Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Activated Artifact Cycle

As is always the case when a new set comes out, the Magic community is abuzz about the new cards from Kaladesh. The Standard Pauper community is no exception, and I personally am hard at work on my set reviews which will be published over at PureMTGO.com over the next few Mondays. As I've mentioned the past couple Tuesdays, one of the things I love about this set is that it includes not one but three different cycles at Common. I've covered both the Puzzleknot Cycle and the Thriving Creature Cycle; today we'll take a look at the third and final one.

Unlike the other cycles I've covered, these cards don't have that much in common (pun intended). They have different casting costs, different stats, and a variety of activated abilities. But each one is an Artifact Creature with an ability that is activated by paying one colored mana, and each ability is tied thematically to the corresponding color. Interestingly enough, each one also has the Power and Toughness you would generally expect for the casting cost - a 4/5 for 5, a 2/4 for 4, a 2/3 or 3/2 for 3, and a 2/1 for 2.

Of the five, Dukhara Peafowl is probably the best. A 2/4 for 4 with Flying is pretty good, and the fact that it's an Artifact has additional synergy in the format. You do have to keep paying the single Blue mana to give it Flying, but that's a very reasonable price to pay. The Narnam Cobra is also decent, since it's a 2 drop that will be able to trade with any ground creature, and you only have to pay the Green mana when you're ready to make that trade. As far as Weldfast Monitor goes, Menace is a great ability, but it's pretty lackluster on a 3/2, since most of the time that won't be enough to allow it to kill both creatures that block it. Bastion Mastodon is just too expensive with a mediocre ability, while Prakhata Pillar-Bug might as well just give you 2 Life when it dies.

I don't expect these will make much of an impact, but in a deck that's looking for some reasonable Artifact Creatures, the peafowl or the cobra might make the cut.

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