My Favorite Cards from Hour of Devastation

While I’m not super keen on building or brewing any decks JUST yet I do have a list of cards I’m excited to play with.

Nicol Bolas is a bruiser. I can’t imagine playing many games where it doesn’t make a large impact immediately before winning the game if it gets to stick around. While Nicol Bolas is very expensive it does seem as though Standard has slowed down just enough that I wouldn’t be surprised to see it be very reasonable as a control deck’s finisher. Having something else to impact the board and act as a win condition besides Torrential Gearhulk can help clear up some of the occasional issues with actually winning the game.

The +2 ability is the most striking to me. While we did get used to Marvel and taking a chance with our own deck, now there is the chance to take a spin on the opponent’s deck. While it’s possible you could hit a lot of stinkers, just getting a creature to block can sometimes be just enough. Against midrange decks filled with powerful threats and planeswalkers, each +2 activation feels like Christmas.

I WILL take that Chandra please and thank you.

Nice Bristling Hydra appreciate it.

The -4 ability is likely to take out pretty much any creature or planeswalker in Standard except Bristling Hydra or vehicles. That is a great spot to be. In most decks in which you’re playing Nicol Bolas you will have other forms of removal or sweepers so Nicol Bolas acts as a way to finish off or clean up the last devastating permanent on the board. It’s also not unreasonable to just use the -4 to just win the game as well. Seven damage is a lot and adds up quickly.

While I don’t think Nicol Bolas is going to be the end, it certainly makes a good argument for being one of the most powerful cards in Standard.

This is my pick for most impactful card of the set. We have had a lot of unimpressive Wraths the last couple of years and this set gives us two potential incredible ones. I’m not near as sold as with Bontu’s Last Reckoning as I am with Hour of Devastation. While Hour of Devastation doesn’t kill any creature with toughness bigger than five the number of those creatures is pretty slim.

Perhaps the most important part about this Wrath is the first line of text.

‘All creatures lose indestructible until end of turn’

Turning off Archangel Avacyn and Selfless Spirit (among potential other cards) is a gift for anyone looking to wipe the board. While the opponent can just hold Avacyn until Hour finishes resolving, it’s significantly easier to play around instead of just hoping they don’t have it. Being able to pick off Planeswalkers just adds another benefit to being able to handle anything in one fell swoop. Hour of Devastation is likely to change how people build their decks or how much they are willing to put on the board. Vehicles are a big winner since they won’t be touched, but the answers to Gideon, Ally of Zendikar are piling up.

While I highly doubt this will end up making a Standard impact, it is my favorite of the God cycle from Hour. Sitting at 5/5, this bug will dominate most fields and it passes the Glorybringer test as well. The last time I discussed cards I talked at length about Glorybringer and its impact on Standard. Since Marvel’s banning, Glorybringer has started to pick up in seeing more and more play and I expect it to continue making an impact.

Besides being a big body and being essentially undead Scarab God also has the ability to win games on its own. By resurrecting creatures it lets you gain advantage with your own value creatures or your opponent’s. Being able to rebuy opposing Glorybringers could be a big game. If we’re already playing a Zombies value deck we can make use out of Scarab’s value in being able to filter and to drain an opponent out. However I think overall this card might just be too slow to make a real impact.

If you’re looking for a solid removal spell then you hit the jackpot. Exiling is so important between Gideon, Delirium, Gods, and potential reanimation that this card is very solid. Costing four mana is a real drawback but the value is so high that I would love to have a couple copies in any of my decks that could support it. The upside of potentially free information could prove invaluable.

I’ve heard a lot of people compare this card to Vendilion Clique and in some ways that makes a lot of sense. A 3/1 body with Flash and Flying ends up being pretty solid in control mirrors with little removal, but I think this card is likely to revitalize UW Flash style decks. Being able to hold up Spell Queller and Obstructionist lets you play around a multitude of things your opponent might do. Ishkanah is one of the best cards against the archetype and being able to counter the spiders the Queen brings can completely swing the tempo of a game. I remember when Disallow came out people were pretty skeptical of the Stifle ability but have since come around on the uses. Obstructionist being essentially uncounterable can also change what you can play around as well.

This is the first of two “split” cards on my list. Supreme Will seems to fill a void that control decks have been missing in flexible cards. Being able to find lands early and counterspell late (or vice versa) with Torrential Gearhulk makes this card quite powerful. While it won’t be replacing any of the hard counterspells anytime soon it does allow for even more play.

The second “split” card is Abrade and this card is actually awesome. Being another solid removal spell which kills a wide range of creatures is already solid. Being able to destroy artifacts is a nice bonus. The Gearhulks are all widely played and if the format has been any indication, decks like Colossus pop up from time to time but Scrapheap Scrounger and Heart of Kiran are widely played. If you want to be able to handle a wide range of threats Abrade mostly can deal with it. I’m certainly playing two in most control decks I build.

I’ve been over Claim// Fame already so I won’t go too deep into it here again but the card has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see it be played in Modern and see where it lands in Standard. Look for this card to appear in Death’s Shadow in Modern but don’t be surprised to see it in Dredge or Counters Company too.

That’s it for this week. What cards are you interested in playing with?

Rudy Briksza

Rudy Briksza

Rudy Briksza is a middling magic player with dreams as big as his ego. He has 8 Open Series Top 8s including 2 wins, one in Standard and one in Legacy. He competed in the 2016 SCG Player's Championships. He really likes Taco Bell and if you don’t you’re wrong.
Rudy Briksza

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Published:July 6, 2017

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