Tag Archives: Elder Dragon Highlander

Teneb, the Harvester EDH: Mtg Commander

The rush of the holidays are behind us.  Between bouts of shopping and decorating I got a chance to visit some family and friends.  While on my pilgrimage to Texas I caught up with my best friend, Jim.  After some preliminary catching up we decided to play some Commander.  I was fresh off of building my Kangee, Aerie Keeper deck (here) and wanted to deliver some flying beatdown.  Jim had recently put together a Teneb, the Harvester list that wanted to steal games with a big Genesis Wave.  Jim’s build was pretty awesome and I had a blast watching some cool interactions.  When it was time to go I asked Jim to e-mail me the list so I could sleeve it up and play it myself.  I have seen Genesis Wave in action in Commander many times since it came out and it can be backbreaking (just ask Power 9 Pro’s Joe about his Azusa, Lost but Seeking deck).

Since the deck wants to abuse Genesis Wave it needs to have a high concentration of permanents.  Jim runs a huge number of creatures backed up with a few artifacts, enchantments and Planeswalkers.  The list only has five non-permanents in it.

Seems a little sparse but it will work for now. I am sure Jim does not own Vampiric Tutor or it would be in there.

As for artifacts and enchantments, the selection is a bit bigger

I have always been a fan of Wild Pair in EDH.  Lurking Predators can be especially awesome in multi-player.  I thin Jim needs to be running Senseis Divining Top to take advantage of the Predators.

If you have ever been sitting opposite Sorin Markov in Commander you know that the game is pretty much over as soon as he hits the table. Liliana’s -2 ability helps look for Genesis Wave or can set up a Lurking Predator hit.

The land is pretty standard. I feel that almost every Commander deck should be running Crucible of Worlds if just for a way not to be totally blown out by Armageddon effects.

The creature package is where this deck really shines.  It is full of amazing dudes with amazing powers.  There are a lot of “enters the battlefield” effects that combo nicely with Genesis Wave.

Acidic Slime is great in EDH since there will be plenty of nice targets.  Drana is a machine-gun, destroying low toughness Generals with ease every turn and at instant speed.  Iona… well that is obvious.  Drop a Gleancrawler after you attacked with Novablast Wurm to lessen the sting.  For those of you who have not had the chance to see how much devastation Terastodon can cause, you need to trust me.  World Queller is a vastly underrated card and fits nicely with all of the recursion effects in the deck.  Thicket Elemental can be absolutely broken.

This is a great start for an awesome deck that plays with top tier creatures that can be easily cheated into play. With a few minor tweaks I am sure that this deck can be very competitive. Give me some Feedback and let me know what you think should go in or come out and I will keep the list updated.  I want to revisit this General in the future so keep the comments comming.

Kangee, Aerie Keeper EDH with Scars of Mirrodin

I cracked open my box of Scars of Mirrodin and was really excited about all of the cool new cards that will make EDH more fun. Ezuri Renegade Leader, Geth Lord of the Vault, Kemba Kha Regent, and Skithiryx the Blight Dragon were the new generals waiting to command an army and I was ready to oblige. I use black a lot in EDH and wanted to stay away from it so I decided to build off of our equipment loving cat and put together a Mono-White Kemba deck. Armed with swords and jittes and armor, Kemba was rather unimpressive. I did not put much effort into the build and ended up with a deck that wasn’t as fun as I wanted. I decided to put EDH on the back burner and played in a coupled of FNM draft events, built a budget standard deck, and played some Call of Duty. I was thinking about how good Contagion Clasp was in limited and it hit me; why not an EDH deck that makes use of Proliferate? Now that seemed more fun than gearing up death kitty.

Proliferate reads:  “You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.”  I checked my Big Ol’ Binder of Legends and looked at my options.  The first thing that jumped at me was Experiment Kraj.  This ooze mutant just screamed potential.  The other Legend that seemed awesome to me was Kangee, Aerie Keeper.  I decided to go the route of Big Bird beats.  The basic game plan is play Kangee with kicker and use proliferate to make my flying army huge.

My first goal was to pick up all the goodies with Proliferate that would turn Kangee into BALCO for birds.  There are only six cards with Proliferate currently and I ended up using five of them:

This was a good place to start.  I decided against Throne of Geth since I felt that most of my artifacts would play an important role but I could definitely find room for it.  Double bonus!  Thrummingbird is a…. yeah a bird.  Next up was finding the rest of the flock.

This seemed like a good core for the deck.  I figured these birdies would be enough to give Alfred Hitchcock nightmares.  A few other creatures that play nice with our bird theme will also make the cut; Jotun Owl Keeper, Pride of the Clouds, and Soraya the Falconer.  The Owl Keeper works well with Proliferate.  I also wanted to point out that due to Oracle errata, cards like Soraya end up doing things a bit different that originally printed.  “Falcon” is no longer a recognized creature type so Soraya instead gives her bonus to Birds.  Another interesting change is that Kangee is now a Bird Legend so his feather counters pump him up too.  The only other creature in the deck is Weathered Wayfarer who helps us find our ever so important land.

I next wanted to include cards that work well with my tribal theme.

All of these goodies turn my Birds into beat-down machines.  Mimic Vat and True Conviction are not tribal, but I wanted to use new cards from Scars so in they go!  I needed more ways to take advantage of Proliferate so I added Coalition Relic, Energy Chamber, Everflowing Chalice, Lux Cannon, and Sigil of Distinction.  All that was left to add was tutoring and removal.

Removal:

Tutors:

I still had some space so I decided to bring in some card drawing and some defence.  Compulsive Research, Leyline of Sanctity, Lightning Greaves, and Skullclamp.

Land Time!

This list does a good job showcasing the new mechanic, Proliferate.  I am very happy with many of the interactions.  I am always looking for feedback so leave any comments, suggestions or criticisms below.

The Championship Chronicles – Part 5 (EDH)

For those of you that haven’t been keeping up, the following links might prove useful.

Part 1 – Standard
Part 2 – 2HG Draft
Part 3 – Team Trios (Legacy)
Part 4 – M11 Draft

So here we are. The final game. The final event. We’ve been competing with and against each other for almost 3 months, and we are now down to 5 players. The format? Star Eternities Map EDH. That’s pretty convoluted for players who aren’t familiar with all the great variant formats magic has to offer, so I’ll run down the rules.

Star
Star is a multiplayer format which is inspired by something we’re all very familiar with – the back of a magic card. Simply put, you play a free-for-all multiplayer game, but you don’t have to defeat very single other player. You need only defeat the players directly opposite from you to win. This does mean that 2 players can win at the same time (such as if they eliminate 1 enemy each and then their common enemy loses), and Matt (The TO) was kind enough to create different prize scenarios depending on how the game ended (i.e. how many winners and losers).

Eternities Map
A variant on Planechase, the Eternities map gives you a bit more control over what planes you walk to. I can’t really give a better explanation than this.

EDH
Since its inception by a group of judges many years ago, Elder Dragon Highlander has become one of the most popular magic variant formats. Players pick a legendary creature to be their “general” and can only play cards which contain mana symbols of their general’s colours. More information can be found here.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to the players of the finals of the 2010 Wizard’s Comics Championship.

Zak
That’s me! I came in as the second seed from the Edmonton store, and I’ve been running pretty well in this tournament. For the EDH portion I played Zur, the Enchanter, one of the most-powerful generals in the format.

Buddy
Buddy was the 5th place seed from the Sherwood Park store and has teamed up with me twice in this event (2HG and trios). He was really miffed at the final format being such a wacky format, but he brought Progenitus to the table.

Matt
Matt was actually the 10th place Sherwood Park seed but because of scheduling conflicts with the top 8 he got a berth into the championship passed down to him. He’d never played EDH before today, and chose to use Sen Triplets as his general.

Jim
Another EDH novice, Jim is my normal 2HG partner and has got through this event by the skin of his teeth, being on the cusp of elimination in pretty much every event, although he came in as the third-place seed from the Edmonton store. He didn’t think he would be advancing to the finals, and thus didn’t have an EDH deck prepared. I knew something like this would happen, so I was happy to lend him Doran, the Siege Tower for the finals.

Adam
Adam is a player whose strength lies in limited, but he is trying to break into constructed. He’s a fine player who chose to bring Jenara, Asura of War to the table. He was the 7th place seed from the Edmonton store.

We started out on the Pools of Becoming plane, where I rolled chaos, excited to get some huge advantage from the top 3 planes. Of course I whiffed and hit Stronghold Furnace, Fields of Summer, and Sanctum of Serra. I was all the more upset when Buddy also got a chaos roll on that same plane, and all the more relieved when he whiffed as well.

Jim resolved a Skullclamp and then tried to roll a planeswalk symbol to get over to Goldmeadow so he could harvest his goats for cards. Luckily he didn’t get it and Adam quickly walked in the other direction to Horizon Boughs. I rolled a chaos and got to triple-Rampant Growth.

Buddy cast a Diabolic Tutor to get something mysterious on his turn, and Adam resolved an Ant Queen, which had insane synergy with Horizon Boughs, letting him make multiple ants on each player’s turn.

I cast my Zur, the Enchanter and pass the turn, while Matt casts Mystical Teachings for Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. On his turn he cast Enlightened Tutor for Wound Reflection and brought out an Erayo, Soratami Ascendant. This was the starts of Matt’s offence, and we knew that we would need to find away to other break the potential lockdown from Erayo, and the massive life loss induced by the Reflection.

When play passed back to Adam, he started bashing in with his army of ants. I attacked with Zur, and fetched Vanishing, to make the number of ways he could be dealt with extremely small. Buddy gets rid of the potential troublesome Erayo with a Comet Storm, and Jim planeswalks to Celestine Reef. Matt plays a morph face down, and then flips it up to reveal Vesuvan Shapeshifter, which is pretty much one of the few ways that could possibly kill my Zur. Adam proceeds to roll chaos 3 times in a row, eliciting laughter from the rest of us, until he finally planewalks to Undercity Reaches and draws 13 cards from his ants.

On my turn, I draw an Eldrazi Conscription, which I could have played by fetching Arcanum Wings, had my Zur survived.

The game takes an interesting turn when play passes back to Buddy, who’s done nothing but tutor a few times and play a few removal spells. He casts a Hive Mind and it resolves, as the blue mages at the table are either tapped out or don’t have countermagic in hand.

I’m ready to scoop it up to a Pact when something even worse happens. Buddy casts Shahrazad. I’ve never seen the card in person before, and quickly understood the implications of what was about to happen. 5 Shahrazads meant 5 subgames, each of which could take an hour or more. Not to mention that in the regular game buddy had ways to rebuy the game-creating sorcery, and he could even do it from inside the subgame with a Burning Wish.

This cause a great ruckus and we all stood up and took a break while we decided what to do. Those of us that take public transit couldn’t really afford to stay at the store for 5 hours, and when Matt (The TO) called the store owner, he impressed upon us that we would not be able to stay very late, as the store was already closed for the day.

With the Shahrazads on the stack, Adam declared his concession, as he had school the next day and had to get home sooner rather than later. Here I realized my opportunity, as I also declared my concession. Both of us conceding meant that Jim would get the win, and it was a win we could share in. Him winning would be like me winning, as we’ve helped each other out in order to make sure we both got this far: lending cards, talking strategies, brewing decks, and if I had to surrender that last game, I was glad Jim would get the win.

When this fact was realized, Matt also scooped, meaning that both Buddy and Jim would win. However, there was a tiebreaker that needed to be made, and so Jim and Buddy sat down to play 1 game of MiniMaster to decide the Wizard’s Comics Championship.

So before I continue, time for another rules segment!

MiniMaster a.k.a. Pack Wars
MiniMaster is a format where each player uses one sealed pack of Magic. The players open the packs without looking at the pack and take out the token/tip card. They then shuffle in 3 of each basic land to comprise a 30 card deck, and play 1 game with 15 life apiece. Some player like to use this as a way of gambling packs, where the winner takes the contents of both packs.

This MiniMaster game was rather unexciting, as Jim had never played it before and to say he mulliganed aggressively would be an understatement. He went to 3 or 4 looking for an early creature drop, whereas most players never mulligan in MiniMaster, and keep any hand with a mix of lands and spells, regardless of colour.

Jim’s mulligans did him in, as Buddy cast 2 creatures early on and that was enough to take him all the way. For his troubles, Buddy received a large amount of store credit, as well as a year’s VIP membership to Wizard’s Comics, meaning that for any large tournaments (Prerelease, Launch Party, GPT, etc.), he would receive free entry. I got a fair bit of store credit and an intro pack for my troubles, and a fair bit of enjoyment out of the day.

To end this series, I feel like I must address Buddy’s last play that preemptively ended the game. Buddy was so dead-set against the format of EDH that he built his deck to prove a point – that we shouldn’t have played EDH for the finals. However, he did it in a way that left a sour taste in pretty much everyone’s mouth.

From Dragonhighlander.net, the official EDH Source:
[EDH] is founded (and dependant) on a social contract, otherwise known as a gentleman’s agreement. Unsporting conduct (whether extreme or simply “being a jerk”) should not be tolerated by players.

Now the question here is whether or not the Shahrazad-Hive Mind constitutes unsporting conduct. Now neither card is banned in EDH and is such a legal play, and I have to admit that Buddy played a deck designed to fulfill a very particular purpose. Had Buddy cast something like a Pact of the Titan, causing everyone else to lose the game, I would have been a great deal less upset. That is a combo which remains entirely within the dimensions of the game, and is a legitimate (although abrupt) way to win that is very decisive.

However, the Shahrazad way to win is different. This combo breaks the bounds of the game. Real-life commitments now become a factor into how a game of Magic is played out. Obviously this is sometimes unavoidable if a player has to leave due to other obligations, health problems, etc. However, playing the Shahrazad combo is this scenario has fairly large implications. The store owner gets an angry call from the security company if anyone is still in the store past a certain hour, and those players who have school and jobs to attend to need to be able to go to bed at a decent hour to perform at their best. If this was a Saturday night and we were planning on playing Magic until all hours of the morning with relatively little at stake, that would be different. Unfortunately, this was 5pm on a Sunday, and anyone who has played 5 player EDH knows that those games aren’t exactly quick.

The end result of this combination of real-life time constraints and obligations and in-game effects results in players involuntarily conceding the game. Did I want to play this game to completion? Of course, it was a championship that I (and many others) had spent 3 months qualifying for and 2 days playing, and we had to concede in the finals. When I came home that night and my family asked me how I had done I couldn’t say “I lost fair and square to a player who outplayed me”. No, I said “I conceded in the finals so that I would get home before midnight”.

So now, we return to the original question. Was this unsportsmanlike play on Buddy’s part? I have to say yes, as instead of outright winning the game (which he could have done with a Pact), he chose to put everyone else in an uncomfortable position and get people to concede to him. There is a difference between being competitive and “being a jerk”, although many players treat the two as being synonymous. It is my belief that opting for a game plan with the sole intention of inconveniencing the rest of the table falls under the “unsportsmanlike” label, and that last game was one of the few negative experiences I’ve had in a game of Magic.

If you’re reading this Buddy, don’t take this as an attack against your person. You’re a fine player whom I respect, but I do think that you could have been more considerate when choosing the Shahrazad kill instead of a Pact.

That pretty much wraps this article series up. I’m going to have some videos posted soon, and I’ve already made my travel arrangements for GP Toronto. If any of you guys are going to be there, find me (I’ll be in the bright orange Power 9 Pro T-Shirt) and say hi.

Cheers,

Zak

EDH General: Vhati il-Dal / EDH Decklist

Work has held me hostage the past few months but I could no longer resist the pull of Magic.  I needed to find something that would get my non-work self pumped again.  I decided to dig through my Legendary binder (I collected Legends before I ever heard of EDH, yay for me) to see what would jump out at me.  I was almost to the end of the binder when I saw my old pal, Vhati il-Dal.  Vhati is a political General that can really shine in multi-player.

I was excited to run green/black and started pulling out cards that interested me.  I dug deep into my card collection trying to come up with combos and never seen before interactions.  What I ended up with was a giant stack of cards and only 99 (!) open slots.  *sigh* 

stack-baloon It seemed like an impossible task; how do I choose between Strip Mine and Wasteland?  How can I fit all of the most broken cards ever printed in Black/Green in to one little 100 card deck?  I can debate card choices with myself all day long.  I feel it is much easier just to stuff the cards in and replace what doesn’t work later (for EDH). 

Since I had access to green I felt that 36 land slots would be perfect due to land search effects.

Lands (36)

The next step was thinning down the creatures I had marked for the deck.  With so many options in both black and green, not to mention multi-colored, the choices were tough.  After some quick assessing, I ended up with this:

Creatures (27)

Some strange choices and some no-brainers.   For me, part of the fun with EDH is using cards that rarely see play.  My favorite choice here is Cuombajj Witches, not only for the “what?” factor, but also because of the synergy with Vhati.  Krovikan Horror serves the same purpose, reusable creature kill.  I like the devour creatures in the deck, since I have put many recursion effects in; Mycoloth is way too good combined with Skullclamp.  Gleancrawler, Solemn Simulacrum and Woodfall Primus all combo nicely with devour as well.  Maybe I should up the count of devour creatures, Marrow Chomper perhaps?  Maybe not.  The critters that don’t seem to fit too well are Heartwood Storyteller, Birds of Paradise and Ohran Viper.

It was time for some back up.  Green/black has a great selection of enchantments for EDH.  I feel that every deck running green should run Sylvan Library.  Being able to stack your draws is really important in a Highlander format.

Enchantments/Planeswalkers (10)

Wild Pair is one of my all time favorite enchantments.  Some thought needs to go into your deck construction to thoroughly abuse its power.  Let’s check the synergy with Wild Pair so far; seven creatures have a combined power/toughness of four, four have a combined eight, and three have a combined twelve.  I like the idea of playing Monger and bringing Primus along for the ride. 

Now I needed the utility spells; removal, tutors, card drawing, etc.

