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Tales From The Magic 2011 Prerelease: Part 2

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of “Tales from the Prerelease”. I had the pleasure of attending 2 separate prereleases this past weekend because I just couldn’t get enough of the new core set: Magic 2011. Tomorrow is the set’s official release, and I hope you’ve got your boxes preordered to make sure you’re getting one of the nice new Birds of Paradise promos, I know I have.

Let’s look at what I opened in my other Magic 2011 Prerelease, shall we?

Zak’s Sealed Pool

Here’s the deck that I created.

This deck is very midrange, with most of the punch coming in the form of Cudgel Troll and Greater Basilisk. The double Crystal Ball ensures a steady stream of relevant spells in the later turns of the game, and our suite of removal should hopefully provide enough room for our green creatures to bash in.

One card I was not sold on at all was the Necrotic Plague, because it seemed like it would run counter to our plan of using Cudgel Troll as a main beater, but after some convincing by a friend who also opened it, I agreed to give it a shot. I also considered the inclusion of double Mind Rot, as that card is usually considered good in limited. However, I wanted to make sure that I had enough creatures to keep up a steady stream of guys.

Regarding the splash colour, I chose Blinding Mage because of it’s ability to deal with bombs. This quality made it more attractive to me than the double Pyroclasm. However, I understood that my splash colour might change in sideboarding, so I ensured I had a supply of basic lands on hand. Blue also is a potentially attractive splash, boasting Mind Control, Diminish, Mana Leak, and even Flashfreeze. I would not fault anyone for choosing one of these other colours as the splash, but the Blinding Mage is more universal while being less intense on our mana.

Let’s see how the rounds turned out!

Round 1: vs Garret

Garret is a local player who has a strange affinity for goblins. Having sat next to him during the sealed, I jokingly asked him if he was playing the Goblin Chieftan that I saw he opened. He gave an ambiguous response, and we were off to the races. The game started off slow, with the first play being my turn 4 Prized Unicorn, which quickly met its end at the hands of Garrets Doom Blade. I followed up with a Cudgel Troll, leaving green mana open for regeneration. Garret cast a Stone Golem the next turn, but I still bashed in with my troll, knocking him to 16. I follow up with a Greater Basilisk, and Garret suicides his Golem into my snake, trying to bluff a trick. In the absence of one, he Gravediggers it back to his hand, and lands an Ancient Hellkite. However, his life total is at a precarious 7, and he opts to trade his hellkite for my basilisk when I attack. He casts another Gravedigger, and brings his dragon back, but with him at 1 life now, he has to leave his dragon back to block. Once he commits more of a force to the battlefield and dispatches my Liliana’s Specter with a Chandras Outrage, he is able to attack with the dragon and burn my Blinding mage to cinders. However, I topdeck an Assassinate, and the game is over in short order.

For game 2, I board out my white splash, as well as 2 Black Knights and the Nantuko Shade. Boarding out 3 cards that want double black extremely early lets me deepen my splash, as I bring in 3 Islands, Flashfreeze, Mind Control and Mana Leak.

Garret starts off with a Terramorphic Expanse for a mountain, and brings out Runeclaw Bear and Llanowar Elves. My first play is Cudgel Troll on turn 4, and we both cast Prized Unicorns on our successive turns. On turn 5, I’m staring at Mitotic Slime and Flashfreeze. I make the greedy play and assume he will not have a turn 6 Ancient Hellkite, but he does, and I quickly die because I didn’t leave my counter mana open.

In game 3 I cast a turn 3 Cultivate, and get two Islanda because I have Mind Control in my hand. I cast Greater Basilisk on turn 4, and draw some cards with Sign in Blood on the next turn. His attempt to Doom Blade my snake is stopped by a Mana Leak. I add further pressure with Mitotic Slime, and Mind Control his only creature: a Garruks Packleader. When he drops a Yavimaya Wurm, it simply isn’t enough.

1 – 0

Round 2: vs Shane

I start this round off with a mulligan to 5, and he puts out a Goblin Balloon Brigade enchanted with an Unholy Strength. Although Quag Sickness takes care of the ballooners, I’m quickly facing down a Juggernaut, with no removal to stop it. I manage to put out a steady stream of blockers but he eventually Fireballs my last blockers and steamrolls me to death with his war machine.

