This set had to be built differently, as it is bridging two different draft formats. Fate Reforged will be drafted with Khans of Tarkir, and then also exclusively with the next set (Dragons of Tarkir)
To those who don't follow the story closely, Fate Reforged actually takes place 1,000+ years in the past from the last set, and Dragons of Tarkir will take us forward to the 'present', albeit with things changed significantly. We see how the clans were not yet as strong, as they were forced to defend for themselves against nasty dragons. Three of the five mechanics from the previous set also return.
Overall, I don't feel nearly as excited for this set as I did the last one, although that is common with the second set of a three-set block. There are some cards that I definitely want to play with, but nothing that left my jaw dropping like Villainous Wealth :)
So, onto the list.
How can you take advantage of manifests? How about one of these babies?
By paying their actual mana cost to flip them over, you avoid the awful 'comes into play' triggers. They are already in play! You can also avoid the blowouts that can happen when your Torpor Orb gets bounced, or you don't ever even find one.
There are even morph creatures that can be abused with the manifest ability.
Why pay five-mana to flip Hooded Hydra when you can simply pay GG? For creatures that have a higher morph cost than their casting cost, manifest allows you to exploit some tax loopholes.You, too, can feel like Mitt Romney, if only for a fleeting moment.
10. SOULFIRE GRAND MASTER
I'm not sure I have an existing deck to put the Master into, but I'd love to pull off this goofy combo and gain 130+ life.
9. ELITE SCALEGUARD
This doesn't look all that exciting, from first glance, but it is a deceptively powerful scalpel.
I saw my wife play this at the pre-release, and it helped her win some games. I will fit at least one into my current Abzan deck.
Giving your creatures the ability to clear away an annoying blocker is helpful in breaking through board stalls, especially when they thought they were safe behind their big walls. Even if it just pumps itself, a 4/5 for five mana is OK.
8. MONASTERY SIEGE
The cheapest of all of the sieges, this one can allow controls decks a frightening amount of card advantage and filtering. Throw away those extra lands? Dump a fatty to reanimate? Fuel delve? This one has it all. I can see Standard control decks wanting this as a 1 or 2-of.
The second ability is nothing to sneeze at either, as it can make it harder for your opponents to deal with your army. If you build around creatures, this forces your opponent to ether have a board wipe, or spend a lot more time trying to pick off your dudes.
Of the Manifest enablers, this is the one I will always want to draw first.
I don't want my Eaters of Days to get Lightning Bolted before I get a chance to flip them, and this provides the SHIELDS UP that is needed to stop the Klingons from ruining my fun!
Oh, the flying is also a nice bonus. If you end up manifesting a land, a 2/2 flyer for three mana is acceptable.
Soulflayer is one of those projects that requires a bit of work to complete, but can be worth millions once you finish the renovations and put it on the open market.
Yeah, you can just get a cheap 4/4 for two mana, but the real combo comes with Chromanticore.
A two-mana 4/4 flyer with all them keywords?
5. HUMBLE DEFECTOR
Humble Defector is a cute, new design space that gives Red decks the potential of card advantage. Combine it with spells or abilities that untap a creature and you can easily draw four or six cards at once! If you have a sacrifice outlet, just eat him up before he makes it to the enemy camp.
For those that love politics, this is the perfect card for you. Pass around the hot potato!
4. CRUX OF FATE
Just take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of this card, and witness the ultimate battle between Nicol Bolas and Ugin. The flavour oozes from this like a grilled cheese sandwich.
Not since Damnation has black had a pure mass removal spell at less than six mana. Mutilate is close, but depends on your mana base to be effective.
In most multi-player games, this will simply be a pure board wipe. If you have a dragon or two on the board, it's quite one-sided.
3. UGIN, THE SPIRIT DRAGON
Ever since the strange 'red' card Ghostfire was printed in 2007, there have been players asking "Who is this Ugin?"
After all of this waiting, and all of the teasing, we finally get the
The art is worthy of a creature this legendary, and Control decks of any colour now have another splashy finisher that ought to cement the fates in your favour.
Even if you just use it's Ghostfire ability, you now have a 9-loyalty 'walker that must be answered. Otherwise, just wipe the board of any coloured permanent.
(Is Ugin racist? Hmm....)
2. SUPPLANT FORM
I love to clone creatures. I love to bounce creatures.
One downside of clone effects is that when you clone an opponent's creature, they still have the same damn creature! Discounting enter-the-battlefield abilities, this leave you only at parity with your enemy.
Supplant Form allows you a huge tempo boost by cloning that very creature, but getting rid of their original...if only for a turn. This spell at the opponent's end-of-turn is fine form, indeed.
1. BRUTAL HORDECHIEF
For those that remember Hellrider, we get another creature that turns any little 1/1 dude into am actual threat.
Aggressive decks, or token weenie decks, can sometimes run out of steam and get outclassed easily by bigger creatures. It's a brutal feeling when your opponent stabilizes and you can't force through that last 5-6 points of damage.
Brutal Hordechief is perfect for breaking through the stalemate and dealing those last points of damage to the dome. I have a black-red tokens deck that will love this card as a win condition. The hordechief doesn't even ever have to attack for him to have his effect.
"Why, yes, I'd love to get a 10-point life swing in one attack."
That last ability is also a game-winner, as you can easily force terrible blocks and ensure most of your forces get through, even after pinging them.
These 11 cards will give me some Scooby snacks to munch on until Dragons of Tarkir. At the very least, I'll have one cool new deck out of the manifest ability.
What cards are you looking forward to?