Hello folks! We have received our latest spoilage of all things Unstable. Unlike the two previous silver-bordered sets, the cards here seem a lot more playable, with fewer cards that take a joke beyond the point of playability. These cards feel like they are cognizant of the need to be parts of a game, rather than just mere think pieces that aren’t going to be played much, just laughed at.
Here, let me give you one quick example from the set to show what I mean:
This is Crow Storm. It does have a joke baked in, that of the card Storm Crow, considered one of the worst cards from an era known for bad creatures. So here you are just taking the name, reversing it, mocking the old flavor text, and then making it a Storm card with the Storm mechanic that makes a bunch of Storm Crows. It’s playing into some jokes. But Crow Storm is also a good card. By making flyers rather than 1/1 Goblins, it has a level of diversity baked into the card, and is a good adjunct for kitchen table Storm decks. Crow Storm will be played for years to come. And the joke is more subtle. No part of this card yells, “Jokes on you, this card sucks!” to me. I don’t have to say, “Storm Crow Rules!” for each Storm Crow token I make or anything like that. The card works as is. And frankly, you could have printed this is a Conspiracy or Commander set without too much blinking of the eye. It’s less silly than a lot of other cards in the game.
This is the great value of the set. It’s a solid set with a lot of power and value to explore. It seeks to use unique play space that can really unfold.
Having seen a lot of the cards in spoiler time, I wanted to start building some decks based around these cool cards. So what inspires me?
Feeling a little DIY today?
Don’t worry, Do-It-Yourself Seraph will be here to lend a helping hand. Or sword. This lady works just as above. No part of this card is mechanically out of line for the game. It could have been printed in the next Commander set without anyone thinking that this was an ability more in line of silver-bordered cards than anything else. Only the name and art are joke-y. Note that this Cyborg Angel only works for text boxes, so no duplication of power/toughness or anything like that. Although, if you wanted to get fancy, you could give it an activated ability like Xanthic Statue to make itself bigger:
Let’s take a look at the deck to see where I wound up!
DIY Saturdays ? Casual | Abe Sargent
- Creatures (25)
- 1 Darksteel Sentinel
- 1 Mycosynth Golem
- 1 Platinum Emperion
- 1 Shimmer Myr
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 2 Angel of Invention
- 2 Myr Retriever
- 2 Myrsmith
- 2 Sanctum Gargoyle
- 4 Toolcraft Exemplar
- 4 Do-It-Yourself Seraph
- 4 Indomitable Archangel
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Refurbish
- Artifacts (7)
- 1 Akroma's Memorial
- 1 Darksteel Forge
- 1 Eldrazi Monument
- 1 Gilded Lotus
- 1 Xanthic Statue
- 2 Everflowing Chalice
I tried to hit a few obvious cards, such as Darksteel Forge and Akroma's Memorial. You can also pull out a Darksteel Citadel to give your Do-It-Yourself Seraph indestructible. If you are going to build it up over a few turns, you might as well try to make sure it sticks around! See also the Monument of the Edrazi and the Sentinel of the Darksteel for other indestructible options.
After those obvious choices, I dug into some synergies, like Toolcraft Exemplar, Indomitable Archangel, Sanctum Gargoyle, and Angel of Invention. All of those strong pro-artifact options add to the artifact nature of the deck with a few additional overtures. Don’t sleep on fun adjuncts like Refurbish and Solemn Simulacrum!
And that’s a fun little deck for salving your artifact taste buds.
Did you like the first try? Good! Let’s stay in White! Shoot, let’s stay with artifacts!
And, by the way, I am about to apologize considerably for the next deck description . . . But given the cards we are looking at, I figured I would veer away from my normal serious tones . . .
Are you feeling a little Gnome-some tonight? Want some company?
Again, By Gnome Means, other than the name, art, and flavor deck, doesn’t have anything here that you couldn’t wind up at your normal kitchen table. And I am going to pair it with Everythingamajig which similarly could be rocking your next black-bordered casual-only set like Conspiracy 3: This Times It’s Serious.
