Hi guys,

Today I will look at the new modal double-faced cards from Zendikar Rising. Before I look at specific cards, I will talk about them as a group to look at their overall impact.

One of the major issues historically with Magic has been mana problems. Whether it is flooding or getting shorted on mana neither situation makes Magic enjoyable. Finding the right mix of spells to land has always been a challenge for Magic players. With the introduction of MTG Arena, it feels like this problem has been exacerbated because you can play an unending number of games in a day.

From the data I have collected while playing Arena, mana issues occur about one-third of the time when you are playing a deck with less than twenty-four lands. This can cause great amounts of frustration because it feels like you did not have a chance in those games. Typically, when this happens on Arena, it will occur for several games in a row. I have heard MPL players say this is because decks are truly randomized, but this does not explain why it occurs more than is statistically probable.

Enter double-faced land cards.

The exciting part of the new modal double-faced cards is that the mana problem should become somewhat mitigated. While few of the spell on these cards are costed well, most could see some play in the right situation to help decks that would like to have more land, but want to maximize the number of spells available. I feel these cards will provide an extra land early in the game and a spell late in the game when you don’t need a land. Unless the spell side of the card is costed well, I don’t expect players to use a full playset of a card. Rather, I see one or two copies of several different cards initially used until players determine which cards have the most real value.

Each color has six modal double-faced cards plus there are six modal double-faced lands. The spell side of each card provides a variety of creatures, instants, and sorcery spells while the land side provides one mana of the cards color that enters the play tapped. Today I will look at white, blue, and land cards that I feel are playable in standard.

WHITE

Emeria’s Call costs seven mana to create two 4/4 white Angel Warrior creature tokens and Non-Angel creatures you control gain indestructible until your next turn. Seven mana is a high price in white, but getting two 4/4 angels and protecting your other creatures is a great late game top deck that can put you over the top. This card looks like something that more control orientated or mid-range decks want as a good top deck in the mid-to-late game.

Kabira Takedown gives you removal for two mana. It fits in any deck with a good go wide approach. This can take down any of the creature or planeswalker in the format. I expect to see this as a cheap removal card in any deck that is using white.

Ondu Inversion is a more expensive Planar Cleansing. Control decks will want this even though the cost is eight mana. I can see decks fielding a full playset of Ondu Inversion because having a tapped land early in the game and a total board wipe late in the game is a good package.

Sejiri Shelter is God’s Willing for one more mana. Having the ability to give color protection at instant speed has always been a good ability. I expect Sejiri Shelter to be at least a sideboard card and in the right deck possibly more.

Skyclave Cleric is a 1/3 Kor Cleric for two mana that when it enters the battlefield you gain two life. The cost is not bad for a 1/3 creature that has a creature type that the party deck might want. It could also fit into a life gain deck. Having it attached to a land makes it an easy include in several decks.

BLUE

Glasspool Mimic is a shapeshifter rogue that become a copy of a creature you control when it enters the battlefield. This is similar to Spark Double, but for a mana less. Copying another creature for three mana is a good rate, but because Glasspool Mimic must become a copy of a creature you have in play this limits the usefulness of Mimic some. I think it might have a role to play in a rogue’s deck or one that has large creatures it can copy.

Jwari Disruption is a two mana counter spell. Early in the game having to pay an extra mana for a spell is usually enough to counter it. The fact that it can counter any spell is a plus. I expect Jwari Disruption to see play in decks that want an extra counter spell in the early game.

Sea Gate Restoration is a seven mana draw spell. Seven mana is very expensive, but in the late game it makes for a powerful spell that can refill your hand. The fact that you no longer are limited to seven cards in hand is a good bonus. I don’t think this card will see a full playset in decks, but as a one or two of in decks it makes a good addition to ramp decks by giving them a land that has value late in the game.

THE LANDS

Each of the modal double-faced Pathway lands provides a different color on each side. When the land enters play you must decide which land you want, so these lands will only provide one color of mana rather than the two colors of traditional dual lands. One advantages of these lands is that they enter the battlefield untapped, so they are an easy inclusion in any multi-colored deck. Below you can see the cards and the color combinations.

Modal double-face cards are an interesting new mechanic. I expect they will see a lot of play early in the upcoming standard season. A few may even find their way into other formats.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!