It’s pretty obvious why Dazzling Reflection was created. This instant is meant to not only prevent a major hit from a big creature, but it gains you a bunch of life, too. Sure, an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger will still make you exile the top 20 cards of your deck. But you’ll gain 10 life in the process and prevent any damage from the attack. While this probably won’t be much more than a sideboard card, it can even be used on one of your own creatures to gain you some extra life.
One place it could definitely show up is in Modern. It’s the perfect counter to those decks that look to pump up a single Infect creature for a one-turn kill - as long as they don’t play something like Vines of Vastwood to prevent that creature from being targeted. It’s also good to counter the big Eldrazi decks in Modern, buying you an extra turn or two. Whether it will actually be played or not remains to be seen, and that’s why it makes our list.
As colorless mana rocks go, Seer’s Lantern isn’t a bad one. Being able to Scry 1 for 2 mana and a tap can be especially useful in Commander. It’s not yet clear if we’ll see the Lantern in any Standard Control lists. But a 3-mana colorless mana rock is playable in the right situation, and many pros consider Scry like drawing half of a card. It will definitely get into a good deal of Commander decks, but whether it’s competitively Constructed playable remains to be seen.
Slip Through Space foils were quick sellers as soon as the set was released. It’s thought that it could be pretty useful in Modern Infect decks. Making a creature unable to be blocked for a single mana is pretty good, but drawing a card out of it, too, is essential. That one more card you draw could be a pump spell like a Become Immense.
It also is a Devoid spell, meaning protection from colors doesn’t affect it. Why does this matter? Say you play Apostle’s Blessing and need to give your creature protection from blue. You can still target it with Slip Through Space. This is probably going to be pretty good in Pauper, too, the extremely popular all-common format on Magic Online that is picking up steam in paper recently. The question is if the card draw is worth playing it over Artful Dodge (which can be flashed back for only one Blue) or Distortion Strike (which has Rebound and can be used on your next turn, as well). But it’s fine in Modern Infect.
Can-trips are usually pretty good cards. This looks like a winner.
Natural State is very similar to Nature’s Claim, a popular artifact & enchantment removal spell in Modern, and even Legacy and Vintage. The major drawback to Nature’s Claim is that you have to give that destroyed artifact or enchantment’s controller 4 life. Natural State doesn’t have that drawback, but it can only destroy artifacts and enchantments with converted mana cost 3 or less. Fortunately, most of the targets in Modern, Legacy, and Vintage are 3 or less. In many matchups, this card is actually slightly better. Foils hit $3 very quickly, so obviously there’s real demand already. WIth Splinter Twin gone in Modern, the only thing that this doesn’t hit is the 4-mana Leylines (specifically Leyline of Punishment, Leyline of Sanctity, and Leyline of the Void.) This should be one of the best commons from the set and foils of it will always make your pack money back.
While not the most exciting land on the surface, Crumbling Vestige is probably the only land in Magic that comes into play tapped, and yet still gives you a mana. Not only that, the mana can be of any color. Sure it’s no Tendo Ice Bridge or Vivid Land, which allow you to spend that mana whenever you decide to get it. But at common, this is pretty powerful. It’s a colorless mana source that helps you color fix at any point in the game. You can’t ask much more from a common land.
Or can you?
If this land reminds you of Springleaf Drum, that’s because it does exactly the same thing, except that it also taps for colorless mana and only costs you a land-drop. Holdout Settlement is probably the biggest winner as far as Pauper in this set. How much better is it than Springleaf Drum? First of all, you don’t have to pay a mana to cast it. Then it also provides you with a colorless mana, which could, yes, be used to cast the Drum.
Will this replace Springleaf Drum in Modern Affinity? It’s pretty doubtful. That’s mostly because having the one-mana artifact on the board is best in that deck for a variety of reasons. But there are Pauper decks that could probably use a copy or two in their mana bases. Where this card will definitely see a lot of play in is Commander. With the new mana rules, there are corner cases where being able to get a mana of any color outside of your Commander’s colors will actually matter. It’s also yet another useful land for colorless Commander decks such as those led by Oath of the Gatewatch’s Kozilek, the Great Distortion.
Yes, Wastes is a Basic Land, but it is the most important common card in the set, hands down. This makes colorless Commander decks a lot more playable, and being able to fetch it up with anything that seeks out basic land makes it playable in pretty much every format. It remains to be seen if Wastes and colorless casting requirements will be included in future sets. If that turns out to be the case, which is very likely, then Wastes will be the one card that everyone will want to hoard. Why make such a major change to the rules of mana unless they planned to use it going forward?
Any other commons you’re excited about in the set that we haven’t covered? Let us know!