Magic: The Gathering is a game where players put cards on a table, but it’s also a game where magical figures summon monstrous allies and zap each other with magical spells in order to reign supreme over…something. New sets come out regularly, and the most recent, Hour of Devastation, is set on the almost-ancient-Egypt world of Amonkhet. Since the set is out now, and the cards are quite interesting, I think it might be time for me to tell you about the most interesting cards in the set. These aren’t the most powerful cards, nor are they the ones that are going to set the competitive world on fire, but they are objectively the most interesting ones.
10. Oketra’s Last Mercy
Oketra is some kind of big, weird god on the world of Amonkhet, and I’m pretty sure that things have ended poorly for most of the gods on that world, but just look at the text of this card. You’re starting the game over, but with all of your lands in play. Sure, they don’t untap the next turn, but you get all of your life back while maintaining all of your spellcasting power. Look, it’s good, ok?
9. Hollow One
Cycling is an ability that lets you pay a small cost to trade cards in your hand for new cards from your deck. It’s a simple mechanic that makes the game a little smoother for the player, but inside the game, the reality is that you’re hucking your creatures into the graveyard. What does the Hollow One love? It loves the screams of those monsters who get hucked directly to their death without a chance at life. One? It’s ready. Two? It’s almost there. Three? It enters the world, unhindered and powerful.
8. Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
This guy is a sphinx who bosses around all of the other sphinxes in the multiverse. Unesh has a weird goat head, and that means that he can smash noggins up against anyone who might challenge him. Sovereign means something serious here, and it’s important to note that sphinxes are very good at magic spell slinging already. So there’s going to be a one-two punch here.
7. Frontline Devastator
This card is good for two reasons. The first reason is that it is a Zombie Minotaur Warrior, and the sheer reality of that kind of creature existing would justify the card by itself. The second reason is because this Zombie Minotaur Warrior is so pissed off that it’s hacking a stone pillar in half. You know that someone is VERY SERIOUS when they’re hacking at stone obelisks and whatnot.
6. Pride Sovereign
This is a cat that poops out more cats who make it stronger. It’s like, ayoooo, get in here bros. I like cats, and cats are good, and this is the boss of all of the cats in the game. I don’t have anything else to say about this. It is good.
5. Nimble Obstructionist
The rules on this card are a little complicated, but the gist is that you can use it to keep people from doing things like fetching lands or using the abilities on their cards. The best part, though, is that the art really sells the nimbleness. This birdperson is just like “Zip! Zap! Don’t do the thing you want to do!” Much like real-world birds, it’s a huge jerk, and it’s great.
4. Dutiful Servants
These are mummies who are doing a good job. They just want you to love them. Sure, the rivers of the world have turned to blood. Sure, there are giant creatures wrecking face all over. Sure, minotaur zombies are hacking at stone obelisks. But you know what still matters? Duty. These mummies have a duty, and they’re gonna do it.
3. Ruin Rat
“This is my bone,” the rat says. “There are many like it, but this one is mine. My bone is my best friend. It is my life. It must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my bone is useless. Without my bone, I am useless. I must gnaw on my bone real good. I must gnaw better than any other rat can gnaw a bone. I must gnaw faster than the other rat.”
The zombie waited beneath the sand. “Soon,” she thought, “I will make my way out of this nightmare. I will claw my way up from the depths, and I will destroy those who threaten my desert.” The zombie cuddled down into the sand. “I will sit here, though,” she continued, “until someone does a complicated game action to bring me to life.” No one did.
1. River Hoopoe
Look at this damn bird.
Cameron Kunzelman tweets at @ckunzelman and writes about games at thiscageisworms.com. His latest game, Epanalepsis, was released last year. It’s available on Steam.