Tribal Terrors is a series that analyzes different creature types in order to determine whether the creature type and its respective tribe is playable. In this series we will not be exploring popular tribes such as Merfolk and Goblins, but instead lesser known tribes. At the end of the article, ideas will be provided to see how the play-style of the tribe can be improved. Additionally, this series will not account for universal cards that are beneficial to all tribes such as: Cavern of Souls and Stoneforge Masterwork; however, some of the more useful cards that are in the tribe’s colors will be discussed. Without further ado, the next creature type to be analyzed in Tribal Terrors is Moonfolk.
What do the colors Moonfolk are in allow them to do?
Moonfolk are blue creatures and most of them are wizards, all of them have flying in order to help them get behind enemy defenses. Most Moonfolk have low mana costs; however, there are a few exceptions. Due to the fact that they are Blue, Moonfolk have access to multiple counter spells, such as: Counterspell and Force of Will.
Thanks to cards like Blue Sun’s Zenith and Rhystic Study, Moonfolk can gain impressive amounts of card advantage, as well as being able to almost always have a counter spell or a land in hand. Moonfolk decks can also run a mill sub-theme thanks to being able to draw multiple cards a turn. Jace’s Erasure can mill opponents for multiple cards at a time. Psychic Spiral can also be a useful mill card that even recovers cards from the graveyard.
Blue’s tutor cards are sub-par at best; however, Mystic Tutor can help when searching for counter spells or Cyclonic Rift in order to remove cards from the battlefield. Blue’s removal could be improved, as it’s no where near as good as White’s; however, with cards such as Quiet Contemplation and Niblis of Frost, an opponent’s creatures can be tapped and rendered useless. Overall, Blue lacks removal and the ability to make aggressive creature plays, but it instead specializes in disrupting the opponent’s strategy.
What do Moonfolk specifically bring to the table?
Almost all Moonfolk have an ability that is activated after paying a certain amount of mana and then returning one or more lands to the hand. These abilities would be somewhat useful, but having to lose one or more lands each time the ability is activated isn’t worth it. The Moonfolk abilities have little to no synergy together and unlike other tribes, they don’t display an obvious win condition. Some Moonfolk help with attacking the opponent, while others pull a one-eighty and attempt to disrupt the opponent instead of attacking. The abilities don’t require the creature who is activating them to tap, so they can be used more than once per turn; however, the player using them has to return a land to their hand, so the cost is just too heavy. Players can however use an infinite mana combo such as Grand Architect and Pili-Pala to alleviate this downside. Additionally if a player gets Tamiyo, Field Researcher‘s emblem, then they don’t have to worry about producing mana either. Using Power Artifact with either Grim Monolith and Basalt Monolith is also an easy combo that creates infinite mana. But even with infinite mana, Moonfolk still need to use lands for their abilities. Walking Atlas and Patron of the Moon can help with this problem; however, Moonfolk abilities still have little to no real use.
Here’s a list of the Moonfolk cards, and a small description of whether or not a person should use them.
Floodbringer: Though her ability to tap a land can be useful, the player who controls that land can always just use that mana in response. Also, the land untaps during the untap phase. This causes Floodbringer to be almost useless, even with her low mana cost. Not to mention, temporarily removing an opponent’s land isn’t worth it when the user has to lose on of their own. She isn’t worth running, even with her inspirational flavor text quote.
Moonbow Illusionist: She’s a slightly better version of Floodbringer, even though she has just as many problems. Unless a person is casting a spell that doesn’t use colorless mana, then Moonbow Illusionist’s ability is useless. Not to mention, she removes one of the lands on her own side of the field only to partially disrupt an opponent’s play. Just like Floodbringer, she just isn’t worth running.
Oboro Breezecaller: She’s the opposite of Floodbringer, though just as useless. Her ability to untap lands still costs a land as well as two mana. This means the player who uses her is just losing one mana every time her ability is used, if the land that is returned to the hand is tapped. In a multi-color deck, this can be somewhat usefull as it could change Non-Blue mana to Blue mana and vise-versa; however, in mono-blue decks she just shouldn’t be run.
Oboro Envoy: She can decrease the power of other creatures, which helps other Moonfolk as most of them have low toughness. She even counts the land that was returned to hand due to her ability. She should be run in most decks, as she is more useful than some of the other Moonfolk.
Soratami Cloudskater: Gaining card advantage is useful, but there are better cards that take Soratami Cloudskater’s place. She can be useful, but as discussed earlier blue already has excellent spells to help with card advantage, such as Blue Sun’s Zenith and Rhystic Study. Run her if there is room, but otherwise there are better options.
Soratami Mindsweeper: If an infinite mana combo is up, Soratami Mindsweeper can be excellent when paired with Patron of the Moon in order to mill the opponent for four cards a turn. She’s a definite must in most Moonfolk decks.
Soratami Mirror-Guard: Most Moonfolk have two or less power, so Soratami Mirror-Guard is excellent when trying to deal some damage. She’s also an impressive beater compared to the other Moonfolk, but sadly, since she has three power, she can’t use her ability on herself. She’s useful, unlike other Moonfolk, so she should be ran.
Soratami Mirror-Mage: Removing a creature from the field is a neat ability, but is not worth three mana and losing three lands. Also, there is a huge chance that the opponent will just play the same creature next turn. Soratami Mirror-Mage is too expensive and should not be run, even with an infinite mana combo.
