When Mike and sat down to podcast about spoiled Zendikar cards the other night we spent a disproportionate amount of time talking about Lotus Cobra — a card that we both felt is sure to be one of the most coveted rares in the set — which would not get revealed until midnight the next day in Mike’s column. While we recorded our Zendikasts, which would go up shortly after Mike’s preview on the mothership, we teased the card on Twitter and Facebook where I said that the card was the first card to leap this far off of a spoiler list at me since I got an advance peek at Mind’s Desire.
There has been some backlash to the level of hyperbole around the card but everyone seems to agree that the card itself is awesome. Not everyone agrees with Mike’s position that Lotus Cobra is not only comparable to but exceeds other all-star 2-drops such as Meddling Mage or Dark Confidant. Understandable. At this point and time we have no frame of reference for how good this card could be when it has as many miles on it as those previously mentioned all-stars. Having done a small amount of testing with the card in the past few days I can confidently say that playing with this card feels unlike any other card I have played with before. Yes it dies to Doom Blade… and Lightning Bolt…and Path to Exile…and Volcanic Fallout but what happens if it lives.
Here is the updated version of Ob Obv — a deck that attempts to win with Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and Warp World — that I have been playing with that includes Lotus Cobra.
4 Lotus Cobra
4 Rampaging Baloth
4 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Khalni Heart Expedition
3 Oracle of Mul Daya
4 Trace of Abundance
4 Warp World
4 Green-Black fetch land
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Misty Rainforest
The deck remains quite raw but is still capable of powering out Warp Worlds with the number of permanents approaching the mid-teens. The combination of ob Nixilis and Warp World is definitely powerful and with Lotus Cobra you just get there that much faster. Whenever you play a fetch land you end up with three mana in your pool — basically a free Dark Ritual for up to three colors of your choice. When you fetch a Trace of Abundance is essentially a free permanent that enchants the land you search up. Even lands that come into play tapped like the ones that you search up with the Heart Expedition are productive members of your mana pool when the Lotus Cobra is hanging around.
Mike and I were talking about the card again today and I posited a scenario where you are playing green black and lead off with a Duress for that pesky Lightning Bolt and, with the coast clear, follow up with Lotus Cobra. Your opponent fails to top deck a removal spell — or, you know, isn’t playing a deck with a lot of spot removal and is planning on Day of Judgement — and you untap to play a fetch land, fetch, Harrow that land away and tap six mana for Mind Shatter for 4. Seems good, right?
“I am not impressed with that,” said Mike, who has been talking about third turn Violent Ultimatums. “Isn’t Identity Crisis still in Standard for another year? That would be impressive.”
Third. Turn. Identity. Crisis.
That doesn’t even seem that far fetched to me. Then again the third turn Ultimatum did not seem that far fetched in the first place. I know I am regularly making Siege-Gang Commanders on turn three with little more than a Lotus Cobra and a fetch land to power it out. By the time Cobra rotates out of Standard I don’t know where it will rank among 2-drops all time but I am pretty confident it is a card that will have had an impact on the format even if that just means everyone plays 4 Lightning Bolt and 4 Doom Blade for the next 2 years.