Zendikar – Emeria, the Sky Ruin

My Favorite New Card is Emeria, the Sky Ruin!

Well, I am not 100% sure that my favorite new card from Zendikar will be Emeria, the Sky Ruin… but I’m pretty sure it will be.

Emeria, the Sky Ruin is functionally quite similar to old favorite Debtors’ Knell. It does not gobble up creatures from the opponent’s graveyard, but it has a tremendous upside: You Don’t Have to Resolve It. That was the “problem” with Debtors’ Knell (if you can really say there was a problem with a Standard and Block staple)… It coexisted with cards like Remand and Mana Leak so it could be challenging to get into play against Blue opponents. Emeria, the Sky Ruin, on balance is “just” a land, so you just lay it out there to, you know, run (“Sky Ruin”) the opponent’s day.

So of course as cool as Emeria seems, it has some limitations.

The most obvious is that you have to have seven Plains in play before it does anything. You know, when we first started chatting about new Zendikar cards, BDM (aka @Top8Games) said he just knew I would love me an Emeria. I mean, how could I not?

This card touches not on the “Greenest Mage of All” aspect of michaelj (aka @fivewithflores), but the part of me that ran a B/W cycling Eternal Dragon deck in an Extended Pro Tour, the side that produced the first ever Windbrisk Heights / three token “combo” deck (grafted onto a, you know, Eternal Dragon-based Extended deck), or the part of me that went full-on Martyr of Sands for last year’s Exteded PTQ season (you know, with Eternal Dragons and Decree of Justice and all that). The sad irony is that this card would be bananas in one of the Eternal Dragon decks that I always seem to make in Extended (down to returning Martyr of Sands for free, and / or Eternal Dragon itself) without any kind of an unintended interaction with Akroma’s Vengeance.

So let’s think about this jobber in Standard…

We are going to lose Windbrisk Heights — probably the single strongest nonbasic land in current Standard — as Lorwyn Block makes way for Zendikar. That means that straight White decks aren’t going to have a lot of conflict for non-Plains in terms of making space. You can probably run 20-22 Plains and four copies of Emeria, the Sky Ruin in your White deck and have a solid expectation of having seven Plains alongside your Emeria, the Sky Ruin come turn eight (or whenever you actually have eight lands in play).

The interesting thing is…

We don’t know what kinds of creatures are going to fit best with Emeria, the Sky Ruin… at least not in Standard.

We are going to lose our Evoke Elementals (Mulldrifter and so on); there is no clear path for a Fulminator Mage-style lockdown; and even in Extended, Eternal Dragon and such cycling creatures will have rotated. The best thing I can come up with off the top of my head is Glassdusk Hulk… But surely we can come up with something better than this…

Surely we can come up with something better than this…

Regardless of the specifics of how to break (or at least “best exploit”) Emeria, the Sky Ruin in a long game, the basic principles seem to be clear…

  1. It’s about as good as a Debtors’ Knell once you have it going.
  2. Counterspell-based defenses will be insufficient.
  3. Removal-based defenses will eventually be exhausted.
  4. … And it ain’t exactly fast.

The question is whether it will be good.

I, for one, have always enjoyed creating and trying to properly position these esoteric corner-case decks that generate unexpected Stage Three situations… and Emeria, the Sky Ruin seems like the Flores long-game cream dream all bundled up in a single card that you don’t actually have to resolve.

So yeah, Emeria, the Sky Ruin is, at least at present, my favorite new Zendikar card. I look forward to cultivating a long and card-profitable relationship with it.


Currently Reading: Invincible, Book 11: Happy Days

facebook comments:


#1 Alfrebaut on 09.12.09 at 9:43 am

See, the thing is, Mike, it’s almost harder to “resolve” Emeria’s ability, because assembling 7 Plains specifically would be pretty difficult. Now, in a slow, grind-y deck, like a cycling deck as you would probably have made, it’s fine because your game would be to just get a bunch of lands out and resolve a big spell or something, but that deck type doesn’t really exist. I think most decks will probably tend toward 2 colors, especially with the fetches available, so you’re looking at often having more than 8 lands in play before the effect happens. Aggro decks could run it, sure, but I feel like they’re not going to get to 8 lands all that often, and if they do, they’re probably fighting a losing battle anyway. There are so many good control cards not in white that it would just be real tough to get it off.

I feel like you might be able to make a case with maybe Knight of the Orchid and Path, but it’d have to be a pretty dedicated strategy and it’s more likely non-white control just has too many incentives. But then again, I’m not really a control player. =/

#2 MTGBattlefield on 09.14.09 at 8:31 am

Zendikar – Emeria, the Sky Ruin…

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