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A page for the official WizardsOfTheCoast spoilers for Betrayers of Kamigawa ONLY!

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[Higure, the Still Wind]


Hmmm, so that's what Ninjitsu does. Iiiiinteresting. I'm thinking it's quite nice, faintly reminiscent of Morph. Obviously flavour dictates that they should be Black and Blue, but it is something of a pity no-one else is getting them - Samurai exist in 3 colours, after all. --CH
[Four] ;) Yes, the morph comparison is quite natural, although this is even eviller: *any* unblocked creature could suddenly become a saboteur. It seems like a mechanic that'll have a couple of players crying "OMGWTF that's soo broekn!!!" At the same time, though, it's not that bad, because after all, it's only a "combat damage to a player" trigger, and it'll only have the surprise factor once, and so it's just like playing an instant. --AlexChurchill
Well yes - but he's also previewed the card that makes it all work there - make your ninjas unblockable and have 'when they deal damage' triggers... Ouchie.  Still, nice to see a switch back to creature decks being viable again.  I do not like the 'have to know every card in the set' that this (again) engenders, however.  So your creature is a 1/1 with first strike, with the following huuuuuuge list of activated abilities depending upon what you have in hand?  Yuck.  --Vitenka
How is ninjutsu any more "have to know every card" than every card printed of type Instant? If your opponent has mana open, he can do anything. This mechanic just provides a couple more values to Anything. It's not so much potential activated abilities as the risk of your opponent having instants in hand. For example, the one other ninja MaRo mentions lets you draw a card when it hits an opponent. Are you objecting to the possibility of your opponent drawing cards with no warning? There's been a few instants which do that... --AlexChurchill
It's not 'more' than it - but it is a new bunch of them, which almost certainly expands the repitoire.  Which is, in general, bad (/BarriersToEntry? again).  One other odd thing, this is a replcement effect, without a replacement keyword - thus losing equipment and enchantments, for all the good and bad that implies.  --Vitenka

[Patron of the Orochi]


None of the other cards this week has really piqued my interest (although I wonder, along with MaGo, what happened to the second w in MTG: Tallowisp) - but this guy is quite cool. Another nice new alternative play method for creatures, and that's quite a decent sized creature and effect! Although it is symmetric. I wonder if the other Patrons have the same effect but in their colour? I hope not... It would seem better to mix it up a bit. --CH
Mm, yes, permission continues to be hosed. I think a major round of applause to Development for a spirited attempt to make White Weenie good (reprinting Armageddon) is deserved. Pity it didn't make it. Ah well. Offering seems like a fairly reasonable mechanic; although in general I deprecate mechanics which act on cards that aren't in play, because it's silly. Rules-altering text should always be visible to both players. --SF, muttering. 
The set's mechanical trick seems to be the playing of creatures at instant speed. Hmm; nice. --Requiem
Well, maybe. There's a reason that creature spells are supposed to be played at sorcery speed. Fortunately all of these instant-speed things I've seen so far are at rare. Multiple ninjas appearing in the middle of combat in limited could get exceptionally annoying. I'm seriously hoping there aren't any, or at least more than one in each colour, at common. --SF
Quite. Combat tricks are one thing, but this might get out of hand. I, too, wish for <= 2 common ninjas. --Requiem
There have been a number of play-at-instant-speed creatures before; a number of them (MTG: Fleetfoot Panther and MTG: Mystic Snake notably) being excellent as tricks. The Patrons would just be five more instant-speed creatures, and with a prerequisite to boot (having the right creature type in play). And how does Offering hose permission? The spell is still played (not put into play), and in fact if countered it gives a two-for-one to the counterer. If this is just a cycle of rares, then there won't be too much disruption on Limited; I continue to maintain that the effect of having ninjas around won't be that different to having instants. --AlexChurchill, apologising if he's being unusually forceful
It's not so much the Patrons as an abundance of ninjas that would be potentially awkward, in my opinion. I've no problem with the Patrons; I think they are fun. --Requiem

Oh, and yes, ChrisHowlett, the other Patrons will so have Offering. It's what a cycle does. I'm fairly certain I'm already terrified of Patron of the Akki, although if it costs 6RR then it won't be playable; a lower cost and it might make an impact. If Offering allowed you to sacrifice more than one creature, Goblin Bidding would have a new MVP. Fortunately someone realised that one. I'm guessing that the cycle will be (Tribe/Offering?) Kitsune/Fox?, Soratami/Moonfolk?, Nezumi/Rat?, Akki/Goblin?, Orochi/Snake?. --SF, bored
I didn't mean Offering, I meant the tap ability. I'd gathered they'd all have Offering --CH, who really isn't that stupid.
Demon! Should you, by some misfortune, become injured.... --SF, unconvinced :-)

Out of interest, this card does untap itself, right?  Seems just a bit too silly to me.  --FR
Yes, it does untap itself. That's why the ability says 'only once each turn'. --Requiem

