- Imperial Seal
- Dockside Extortionist
- Experiment One
- Muldrotha, the Gravetide
- Mana Vault
- Phyrexian Altar
- Sensei’s Divining Top
- Vedalken Orrery
- Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
It’s day one of Magic: The Gathering’s latest preview season, and Double Masters 2022 has already brought us splashier cards than we saw in the whole of Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. This stellar day one confirmed the inclusion of many staples, including Mulldrifter, Teferi’s Protection, Balustrade Spy, and Allosaurus Shepherd.
The fact that they didn’t even make the cut for today’s highlights proves just how exciting this set is shaping up to be with a whole week left of cards to go. Here are the best cards previewed on day one of Double Masters 2022’s spoiler season.
One black sorcery:
Search your library for a card, then shuffle and put that card on top. You lose two life.
One of the most interesting bits of news to come out of day one of previews was that the set will include multiple first-time reprints from the 1999 start-focused set Portal: Three Kingdoms. Despite being made for beginners, this set is full of powerhouses, including Imperial Seal.
We’ve had lots of tutors since Imperial Seal, which may make some players question what the point of it is. After all, it’s a Vampiric Tutor, but objectively worse at sorcery speed. However, in singleton formats like Commander, being able to have a Vampiric Tutor and an Imperial Seal in the same deck is a huge advantage, and in that context it being a sorcery doesn’t make it too much worse.
Banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage, this is the first time Commander players will have the chance to get their hands on this card that normally costs upwards of $1,700.
One generic, one red creature – Goblin Pirate – 1/2:
When Dockside Extortionist enters the battlefield, create X Treasure tokens, where X is the number of artifacts and enchantments your opponents control.
Dockside Extortionist’s presence in this set is a massive deal, because it’s the first time it’s ever been reprinted. First debuting in Commander 2019, it quickly became a staple of the Commander format and one of the best red cards ever printed.
While Treasures have been getting a bit silly recently, and there are calls to ban Dockside Extortionist, having it finally make its way to a booster product means it isn’t only the lucky few who get to play it. If a card is as format-defining as this, it should be available for everyone.
In Double Masters 2022 this isn’t likely going to be as strong as it is in Commander, but with all the flicker tools available in the set already, like Settle Beyond Reality, it could still net you a large number of Treasure tokens.
One green creature – Human Ooze – 1/1:
Evolve (whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, if that creature has greater power or toughness than this creature, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature).
Remove two +1/+1 counters from Experiment One: Regenerate Experiment One.
In a list full of mythic rares and format staples, having Experiment One sat alongside them may seem strange. Compared to a Dockside Extortionist it’s hardly the biggest bomb card ever printed, but it is huge news for the Pauper format.
With this set, Experiment One is being downshifted from uncommon to common, meaning it will be legal in the common-only Pauper format. Pauper Format Panel lead Gavin Verhey was involved in the first half of this set’s development, which likely makes Experiment One’s introduction to Pauper a conscious decision.
It feels like the perfect Pauper card, too. It takes a while to get going, but is difficult to remove once it does and can be an imposing threat in a +1/+1 counters strategy. Double Masters 2022 may only be bringing one new card to the table, but it’s still managing to shake up formats with changes like this.
Muldrotha, the Gravetide
Three generic, one black, one green, one blue legendary creature – Elemental Avatar – 6/6:
During each of your turns, you may play a land and cast a permanent spell of each permanent type from your graveyard.
Muldrotha is one of the most popular commanders in the entire format, sat above other well-known names like Breya, Arcades, and Krenko in popularity. When somebody sits down and pulls out their Muldrotha deck, you almost always immediately know who you need to go for first, or else the game can be over very, very quickly.
First printed in Dominaria, but last seen in Commander Legends, Muldrotha is powerful because of her flexibility. She’s an incredible graveyard recursion commander, sure, but also works very nicely in sacrifice-heavy decks as a way of bringing your fodder back. Part of her flexibility is in her ability to replay fetchlands from your graveyard, meaning you’ll never be short of lands as long as you’ve got at least an Evolving Wilds.
From Aristocrats to Landfall, Muldrotha does it all. While she isn’t a big-money card like Imperial Seal, it’s nice that you’ll have another chance to get her. Not to mention, that alternate art is gorgeous.
One generic artifact:
Mana Vault doesn’t untap during your untap step.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay four generic. If you do, untap Mana Vault.
At the beginning of your draw step, if Mana Vault is tapped, it deals one damage to you.
Tap Mana Vault: add three colourless mana.
Mana Vault might not be among the upper echelons of the mana rocks, but it certainly isn’t far behind. Like Imperial Seal, Mana Vault is banned in Legacy and restricted in Vintage, making this a reprint aimed squarely at the Commander players.
