Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Art Challenge Review 041114—Volkan Baga (Archangel's Light)

Weekend Art Challenge Review
Here's the challenge we're reviewing today.

Cairn Wanderer's Memorial is a neat idea, and is arguably just as white as the changeling was black, though the flavor justification is quite different. I'm not convinced we "enchant graveyard" adds as much to the card as it costs. Interesting how Angelic Burial Ground can be so much better than Akroma's Memorial, but requires a lot more setup on your part (getting creatures with the relevant abilities into the graveyard).

Another Chance is better than a Get Out of Jail Free card; A Seal of Second Sunrise that also gets back sorceries and instants, and life, without any concern of helping your opponent. That's a huge effect, especially if you're building your deck to optimize its value: Definitely mythic. It's also not hard to imagine this being the card Development wasn't ready to print and needed to replace with something safer.

Archangel's Consolation stands to gain you 6 life per creature you make, or potentially 20 if your opponent can get you below 6 despite that. Is a card that just gains a ton of life mythic? Obviously Wizards thought to, or they wouldn't have printed the actual Archangel's Light. At five mana, this is a lot more playable and so also more dangerous in terms of possibly skewing the play environment. I'd drop one of the paired triggers and increase the life gain to 5 for better aesthetics and quicker play.

Archangel's Light is a souped up Safe Passage, sometimes gaining you a huge amount of life. This could easily be the best Fog in a Turbo-Fog deck, and maybe even a tricky sideboard against aggro strategies. Despite some game-winning potential, I still feel like this could be just rare, but I do like it.

Archangel's Oracles is an angelphiliac take on Oracle of Mul Daya. Upgrading to full Future Sight during your fateful hour is definitely a stretch for white, but would you add blue to the cost of a spell that's mono-white in its normal state? (Theoretically; it's debatable how white the normal ability is.)

Seems like if we got Ascendant's Call instead of Angel of Glory's Rise we'd be happy with it as the anti-Zombie Apocalypse. Having seen both possibilities, I prefer the Angel's effect, but the symmetry of this being a sorcery instead of a creature. This design belongs in Avacyn Restored, not Dark Ascension.

Ascension Prayer is a Final Judgment that upgrades to Plague Wind. That's pretty epic. Enough so that I'd expect Standard competitors to play around the fateful hour part religiously. The flavor text is absolutely perfect.

Ascetic Devotion is stretching hard against the limits of the color pie. It would be totally safe as blue-white card, but raises a lot of eyebrows in mono-white. On one hand, I feel like mythic rare cards need to be unique enough to justify that kind of bleed, but on the other hand, as the most promoted cards, they're responsible for best conveying what their colors should do.

Also, this is probably broken, falling into the what-card-did-Light-replace camp.

I take issue with a group of 6 martyrs voltroning into a 6/6 creature, because they're just martyrs and I don't get why six of them fight better together than entire phalanxes of trained soldiers do elsewhere. Ignoring that, I love that they die into a bunch of vengeful spirits, and that can be upgraded all the way to 24 power of hell-razing angels when things get grim. (Though again, good luck finding an opponent who will let that happen.)

Attracted by Light is simple and potentially very powerful. I wouldn't print it alongside Soul Warden or similar, but I'm not sure that combo's making it to Legacy with this cost. This is safer and much more on-color than Ascetic Devotion.

Avacyn's Prayer is a simple and compelling alt-win condition. It's also very swingy. It's not hard to imagine it winning a third of your games on turn 4 or 5, and being completely dead another third. Swords to Plowshares and Last Breath are exactly the kinds of cards you want to pair this prayer with.

Avacyn's Boon is too similar to Devout Invocation, but Dark Ascension came first so that's arguably fine. The card name doesn't work though, because Avacyn was completely absent from Innistrad during this set.

Avacyn's Evangels can duplicate itself up to once per turn, but each copy has the same ability so they can grow exponentially (2, 4, 8, 16, etc) and that's not limited by life or mana, only by your ability to preserve evangels and kill other things. This card looks bad at first, but could prove very impressive. That happens all the time at rare, but I'm not sure they do that at mythic.

Pasteur cleverly found that the art from Archangel's Light could go on Increasing Devotion, letting us use that card's art here. I didn't spell that out as an option, but it fits the intent of the challenge, and is something we know they do in R&D when necessary. Great thinking!

Avacyn isn't giving any Guidance from within the Helvault, so I'm not cool with the name here, but it could be something about Avacyn's followers not giving up hope and fighting extra hard for her memory. It's not clear whether this ability replaces the equipments' printed abilities or is simply tacked on. "Equipped creatures you control get +2/+2. Equipped humans you control have indestructible" isn't identical, but it's close enough.

Ultimately, though, this is a massive bonus with a massive condition and to me that feels rare, though certainly we can point to examples of similarly conditional mythic cards.

Hole filling can be tricky, but is really fun. We already knew that, so the real takeaway is a better understanding of just how hard mythic design is. It's hard.


  1. I'm rooting for attracted by light. I think it is the best designed card here.

  2. Avacyn's Guidance could probably be "Armory of Faith" or "Armory of the Faithful" - something in that area.