Exclusive SOI Preview – Drownyard Temple

Shadows Over Innistrad has me hooked.

There’s so much mystery and intrigue that I sometimes find myself shaking with anticipation for each newly spoiled card or for the next clue that could help us unravel the storyline. The suspense is killing me and, as a Vorthos, I’m loving every minute of it.

Why have Avacyn and her angelic cohorts turned against the humans, their madness blinding them with rage? Has Tamiyo reached any relevant conclusions through her research, and how is the Innistradi moon involved? What are all these strange, tentacled growths lining buildings and streets? How and why are these eye-like mutations spreading across the body of humans and vampires alike? Why has Nahiri suddenly appeared on Innistrad, and how is she involved with the appearance of these mysterious cryptoliths? And, most importantly, where did Jace get that sweet leather jacket?

Speculation and conspiracy theories continue to abound, and everyone seems to be losing their collective minds trying to figure out the truth. Could the presence of these tentacled growths and eye-like mutations be tied with Emrakul or even Marit Lage? Is there a new demi-god or demonic entity trapped inside the moon? Who’s behind all of this madness and why does Avacyn believe the whole human race to be sinners that must be punished?

If only I could don a tattered, brown leather jacket and roam the cobbled streets of Innistrad with Jace in hopes of uncovering these mysteries!

Thankfully, Jace has been making some progress and is hot on Nahiri’s heels.

“This is it! All the cryptoliths point here!” – [card]Jace Beleren[/card]
What in the world is going to emerge from that ominous whirlpool?


While I’m sure my fellow Vorthoses are pleased as punch with how much flavor is packed into “Drownyard Temple”, let’s take a moment to shine a light on the playability of this new land and discuss deck building and play theory for all those who want to sleeve some of these up upon release of Shadows Over Innistrad.

Let’s be frank and call a spade a spade, shall we? Drownyard Temple does not seem like an inherently powerful or broken land. When I was first shown the card, I was much more excited by the storyline implications than by its potential playability.

“A land that only produces colorless mana and can be brought back from the graveyard to the battlefield tapped for three mana?”, I scoffed. “What a lackluster ability!”

However, the more and more I thought about it, the more excited I became about how well Drownyard Temple might synergize with other cards and mechanics from Shadows Over Innistrad.

Let’s do a quick recap, shall we? Our Shadows Over Innistrad keywords and mechanics include:

– Delirium
– Investigate/Clues
– Madness
– Skulk

It should come as no surprise to players that discard effects and graveyard interaction will play a crucial role in how decks are built and how you can gain an advantage during your games. There will likely be no shortage of cards and abilities that aid you in discarding cards from your hand or milling cards from the top of your library, usually for some sort of boost or added benefit to make up for the card disadvantage. If enough powerful cards with Madness and Delirium are printed, discard and self-milling effects will grow even more popular.

Cards with Madness are a great complement to discard effects, but you won’t always have cards with Madness in hand or the mana to cast them at every point in the game that you want to (or are forced to) discard cards. Without any cards with Flashback in Shadows Over Innistrad or any other Standard-legal sets, we need to start evaluating certain cards differently. Cards like [card]Deathmist Raptor[/card] that can be reanimated when unmorphing a creature and even cards like Drownyard Temple that can be brought back from the graveyard at instant speed for a small fee start to look a lot more appealing when you consider how often you might want to discard your own cards.

Need a card to pitch to [card]Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy[/card]? Why not discard your Drownyard Temple and ramp your land base by an extra card from your graveyard later on at instant speed?

Did you just slam down a Mindwrack Demon? Wouldn’t it be great if one of the cards you milled was a land? Do you have multiple lands in the graveyard to trigger Delirium? Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring one back to the battlefield at some point?

Three and four-color decks are likely on the way out in Standard. We’re losing the Khans tri-lands and fetchlands, and players will likely gravitate towards one and two-color decks once Shadows Over Innistrad is released unless some very powerful mana fixers are printed. Given that colorless mana will still be relevant for a little while longer with the Eldrazi running rampant, and given that it’s easier to slot in a couple of colorless lands in two-color deck, Drownyard Temple might actually be the perfect fit in some decks!

All-in-all, Drownyard Temple has me pretty darn excited!

What are -you- most excited about?

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