We’ve got another cycle of exclusive preview cards for you, this time from Hour of Devastation! We’ve seen that deserts — either controlling them or having them in your graveyard — is an important sub-theme in Hour of Devastation and here we have a powerful cycle of uncommon deserts for you! Hashep Oasis is our first one, and as you can see, these do not enter the battlefield tapped, but they also only tap for colorless mana naturally, UNLESS you want to pay a life, in which case you can tap them for a single color of mana. This is already quite good as they meet the desert requirement for the cards that care about deserts while not slowing you down on mana.
But, like the whole cycle, they also have an activated ability that involves paying some mana, tapping, and sacrificing *a desert* (not necessarily itself, but it can be) to get a spell-like ability. This is traditionally quite powerful and these are no exception. +3/+3 on a creature is a lot of power and toughness, even if you can’t get it at instant speed where it would really excel.
Ifnir Deadlands is the black version of this cycle, and it’s ability is even more powerful than Hashep Oasis. You can proactively shrink or kill an opposing creature, and lands that turn into removal spells are usually very powerful.Ipnu Rivulet is the cheapest to activate of this cycle, but also the least effective, at least as far as the board is concerned. In Limited, four is a lot of cards, but you’d need a pretty sweet desert-based control deck and multiple copies of this to make it great. That said, this strategy is very hard to interact with and doesn’t come at a high cost. The last time we had a land that milled, it became the win condition in a Pro Tour winning Standard deck. Just sayin’.Ramunap Ruins is kind of interesting but also probably not the strongest of the bunch as it only hits opponents. Again, these deserts are pretty low impact on your deck build as the downside is very low and the upside is having deserts in your deck which unlocks the power of some of the cards in this set. Shefet Dunes rewards having a wide board state, and gives you a reasonable if slightly pricey payoff. Once again, sorcery speed hurts this a bit, but if you have the right board state it probably won’t be a huge deal.
As always, Luis and I will be discussing these on the show this week!