I board in Naturalize, Solemn Offering, and another plains to take care of both his auras (ideally as a combat trick) or his Juggernaut. The game starts off in an eerie fashion, with both of us having turn 2 Black Knights and turn 3 Lilianas Specter. He resolves a Royal Assasin which puts a hamber on any offense I could possibly mount. However, his Juggernaut does not get to go on the rampage that it did in game 1 due to my Naturalize, and I resolve Cudgel Troll, Giant Spider and Greater Basilisk to act as a solid defense until I can draw removal for his assassin. He eventually casts Act of Treason on my troll, and I respond by putting a regeneration shield on it (all that my mana would allow). He attacks with it, and then uses both the Assassin’s ability and an Assassinate to do away with the regenerating troll. Just in time, I draw my own Assassinate to kill his source of removal. When Shane starts casting spells like Barony Vampire and Unholy Strength in the late game, my more powerful cards like Mitotic Slime and Garruks Packleader begin to dominate and clinch the game for me.

After seeing the assassin, I actually board out my extra white and bring in the blue package, hoping to Mind Control or counter the assassin, while leaving Naturalize in to deal with his artifacts and auras. In game 3, he starts of slow with an Elixir of Immortality, and missing his 4th land drop. I however, have no such problems as I Cultivate into a Cudgel Troll with regeneration mana open. Shane does have his Royal Assassin, but I’m more than happy to Mind Control it. We each build up creatures until Shane decides to wipe the board with a Destructive Force. However, I am able to rebuild my mana much easier than shane does, and I bring out a Greater Basilisk in only a few turns, which does in Shane, who’s still struggling for land after his board wipe.

2 – 0

Round 3: vs Atilla

I start off with a Black Knight, and cast Necrotic Plague on his Cyclops Gladiator, trading in my knight. I cast my Greater Basilisk on turn 5, which looks quite impressive compared to his 5 drop: a Serras Ascendant. He does resolve an Earth Servant as a 4/9, but when my team grows to include another basilisk and a Lilianas Specter. When he starts to hit a bit of a mana glut, I capitalize and win out with my team.

In game 2, I board in my blue package again, including the Diminish. While my start is pretty lackluster with a Black Knight, Cultivate, and not much else. Atilla pumps up a hasty Vulshok Berserker[/card[ with Holy Strength and then brings out [card]Earth Servant. Unable to draw a Greater Basilisk, he is able to attack me down to 5 and finish me off with a Lava Axe.

Game 3 is all me as I play Black Knight followed by back-to-back Lilianas Specters. His lone Vulshok Berserker simply doesn’t do enough when I bring out a Garruks Packmaster as well, and he dies to my team when he cant mount a defense.

3 – 0

Round 4: vs Matt

I’ve heard rumours of Matt’s supposedly unstoppable deck, so I’m a little bit anxious going into the round. He plays a turn 3 Cultivate and casts Acidic Slime on turn 4 to screw me out of green mana. I’m able to play out Lilianas Specter, Black Knight, and Necrotic Plague, but soon my hand becomes clogged with uncastable green spells. Matt brings out a Fauna Shaman and tutors for a Sun Titan. To add insult to injury, he equips it with a Sword of Vengeance, and pretty much wrecks me.

I board in the blue package again, hoping to counter his bombs before they start to affect the game too much. He Cultivates again on turn 3, and brings out a turn 4 Garruks Packleader. I am able to resolve a Cudgel Troll and Mana Leak his Sun Titan. However, he has double Pacifism for two of my blockers and I die off in short order.

3 – 1

Round 5: vs Liam

Liam starts the game off with a Goblin Tunneler, and follows it up with a turn 3 Manic Vandal. I resolve my Prized Unicorn on turn 4, but he replies with a Sword of Vengeance. However, a draw of double Greater Basilisk is able to stave off his weaker creatures, even the ones who wield the sword. He ends up being stuck on 4 lands, which is hard with the sword’s equip cost of 3. When I bring a Cudgel Troll to the battlefield, he can’t defend himself and quickly keels over.

