Spoiler season starts today! I’m incredibly excited to see what Amonkhet has to offer, and especially how the great Egyptian flavor will shine through on many cards. We’ve already seen a lot of cards spoiled that take heavily from Egyptian mythology, but perhaps nothing is more iconic in Egyptian mythology than the gods.
Today we got our first look at one of the five gods in Amonkhet, which gives us a bit of an idea as to how the rest of the gods will look at the themes and stipulations that will define their playability in Standard. In this article, I’ll be going over the one god we’ve seen so far, talk about its potential playability in Standard, and what the other gods are likely to look like. Let’s jump in!
The first god that we got a look at is Hazoret the Fervent, the red god. As expected, these gods won’t break the mold that the Theros gods set too much. They will have indestructible (because honestly a god shouldn’t be able to die), will be oversized and overpowered for their mana cost, but will have some condition that has to be fulfilled if you want it to be effective. In Theros, that condition was a certain amount of devotion that god’s color or colors, but it looks like they’ve gone a slightly different direction in Amonkhet.
Hazoret’s condition is that you have 1 or fewer cards in hand. I can’t imagine that this would carry over to the other colors, so expect a similarly unique condition in each. Additionally, the red god has haste, meaning that if the condition is fulfilled as you play it, you essentially get to ignore the drawback and are left with an undoubtedly powerful creature. One of the problems with the Theros gods were that they frequently didn’t do anything to effect the board state the turn they came down, so players would frequently be too far behind by the time they could get their gods online. If we want to play Hazoret in an aggressive deck that uses discard outlets for extra value, haste helps mitigate this problem.
Additionally, one sign of a powerful card is that one of its abilities helps the other. Cryptbreaker is an excellent example of such, as its ability to discard creatures to make zombies fuels its card draw ability. Hazoret is no different, as its discard activated ability is powerful on its own, but also strips your hand of cards and gets you closer to allowing you to attack with a 5/4 indestructible, a threat that is very hard to deal with.
All in all, the card looks powerful enough, but will it be able to break through in Standard?
Of the original 5 mono-colored gods on Theros, 1 of them saw massive amounts of play (Thassa, God of the Sea), and the other 4 saw play ranging from a 2-of in a tier 1 deck to a sideboard option here and there. It’s reasonable to think that these gods will have a similar level of playability in Standard. So, where does Hazoret fall?
At 4 mana, that puts it firmly at the top end of aggressive decks, and in the middle range of midrange decks. However, looking at the sizing of the creature, the condition that has to be fulfilled for it to attack and block, and the activated ability, we’re looking at this card as an aggressive tool, and not something that midrange wants to touch.
The next important question that we have to ask is “how easy is it to get to 1 or fewer cards in Standard?” We certainly have the tools already available thanks to Shadows Over Innistrad block. Lightning Axe + Fiery Temper is an already impressive combo that gets cards out of your hand quickly. Additionally, Cryptbreaker is one of the most powerful cards currently in Standard, and it doesn’t get the play it deserves. A lot of this is due to metagame shifts, as the B/R Zombies deck has trouble dealing with 4-Color Copycat, B/G Constrictor, and now has a mediocre matchup against Mardu Vehicles, due to the deck adapting Walking Ballista, which makes Cryptbreaker look like a joke.
The current shell that Hazoret likely fits into is weak in this current format, but Hazoret covers a lot of the blind spots the deck has. It is not weak to cheap removal or the impending graveyard hate in Amonkhet. It also gives the deck a lot of impressive reach both in the 5/4 indestructible body and in the activated ability, which lets the deck continue its graveyard engine while pressuring the opponent’s life total.
My verdict on Hazoret’s playability is a solid: “I’ve got a feeling it’ll be played in B/R Zombies, which will exist in some capacity, especially as we are bound to see more playable cards that fit into this archetype later in spoiler season.”
What the Other Gods Might Look Like
Now that we know how these Gods are likely to vary from the Theros ones, we can wildly speculate as to what the other 4 mono-colored gods will look like. We know that they will each have indestructible, might have another creature keyword on top of that (Hazoret has haste), have a condition that must be met in order for them to attack or block, and they might all have an activated ability as well. Here are my wild guesses as to what these other gods could be:
- Additional creature keyword: flying.
- Condition to be met: must have 7 or more cards in hand.
- Activated ability: draw a card.
- Additional creature keyword: menace.
- Condition to be met: must have 5 or more creatures in your graveyard.
- Activated ability: put the top card of your library into your graveyard.
- Additional creature keyword: reach.
- Condition to be met: must have total power of creatures greater than 10.
- Activated ability: make a 2/2 token.
- Additional creature keyword: vigilance.
- Condition to be met: must have 5 or more other creatures in play.
- Activated ability: make a 1/1 token.
These are obviously blind shots in the dark, but they’re how I see the gods that haven’t yet been spoiled to shape up. I doubt that both the green one and white one will look like that however, as they’re very functionally similar, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or the other look exactly like that.
I’m extremely exited to see how the Amonkhet gods leave their marks on Standard, and can’t wait to see what the other ones look like. For Hazoret, it looks to me like a card that needs good synergy around it to make it work, but we do already have a good shell to fit it in. That B/R Zombies shell is on the heavy downswing right now, but Hazoret might just be the card that the archetype needs to pick itself back up and dust itself off. However, only time will tell if I’m right about my predictions in this article, or if I was raving like a lunatic.
Until next time,
Have you been reading our Deck of the Day column? Each day in 2017, we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that deserves its moment in the spotlight. You can read our most recent one here, where we featured a unique Esper Delve deck in Modern that plays many of our favorites from original Innistrad.