Hello everyone! This week I am doing something a little different than the usual brew. Moonlight Savior has been out now for about 2 weeks and I wanted to talk a bit about the top 10 cards I have been most impressed with in testing. Not all of the cards on this list are cards I feel are potential for being top tier competitive. This is a list of cards that have impressed me in some way in testing, either being way more powerful than I expected or being much more payable and providing more value that I originally expected. Without further ado, here are the top 10 cards that have impressed me in the first 2 weeks of the set’s release.
Boy is this list off to a good start. This is a card that many will and have looked over, including myself, as I initially didn’t think about this card at all. It wasn’t until my girlfriend wanted to try it in her Grimm deck did I give the card any thought. Now after helping playtest the card, I have to say I am truly impressed with what Thumbelina can do. While I can’t see her being included in any top list from ARGs or AGPs, I can see her doing well at locals. She provides the deck with inevitability and really shines in an attrition battle: trying to wear your opponent out of resources without depleting your own. When played early, Thumbelina quickly builds up support counters and can force the opponent to use a removal spell on her and not one of the other threats on the field. She also makes combat worse for the opponent as she can make any potential attacker or blocker massive. For example, if you declare Gretel as an attacker and your opponent blocks, you can use Thumbelina to pump the Gretel in order to take down the blocker without losing Gretel or any cards from your hand. This potential threat can force your opponent to make suboptimal blocks or attacks just to play around her. As the game progresses, she can threaten to turn any of your attackers into a lethal swing. She especially helps Grimm kill larger resonators as usually the largest resonator it plays is Hamelin’s Pied Piper which is a 1000/1000. She also allows chump blockers like Gretel to kill much larger resonators. I don’t see her making much of an impact outside of Grimm and maybe a sideboard slot against a grindy matchup but I will definitely consider her if I need something to push me over the edge against a grindy opponent. She really shines in decks that are able to play a slower game as she gets more powerful the longer she stays on the field. If you are a fan of Grimm and are trying to update your list with the new set, I would highly suggest trying a few copies of her out.
9. Magic Screw
I’m sure this is another card most people weren’t expecting to see me talking about. This is another very niche card that only really has one application: Machina. The main reason I included such a narrow support card is because of how much support it provides for the deck it fits in. I brewed up a new Machina deck when this set first released because I have always really like Machina. This most likely has to do with the fact that my favorite sets to play from Magic were the two Mirrodin blocks and I have been a diehard affinity player since the deck’s creation (no I’m not sorry).
That being said this card was MVP of the Machina deck. One of the best plays the deck was able to make is turn 1 Clockwork Soldiers, turn 2 put magic screw on it and kill any resonator your opponent played. This card has been absolutely insane when I play it and it makes Machina way more relevant than he ever was in New Frontiers. Giving +600/+600 to any of his resonators is a huge boost and can really put your opponent on the back foot if played early. Putting it on either the Clockwork Soldiers or Clockwork Fairy gives you a potential 900/900 turn 2 that can attack which is absolutely nuts. On top of that this card can be searched for by Machina’s ruler ability allowing the turn 2 900/900 to be more consistently possible. Magic Screw also turns any of the other machines the deck is going to play into large threats that the opponent has to answer. It is hands down the best card in the Machina deck. The unfortunate thing is even with how powerful the screw is in the deck, there still in not enough good support to make Machina viable enough to play outside of locals. I highly suggest trying it out of you are a fan of Machina as I feel it has given him a huge boost. If Force of Will continues to print support like this in the next few sets I could see Machina becoming a viable ruler to consider playing.
8. Valentina Puppet Monarch
The new Valentina is a solid card. Her effect of stealing a resonator enables a huge swing in board presence. From her spoiling, I thought she was a solid card that I would consider running a copy or two in my sideboard. My main concern is how shaky the swing she provides is. If she dies, you lose the resonator you stole which can be debilitating. After playing with her a bit, I began to see just how good she could be. She is great against midrange opponents that want to play a few big resonators to win the game. If you can protect her in some way, like draw out your opponent’s removal before playing her or play counter spells, she can swing the game drastically in your favor. I don’t think she will be a 4 of in any deck but playing 2-3 copies spread between the main deck and sideboard is a good plan for her. She allows you to steal your opponent’s win condition and nothing feels better than stealing an Avatar of the Seven Lands, Alice from a Yggdrasil deck.