Card Drawing/Tutors (11)

EDH is all about tutor effects.  The easier it is to find your answer/threat the better.  It is important to have some degree of deck manipulation.  Crystal Ball is perfect for EDH.  The format tends to be slower (now that Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary has been banned again) allowing incremental development a chance to pay off.  I play the Journeyer’s Kite in my other EDH deck and really like it.

In EDH you need to be able to answer multiple and various things.  Having a broad removal package is very important.

Removal (10)

Rancid Earth has great synergy with our General once we have threshold.  Morbid Bloom is definitely the odd man out, I added it to give myself more devour targets.  I know Maelstrom Pulse seems like a poor choice in EDH, but it is almost a Vindicate and it wrecks tokens.

Extra Bits(5)

The extra stuff can all be dumped, except for Restock.  The Sword is in because its new. Imp’s Mischief, as the name suggests, can create plenty of ways to mess with the other players, fitting nicely with the political nature of Vhati il-Dal.  Berserk can be a great finisher.

As I look over this list I can see a bunch of holes and cross purpose selections.  Why don’t I have Crucible of Worlds in here?  Why Worm Harvest without Life from the Loam?  Keep in mind this is a casual, multi-player deck.  That being said, I would love any Feedback the readers could give.  Until next time.

EDH Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary: Post Eldrazi Update

Tonight, I plan to hit up the local Saturday night EDH tournament here in Albuquerque, held up at Active Imagination (known colloquially as “AI”). I just finished updating my deck, as it’s been approximately one year since last I wrote about my pet EDH spike deck. Below is a quick primer on the EDH deck I’m most familiar with. I’ll show you my decklist and talk about a couple new cards I intend to try, and then hopefully I will update the post with the glorious details of my victory at AI.

Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary is among the most hated and feared tier 1 EDH generals. He’s constantly tip-toeing along the line of the banned list, blowing raspberries to Braids, Cabal Minion, the only banned EDH general at the time of this writing. There seem to be two camps of Rofellos players, generally speaking, or two ways to abuse Rofellos’ unique mana production capability. One camp focuses on an explosion of tokens, while the other focuses on fatties. Both camps have access to the same few combo pieces, and that combo aspect of Rofellos seems to be ubiquitous. I choose to go the fatty route, and since I’m typically playing 1v1, I also focus a lot on the combo pieces and a suite of land destruction control spells.

Rofellos costs 2 mana and taps for green mana equal to the number of forests you control. This means that your games end up highly consistent and scripted. You will normally drop Rofellos on the second turn, and on turn 3, you’ll play some degenerate 6-mana spell, followed by an 8-mana turn 4. With a mox, this becomes 5-mana turn 2s and 7-mana turn 3s.

The beauty of a general that costs so little is that the general itself becomes central to your early game. If your opponent stumbles at all, and lacks an early spot removal spell, you will have access to the above-mentioned epic mana ramping. But often, they will kill Rofellos once or twice before he ever gives you any mana. This is usually nothing to worry about though, because you can play Rofellos a second and third time before many generals even make their first appearance. So don’t stress when you slow roll your opponent by playing your general “naked,” to draw out their removal spells. Trust me, Rofellos is a “must answer” threat. When you play a general with converted mana cost of around three or less, it’s as if you’re playing the game with extra cards: every time you drop your genera, it’s as if you drew a card that was always that general.

Now, being monogreen means we don’t have the world’s deepest card drawing, so there are some concessions to that in this list. However, green does have access to top notch LD and land searching spells, which come in handy when your plan is to ramp as many forests onto the battlefield as possible. In addition, green has some gnarly and diverse creature tutoring which is used to find the right threat or answer for the current game state, or to simply further abuse Rofellos’ ability.

Let’s look at the list now. 100 cards is a lot to get through, so I’ll present the deck in sections with commentary after each portion.

General
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary

Creatures (20)

A creature I flirt with from time to time is Elvish Harbinger, as it finds both wood elves and quirion ranger. But for now, she’s on the bench. Every one of these creatures serves a specific purpose, and there’s scant room among them for substitutions. The aforementioned Q. Ranger along with wirewood symbiote are here to untap rofellos. I’ve toyed with scryb ranger and seeker of skybreak as well, but the best of the best is symbiote. Wirewood symbiote is quite often the first thing I tutor for in this deck, as once you reach 3-4 forests with the insect and rofellos playing together, you’re off to the races. A very fun interaction is quirion ranger and wood elves, grabbing new forests as you untap rofellos. The hair that breaks this camel’s back, though, is the fact that once per turn, symbiote can save rofellos himself from a spot removal spell. With symbiote on board, rofellos is somewhat safe.

Chameleon Colossus is actually on the weaker side here, and is the first creature I might consider replacing. However, I have a dearth of 4-drops, and in a deck that can easily be producing 8 mana on turn 4, Colossus is a 16/16.

Masticore is part of a two-card combo with Kamahl, Fist of Krosa. These two make an excellent Tooth and Nail pairing as well in multi-player games, especially if you’ve ramped well and have a few mana left after the sorcery resolves. With these two on the board, you can quickly machine-gun all the opponents’ lands into oblivion, leaving very frustrated, but impotent mages to watch helplessly as you execute one of your win conditions. Both cards are ridiculous on their own with tons of mana at your disposal too, making them natural fits with Rofellos.

Silklash Spider is another marginal creature, but any chrome mox or mox diamond draw will likely have turn 2 5-drops, so it’s good to have a few floating around, or within easy tutor reach. There are few cards better designed to deal with Green’s traditional weakness against fliers, so silklash is in. Arashi, the Sky Asunder has made the list in the past, but was cut for Acidic Slime, since my deck is LD-heavy and the slime helps me reach that critical mass of LD effects.

Genesis is almost a must-play for any green deck, and plays very well with Survival of the Fittest, which we’ll see below.

Silvos, Rogue Elemental is simply a big fat monster, and marks the beginning of the pure fat category… remember, our 6-drops are coming down on turn 3 a lot of the time. Kamahl and Duplicant round out the sixes. Kamahl is a win condition in his own right, and ‘Dupe is tutorable spot removal for monogreen.

On 7 we have Regal Force and Panglacial Wurm. Force is incredible card draw for a color with few such options, and the wurm represents its own unique play. This deck has approximately one million ways to search the library, so always keep the wurm in mind… it’s an “every game” occurrence to see the wurm played from the library at some point. Again, green needs to get card advantage every way it can, and this is one more way to abuse having silly amounts of mana coming out your ass.

Our four 8-drops are Woodfall Primus, Patron of the Orochi, Terastodon, and Sundering Titan. Patron gives us a big fatty, plus additional mana ramping. The other three all have the ability to decimate an opponent’s manabase, with Primus and Terastodon being extra flexible, and able to deal with a variety of problem permanents. Titan is pure hell on the many multi-colored EDH decks, and relatively benign to our monocolored strategy.

Darksteel Colossus and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn finish our creature section, and they’re just tooth and nail targets, pure and simple. Emrakul is, alas, the only Eldrazi spell I’m able to test at this time, and I like that he gives the deck a gaeas blessing type effect. EDH has (or had) many mill combos to contend with, from painters servant / grindstone to helm of obedience / planar void, to vendillion clique / hinder / tunnel vision. Of these, only the helm-line combo seems as scary as it was in the recent past, and the rest could see a steep decline in popularity soon. Hooray for the pre-release foil!

Artifacts

The moxen are a contentious inclusion that many eschew, but I usually play 1v1, and it’s great to hit 5-drops on turn 2. I pack a lot of LD components, and the faster I can either ramp my own mana ahead of my opponent, or nuke a few of his lands directly, the faster my endgame comes online.

Map is just a land tutor, and with wirewood lodge, strip mine, and others below, it’s seldom sitting in your hand.

Lightning Greaves is very strong with Rofellos, protecting him from removal and speeding him up a turn. Usually, the turn 2 greaves leads to a turn 3 with a protected, hasty rofellos, and ~4 extra mana. I’ve seen some paranoid players also running Whispersilk Cloak, but I find that haste is what pushes greaves over the top, and I feel the list is too tight to include the cloak. Cloak isn’t anywhere near the top of the sizeable list of cards I’d like to try to include. On thing to remember with the greaves is that you cannot untap rofellos so long as he has shroud. This is a tradeoff, but the 0-cost equip helps make it very livable.

Umezawas Jitte and Sword of Fire and Ice are ways to make lowly creatures imposing, or fatties insane. I don’t think they need much explanation or justification. I’ve actually won a few games with rofellos due to general damage, though it’s far more common to do this with Umbral Mantle, below.

Crucible of Worlds is a card that really cuts to the heart of who you are, and why you play EDH. It’s like a one-card psychological profile detector. Any EDH deck can run both Strip Mine and Crucible, along with all the appropriately colored fetch lands. It’s very strong, and as much of a must-play as anything in a LD deck. But playing cards like these reveal that you’re in this to win, not for any timmy flavor or johnny coolness. You are embracing your inner spike by making this card choice, and the other players will draw this same conclusion. I, for one, think that choosing Rofellos in the first place is to “walk on the Spike Side,” so it makes no sense to me to blush at playing Crucible. But beware that certain mavens of the game would look down upon you, and question your intelligence, sense of humor, and moral character merely on the basis of your embodiment of this player archetype.

Umbral Mantle and Staff of Domination are two combo pieces, either of which will let you go infinite on mana and win the game essentially immediately. In the case of umbral mantle, you only need 3 forests in play for rofellos to be able to grow himself arbitrarily large this combo has ended games for me on turn 3, when opponents failed to disrupt or provide an early blocker. The staff is a step more broken even than mantle, but it’s a tad slower. With 5 forests and a staff, you have instantly won the game. For 3 of that 5 mana, the staff will untap rofellos, and for another 1, will untap itself, leaving you with a net gain of one green mana. With this infinite mana source, you can now activate the staff’s card drawing ability arbitrarily, drawing your entire deck. It is then possible to crash through with every creature in the deck, thanks to concordant crossroads, and as a “fallback” plan, you can put out a helix pinnacle with 100 counters. Don’t forget to destroy every land on the board with masticore and kamahl, either, should some smug mage show you a fog.

Nevinyrrals Disk is a great sweeper for a color lacking them, and Memory Jar is an insane piece of card drawing machinery, especially when you see the graveyard regrowth package below. I’ve had turns in which I’ve activated memory jar three or more times.

Tutors

Our deck has these 17 ways to search your deck for something, along with four fetchlands, the expedition map, and a wood elves for a total of 23 tutors. This makes our sensei’s divining top better, and gives us plenty of chances to eventually play panglacial wurm from our library. Many of these are tutors for forests, which are an integral part of this deck’s consistency. It may look like a lot of such effects (I mean, do we really need to go so far as Three Visits and Nature’s Lore?), but reduce that number carefully. I don’t think all the tutors necssarily need to be explained on an individual basis, but there are some interesting interactions to point out.

Reap and Sow, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, and Primal Command all double as LD cards, as does Tooth and Nail quite often, getting sundering titan and the like. Again, my default first creature tutor target is wirewood symbiote. The first land I get is usually Wirewood Lodge or Strip Mine. Remember to chain genesis into the graveyard on your way to whatever creature you really want any time you draw Survival of the Fittest.

Non-Tutors

Concordant Crossroads and Exploration are just helpful accellerators, though crossroads has a part to play in the Staff of Domination / Helix Pinnacle line of play.

see you at the crossroads
"see you at the crossroads"

Sylvan Library reads “on your upkeep draw 2 extra cards and pay 8 life” in EDH, while Harmonize is an acceptable card drawing option in green.

Berserk is a card I go back and forth on, and I sometimes think it would be a slot better used to further add to the density of some other type of card, be it a tutor or a fatty or something. But for now, it’s still in here, as I have chameleon colossus as a good creature to call up when you have berserk in hand. Lignify, however, is a card I’ve been very happy with, and I try as hard as possible to reserve it for my opponent’s general. I don’t have a lot of dedicated spot removal because I have a lot of flexible cards that play LD, but can fill in the gaps when needed.

Speaking of LD, the theme continues with Thermokarst, Creeping Mold, Plow Under, and even Desert Twister. When you see cards like desert twister, it’s imperative to remember that for us, it’s a turn 3 play as often as not. Plow Under is among the five-drops that can seal a game up when played on turn 2 with the aid of a mox. How does a two-turn head start sound, when you’re already the fastest deck around?

When it comes to reusing cards you’ve played once, green is where it’s at. So many of our spells, like the recently touted Plow Under and its sister LD spells, are even more devastating when played repeatedly. Reclaim, Revive, Regrowth, Restock, and Nostalgic Dreams join Eternal Witness in helping our arsenal do double-, triple-, and quadruple- duty. Natures Spiral is one I’ve been considering, but it’s not in this build. I find these cards to be both useful, and psychologically effective. They undermine your opponent’s spirit, making them feel lost in the morass of your deck, and breaking their will to fight.

Land (33)

The manabase has ebbed and flowed over time, but I like to keep the non-forests to a minimum. Thus, the current list keeps it tight at 4 non-forests (I count the fetchlands as essentially forests here… their job is to thin the deck out, and to provide additional panglacial wurm searches). Wirewood Lodge, Gaeas Cradle, Maze of Ith, and Strip Mine are the only “real” non-basics. Lodge is nuts with Our Hero, and Maze of Ith is great at stalling past big fat generals. Strip Mine is our offering to the Gods of Spikedom, and Gaea’s Cradle is like a second rofellos in the late game. The bummer with cradle is when you draw it early, and believe it or not, I’ve considered replacing it with forest #26. But for now, I’ve left it in and stuck with 25 forests, so I know that roughly speaking, every fourth card should be a forest, while with 33 land, every third card is some kind of land.

And that’s the deck! I’ll update you below with tales of glory.


UPDATE: Prepare for anti-climax! The tournament was cancelled for lacking the requisite 8 mages. Curses upon the Nationals Tune-up tournament being held concurrently. Oh well. I did get to play one friendly match, a three-way affair between Our Hero, Wrexial “Sexy Wrexy” the Risen Deep, and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. The game had a memorable play when I ramped up to an early 5-forest staff of domination that met a suicide pact of negation from the Wrexy pilot, who had but 4 lands on board, lacking the upkeep cost. He gave Teferi a fighting chance though, but Masticore and Darksteel Colossus came to play, and the wood elves / symbiote combo ensured that I quickly found the mana to blast away his defenses and sneak in for the win.

I will say that my current build, with its emphasis on LD, is far from ideal for a group game of any size. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this update to Rofellos, and I hope you’ll post comments if you have anything to declare. Perhaps in the near future I’ll update this article with a list of cards I’ve been considering off and on.

Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: Red

Power 9 Pro is excited to bring you another set review for Magic the Gathering’s expansion set Rise of the Eldrazi. With Pre-release and Release tournaments coming up over the next two weeks and a full spoiler available, the Power 9 Pro Team is putting in a collaborative effort to review and analyze the entire set. We’ll be looking at the cards from the vantage point of limited, affects on standard, extended or legacy-formats and whether Rise will have any new must-haves for Elder Dragon Highlander. This post is for the red portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

James
I don’t find this guy particularly interesting for any format.
Joe
This guy is behind the curve in terms of power / toughness compared to his cost, but the mini flametongue kavu effect will often steal an opposing creature post-combat, etc. In limited, these kinds of slower guys often have a place, but I’d be trying to fill my deck with more exciting guys first and use this as a filler after the first string is chosen.
Rob
Kills an x/1 in limited but even there, it costs a lot for little reward.


James
This is pretty attractive looking. Plop down one of your big Eldrazi with Annhilate (they all do I think) and your turn 3 blocker gives it haste. Sweet!
Joe
This is an interesting wall, presenting you with the choice of leaving a blocker, or hasting a guy. There are obviously a fair number of creatures in this format to whom extending Haste is an incredible benefit.
Rob
If you are running Red Eldrazi somehow, this guy can buy you time to hit your mana, and then fling your fresh freaks from the Blind Eternities at game winning speed. Of course, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be.
Mike
This guy is slightly wallish in a limited game, and could make combat interesting but I think this is the kind of guy to get double-tabled since 1 power isn’t what you want out of a red deck generally.


James
This is a great card for limited. Forces the pre-combat casting but the extra damage is probably worth it since it’s likely whatever you’re attacking with is now a 4/x. Pretty tough to deal with and at a much more reasonable casting cost than the Eldrazi. Essentially a role-player.
Joe
While the creature itself is fairly piddly for a 4-drop, in some cases, you can boost some evasive attacker, so sometimes this will make the cut.
Rob
What a quirky ability on a Common. Might find his way into Block Goblin decks and be a powerhouse.
Mike
This guy I like, he can really break up a stalled board.


James
Wow, this is crappy.
Joe
At first this struck me as a terrible prodigal sorcerer variant, but I think in the slower kinds of games I’m anticipating in this format, this guy will be strong. Even though it costs a whopping 11RRRR to fully level this guy, I suspect you’ll get there in some games, and then you’ve got lightning bolt on a stick, which is very strong indeed. The nice thing about these levelers is you can prompt removal, or get an opponent to over-commit without committing much to the board yourself. So paired with sweepers, these are quite strong.
Rob
I’ll stick with Cunning Sparkmage in general, thanks.
Mike
This guy is not better than Cunning Sparkmage or even Prodigal Pyromancer which are both in standard right now.


James
This is hilarious. I imagine people will try to use this in constructed. Getting 3 mana for 2 is alright but assuming no Day of Judgetment, you’ll get that big fattie out pretty fast. I’m just not convinced that the Eldrazi are really that doable in the current meta. For limited, you’d need a lot of spawn creators to make this viable…Hmm, I guess this is a “watch” card. Fiddle with and see if you can make something of it.
Joe
This looks like a key card for the ramp-to-eldrazi decks, as it’s common and produces 3 spawn for the low cost of 2 mana.
Rob
Spawn are going to be clogging up tables everywhere. I’m surprised we didn’t get even more Spawn enablers really, as seeing this requires a Spawn to start off. We could of had a cool land that Tapped for 2 colorless and put a Spawn into play under your opponents control, or something of the like. I don’t see this ever being played on turn two, but can ramp neatly later on.
Mike
An interesting ramp concept. It’s pretty weird that all the colors have these spawn cards, but Spawn: 3 is truly intruiging.