Getting this out as a turn-one play is one of the best things you can do regardless of format, because it can tap to produce three generic mana straight away. “Fast mana”, as it’s known, is a way to facilitate explosive early turns push yourself way ahead of the curve. For example, with this and two lands you could easily play a commander like Abdel Adrian, Gorion’s Ward and get the value engine going from turn two.
Though Commander players would likely still rate Sol Ring and Mana Crypt above Mana Vault thanks to their ability to untap unaided, it isn’t as though there are no ways to cheat that four generic untap cost. Cards like Voltaic Servant or Voltaic Key can untap the Vault for you, can played as early as turn one, and can be paid for by the Vault itself.
Three generic artifact:
Sacrifice a creature: Add one mana of any color.
Having an instant-speed sacrifice outlet that produces you mana is an incredibly dangerous thing, which is why Phyrexian Altar is one of the most prevalent combo pieces in the game. Commander Spellbook has almost 800 combos listed using it that generate anything from infinite life and infinite mana to infinite death triggers.
Out of the altars that could’ve been printed here, Phyrexian is actually one of the more reasonable ones. Producing one mana is a little bit harder to combo off of, but not by much. A Gravecrawler and a Diregraf Captain alongside the Phyrexian Altar is enough to instantly win a game, for example.
Considering Double Masters 2022 has not one, but two different graveyard-focused draft archetypes, there are bound to be ways to break Phyrexian Altar tucked in here somewhere. You don’t need to be a fancy Ashnod’s Altar to be terrifying.
Sensei’s Divining Top
One generic artifac:
One generic mana: look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order.
Tap Sensei’s Divining Top: draw a card, then put Sensei’s Divining Top on top of its owner’s library.
When a card is banned in both Modern and Legacy, you know it’s a powerhouse. Sensei’s Divining top doesn’t look like it’s up to much at first, as all it does is let you rejig the top three cards of your library. It can also bounce itself back on top of your deck, but that’s fine, right?
Wrong. Consider that Brainstorm is one of the best turn-one plays you can do in Commander, and then consider that the Sensei’s Divining Top all but guarantees a Brainstorm every single turn. An opponent with one of these in play can be deadly, as they get to get to the answers they need so much more quickly (especially combined with cards that let you shuffle your library) and can keep cards out of their hand by leaving them on top for as long as they need. Not to mention there’s very little you can do to stop them.
Almost any kind of interaction with the top can be negated by just putting it back on top of their library, and drawing a card before doing so means they’re not sacrificing any card advantage by drawing the top again next turn.
Sensei’s Divining Top is a controversial card, both because of its power and because of how frustrating it can be playing against a player who doesn’t know what they want and wastes precious time deliberating over the order of their cards. But give it to an efficient player, it can be a game-ender.
Four generic artifact:
You may cast spells as though they had flash.
Vedalken Orrery isn’t the only card to have this effect, but it is by far the best. Compared to Leyline of Abundance, the lower mana cost and colourless identity gives it more flexibility, while Tidal Barracuda is laughed off of many tables for giving the effect to every player.
Being able to cast any spell at instant speed lets you hold up your mana for interaction, and only use it to advance your own board state at the last second. It lets you throw out sorceries and creatures mid-combat too, which could dissuade attackers and make a cheeky and unexpected Craterhoof Behemoth into an even more powerful way to close out the game.
Though it’s legal in lots of formats, it’s most prevalent in Commander, where you can easily use cards like Sol Ring and the aforementioned Mana Vault to quickly get it into play as early as turn one. It won’t win you games on its own, but once it’s out your opponents will have to be really careful of what you play.
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Eleven generic legendary creature – Eldrazi – 10/10:
When you cast this spell, destroy target permanent.
When Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre is put into a graveyard from anywhere, its owner shuffles their graveyard into their library.
It was confirmed on the debut stream that there will be at least three Eldrazi in Double Masters 2022. We’ve already seen Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, but now it’s time for the second of the Eldrazi titans to hit the set with Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.
The Infinite Gyre isn’t the most popular commander, but as a part of the 99 it is much more prevalent. An 11 generic mana cost is a shockingly high amount, but there are so many ways to cheat it into play, such as using Artisan of Kozilek, Fist of Suns, or the recent Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur’s Gate card Monster Manual.
Give it haste with even something as lowly as a TukTuk Rubblefort, and you’ll be able to swing out with Ulamog and force an opponent to sacrifice four permanents. To make matters worse, it’s nigh-impossible to get rid of, thanks to its indestructibility and ability to shuffle itself back into your library. The only way to get rid of it for good is an exile spell, and even then, there are easy ways to get around that – particularly in Double Masters 2022 and its numerous flicker effects.
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