7. Alisaris Support
I admit I am cheating a little on this one as this technically isn’t a single card, however this group of cards do very similar things and it’s very hard for me to really pick one I am most impressed with without talking about the rest of the cards. The cards I am referring to are: Keeper of the Future, Skuld; Keeper of the Past, Urthur; Keeper of the Present, Verdandi; Veil-Savarian Dragon; Orb of Disaster, Ifrit Glass; and Disaster’s Memoria. These cards work together very well to create a very unusual, but fun, red deck. The big reason I am impressed with these cards is that they create a deck that wins in a very unorthodox way. This deck is a lot of fun and I really enjoy just watching the deck work. Initially, I was unsure of how good the Alisaris support cards would be and I was iffy on whether the deck would be strong enough to really be viable. After playing against the deck and seeing videos of others playing the list I am convinced that the deck is capable of doing some very powerful things. I am very happy that the cards work so well together and I’m impressed with just how well they do work together.
6. Demon of the Black Moon, Lilith
When I first saw this card, I wasn’t sure just how useful it would be. I initially thought that its ability to kill resonators was good and it has a good sized body but I felt that Dark Faria was a stronger darkness resonator that could destroy something when it entered the field. Now after playing with the card a bit, I can see just how useful it really is. One of the issues with Dark Faria is that it costs 4 darkness to kill another resonator which makes putting her in a non-darkness heavy deck near impossible. Lilith only costs 2 darkness and X of any other will to kill something which is much easier to fit her into more decks. Also if moon was used for part of her awakening cost you gain life equal to the destroyed resonator’s power. This bit of lifegain can be very helpful against aggressive decks giving you a sizable blocker and some extra life to survive into the late game.
5. Fallen Angelic Destroyer, Lucifer
This is a card that has been awesome since it was spoiled. I was very excited to play with it and I have been very impressed with just how good this card really is. He is a fairly large flying body that can put a good amount of pressure on the opponent. He also has the ability to gain life equal to the damage he dealt which is an amazingly useful ability. This enables you to pull yourself out of burn range against an aggressive deck making it harder for them to kill you. It also pushes you ahead in a damage race. His enter ability forces your opponent to banish a resonator which can be very helpful for a deck trying to stabilize. He removes a resonator on your opponent’s field and provides you with a large body that can gain life. He is exactly the card that a slower midrange or control deck wants to swing the board state more in their favor as they try to stabilize. He also boosts the power of Celestial Wing Seraph. She now has a very powerful angel that she can search for, enabling huge board swings when both come into play. This card has been amazing and I think it will see lots of play in competitive decks.
4. Friend from Another World, Kaguya/ Kaguya, the Moonlight Savior
This is my favorite ruler from the new set and there is a lot to talk about with her. First, on both her ruler and J-Ruler side she allows moon will to be used as if it was wind will. This is a very good ability and using only the two memoria she enables near perfect mana for a darkness/light/wind deck. She also draws a card whenever a moon is played which can be handy with other cards from the set. She flips for 3 which is a very reasonable cost to judgement. On her J side she is a 700/900 which is decently sized and every time you awaken a spell you put 2 +100/+100 counters on her. This is a very powerful ability especially since many of the new awakening cards are very powerful. She can easily grow fairly large and become a large threat herself. Her ability to counter automatic abilities is absolutely huge. She shuts down so many cards and can render an opponent’s play into a complete waste of time. She can stop all enter abilities from happening, turn what were once value resonators into disappointing abilitiyless resonators. She is also able to prevent all damage dealt to her making her an amazing blocker that is extremely difficult to kill. Her god’s art is a bit costly at 5 will but is very potent. Being able to tap your opponent’s entire field is very powerful and also being able to recover your own stones is also extremely useful. I have really enjoyed playing her and she provides way more value and utility than I had initially thought. I have been very impressed with everything she can do.
3. Tsukuyomi Noble
I overlooked this card a bit when it was first spoiled and, after playing against it the first time, I realized I was completely wrong about this card. This card shuts down all activated abilities if their controller does not control a moon. This would be a bit of an issue for the one playing her if she wasn’t already a moon herself. I did not realize that she was a moon until I first played against her. I immediately changed my viewpoint on the card from ok to very powerful. There are not very many moons in the game and even fewer that will actually see play in competitive decks. This card enables you to completely shut down their activated abilities while having no penalty yourself. She also draws you a card if your ruler is the new Kaguya. Just being able to lock the opponent out of activated abilities would have been strong enough, but she also comes with a decent sized body. A 500/700 for 2 will is very good and can block most resonators that would be attacking in those first few turns of the game. She also grows to a 700/900 if she is awakened which is only an extra will to play. When she is awakened she destroys an addition which can be extremely powerful as there are some good additions that are being played right now. I now love this card and have played with her myself several times. I have completely changed my view on this card and I will continue to play it in the weeks to come.