James
This card is going to win people games at the draft tables. The casting cost is so doable, it’s affect is explosive and it’s a 5/5 flier to boot. Hot sauce.
Joe
A strong enough creature on its own as a 4/4 flying for 6, the [car d]threaten[/card] effect really pushes this rare into bomb country, especially if you have any kind of sacrifice outlet on board to nuke their creature before you have to give it back.
Rob
More casual rares for Bazaar Trader decks. If he had Haste himself he’d be completely insane. But without Haste or some sort of blinking tricks, why bother?
Mike
Another in a long line of expensive, flying limited bombs for red. I would love to steal a baneslayer angel with this guy in constructed though.


James
Hmmm, I guess this would be more than broken if they had haste. I’m thinking it can’t be more than border-line.
Joe
Risky business here. This seems like more of a constructed card to me. Lands are fairly important, and to make the tokens worthwhile, you’d want to sacrifice most of your own lands. But if you float 3W, then cast this followed by, say, armageddon, that should work out okay.
This is all about Haste. If you can power this down around counters and give the tokens Haste, you should win the game.
Rob
This is all about Haste. If you can power this down around counters and give the tokens Haste, you should win the game.
Mike
This card is kind of good. I think it’s much better in limited, which makes its rarity annoying, but it’s a really fun looking card.


James
Whoa. This is narly. Constructed worthy? Maybe…pretty costly…
Joe
One-sided mass removal? This is a nasty bomb.
Rob
I love the flavor, but I’d rather use Day of Judgment, Pyroclasm, Consume the Meek, or any other number of just plan better sweepers.
Mike
So pricey but it’s got a badass text. If you can figure out how to use it in a real deck, there’s nothing better than mass-creature kill that only hits your opponent’s guys, but good luck doing so.


James
I really like this card. It’s so awesome for limited. It’s one reason I think Birthing the Brood will be pretty sweet. This is at common too.
Joe
Another common that will be central to many Eldrazi ramp stratagems.
Rob
3/3 guy maker makes guys, guys then make bigger spells. What’s not to like? Well, it’s no Siege-gang, but chumps and mana. Might not make it to Constructed without a combo or Spawn synergy concept.
Mike
This guy only costing 5 and being a 3/3 makes him playable if you’re trying to do something with high cost. These red cards getting Spawn: 3 is a lot better than what the other colors are offering right now.


James
Be-geez. This is looking awesome. Not really for constructed because red-decks are going to want lower curves (or traditionally do). Great for limited.
Joe
Wow, this is like a cantrip version of erratic explosion. If you have any kind of way to manipulate your library, this turns into a solid card, but otherwise it’s very luck-dependent. Still, this format seems to lend itself to very high mana curves, so you should usually do 5 or more damage for the card, which seems like a good deal.
Rob
This made me giggle a little. Jace, Selective Memory, Halimar Depths, or even some tutors in Eternal formats can make this 15 damage with an Emraluk, 16 with a Draco. That’s like casting 5 bolts at the same time. So fun. I like this for a run at an extended deck using Riddle of Lightning as it does very similar things.
Mike
I think this is a fine limited card. We’ve seen things like vengeful rebirth be good in limited and this reminds me of that in a lot of ways. It’s a cool take on the treasure hunt mechanic we got in the last set.


James
I guess…It’s aight. This would be pretty sweet at 4cc. 5cc just makes me not like this.
Joe
Versatile, but likely a sideboard card.
Rob
One mana and one restriction beyond real playability for now. Once Scars comes down and we have more must-kill artifacts, this will surface occasionally.
Mike
Pretty gosh-darn expensive of a card in a limited format where there really aren’t any blow out lands.


James
Sweet. Doesn’t hit players so probably not good enough to justify in constructed but certainly powerful enough for an early pick in limited.
Joe
Excellent removal that will change the typical math for creature toughness. 4 is no longer safe.
Rob
I like it. I think the Sorcery speed and the player exclusion makes up for the extra damage nicely. Becomes a strategy play as to whether to kill now, or wait till it comes back to you.
Mike
Inferno trap for it’s trap cost? Power creep? Magic is so weird sometimes.


James
Cool. Sorcery speed to knock out two x/1′s? Sure. So cheap.
Joe
I love the flexibility of this spell, even though it’s not an instant.
Dillon
The Fire side of Fire//Ice. I think it is really good, I was wondering when they would print it on it’s on card. I’m not sure if it is better than Staggershock, but perhaps in time.
Rob
Nice. I wish it was instant, but I’m a Red player a lot. Neutering Elves and WW are going to be the real order of the day when you have this card in hand. Of course it can also be a shock if you need to seal the deal.
Mike
This is something everyone is going to have to play around now. A nice little piece of removal/burn for very cheap.


James
There aren’t many early drops in Rise so I suppose this is okay if you want to try for an aggressive start. Just doesn’t seem right for the rest of the cards in the set. Probably great filler for a top-heavy curve. Constructed? Maybe, it’s similar enough to Mogg Fanatic that it’s probably worth throwing in a deck to see how it goes.
Joe
I’m not really into this. A 1-drop 1/1 seems out of place in ROE, even with the potential to help you profit in combat.
Rob
Mog Fanatic! So good to see you again!


James
Hmmm…are there enough creatures for this to be justifiable? I just don’t see it. Sometimes strategies change once you get to play more with the cards. I don’t see it though.
Joe
I think this will be another lynchpin of rush decks, should that approach prove viable. You will definitely need ways to squeak by the ubiquitous defenders and fatties.
Rob
Maybe in Block Goblins, but mostly it just feels like Filler.
Mike
Another thing for red to use to break a stalled board. That’s two sest in a row we’ve seen stuff like this, an interesting path for the red mage.


James
There ar emore than enough walls in this set to justify this. I’m pretty sure it’s an amazing SB option for limited and it’s going to be a great mid-pack pick. I’m even thinking this is a dream for constructed play SB options…
Joe
This is another bear that will go well in a rush approach. You need ways to kill big walls, plain and simple.
Rob
A good sideboard card if Wall decks become as prominent as WotC wants them to be. The Lunge effect is nice too.
Mike
The wall-killer! This guy is cool, there are a ton of walls in this block and I could see this guy being a neat sideboard card and a really good limited card.


James
Nice. I am definitly going to look forwad to playing with this card. Guess I can’t get my hopes up too high; it is a rare after all. Still, pretty cool. Maybe I’m just way too into the spawn meme.
Joe
Wow, this should be a bomb, assuming you have even mediocre eldrazi spawn generation.
Rob
Upgrade all of your Spawn into threats. Sounds good. I like that the Sacrifice is on resolution, so if it gets countered you aren’t left out in the wind.
Mike
This card is bad ass, man. Especially in those stalled out games when you have a bunch of eldrazi spawn on the board.


James
Great reprint that’s going to be so awesome for limited. X in the casting cost? Automatic amazing first pick. :)
Joe
Solid common removal. A high pick for any deck, and easily splashable.
Rob
Banefire is obviously strictly better, but in Limited, this will do a lot of heavy lifting in cleaning up the opponent’s board.
Mike
Another great piece of removal for red. Though these cards aren’t very versatile, they’re quite handy.


James
I’m pretty sure this is the best (or second best) level up dude. Level up is hotly debated and frequently bemoaned for being a sorcery ability but this is just great at any point in the game for a red deck. One of the simple lessons Ben Lundquist gave during our workshops was that it’s crucial to evaluate cards on a “early game, mid-game and late-game” basis. That is, good early? Yep. Good mid-game? yep. Good late-game? Yep. Not as good as Tarmagoyf which is the card Ben was using to illustrate the point but this is still very solid. Mythic so don’t expect to see him during the pods (very often).
Joe
This is one of the more powerful levelers, but you need to be fairly committed to red.
Dillon
I love this guy. He is nowhere close to “Mythic” but I think he will see loads of play. He flies over Kor Firewalker, he is something for red to dump mana into. I can see him in October, tearing it up side by side Obsidian Fireheart, and Staggershock. If he has protection from white or first strike he would be loads better, but I won’t be picky.
Rob
I don’t like how much mana it takes to get this guy to his first change. RRRRRR for a 4/4 Flyer seems odd to me, I really don’t like the thought of it dying with the critical level on the stack.
Mike
I dont like Levelers who can’t completely upgrade on the very next turn, but this guy has some potential to be a 4/4.


James
Pretty cool to be sure. This is the kind of card that makes me think a fast deck might be possible. Just maybe…pretty cool.
Joe
I don’t like this guy, but you will sometimes be able to do neat combat tricks with him. He seems easy to kill, even if you pump him. This is a creature that will usually be blocked, though, and if he isn’t, you might sneak in 4 or 7 damage.
Rob
This guy can just get wholly out of hand. Drop him Turn 2, Turn 3 I Bolt you, Bolt you, and swing with a 7/2 for 13 Damage total. And that’s not all that unlikely of a scenario with some variation.
Mike
This guy seems like filler, though he could do some serious damage with the amount of cheap spells that we normally see from red.


James
I mean, everything costs 8 mana so this is probably doable. lol. Everything in this set is super-sized so I guess this “pip-squeek” is minatureized. sigh.
Joe
Hill giant is usually playable. It remains to be seen whether this holds true in the realm of the Eldrazi.
Rob
Uh, yeah, filler. Nothing to really say here.
Mike
Another functional reprint.


Joe
An Overrun-esque effect on a gray ogre seems good to me, even if it’s much slower and lacks the trample clause. This is an ogre they need to deal with before you hit the magic 8.
Rob
I don’t like how small he is, but this might be the best of the Invokers, not that the bar was set too high. A goblin, he beefs up you whole team, and he’s a red mana dump for when you are in top deck mode.
Justin
How underpowered can you be? I imagine R&D had a pretty broken 1st draft of this guy to end up with such a watered down creature. Yuck.


Joe
Another strong leveler, and the kind of hill giant I can get behind in RoE. If he goes ultimate, you should win the game with this guy, which puts him near, or across, the boundary of the “bomb” category.
Dillon
Aggressively costed and a serious beater. Red will take him happily. I can see him in Big Red as the main skull shatterer for the deck.
Rob
Leveler tries to level, takes a bolt to the face, controller loses more mana and a card. Film at 11. And if you really can’t race its controller or kill it before level 6, you deserve to get a beat down.
Mike
Here you have another hill giant with some potential. I don’t see this guy making it past level 1 but I don’t think you really need it to. It’s just not really what you’re looking for when you open a rare, though there isn’t a lot of removal that will deal with it easily at 3/3.


Joe
This might not be that terrible if your opponent drops some smaller guy, or if you have an 0/X wall that can block him every turn without killing him.
Rob
This will be the difference in some Limited games, but I doubt it will see the light of day anywhere else.
Mike
This is a pretty interesting take on an aura. It could really blow out your opponent if he has a 1 power creature on the board that you can just trade 1 for 3 damage with all game.


Joe
Reusable removal is very strong, even if you have to sacrifice dorks to get it. Remember that you can block and then use this ability before damage is dealt.
Rob
This just seems bad. Did they really need filler in the Rare slots?
Mike
This guy has potential to be decent with some spawn but otherwise he’s just a 4/4 unless they allow you to stack damage again someday.
Justin
I feel like this guy has a rightful place in Goblin decks. Look for Magmaw’s value to jump as Extended season comes back.


Joe
A neat wall. Pretty unremarkable, as it does what it does and that’s it.
Rob
Red Wall. At least it will eat anything that plays interference while swarming you.


Joe
This is a strong wall, able to clear out armies of tiny creatures, controlling opposing eldrazi spawn, etc.
Rob
A Good Red Wall. It Flies, It Provokes, and it have huge power. If you can give it First Strike it’d be silly.
Mike
I like that this guy can force a trade with someone your opponent might be trying to protect but I’m not a huge fan of walls that look like they should be beating the crap out of my opponent.


Joe
This might not be a bad thing to play in an early-rush deck. Just remember that it does nothing on its own, so it isn’t as good as your central strategy.
Zak
Rob
This seems like it could be really good. Boros and Goblins can set this off like nobody’s business.
Mike
This could be really decent in a quick little goblin deck with a low curve. the fact that it’s common makes it scary in a swarm style 40-carder.


Joe
Yow! If this gets in there unopposed even once, you should have no problem going to Eldrazi town. I like the looks of this trampling uncommon. His main drawback is his high cost, as your opponent will likely have some sizeable defenses built up by the time this hits play.
Rob
Pretty slow and clunky. I throw it in the “Why Bother?” pile.
Mike
If this guy was just a little chaper I’d really like him, but 6 cost is a lot for someone who isn’t going to potentially win the game for you, and that 4 toughness isn’t very impressive at 6cc. He has a lot of great synnergy with a bunch of other red cards though.


Joe
First strike really saves this guy from being unplayable. As it is, he’s still only marginally playable. But with enough eldrazi spawn, he might be your best wall as you stall into your fat. Or he can just swing into wall after wall.
Rob
Meh. Too often this will be a really expensive 1/1 or 2/1 and that just won’t get there that well.
Mike
This guy could be off the wall with the amount of eldrazi spawn red looks like they can produce.


Joe
I like this spell. It lets you finish off a creature that your opponent assumed would live, and it gives you a spawn token. It’s not the most powerful burn, but I’ll run it either in a pinch, or in a deck that wants to spawn race. Remember that you can simply use this to nuke an opposing spawn token if you’re afraid they might win the spawn-into-eldrazi race.
Dillon
This is another spell for Big Red that will help buy it time and save it time in the same moment.
Rob
I kinda like this. You get 1 mana back in the form of a Spawn and you can pop off one of their Spawns, or better.
Mike
pretty bad.


Joe
Turn any creature into Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker‘s cousin! This is a very cool card with multiple uses. Try to find a creature with a great “enters the battlefield” effect to slap this on.
Rob
A semi-decent Rare? It’s like it came from a whole different set! Auras are weak, true, but this has combo tricks written all over it. Make infinite tapped Glamer Spinners in Extended+, but do what with them? Hmm…
Mike
We’ve seen cards like this before. It has a certain appeal to it, but really it’s an expensive card that makes the creature it enchants a total lightning rod for removal. If you get it on an even halfway decent guy though, it could do some damage.


Joe
Basic removal / burn card. Definitely worth playing in limited. I missed the rebound at first and still thought this was decent. With rebound, it’s very good indeed.
Dillon
The most important burn spell next to Lightning Bolt. It is nearly card advantage for red, which doesn’t happen very often. I like it a lot, and I am nowhere near being a red mage.
Rob
Imagine Shock with Flashback for 2. Seems good right? Well, this is just one step below that. Good enough for me.
Mike
This is a card with a lot of hype already, it seems like the perfect application for Rebound.


Joe
This is a neat spell. If you only have one instant in the yard, you can use this to play said instant two more times!
Rob
Random is not a word I want to play with in Magic outside the Randomization of my Deck.
Mike
Sorcery speed makes this card pretty bad, but Rebound gives it potential. I don’t know what likely targets for this card would be, but I’m sure it has some application somewhere.


Joe
This is the aforementioned threaten on steroids. A very strong, game-swinging card, here.
Rob
Awesome in Limited, Casual Bazaar Trader deck is the permanent home though.
Mike
We’ve seen mark of mutiny and co. do work, and this card is just silghtly better. It can get you there maybe a turn earlier than it’s predecessors.


Joe
Dare your opponent to block this legend! He seems cute, but there are so many 0/X walls that send old Tuk-tuk to frown town that I’d be hesitant to rely on him without some other way to sacrifice him (and ideally then return him from the graveyard to sacrifice him again).
Rob
I really like Tuktuk. I love the flavor and story behind him, and his ability is neat and possibly abusable.
Mike
I don’t know mucha bout goblins as a constructed deck but this guy is a great blocker in limited.


Joe
Valakut Wall Killer is about the extent of this guy. He makes a great blocker and a great, if vulnerable, attacker too. I like him okay, but he’s got that vulnerability which shouldn’t be overlooked.
Rob
Attack only when it’s the killing blow. No constructed playability. And by that I mean it would really surprise me.
Justin
A red wall that does not play well with the defender focus in RoE. Can be a decent finisher in Limited.


Joe
Wow, this is probably going to be an archetype of its own. If you get 2-4 of these guys and a bunch of walls, you can just turtle up and win the game during EOT steps. This is pretty dang strong in my opinion.
Rob
When Defenders Strike Back. Seems ok. I wonder how many playable Defenders there are? That will tell us how good this guy will be.
Mike
There are a lot of defender cards in this block, if there’s a deck based around them I imagine this guy would have to be a staple.


Joe
Two turns of double-alpha strikes is definitely worth the 3RR here. This is another spell that might incentivize you to play a rush strategy against the grain of the defender-themed set. Imagining having an annihilator creature on board when you cast this seems mighty dirty.
Rob
You can’t create much more pressure than this, assuming you have any threats at all on the board.
Mike
I think this card has a lot of potential in a deck with evasion, 5cc is simply not too much for what this card has the potential to do, which is control 4 combat phases in 2 turns.


Joe
This common will be another weapon in the arsenal of the rush player, since you can kill the wimps and/or spawn, and neutralize the walls for a clear attack.
Rob
More removal for Spawn and Mana Elves. Seems fine in some decks.
Mike
Just one more way to swing in for the win. Of course there’s some 3 for 1 potential in there… as much potential as Ancestral Visions being reprinted.


We’d love to hear your thoughts. Did we miss anything? You can also check out the rest of the set review and analysis. :) Colorless White Blue Black Red

Rise of the Eldrazi Set Review and Analysis: Colorless

Power 9 Pro is excited to bring you another set review for Magic the Gathering’s expansion set Rise of the Eldrazi. With Pre-release and Release tournaments coming up over the next two weeks and a full spoiler available, the Power 9 Pro Team is putting in a collaborative effort to review and analyze the entire set. We’ll be looking at the cards from the vantage point of limited, affects on standard, extended or legacy-formats and whether Rise will have any new must-haves for Elder Dragon Highlander. This post is for the colorless portion of Rise of the Eldrazi.

