Daily Dose of Hour of Devastation – Nicol Bolas’ Minions
Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Hour of Devastation, where I’ve been talking about some of the hot new cards from the upcoming set. So far, I’ve seen new mechanics and some hate cards, but today I’m switching my focus to some sweet new Gods from Hour of Devastation.
In Amonkhet, we saw the emergence of the five Gods, one from each colour. These gods had inflated power and toughness for their mana cost, but they all had a restriction preventing them from attacking and defending all the time. They were also given a secondary ability that help them achieve the restriction that prevented them from entering combat.
Gods are back in Hour of Devastation, but they don’t look like your Amonkhet Gods, that’s for sure. These Gods are all minions of Nicol Bolas.
Well, not quite that type of minion, but they all serve under the powerful Nicol Bolas. There are three multicolour Gods that have colours that you see in Nicol Bolas, God-Pharoah. In case you need a recap of the awesomeness that is Nicol Bolas, God-Pharoah, here you go.
For each of these new Gods from Hour of Devastation, they all share one ability. The ability is that when they die, you return it to owner’s hand during the next end step instead of putting it in your graveyard. This obviously is not as good as being indestructible, but still makes it very hard to remove these Gods permanently. It will require mana to recast them when needed, but their power will often make up for that. In breaking down each of the three new Gods, I want to talk about a few parts of the card. First off, their base stats, followed by their main ability, and then finally their secondary ability which feeds off their main ability.
Let’s start off by looking at the Red/Black God. Here's the card known as “The Rock”, The Scorpion God.
Base Stats – A 6/5 creature for five mana is not a bad base stat line, but it would have been nice if The Scorpion God had another evergreen ability, like menace or first strike. I feel there was a missed opportunity here. Noxious Gearhulk got menace, so I believe they could have added that on here as well.
Main Ability – This is a very interesting ability, as the reward for it can come from many different directions. You can draw cards by playing cards that will put -1/-1 counters on your opponent’s creatures, allowing you to both remove the threat and gain card advantage.
The other direction you could go is to utilize all the creatures from Amonkhet, like Soulstinger, that place counters on to your own creatures for certain advantages. So not only will you get that advantage, but you'll get to draw a card as well. There could be times where you won't get to draw cards with this ability, but more often than not you'll gain some card advantage with The Scorpion God.
Secondary Ability – This secondary ability feeds very well into any of the game plans we talked about above. Being able to remove a threat while drawing a card could turn into a card advantage that your opponent can’t overcome. You can also use this ability to fuel your own creatures that benefit from having -1/-1 counters on them. If they do get removed, you still get to draw a card anyways. You might be able to use this on a creature you have that's going to die anyways, just to draw some cards. If you can get six mana and start chaining this ability twice a turn, the game could end quickly.
Next, I want to have a look at the Blue/Red God that will be flying its way onto the battlefield. Let’s have a look at The Locust God.
Base Stats – 4/4 Flying for six mana is a little underwhelming when it comes to base stats for The Locust God. 4/4 flying is usually seen on creatures these days for four mana (Curator of Mysteries) or five mana (Glorybringer).
Main Ability – This is the only main ability of the three Gods that doesn’t require any other card or ability to activate. Each turn you will be drawing a card, therefore creating a 1/1 Insect creature. There are plenty of spells that also draw you cards, which will allow you to create even more flying Insect creatures on the battlefield. The fact that these Insect creatures have haste means that you could start to deal a lot of damage in the air and create a short clock on your opponent.
Secondary Ability – The good thing about this ability is that for every four mana you have you get to draw a card and create a 1/1 flying, haste Insect creature. The bad news is that you must discard a card. I realize that this is the red part of the ability, but we have seen four mana draw card abilities on creatures before and it would have been nice if discarding wasn’t needed for this.
This God could turn into a late game creature for Control decks to gain card advantage and finish off their opponent. Most removal won’t get rid of it permanently, meaning they can save their counterspells to stop threats against them rather than needing to protect The Locust God.
Finally, we come upon the Blue/Black God. Here's the powerful The Scarab God.
Base Stats – For five mana, you get a 5/5 creature with no other base abilities. It would have been nice to give The Scarab God deathtouch or another added ability. A little underwhelming, but a 5/5 is still a strong presence on the battlefield.
Main Ability – This is a very powerful ability, probably the most powerful of the three. The problem is that there are many times that, unless you build a deck around it, X will be 0, at least for the first few turns it's on the battlefield. If you can get an army assembled though, the game will end quickly as their life total fades and you keep drawing the best cards you deck has to offer.
Secondary Ability – This ability should read, “All creatures gain the ability: Eternalize 2UB” just for yourself, of course. The fact that it copies the creature you're exiling makes this ability quite strong. I guess turning a crappy 1/1 into a 4/4 for four mana is quite nice as well. If you can get The Scarab God out and use this ability for a couple of turns, it will mean game over for your opponent. Giving you a toolbox of creatures that died earlier in the game makes this ability the best of the bunch.
So, there you have it, Nicol Bolas’ minions are ready to battle for their evil overlord. Which new God is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below. Thanks again for joining me on the Daily Dose of Hour of Devastation. Join me again tomorrow, where we'll conclude the first preview week for Hour of Devastation with a look at some more sweet preview cards. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for prerelease weekend to be here!