In game 2 I get a turn 3 Crystal Ball, which I follow up with Blinding Mage. He casts Reassembling Skeleton and Diabolic Tutor. He plays his tutored-for Sword of Vengeance and throws it on a Child of Night for a commanding presence. However, the mage makes the sword almost useless, and I manage to Assassinate his 4/6 Earth Servant. When I bring a fighting force of Nantuko Shade, Garruks Packleader to the battlefield, he can do little as all his threats are either locked down or destroyed.

Final Record: 4 -1

My X – 1 record nabs me half a box worth of store credit, and second place in the tournament. As before, here’s my segment on my top cards of the day.

Top Cards

Crystal Ball
Although not mentioned in detail during my match analysis, this card has proved itself to be amazing. If you can resolve one early, your card quality becomes simply amazing compared to your opponent. You almost never hit a dead draw and can dig very effectively for answers or lands of a particular colour. If you’re digging for a specific card, you can scry at the end of your opponent’s turn and during your own upkeep to dig 4 cards deep before drawing for a turn. The fact that such library manipulation is staple to a colourless card is also noteworthy, as it can give green and red decks that traditionally have little card manipulation the power and consistency that they need as the game progresses to the later stages. I can easily see this card getting picked within the first 3 picks in a draft, and it should be played in every sealed deck you open it in.

Greater Basilisk
Maybe it’s the fact I had 3 of these guys, but they served me admirably throughout the course of the game. They provide both an excellent offense when against a walling opponent, and can defend against most of the formats ground-based creatures without risking their life. When building my deck I had doubts about how good they would prove to me, but rest assured, my fears have been assuaged. I’ll always be happy to have this guy an in any green deck, as he makes your opponent’s gameplay extremely difficult.

Cultivate
While many players originally thought this card was amazing, there are some who don’t realize how ridiculous this card is. Not only does it ramp your mana and ensure that you make a land drop on the text turn, but it helps you fix mana for both splashes or double colour commitments easily. This card is the absolute nuts, and is one of the most potent 3-drops that green has.

That’s it for now, stay tuned for next week when I go into detail about drafting Magic 2011, and a I launch a video series of my exploits on Magic Online. If you want to contact me, email me at zak -AT- power9pro.com or sound off in the comments below.

Cheers,

Zak

Tales from the Magic 2011 Prerelease!

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of “Tales from the Prerelease”. Today is the first of 2 reports form the Wizard’s Comics prereleases, so stay tuned tomorrow for another one. I hope everyone enjoyed their first taste of Magic 2011 (I know I did). This core set is one of best core set’s ever, and I truly enjoyed playing limited with it. Without further ado, let’s see what awaited me in my sealed pool.

Zak’s Sealed Pool

And here’s the deck I built:

Zak’s Sealed Deck

This deck has an aggressive edge to it, chiefly because of the 3 Garruks Companions. Note that I’m normally not a huge fan of the card, but the potential to have a reliably aggressive base green deck was tempting, so I tried it out. This deck has some mid-game flier that keep up the pressure, and has a solid late game with Mind Control, Sword of Vengeance and some fatties to see it through to the end. The white splash gives us 2 solid removal options, as well as another quality flyer to get in for damage when we need to.

Round 1: vs Wilson

I started the first game on the draw, and quickly cast a Garruks Companion. Unfortunately, he hits a turn 3 Lilianas Specter making me discard a card. Unfortunately, I don’t draw land on either turns 3 or 4, and he bolsters his army with the likes of Juggernaut and Vulshok Berserker. When I do hit my land drop, I drop Augury Owl and Sacred Wolf, but they simply can’t stand up to Wilson’s bomb: Inferno Titan.

Game 2 is more even with me getting out a turn 3 Garruks Companion, met again by Lilianas Specter. I get a devastating turn 4 Juggernaut which outclasses Wilson’s play of Arc Runner. A Foresee on my turn lets me dig to ensure my continued stream of spells, and I cast Pacifism on his Specter to ensure that my Juggernaut gets through. When Wilson doesn’t have an answer to my extra 3 points of damage in the form of a Giant Growth, he packs it in and we go to game 3.