Gnomemancy ? Casual | Abe Sargent
- Creatures (14)
- 1 Twilight Shepherd
- 2 Kitchen Finks
- 1 Grim Poppet
- 1 Workhorse
- 2 Coretapper
- 3 Triskelion
- 4 Sanctum Gargoyle
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 By Gnome Means
- Artifacts (15)
- 1 Contagion Engine
- 1 Darksteel Reactor
- 1 Giant Fan
- 1 Lux Cannon
- 1 Magistrate's Scepter
- 1 Orochi Hatchery
- 1 Ring of Three Wishes
- 1 Serum Tank
- 1 Titan Forge
- 2 Power Conduit
- 4 Everythingamajig
Here we go!
Now you will note that By Gnome Means is good at providing a powerful game-winning condition all by its Gnome-some. All you need to make a giant army of 1/1 Gnomes is to have enough counters to fuel the fire. That’s why I looked at counter-allies like Dark Depths, Ajani, Caller of the Pride, Dark Depths, Vivid Meadow, or Dark Depths to provide some options, and Everythingamajig can even get us started with some +1/+1 counter giving as well. I also love the idea of moving a -1/-1 counter from the persist of Kitchen Finks/Twilight Shepherd into a Gnome creature or to invest in a Giant Fan to become a good counter on something else.
Speaking of which, I have a few big guns in here . . .
Each of those cards can win the game on their own. They each attack the table in a different way, which gives you some options to use the best one for the situation. You can make 9/9s to smash, or a bunch of 1/1 Snakes to get around. You can make a giant 20/20 Marit Lage, or Time Walk a bunch of times, or just win the game with Darksteel Reactor. Note that Giant Fan and By Gnome Means will give the Darksteel Reactor more charge counters, and you’ll notice a little charge-counter nods, with cards like Coretapper, Power Conduit, and even the Contagion Engine’s double proliferating trick.
Now my deck also has some other tricks here as well. You need to find the right card? How about . . .
Ring of Three Wishes is a fun card here. I also have a number of +1/+1 affectionate cards, like Workhorse, Triskelion, and Grim Poppet to remove counters for various effects. If you needed to, each of these could be a great place to load up some counters, and we could easily see some Triskelion-game winning shenanigans. Show your foes Gnome Mercy!
Wow we have to make that a card!
That’s right! Fear my Gnome-enclature!
So what’s next? I feel like moving into a different direction toward the sound of dice falling. Are there enough of the dice-rolling onslaught to use for a deck?
Now unlike the first two cards, this is not a card you could see in a normal set, barring the addition of rolling dice to the game to resolve random effects in addition to, or in replacement of, flipping coins. After that, I really enjoy this card. I also really enjoy the twinned Willing Test Subject as well. Wall of Fortune has a few cool things going for it, like the size.
Let?s Play Magic: Dice Rolling Adventures! ? Casual | Abe Sargent
- Creatures (26)
- 2 Clam-I-Am
- 2 Steel Squirrel
- 2 Urza's Science Fair Project
- 2 Wall of Mulch
- 3 Elvish Impersonators
- 3 Hydradoodle
- 4 Wall of Blossoms
- 4 Wall of Fortune
- 4 Willing Test Subject
- Instants (2)
- 2 Growth Spurt
And there we are! I was inspired here by the crazy fun-times that is rolling dice. The first Un- set, Unglued, had a rolling of the six sided die as one of the key mechanics in the set, but Unhinged abandoned it. Well, Unstable isn’t doing anything of the sort, and is leaning heavily into dice rolling territory. We gots to toss those dice! I liked the combination of Wall of Fortune and Willing Test Subject here, so I decided to toss them both in, and then whichever other good cards from the dice-rolling convention that I could find, and then called this a deck.
