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Hour of Devastation

Hour of Devastation
HOU set logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Nicol Bolas' horns
Design Shawn Main (lead)
Ken Nagle
Jackie Lee
Jules Robins
Sam Stoddard
Mel Li
Mark Rosewater
Development Dave Humpherys (lead)
Bryan Hawley
Ian Duke
Eric Lauer
Jackie Lee
Ari Levitch
Kimberly J. Kreines
Tim Aten
Mons Johnson
Release date July 14, 2017
Plane Amonkhet
Themes and mechanics Nicol Bolas, Deserts, Curses, Brick counters, -1/-1 counters, Split cards
Keywords/​ability words Afflict, Eternalize, Exert, Cycling, Aftermath
Set size 199 cards
+10 Planeswalker deck exclusives
Expansion code HOU[1]
Development codename Laughs
Amonkhet block
Amonkhet Hour of Devastation N/A
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Archenemy: Nicol Bolas Hour of Devastation Commander 2017

Hour of Devastation is the seventy-fifth Magic expansion, and the second in the Amonkhet block. It was released on July 14, 2017,[2] and is a small expansion.

Set details[ | ]

Hour of Devastation contains 199 cards (15 basic lands,[3] 70 commons, 60 uncommons, 42 rares, 12 mythic rares) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. The expansion symbol represents the horns of Nicol Bolas. The Planeswalker decks contain 10 additional cards that are considered to be part of the set (2 mythic planeswalkers, 2 rares, 2 uncommons, 2 commons and 2 common dual taplands).[4] These are numbered #200/199 to #209/199). Five of basic lands are full-art (different art from the Amonkhet ones).[5]

While the previous set mostly was top-down design inspired by Egypt with some top-down Bolas, Hour of Devastation is mostly top-down Bolas with some top-down Egypt.[6][7] Starting with Hour of Devastation R&D pulled back significantly on how often Gatewatch planeswalkers appear as cards.[8] The non-full art basic lands were previewed in Archenemy: Nicol Bolas.[9]

Storyline[ | ]

“  Unleash your Endgame  ”

As promised, the God-Pharaoh has returned. Unfortunately, the promise of a glorious afterlife wasn't quite what everyone thought it was. Nicol Bolas has come to claim his perfect Zombie army, the Eternals. The Gatewatch is easily defeated. Samut's planeswalker's spark is ignited.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Hour of Devastation are: Hour of Revelation, Hour of Glory, Hour of Promise, Hour of Eternity, Hour of Devastation.

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
The Hour of Revelation Alison Luhrs 2017-06-07 Amonkhet Nicol Bolas, Kefnet, Oketra, Hazoret, Rhonas, Bontu, the Scorpion God, the Scarab God, the Locust God, Djeru, Samut, Razaketh
Feast Alison Luhrs 2017-06-14 Amonkhet Razaketh, the Gatewatch, Raven Man
Hour of Glory Michael Yichao 2017-06-21 Amonkhet Rhonas, Oketra, Kefnet, Hazoret, Bontu, the Scorpion God, the Locust God, the Scarab God
The Hour of Promise Alison Luhrs 2017-06-28 Amonkhet Hapatra, Khufu, Iput, Kefnet, the Locust God, Tuya, Oketra, Samut, Djeru, Gideon Jura, Liliana Vess, the Scorpion God
Favor Michael Yichao 2017-07-05 Amonkhet Hazoret, Samut, Djeru, Nicol Bolas, Bontu
Hour of Eternity Ken Troop 2017-07-12 Amonkhet Nylah, the Scarab God, Bakenptah, Taweret, Asenue, Genub, Makare, Kawit, Nicol Bolas, Amenakhte
Endure Michael Yichao 2017-07-19 Amonkhet, Theros Samut, Djeru, Masikah, Nicol Bolas, Hapatra, Neheb, the Gatewatch, Haqikah, Hazoret, the Scorpion God
Hour of Devastation Ken Troop 2017-07-26 Amonkhet The Gatewatch, Nicol Bolas, Raven Man, Tezzeret

Marketing[ | ]

Hour of Devastation is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), two planeswalker decks and the Hour of Devastation bundle. The boosters feature artwork from Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, Samut, the Tested, Fame (Claim/Fame), The Scarab God and Angel of Condemnation. Like Magic 2013 before, the packaging is mostly Bolas-flavored.