James

Board sweepers are inherently strong so I imagine this is no different. I was a bit disappointed that Planar Cleansing never went anywhere (that I’m aware of); however, this could be a one-sided Day of judgment. Artifacts use to be safe until wotc started printing colored artifacts so saying this will see play in artifcat decks isn’t even the case anymore. Neat but is there enough colorless cards to build around this as the sweeper? Maybe this would be a good SB option against Open the Vaults style decks? That would be pretty narrow…

Joe

This looks like an amazing Wrath of God variant. Akromas Vengeance saw play at 6, and with even one of the new eldrazi support lands, this will cost the same. Seems a bit niche, but probably still powerful since it can be one-sided outside of the mirror.

Zak

I really like this card, because it’s a sweeper that doesn’t require a specific colour. I don’t think we’ve had one like this since Oblivion Stone. The ability to take out noncreature permanents is a big plus, and I believe that this could possibly see play in non-Eldrazi themed decks. Think of all the control archetypes that don’t use white. This could be extremely valuable to something like Grixis control, which doesn’t quite have a full sweeper at its disposal, but has all the other elements of a solid control deck.

Bryan

This card is very interesting and will see some play in the future. Akroma’s Vengance but easier to cast? I like it, but dont know how good it will be in the coming standard season. Obvious note should be taken that it is a tribal spell so it gains bonuses for the reduced pricing from Eye and Temple.

Dillon

This card deals with Planeswalkers, Colored Artifacts, Enchantments, Creatures, including indestructible ones, and ones with Totem armor, and fits in any color. It is truly incredible. Black finally gets a way to destroy Enchantments and Blue gets to kill creatures. Very powerful.

Rob

I suspect there will be a colorless deck after Rotation with Colored ramp spells and removal and Colorless Permanents so it can break Symmetry. Awesome with Artifact control, but playable by any deck, which brings me to a concern. If we have truly powerful Rare or higher Colorless spells, expect back breaking prices. A card playable by any deck, with any set of colors, and be a decent finisher is going to demand a price. Might also be playable in a Standard 43land-esque deck? This card will see price increases once the Scars of Mirrodin block starts dropping. Get them before then.

Mike

This takes board destruction to an entirely new level. Making it Sacrifice Colored Permanents instead of destroy them gives the card great interplay with some of the other Eldrazi cards and gets around normal tricks like Regeneration and Indestructability.

Justin

OK, this big sweeper is the first card I have seen that makes an Eldarzi deck plausible. This card goes into artifact themed EDH decks (I’m looking at you Karn). Are Urza’s Lands still in Extended? What about Cloudpost? Seems like some brown style fun to me.

  • James

    Wow. That’s pretty sick. Seems like an amazing way to get back a Broodmate Dragon or even one of these crazy Eldrazi cards. This a pretty efficient way to spend 9 man.

    Joe

    The eldrazi that can exist in your graveyard should prove to be good reanimator targets. Also, at a “mere” nine mana, and at uncommon, this seems like a likely candidate to see at least SOME limited play.

    Zak

    I think that this card shows just how swingy the Eldrazi can be. Assuming you have a worthwhile animation target when you hit 9 mana (which you should), this card is almost impossible to deal with without an opponent also casting an Eldrazi. It’s hard enough to have a removal spell in limited that can take down something of this size, but with another free creature along with it, Artisan promises to wreck limited (in a good way).

    Bryan

    Rise from the grave effect is cool, but this guy costs so much that I dont see him seeing competitive constructed play. Bomb in limited.

    Rob

    One thing I like about this guy is that if your opponent has sent one of your great guys to the bin, you get to return it regardless of any possible counterspells and if he resolves, you’ve doubled up the threats and pressure, likely enough to crack through. If expensive mana costs become par for the course, this guy seems pretty good.

    Mike

    This seems like it has a minimal effect on other Eldrazi cards, which only trigger when you cast them. Though returning a double digit P/T creature with Annihilator is nothing to slouch at.

    Justin

    This guy is a must in Eldrazi themed decks. Probably best as a 2 of. Recursion is always powerful and with the mana commitment inherent with Eldrazi, it is important to keep tempo.

    [card]

  • James

    I’m a bit sad to see this doesn’t have the new Totem ability. I’d really hate to invest 8 mana more into a creature and then have it removed from the battlefield immediately there after…or before it resolves.

    Joe

    Wow. I’m glad I have a set of nomad mythmakers! This is an excellent aura, costing very little from an Eldrazi perspective, and enchanting a creature already on the board, essentially giving you pseudo haste with your 10/10 +, trample, annihilaor beats. Should often be GG the turn you play it.

    Zak

    I love this card. Finally Arcanum Wings has a home, and a darn good one. just switch off a measly flying aura for this, and you’re golden. Too bad Extended season is winding down…

    Bryan

    When you read this card the first impression i have is “Win”. this card is pretty crazy in the sense that it can make any creature on the battlefield a complete threat. Of course the fact that it is an Aura will reduce this card from seeing any sort of competitive play. Especially when we have so many good pieces of spot removal currently in standard.

    Rob

    Nomad Mythmaker, Auratouched Mage, Zur the Enchanter all put this thing to use in older formats to voltron together some suddenly scary creatures of doom, but in standard we have Sovereigns of Lost Alara which can make any random dork into a true monster late game. EDH will make the most use of this, seeing as Auras usually mean too great a risk for too little a reward in competitive, but I wouldn’t rule this out completely. Unlikely, but not impossible to see play.

    Mike

    If the new locations that make Eldrazi Spells cheaper actually work, this could be crazy in limited, but as card types usually go, it doesn’t get much worse than Aura-Rare.

    Justin

    Auras have to be pretty great in order to see play. An 8cc aura should be amazing. This one is not.

    James

    pretty insane. I like how this continues the Lorthos (or Vorthos theme as Joe discussed on Power 9 Pro) and Darksteel Colossus theme of making really huge, mythic creatures. This one is a bit off the hook. Any way of cheating this out is great. Hypergensis loves this; as do Polymorph and Summoning Trap. Insane.

    Joe

    I am very excited about this mythic, mostly because it’s the pre-release foil, so I’m sure to get my hands on a couple. It’s also looking like one of the better Eldrazi to use in a Sneak Attack type deck. Outside of this kind of cheat-onto-the-battlefield kind of strategy, this seems like a very high CMC. I’m dusting off my copies of warp world and summoning trap.

    Zak

    My inner Johnny wants to use this with Maelstrom Archangel, because it would be that awesome. I find it extremely hard to believe that this will ever be cast normally, even with the aid of Eye of Ugin. It seems like Progenitus just got replaced in extended Hypergenesis, because this does all it does and more.

    Bryan

    Of course all the abilities on this card are crazy, but the chances of me casting this 15 mana dude are very slim. Fast decks such as Boros and allies are still viable and the likely-hood that you live to cast this is slim. Having this guy in your opening hand is a mulligan.

    Rob

    This guy is cute. So expensive, but most likely it will be cheated into play or abused for its casting cost. I’m looking at you, Djinn of Wishes, Polymorph, Lurking Predators, Riddle of Lightning and Explosive Revelation. If you are hard casting and your opponent can’t counter, the card might as well just say “You Win”. Though, a lone Vampire Nighthawk can bring the giant down… @Zak: Protection from colored spells is nowhere near as strong as Protection from Everything, but on all other accounts, yes this is scary in that role, unless it is just chumped blocked with random flying dorks.

    Mike

    This guy is obviously a Baller amongst ballers. Emeria wins the Eldrazi god-war. If you can slap this guy down it’s good game. I mean you take an extra turn just by casting him and he can’t be countered. 15 mana is so hefty though.

    Justin

    This is Kozileks’ angry drunken uncle. No one wants to see this guy resolve. Again it seems like Eldrazi are all about mana acceleration. If my Eldrazi deck curves out at 15 then this is my finisher. Concordant Crossroads, Cloudstone Curio and Emrakul’s nephew Kozilek seems like fun.

    Joe

    With all the Eldrazi Spawn generators, this seems among the most likely of the Eldrazi to see the light of the battlefield in limited. Alas, it’s only annihilator 1, and has no evasion. I’m not planning to run this guy without tons of the spawn generators.

    Zak

    This is the weakest of the Eldrazi, but albeit one of the easier ones to power out. In limited, I can see these guys getting picked much higher if you can amass many spawn generators. The best part is that all these are common, and if you can land this guy early, you can steadily decrease the probability of an opponent dropping an eldrazi by making them sacrifice their lands. If they opt to sacrifice other permanents, congratulations, you just gained card advantage!

    Bryan

    not that bad of a dude. Annihilator is going to be intersting to play with. I always like having options with how to cast my spells.

    Rob

    This could be the fastest little colorless guy you can get out. Shame that doesn’t mean much.

    Mike

    This guy is interesting, he might be the easiest guy to cast in limited b/c of all the cards that produce Eldrazi Spawn, but after looking at some other creatures here, 7/7 with A1 sauce isn’t anything to write home about.

    Justin

    This guy screams tempo in the Eldrazi deck. I think he is a great fit. I like how Shapeshifters from Lorwyn also count as Eldrazi Spawn.

    James

    This is pretty well priced. I’m not sure how all these mega-costing creatures are going to shape up. Are we stuck playing 18, 19 lands in limited? Seems like it would be really slow. Anyway, if this sticks around, it’s hot sauce. The draw ability is pretty tits.

    Joe

    I think Kozilek will prove to be a bit of a dud. He can’t sit in the graveyard, and his best benefit, the draw 4, doesn’t trigger when he’s cheated into play. He has a high annihilator count though. You have to commit to casting this guy. Now, that said, in limited you might find yourself awash in Eldrazi Spawn, in which case, kozilek is quite castable as early as turn 5 or 6 in some cases. In that situation he’ll surely shine.

    Zak

    Looking at all the eldrazi, Koxilek seems like one of the best. He’s a reasonable (I use this term lightly, and only in the context of Rise) 10 mana, and just wrecks face when you cast him. If you open him in limited, you should have no trouble winning games. Constructed might be a different story, because the sheer amount of removal that exists will make it hard for the annihilator to trigger. However, at least you get a free Tidings!

    Bryan

    In my opinion, one of the better Eldrazi. his casting cost isnt that far off from playable and the rewards are pretty good. Refulling late game hand and getting a large creature is always nice.

    Dillon

    This will probably be the one hitting the most battlefields out of the Eldrazi cycle. He completely reloads your hand and then wrecks your opponent. 10 mana actually seems doable rather than 15 mana for Emrakul.

    Rob

    When first spoiled this guy seemed pretty silly, then Emrakul was spoiled and put him in perspective. If you are going to cheat, go all the way. If you are going to hardcast, go lower and get more done with less risk.

    Mike

    10 Mana actually seems reasonable for this guy. You draw four cards, he’s pretty big, he might end up being played in blue based control decks because of his relative cheapness and his card drawing.

    Justin

    I am assuming that drawing 4 cards is good. I thought of something when I saw Annihilator… sacred ground? Also in extended (for now).

    Joe

    This guy can live in the graveyard and therefore be reanimated. Seems like a natural for black decks that run one of the ubiquitous sacrificial edicts, such as cruel edict. Just animate dead and you’re on your way.

    Zak

    I’m loving having some Eldrazi that will make decent reanimation targets. And if they weren’t powerful enough, this card has intense synergy with itself and other Eldrazi, netting you a reward for attacking with cards with Annihilator. However, the odds of getting 2 Eldrazi out at the same time seem so low that this appears to be a “win-more” card. Time will tell, though.

    Bryan

    the obvious point on this guy is the lack of a graveyard clause. This gives him the ability to be reanimated. Pretty cool if you ask me. Could this card be good with Maelstrom Pulse?

    Rob

    High Casting cost, niche ability. Yes, Annihlator will be running about, but once you have 12 mana to drop guys, you probably have better and more reasonable advantages to expect out of your cards than stealing a few of you opponents permanents. Wish this ability was on a cheap Enchantment or Artifact instead.

    Mike

    This guy is pricey, but his ability is crazy with all the annihilator running around. I just don’t know if it will matter since if you’re annihilating your opponent’s entire board aren’t you already on the path to victory?

    Justin

    It That Betrays has the coolest name in the set. Its ability seems a little too win-more for my taste. You should already have the game in control by the time this ability is relevant.

    Joe

    I dig the flavor of a free [card]hindering light]/card] kind of effect for eldrazi themselves, but a normally Eldrazi-costed spell for lesser beings and spawn. Unlikely to make the cut in any limited deck I run though.

    Zak

    If an Eldrazi-specific deck emerges, you can bet that this will play a key part. However, on it’s own it’s just a terrible counterspell. I eagerly await a deck that can drop an Eldrazi, bait the opponent’s removal spell, and then cast this. Unfortunately, it does nothing to stop Day of Judgment, which is something the Eldrazi must all fear.

    Bryan

    Not good. situational cards like this are never good. You could play hindering light and atleast not be completely out of the game the whole time.

    Rob

    Playablity would be this not being a Hindering Light, being 3 or 4 mana cheaper, or working on power 5. As it is, it is very niche and people will shoehorn it into more than just Eldrazi control decks (if such a thing can really exist). On the plus, if you are tapping out to drop a big guy, you have a free counter to keep him from getting a Path to Exile before you untap.

    Mike

    If you’re only playing Eldrazi then I could see this being decent? Depends on how badly you want to swing in with these guys, but the good ones do crazy stuff just by casting them so who knows? I could see being really frustrated if you just sac’d a bunch of Eldrazi Spawn only to get blown out by doom blade though.

    Justin

    Counter magic in a color other than blue is pretty sharp. I would like to see this in an Extended Eldrazi build. Probably wont. Situational at best.

    James

    Hmmm. Uncommon. Probably a first pick uncommon. Players will be hard pressed to deal with this. Problem is that it’s not “crazy” to think of there being two of these in a draft pod. Colorless means that anyone casts it too. Man, I just don’t see this not being the shit in limited. For constructed, there are better Eldrazi at about the same cost.

    Joe

    Yikes, that’s nifty evasion, especially since they must sacrifice 3 to the annihilator. 11 is pushing it, requiring a bunch of spawn to get him out there, but it’ll probably happen. Not bad for an uncommon. This will probably turn out to be a common curve-topper for people with spawn but no rare or mythic top dog in their pool.

    Zak

    I really don’t know how relevant the blockers clause is. If all my opponent wants to do is to sit and chump-block my Eldrazi, I’m happy to just sit there and whittle away their board presence. however, it could be relevant if one wants to come out victorious when both players have Eldrazi out; whoever’s Eldrzai goes unblocked the longest will win out.

    Bryan

    This guy has a pretty cool ability that we’ve seen before. The requirements for blocking should make this guy almost completely unblockable after a few turns.

    Rob

    Uncommon Eldrazi like this guy are going to warp the way we understand Limited. He is every bit the bomb. Guys like these should really only lose to someone sitting on removal or who plays a bigger badder Eldrazi when the turn comes back. Which brings me to the thought, “Where is all the Removal?” Oh well, more cards yet to be spoiled.

    Mike

    Annihilator 3 combined with his blocking limitations makes this guy a real beater, better at attacking than anyone other than Emeria.

    Justin

    This fatty is a nice high end creature. Especially when you look at his rarity slot. In limited this guy is nuts. Not as good as other Eldrazi we have seen, but he’s not a mythic. I could see taking this guy really early in draft but I doubt the Pathrazer can find the road to constructed.

    James

    Seems like filler. I mean, why pay 7 mana to get 5 back? For the blockers I guess…There are a lot of these spawn-mana dudes in this set so maybe it’s a way of cheating the mana requirements? Hmm, after thinking through that, I guess I can see this having a use. It’d be a role player at most though. One or two of these spawn guys and a mega eldrazi could work out pretty well. I like the concept of not having to run 20 lands in limited.

    Joe

    This makes your turn 8 consist of a 12-drop. So I think this it likely to be a key part of many BigEldrazi approaches. Without a healthy supply of spawn, I just don’t see how the Go Big plan will work.

    Zak

    This is the sort of card that the Eldrazi needed, and while a 7-mana ramp spell may not seem like much. I love the idea of bringing out a Hand of Emrakul on turn 7 or earlier, and this seems like it will help make larger Eldrazi frequent the battlefield a little more in limited. I suspect that these will get passed a fair bit in Pack 1, but will get snapped up more frequently in pack 3, because people will have their big Eldrazi and will be more concxerned with bringing them out.

    Bryan

    one of the better ramp spells to play your eldrazi.

    Rob

    At cost, this is inefficient. With Discounts from Crazy Markov’s Eldrazi outlet Temple and Ugin Optical, it gives a decent chunk of chump blocks, or annihilator chumps, and replaces itself or ramps for the next big spell. Could this type of thing find it’s way into Storm decks in older formats if you get the cost reliably under 5? I think its possible.

    Mike

    If this were an instant I think it’d be incredible, as is it’s probably just awful.

    Justin

    I first I found this card a bit underwhelming. Then I remembered Eldrazi Monument and got a little excited. Then I thought about it a bit more and realized I wanted Coat of Arms instead…. There are better ways to generate mana. I find myself asking “What do I want to be doing when I have seven mana?” The answer is not drop a small horde of chump blockers that can possibly generate some mana. Twincast? Mirari? Not a fan.

    Joe

    Wow. I never thought I’d see an activated ability that just straight up costs 20. This guy’s not bad at spewing spawn, but it begs the question of where you got the 10 for Spawnsire in the first place. Still, he’s a huge wall, capable of fending off the uncommon Eldrazi while he ramps to even Bigger guys. I’m guessing that his “ultimate” will not be activated in any tournaments unless an arbitrarily-large-mana-combo exists in the format. Even then, surely there’s better ways to win.

