Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dragon's Maze Spoiler: Deputy of Acquittal

It's spoiler season again, this time for Dragon's Maze, the final set in the Return to Ravnica block. Later this week I should have a full length article up at PureMTGO about the recently spoiled Gatekeeper cycle at Common, but for today I wanted to take this chance to review another strong Common that was one of the first cards spoiled - Deputy of Acquittals.

Like I mentioned in my article, the best place to start when evaluating any card is with the vanilla test, which simply looks at the Power and Toughness of the creature relative to its casting cost. In this case, a 2/2 for 2 is pretty standard, although given that it has a multicolor casting cost, one would expect either a boost in its base stats or a pretty sweet ability to make up for the difficulty in casting it. Fortunately, the Deputy has not one but two relevant abilities.

The first, of course, is Flash, which means that this spell can be cast as an Instant. Cheap Flash creatures are typically pretty good, allowing you to ambush your opponent during his Combat step or hold up counter-magic for your turn and still get value by casting the Flash creature at the end of your opponent's turn if he or she failed to play anything relevant. Now with only 2 Toughness, the Deputy isn't as relevant for the first option, but is plenty good for the second one. Even just a 2/2 for 2 with Flash would probably be playable in a Control archetype.

And the second ability is even better. Whenever the Deputy enters the battlefield, you get the choice of returning a creature you control to your hand. This allows you to sidestep a negative enchantment like Pacifism or get extra value out of that creature's 'enters the battlefield' ability like Cathedral Sanctifier, or even reset a flipped Loyal Cathar.

Combine the two abilities together, and you have an Unsummon on a relevant 2/2 body, which is quite a powerful card. Since you can cast this spell as an Instant, you can use it to sidestep any removal spell that targets one of your creatures. Overall this is fantastic utility out of a simple 2/2, and one that should probably be an auto-include in almost any Standard Pauper deck that has early access to White and Blue. While not quite as good as Kor Skyfisher, I predict that this card will have a pronounced effect on the upcoming metagame.

So what do you think? Have I overstated how good this card really is? Are there relevant applications that I missed? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

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