Soratami Rainshaper: She’s a bit more useful than the other Moonfolk, as she prevents targeting. This can help with an opponent’s removal and power dropping, as well as an opponent’s counter spells. She should be ran in every Moonfolk deck.
Soratami Savant: Though she is expensive, Soratami Savant can be used as a last ditch counter to an opponent’s spell if they don’t have enough mana. There are better counter spells, especially in Blue; however, Soratami Savant can be useful in a pinch. She should be ran if the player is worried about not having enough counter spells.
Soratami Seer: Just like every Moonfolk, there is always a cheaper option. Having to not only return two lands to the hand, but also discarding those lands is too costly. The player also gets cards back equal to the amount discarded, but the cost of the card advantage is just too high. Blue Sun’s Zenith and Rhystic Study are better spells for card advantage. Soratami Seer isn’t even that strong, so running her isn’t worth it.
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant: Even though Erayo, Soratmi Ascendant is easy to cast, her ability takes a while before it activates. In the early game, almost no one is going to be casting four spells in a single turn, and even in the late game it’s still a rare occurrence. She should be ran, but Erayo’s Essence is a good disruption Enchantment.
Meloku the Clouded Mirror: His ability comes out of no where and doesn’t synergize well with the other Moonfolk. A small 1/1 token with flyng isn’t worth returning a land to hand and paying one mana. If the tokens were stronger then Meloku the Clouded Mirror’s ability might be justified, but for now he’s just as worthless as most of the other Moonfolk. He should be ran in a Moonfolk deck; however, his primary use will be as a blocker not a token generator.
Uyo, Silent Profit: Despite her expensive mana cost and the high cost of her ability, Uyo, Silent Profit is one of the best Moonfolk creatures. She’s a 4/4, making her the strongest of the Moonfolk based on power and toughness. Her ability allows her to copy a sorcery or an instant, while also making new targets for the spell. This includes, but is not limited to, Blue Sun’s Zenith, Cyclonic Rift, and Mystical Tutor. She should be ran in every Moonfolk deck, even if she removes two lands from the field when activating her ability.
Patron of the Moon: Being able to add two lands onto the field is an amazing ability, even if they come into play tapped. The ability doesn’t even specify basic lands, so lands such as Cavern of Souls and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx can also be played. Not to mention, Patron of the Moon doesn’t tap to activate its ability so a player could put all the lands they have into play as long as they have enough mana. Patron of the Moon allows players to actually use Moonfolk abilities; however, most Moonfolk abilities are mediocre at best and horrible at worst. Patron of the Moon should mostly be used to increase the amount of mana that a player can use each turn and should be ran in every Moonfolk deck.
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds: There isn’t much to say about Oboro, Palace in the Clouds. It’s a legendary version of an Island that a player can save by returning it back to their hand.
Tamiyo, Field Researcher: Though Tamiyo isn’t a Moonfolk card herself, she is the Moon Sage, so she has the right to be included in this list; especially since her Field Researcher form works incredibly well with Moonfolk creatures. Her first ability provides some card advantage, but does require the creature to deal combat damage. Her second ability provides reliable disruption and protection from anything scary. Her final ability allows players to cast spells freely, and allows Moonfolk to use lands for their abilities without any real drawbacks. The only problem is that Tamiyo, Field Researcher is Green and White, not just Blue. If color isn’t a problem, she should always be ran; however, there are other ways to create mana in a mono Blue deck.
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage: Tamiyo’s mono Blue form isn’t as useful as her Field Researcher form, but she’s still powerful. Her fist ability provides protection, and unlike her Field Researcher form doesn’t lower her loyalty. Her second ability provides some card advantage for every tapped creature that a target player controls, which can be useful after the combat step in order to gain more lands. Her last ability is extremely helpful as it removes the and size maximum, so a player won’t have to discard cards at the end of their turn after Moonfolk send back all of the lands on the player’s field. It also comes with the bonus of being able to reuse cards once they are sent to the graveyard. She should be run in any Moonfolk deck as she provides abilities that benefit Moonfolk creatures.
How to Improve
Even though Landfall abilities exist, returning a land to the hand is never beneficial. If there were Moonfolk or other creatures that increased in power and toughness or got passive abilities when a land is returned to the hand, then players would be more welcome to the price of Moonfolk abilities. The disruption abilities of Floodbringer and Moonbow Illusionist are mundane and sometimes don’t have any use. If Moonfolk had better disruption abilities that were worth returning a land to the hand, such as destroying a land or tapping multiple creatures, then the Moonfolk tribe would be significantly improved. Lastly, Moonfolk need a significant win condition. At the moment, Moonfolk just have different mediocre abilities that require the user to return a land to the hand. Moonfolk need synergy together, something that helps them work together as a team instead of them all having different abilities, most of which have little to no use.
Overall, Moonfolk are too expensive for abilities that don’t have a big significance on the battlefield. Even though there are ways to lower the cost, such as Patron of the Moon and some infinite mana combos, Moonfolk still have trouble getting their mediocre abilities off. Most of them have low power and toughness so they have trouble winning by dealing damage to the opponent. Finally, Moonfolk don’t have a win condition of any kind and they don’t work together as a team unlike other tribes. Sadly, Moonfolk is a difficult tribe to make a deck out of, even with the support of other strong blue tribes like Merfolk.
What do you think? Have you ever attempted playing a Moonfolk tribal deck? Want us to write about any specific tribe? Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or concerns in the comments below.