[Cunning Bandit]



Very strong. Spiritcraft looks set to remain a major archetype. (Not that that's a surprise). --Requiem
The new flip is nice.  We have cards that flipping is a bad thing and this one where flipping lets you use its ability, but you can't add more tokens.  And a reason to not splice.  --Vitenka
An intriguing tension, certainly. I only noticed on second reading that you "may" flip it once it gets two counters, but you don't have to. I can see how you might not want to. It's also the first spiritcraft trigger we've seen on a non-Spirit card, which sets up an interesting tension in the same way that playing lots of creatures that like instants, or coloured spells that like artifacts etc. Previously every card in a pure spiritcraft deck could trigger off every other; there's more pulls away from that style now. I do rather like the flavour: these mortals get exposed to kami magic too much and end up getting possessed. --AlexChurchill
Not much I can add to all that - it's very nice. Probably my favourite card from this set so far - the flavour, mechanic, and brain-melting optimisation problems all fit together very well! --CH

I've just noticed - this is marginally less powerful than we were perhaps assuming: the creature you gain control of doesn't have Haste. So no attacking, or tap effects - which mostly limits you to nicking a creature to remove a blocker, or give yourself another one. Still quite powerful, but much less than I'd previously thought. --CH

Aye - it's mainly just mana acceleration.  Which is pretty nifty for, say, blue.  (Hmm - I didn't need a counterspell after all that turn, guess I'll upgrade one of my creatures)  --Vitenka
Err? What card are you talking about, Vitenka? --AC, confused
Oh.  The previous one :)  PErmanently stealing a creature is always a good thing.  --Vitenka
Regrettably, it's not permanent either (that would be asking too much!) It's just "until end of turn", without Haste. --CH

Obviously to be combined with anything that gives Haste. But yes, I hadn't actually noticed that until you pointed it out. --Requiem

[Hundred-Talon Strike]


Alternative Splice costs. Not very surprising, given MaRo's article today, but still. These could get quite powerful - this one makes blocking rather attractive, for instance. --CH

... And thus we see the development team's stated goal of making White Weenie good. --Requiem
Obviously, since MTG: Ramosian Rally was clearly constructed quality.... --SF
(EditConflict:) Well, I'm not so sure. I love MTG: Guided Strike which has a similar effect and a similar inherent protection against card disadvantage, but as people are fond of saying, it's removal that White Weenie needs to be really good again. Not that I can tell what removal they want: we've had MTG: Deftblade Elite, MTG: Vanquish, MTG: Catapult Squad and more, but WW still doesn't seem to make much of a splash. Nevertheless, I love combat tricks, I love alternate play costs, and I love Splice: so I quite like this card ;) A deck packing four of this and four MTG: Blessed Breath, along with a few other Arcane spells, would be a very scary prospect. --AC
Of those, only MTG: Vanquish could be seriously regarded as removal, and it's only OK as these sort of things go - certainly by comparison with MTG: Smite, MTG: Swords to Plowshares, MTG: Pacifism, (WW was playable, and indeed played in OnsBlock?) and, of course, MTG: Disenchant. Three mana is a lot to keep open for a deck archetype that runs on four mana as a maximum. White Weenie also needs some way of preventing combo and control decks from squishing them; it wins against other aggro decks by outlasting them, but isn't always fast enough to get ahead of the other types. Traditionally, this was MTG: Armageddon. It hasn't been replaced. --SF
And nor has MTG: Swords to ploughshares.  --Vitenka  (That and MTG: Counterspell - gone forever...)

[Mirror Gallery]