    Zak

    This guy’s last ability makes me want to make an Extended deck with Cloudpost, Vesuva and the Urzatron to see what could happen. If you don’t automatically win if you resolve this ability, remember that you “cast” the eldrazi, so feel free to cast Tidings, Vindicate, and Time Walk via Kozilek, Ulamog and Emrakul respectively if you manage to get this off, and have devoted sideboard slots to them.

    Bryan

    Crazy abilities that will never be relevant.

    Rob

    Best thing about this guy is the token making. But again, you should be doing something better with your mana at this point.

    Mike

    This guy isn’t impressive at all but he might be a necessary evil when, in playtesting, you realize how hard it is to consistently cast large Eldrazi creatures.

    Justin

    TIMMY! I like this guy as a way to litter the battlefield with tokens. If you are playing Eldrazi then you have the mana to make this guy sing. I think this card has the the raw power that Timmy loves as well as the potential for Johnny goodness.

    James

    I like the idea of knocking out another Eldrazi with this; problem is that if you’re casting this guy to kill an Eldrazi that means you’re already behind in the game. All these cards with Annihilator are just nutso though.

    Joe

    This, and Emrakul, are the eldrazi to hope for. Indestructible will be huge, as all these guys have huge targets on their heads. He’s got a high annihilator count, he goes all angel of despair on the opposing Eldrazi, and he’s got a middle-of-the-road cost for his kind.

    Zak

    Frankly, I’m dissapointed in the last of the three titan Eldrazi. Both Emrakul and Kozilek net you insane amounts of advantage when they hit the field, and destroying a single permanent appears lackluster when compared to the other two. The indestructibility effect is nice against the likes of Jund, but in a format where Path to Exile and Oblivion Ring see plenty of play, I’m not sure how releavnt this guy will be compared to the other Eldrazi goodness.

    Rob

    If only this was when it enters, instead of when cast. The thought of more Hypergenesis fodder is sexy, and I haven’t even gotten the deck built yet, but sadly this fails. It does win the trump war with Kozilek, killing him when cast. but still likely never sees the board against Emrakul. Meh.

    Mike

    The last of the three gods here is pretty good, but I don’t think it’s as good as many of the other Eldrazi creatures who at least have a niche, this guy is a shriekmaw.

    Justin

    This is the annoying cousin to Kozilek. It seems like this Eldrazi Legend is easily the weakest of the bunch. Indestructible is nice but I feel that Kozilek’s ability to draw cards has a much bigger impact on the game.

    James

    And of course, we get to the common Eldrazi that only has Annihilator 2 and is a piddly 8/8. This will be the guy who wins games. This is the card you pick up first and never look back. Man…so crazy. 8 mana for Annihilator 2 on a 2/2 would have been the shizz and they made it an 8/8!! In-Sane!!! And at “only” 8 mana, I bet this could be played in constructed too…without any fancy shennanigans to cheat it out.

    Joe

    Common Eldrazi, annihilator 2, 8 CMC. This guy will be played for sure. He can come out fairly quickly on the back of a few spawn. Holding back on some removal seems likely to be a key play in this limited format.

    Zak

    This seems to be the benchmark for Eldrazi in limited, and an effective deck could easily pack 2-3 copies of this guy. This could see some constructed play as a finisher for decks that relally need one, but I thiink there are probably better options for not a whole lot more mana. Excellent card in limited. He will win games; I guaruntee it.

    Rob

    Common limited bomb? It is going to be so hard to adjust to this limited format because of all the fat. ‘Attacks each turn if able’ as a drawback? Doesn’t Annihilator 2 almost make that a given anyhow?

    Mike

    This is exactly how i’d dream up a common Eldrazi creature. At 8 mana it’s actually castable in a limited game and it’s going to be a pain in the butt to block with annihilator 2 every turn

    Justin

    This guy is a common so he will have a BIG impact on limited. I have yet to see any spot removal spoiled so this guy is a house. Not versatile enough for constructed.

  • James

    I’m not moved or overly excited about this. Kinda tough after the awesomeness I Just went through.

    Joe

    Hmm… pretty un-amazing card drawer. I hope I don’t end up having nothing better to run than this.

    Zak

    Uhh… If this costed 2 it would be much better, but as is it doesn’t seem to do a lot. Compared to Jayemdae Tome, this costs one more to get in the first place, and requires you to lose life to activate it. As much as I love drawing cards, by the time you take enough for this to be relevant, I’m sure some other card would have been better for you, and this will be too little too late. Awesome art though; go Chippy!

    Rob

    The 5 mana cost hurts, but then to only gain back half of the life AND pay 2 mana and four counters to activate it, the card I draw I don’t think really makes up for this super slow late game card. Maybe a Fog/Control Variant with Mirrodin tricks in the future, but for now, I disapprove. Still using the Art as a Wallpaper though.

    Mike

    This card just seems very slow, and on what turn is a control player going to cast it? If you have to take 4 damage to even activate it, how long is it going to be useful for? I don’t like this card much.

    Justin

    The mana cost makes this card unappealing. This card reeks of something that R&D was excited about and then they watered it down when annoying decks popped up in the Future Future League. I’m sure it can find a home in some wacky Johnny build but all in all it seems a bit sub par with all the gigantic creatures running around. I would sac this to Annihilator instead of a plains in a heartbeat.

  • James

    Master Transmuter comes to mind as an abuse outlet. Maybe I’m just a sucker though; I always felt she was just waiting to be super good… The abilities are pretty weird. I don’t like that you have to pay three and then sac to get the 3 cards. Type to draw 3 cards seems sufficient. For limited I’m starting to think cards like this are going to be pretty necessary if we players are ever going to get to 11 mana…

    Joe

    This looks strong, ramping you to Eldrazi, or drawing you into answers. I like it, even if it’s a bit slow and unorthodox for a mana artifact.

    Zak

    Thi card seems fantastic. It’s excellent in limited if you want to power out Eldrazi behemoths more reliably than with temporary sacrifices of Spawn tokens, and in constructed it can go well in a control deck. And do I really need to talk about how awesome this could be in EDH?

    Rob

    Um, ok. Mana ramp for Eldrazi guys, but for those of us trying to win, this accel comes about 4 land drops too late. I’ll enjoy playing with it in Limited and EDH but I’m not likely to play it in any constructed tourneys. Of course all that could change when Scars comes out with a good Artifact Control deck.

    Mike

    This is an interesting ramp card. It’s weird a ramp card costs six, but with everflowing chalice this card is reasonable. The fact that you can draw 3 cards when you’ve caught up to your mana is definitely a cool ability.

    Justin

    I like this card for EDH, especially in colors where card drawing is scarce like Red. It seems too slow for Construted at this point, but that could all change when Shards rotates out.

  • Joe

    Big, slow, not my style.

    Zak

    Sigh… It’s Anodet Lurker‘s big brother. If you’re spending six mana on this in limited, you’re doing something wrong and wil probably get overrun by levelers and/or Eldrazi.

    Rob

    I’d rather have a Lodestone Golem.Otherwise see the same comments for Dreamstone Hedron.

    Mike

    I like this guy, 6 mana isn’t too much for a limited game, he will definitely get you to the late turns when you can start casting your big eldrazi stuff if you go that route.

    Justin

    In a set full of high casting cost, powerful threats, this guy is underpowered. Lame for an uncommon.

  • James

    Sweetness. Rare so not the craziest of them all but it has high utility; especially on an overcosted flier as I’m sure Rise of the Eldrazi has.

    Joe

    Should be hot. Even if you just run out a flier and equip, you can often race before your opponent hits Eldrazi town.

    Zak

    It’s so expensive, but it might just make it as a singleton target for Stoneforge Mystic to tutor up and play cheaply. I have this vision of a Baneslayer Angel attacking with this, but I just don’t know how relevant it could possibly be when another card would probably be more effective

    Rob

    This amuses me. So many guys could be awesome with this on them, but we need to use guys like Stoneforge Mystic, and Kor Outfitter, who have fairly low CMC, thus defeating the purpose largely.

    Mike

    This is equally as pricey as grappling hook and has a lot more potential. The fact that it’s rare is kind of annoying, because if this had trample it’d be outstanding.

    Justin

    Not really impressed with this piece of equipment. The gains are marginal on early drops and the impact is small late game. Do I want to spend 4 mana for this on turn 4? Nope.

  • James

    Kinda neat. I’ve not really played the “mill deck” so I can’t speak to its viability. Maybe this would be a good sideboard option against Dredge? Those decks fill the graveyard up quickly. “5 mana” (after the 6 to play) to mill 20 cards would be pretty off the hook. I’m sure someone will throw this into a control deck to see how it goes.

    Joe

    Auto-mill for 6 + one turn? I like this as a win condition more than any of the Eldrazi. This will be a commonly played card in EDH too, though maybe not as much in multi-player matches as in 1v1.

    Zak

    So we have a Millstone steroids. People might be tempted to play this in limited, but I would caution against it, because in the 4 or so turns you spend casting this and milling them, you’ll probably be crushed underfoot by an Eldrazi or two. I do echo Joe’s sentiments about EDH, this could be pretty awesome.

    Rob

    Strictly EDH and Casual. With three Gaea’s Blessings running around the format, and Milling usually being a subpar strategy (and I love to mill people) this is really kinda worthless.

    Mike

    This card could get out of hand quickly, especially in a limited game, but as for constructed applications, things like archive trap just seem more consistent to base a mill deck around once Font of Mythos rotates out

    Justin

    Holy crap! This goes right into my Szadek, Lord of Secrets EDH deck. YAY! I like it a bunch…. yeah only for that reason. I think it would be funny to play late on a dredge player too.

  • Joe

    Should be awesome in limited, then become a bookmark forevermore.

    Zak

    It lets your more mediocre guys trade with the big Eldrazi, but it shouldn’t be a permanent solution due to it’s intense equip cost.

    Rob

    5 to equip? I’ll pass.

    Mike

    This card would’ve been Kor Outfitter’s best friend if it wasn’t triple ROE draft, otherwise it isn’t awesome

    Justin

    Equip cost is way too high. I would rather play Feast of the Unicorn.

  • Joe

    This feels like a “win more” to me, but sometimes it’ll go on a flier and count all your walls for the boost, so I might play it in such a deck.

    Zak

    The cost for this is way to high for something that resembles Scion of the Wild. If you’re going for the Eldrazi style win-condition, is this gong to be relevant at all? Methinks not.

    Rob

    Cantrips, filters mana, and is a good basic Utility Card. Going to be great fixer in limited.

    Mike

    Well, open the vaults just got a new friend. That deck could definitely come back before Shards of Alara rotates out this fall.

    Justin

    House. This card is powerful in a subtle way. I like it for multi-colored EDH decks. Strong in Limited and I could see it making a splash in Standard. I would not feel bad cascading into this.

  • Joe

    It cantrips, so if you need this fixer, it’s relatively painless.

    Zak

    YES!!! Remember how Time Seive was used in an awesome combo/stall deck before Zendiakr came out? The only thing which stopped the deck’s growth was the rotation of Elsewhere Flask. Well now this deck is back and should be able to make a serious gash in the metagame now that we have another 2 mana cantripping artifact in addition to Kaliedostone.

    Rob

    Cantrips, filters mana, and is a good basic Utility Card. Going to be great fixer in limited.

    Mike

    Well, open the vaults just got a new friend. That deck could definitely come back before Shards of Alara rotates out this fall.

    Justin

    House. This card is powerful in a subtle way. I like it for multi-colored EDH decks. Strong in Limited and I could see it making a splash in Standard. I would not feel bad cascading into this.

  • Joe

    Wow, even artifacts get walls in ROE. This is going to be interesting to see how slow the format really ends up being.

    Zak

    Umm…I guess? This seems like it could be okay in limited, but what good does preventing one damage to you (not a creature) do when there are Eldrazi wrecking your board.

    Rob

    Quick and dirty cleric wall. What’s not to like.

    Mike

    This is a great limited concept. I love the stats and the tap-ability. I love everything about this card getting you to your bombs in a draft or sealed.

    Justin

    Meh. Its a wall.

  • Joe

    Interesting bear here. I’m not usually keen on drawing cards for my opponents, but this guy at least helps any deck with aggressive intentions to be on-curve.

    Zak

    This also could help out the Time Sieve deck in standard, because you’re already using Howling Mine effects. Outside of a deck where you really don’t care what the opponent plays, I can’t see this seeing too much play. The opportunity for your opponent to capitalize by you playing a 2/2 in this environment are just too great.

    Rob

    Another cheerleader for Scars of Mirrodin. I’m soo looking forward to cobbling together a great colorless control deck. 2/2 for 2 colorless plus a card seems about right for letting your opponent get a card, and if you can punish your opponent for that card, or take it back away from him, it is awesome.

    Mike

    Pretty crazy ability. I’m not sure how big the drawback is of letting your opponent draw a card in a limited game. I wan’t to say I don’t want to let my opponent do that, and this guy is just a grizzly bear, so I guess it depends on how badly you need to fill your curve with no mana issues.

    Justin

    I like this guy. Perfect at uncommon. I can see this one hitting the $3-$5 dollar mark pretty quick. Great tempo and card advantage that can fit in any color.

  • Joe

    Way too slow. If it cost 3 or less, this would be fine, but then it might be pretty insane in constructed I guess.

    Zak

    There’s no way this will ever see a great deal of play. It’s a pity that it doesn’t count the instants you cast in order to ramp up to it, and seems like a junk rare.

    Rob

    This is such strange card. Seems like another Casual or EDH player only. It’ll be a buck rare unless someone finds a way to put it where it doesn’t belong, like in a burn deck or some sort of permission deck.

    Mike

    This card might as well just read Bulk Rare. There might be a casual deck out there based off this, or maybe something with everflowing chalice in a blue control deck going on, but 7 is expensive. It is an interesting way to kill your opponent while just sitting on counters though.

    Justin

    This card is looking for the guy who is going to go “OMG! this would be hilarious! I have to build a deck around this card right away!” Not sure if that guy is out there but there is a chance.

  • Joe

    I like this, whether it goes on your flying wall or just a random dork.

    Zak

    I knew that this set would have an Animate Wall variant, and this doesn’t disappoint. At very worse, it’s a slightly more expensive [cxard]Vulshok Morningstar[/card], which was just fine in limited.

    Rob

    Turns walls on. I’m always skeptical of any equip cost higher than 2, but to make a hard to kill and cheaper than normal guy into a swinger can turn a passive game into a race to the end.

    Mike

    It’s a little pricey, but man are there a lot of walls in this block, so this could be interesting on a Gomazoa

    Justin

    Trying to make walls exciting is like trying to make watching paint dry exciting. How does a wall get into a chariot anyway? Poor flavor here.

    We’d love to hear your thoughts. Did we miss anything?
    You can also check out the rest of the set review and analysis. :)
    Colorless White Blue Black

  • Worldwake EDH: Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

    A while back I took a look at new EDH Generals from Worldwake.  I decided to make a deck-list featuring Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.  I wanted to go with a build that was full of flavor, using the imagery of the powerful ogre warlord.  In most cases of card selection I used flavor as the deciding factor.

    The premise of this deck is that the mighty Kazuul is marshaling a vast horde of evil humanoids to raid and plunder.  I stuck with some good ol’ fashioned D&D concepts; ogres bullying smaller orcs and goblins to do their bidding, which in this case means WAR!  Last time I mentioned Deathforge Shaman, Initiate of Blood, Heartless Hidetsugu and Rustmouth Ogre as possible options so I am going to put them in.  I took another look at Gatherer to see how many different ogres were in red.
    Ogres (7):

    Now that our ogre taskmasters are in place we need some orc and goblin minions to fill out the army.
    Goblins (24):


    Orcs (5):

    All of these little guys form the backbone of our army.

    No ogre warlord worth his salt would go into battle only relying on puny orcs and goblins, so Kazuul will have some hired giant muscle.
    Giants (4):

    Our horde is in place, so we need some gear to make our General and friends more formidable.
    Equipment (8):

    Now our army has plenty of fodder and gear so all we need is a way to promote our General’s ability.  Our plan is limit our opponents mana base by eliminating key lands and mana producing artifacts which are very common in EDH.
    Land Hate(10):


    Artifact Hate (3):

    We have thirty eight slots for our own land and mana producing artifacts.

    The deck is complete. It looks like Kazuul’s enemies are in for a rough time as his horde pillages the countryside. Can anyone stop the Tyrant of the Cliffs? Now this deck is not perfect but it has answers to problem artifacts and lands and can generate creatures early.  I think this is a good starting point for a really fun and flavorful EDH deck. Until next time.

    New EDH Generals from Worldwake

    Elder Dragon Highlander is one of my favorite formats to play.  The rules of this format allow for some very exciting interactions with cards that would be rarely played in any other format.  The most important aspect of EDH is the General.  Any Legendary Creature can be the General for your EDH deck with very few exceptions ( Braids, Cabal Minion is banned for example), and with the release of Worldwake some new potential Generals join the fray.

    Anowon, the Ruin Sage is a strong new General for mono-black EDH decks.

    Anowon has an ability that reminds us of the Abyss.   Mono-black is a strong color in EDH and with the addition of Anowon, vampire themed decks get a power boost.  There are plenty of Vampires running around in Magic but the fact that their creature type lets them dodge a bullet from Anowon makes them really shine.  Vamps that work well on team Anowon include Ascendant Evincar which can destroy token strategies; Repentant Vampire shines against other decks running swamps; Mephidross Vampire is a house when you start turning your opponents team with Krovikan Vampire and Soul Collector.  Anowon’s Worldwake friends are also welcome additions to the army: Bloodhusk Ritualist, Butcher of Malakir and Kalastria Highborn.

    The next addition to the EDH world is Thada Adel, Acquisitor.

    Thada Adel will give any opposing player fits as most decks run very powerful artifacts.  Thada will see play not only as a General just for the chance to steal things like Mindslaver, Nevinyrrals Disk, Rings of Brighthearth, and Oblivion Stone.  Even nabbing a Sol Ring can be devastating.

