~Today on Wizards, Doug Beyer helped kick off the official Shards of Alara Previews in this article. From the Orb of Insight and other clues, we had speculated that Mr. Vol had one positive and two negative ability effects as well as the ability to summon creatures (dragons would have earned you a prize if you guessed this). This article was the limo that the new Planeswalker Sarkhan Vol in all his agrro-glorious-ness pulled up in. Lets have a look . . .
[+1] : Creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain haste until end of turn.
Total aggro, pumping all your critters and providing haste. As Doug had mentioned, my first reaction to this was - w0w - Sarkhan would feel really good in a deck with token generators. By pumping up Sarkhan on the drop he comes out puts him out of reach from a lot of spot removal cards. You had better conspire with a Burn Trail or face quite a beating in two more turns.
[-2]: Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gains haste until end of turn.
Very nice for you, very bad for your opponent. While you are in control of said creature (or creatures!), you could have them give their previous owner a nasty poke or perhaps have them start beating on their former team mates . . what chaos !
[-6] : Put five 4/4 red Dragon creature tokens with flying into play.
Dang ! - So your opponent is not fielding any flyers or critters with reach you would be able to deliver 20 (!) points of damage. My first thought is that you had better have a deck-set of Raking Canopy to knock some of those dragons out of the sky to make it a bit friendlier.
~Mark Rosewater also took a kick at the Alara Preview with this article. In it, he introduced the Shards of Alara design team. MaRo also provided two preview cards from Bant : the Sigiled Paladin and Battlegrace Angel (which is the foil rare from the Bant Intro Pack).
Both cards feature the new Alara mechanic 'Exalted'. "Exalted" means "Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn." My first impression is that you would want to seriously consider getting a deck set of each of these creatures as the more creatures with 'exalted' you have the bigger the individual hitter.
I would love to watch the game with MaRo's example :
Two Sigiled Paladins and two Battlegrace Angels with one of the angels attacking making her an 8/8 flier with double lifelink . . . Sweet Mother of Bant !