Riches From Orazca - Daily Spoiler Commentary 31/12/17
Article by Adam Ray
Well readers, Spoiler season has begun. Wizards teased us so heavily on the 19th with Vona's Hunger, but now we've finally seen the first of what Rivals of Ixalan has to offer.
River Darter is, I think, intended for Draft, along the same lineage as Audacious Infiltrator. Thrashing Brontodon is also very good in Limited, being able to pop Pious Interdictions or Ixalan's Bindings, but may even see sideboard play in Dinosaur decks in Constructed to remove Cast Out, God Pharaoh's Gift or Gearhulks.
Atzocan Seer is yet another ramp piece for the Naya Dinosaurs deck the fan base deserves, but the meta may not get just yet. I don't think the deck needs to be playing ramp pieces by turn 3. A nut draw for constructed dinosaurs sees the ramp elements at one and two mana. Kinjalli's Caller or Commune with Dinosaurs turn 1; Otepec Huntmaster or Drover of the Mighty turn 2; Ripjaw Raptor turn 3; Reggie turn 4, with a mana up so you can attack with a 3/3 Drover as well. The recursion on Atzocan Seer is very nice, especially late when all your mana is set in stone, however it being two colours with hope of going into a 3 colour deck as a turn 3 play is a little strained. Sorry Seer, to the Gishath Commander players you go.
The banner over the post didn't fool you, the big angry boy is here.
I had good money on him being Black and Red, and seeing him up close proves he's from Zendikar (message me on Twitter, we can debate it). Turning off fanboy mode, let's talk playability. On the face of it, I personally like all of his abilities. His +1 means card disadvantage and burn, while his -3 reminds me of Slave of Bolas (the best threaten effect ever printed - why give the creature back?). His Ultimate is where things get a little bit weird. It's very situational, doing a minimum of four (from the four cards Angrath makes your opponent discard) or doing loads if you're fighting a committed graveyard deck.
In terms of constructed, he's probably far too pricey for Modern. In Standard, his +1 fuels Ramunap Red, while his -3 puts him to 1 Loyalty, making him no threat to that deck. Against Energy, he won't show up until turn 5, so he'll be eaten a Glorybringer on the play, or a Bristling Hydra on the draw. He could see a place in a form of control deck, but in those colours people would much rather tap out for The Scarab God or an Hour of Devastation. I also quite like him on the opposite archetype, as the top end in Black/Red Aggro. By turn 5, most decks against you will have very few cards in hand, making his +1 useful and needed reach, while there's a few cards in the grave (dead creatures trading with your Dread Wanderers and Scrapheap Scroungers, spent removal spells, the like), so his ultimate would win games there. This is me giving him some hope, at least his Plus and Ultimate both say 'each opponent' so Nekusar, Malfegor, and Neheb can take him for repeatable discard.
More to come. There will be fresh spoiler content all week. Look here to see the comments on each card.