by ElspethFTW, Gaming Successfully Staff
The original Sorin Markov is a nice card. His +2 ability is certainly useful, as it deals 2 damage to a target creature or player and gain 2 life. You tend to lose a lot of life in black decks, especially with Vampires, so it’s a welcome gain of 2 life with perhaps a little removal added in there. If you happen to have an opponent at 1 or 2 life just barely hanging on, which can certainly happen, it’s also quite useful.
The one thing that makes Sorin really good for Vampires, and really why he was created in the first place I think, is the -3 ability: Target opponent’s life total becomes 10. This is important since key vampire cards have abilities that activate at 10 life, like Bloodghast’s Haste, or deactivate as with Vampire Lacerator which makes you lose 1 life each upkeep unless your opponent is at 10 or less life. But Sorin rarely saw Constructed play back when he was in Standard. These two abilities always seemed enough of a reason to me to run a copy or two.
His -7 or so-called ultimate ability is sort of nice, too. You get to take over your opponent’s next turn, obviously to set him up for an easy picking on your next turn.
The one major issue with Sorin Markov is actually quite obvious. He’s a 6 drop. The 3 required black really isn’t a problem, but in a deck that was once extremely competitive like R/B Vampires, Sorin was just going to muck up your hand and took up slots better used for removal. He’s a nice card, but he ended up being relegated to Vampire deck builds that could occasionally win FNM’s and other local tourneys, not top 8 at Opens or a Grand Prix.
Today, though, he’s still a 15+ dollar card, even with his Magic 2012 reprint, a widely distributed Core Set. The main reason he remains so valuable is how nasty his -3 ability is in Commander. Taking a player from potentially 40 life (or even more) down to 10 can put said player in kill range. Since Sorin begins with 4 loyalty, it’s not impossible that Sorin can do this a couple of times in a Commander game while he’s on the board. With mono-black Devotion now a thing since the release of Theros, Sorin's 3 black mana symbols make him very useful for fueling Devotion effects. It took awhile for Sorin to find a home, but he’s going to be a valuable card for a very long time.
by Phoenix Desertsong
Without a doubt, Angelic Destiny is one of the most gorgeous Magic the Gathering cards. There was a lot of chatter when this card was first released that this card shouldn't be a mythic rare. I disagree. This is one of those cases where Wizards of the Coast created a card that just “feels” mythic. It wasn't a "chase" mythic rares, but it's a really good card!
My first experience with this card was actually in a Magic 2012 draft! I was passed it in draft, only because there was a foil mythic in the same pack. The guy who passed it to me even said "you're welcome!"
Objectively, I knew this card was powerful. Anything that can give your creature both flying and first strike and +4/+4 is absolutely ridiculous. Plus, this card only costs 4 mana to play! Granted, it does have a double white mana cost, which does push you towards white in Limited. But in Magic 2012, that was hardly a bad thing. This was actually fine to draft, too!
Auras had gone out of style in the years before Angelic Destiny released. This as pretty much as good as they get, besides Auras that give you +1/+1 for each creature or land you control. Best of all, when the enchanted creature dies, you get this Aura back to your hand. That's actually fairly unusual for Auras. This is good, though, because when an enchanted creature typically dies, it's a 2-for-1. It's still a 2-for-1 here, but you actually get the card back which helps even things out.
That this card makes the enchanted creature an Angel in addition to its other types is actually sort of interesting. It adds great flavor to the card and certainly doesn’t hurt anything. This bit made casual players with Angel tribal decks quite happy; that was a huge audience for this card right away.
Angelic Destiny is a very good Magic card that’s certainly worth its mana cost. In Standard, this Aura did have its time in the spotlight. White Weenie was a very competitive deck back then, which was actually White/Blue thanks to Geist of Saint Traft and Mana Leak. Many lists would run one, two, or even three copies of Angelic Destiny. Even the vaunted Caw-Blade deck would occasionally run two copies of Angelic Destiny, as if it needed them. Later, Blue/White Humans would run the card with great success.
In Limited, Angelic Destiny was a clear powerhouse, as it’s very difficult to stop a flyer with first strike in a format where removal is at a premium. But even in Standard, it's very hard to answer a creature that's buffed in both power and toughness by four.
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