Although i’m on the draw, I accelerate quickly with a first-turn Llanowar Elves. Wilson’s drop is just as good, and he casts a Ember Hauler. I play a forest on turn 2, and leave Giant Growth up rather than casting the Gargoyle Sentinel in my hand, because I want to ensure that I get out a turn 3 Giant Spider. He plays a Goblin Piker and, in a moment of confusion, attacks his hauler into my spider. It turns out that he had forgotten that damage doesn’t stack anymore, and admitted his play mistake may have cost him the game. We escalate the size of our armies with me casting a Garruks Companion and a Duskdale Wurm, and him bringing out a Howling Banshee and a Juggernaut. When I finally draw Sword of Vengeance and slap it on a Garruks Packleader, Wilson extends the hand.

1 – 0

Round 2: vs Jordan

I start the second round on the play with my aggressive start of a turn 2 Garruks Companion. He drops a Bloodthrone Vampire on his turn, and follows up with Blinding Mage. He Unsummons my 3/2 beater when I swing with it, but I Negate it, intending to capitalize on his lack of a fourth land. He eventually casts a Stabbing Pain on my companion, which I quickly replace with a Giant Spider. He casts a Cloud Elemental in an effort to break through, but another Garruks Companion shows up to make his potential attacks unprofitable. When he does draw his 4th land, he taps his mage to tap my 3/2, and then Assassinates it. He casts a Gargoyle Sentinel and an Assault Griffin. I start to gain advantage by bringing out my Sword of Vengeance, and equipping it on my third companion. A Juggernaut takes out his Gargoyle, and I cast a Spined Wurm. We eventually make it to a board position where if I draw a creature, I win by giving it haste with the sword, and I pull out the Assault Griffin to win a very evenly matched game.

In game 2 he gets a slow start while I come racing out of the gates with a Blinding Mage, Llanowar Elves, and Gargoyle Sentinel. His first play is a turn 5 Serra Angel, but when I draw my Sword of Vengeance, he has to make some suboptimal blocks to stay alive. When I cast Foresee into a Pacifism for his Azure Drake, he scoops up his cards.

2 – 0

Round 3: vs Adam

Having scouted Adam (and the rest of the 2-0 bracket) earlier, I knew he was packing a red-white-black deck with Day of Judgment, Fireball, and double Corrupt, so I came in expecting almost all my cards to hit some sort of removal. I get a solid draw of Garruks Companion and Sacred Wolf on turns 2 and 3 respectively. He casts Quag Sickness on my 3/2, and brings out a Howling Banshee which trades for my Juggernaut. After a timely Mind Rot to empty my hand, he brings out an Inferno Titan to do me in.

Because so much of Adam’s removal was damage-based, I sideboarded in my Leyline of Vitality, thinking it might help me out. I get a turn 2 Garruks Companion followed again by Sacred Wolf, which trades with his Blinding Mage. However, when I cast Azure Drake, he wrecks my board with his Day of Judgment. My last 2 cards get Mind Rotted away, and he keeps up the pressure with a Nantuko Shade. When I topdeck the useless green Leyline, I extend my hand.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Do not play Leyline of Vitality. Seriously. It only works when you have creatures out, and in order to get decent value it needs to be in your opening hand, or you have to have a sizeable army. In retrospect, I would have been better off with another creature.

2 – 1

Round 4: vs Lorenzo

Lorenzo is one of the best local players, who usually only comes to big events. Having beat him in the Extended PTQ this year, I’m sure he was out for revenge. I start off strong with a Llanowar Elves and an Augury Owl. The vast improvement of this Owl over Sage Owl becomes apparent when I ship no less than 3 forests to the bottom of my deck. We trade guys for a while until I land a Juggernaut. Lorenzo offered the trade by blocking it with Barony Vampire, but I had the Giant Growth to ensure my war-machine could keep on wrecking the place. When I had the Pacifism for his last chump-blocker, my Juggernaut was able to steamroll its way to victory.

In game 2 we both start slowly, with a turn 3 Crystal Ball for Lorenzo, and a Sacred Wolf for me. He casts Nether Horror to follow up, but I land a Sword of Vengeance and equip it to my troll-shrouded wolf. Lorenzo scrys with his Crystal Ball at both the end of my turn and on his upkeep, putting all 4 cards on the bottom of his library in the hopes of finding an answer. He tries to cast Chandras Outrage on my Yavimaya Wurm, but it gets countered by my Flashfreeze that was brought in from the sideboard. Eventually, my Wurm arms himself with Akroma’s sword, and he destroys the last few points of Lorenzo’s life.