I do like the Wall theme here. With Wall of Fortune tapping Walls for rerolling of dice, I tossed in a full set of Wall of Blossoms, as they do a lot here, providing a speed bump, a card, and another card to reroll a dice with. I even tossed in some Wall of Mulch to sacrifice the Wall of Blossoms for more card drawing, as well as other Walls, for maximum Wall utilization.
I have some fun cards here, like Hydradoodle or Elvish Impersonators that add to my dice-rolling theme. But don’t sleep on Sword of Dungeons & Dragons here either. Toss it on a creature, swing, and then get that great Dragon making ability and roll a d20. It’s most likely going to be greater than three, which means it will trigger Willing Test Subject pretty regularly. And you can reroll that to see if you can hit that 20, and then make another Dragon token and try again. Note that Clam-I-Am is a very interesting combo with Willing Test Subject, as it will remove a 3 as an option on a d6, and thus make your Willing Test Subject hit around 66% of the time, rather than 50% that is baked into the card.
And that’s pretty much a fun, chaotic dice-rolling game that may not feel precisely like Magic, but will certainly feel like fun! And feel encouraged to toss in Red for Goblin Bookie, Goblin Tutor, Spark Fiend, and Chicken Egg.
Get Ready for the Crazy Kitten Smash!
Adorable Kitten is a fun card to show off the really cool host-augment combo that is layered into this set. And I am sure that I, along with pretty much every other player in the game, want to assemble the dreaded Half-Kitten, Half-Kitten.
But set that aside for a moment. On its own, without any hosting or augmenting, Adorable Kitten is already a good card. Better than you might think. Here, let me show you.
Cathedral Sanctifier is fine as a 1-drop in Casual play, and it’s the best 1-drop that nets you life on arrival. This is especially true in a multiplayer format with your typical 20-life start. Devout Monk, on the other hand, really sucks. So, you can already see how Adorable Kitten already plays well into this space. There is a 50% chance it will be better than the best card in this oeuvre, the Sanctifier; there is just a 33% chance it will be worse. Those are good odds. In any deck where you run the Sanctifier, you likely want to switch over to Adorable Kitten already . . .
But that’s not all.
There are a pair of Cats in its color that are already enticing me. I really like Adorable Kitten in multiplayer Equinaut shell. This is a three-color deck built around Equilibrium, Fleetfoot Panther and Whitemane Lion to bounce and replay your stuff while piling up a ton of useful triggers. Adorable Kitten is a great 1-drop to add to that shell!
Adorable Equinaut ? Casual | Abe Sargent
- Creatures (30)
- 1 Eternal Witness
- 1 Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
- 1 Recruiter of the Guard
- 1 Temur Sabertooth
- 2 Adorable Kitten
- 2 Azorius Aethermage
- 2 Farhaven Elf
- 2 Mystic Snake
- 2 Reclamation Sage
- 2 Spell Queller
- 3 Fleetfoot Panther
- 3 Whitemane Lion
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Fleecemane Lion
- Instants (2)
- 2 Eladamri's Call
Anyways, that is a fun and powerful suite of cards. We have engines in there like Equilibrium, Azorius Aethermage, Opposition and Aura Shards. I like Momir Vig, and my fun creatures. I have included cards all up and down the history of this game, from the first expansion set to the latest. You can see the powerful melding of ideas like Mystic Snake, Recruiter of the Guard and Eternal Witness. But don’t forget that this is not a blink deck. We aren’t running Momentary Blink, Restoration Angel or other similar effects. This is not that deck. We have cards that give cast triggers (Equilibrium) and self-bounce ones (Aethermage) as well as others. That’s the core of the deck.
And you can see how powerfully well Adorable Kitten slides into that shell, right? We don’t even need to worry about the host or augmenting aspects of it at all! Equinaut is so Adorable!
And there we go!I hope that you enjoyed these four decks from the new Unstable. I’ll likely be hitting up these cards for another article or two as there is a lot here to manage. This is a larger set designed to be drafted after all. It has some heft to it. I suspect it’s going to be my favorite Un- set easily.
Let’s get Unstable!