    Next up is Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs

    Kazuul is not quite as impressive as an EDH General as Anowon and Thada but it’s ability can be good.  Red has access to Land destroying effects that can make it more likely for Kazuul’s ability to resolve.  I like the idea of adding Pandemonium to prevent people from attacking you with swarms.  If you wanted to try an Ogre themed deck pick up Deathforge ShamanRustmouth Ogre, Initiate of Blood and Heartless Hidetsugu (who makes a good General himself).

    Representing Green we have Omnath, Locus of Mana

    The great thing about this General is that its low casting cost ensures that it will hit the battlefield early and often.  Cards like Early Harvest, Extraplanar Lens and Gauntlet of Power make this Elemental a beatstick.  Omnath’s best friend is Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary.  Mana ramp is a must when playing Omnath, so be sure to have Staff of Domination and Helix Pinnacle for alternate win conditions.

    Last on our list of new EDH Generals we have the killer Kraken Wrexial, the Risen Deep

    Big body, evasion and a relevant ability makes sure that Wrexial wrecks stuff.  Using a semi-mill strategy can ensure plenty of juicy targets for our sea monster friend.  Glimpse the Unthinkable, Mind Funeral and the other deep-sea threat Nemesis of Reason go perfectly with Wrexial.  Other graveyard loving cards that can go along with our General are Beacon of Unrest, Memory Plunder and Puppeteer Clique. Sexy Wrexy definitely has a lot going for it.

    EDH just got more exciting with these new Generals.  I wish there was a new white Legend to round out the list.  Out of all of these newcomers I feel that Anowon and Thada will have the biggest impact, but that won’t stop me from putting Wrexial in my Szadek, Lord of Secrets deck.

    Premium Deck Series: Slivers decklist announced

    To follow up our discussion of Premium Deck Series: Slivers as it relates to EDH, let’s have a look at the newly announced decklist for the product.  First off, here’s the decklist:

    2 Ancient Ziggurat
    5 Forest
    2 Island
    3 Mountain
    2 Plains
    1 Rootbound Crag
    2 Rupture Spire
    2 Swamp
    2 Terramorphic Expanse
    2 Vivid Creek
    2 Vivid Grove


    25 lands
    1 Acidic Sliver
    1 Amoeboid Changeling
    1 Armor Sliver
    1 Barbed Sliver
    1 Brood Sliver
    1 Clot Sliver
    1 Crystalline Sliver
    1 Frenzy Sliver
    1 Fungus Sliver
    1 Fury Sliver
    2 Gemhide Sliver
    1 Heart Sliver
    1 Hibernation Sliver
    1 Homing Sliver
    2 Metallic Sliver
    1 Might Sliver
    2 Muscle Sliver
    1 Necrotic Sliver
    1 Quick Sliver
    1 Sliver Overlord
    2 Spectral Sliver
    1 Spined Sliver
    1 Victual Sliver
    2 Virulent Sliver
    1 Winged Sliver


    30 creatures
    1 Aphetto Dredging
    1 Coat of Arms
    1 Distant Melody
    1 Heartstone
    1 Wild Pair


    5 other spells

    The cards I was anticipating the most were the lands.  In EDH, particularly with a 5-color general, manabases can get very espensive indeed.  A big part of the budget legitimacy of this product will be the extent to which its manabase can transition into the 100-card highlander format.

    So, applying “highlander” to the manabase leaves us with one copy each of:

    Ancient Ziggurat

    Rootbound Crag

    Rupture Spire

    Terramorphic Expanse

    Vivid Creek

    Vivid Grove

    Alas, I’m feeling highly unenthusiastic about this manabase.  The product doesn’t exactly give you no help at all, but it comes pretty dang close, offering the lone rootbound crag as the only rare land in the bunch.  Was Gemstone Mine too much to hope for?  City of Brass?  Apparently these hopes were just irrational optimism on my part.  So, for budget players, it seems challenge #1 for porting this deck to EDH will be coming up with a decent 5-color manabase.

    I suggest filling out the remaining three vivid lands, along with Zendikar dual lands like akoum refuge and the Shards of Alara tri-lands such as Savage Lands.  I would also recommend going “base green” making green your main color, and using cards like harrow, kodamas reach, sakura tribe elder, rampant growth, and civic wayfinder.  Many of these green cards have variants and functional reprints, so have a look at a card database like Gatherer, or my personal favorite, magiccards.info.

    So the lands are kind of a bust.  Let’s look at the slivers now.

    Here is a list of rare slivers I think you might consider for inclusion, but which are not included in the set:

    Essence Sliver

    Psionic Sliver

    Pulmonic Sliver

    Sliver Legion

    Sliver Queen

    Synapse Sliver

    Toxin Sliver

    Of these, Sliver Queen is the expensive one, running around $30.  However, it’s been holding that value forever, so it’s a decent investment.  For budget players, though, Sliver Legion can be had for just under $10, Toxin Sliver for around $7, and the remaining four slivers for around $7 total.  All in all, you get brood sliver, fungus sliver, and sliver overlord as your rares / mythic rares.  Nothing really to write home about.  I will soon be advising you to consider ditching fungus sliver, for example.

    One side note here about Sliver Queen: the set includes Heartstone, so if you acquire the common Basal Sliver from Time Spiral, you’ve got an infinite mana combo that, thanks to Sliver Queen, translates into infinite slivers and likely an instant win, thanks to your general’s tutor ability, and the inclusion of heart and gemhide slivers.  Essentially, Sliver Queen is likely the next big purchase you can make to easily pimp your Sliver-based EDH deck.

    Moving on to the Un-Commons in the deck, the ones of note that aren’t included are as follows:

    Cautery Sliver

    Darkheart Sliver

    Dementia Sliver*

    Dormant Sliver

    Frenetic Sliver*

    Ghostflame Sliver

    Harmonic Sliver

    Horned Sliver

    Mnemonic Sliver

    Opaline Sliver

    Root Sliver

    Shifting Sliver

    Telekinetic Sliver

    Ward Sliver

    The slivers marked with a * are questionable, but they’re still better than some of the duds (I’ll go over the duds at the end).  You can buy all of these non-asterisk’ed uncommons for around $11 total.  Horned Sliver is the most expensive at $3.45, and if you just get Ward Sliver and/or Shifting Sliver, the trample becomes less important.

    Moving on to the commons, here’s the ones I’d consider playing with that are, again, NOT included in this product:

    Basal Sliver (Because I will be running the Queen)

    Battering Sliver(aka Poor Man’s Horned Sliver)

    Crypt Sliver

    Hunter Sliver

    Reflex Sliver (Redundant Heart Sliver)

    Shadow Sliver!!

    Sinew Sliver (Redundant Muscle Sliver)

    Synchronous Sliver

    Talon Sliver

    Two-headed Sliver

    I didn’t total the cost of these commons because surely they can all be had for under $5.  Shadow Sliver is probably the most important here, but they’re all probably better than some of the duds that come with this set.  Let’s examine the duds now, shall we?

    I would immediately lose all of the following cards from the product in porting to EDH:

    Amoeboid Changeling

    Armor Sliver

    Barbed Sliver

    Frenzy Sliver

    Metallic Sliver

    Spined Sliver

    And I might consider losing these as well, though it would now depend on what I had available to replace each sliver with.   The duds above should be left out for sure.  The ones below… well, they’re at least passable:

    Clot Sliver

    This one just doesn’t do a whole lot, and it costs mana to (not) do it.  A whole lot of the recommended additions surpass this card.

    Fungus Sliver

    Unless you plan to have psionic sliver, this one probably goes… though at least he’ll grow your team in favorable blocks and such.

    Spectral Sliver

    Again, the best sliver abilities aren’t costing you mana.  You’ll have plenty to do with your mana without messing with this.

    As for the non-sliver cards in this set, they all look decent to me, though perhaps they’re a bit gimmicky and might be better as either card draw or tutors.  As a creature based strategy, Slivers have an uphill battle in EDH.  EDH is rife with sweepers and big effects.  A lot of the time you’ll get your army out there only to watch them perish.  Some cards that will help you prevent this are:

    Eldrazi Monument, Dauntless Escort, Elspeth Knight-Errant

    Only the monument is very affordable here, but luckily it’s probably the best fit anyway.  I still worry about the basic concept of putting a lot of dudes on the table in a format like EDH.

    Along these lines, I can see the very first sliver I search for with my overlord or other tutors being hibernation sliver.  Soon thereafter, I might try to get homing sliver, as I think patriarchs bidding and genesis will be fun ways to play with the graveyard.  When I get my own copy of this product, and I fill out my sliver deck, I’ll be posting again with a more detailed decklist and strategy explanations, so I’ll leave it there as far as deck contents… I just want to mention one cute combo you can include:

    Mesmeric Sliver + Tunnel Vision

    All in all, I think the deck looks fun, and they got most of the staples I was hoping for:

    Winged Sliver

    Hibernation Sliver

    Crystalline Sliver

    etc.

    I’m only slightly disappointed in the manabase, but I remain stoked about the concept of this product providing a relatively easy entry into EDH for nOObs.  You buy this thing for $35, then you buy $20-$50 worth of other Schtuff, and you’ve got a fun EDH deck in your hands.  When you win the lottery, then you buy the $600 manabase of your dreams and rock the casbah!  Okay, so if you have that kind of scratch, you can just build Zur, Arcum, or Rofellos, or one of the other tier 1 generals, and pimp it out with all the trimmings.

    Until next time, there can be only one!

    Premium Deck Series: Slivers – Looks Awesome

    Wizards announced way back in late July that they were going to release Premium Deck Series: Slivers on Novermber 20th of this year.  MSRP $34.99.  The deck will be all foil, 60 cards, and sliver based, with a limited English-only print run.  Now they’ve revealed the packaging for Premium Deck Series: Slivers, along with a few “spoilers”.  In my humble opinion, the product looks pretty damn cool.  Let’s take a look.  First, here’s the package itself:

    Pretty standard stuff.  How about a look at some of the cards…

    Victual Sliver… meh….

    Necrotic sliver ain’t bad… gotta love vindicate sliver.

    Acidic Sliver is a nice choice, I guess, since it’s a 5-color deck and all…

    Presumably the basis of the deck, Sliver Overlord will help the product appeal to EDH players, as it’s a pretty sweet General.  More on this in the conclusion below.

    Saved the best for last here.  Arguably the best sliver they could have possibly included, this is the premiere sliver of the tribe.  Crystalline Sliver fetches an impressive (for an uncommon) $6 and up for the regular version.  The DCI has already issued a foil version of the card which ranges from $12 and up, usually, so the fact that this is foil might not necessarily boost the price too much.  However, this is the first modern card frame version of the sliver, which should improve its “Pimp” status.  I’m guessing this card alone will justify at least $15 or so of the MSRP, making this product yet another decent investment from Wizards’ Mint.  They’ve been printing money ever since the From the Vault: Dragons set rolled out, and there appears to be no end in sight.  If the deck turns out to contain multiple copies of this sliver, then you’re essentially guaranteed your money back for buying this set.  I’m not sure when it will be possible to reserve a copy of this product, but I’m certainly planning to do so ASAP.

    In closing, I just want to mention that this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants an easy entry into the EDH format.  Although the General here (presumably Sliver Overlord, or if they print it as well, though I have my doubts, Sliver Queen) is 5-color, presenting you with the daunting challenge of acquiring a competetive 5-color manabase for your 100 card deck, for 35 bucks you get the bulk of your deck in pre-pimped foil.  If you’ve ever been curious about EDH, jump on this product and expand it into your first deck… it should be plenty competetive.

    Cheers!

    Zendikar Card Review Batch 02 (170 / 249)

    Welcome to batch two of the Zendikar preview season. We’ve got ~59 new cards or so to review today. As usual, these are knee-jerk reactions, in most cases, and we try to keep these reviews as much of a first impression as possible. With the exception of Lotus Cobra, previewed by our pal Mike Flores, we haven’t seen any of today’s cards yet.

    I’ll (Joe) be reviewing everything from a limited standpoint with occasional comments geared towards legacy and EDH, while James will default into evaluating the cards for constructed, particularly upcoming standard and block formats, though the latter is trickier than the former given the limited number of block cards known to date.

    Enjoy, and please chime in in the comments section! That’s what it’s there for.

    Brave the Elements – W
    Instant (Uncommon)
    Choose a color. White creatures you control gain protection from the chosen color until end if turn.

    JOE

    Neat little trick… should make for some favorable combat outcomes. This can be devastating soft-removal for a base-white archetype. Dr. Obvious says, “This card increases in value in direct proportion to the number of white creatures you have on board.” Thank you, Dr. Obvious.

    JAMES
    This is a pretty good card actually. –potentially not as good as the green version of this cycle (see below) but definitely a good card because it will hose your opponents’ attempts at 2 for 1′ing you. I’m thinking Volcanic Fallout for example, which is easily one of the best two-for-one’rs in Type2 right now. It’s also great for an alpha strike, if you’ve got lethal on board but some pesky blockers, here’s your chance to walk right on by and bash your opponent’s face in. The question becomes is this better than Harms Way? Probably; it just doesn’t have the advantage of redirecting that damage. It’s going to come down to testing so my recommendation is to test this card versus Harm’s Way.

    Conqueror’s Pledge – 2WWW
    Sorcery (Rare)
    Kicker {6}
    Put six 1/1 white Kor Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield. If Conqueror’s Pledge was kicked, put twelve 1/1 white Kor Soldier creature tokens onto the battlefield instead.

    JOE

    Hmmm… you might occasionally play it for 5, in which case it’s a fair deal. You’ll likely never see 11 mana, so that’s slightly irrelevant. But as far as token-barfer cards, this is a good one. I’m guessing there are way better versions for constructed, such as martial coup.
    JAMES
    This seems pretty playable to me. At 5cc this is better than martial coup–martial coup is awesome at 7cc but because of that high cc, it’s more of a 2x. Well, I’m concluding this off experience with windswept heights which is rotating out so m.coup may get the bump. However, on a straight cc analysis, this is better than coup. At two more cc than spectral procession you get three more creatures so on a mana-efficiency level, this is a slight bump in efficiency. When B/W tokens was bashing face across the world, there were instances where Spectral Procession was played at 4cc, making this actually a bit more stable in the sense that you have two more turns to hit your third plains. The kicker does seem unlikely–and in all probability we’d probably rather see martial coup for 11 than Conqueror’s Pledge at 11 because you get the Wrath of God/Day of Judgment affect. Unfortunately it’s not as good as Cloudgoat Ranger which provides “that bigger body” as well as evasion. Tapping out on turn 5 to get Volcanic Fallout would be a kick to the nuts so it’s a tough call. I’ll probably sleeve this up post-Lorwyn in my G/W tokens…which very well may become mono-white. (Sigil Captain and even more so Dauntless Escort are very good).

    Emeria Angel – 2WW
    Creature – Angel (Rare)
    Flying
    Landfall—Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control,
    you may put a 1/1 white Bird creature token with flying into the battlefield.
    3/3

    JOE

    Check out that foily promo goodness… Look ma, no textbox! This is a Super-bomb in limited, and would be highly awesome even if all it did was fly, cost 4, and have 3 power and toughness. Barfing out other fliers makes this celestial being a killer. Incredible. Looks constructed worthy to me as well, but that’s not my forte. Hill giant is solid. Flying hill giant is superb. Flying bird-barfer hill giant is bombastic-fantastic with a Jamaican accent like Shaggy.

    JAMES
    This is definitely worth toying with. The cc at 4 may make it a bit tough to fit–for example, would we rather play the bird-producing angel or would we rather drop an Elspeth, Knight-Errant or Ajani Goldmane? Planeswalkers are pretty much self-contained entities making for fairly ideal on-curve plays. That being said, you’re well rewarded for playing this angel. I mean, what deck doesn’t want to play a fifth land? (besides burn decks which don’t count in this instance). I don’t see 5 Color Control sticking around in the same structure (losing Cryptic Command and Broken Ambitions really are too much) so we can’t even compare this to Baneslayer Angel as a potentially “earlier play.” The only control deck that comes to mind that as far as I’m aware isn’t getting completely gutted is the Grixis-Control deck which wouldn’t be running this. So it comes down to the MWC, White-Winnie & mid-range. As a mid-range deck, we can evaluate this on a comparative level with Knight of the Watch which w/ the landfall ability on Emeria Angel will produce the same number of 1/1s as the 7cc Knight (just one at a time rather than all at once). Under that analysis, this would be far more efficient. It’s a question of “flying” vs “vigilance”–flying is pretty much 10x better than vigilance imo. That all being said, this card seems playable.

    Kor Cartographer – 3W
    Creature – Kor Scout (Common)
    When Kor Cartographer enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a Plains card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
    2/2

    JOE

    Well, a 4-drop doesn’t work too well as a fixer, so this is more of a mid-to-late accellerant. Not bad in that role, but a little pricey for a 2/2. I’m on the fence. I’d probably run him with enough early landfall cards that I want to double up on turn 4.

    JAMES
    If landfall is going to be as good as I think it probably will be, then this will play a marginal role. Due to the “get a plains” nature, I’m not sure it’s going to see play outside mono-white in Type2–if a player is dabbling in G which has lots of land-searchers, then Harrow is a better option. It is pretty pricey so I’m on the fence. Getting an extra land can be pretty dang helpful…

    Creature – Kor Soldier (Common)
    Flying
    When Kor Skyfisher enters the battlefield, return a permanent you control to its owner’s hand.
    2/3

    JOE

    Incredible. Amazing. Awesome. Okay, well, this is pretty snazzy… it’s only rarely going to be the ideal turn 2 drop though… but it’s awesome when you have a fair number of CiP abilities to abuse (see cartographer above). This lets you get double mileage out of CiP shennanigans, and leaves you with a highly respectable 2/3 flier, all for a piddly 1W. Very sweet common here. Soldier too!

    JAMES
    For a two drop this is certainly a pretty aggressive card but at this point I can only compare it to filling in a slot occupied by Honor of the Pure and Kazandu Blademaster (see our other post for a breakdown). Keeping my comparison cards in mind, if an ally deck is viable then this card will be the linchpin triggering all kinds of madness. And it’d be some serious madness but as a shenanigan-enabler, I would run it at 3x (hoping to draw into it mid-to late game…not in my opening hand). I’d expect an ally deck in Block but not so much in Type2; this card could end up being very interesting.