Final Record: 3 – 1

My record is enough to get me 12 packs of M11, which I take in store credit, and I play several games of Legacy afterwards against Lorenzo’s brother, Marcel, to cap off a great prerelease.

I’ve decided to start a new segment to increase the amount of analysis in my tournament reports. I’m going to cap off each report with a list of “Top Cards” of the day, including how to best play them. Note that I will not include any obviously bomb rares in this segment, because we all know that Sword of Vengeance is the nuts.

Top Cards

Foresee

When this card was originally printed in Future Sight, it was one of the most effective card drawing spells at the time. Sure, Tidings may have gotten you three cards for only 1 mana extra, but being able to sculpt your next few turns while accruing card advantage is what made Foresee see a fair bit of constructed play it its heyday. The 4 mana sorcery is not only back, but it’s better than ever in Magic 2011 limited. If you can set up a reasonable defense that can hold your opponent back one turn, say something like a Giant Spider, then you can use Foresee to ensure that your deck doesn’t falter as it progresses into the late turns of the game. Having a defense of some sort is important, because if you don’t draw into something insane, and you haven’t augmented your board position, casting Foresee can be a losing proposition. Of course, if you have no other plays, or plays that you do have would be suboptimal, Foresee is still a fine 4-drop, but realize that you’re giving your opponent another turn to both swing in at you and strengthen their forces. However, Foresee played an all-star role in my sealed deck, digging for my bombs and putting lands on the bottom that would have been blanks.

Augury Owl

Maybe I’m biased because scry is my favourite mechanic, but Augury Owl is head and shoulders above its Sage counterpart from Magic 2010. This 2 drop flyer makes it possible to keep marginal hands that contain disproportionate amounts of land, with an overall effect similar to Serum Powder. A 1/1 flyer is also not something that should be overlooked, as this owl trades with Liliana Specter and Stromfront Pegasus extremely nicely. With all the advantage that scry gives you, taking out an opponents 2-drop is one of the most satisfying plays you can make with this little bird.

Sacred Wolf

Sacred Wolf is a card that shone brightest when I equipped it with a Sword of Vengeance, but all day it had a solid role in helping my deck “get there”. Comparing him to the underplayed Mist Leopard in M10 limited, Sacred Wolf not only provides a decent offense that is immune to the likes of Blinding Mage and Royal Assassin, but the fact that it has shroud means you can get some extremely high value out of it. This guy trades with cards like Juggernaut all day, meaning that he is a card that you should really never be unhappy to run. In the absence of a Sword of Vengeance, this guy will pick up a Warlords Axe and beat in until your opponent finds a guy to block it. Paired with a suite of solid removal spells, Sacred Wolf is a card that helped me greatly when my opponent’s needed to cast their removal spells to try and reclaim a match.

That’s it for today, I’ll have another one of these articles up tomorrow. As always, feel free to contact me via email at zak -AT- power9pro.com or via the comments section below. If you think you’d have built the deck differently, tell me what you’d have played. This pool had some tough decisions to make, so I may have made some wrong calls, but that’s part of Magic. I’m sure that as the set becomes played with more, we’ll know exactly what cards are limited all-stars and which ones are duds relegated to the realm of proxy fodder.

Until next time, Cheers!

Zak

Tales from the Rise of the Eldrazi Prerelease

Well, another prerelease has come and gone, and we’ve all got our hands full of Rise of the Eldrazi. I was participating in a conference on water and sustainable development over the weekend, but I arrived back in Edmonton to make a draft flight or two.

Rise of the Eldrazi limited is something that’s quite different than the vast majority of limited environments, with a strong emphasis on massive creatures in the late game. However, these titans are not the only cards which determine how 40-card decks fair, there are levelers and aura which can easily swing the tide of the game.

For example, consider this deck I drafted:

So this deck has some really great things going for it. Most obviously we have bombs in the form of the board sweeper All is Dust and Deathless Angel. We also have 3 of (in my opinion) one of the best Eldrazi in limited: Ulamogs Crusher. As an additional win condition, we have Dawnglare Invoker, which will pretty much kill your opponent if it doesn’t get removed. Unlike the other members of the new Invoker cycle, this one has a much more drastic effect on the board.

