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Our exclusive Fate Reforged preview is brought to you by Jay Lansdaal and Travis Sowers.
Constructed Implications with Jay Lansdaal
One of the more exciting things about Rattleclaw Mystic when it was first spoiled, was that it could produce 6 mana on turn 4. You could morph it on turn three, unmorph it on turn four, and then tap it and your remaining lands to produce six mana and cast something awesome, like a Sagu Mauler!
Flash forward a few months, and this only happened in that one game at your FNM in the 1-2 bracket. Why? Well, it takes a full turn of set up, while you are not advancing your board other than with a 3 mana 2/2 (2/1 after it flips), so that six mana spell better catch you up with your opponent. At that point, it looks like you are setting yourself back too much to be able to get ahead.
Why am I talking about Rattleclaw Mystic though?
Because our preview actually lets you get to six mana on turn four while advancing your board. It profits from you getting into a good board position, then propels you past your opponent.
Take a look at this deck, for example:
Abzan Ramp by Jay Lansdaal
This deck is all about going 2 > 4 > 6. We might not have Primeval Titan anymore, but boy are Souls good when they stay alive. Elspeth is no slouch either, and they work together very well too, with Elspeth providing the armies for Soul of Theros to make unbeatable.
Plenty of your games will be tapped land into Whisperer, into Siege Rhino, followed by either of the six drops on turn four. I’m having a hard time imagining your opponent coming back from that. Obviously the Whisperer is fragile, but not more than an Elvish Mystic, which many people play now just to have extra Caryatids. You can also sub in Anafenza plus a tapped land for Siege Rhino, which will still trigger Ferocious, and can even grow your Whisperer when it attacks next turn.
You can also use another Fate Reforged card to get to six mana: Frontier Siege. That one helps you get to six on turn 4 even with a Caryatid.
Being heavy Green and heavy White does cause you to lose Bile Blights and Hero’s Downfalls, which is why I have the Feed the Clans in the sideboard. Against Aggro, we just want to stay alive until the Rhinos come trampling in.
That wraps up my first idea with Whisperer of the Wilds. Hope I got you excited about what I believe to be a subtly powerful card!
Limited Implications with Travis Sowers
The best part of spoiler season for me is when we get to see the commons. Sure, the splashy mythic bombs are cool to see, but commons are the bread and butter of limited. I may see any given bomb two or three times over a format, but commons you can build a deck around. Whisperer of the Wilds is such a common. The easiest two analogs for this card are Golden Hind & Sylvan Caryatid from Theros block. This group of two mana ramp creatures have a good bit in common, though I think we’d all agree that our new friend the Whisperer is the weakest of the bunch.
Or is she? Lets delve deep for a moment. Golden Hind gave you the opportunity to trade for an opposing two drop, something that Whisperer of the Wilds will never do. Her lack of power is a real downside. Golden Hind was often a first pick because it’s power and toughness made it a relevant body on the board, and ramp in Theros was good. Sylvan Caryatid could block bears, well the kind of bears we found in Theros at least, I don’t think it would stand up long to a bear from Tarkir! The two toughness on Whisperer means that she will rarely be a good blocker, more of a speed bump. So why are we interested in her when she has none of the advantages of her Therosian friends?
I’ve played a LOT of Khans limited. Many of those games have been decided by who was able to hit five mana first. It’s so important, that the format has warped around it. Khans is always a play first format (in the blind) and we’re all playing 18 lands to make sure we hit five mana on turn five. Remember getting run over by that opponent who just slammed morphs you couldn’t block? You can do that a turn sooner with Whisperer. You can even KEEP UP when you’re on the draw! Because of the format she’s in, Whisperer has the ability to be a key player in a morph deck. What better way to share your secret plans than with a whisper…
The upside? Once you get one big creature in play, she’ll help you get more! Being able to tap for two mana once you have a 4 power creature in play could lead to some ferocious starts. Say you have a 6 or 7 mana bomb. Here’s your turn sequence : Turn two Whisperer. Turn three Alpine Grizzly, tap Whisperer for another Whisperer. Turn 4 you just untapped with 7 mana. On turn four!
Final grade on Whisperer of the Wilds. If you want to ramp in the new Khans, this is your gal. She gets you to five mana on time to flip a morph, gives you access to some crazy openers and as a common, she’s dependable. You may be able to get more than one for your deck. I expect to be whispering quite a bit at the Fate Reforged prerelease. See you there!