Amonkhet Invocations[ | ]

HOU booster

Hour of Devastation booster

The Masterpiece Series for Amonkhet block are called Amonkhet Invocations. These are all premium foil cards with a special Amonkhet card frame and a separate expansion symbol (). Thus, they are not part of the sets. Amonkhet Invocations are all about the Amonkhet gods, their magic and their servants.[10] They include all new art, a card frame inspired by Egyptian steles without flavor text. They appear slightly more often than premium mythic rares. These cards are playable in limited and formats where they're already legal. 30 Invocation cards previously appeared with Amonkhet and 24 more cards appear in Hour of Devastation.[11]

Main article: Amonkhet Invocations

Events[ | ]

Promotional Cards[ | ]

Tokens[ | ]

HOU Punch card

Punch card

There are 12 tokens for Hour of Devastation. Every creature spell with Eternalize has a unique matching token.[14]

  1. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Adorned Pouncer
  2. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Champion of Wits
  3. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Dreamstealer
  4. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Earthshaker Khenra
  5. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Proven Combatant
  6. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Resilient Khenra
  7. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Sinuous Striker
  8. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Steadfast Sentinel
  9. {B} 4/4 Eternalized Sunscourge Champion
  10. {W} 5/5 Horse for Crested Sunmare
  11. {G} 5/4 Snake for Rhonas's Last Stand
  12. {U/R} 1/1 Insect with flying and haste for The Locust God

The following tokens printed in Amonkhet are also used for cards in Hour of Devastation:

In addition some boosters feature a punch card with markers for exerted and eternal, brick counters and -1/-1 counters.

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

-1/-1 counters, Exert, Cycling and Aftermath split cards are carried over from the previous set.[15] Exert now shows up as an activated ability.[5][16]

Brick counters are used again as well, only this time they represent the dismantling of the monuments (cards start with 3 counters; removing one creates an effect).[17]

There are two new named mechanics:[15]

  • Eternalize — a keyword ability which is an evolved Embalm. Eternalize can only be activated if the creature is in the graveyard. When activated, the card is exiled and creates a token copy of itself. This creature token is a copy of the eternalized creature, except that it is a zombie in addition to its other creature types and monocolored black. Its power/toughness becomes 4/4. Many creatures with eternalize have abilities that get better because of their increased power.
  • Afflict — a triggered ability with a variable value. Whenever a creature with this ability becomes blocked, the defending player loses life equal to the Afflict value.

Card types[ | ]

This set adds the three forgotten Gods from Amonkhet.

The desert theme of Amonkhet is expanded on.[18] There are cards throughout the set that reward you for either controlling a Desert or having a Desert card in your graveyard.[15]

Cycles[ | ]

