The residents of Amonkhet are all saying "What the Hekma?" as we move into Hour of Devastation. The full spoiler is upon us and the hype has peaked, so it's time to dig in and see what the latest set is bringing to the table. Spoiler alert, it's zombies all the way down. Let's take a look at Amonkhet's fateful second set while we're still ahead of schedule.
Hour of Devastation clocks in at 199 cards, including all the usual types and colors. It is a small set, so it sits 65 cards smaller than Amonkhet's 264. This set is fairly average for recent small sets; Aether Revolt had only 184 and Eldritch Moon had 205.
Amonkhet's devastation is distinctly monocolored. Fully half of the multicolor cards are Aftermath split cards where each half is monocolor. The rest of the multicolor cards are split between Nicol Bolas and his new gods and the usual archetype hint cards (i.e. the BG -1/-1 spider). Given the monocolor focus the set is very even between the colors with white and green just one card more than the rest. This may seem odd given the importance of the UBR Nicol Bolas but the UBR colors are represented slightly more by the multicolor cards.
There's a big shift in the colorless cards when looking at identities because only 5 of the 31 lands are colorless identity. Otherwise there is very little change; almost none of the monocolor cards end up with a multicolor identity. The Aftermath cards remain in their pairs and none of the multicolor cards have off-color abilitlies. In fact, the only monocolored or colorless cards to have a multicolored identity are Pride Sovereign and Crypt of the Eternals.
Hour of Devastation has lots of creatures and spells and that's all well and good. More importantly, it has a ton of lands. 31 of them to be exact. That is a whole bunch of lands for a small set that isn't on Zendikar, and unsurprisingly a lot of them are deserts. HOU's lands are split almost evenly at 16 non-basic desert lands and 15 basic lands; Crypt of the Eternals is the only non-basic non-desert land in the whole set. Besides that there are very few articact creatures and planeswalkers and quite a few instants and sorceries compared to usual.
|Zombie 19||Human 17||Jackal 9||Naga 9||Bird 6||Minotaur 5|
|Beast 3||Cat 3||Demon 3||Elemental 3||God 3||Horror 3|
|Angel 2||Camel 2||Crocodile 2||Lizard 2||Sphinx 2||Chimera 1|
|Drake 1||Golem 1||Hellion 1||Hippo 1||Horse 1||Hydra 1|
|Insect 1||Manticore 1||Rat 1||Serpent 1||Snake 1||Spider 1|
The creature races of Hour of Devastation bring lots of interesting things. There are, very unusually, more zombies than humans in the set by 2. There is also a wealth of support for metahuman races like jackals, nagas, and birds (aven). Some other fan favorites get a fair bit more support with 5 new minotaurs, three more cats, and a handful of other things as well as some odd-ball creature types like hippos and serpents. HOU also gives us a couple very exciting new lords in the form of a sphinx and a horse; interestingly Amonkhet's minotaur lord lost his lordship when he was eternalized. It also can't be understated how cool the three new Gods are; maybe we're on track for God tribal one of these days.
|Warrior 20||Cleric 10||Wizard 10|
|Archer 2||Druid 2||Wall 2|
The classes of Hour of Devastation are far fewer than the races at just six total. Almost every creature with a class falls into one of three: warrior, cleric, or wizard. Warriors are by far the most dominant but a few archers and druids sneak through. Many of the races are zombies, beasties, or horrors so it makes sense that many of them don't have a class subtype.
The rarities in this set are pretty unremarkable. There are 15 basic cards (the lands) which isn't always standard for a small set but otherwise it's a pretty standard curve down from commons at 70 to mythics at 12. This doesn't account for the masterpieces of course which are even rarer.
This distribution is a little misleading because all 31 of the 0-cost cards are lands; no spells cost less than one mana in HOU. The lack of 1-drops is interesting as there is usually a smaller differnece between CMC 1 and 2, but Kaladesh block spoiled us on the 1-drops a bit. Unsurprisingly the set peaks strongly at CMC 3 although there are far more 2-drops than 4- and 5-drops than usual. The curve down from the peak to the high-end of 8 is pretty standard for a modern set.
The Keywords & Mechanics
The new and set-relevant keywords for Hour of Devastation make a very strong showing. Some of them are returning from Amonkhet like cycling, exert, and aftermath but every important HOU mechanic shows up in the top 6 (only flying keeps Eternalize out of the top 5). A full 10% of the cards in HOU have cycling including a cycle of lands and a variety of spells keeping with Amonkhet's cycling theme. Eternalize comes in hot with 9 cards which is pretty good for a new mechanic, and that doesn't include the other cards that interact with eternalized creatures. Afflict has an equal showing, with just a card less than exert and aftermath which carried over from AKH. The other usual mechanics, besides flying, show up far less than the set-relevant keywords although there are many cards which can gain keywords by exerting or combat tricks that grant them.
Hour of Devastation also takes a new spin on exert; a variety of the new creatuers can exert as an addtiional cost for a tap ability rather than just when attacking. There are also a number of lord abilities in the set as well as cards that interact uniquely with eternalize and embalm (although embalm is only in AKH) and the familiar "do something when -1/-1 counters" shtick from Amonkhet. On the whole this small set heartily embraces its mechanical themes and the block's keywords.
I am supremely excited for Hour of Devastation. The flavor of the set and the new mechanics are right up my alley and it looks just crazy fun. HOU draft looks like it will be full of surprises and sweet decks, and while I don't play much constructed I'm sure we'll get some great brews out of it. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll join me next time when we are ahead of schedule for Ixalan!