Artifacts and lands in core sets usually aren’t the most exciting options. Thanks to a lower learning curve and overall power level, the cards end up just kind of existing. But every now and then, a card slips through that makes you sit up and take notice.
This is a weird little 1/1 but I like him! The ability to wind himself up allows him to quickly grow. As an attacker or blocker, he doesn’t wow me but as part of some elaborate counter exchanging combo deck, he’s a great one-drop.
Gem of Becoming
For Commanders, if this is in your colors then it is great! For kitchen table 60, this is still great. Being able to grab a mountain, swamp and island is incredible. It refills your hand, ensures you don’t miss any land drops, grabs some awesome non-basics and thins your deck! While it is a bit pricey, this is an ability that you rarely see.
Ring of Evos Isle
The Froot Loops (if the Lucky Charms are cereal, the cycle must continue) are an interesting assortment of rings. Similar to the Shrines in New Phyrexia, the rings are unique pieces of equipment that won’t automatically get dismissed in casual formats for being too weak. Ring of Evos Isle is going to be dangerous in blue decks. Hexproof is a deadly ability and the fact that this can just be thrown on any blue creature that will keep growing until someone has a board sweeper makes me very, very afraid.
Ring of Kalonia
Of the Rings, this isn’t the most exciting one – especially when Rancor is in the set. Still, if you’re running enough big guys (or deathtouch guys), this ring is quick and easy and punishes your opponents by making things bigger.
Ring of Thune
Vigilance is so annoying in multiplayer (same with walls) and granting that along with the incremental growing means you can lock down the battlefield quickly.
Ring of Valkas
This is probably the weakest of the rings because it wants to be passed around. The haste is a nice touch, and the growing isn’t awful but I’m afraid too often this card will get passed back and forth making it much more mana intensive than it appears.
Ring of Xathrid
Regeneration is at a crossroads in multiplayer. Many old removal spells outright laugh at it, and never spells struggle with it. At my table, you never know if someone is going to cast Unmake, Dark Banishing or Murder. You never know if Wrath of God or Day of Judgment will be cast. I want to like this card, but I still fear regeneration just means “does nothing” at the kitchen table.
Sands of Delirium
Wizards seems to have finally realized that milling can be a bit cheaper. Keening Stone was a cool idea, but 11 mana meant you were just better off casting one of the Eldrazi. But Sands of Delirium allows extra mana to be turned into milling and I love that.
Staff of Nin
Nin returns! This is a weird. I look at it as a personal Howling Mine for 6 mana that happens to occasionally ping people. While pricey, this is an ability you rarely see outside of blue and I can see this being an EDH staple for years to come.
THIS CARD MAKES GOATS! The ability to convert resources is dangerous, powerful and so hard to actually make work. It’s elaborate to go from discarding a card to drawing a new one, but I just love how this card feels. It could be completely useless, but it makes goats and is therefore awesome.
Cathedral of War
This is an interesting card and I want to see how it works when combined with infect. While slow, the potential for power is pretty cool. Then again, this card isn’t that different from Heart of Yavimaya.
I do like the idea of turning excess land into creatures. I don’t like the idea of sacrificing a land and only getting a token. This card feels too risky for me to really use.
Reprints are where M13 really shines though for these cards. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker returns and if you missed out on the Ajani vs Bolas Duel Decks, this is a great opportunity to own him. Akroma’s Memorial is a casual favorite and downright terrifying. Clock of Omens is such a weird card I can’t help but smile at the thought of a new group of Johnnies experiencing it.
Door to Nothingness is a personal favorite of mine (especially when combined with Rings of Brighthearth), while Gilded Lotus is amazing acceleration for any color. Jayemdae Tome is now an uncommon, and great for Commanders. Stuffy Doll returns as a much desired reprint and Tormod’s Crypt keeps graveyards further in check.
For lands, the M10 duals return again and I’m thrilled since I still haven’t completed my set. They are excellent dual lands, especially in multiplayer where decks can get away with being slower. And to make all the Commander players happy, Reliquary Tower has been reprinted!
Top 5 Magic 2013 Artifacts & Lands for Casual & Commander
5. Sands of Delirium
4. Gem of Becoming
3. Ring of Evos Isle
2. Trading Post
1. Staff of Nin
As a whole, there isn’t a lot here that is actually new. With only 12 cards in total (and 5 of them being the Froot Loops), the pickings for “Top 5” aren’t really real. But where M13 truly excels are the reprints. Nearly every single reprinted artifact is a homerun for casual players of all types. The lone multicolor planeswalker is a nice touch too.