Hour of Devastation has thirteen cycles, two of which are partial and one other vertical:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Cycling Deserts Desert of the True Desert of the Mindful Desert of the Glorified Desert of the Fervent Desert of the Indomitable
Five common cycling lands with the Desert subtype, which artistically are degraded versions of the Monument cycle in the previous set.[5][19]
Spell Deserts Shefet Dunes Ipnu Rivulet Ifnir Deadlands Ramunap Ruins Hashep Oasis
Five uncommon pain lands with the Desert subtype, which tap for both colorless and colored mana, and allow the controller to sacrifice a Desert to get an effect.[19]
Deserts matter Solitary Camel Unquenchable Thirst Wretched Camel Gilded Cerodon Sidewinder Naga
Five common spells that improve if a Desert is under your control or in your graveyard.
Defeats Gideon's Defeat Jace's Defeat Liliana's Defeat Chandra's Defeat Nissa's Defeat
Five uncommon same-color hoser spells, which gain strength if used against a specific planeswalker of the Gatewatch. Each has art by Kieran Yanner.[5]
"Power matters" eternalizers Sunscourge Champion Champion of Wits Dreamstealer Earthshaker Khenra Resilient Khenra
Five creatures featuring the eternalize mechanic, with effects that scale with the power of the creature.
God's last actions Oketra's Last Mercy Kefnet's Last Word Bontu's Last Reckoning Hazoret's Undying Fury Rhonas's Last Stand
Five under-costed rare spells flavored to match the Gods that cause your lands to not untap on your next turn, inspired by exert.[5]
Hours Hour of Revelation Hour of Eternity Hour of Glory Hour of Devastation Hour of Promise
Five rare spells named after the Hours, which serve as the Story Spotlight cards of the set and have mechanics that twist the Hours' flavor.[19]
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied colored uncommons Farm // Market Consign // Oblivion Claim // Fame Struggle // Survive Appeal // Authority
Five split cards taking the place usually reserved for draft-guiding multicolor and featuring the aftermath mechanic.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Reversed enemy colored rares Grind // Dust Refuse // Cooperate Driven // Despair Leave // Chance Reason // Believe
Split cards featuring the aftermath mechanic.
Draft archetypes Unraveling Mummy (Zombies) Bloodwater Entity (instants and sorceries) Obelisk Spider (-1/-1 counters) Resolute Survivors (Exert) River Hoopoe (Ramp)
Five uncommon cards in the enemy color pairs which each represent a two-colored draft archetype[20]

Partial cycles[ | ]

As a tribute to Bolas, several three-card cycles within the Grixis arc were present in the set.

Cycle name {U} {B} {R}
Afflict creatures Spellweaver Eternal Khenra Eternal Frontline Devastator
Eternal of Harsh Truths Merciless Eternal Manticore Eternal
A set of zombie creatures with Afflict at common and uncommon.
Modal uncommon spells Supreme Will Doomfall Abrade
Three uncommon spells that have a choice of two complementary options.
Mythic Legends Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign Razaketh, the Foulblooded Neheb, the Eternal
Three mythic Legendary creatures.
Cycle name {U/B} {B/R} {U/R}
Forgotten Gods The Scarab God The Scorpion God The Locust God
The three mythic rare gods that Bolas corrupted, with each god having two of the Grixis colors.

Vertical cycle[ | ]

Cycle name
Torments Torment of Venom Torment of Scarabs Torment of Hailfire
Three black punisher spells with the choice of losing three life, discarding a card in hand, or sacrificing a nonland permanent.[21]

Reprinted cards[ | ]

Functional reprints[ | ]

Card comparisons[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Hour of Devastation has two planeswalker decks:[13]

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Nissa U G Nissa, Genesis Mage
Nicol Bolas U B R Nicol Bolas, The Deceiver

Notable cards[ | ]

  • Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh is a powerful four-loyalty-ability planeswalker. It was printed eight years after the first Planeswalker card for Nicol Bolas.[5][17]
  • God-Pharaoh's Gift is mentioned by Gate to the Afterlife, which was released in Amonkhet before.[19][22]
  • Crested Sunmare is a Horse Lord, and its flavor text references populated areas on Amonkhet outside of Naktamun.[23]
  • The Scarab God was the premier midrange power card for most of its Standard life span despite being originally overlooked at spoiler season. At a reasonable cost for its' size, the ability to generate a stream of 4/4s was extremely relevant in the creature-dominated Standard season. Additionally, the removal was notoriously weak during this time, making its recursion and reanimation doubly relevant, and its closing power was unmatched, considering the draining ability on upkeep. Even after rotation, it has continued to see play in Pioneer, and it remains one of the most popular blue-black commanders in the Commander format.
  • Hollow One is part of numerous graveyard-oriented decks from Modern to Vintage. In Modern and Legacy, it is combined with spells like Faithless Looting to discard enough cards to cast it for free as early as turn 1, and in Vintage it is combined with the powerful Bazaar of Baghdad to similar effect.
  • The Locust God is often used as a target in Pioneer Indomitable Creativity decks, and is one of the most heavily played red-blue commanders in the Commander format, where it has numerous infinite combos with cards like Kindred Discovery.
  • Ramunap Excavator is a Crucible of Worlds with a body. While it has seen play as a value creature from Standard to Modern, it has been most successful in Legacy, where it is a key part of land combo decks.
  • Abrade is one of the best red removal spells ever printed, combining two flexible modes and allowing for main deck artifact removal.
  • Firebrand Archer is a powerful tool for Pauper burn decks.
  • Neheb, the Eternal is among the most powerful Minotaur cards and has multiple notorious combos with cards such as Aggravated Assault.
  • Hour of Promise is used in some variety of Modern ramp decks that look to abuse cards like Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and Field of the Dead.
  • Nimble Obstructionist has seen inconsistent play in decks in a variety of different formats, particularly because of its ability can evade opposing counterspells.
  • Solemnity has a unique and powerful effect and is the basis for various locks in enchantment-based decks in Modern such as with Nine Lives or Phyrexian Unlife.
  • Supreme Will was a staple in Standard control decks as it could provide both countermagic and card selection as needed.
  • Overwhelming Splendor is tied for the most expensive Aura card ever printed, and has a devastating effect on the enchanted opponent as a one-sided variant of Humility.
  • Striped Riverwinder is a key part of Modern Living End decks, which can cycle it to help find their combo piece and then reanimate it with the titular spell.
  • Bontu's Last Reckoning is the cheapest spell to unconditionally destroy all creatures but has a hefty drawback. It has been played in decks from Modern to Vintage that need a cheap wrath and/or have ways of avoiding the downside.
  • Earthshaker Khenra was a staple in aggressive red decks in Standard thanks to its hasty stats, ability to make creatures unable to block, and recursive nature.

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • While the entire painland desert cycle has seen consistent play in Standard and Pioneer, Ramunap Ruins was especially notable. It powered up the already dominant Red Deck Wins archetype in Standard by making it nearly impossible for the opponent to stabilize, as even the lands could deal extra damage. It was so influential to the deck's success that it began receiving the title Ramunap Red. After more than a year of dominance, it and its fellow Red Deck Wins threat Rampaging Ferocidon were banned out of Standard in early 2018, but it continues to see play in similar styles of decks in Pioneer.

References[ | ]

  1. Product information
  2. Wizards of the Coast (August 31, 31). "Announcement Day". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (June 06, 2017). "Those extra 15 cards?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. Wizards of the Coast (June 30, 2017). "Hour of Devastation Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c d e f Mark Rosewater (June 19, 2017). "Darkest Hour, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (April 3, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater (April 17, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 3". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (April 07, 2017). "I get you want to push the Gatewatch but the same ones is a little tiring.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Basic lands from Archenemy: Nicol Bolas spoiled
  10. Mark Rosewater (March 30, 2017). "What is the theme of the Amonkhet Invocations supposed to be?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Wizards of the Coast (June 19, 2017). "Masterpiece Series: Hour of Devastation Invocations". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Gavin Verhey (July 3, 2017). "Hour of Devastation Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Blake Rasmussen (June 17, 2017). "The Promos and Planeswalker Decks for Hour of Devastation". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Nicholas Wolfram (April 17, 2017). "The Tokens of Hour of Devastation". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. a b c Matt Tabak (June 17, 2017). "Hour of Devastation Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater (June 26, 2017). "Darkest Hour, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. a b Mark Rosewater (July 17, 2017). "Devastation Information, Part 3". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Mark Rosewater (April 10, 2017). "Amonkhet Down to Business, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. a b c d Mark Rosewater (July 10, 2017). "Devastation Information, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Marshall Sutcliffe (July 10, 2017). "Drafting Hour of Devastation Archetypes". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Melissa DeTora (June 23, 2017). "Cycle of Torment". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Wizards of the Coast (February 9, 2017). "Amonkhet Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Mark Rosewater (July 24, 2017). "Odds & Ends: Hour of Devastation, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.