It recently came to our attention that a card in the upcoming Kaldheim set, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, was potentially spoiled. The card looks pretty beastly and amazing, but there are some suspicious aspects to it.
We knew we had to discuss it. In this post, we’ll dive into the mystery of the “new” Vorinclex card and whether or not we think this MTG spoiler is real.
Buckle up and get ready for an exhaustive analysis.
Update 01/07/21: As of today, we’ve found video from the official MTG Twitch channel indicating that Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is indeed real. The card appears at 43:40 in the above-linked video. So feel free to get excited about this one – we definitely are!
What is Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider?
Vorinclex is a Phyrexian Praetor aligned to green. Praetors on New Phyrexia are the leaders of the plane, with each one representing a color of mana.
Vorinclex takes green’s propensity for savagery to heart, adopting an ideology of survival of the fittest for his domain within New Phyrexia. In Vorinclex’s vision of an ideal world, there are only the hunters and the prey. Recently, the above-pictured card was spoiled in this Reddit thread, where the OP claimed it was pulled from a Commander Legends booster.
Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is a good creature with his base stats and keywords alone (6/6 trample and haste for 6), but his other abilities are what really make him interesting. Vorinclex doubles the amount of counters you place on any permanent or player.
This essentially makes him half of a Doubling Season on legs, with an important distinction: you double counters placed on players as well as permanents. This would include things such as poison counters to opponents or energy/experience counters on yourself.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s a second part to his rules text that halves the amount of counters an opponent would put on any permanent or player, rounded down. This means that anything that causes an opponent to put a single counter on a permanent or player is negated, and anything that adds more than one counter is greatly reduced in its efficiency. This either shuts down or weakens many strategies that don’t already have their own counter doublers on the field, such as +1/+1 counter decks, -1/-1 counter decks, Superfriends decks, and charge counter decks.
This is clearly a very powerful card, but not without its downsides, the most glaring of which when comparing it to Doubling Season is the fact that it’s a creature. It is therefore much more vulnerable to removal than an enchantment.
It is also very specific in what it does, so it is not another questing beast that just goes into any deck. You will want to build around counters to make it worth its spot.
Is Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider Real?
Now, the reason you’re probably here is to see whether or not the card is actually real. We don’t know for certain yet, and there are signs pointing to either conclusion.
We’ll discuss reasons it seems it could be real, and reasons that point to it being a fake.
Reasons It Might Be Real
1. There’s a precedent for similar leaks occurring.
This isn’t the first time cards have leaked before the actual set they’re in was released. Rootborn Defenses famously leaked in an M13 pack before the release of Return to Ravnica. Mark Rosewater attributed this to a printing error.
Wizards of the Coast prints a ton of cards. Even with how methodical of a process they’ve gotten it down to, mistakes are simply bound to happen.
If you’re willing to put on a tinfoil hat for a second, there’s also a theory that Wizards does this purposefully in order to generate viral hype for set releases.
2. The card looks professional and the wording is correct.
It is basically Doubling Season “on a stick.” In other words, its text is on par with the Doubling Season card we had pictured near the beginning of this post.
Wizards of the Coast is always pushing the power level of cards and this seems to fit, given how crazily powerful it seems at a glance.
3. The art is in Daarken’s Style.
Daarken is the name of the artist the potential new Vorinclex card is attributed to. You can see his name on the bottom of the card.
When looking at Daarken’s other artwork for MTG, the things that most stick out to us are:
- Use of dynamic angles
- Appropriately enough, very dark colors and areas of the composition, even on cards with a seemingly “lighter” subject matter, such as Heliod’s Intervention.
Both these elements are present on the supposed Vorinclex spoiler. It’s possible someone is faking Daarken’s style to make the spoiler more convincing, but that’s a lot of effort on their part. They’d be basically just making another professional-level piece of art.
Reasons It Might Be Fake
1. Phyrexia doesn’t fit with other spoilers from Kaldheim.
The new set has a very Norse feel to it. The Praetors come from New Phyrexia, which is a completely different plane with different themes. Magic is story-driven, and this doesn’t seem to fit with what we know so far about the new Plane.
2. The presence of the Phyrexian creature type.
We mentioned earlier that Vorinclex is a Praetor. In the past, Praetor has been a creature type by itself, so why add the Phyrexian type to Vorinclex now?
Furthermore, even if they were creating a new Phyrexian creature type, it just doesn’t match the theme of other cards and tribes from the set. It would be odd if Kaldheim and New Phyrexia were connected, so it doesn’t seem likely.
3. The story behind the spoiler seems unlikely.
We know that Wizards of the Coast have had quality control issues in the past, but finding a card from a completely different set seems extremely unlikely. The story is that it was opened up from a Commander Legends box.
Again, it’s not totally impossible, but let’s just say the odds would be rather slim.
4. Its text font looks too light.
When we compared the ability text to that of other cards from Kaldheim, it looked a wee bit light to us. Of course, it could just be an optical illusion from the quality and lighting of the picture. However, we couldn’t be 100% sure, so we felt it was worth noting this visual difference.
We personally hope this is a real card because of all the cool interactions we know Doubling Season has and because we love Phyrexians. It would be awesome to have the Praetors back, as well, because they are very popular in the Commander format.
Do you think this big monster is the real deal, or just an elaborate hoax? Let us know in the comments.