Earlier this year, Magic: The Gathering visited the underworld. For their latest set, Wizards of the Coast are heading to the world of Ikoria, a land of massive towers, the deepest caverns, and - for the first time in the game's almost 30-year long history - creatures that can mutate.
But for our exclusive preview, we're not showing off of a new mechanic. Instead, we've got a single rare that is effectively a one-turn clock. If players don't deal with this card immediately, the game might be over.
For today's preview, we're checking out the seven-cost green enchantment Colossification. It turns any creature on the board into an instant giant, granting +20/+20. That creature is tapped as soon as the enchantment hits the board, giving the opponent one turn to find a solution or creature that can block.
Colossification doesn't grant trample, although many green creatures do have trample, so anyone facing a colossified creature might need more than a body blocker. The easiest solution will be to hold a removal card to nullify the effect of Colossification, since killing the enchanted creature will send Colossification to the graveyard. There's other options too, like counterspells, board wipes or direct removal. One major threat is the 1B Aether Gust instant, which is one of the most popular cards in Standard right now, allowing players to place any red or green spell or permanent on the top or bottom of their opponent's library.
Some creatures can fill this role too, like the excellent 1GW Knight of Autumn, which can destroy a target artifact or enchantment upon entering the battlefield.
But to get a better understanding of how Colossification might fare in competitive play, I reached out to an expert, and Australia's team captain kindly responded. David Mines has been a regular captain for Team Australia, a top eight finisher in the Magic Pro Tour, two top 8 appearances in the World Magic Cup and a former Gold-level professional on the Magic circuit.
As far as Mines' was concerned, Colossification allowed players to recreate their own Marit Lage, a classic 20/20 Avatar token, although Colossification doesn't provide the indestructible or flying abilities of the legendary creature.
"The logical place for this to end up is in a deck with some hexproof creatures," Mines said over email. "For standard throwing this on something like a Barkhide Troll should surely keep it around. They can only chump block for so long."
Barkhide Troll is a simple 2/2 GG creature from the latest Magic core set, which can give a creature hexproof until the end of turn for one mana. It's important to remember that players can still buff their own creatures with hexproof, too.
"This also seems like a good way to break up a board stall on your dream trawler," Mines said, referencing the nightmarish white/blue Dream Trawler creature that slowly gets larger each turn. "It’s high mana cost can be offset by your Nissa, Who Shakes The World [planeswalker] powering it out ahead of curve with mana up to protect it."
Nissa's basic ability doubles the mana from every forest tapped, making Colossification playable by turn 6. Nissa can untap one of the forests used to play Colossification, turning it into a creature that can attack immediately, allowing the player to cast Colossification and win with a single attack.
Mines noted that Colossification's cost - a 7-cost mana with two greens - means it's likely to see more use in constructed formats like Standard, Modern or Pioneer than sealed or limited decks. "7 mana spells have to be really good to make the cut," Mines said. "But this definitely seems like a good way to finish the game. Put it on a trampler or hexproof creature and sign the match slip. In a pinch this can even be a removal spell on their creature for the turn you’re killing them!"
The removal isn't a full removal of course, but by using Colossification you can tap an enemy creature to stop it from blocking your own attacks. There's various counters to that, but extra utility is always handy to have. And if you're lucky enough to play a draft or sealed deck where you pull Nissa and Colossification? You'd have to get real mana screwed not to win those games.
Colossification will be playable in Magic: The Gathering Arena and MTG Online from April 17, with the set's physical launch going into pre-release over April 17 to 19. The official launch for the physical cards is on May 15, but in the current environment most people are likely to stick to Magic: The Gathering Arena. Wizards has already transitioned Friday Night Magic events into a wholly online affair as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with players able to earn rewards redeemable at their preferred local game store. For more info on that, there's more details on " rel="noopener" target="_blank">the official Magic: The Gathering website.