Oh. Wow.
Holy rusted metal, Batman.  Way to crowbar a block.  --FR
One use of this card that he didn't mention: PeterTaylor's [Kaldratron] deck. Nice! --AC, who had been thinking of building a Honden deck anyway...
Muahaha.. wait.  There's not actually all that much evil you can... Multiple kaldatrons!  OhBoyOhBoy?.  Ahem.  Very nifty.  Totally unusable unless you own four of multiple legends, which means only MisterSuitcase can use it, but nifty.  --Vitenka  (Damn edit conflicts, I was there first!)
(PeterTaylor) That reminds me. I need house rules on the effect of MTG: R&D's Secret Lair on the Kaldratron combo. Do we say 1) It's impossible to put an Avatar Legend creature into play, so the Lair hoses the Helm's ability; 2) since the Legend rule makes no mention of the Legend creature-type, you can have multiple Avatar Legends in play without a Mirror Gallery (so it's still a four-card combo, but the Lair replaces MTG: Artificial Evolution; or 3) we'll take "Play cards as written" in this case to mean "Play the Helm under Mirrodin-era rules", so it's now a five-card combo?
I think the spirit of the FAQTIWDAWCC on MTG: RD's Secret Lair would be that you play old cards under current rules (hence the problems with interrupts). So that suggests 2 to me. (Does the Lair only affect your cards? If that means cards you control, presumably cards could radically change their effects when entering or leaving control of a player who controls a Lair?) --AlexChurchill
Doesn't it just say "Play cards as written. Ignore all errata"? Meaning that it's global, and if anyone plays an MTG: Floral Spuzzem then we have to spend forever waiting for the card itself to decide whether or not to use it's ability... --SF
You could, presumably, declare that you've changed your name to "Floral Spuzzem", and are waiting for deed-poll forms? If more than one player tries this, presumably the Non-Active Player gets the final say, due to AP-NAP. --CH
(PeterTaylor) Don't think so. See /CompRules 202.2. It's not entirely clear, but I think the intent is obvious.
I don't think it's intended as global. The "Play" and "Ignore" are second person imperatives. Most of the time those appear on sorceries, instants, or activated or triggered abilities, and their controller is the only one who may (and indeed must) do what they say. I don't think there's been a static ability written in the imperative since Sixth Edition, although I'll gladly be proved wrong. --AlexChurchill
I think the use of old language was deliberate ;)  Though 'as written' cards that are not currently 'coming into play' are not affected by it at all...  --Vitenka
An more evil thought - as written it insists that you must, at the instant that it goes into effect, play every card (as written) - arguments can then commence whether it means just one example of every card, or whether you have to go find all of everyone elses cards.  And whether it's only magic cards... /CompRules 200.1 --PT As written, remember - not as interpreted by the rules :)  --Vitenka  (Yeah, if you just read it as 'misprinted or old edition cards have the text they had, not any changes' it becomes a lot more sensible, but why would you want to go and do a sensible thing like that?)
I point out that the comp rules consists of errata, which I proceed (card text trumps all) to ignore...  --Vitenka
(PeterTaylor) ?! Errata are differences between printed card text and Oracle wording, surely?
Nah, all the rules since unlimited are errata ;)  --Vitenka
Hmm. Nice for weird constructedness (all-Legend deck, anyone?). --Requiem
Ijust love the thought of multiples of MTG: Takeno or MTG: Seshiro.  Heh heh heh... two Takenos and an MTG: Konda... *EvilLaugh?*  --FR

ChrisHowlett owns one. He opened one in his prize boosters. He also opened an MTG: Ornate Kanzashi. Weird artifact city!

[Shining Shoal]


Hmm, that's cool. Gently scary, but definitely cool. I'd say it was a good move towards making White Weenie playable - but if you're playing White Weenie, X is never going to be very large. OTOH, a slightly larger white deck (say, mono-W or UW control) should like it. And I imagine it could well be a limited bomb.

I wonder what the other 4 do? --ChrisHowlett
Nifty.  I would have guessed the blue one to be 'draw x cards' - but he said white was the most powerful, so no.  Black is probably a drain life, red will almost certainly be a +x/+0 of some kind - I'd guess green makes tokens and am still lost on blue.  Unsummon is too weak and counterspell is too much a repetition of a previous card.  (Counter spell of cost <x perhaps?)  --Vitenka (Though maybe we'll get lucky and the red is a shatterstorm 'destroy x artifacts')
Having been following the unofficial spoilers, I know what all the Shoals are... I will say that I was surprised in both directions by some of the Shoals. One of them was rather worse than I was expecting; a couple are terrifying. I suspect Vitenka will be similarly surprised. I like the way that if damage would be dealt to you or some of your creatures at the same time (eg with combat damage on the stack), you can pick and choose which damage to redirect with the  Shoal: just enough to keep each of your creatures alive, and the rest from you! (The FAQ confirms this.) --AlexChurchill
I assume AC is referring to the blue one as being weak. The only other option really is the Green, but instant life-gain of easily 7 for no mana cost isn't too bad actually. And I've just seen the black art (MTG: Sickening Shoal) - ewwwww. --ChrisHowlett
I was referring to the green one, actually. In certain playgroups' styles of multiplayer it would be awesome (like the one in which I learnt Magic). Everywhere else, I really wouldn't say lifegain for card disadvantage is normally a good prospect unless the lifegain is about 12-15+. The blue one is very situational, and not great, but a turn-zero counterspell is hard to dismiss. --AC
That's a shame - I was dismissing life gain and counterspell as being weak for the cost.  --Vitenka  (Turn zero counterspell is only useful in truly truly degenerate situations, but the added 'aha! you thought I had tapped out!' is going to make blue the prime target again...)  --Vitenka

Cool! I like. Pitch spells are back. I remember seeing those first time round. --Requiem

On today's (WikiNow of Tues 25 Jan 05) magicthegathering.com, they mention a first turn kill with the Red shoal. How? --Requiem
(PeterTaylor) Discussed in several Wizards fora. Most combos use Mountain, MTG: Raging Goblin, two red Shoals and two expensive red cards (e.g. MTG: Myojin of Infinite Rage).
Requiem slaps himself in the face. Oops!

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