More Sphinx Love.

I wasn’t crazy. Here are a few quotes from around the web regarding Sphinx of Jwar Isle:

“The real creature I’m looking at including in this Bant brew is Sphinx of Jwar Isle. What is Jund supposed to do against him? He’s bigger than all their creatures, they have absolutely no way to remove him other than a Jund Charm when I’m blocking, and he gives my late game fetchlands a ton of value by enabling me to see the top card, as if it’s a land I can shuffle into a potential spell.

[On the matchup versus Jund:] Sphinx is the real bomb in here, and running it out turn 6 with no backup is the safest creature you can invest mana into in the Standard format. The longer he stays in play, the more foresight he provides, and he plays offense as well as being a stalwart on defense. I’d expect the number of these cards to rise dramatically to counteract Jund’s narrow answers to it.”Kyle Sanchez

“Sphinx of Jwar Isle has been in just about every non-aggressive deck list since Zendikar’s release, but the Jwar Jwar Movement has been steadily gaining followers in the past few weeks. Ebay, which is usually a leading indicator, supports the upwards price trends. Playsets are climbing from $4 closer to $6 or $8, so it’s not out of the question for the Sphinxes to end up being worth a few dollars each. Many vendors on the internet still have them at a dollar, which is too low. It’s even worth about 1.3 tickets on Magic Online, which roughly translates to $1.25. Grab a few playsets and you’ll double up without much work.”Kelly Reid

“If all of a sudden, everyone said, “Let’s boycott Baneslayer Angel and play Sphinx of Jwar Isle instead!” then that would definitely change the demand [for Baneslayer] (and given the amount of Jund around, that might not be the worst idea!) That could happen, but I wouldn’t count on it just yet. On a side note, you may want to pick up Sphinx of Jwar Isle just in case.”Jeremy Fuentes

LAST-MINUTE UPDATE: HA! Kelly Reid just posted this on Twitter about 10 minutes ago:
http://bit.ly/1KLcCG Got your Jwar Jwar Sphinxes yet?”

If you follow the link you’ll see this blurb:
“Interesting to note – Star City bumped up their price on Sphinx of Jwar Isle recently, to $4. Some other sites are starting to charge real money for Sphinx too. Most sites that had listed the rare under a dollar are already sold out, and eBay prices are starting to perk up too. Sphinx of Jwar Isle may not be the next Baneslayer, but it’s better than a junk rare. Pick yours up before you have to actually trade something valuable for them.”

EDIT: Another vote for Sphinx of Jwar Isle, this time from blogger Russell Tassicker of Gwafa’s Bazaar:
Sphinx of Jwar Isle: Buy. This guy is creeping into more and more netdecks from such well respected deckbuilders and writers as Patrick Chapin and Conley Woods. I expect the price to gradually rise, and if he is a hit at Worlds then the price will shoot up. Blue is also extremely weak at the moment but if Worldwake brings some goodies this guy will find a good deck to fit in.”

Take a look at Russell’s blog (link added to sidebar); if you’re interested in the trading/financial aspect of Magic, it’s another good source for information.

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Think Sphinx.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the two sphinxes printed in Zendikar, Sphinx of Lost Truths and Sphinx of Jwar Isle:

     

It’s fairly obvious that Wizards has deemed the sphinx to be blue’s iconic creature type (alongside white’s angels, black’s demons, red’s dragons, and green’s beasts), which many could have guessed all the way back in Planar Chaos.

Until now, however, we’ve had yet to see a Constructed-worthy sphinx for Standard (with the possible exception of the Alara-block sphinxes, Enigma Sphinx and Sphinx of the Steel Wind, et al, which haven’t really done much aside from some appearances in the Alara Block Constructed format). These two Zendi-sphinxes go a long way toward changing that.

Sphinx of Lost Truths functions similarly to Mulldrifter. For the same 5 mana, you get a larger body and dig one card deeper, but instead of card advantage you merely get card quality/selection. For an extra 2, you get to keep the three cards you draw. Both of these are solid options. Any deck that can take advantage of cards in the graveyard (or that has a way to easily get them back) can expect to get even more bang out of this sphinx. Grim Discovery, Soul Manipulation, and Emeria, the Sky Ruin are just a few cards that immediately come to mind.

Sphinx of Jwar Isle may turn out to be even more important to the format. In an environment filled to the brim with spot removal, a creature with Shroud can be a real pain to get rid of—especially one that doesn’t die to Volcanic Fallout or Pyroclasm. The only real threats to this Sphinx are Day of Judgment and Gatekeeper of Malakir. Don’t discount the option to look at the top card of your library either; with fetchlands in the format, you can see if the top card is relevant before you crack your fetch. In a cascade deck, you can get a bit more information on what you might cascade into.

Already, several pro players and Magic columnists have begun touting decks that include one—if not both—of these sphinxes. Patrick Chapin created a build of Five-Color Control using Sphinx of Jwar Isle as a finisher and coined the nickname “Jwar Jwar Sphinx.” Gavin Verhey recommended a Grixis-based Sphinx Control deck for the PT Austin grinders, while Richard Feldman claimed his Rembrandt (RWU control) deck to be the best he’d ever built. Stan Bessey and Brian Greer gave props to the sphinxes on the most recent episode of Deck Builder Radio.

Both of these sphinxes seem poised to make an impact on the current Standard. If a blue-based control deck finds its way into the metagame, expect one or both of these guys to show up.