Magic: The Gathering’s newest set – Ravnica Allegiance – is only a few weeks away and preview season is in full swing. While the core of this set revolves around five guilds, there are those who have nothing to do with the inner turmoil and political machinations happening on Ravinca.
Enter Mesmerizing Benthid, a terrifying octopus and our exclusive preview card for Ravnica Allegiance. Costing three colorless and two blue, Mesmerizing Benthid is a 4/5 octopus with: “When Mesmerizing Benthid enters the battlefield, create two 0/2 Illusion creature tokens with ‘Whenever this creature blocks a creature, that creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.'” Additionally, Mesmerizing Benthid has Hexproof as long as you control an Illusion.
Despite not sporting any of the new keywords, Mesmerizing Benthid is a surprisingly flexible card that can slot into a lot of decks across several formats. One of the most obvious spots is Limited, where the Mesmerizing Benthed becomes a nightmare to deal with. Not only does it have a strong body at 4/5, but the Illusions it creates makes attacking difficult.
Looking to Standard, we suspect that the Benthid may show up in control decks or if a toolbox deck based around Prime Speaker Vannifer pops up. Its main issue is there are just better finishers for control decks, so the Benthid is in a bit of an awkward spot. However, if a Simic or Bant midrange deck takes shape, the Benthid could comfortably slot into this.
Mesmerizing Benthid also shines in my personal favorite format, Commander. Blink decks are one of the most popular archetypes and Mesmerizing Benthid’s ability to spew out blockers is easily abusable. Even though the Illusions have zero Power, they can make swinging into your field very tricky. This can help you stabilize your board and ward off aggressive opponents. The Benthid’s ability to gain Hexproof means you can still flicker this octopus while simultaneously protecting it from single target removal.
Sure, the octopus lacks the immediate “wow factor” that some Ravnica Allegiance cards possess, but Mesmerizing Benthid should not be overlooked. If you have a way to keep repeating its ETB (Enter the Battlefield) trigger then it’s easy to take over an entire game. You could also just put it into a sea creatures deck because who doesn’t love giant ocean monsters?
Ravnica Allegiance is set to release on January 25, 2019.