Oath of the Gatewatch Reflections

Ob Nixilis is pissed off with his spark returned and Kozilek just showed up to do a slow waltz of decimation with Ulamog across Zendikar. Things could be better, but the planeswalkers are regrouping. Several other things are going down in the story, but that's not important. If you're a lore-nut, like me, you can go check out the storyline and what's going down on Wizard's website. As for the purpose of this article, we are going to take a look at this new set, not from a flavor standpoint, but from a mechanical one.

Let's go!

Your expression. Probably.



So let's talk mechanics and keywords. First up is Cohort. Now I initially thought of Cohort as a trash mechanic, since you need two allies (one with the ability, the other to, uh, you know, help out) but now having played with and seen it played in pre-release events, I can revise my opinion somewhat. Cohort is a cool and occasionally-tricky trash ability. 

Just the thing for Cohort!

Why do I say that? Well for one thing it, does still require you to use two creatures for one usually-mediocre ability. One of them taps a creature, one of them draws a card and loses one life, and one of them makes the opponent lose 2 life-you know things that single spells have been doing for awhile now. Don't get me wrong if you're playing allies anyways, and you have them out, they are pretty decent; being able to utilize allies that can't get there in certain scenarios is pretty nice. Is this a standard-playable mechanic? No, probably not, though someone is going to try and prove me wrong, which I encourage. 

Now onto the next mechanic, Support! First of all, who doesn't need a little support from time to time?

Thanks, but I needed +1/+1 counters...

Now support is one of those mechanics that just feels so snug and comfortable to use, but then I realize that there's something 'off' about it. Now Support says it gives up to X target creatures a +1/+1 counter! What a bud! In spell form it's innocent enough, but a look at a creature with support reveals an awful truth; they can't hit themselves and they can't hit the same thing twice!

So tempting but so evil!

Now again, this may be some killer ability that I'm just not giving enough credit to, but I highly doubt it. This seems like the kind of ability that someone would build a deck around, simply because it's thematic, lose an fnm with, and go home sobbing back into the waiting arms of Siege Rhino. 

Smug bastard. Don't even get me started on him and the white Eldrazi... 

Now onto the last mechanic Surge!

Like this, only somehow more refreshing.

Holy shit, where do I start with this mechanic? Basically it takes everything I like about casting spells and creatures and adds a little refreshing aftertaste! You like paying less for spells? Just play two. You like things getting extra abilities or effects? Just play a 'kicker' spell beforehand! Are you a blue-deck or a red-deck? Have a freaking blast. So now that my sugar-fueled shouting has died down, what Surge does is reward you for playing multiple spells! It's an alternative casting cost if you or a teammate have cast anything previously, and it usually results in the second spell being cheaper or having a little extra effect! It's a cool new mechanic, which I think can really spark some fun deckbuilding and it's by far my favorite. 

Well, that about wraps things up I think... wait hang on. What's that, Angela? One more thing? Dang it, I thought I had all the things done, but there's no more mechanics. What else is there to talk abo-

Oh.

Whew, ok. Forgot about that one. Well buckle in kids, for something I have been super excited for since first hearing about it. May I introduce to you, for the first time ever, live and in person; Colorless mana! 

My expression. Definitely.

I can already hear the questions forming and I promise I will answer them to the best of my abilities. That freaky, diamond jazz up there is the new way to represent colorless mana. It even has it's own basic land!

If I hear 'What a Waste!' one more time I will scream.

So that little beauty is a new basic land. Now notice there is no basic land type there; that's because colorless isn't a color. It's still just colorless with a zesty new symbol. There are millions of questions flying about, but almost all of them can be whittled down to "Colorless is not a color." Say it with me now. "Colorless is not a color." Good good. The design space has been opened up to make colorless more important, and I for one am excited, not just because my Karn commander deck can finally stand a chance against Wave of Vitriol!

Finally! The nightmare's over!

Mark Rosewater wrote up a sweet article about the colorless (or Barry's land) and it is definitely worth the read; I linked it below so you should go check it out. (Tell him I said hi!)

Well, that about wraps things up. All in all a fine weekend of gaming down at Kapow Comics! and a lot of ideas for brewing potential in pretty much every format!  As always, please shoot me some comments below or drop me a line on social media for what you wanna read about next time! 
So from our table to yours, happy gaming!




Go here for story line and card goodness!
http://magic.wizards.com/

Barry's Land? Mark Rosewater whatchu talkin' bout?
http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/25

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