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Invasion Card Spotlight: Teferi's Moat

Zvi Mowshowitz

Teferi's Moat



As Teferi's Moat comes into play, choose a color.
Creatures of the chosen color without flying can't attack you.

"Isolation is not the answer."
-Urza, to Teferi.

Illus. rk post

Teferi's Moat is a new version of the Legends favorite, Moat. It costs five mana and prevents all the creatures of one color from attacking you. This is a very powerful effect. Many people expect green to become the dominant color after Invasion, and it certainly got a lot of tools to help make it so. And of course, green's job is to pump out huge monsters and attack with them on the ground. The Moat stops that plan right in its tracks. All that would be left to deal with would be the few creatures that happen to get around the Moat. Green does have one such creature in Invasion, an uncountable 4/4 that can change its color at will. Other than that, you either need to play creatures in another color (that would fall to a second Moat) or use artifact creatures. The most common one of those is probably going to be Chimeric Idol.

Teferi's Moat is not as good as Moat, which cost only 2WW and stated simply 'Non flying creatures cannot attack.' Moat was an extremely broken card, while Teferi's Moat is a very good one. Five mana is very different from four, and being multi-colored is a new challenge. Your opponent's decks often being multi-colored might also be a problem. But what this card does is essentially what Moat did before for The Deck. The Deck worked by what was called 'blanking' cards. By putting out Moat or The Abyss (which forces players to sacrifice a creature every turn) or Circle of Protection: Red or Disrupting Scepter, a large portion of your opponent's deck becomes useless or almost useless. Put out a Circle and red burn no longer does anything. Disrupting Scepter knocks out Counterspell effects. Moat nullifies non-flying creatures. Once your opponent's no longer playing with a full deck, all you had to do was trade your cards for his cards and you came out with the extra cards you needed to win.

Teferi's Moat can still do that. Putting out Teferi's Moat makes all your opponent's vanilla non-flying creatures useless in his main color. Almost every creature deck is going to have a lot of creatures in one color that exist to attack on the ground. With Teferi's Moat out, you no longer need to deal with them. Then all you have to do is trade for his other cards on a one for one basis, and find a way to finish your opponent off eventually. Since you're playing White and Blue, it's likely your deck is packed full of cards that help you do that, as well as cards that help you find Teferi's Moat.

What are the weaknesses of this strategy? The first is that you're using a card that only stops creatures. This is often a necessary evil. In MBC, every deck using either white or black used a large number of cards that would be useless against a deck without creatures. In the case of the black decks they were normally useless against black creatures as well. That's a big risk in a format where your opponent can play a realistic deck that doesn't contain any targets. Is that possible in the new Standard? It's too early to tell. Certainly there are decks with the potential to go creatureless, or go creatureless until the game is already essentially over. Whether they will play a major part in the format or not I can't say yet.

The second problem is that Teferi's Moat forces you to play two colors, but that's a minor setback. If this card were one color or the other they would stand alone much better than they do right now as control decks, but there were already a lot of advantages to playing both blue and white. White gives you Wrath of God, it gives you Disenchant, and it gives you new versions of both that this deck will be tempted to use, and it greatly improves your sideboard options. Blue is vital to winning against other control decks and combo decks if combo exists (which almost always seem to crush White Control). Blue's counters give you much better control. It also gives you the amazing Fact or Fiction. In other words, you get the old time White/Blue control synergy that's been thrown out the window since Urza's Saga. In recent times, blue has been given an outrageous number of high end tools, and Grim Monolith to cast them. It's had Treachery, it's had Morphling and Palinchron. It's gotten to use Powder Keg and Masticore. Together with the need (or at least desire) to use Thwart and Foil, blue decks haven't been splashing much. They've had all the tools they need. That doesn't mean that there will be no more monoblue control decks. It just means that there's now much better reasons to branch out. And I strongly suspect it's not an accident.

Teferi's Moat costs five mana. In another era, this would have been more problematic than it is now, but even now it's a problem. The first problem is surviving the assault long enough to get Teferi's Moat into play. Without any other creature control, you'd have a potential problem surviving against fast creature decks, especially when you're going second. You'll probably survive long enough, but you can expect to take significant damage while waiting. The creature removal you play to get rid of flyers and creatures with special abilities will help you, and the counters will as well. But it's still a concern, and it also forces you to play a lot of land. A related issue is that waiting until turn seven or eight and making sure you have that many lands so you can use Counterspell or Absorb will normally not be an option. So you'll need to use alternate cost counters Thwart and Foil to protect Teferi's Moat on its first turn. Those spells are a little awkward for a deck running a second color, but you don't really have a choice. The last thing you want is the Moat ending up in the graveyard and your opponent having five new 1/1s running around to boot. You also don't Armageddon to break out. In short, you have a powerful weapon, but watch out for the fallout when you use it.

Needless to say, if you see this card in Limited and you're playing either color you take it. You're playing three colors now.

Tomorrow: Check out the Invasion Prerelease. For information, click here.

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