During the mid-game, we have a pair of the always-awesome Wall of Omens, as well as a pair of Knight of Cliffhaven. This will hopefully allow us to make some early drops, and then effectively use our mana to follow through for the following turns with effective midrange drops. If all goes according to plan, we should be able to drop a win condition relatively easily.

One thing I’d like to address is the 19-land manabase. I had people at the launch party saying that it was a ridiculous call, and that it would be ineffective. However, I must tell you that the above deck would never have worked without the ability to consistently hit your land drops. The one or two turns i’ll draw an extra land are mitigated by the fact that I can almost assuredly win out with this deck in the late game.

Here’s how the deck faired:

Round 1: vs Steven

Steven is a player who just starting coming to Wizard’s comics, and he’s been a great addition to the crowd of local regulars. In game 1 he drops double Sporecap Spider with an Ogres Cleaver. However, I have a Wall of Blossoms and a Kabira Vindicator which levels up fully. This lets me stall enough to force Steven to overextend, and I happily cast All is Dust to reset the board. An Ulamogs Crusher just gets there over the next few turns.

In game 2 I drop a pair of Dawnglare Invoker and follow them up with a Knight of Cliffhaven. I get to 8 mana, and just tap his team every turn to allow me to attack through his army of Cleaver-wielding Spiders with my creatures.

1 – 0

Round 2: vs Atilla

Atilla starts the first game with a few walls including Vent Sentinel and Battle Rampart. I drop a Kight of Cliffhaven but his progress is halted by a Rage Nimbus. I resolve Deathless Angel and Atilla has the double Flame Spike. Again, I force Atilla to overextend into my All is Dust, and I use a Hand of Emrakul to lock up the game.

Game 2 involves us trading creatures and removal spells for the first while, but I’m able to resolve a Ulamogs Crusher and whittle his permanents down and kill him.

2 – 0

Round 3: vs Matt

It’s 8pm and I have a 7am class the next day, so we agree to draw. After this arrangement, Matt says that my deck was probably better than his.

2 – 0 – 1

So I go home with 4 packs of Rise and the sexy new plastic box for cards, although its still no Dragon’s Egg. I also got to judge the last couple drafts, which is awesome practice for when I finally am able to get my level 1 certification.

This deck was extremely powerful, and I can easily see the 8/8 eldrazi for 8 becoming picked much higher (I got them as late as 5th pick) due to the awesomeness it brings to the table. As well, [card[Dawnglare Invoker[/card] should not be underestimated by any means, because it can stave off entire armies of creatures. I believe that Red/White is an excellent draft archetype because of the removal and efficient creatures it gives you, and I hope to draft a similar deck this Friday at the Rise of the Eldrzai Launch Party.

As always, feel free to contact me via email (zak -AT- power9pro.com) or through my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan.

Until next time, Cheers, and have fun opening some Rise!

Tales from the Rise of the Eldrazi Prerelease

Well, another prerelease has come and gone, and we’ve all got our hands full of Rise of the Eldrazi. I was participating in a conference on water and sustainable development over the weekend, but I arrived back in Edmonton to make a draft flight or two.

Rise of the Eldrazi limited is something that’s quite different than the vast majority of limited environments, with a strong emphasis on massive creatures in the late game. However, these titans are not the only cards which determine how 40-card decks fair, there are levelers and aura which can easily swing the tide of the game.

For example, consider this deck I drafted:

So this deck has some really great things going for it. Most obviously we have bombs in the form of the board sweeper All is Dust and Deathless Angel. We also have 3 of (in my opinion) one of the best Eldrazi in limited: Ulamogs Crusher. As an additional win condition, we have Dawnglare Invoker, which will pretty much kill your opponent if it doesn’t get removed. Unlike the other members of the new Invoker cycle, this one has a much more drastic effect on the board.

During the mid-game, we have a pair of the always-awesome Wall of Omens, as well as a pair of Knight of Cliffhaven. This will hopefully allow us to make some early drops, and then effectively use our mana to follow through for the following turns with effective midrange drops. If all goes according to plan, we should be able to drop a win condition relatively easily.

One thing I’d like to address is the 19-land manabase. I had people at the launch party saying that it was a ridiculous call, and that it would be ineffective. However, I must tell you that the above deck would never have worked without the ability to consistently hit your land drops. The one or two turns i’ll draw an extra land are mitigated by the fact that I can almost assuredly win out with this deck in the late game.

