Each day we inch closer to the official release date for Dragon’s Maze, Magic: The Gathering fans! Today we are continuining with our Dragon’s Maze previews. No doubt you’ve already viewed our Gruul Siege deck review along with our Red/Green and Blue/White preview pieces. Today, we’re looking at Black and Split cards. Before we begin though, as Split cards are a concept that has remained dormant for a while, perhaps we should spend a few minutes talking about them.
Split cards are two cards printed on the same card. Each half of the card featured a different color spell. You might have White/Black or Blue/Red. Each spell also has its own cost associated with it. You can choose to cast one side or the other. If you have enough (and the right) mana to cast BOTH spells, you can do so, giving you two shots at once. Split cards are either Sorcery or Instants (so far) and their interesting, but only time will tell if they are actually playable or another cheap gimmick that will be relegated as a one-off. If you’re still confused, don’t worry; looking at the cards below will probably make things a lot clearer. Ready to begin?
Wow, I love this card. 5B for a 4/5 with Deathtouch (just one point of damage kills any creature it does damage to) is a great deal. However, it gets even better when you realize Maze Abomination also gives any multicolored creature Deathtouch as well. Holy crap! Considering Dragon’s Maze is littered with the most Gold cards I’ve seen in a set in a very long time, you should really be able to make use of this ability. Maze Abomination should be considered for any deck with an abundance of multicolored creatures. Just make sure to protect it from direct damage and the like.
Wow, is this card just MEAN. You want to ruin any deck that recycles its graveyard with a single card and gain a ton of life in the process? Crypt Incursion is for you. For only 2B, you exile all creature cards from your opponent’s graveyard and you gain 3 life for each creature exiled in this fashion. Considering how many creatures are in premade decks, you can get a lot of mileage out of Crypt Incursion. If you’re playing any opponent with a creature heavy deck, it’s worth putting a Crypt Incursion in your side board if you are using Black at all.
When I first saw Hired Torturer, I was intrigued. You don’t see a lot of Defender (cards that can’t attack) with a decent Attack score. For 2B you’re getting a 2/3 Black creature, which isn’t too bad except for the Defender restriction. However, it’s the special ability on the card that should make you take notice. If you spend 3B and tap Hired Torturer, your target opponent not only loses 2 life but also reveals a random card in their hand. That’s pretty nice. It’s like a more powerful but direct Prodigal Sorcerer with some hand knowledge as a bonus. Hired Torturer has some definite possibilities for back decks.
Here’s our first split card. This particular one is a Black/Green card. The Black side is Down and for 3B, it causes an opponent to discard two cards. Expensive for the effect. Dirty costs 2G and lets you return any target card from your graveyard to your hand. That’s actually not a bad deal. So this is an odd card. To cast both halves at once you’ll need 5BG and it’s not all that great. Down works best in the early game, while Dirty works best in the middle or long end of things. I can’t really think of a quality use for this one, but it’s an example of how weird Split cards are. If you can think of a good B/G deck where Down/Dirty would be effective regularly, by all means, let me know.
This is another interesting Split card, but it works far better than Down/Dirty. This is a Black/Red card and both halves focus on the cards in your opponent’s hand and costing them life. Toil is the Black half and for 2B, the target draws two cards and loses 2 life. Interesting. A little pricey, and not super effective, but it can have its uses. Trouble is the Red half and for 2R, the opponent takes damage equal to the number of cards in his or her hand. For three mana, that’s not bad, especially in the early game. To cast both halves, you’ll need 4RB, but it’s not worth it unless it’s a very rare circumstance. After all, all the 2B extra mana will do is an extra 2 damage to your opponent. This is an interesting but usually VERY overpriced card for what it does.
The last Split card that we will look at today is a Blue/White one. It’s also the best Split card I have seen and also one of the cheapest. Protect is the white half and for 2W, a creature gains +2/+4 until the end of the turn. That’s not bad. Serve is the Blue half and it only costs 1U. Even better, it gives a target creature -6/0 until the end of the turn. Both halves are cheap and quite useful in a creature heavy deck. Using both together is cheap, easy and straightforward. For 3WU, you make one of your own creatures far more powerful and you nerf one of your opponent’s best. If you play a Blue/White deck that is creature heavy, Protect/Serve might find a use in it.
So there we go. The third of our four Dragon’s Maze previews is finished. Tomorrow is our last one and we’ll be looking at six Gold cards. I hope we’ll see you then.