The next Magic: The Gathering set is here, and this one’s all about bringing back the classics. So to preview the set, we’ve got a couple of favourites — Australian team captain David Mines, and a rather pesky flier who Magic fans will know all too well.
We’ve got two cards to preview today, and one of them is an absolute icon of Magic lore and white decks: Archangel of Thune.
If you’ve played a Magic draft before and come up against someone who’s pulled Thune, you know what a veritable beast she can be. The flying lifelink 3/4 monster can turn a game on its head with a single attack, and the longer she’s out, the more you’ll want to faceplant into the desk.
Thune‘s 2020 version costs the same amount as the 2014 edition, but hopefully the reprint will make the archangel of death a little more affordable. Thune’s cost skyrocketed as soon as she became available, and former Team Australia captain and a top eight Magic Pro Tour finisher David Mines agrees that Thune will become an “absolute powerhouse”.
“If you ever get to keep this around for a turn and deal any damage with it your team starts to get completely out of control. It changes the ways you want to play out turns as well as it’s that powerful,” Mines said.
“Normally you’d want to be playing your spells and creatures post combat so you can represent tricks, however Archangel of Thune encourages you to play your creatures pre-combat so they all get the counters. Any card that fundamentally changes the way you want to play games of limited is a very powerful card. If you untap with this in play I don’t think you’re losing many games.”
The advantages in limited are pretty apparent, given how efficient Thune can be — and how limited decks often have fewer removal options than in constructed. But Thune’s good in other formats too, Mines argues, saying her lifelink trigger can be the basis for an astonishingly punishing combo.
“This deck nearly cost me a Grand Prix Top 8 so I know it very well,” Mines recalled. “Archangel of Thune combined with Spike Feeder equals infinite power for all of your creatures. The way this works is you’re able to remove a counter from the spike feeder to gain 2 life.”
“At this point the Archangel of Thune will trigger and put counters on all your creatures (including the counter you just removed from your spike feeder). You can do this an infinite number of times and either kill your opponent with your now gigantic Archangel of Thune, or with something like an 10000000/10000000 Walking Ballista. This deck can also gain infinite life and have infinite power between Kitchen Finks and a card like Viscera Seer. You can sacrifice the Kitchen Finks over and over again as it will keep getting counters when it comes back into play, letting you “reanimate” it an infinite number of times.”
Just thinking about being on the receiving end of that combo is infuriating. Mines noted that there isn’t an infinite combo available in Double Masters yet, although Walking Ballista means only one more card is needed to get that nightmare started. We’ll have to wait and see if it appears in the rest of the preview cards.
As for previews, we’ve got a second combo generator. It’s a return of Tuktuk the Explorer, a frustrating 1/1 goblin that spawns a 5/5 colourless artifact creature when Tuktuk dies.
According to Mines, Tuktuk won’t be anywhere near as versatile as Thune — who’s more versatile than an archangel? — but the Little Goblin That Could definitely has some value in the limited formats.
“The backbone of limited formats is eking out every piece of value that you can,” Mines said. With that in mind the baseline of the card much like other powerful 1/1’s in the form of Elvish visionary and Elvish Rejuvinator is fairly innocuous.”
“But when you add an ability to that they become considerably more powerful. You want your Tuktuk to die and trade off with their 1 toughness creature. If we go back to a format like Ixalan, a card like Raptor Hatchling was a nightmare for aggressive decks. You’d get to kill their 2 drop creature often and get a giant creature out of the exchange.”
“This is no different here. Even if you’re just chump blocking for a turn you’ve got yourself a 5/5 that cost 3 mana and prevented some damage. That sounds like an excellent deal to me.”
Tuktuk last appeared in the Rise of the Eldrazi set, although his price never hit anywhere near the highs of Thune.
There’s been a ton of fascinating cards revealed for Double Masters already. Jace, the Mind Scupltor and Cyclonic Rift are back, so anyone that quit playing Magic because they had their deck milled out to Esper Control is gonna really enjoy that. Fetchlands are back, Also, Mox Opal looks sick.
There’s a full list of the rest of the Double Masters preview cards over on the Wizards site. The set is due to be released in Australia on August 7.