later is down to $3.00, even though many more Commander shells want this colorless tool over the Tithe. That's silly stuff.
1. Ignite the Beacon
I have to admit that I am a little shocked that this is still a bulk rare and no one is really pushing into it outside of major planeswalker decks. But take another look at this. It's a five-mana double tutor, and at instant speed, which helps. Note that while you are tutoring up two planeswalkers from your deck just fine, there are no restrictions that they have to have different names or anything similar. You can search for two Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Teferi, Time Raveler, or one of each. Meanwhile your card can be used in many shells that have multiple 'walkers. The only place I've seen this is once in a Five Color Commander 'walkers deck. Sure, that's a great home! But it's better than that.
All right folks! There's my list. Anything in there spark your creativity. Anything you think I'm missed or forgot about myself? Just let me know, and thanks for your time!