Welcome Back!

Like many people this holiday season, I have become a hermit from our beloved Magic. The family wants to get together, there is enough food to have a hundred diabetics pass out just from the sight… Basically, I was living under a “muggle” rock. And thanks to Frank Lepore, I got a good solid look at the WOTC Holiday Gift for this year; it’s a sneak preview card from Fate Reforged:

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Think this is just a fake? Think again.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, there is a new colorless planeswalker on the block! I know everyone is busy corralling the kids, cleaning, and/or watching someone else do these things, so this discussion will be pretty short. If you want to see more in-depth analysis, post a comment below and I can augment this article.

Well, the power level certainly isn’t lacking for an 8-mana walker. He reminds me of Karn Liberated in that it seems a bit more likely that his -X ability is to be used the turn he is cast to protect the player and himself that turn. Even so, both Planeswalker’s plus abilities are impactful in their own ways. Both Ultimate abilities are game-winning (at least Ugin’s seems to be), so both are or appear to be significant threats to the opponent. But who is going to use this card? It’s not cheap mana-wise, so who is bold enough to try?

Let’s go format by format:

Standard

Ehh… Maybe (BIG maybe) the land-heaviest of control decks might play this guy as a 1-of. A Lightning Bolt every turn is not bad, and the fact that it can also do a very nice All is Dust impersonation should not be ignored. But it does have cmc 8, which is fairly hefty even by control’s standards. I wouldn’t count on it seeing Standard play, but I’m no Standard expert so who knows.

Modern

Your brain: “Oh! That card looks like it’s perfect to play in Tron! I can’t wait to run two instead of two Karn Liberated!”

My brain: This should not be played in Tron. The difference between 7 and eight mana is huge in a deck that hits 7 mana turn 3. A turn 3 Karn is clearly superior to a turn 4 Ugin, as an 8-mana Lightning Bolt is unlikely to be as potent as a 7-mana Vindicate that early in the game. I just prefer Karn in the Tron decks, but maybe you crazy brewers will find a home for Mr. Spirit Dragon.

Legacy

This is where I see Ugin potentially finding a home. Take a look at this deck list:

MUD by Peyton (Legacy)

Creatures (19)
Lodestone Golem
Wurmcoil Engine
Steel Hellkite
Phyrexian Revoker
Metalworker
Platinum Emperion

Sorceries (2)
All Is Dust

Artifacts (15)
Grim Monolith
Chalice of the Void
Thran Dynamo
Voltaic Key

Planeswalkers (2)
Karn Liberated

Land (22)
City of Traitors
Wasteland
Rishadan Port
Cavern of Souls
Ancient Tomb
Buried Ruin
Sideboard (15)
Trinisphere
Cursed Totem
Grafdigger’s Cage
Phyrexian Metamorph
All Is Dust
Karn Liberated

It’s everyone’s favorite, MUD. I see a lot of mana, and 2 All is Dust main-deck. I would be willing to cut an AiD main-deck for an Ugin, as most of the time the nuke is killing only their permanents of about CMC 4 or less. Most decks that we would want to nuke are playing those smaller creatures. While Ugin cannot immediately deal with Griselbrand or Progenitus, we do have the other AiD in the board. This is a switch I would totally be willing to make, as we are basically not changing a spot for the wrath effect, and adding a powerful threat to the list. I like it!

EDH

I’ll save this discussion for Steve in case he wants to do it, but decks like Karn, Silver Golem and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth already play Karn Liberated. It’s not a stretch to make room for another planeswalker in the long-game grind that is the typical EDH game. I mean, Lightning Bolt every turn is a 14 turn clock right? That’s not bad :)

That’s all I have for you this week. I hope the holidays are going well for y’all. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

/Peyton

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