    Narrow Escape – 2W
    Instant (Common)
    Return target permanent you control to its owner’s hand. You gain 4 life.
    “Let’s get out of here”
    #27/249

    JOE

    Love it. This card sure weeps for the recent M10 rules changes though! “Damage on the stack…” er… not so much. But still a nice way to softly counter some removal! I’m confused by the flavor though… why the 4 life if it was a narrow escape? This is more like “Narrow Escape turned Awesome Boon….” like someone running away and tripping over a pot of gold or something… I dunno. I’d probably leave this one out of the deck if I could, as countering removal is kind of narrow. Lots of time this will be a do-nothing spell.

    JAMES
    I’m not so hot on this. Good game trick for limited where savign a creature from the graveyard and gaining 4 life might be viable. For constructed, I don’t see much room for this. [card]Brave the Elements[card] (above) seems 10x better to me, costing 2cc less and potentially saving the whole team.

    Shepherd of the Lost – 4W
    Creature – Angel (Uncommon)
    Flying, first strike, vigilance
    3/3
    #34/249

    JOE

    Awesome in limited. Simply awesome. This is highly playable, highly splashable. Great body, attacks and blocks, and all with first strike. Awesome fiver.

    JAMES
    Great for limited and then not so hot otherwise. As an uncommon it’s a rockstar in limited! At 5cc [card]Baneslayer Angel[card] is better for constructed. Like I said in the last batch of reviews, forever will B.A. be the benchmark…

    Hedron Crab – U
    Creature – Crab (Uncommon)
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
    0/2

    JOE

    This is the waiting line for tryouts for the next sanity grinding combo deck. I have no clue whether he’ll make the cut there, but for limited, mill strategies are always about that critical mass. If you can land two or three of this guy (probably not) along with enough other mill cards (who knows?), then this could be viable. Otherwise, it’s a 15th pick kind of card.
    JAMES
    I don’t play mill and I’ve never lost to a mill deck…

    Into the Roil – 1U
    Instant (Common)
    Kicker {1}{U} (You may pay an additional {1}{U} as you cast this spell.)
    Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand. If Into the Roil was kicked, draw a card.

    JOE

    Love it. Should see play in limited, and maybe even that mill deck the crab above is trying out for? I dunno. The cantrip part is a little pricey, but it’s still going to be kicked a lot. This is a very decent soft removal spell.
    JAMES
    Tempo play in limited but I don’t see anything coming from this in constructed. Am I missing something?

    Kraken Hatchling – U
    Creature – Kraken (Common)
    “Below the thunders of the upper deep; Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep The Kraken sleepeth.”
    0/4
    #50/249

    JOE

    I, Joe Klesert, do hereby swear never to play this card in any limited event, so help me God.
    JAMES
    LMAO. Really? A 0/4 wall is pretty okay in limited. It just doesn’t do anything in constructed. Or? Anyway, it for sure is marginally playable in limited for a slow-roll U/x deck that needs to stall the ground out to build up a threat. I mean, we play 1/4′s in limited for the sole purpose of stalling, so this at 1cc isn’t SOOOO bad. (Just don’t run more than 2 or you’ll be shitting 0/4′s for dinner).

    Living Tsunami – 2UU
    Creature – Elemental (Uncommon)
    Flying
    At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Living Tsunami unless you return a land you control to its owner’s hand.
    4/4

    JOE

    At least they didn’t call it “Tsunami Elemental” as they might have in the past. This is a huge enabler whose “drawback” is pretty much a pure upside. If you have no landfall cards, this is still a pretty decent deal. You get an undercosted air elemental, and if they stop it on the board, you just sac it the next upkeep. If you have landfall guys in play before him, he guarantees their activation every turn, which ain’t bad. In either case he’s playable, and with the right landfall cards, he’s outstanding. The only real risk is when you play him on-curve and never really get to access your 5-and-up-drops, so be somewhat weary… but I suspect this won’t be much of a problem.

    JAMES
    Well there. This will see play. So much landfall (such as Lotus Cobra–man, I’ve just been itching to get my way down to green) in Zendikar that not playing a [card]Air Elemental[card] that enables Landfall AND cost one less seems silly to me. This is an almost drawback free 4/4 with flying for 4cc. (Drawback free because of landfall y’all!)

    Merfolk Wayfinder – 2U
    Creature – Merfolk Scout (Uncommon)
    Flying
    When Merfolk Wayfinder enters the battlefield, reveal the top three cards of your library. Put all Island cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
    1/2

    JOE

    Hmm… funky. Flying 1/2 makes him decently costed. The benefit here is stocking yourself with Islands. This is a hard call in limited where you seldom run mono-colored decks. He’ll probably whiff a lot, but he’s still decent when you draw him early. I’m thinking he’s playable, but I’d want to be somewhat invested in a skies type flying archetype to run him.

    JAMES
    I don’t see this making the cut in constructed unless there’s a mono-U developing that I’ve completely missed.

    Reckless Scholar – 2U
    Creature – Human Wizard (Common)
    {T}: Target player draws a card, then discards a card.
    2/1
    #60/249

    JOE

    Not such a bad re-make of merfolk looter, since you get another point of power for your 1. Targeting other players probably won’t matter much… maybe the mill deck wants that, I dunno. I’d run this guy for sure though. Quite playable. Selection when you need it and a non-irrelevant body when you don’t.
    JAMES
    x/1′s don’t seem good enough. I mean, it’s not like it can block and then EOT draw a card. I’d rather have a 0/3 than a 2/1…Anyway, for the total cost this seems too expensive to see the light of day in constructed.

    Rite Of Replication – 2UU
    Sorcery (Rare)
    Kicker {5} (You may pay an additional {5} as you cast this spell.)
    Put a token that is a copy of target creature onto the battlefield. If Rite Of Replication was kicked, instead put five of those tokens onto the battlefield.
    Illus. Matt Cavotta
    #61/249

    JOE

    What in the holy hell!? Okay, with no kicker, this is a decent Clone remake, which makes it pretty solid. WITH kicker… this is ridiculous. I’m immediately thinking about lotus cobra here (see below)… you should be able to kick it without TOO much trouble with mr. snakey pants on board… and what would the world look like with 6 copies of Señor Snake? Holy crap!? Anyway, weirdness aside, this will be a middle-range rare, never going above $2-3 I’m guessing, but it’ll have these weird side uses. EDH decks would like to make 5 darksteel colossus tokens, for instance.
    JAMES
    This card is waiting to be broken. 9cc for 5 copies of say Baneslayer Angel or (even more devastating, auto-scoop styles) Broodmate Dragon is stupid.

    Tempest Owl – 1U
    Creature – Bird (Common)
    Kicker {4}{U} (You may pay an additional {4}{U} as you cast this spell.)
    Flying
    When Tempest Owl enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, tap up to three target permanents.
    1/2

    JOE

    Think of it mainly as a 2-drop 1/2 flier for limited. You’ll eventually be able to use him to tap remaining fliers or reach blockers for the alpha strike… that adds value. He’s playable in a skies archetype as a 2-drop 1/2 flier though. Decent early, decent late. Only disappointing right in the middle game period.. turn 4 or 5, for instance. Nice one.

    JAMES
    I’m not so hot on this one (thinking constructed). Tapping me down three permenants would be bomb-alicious if this had flash. Without it’s just a one-turn stall and you’re not going to get much from a 1/2…

    Trapfinder’s Trick – 1U
    Sorcery (Common)
    Target player reveals his or her hand and discards all Trap cards.
    #73/249

    JOE

    Hard to evaluate, but not impossible… I think even if there were four or five devastating traps, this is sideboard material for constructed AT BEST. But there’s likely only one or two awesome traps, and I think it’ll never be played. It’s so damn narrow. I doubt I will ever play this card.

    JAMES
    Unless trap all of a sudden becomes the shit, this isn’t anything to bother with. end line.

    Trapmaker’s Snare – 1U
    Instant (Uncommon)
    Search your library for a Trap card, reveal it, and put it into your hand.
    Then shuffle your libary.
    #74/249

    JOE

    Now this, on the other hand, I can almost guarantee I’ll play, though not necessarily in limited. If you have some bomby trap card, sure. It’s very marginal in limited, but may well see play in constructed formats. If there’s any decent traps, EDH likes this, as it’s easy to transmute for with muddle the mixture or fetch with merchant scroll, making the trap quite tutorable, if it’s compelling enough. Tutors are usually pretty good, and as Dr. Obvious might say, they’re better the more awesome targets they have.
    JAMES
    Not sure it would be worth losing a slot just to fetch my trap-cards. Depends on which trap we’re talking here. [card]Mindbreak Trap[card] (see other post) has a ton of potential and being able to nab it “when you need it” and then play it for zero (otherwise, why are you playing it?) is pretty sweet. But I’m not sure there are any other trap cards I’m just dying to play–plus that assumes your at least splashing U. Splashing U for access to trap cards on demand seems pretty weak sauce.

    ̠ther Figment Р1U
    Creature – Illusion (Uncommon)
    Kicker {3}
    Æther Figment is unblockable.
    If Æther Figment was kicked, it enters the battlefield with two +1/+1 counters on it.
    1/1
    Black(25)

    JOE

    2-drop 1/1 unblockable… I’m probably not playing it without some kind of equipment. 5-drop 3/3 unblockable… I’d get behind that! Especially so splashable. In the end, he’s playable, but will likely be dropped turn 5 more than turn 2, outside of equipment.dec.
    JAMES
    Not bad for limited. I don’t think it has the goods for constructed play. 5cc for the 3/3 is just a bit too pricey.

    Bloodchief Ascension – B
    Enchantment (Rare)
    At the beginning of each player’s end step, if an opponent lost 2 or more life this turn, you may put a quest counter on Bloodchief Ascension.
    Whenever a card is put into an opponent’s graveyard from anywhere, if Bloodchief Ascension has three or more quest counters on it, you may have that player lose 2 life. If you do, you gain 2 life.

    JOE

    Seems easy to enable it, and then the effect is immense. I’m ready to call this a bomb rare one-drop enchantment. They either answer it, or eventually take TONS of damage from it. It’s trivial to drop it, and doesn’t require you to do anything you wouldn’t already be doing in order to enable it. It does require you to have enough guys in the red zone though, so keep that in mind… this can’t take a creature slot or anything. I’m going to try to play this when I can though. Cards that cost 1 and potentially create 4, 6, 8, 10 point lifeswings and beyond… I’m down with that. I really am. Even with a 3-4 turn delay in the mix.

    JAMES
    Damn. This is stupidly good for a one-drop. It will see constructed play and it’s great for a R/B deck.

    Desecrated Earth – 4B
    Sorcery (Common)
    Destroy target land. Its controller discards a card.
    #86/249

    JOE

    Harsh but expensive. Probably sideboard for pesky nonbasic lands. It’s too expensive to be effective as an LD spell and only makes them discard one card, limiting its effectiveness there as well. People will probably sandbag lands more often in the landfall block I’m guessing.
    JAMES
    I don’t see this having the goods for constructed play. Not with cards likes Blightening or the new Hideous End.

    Disfigure – B
    Instant (Common)
    Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.

    JOE

    Nothing wrong with this cheap removal spell. Weakness, eat your heart out.

    JAMES
    One cc less than Nameless Inversion and the lack of ‘changeling’ make me doubtful this will be in constructed play.

    Feast of Blood – 1B
    Sorcery (Uncommon)
    Cast Feast of Blood only if you control two or more Vampires.
    Destroy target creature. You gain 4 life.
    #88/249

    JOE

    Only awesome in one archetype, which should make this uncommon even more available for that particular archetype… this should be awesome whenever you can cast it.
    JAMES
    Amazing for the new vampire deck developing for Type 2. I mean seirously? Target creature? nothing about “non-black” or “tapped”–excellent. And you gain life off it? Sheesh. Seems like B might be the new life-gain deck (versus W & G as most recently seen).

    Giant Scorpion – 2B
    Creature – Scorpion (Common)
    Deathtouch
    1/3

    JOE

    1/3 isn’t very giant, but I guess it IS a scorpion we’re talking about. 1/3 deathtouch is worth every bit of 2B in my book. Playable. Deadly recluse is this guy’s pimp though. “Scorpion betta have my money!”

    JAMES
    It’s not going to make the cut w/ these stats. Not sure why B would play this over some of the amazing vampires we’ve seen so far.

    Ravenous Trap – 2BB
    Instant – Trap (Uncommon)
    If an opponent had three or more cards put into his or her graveyard from anywhere this turn, you may pay {0} rather than pay Ravenous Trap’s mana cost.
    Exile all cards from target player’s graveyard.

    JOE

    Meh. Not a lot of uses for this. Sideboard… this is more of a constructed card / something to hose dredge.

    JAMES
    I don’t see it; not even sure what the point is. If we’re talking extended, then we have Tormods crypt. In standard, there might be a use for it but getting an opponent to drop 3 cards in one turn is tough and then we’re assuming that the graveyard has something worth exiling…unearth? Meh, not for me.

    Sadistic Sacrament – BBB
    Sorcery (Rare)
    Kicker {7} (You may pay an additional {7} as you cast this spell.)
    Search target player’s library for up to three cards, exile them, then that player shuffles his or her library. If Sadistic Sacrament was kicked, instead search that player’s library for up to fifteen cards, exile them, then that player shuffles his of her library.

    JOE

    If you ever reach 10 mana, chances are that the 15 cards you milled will win you the game. However, that rarely happens, and grabbing 3 cards doesn’t do much other than take away their bombs, two out of the three of which they likely wouldn’t have seen anyway… plus, they’re still going to see SOMETHING when they otherwise would have drawn the cards you took… so this ends up being a do-nothing kind of card in limited. Avoid it, unless you’re certain you can ramp to the 10-mana version, and you’re mill.dec anyway.

    JAMES
    This is sorta interesting and it goes back to my theory (last post) that we’re seeing a gentle shift toward bigger and bigger mana curves. Hitting someone on turn 10-12 with this will be pretty devastating. It’s something I can see being a 2x. That being said, MonoB is shaping up to equal “Vampires” and not so much discard/control, so I’m not sure it’s worth toying with this at all. I personally think that Thought Hemorrhage is better. This might have a home in extended decks where hosing a combo-linchpin can mean “auto scoop”. Tron losing academy ruins or crucible of worlds, or heritage druid in elves! for example.

    Vampire Hexmage – BB
    Creature – Vampire Shaman (Uncommon)
    First strike
    Sacrifice Vampire Hexmage: Remove all counters from target permanent.
    2/1
    #114/249

    JOE

    Okay, so this is going to inevitably have some kind of weird combo to it… Dark Depths comes to mind, for instance… I think we can actually be 99% certain that dark depths / vampire hexmage will see play in extended, in fact.20/20 indestructible on turn 3? You better counter the hexmage if you see him in extended. You heard it here first people! I think it’s going to have some other uses I’m not thinking of right now, but it’s probably just expedition / quest protection before then… It’s way playable as a mini-black knight in any case, plus it’s a vampire. It’s playable.

    JAMES
    Joe is onto something w/ Extended liking this deck. It just says “counters” so you could conceivably drop it, and then sac it to remove all counters from a planeswalker. That’s pretty vicious in itself.

    Vampire’s Bite – B
    Instant (Common)
    Kicker {2}{B} (You may pay an additional {2}{B} as you cast this spell.)
    Target creature gets +3/+0 until end of turn. If Vampire’s Bite was kicked, that creature gains lifelink until end of turn.
    #117/249
    Red(23)

    JOE

    Decent combat trick. Lifelink is gravy, so kick it if you have nothing better to do, since why not?

    JAMES
    Not much to say here…

    Burst Lightning – R
    Instant (Common)
    Kicker {4} (You may pay an additional {4} as you cast this spell.)
    Burst Lightning deals 2 damage to target creature or player. If Burst Lightning was kicked, it deals 4 damage to that creature or player instead.

    JOE

    Strictly better than shock = playable in limited. Most likely playable in constructed as well.

    JAMES
    It’s filling the slot for Lightening Bolt and fighting for Magma Spray‘s so I’m not sure how to figure this one. Magma spray is slightly better for kiling creatures since it exiles the creature. That being said, it will hit players, filling in the Tarfire slot. Ultimately Tarfire proved slightly more played than Magma Spray simply because you could hit players (and helping Aunties Hovel enter the battlefield “untapped”). Keeping that in mind and the new awesomeness of Chandra Ablaze, I can see this making the cut.

    Goblin War-Paint – 1R
    Enchantment – Aura (Common)
    Enchant creature
    Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has haste.
    “Survival rule 223: Don’t eat the paint.”
    - Zurdi, goblin shortcutter
    #129/249

    JOE

    On an aura, haste is a complete waste of time. If you’re using this for granting a creature haste, you’ve essentially failed the skill test this card presents. It ought to be evaluated solely on the basis of a +2/+2. I think it’s clearly not worth the 241 exposure.

    JAMES
    Well, dropping this late game on a top-decked creature isn’t THAT horrible. Agreed, it’s a +2/+2 though. Anyway, I don’t anticipate this making any splashes in our lifetimes.

    Hellkite Charger – 4RR
    Creature – Dragon (Rare)
    Flying, haste
    Whenever Hellkite Charger attacks, you may pay {5}{R}{R}. If you do, untap all creatures you control and after this phase, there is an additional combat phase.
    5/5

    JOE

    Bomb rare. Very very good. Incidentally, in some formats, this may present quirky / possibly casual decks that use lots of mana creatures to create an infinite combat phase recursion. Fun stuff. Two birds of paradise, two llanowar elves, a priest of titania, and a partridge in a pear tree?