2. Space-Time Anomaly
I love this card so much. I am absolutely blown away with how useful and powerful this card actually is. This card give so much value over the course of a game it is incredible. When I first looked at this card, my initial thoughts were it was a solid card that could kill smaller resonators and draw some cards. Once I began to think about the card, the more I liked it. When this resolves, the card replaces itself, keeping the amount of cards in your hand the same. It also has remnant, allowing you to cast it again, giving you another card. This card when cast twice nets you a card which is very rare in this game. If this card simply drew you a card, it would be somewhat playable. However, this card does much more by giving target J/resonator -500/-500. This allows it to kill the many smaller resonators that are being played in the format right now. It can also give target J/resonator -1000/-1000 if cast both from hand and graveyard, which can kill most resonators being played. This card can also work as a combat trick making an opponent’s resonator smaller when it attacks or blocks, allowing your resonator to kill it and stay alive. It also can target J-Rulers which is extremely useful and I have used this card to astral several J-rulers in testing. This card would also be somewhat playable if it only gave -500/-500 with remnant. The fact that it both gives -500/-500 and draws a card really pushes it over the edge. It provides so much more versatility that I had originally thought. After playing quite a few games with this card, I am always happy to draw it and feel that I will include it as a 4-of in many decks I build. If you are playing darkness and water I would suggest trying a few copies of this card it does a huge amount of work.
Before talking about the card that I have been most impressed with I’d like to list a few honorable mentions that impressed me but I felt didn’t quite make it on this list.
I’m cheating a little again on this one but the combination of these two cards gives amazing control over what you are going to draw every turn. I was quite impressed with just how well Hydromonica can control your draws in you are playing Shion. Either card by themselves is ok but when playing both together the synergy is fantastic.
Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo
This card is solid and I’m sure it will get played. The thing I am most impressed with about this card is the ability to “bounce” resonators back to your hand. This gives you another opportunity to use Lucifer’s enter or destroy another addition with Tsukuyomi noble. I am impressed with just how useful it is being able to reuse resonator’s enter the field abilities.
Huanglong, Leader of the Sacred Beasts
This card is honestly awesome. It allows any deck to play Pricia’s god art for 1 will less. Pricia’s god art is actually extremely powerful and providing a massive body along with it is amazing. I tried playing this in an initial attempt at playing Pricia again (I really like her a lot) and it was fantastic. I feel this card gives sacred beasts a relevant enough boost to possibly be played in some sort of competitive deck (sadly most likely not in a Pricia deck).
1. Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame
This card is incredible and one of the most powerful cards in the set. It is an aggressive body and has multiple relevant abilities as well. When this card was first spoiled, I felt it was a solid resonator that would see a decent amount of play. Now, after seeing it preform, I have to change my opinion to this card is super strong. I originally thought that Athena was the more powerful 3-drop for aggressive red decks but after testing this card I can see that Pricia is the card they want to play. Pricia has swiftness, target attack and first strike, making her an absolute nightmare in combat. She can strike out of nowhere and kill most resonators the turn she is played. She is also able to be given flying with 1 wind will, enabling her to get past chump blockers and ensuring that her damage is getting to her target. She has a very aggressive 700/400 body and paired with first strike kills most resonators being played. I was initially concerned with her 400 defense as she is killed with most removal, but she also has an ability to deal 500 damage to an opponent when she is killed. This makes her less desirable a target to kill, which is good for her as she is a potent threat when left unchecked. All of these abilities enable her to be the 3-drop that aggressive red deck want to play. She provides a fast clock that is difficult to block profitably, she also can act as a removal spell and she punished the opponent for killing her. She is a monster and will definitely play a large role in the meta moving forward.
Those are the top 10 cards from Moonlight Savior that have impressed me the most so far. This set has provided a lot of very powerful and fun cards that hopefully will shake up the meta a bit and possibly some new and exciting decks will arise as well. I hope you enjoyed reading my list and let me know in the comments the cards you have been most impressed with or your favorite card from the new set. Thank you for reading and be sure to check out my next article here on of dice and pens where I will share some brews with the new set.