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Tuesday's Totally Tocatli

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

We want to yatter briefly about Tocatli Honor Guard today, but should go over some Magic: the Gathering slang for those players who are just now getting into this awesome game.  Let's go -

Hate card 
This is a card that attempts to neutralise the power of another card or strategy.  Wizards of the Coast prints these sorts of cards as a sort of a safety valve in order to bring balance (to the force) to a metagame which may gravitate toward card or strategy and goes on to become too powerful or dominant.  By way of example, a commond hate card may be printed for use against powerful decklists which makes use of the graveyard as s resource - in this scenario, there may a a 'graveyard hate' card like Grafdigger's Cage.

This can be used to describe any 2 mana 2/2 creature with no other abilities and in all likelihood obtains its name from the beloved and very bland vanilla Grizzly Bear, and is not restricted to just green, but every colour.

We now put those two together to get 'Hate Bear'.
This is a hate card, but more specifically also a creature, almost always referring to a two-powered creature for two mana.  Such examples such as Containment Priest, Leonin Arbiter, Kor Firewalker, Gaddock Teeg, Ash Zealot, etc., but will have that lovely rules text which is where all the value is.

Ixalan card Tocatli Honor Guard, illustrated by Sara Winters

Here is a prime example of a 'hate bear' currently in standard - 'Tocatli Honor Guard'.  This human soldier casts for one colourless and one white (2 CMC) and has a body of one power and three toughness which is kinda, sorta close to bear stats.  The rules text here is "Creatures entering the battlefield don't cause abilities to trigger".  We did not count, but reckon that there may be approximately 150 cards or so which may be affected by such a particular card as Tocatli Honor Guard.  Cards such as the enchantment Ajani's Welcome, which would allow its controller to gain one life whenever a creature enters the battlefield under their control is now nerf'd.  Similarily, popular cards such as Kraul Harpooner and Ravenous Chupacabra loose all value.

A number of cards with Mechanics such as Undergrowth, Mentor and Explore may also be adversely impacted by Tocatli Honor Guard.  More importantly, lets look at some of the most popular decklists now in standard (and their key cards) - such as -

Mono-Red Aggro - Goblin Chainwhirler, Viashino Pyromancer

Golgari Midrange - Jadelight Ranger, Merfolk Branchwalker, Ravenous Chupacabra

The TLDR here is that if you are running a decklist with white in it, consider at the very least leaving space for perhaps three Honor Guards.  Currently priced at a very reasonable 50 cents, we are somewhat surprised that we have not seen more of these cards hose the competition at the game tables.


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