Warren Instigator & Mindbreak Trap

Earlier this week, Evan Erwin tweeted that he had seen the full card text from Warren Instigator, and that it was “beyond mythic.” If you haven’t seen the card yet, take a look:

Beyond mythic indeed. When it was spoiled early Friday morning, everyone seemed to be going nuts. As many have said, Goblin Lackey was a powerhouse in Extended, and this card has the potential to be better than Lackey. The fact that the ability triggers twice is what has many people up in arms. The possibility of dropping two Siege-Gang Commanders has got players frothing at the mouth.

While I can’t say that I disagree—this is truly a very strong card—I do want to point out some things. Namely, the very real danger of overextending with this card. Let’s use as our example the current “dream” scenario for the Goblin deck (on the play):

T1: Mountain, Raging Goblin. Attack, opponent at 19. Cards in hand: 5.
T2: Mountain, Warren Instigator. Attack with Raging Goblin, opponent at 18. Cards in hand: 4.
T3: Mountain, Goblin Chieftain. Attack with all, opponent at 10. Instigator triggers twice, drop two Siege-Gang Commanders from hand into play. Cards in hand: 1.

At this point, with a perfect hand and absolutely no opposition, the Goblin deck can win on the next turn. But at the same time, it’s wide open for getting wrecked by a cheap board sweeper such as Infest or Pyroclasm. On the draw, Day of Judgment becomes a threat.

I’ll admit, this is the kind of card that can be scary for control players such as myself. If it’s not dealt with, it will end the game in short order. But unless Zendikar provides a playable way for a Goblin player to refill their hand, a single Volcanic Fallout or Day of Judgment could swing the game entirely in the other direction, leaving the Goblin player in topdeck mode for the rest of the game. I’m not saying it’s not a great card; I’m only saying that it’s a magnet for a 3-for-1, and that’s something you might want to consider when evaluating this card for Standard.

Also early on Friday morning, MTGCast provided us with the spoiler for Mindbreak Trap:

Now this is something to potentially get excited about. While right now it’s probably not right for Standard play (hoses Cascade decks, but only if 3 spells are played—otherwise it’s an expensive Double Negative), it could do some serious metagame-shifting in the Eternal formats where multiple spells in one turn are much more commonplace.

Still, there are possibilities for this card in Standard. Alongside other counterspells it will put opponents in a very awkward position. Think about it this way: If your opponent tries, in typical anti-counterspell fashion, to bait your counters with non-essential spells, they play right into the trap. If, however, they want to play around Mindbreak Trap, they’ll have to play their most important spell first, which leaves them open to Negate, Essence Scatter, and any other playable counterspell. And if you’re in a pinch, you can leave 4 mana up and hardcast it.

While it’s certainly no Cryptic Command, Mindbreak Trap is a versatile card that could be a threat even in Standard, depending on what else Zendikar brings.

And now some BREAKING NEWS: We’ve just gotten what at first looks like another answer to Baneslayer Angel in Standard:

A 6/3 with evasion for 5 mana with a 187 ability seems like it could be pretty good. HOWEVER! Check out the creature type. Demon. Now reread Baneslayer Angel. That’s right, protection from Demons. No dice!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Ol’ Halo Hunter can potentially hit this lovely lady:

A ridiculous bomb, no doubt, but at 9 mana is unlikely to see play in Standard. On the other hand, we’ve become accustomed to 7-mana sorceries in Standard, so maybe this isn’t such a farfetched idea after all.

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2 responses to “Warren Instigator & Mindbreak Trap

  1. Yes it does, which is exactly what I said 🙂

    "A 6/3 with evasion for 5 mana with a 187 ability seems like it could be pretty good. HOWEVER! Check out the creature type. Demon. Now reread Baneslayer Angel. That's right, protection from Demons. No dice!"

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