March of the Praetors
Unless you’ve been living in a desert bunker for the last ten years, you know that the bad guys have won – well, maybe not on this plane, but the Mirrans (God rest their souls) have finally succumb to the Phyrexian invasion.
Personally, I know that the TCP playgroup was definitely Pro-Phyrexia at first. We never liked the original Mirrodin block and were anxious for the jerks who invented Skullclamp
Skull Clamp to get what was coming to them. However, the Event Decks for Mirrodin Beseiged won us over. And by us, I mean me, because no one likes losing to Goblin Guide
Goblin Bushwhacker repeatedly.
You’ll be happy to know, though, that the Phyrexian Occupation Coalition is just as cute and cuddly as any bladegrass-stomping Loxodon. I for one welcome our new Phyrexian overlords…
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss
A Quick and Dirty Rundown on the Praetors
The word “praetor” comes from an office of the Roman Empire. The praetors were magistrates who were chosen by the emperor to oversee various aspects of the civil order – the military, gladiatorial games, immigration, etc. In New Phyrexia the praetors are given full authority by the resident planeswalker to make your opponent weep.
Each of the praetors is a legendary creature and the only mythic rare in their color with the exception of Phyrexian Obliterator
Phyrexian Obliterator in black. Let’s take a look at each one!
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Each of the praetors has an ability that aids your game while handicapping your opponent with an equal and opposite burden. Elesh Norn is going to be a bomb in a lot of casual weenie and a lot of block White infect decks. Having a total of seven mana for a converted casting cost is going to make him tough to play, but the only praetor coming at a lower price is Red’s Urabrask the Hidden. Vigilance and a toughness of seven is going to guarantee that once this dude is on the board he won’t be leaving any time soon.
His flavor text reminds us of the evangelical charity of the Phyrexians, who are happy to bring their steam-punk, do-or-die sadism to all those in need.
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Blue sports a couple of new Flash creatures in NPH (am I the only one who thinks of Neil Patrick Harris every time they type this?). Jin-Gitaxias is by far the biggest and baddest thing going on in your opponents main phase. He also wins the title of “Most Hated Praetor” – at least until I topdeck (no other way) a Corrupted Conscience
Jin’s toughness of four makes him immune to Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt, and the likelihood that his controller is loaded with counter spells makes this guy the Sultan of Scoop. However, a converted casting cost of ten ensures that you won’t be seeing this guy pop-up too often – that is until my buddy Brad puts him in his Sneak Attack
Sneak Attack deck as a sneak-able Greater Good
Sheoldred, Whispering One
This baddie is going to be a casual play favorite in no time! Not only does he Reanimate
Diabolic Edict every turn, but he’s a 6/6 Swampwalk in a format that is simply loving Black. Also, he’s the promotional card (with alternate art) at the upcoming pre-release, so I’ll be snagging at least one copy of this bad boy on Saturday.
Unlike Jin-Gitaxias, who provides you with infinite resources and ensures that your opponent will be sitting around empty-handed praying for the right draw, Sheoldred is going to be easier to respond to, especially if you’re playing multiple creatures per turn and your opponent’s graveyard isn’t as full as they’d like it to be. However, there are plenty of ways to fill a graveyard, and plenty of cards like Corpse Cur
Corpse Cur that could accelerate your necromancy.
Urabrask the Hidden
Finally, we come to Red’s praetor. Red has been an especially strong color in this block and Urabrask is a great addition to an already powerful arsenal – at least flavor-wise. With the lowest casting cost of the praetors, Urabrask is more likely to hit the board in draft and sealed decks. Not only does he accelerate your game, but he ensures that your opponent will be taking an additional turn to acquire eligible blockers.
Red has been such a Mirran-pure color that I think some flavor-nuts were hoping that Urabrask would somehow support the failing/failed cause of the resistance. His flavor-text is still a little obscure to me, but it might indicate that the Mirrans are as surprised as the rest of us.
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Green is used to high-cost, high-power fatties, so as far as beatsticks go, Vorinclex isn’t great. A 7/6 trample for eight mana isn’t exactly a deal. Also, his man-acceleration ability isn’t going to be much of a game changer once you have eight mana anyway, unless you can keep your hand full.
Again, I can see Vorinclex finding his way into casual play, perhaps in a certain Sprout Swarm
Sprout Swarm/Seedborn Muse
Seedborn Mused deck I know. Like his brother praetors his color-flavor is great – increasing your mana production while asserting some classic Green control.
Conclusion and Challenge
We here at TCP love our fatties and the praetors are no exception. We’re looking forward to pulling them at this weekend’s Pre-release and we wish you luck in your quest to do the same.
I’m pumped to see each of these bad boys enter play for the first time, but I’ll issue a special challenge here: The first player to let me know that he had (by any means) two praetors under his control at the same time, wins a Mirrodin Besieged card autographed by the artist. Let me know if you hit these guys or any other sweet pulls this weekend!