Avacyn Restored Prerelease weekend has come and gone, and release weekend is literally right around the corner. Now with some more free-time at my disposal I’ll take the opportunity to discuss my first impressions of Avacyn Restored’s mechanics in a limited environment. At prerelease I got a rather decent pool of cards that ended up becoming a rather powerful Boros Humans build with Herald of War, Riders of Gavony, and Divine Deflection being my bombs (or cutest combat trick in the case of DD). Without further ado, let us discuss mechanics.
Miracle I feel is at best, a double-edged sword. Even before getting the chance to play with the cards, I wasn’t a huge fan of the mechanic. There are some miracle cards I do like though, mainly Entreat the Angels and Bonfire of the Damned. Entreat being a better version of White Sun’s Zenith and Bonfire of the damned being a wide range burn spell that hits for whatever amount of damage is necessary instead of a vanilla 2 or 3 like we see in Pyroclasm and Slagstorm. I only managed to get one Thunderous Wrath out of my pool and other miracle cards were not in my chosen colors. That one Thunderous Wrath did put in some work throughout the day though, blasting annoying creatures out of the way or dealing a hefty 5 damage when it was drawn, I never did cast it for its normal mana cost. One thing that always stuck out to me when I drew the card though, was that no matter what plan I had set up for my next turn, that card would always be played instead and most of the times, I could not carry on with the original plan I had in mind. Overall, I find that Miracle has its advantages whenever the cards pop up (or are arranged to be drawn a la Ponder, Brainstorm, etc.), but most of the time, they throw off any strategies that are set up in advance.
Now this is my favorite of the two mechanics in AVR. I do admit to being skeptical about it when Silverblade Paladin was spoiled, but having gotten the chance to try it out first hand, my mind was changed for the better. Lightning Mauler and Stonewright were the two creatures with soulbond that got played the most during the matches and I was impressed with the results both brought to the board. Lightning Mauler is easily my favorite soulbond creature, giving Herald of War haste and allowing it to acquire +1/+1 counters earlier than usual set up an imminent victory or the ability to flood the board with all my little human minions. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing this mechanic come back in other sets, but I could also see it being an AVR exclusive. Overall, the creatures I did get that had soulbond made me think highly of the mechanic, now it comes down to release to see if my first impressions were correct, or if they were influenced by a good pool of cards.
Overall, I think the mechanics of Avacyn Restored are fairly solid, but soulbond just seems to work better than Miracle. Miracle can work with the right tech. in mind, but in a format like limited where there may or may not be access to cards that complement miracle cards, the mechanic just feels more and more luck based than anything else.