    JAMES
    Pretty sexy dragon here. Costs one more than Demigod of Revenge but since it’s just double RR, I can see this going in a mono-red. Getting even just one extra attack phase is pretty nuts. I’m asking myself if I would rather play Chandra Ablaze at 6cc and discard a Burst Lightening for 4 damage rather than the 5 hasty…and I’m not sure. There’s also Bogardan Hellkite and Flameblast Dragon. Flameblast is qualitatively worse since it would do less damage (Haste is no joke on this Dragon Charger). Hellkite acts as a sweeper…this card is worth testing with.

    Punishing Fire – 1R
    Instant (Uncommon)
    Punishing Fire deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
    Whenever an opponent gains life, you may pay {R}. If you do, return Punishing Fire from your graveyard to your hand.

    JOE

    This looks somewhat promising, though it’s best against crap like angels feather that gain one life at a time. You shouldn’t need help beating people who play that mess. Against the 5 life gain of baneslayer angel, for example, this doesn’t do much other than use your mana up slightly delaying the inevitable. Still, it’s another burn spell that’s passable, and will occasionally do double duty against random lifegaining vampires and what have you. If you see an opponent attacking with a lifelink creature, remember that, mana allowing, you can use this to nuke a 4 toughness guy.

    JAMES
    Wow. Pretty impressive instant. Being able to return the card to your hand (and immediately play it) seems very sweet. Since red decks have a problem holding on to cards and then quickly going into top-deck mode, I’d wager this sees lots of tourney play. I like this for a B/R deck running Needlebite Trap. Two mana for 7 damage to an opponent and 5 lifegain back to “me” is impressive. Being able to hit a creature with this will be relevant.

    Pyromancer Ascension – 1R
    Enchantment (Rare)
    Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell that has the same name as a card in your graveyard, you may put a quest counter on Pyromancer Ascension.
    Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell while Pyromancer Ascension has two or more quest counters on it, you may copy that spell. You may choose new targets for that copy.
    Illus. Kev Walker

    JOE

    I’m not sure whether a card with retrace (flame jab) will trigger this when played from the graveyard without another copy in the yard… if so, that may be a weird burn variant for extended. However, in limited, this will never be enabled. In constructed, once it’s online, it’s pretty nice. The rebirth of lightning bolt has me hoping that a standard burn deck is viable. We’ll see. Pass this in draft though… it ain’t gonna happen.

    JAMES
    Wow, I like this card. I’m worried it might be a stretch but the potential is pretty impressive.

    Quest for Pure Flame – R
    Enchantment (Uncommon)
    Whenever a source you control deals damage to an opponent. you may put a quest counter on Quest for Pure Flame.
    Remove four quest counters from Quest for Pure Flame and sacrifice it: Until end of turn, if a source you control would deal damage to a creature of player, it deals double that damage to that creature or player instead.
    #144/249

    JOE

    Hmmm. This might be acceptable in the right limited deck. If fireball were in my pool, for example, I’d run this guy for sure, as it makes the end game fireball win come that much faster. Four counters shouldn’t be difficult with this lax a condition. Interesting card. Even if confined to combat, this could be worthwhile.

    JAMES
    My primary concern with all these quest cards is the “tempo.” They all seem slow–though I am a fan of Luminarch Ascension and “sorta” fan of Khalni Heart Expedition. This one in a red deck seems particuarly underpowered. It’s essentially activated on turn 6 since it’s not likely that you’ll have enough mana on turn 5 to cast a 4th burn spell and justifiably sac it. Maybe…I mean, if you can keep Chandra on the table and discard a card for 4, with Quest for the Pure Flame activated, you’re doing 8 damage. On turn 7 that could mean end of the game. There’s just a lot of “ifs” and “maybes” in that plan. I don’t really like hopeful-wishful playing…

    Ruinous Minotaur – 1RR
    Creature – Minotaur (Common)
    Whenever Ruminous Minotaur deals damage to an opponent, sacrifice a land.
    5/2

    JOE

    Weak. Not interested. This is only imaginable way late game, at which time the CC doesn’t matter and a 5/2 kinda sucks… unless it follows a sweeper… but no… this sucks.

    JAMES
    Wtf? Why would I want to sac a land? 4 damage on turn 4 isn’t worth it.

    Runeflare Trap – 4RR
    Instant – Trap (Uncommon)
    If an opponent drew three or more cards this turn, you may pay {R} rather then pay Runeflare Trap’s mana cost.
    Runeflare Trap deals damage equal to the number of cards in target player’s hand to that player.

    JOE

    Hmm. I’m guessing this will have some play in some older formats for use against combo decks perhaps? But in limited, this is a 6 mana shock, pretty much. Nobody’s drawing three cards in limited, and even if they did, they’re still probably only at 4 cards in hand. This only hits players. I’m gonna pass on this one.

    JAMES
    I could see this in extended. I could see it being really good in extended. I’m such a fan-boy for the Trap ability…Anyway, there probably is enough draw from cards like Esper Charm to justify a SB slot for this. I’m just not sure that we’ll be seeing a lot of esper charms or draw-go oriented decks in this meta so I would wait on it for a while. So far as in extended, this seems like a partially viable SB choice. Ben Lundquist in last week’s online workshop warned us players going into big tournies to be VERY careful of narrow SB choices. He was answering a question about PT Austin next month and had that new extended meta in mind when he was discussion. Still, I think the advice to be wary of narrow SB choices is a good one. Final answer for playbility: marginal to really really good, depending on how the meta shapes up over the next few weeks.

    Tuktuk Grunts – 4R
    Creature – Goblin Warrior Ally (Common)
    Haste
    Whenever Tuktuk Grunts or another Ally enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Tuktuk Grunts.
    2/2
    #152/249

    JOE

    This is a supporting role ally. On his own, as your only ally, he’s a hasty 3/3 for 5. Not exactly stellar. With 5 or more other allies, he’s just fine, but not the show stopper. He’s the supporting cast.

    JAMES
    Weird that this costs so much more for essentially a WORSE version of the same card: Kazandu Blademaster (the double Wcc, first strike, vigilance 1/1–2/2 counting his own counters). For haste? really? This card sucks. wtf.

    Zektar Shrine Expedition – 1R
    Enchantment (Common)
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may put a quest counter on Zektar Shrine Expedition.
    Remove three quest counters from Zektar Shrine Expedition and sacrifice it: Put a 7/1 red Elemental creature token with haste and trample onto the battlefield. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the end step.
    Green(29)

    JOE

    So it’s a delayed elemental appeal. Not terrible. It does give your opponent to get his ducks in a row though. Most people won’t be taking 7 from this. As such, I’d rather not play it.

    JAMES
    I think all these quest cards are marginal. I don’t like this one. Too slow.

    Baloth Cage Trap – 3GG
    Instant – Trap (Uncommon)
    If an opponent had an artifact enter the battlefield under his or her control this turn, you may pay {1}{G} rather then pay Baloth Cage Trap’s mana cost.
    Put a 4/4 green Beast creature token onto the battlefield.

    JOE

    This one, I can get behind. 5 for a 4/4 isn’t terrible at all, and it’s an instant! This will ruin combats for a lot of opponents. And randomly, it’ll cost you 1G. Strong card here. This should be thought of as in-combat removal for green.

    JAMES
    Not bad. I’m wondering if this will go for extended where we ALWAYS see affinity. And why wouldn’t we? Arcbound Ravanger is still broken as all hell. I definitely like the appeal of playing a 4/4 EOT–or at the beginning of the end of turn. (lol; some of the language changes always tickle me). For standard, I have seen a few pretty fun artifact, esper-bant-esque decks and this would be a good fit. It’s just not a great card to have on turns 2 through 4 where G wants to be pumping out a) lands or b) fatties. That makes me think it’s on the fence. I’m sure it’s worth testing though. Again, I’m leaning more toward extended.

    Beastmaster Ascension – 2G
    Enchantment (Rare)
    Whenever a creature you control attacks, you may put a quest counter on Beastmaster Ascension.
    As long as Beastmaster Ascension has seven or more quest counters on it, creatures you control get +5/+5

    JOE

    I’d say this is playable in limited. All you have to do is attack… this should be online by turn 5 or 6 in the typical green aggro deck. And the benefit is so huge. I’d almost call it a bomb, but as an enchantment that doesn’t help you with an empty board, it’s still kind of conditional.

    JAMES
    Assuming you play this on turn 3, this doesn’t seem so bad. It doesn’t even need to be in a mono-G deck. All those token creators (see white above) would love to have a playmate like this. Again, I’m not completely sold on the tempo-related viablity of the quest cards. This one seems pretty decent though.

    Cobra Trap – 4GG
    Instant – Trap (Uncommon)
    If an opponent countered a noncreature spell this turn, you may pay {G} rather than pay Cobra Trap’s casting cost.
    Put four 1/1 green Snake creature tokens onto the battlefield.

    JOE

    Well, this should be seen much as Baloth Cage Trap above. Solid as a removal spell for limited… probably even better than Baloth Cage. And this will more likely see its trap cost as well. Very cool.

    JAMES
    Bummer the snakes don’t have deathtouch. I like this for when my planeswalker is countered but it’s not a good “on curve” spell–meaning on curve I’m playing Garruk Wildspeaker and have no mana left. Now I have to wait a turn? I say this isn’t good enough.

    Frontier Guide – 1G
    Creature – Elf Scout (Uncommon)
    {3}{G}, {T}: Search your library for a basic land card and put it onto the battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library.
    1/1

    JOE

    Another landfall enabler, this one is decent as a fixer, though not as an accelerant. He can’t help your two-land stall hands. I’d still run him though, if I needed help finding my splash color.

    JAMES
    Not so bad. But not good. Too slow. I wonder why it’s not 2, G {T} rather than 3…it’s not an on-curve play.

    Grazing Gladehart – 2G
    Creature – Antelope (Common)
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may gain 2 life.
    2/2
    #163/249

    JOE

    Pretty solid. Gray ogre with free life gain works for me.

    JAMES
    Not much here for me.

    Greenweaver Druid – 2G
    Creature – Elf (Uncommon)
    {T}: Add {G}{G} to your mana pool.
    1/1
    #164/249

    JOE

    Fyndhorn elder, huh? Well, sure, I guess. He’s worth it.

    JAMES
    Not so shabby but I think the timing is way off. He costs a lot more than Noble Heirarch and isn’t even remotely as good as Lotus Cobra so I say this guy doesn’t see the light of day so far as constructed goes.

    Lotus Cobra – 1G
    Creature – Snake (Mythic Rare)
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
    Its scales contain the essence of thousands of lotus blooms.
    2/1
    Illus. Chippy
    #168/249

    JOE

    Mike Flores hit the nail on the head in his article previewing Lotus Cobra. There’s a reason playsets are going for $90+ on ebay already. This card will define formats. Definitely more of a constructed card, but I can’t see any reason not to maindeck this guy and never look back in limited. He’s a bear, after all, and there’s no such thing as mana burn. Whatchoo talkin’ bout, mana burn? If you open this, rejoice in your monetary boon and be happy with your karma.

    JAMES
    Yeah, anything I say here is just superfluous. Get your playsets ASAP. Never trade this card away. Yes, it IS that good. Stop doubting it. You will wish to god you have this card. It’s the most amazingness printed in a long while.

    Mold Shambler – 3G
    Creature – Fungus Beast (Common)
    Kicker {1}{G}
    When Mold Shambler enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, destroy target noncreature permanent.
    3/3
    #169/249

    JOE

    Hill Giant at worst makes him playable. The kicker is a total boon, and will often save the day. This should be a cornerstone common for green, and a somewhat high pick I’m guessing.

    JAMES
    This card is actually kind of interesting to me. I just wonder if 6cc is enough to justify destroying a planeswalker. And I think it is. With a 3/3 body, it looks pretty playable as a SB selection.

    Primal Bellow – G
    Instant (Common)
    Target creature gets +1+1 until end of turn for each Forest you control.

    JOE

    Wow, this definitely sees play in older formats. Elfball can sneak a win here or there with this thing. In limited, as long as green’s a main color and not a splash, this is an excellent trick.

    JAMES
    Great trick. Doubles as removal for when an opponent calls your bluff–and can act like a bluff. It’s clearly better than [card]Giant Growth[card] after T3. That being said, not many decks play giant growth. I think there’s a better green card: Vines of Vastwood (see here)

    Summoning Trap – 4GG
    Instant – Trap (Rare)
    If a creature you cast this turn was countered by a spell or ability an opponent controlled, you may pay {0} rather then pay Summoning Trap’s casting cost.
    Look at the top seven cards of your library. You may put a creature card from among them onto the battlefield. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

    JOE

    I like this! You’ll almost always hit a creature. If they just countered your guy, great! But even if not, you may as well pay the 6 and try your luck at EOT. Cool card.

    JAMES
    Jesus. This is a REALLY good trap. Great, you countered by Broodmate? NP, I’ll just grab another one for free…don’t mind if I doooo! ;-) I’d expect to see this in Extended & potentially Standard as a SB.

    Turntimber Basilisk – 1GG
    Creature – Basilisk (Uncommon)
    Deathtouch
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may have target target creature block Turntimber Basilisk this turn if able.
    2/1
    #190/249

    JOE

    Nifty. This guy’s kind of like a removal creature that can’t hit guys with a tap ability. But he loves opposing creatures with vigilance! He’s alright, but I’m not infatuated here. Decent stuff, nothing spectacular.

    JAMES
    Undecided here. It’s removal for a color that doesn’t really have much removal and a 2 powered “semi-evasion” creature (because who wants to trade w/ a deathtouch?). BUT it cost 3 and takes a turn to get going. I’m not sure the tempo is fast enough.

    Zendikar Farguide – 4G
    Creature – Elemental (Common)
    Forestwalk
    3/3

    JOE

    Weak. Side it in against forests. Not much else to say.

    JAMES
    next!

    Adventuring Gear – 2
    Artifact – Equipment (Common)
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, equipped creature gets +2+2 until end of turn.
    Equip {1}
    #195/249

    JOE

    Nothing wrong with this equipment! Should be good for +2/+2 a lot of the time, and +4/+4 every once in a while. The only problem is the creature gets jack on the opponent’s turn, so don’t go picking this high… it will make the cut sometimes though.

    JAMES
    Not bad for limited. Cost is pretty good and you “only” have to play a land to make ti worth while. I wouldn’t really want more than one but I certainly won’t start moaning if my opponent drops this one me. I don’t believe this will ever be played in constructed.

    Blazing Torch – 1
    Artifact – Equipment (Uncommon)
    Equipped creature can’t be blocked by Vampires or Zombies.
    Equipped creature has: “{T}, Sacrifice Blazing Torch: Blazing Torch deals 2 damage to target creature or player.”
    Equip {1}

    JOE

    An expensive shock sometimes, but still good because it’s colorless. Against zombies and vampires, it’s got the fear factor, so that’s a bonus too. Not bad. Removal is very important in limited.

    JAMES
    Nah, it’s just not good enough.

    Hedron Scrabbler – 2
    Artifact Creature – Construct (Common)
    Landfall – Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, Hedron Scrabbler gets +1/+1 until end of turn.
    1/1
    #204/249

    JOE

    No thanks.

    JAMES
    Me either.

    Stonework Puma – 3
    Artifact Creature – Cat Ally (Common)
    These PUMAs would never settle for being third in line.
    2/2
    #207/249

    JOE

    No thanks, unless I already have 2-3 allies with rocking abilities. Actually… he IS gray ogre, so I guess sometimes I might pick him in hopes of good allies to come.

    JAMES
    Not playable.

    Trailblazer’s Boots – 2
    Artifact – Equipment (Uncommon)
    Equipped creature has nonbasic landwalk.
    Equip {2}
    #208/249

    JOE

    Nice. Might have a place in a number of EDH decks I can think of. In limited, this will be more of a sideboard card though, since most opponents will not have much in the way of nonbasics, and this does nothing in such cases.

    JAMES
    This isn’t the worst equipment ever. Non-basics are everywhere in every constructed envrionment. It’s not Loxodon Warhammer or Behemoth Sledge though so I don’t think it will be played.

    Trusty Machete – 1
    Artifact – Equipment (Uncommon)
    Equipped creature gets +2/+1.
    Equip {2}
    “Until the expedition is done, that blade is your guardian, your liberation and your best friend all rolled into one”
    - Yon Basrel, Oran-Rief survivalist
    #209/249
    Land(18)

    JOE

    I love the name! The effect is just fine too. Good old trusty machete. Reminiscent of bonesplitter. Probably better.

    JAMES
    Nope, also not going to make the cut in my book.

    Kabira Crossroads
    Land (Common)
    Kabira Crossroads enters the battlefield tapped.
    When Kabira Crossroads enters the battlefield, you gain 2 life.
    {T}: Add {W} to your mana pool.

    JOE

    Weak… no thanks.

    JAMES
    editing from a mis-read. this isn’t the dual land cycle!

    Magosi, the Waterveil
    Land (Rare)
    Magosi, the Waterveil enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {U} to your mana pool.
    {U}, {T}: Put an eon counter on Magosi, the Waterveil. Skip your next turn.
    {T}, Remove an eon counter from Magosi, the Waterveil and return it to its owners hand: Take an extra turn after this one.

    JOE

    Nope… not interested in a fixed time vault. In Magic, the old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” gets turned on its head to become “unless it’s broke, don’t fix it.”

    JAMES
    Huh? I don’t think so…

    Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
    Land (Rare)
    Oran-Rief, the Vastwood enters the battlefield tapped.
    {T}: Add {G} to your mana pool.
    {T}: Put a +1/+1 counter on each green creature that entered the battlefield this turn.
    Illus. Mike Bierek
    #221/249

    JOE

    This one’s probably worth it.

    JAMES
    Pretty interesting. I’d toy with 2x in testing. Getting +1/+1 on tokens (see above) seems pretty viable.

    Piranha Marsh
    Land (Common)
    Piranha Marsh enters the battlefield tapped.
    When Piranha Marsh enters the battlefield, target player loses 1 life.
    {T}: Add {B} to your mana pool.

    JOE

    Again, I’m not interested in such piddly effects. CiP tapped is worth more than 1 life.

    JAMES
    …Yeah, the “gain 2 life” is enough for a dual but having opponents lose a mere one life for a ETBT seems weak…