Here’s how the deck faired:

Round 1: vs Steven

Steven is a player who just starting coming to Wizard’s comics, and he’s been a great addition to the crowd of local regulars. In game 1 he drops double Sporecap Spider with an Ogres Cleaver. However, I have a Wall of Blossoms and a Kabira Vindicator which levels up fully. This lets me stall enough to force Steven to overextend, and I happily cast All is Dust to reset the board. An Ulamogs Crusher just gets there over the next few turns.

In game 2 I drop a pair of Dawnglare Invoker and follow them up with a Knight of Cliffhaven. I get to 8 mana, and just tap his team every turn to allow me to attack through his army of Cleaver-wielding Spiders with my creatures.

1 – 0

Round 2: vs Atilla

Atilla starts the first game with a few walls including Vent Sentinel and Battle Rampart. I drop a Kight of Cliffhaven but his progress is halted by a Rage Nimbus. I resolve Deathless Angel and Atilla has the double Flame Spike. Again, I force Atilla to overextend into my All is Dust, and I use a Hand of Emrakul to lock up the game.

Game 2 involves us trading creatures and removal spells for the first while, but I’m able to resolve a Ulamogs Crusher and whittle his permanents down and kill him.

2 – 0

Round 3: vs Matt

It’s 8pm and I have a 7am class the next day, so we agree to draw. After this arrangement, Matt says that my deck was probably better than his.

2 – 0 – 1

So I go home with 4 packs of Rise and the sexy new plastic box for cards, although its still no Dragon’s Egg. I also got to judge the last couple drafts, which is awesome practice for when I finally am able to get my level 1 certification.

This deck was extremely powerful, and I can easily see the 8/8 eldrazi for 8 becoming picked much higher (I got them as late as 5th pick) due to the awesomeness it brings to the table. As well, [card[Dawnglare Invoker[/card] should not be underestimated by any means, because it can stave off entire armies of creatures. I believe that Red/White is an excellent draft archetype because of the removal and efficient creatures it gives you, and I hope to draft a similar deck this Friday at the Rise of the Eldrzai Launch Party.

As always, feel free to contact me via email (zak -AT- power9pro.com) or through my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan.

Until next time, Cheers, and have fun opening some Rise!

Tales From the Worldwake Prerelease

This morning I woke up only to receive a telephone call from my friend Matthew, asking if I wanted to go to the prerelease in the nearby town of Sherwood Park. Normally I go to a closer one on Sunday, but with the offer of a ride extended, I packed my Dragon’s Egg and trade binder and was off for a prerelease a day earlier than I had anticipated.

When I got to the site, I was happy to see several faces that I hadn’t seen for several months, and exchanged pleasantries for several minutes until the product was handed out. Here’s what I received.

The first thing I noticed in this pool were the rares. We can safely say that Bazaar Trader and Emeria, the Sky Ruin are unplayable, as we don’t have an Abyssal Persecutor or enough cards to warrant a mono-white deck to make either worthwhile. We also have a Mordant Dragon, which is an amazing bomb, although ti requires a heavy commitment to red. Likewise, we have Celestial Mantle, but that is hindered by the same high-colour cost as the dragon. Finally we have Guul Draz Specter, a card I’m always happy to have, and the new Theda Adel, Acquisitor which has the potential to steal a timely Blazing Torch, Trusty Machete, or even a Lodestone Golem.

Looking at the white cards in this pool, we have some very good support cards, such as an Ionas Judgment, an Apex Hawks and the always amazing Brave the Elements, in addition to the aforementioned Celestial Mantle. All in all, I don’t think that there are enough high-quality cards for white to warrant being a main colour, which pretty much excludes the mantle from getting played.

Blue in this pool is actually quite deep. We have bombs like Living Tsunami, Vapor Snare and Merfolk Seastalkers, as well as the neo-Sleep: Permafrost Trap. This can definitely be a main colour, as it has some of the most powerful cards in the pool.

When we look at the black cards, we unfortunately come up a little light on removal. However, we have solid cards like Giant Scorpion and Vampire Nighthawk. Also worth noting are the 2 copies of Pulse Tracker, which can act as a pseudo Savannah Lions, so if we have the cards to play a bit more aggressive deck we can go that route.

The red cards in this pool are okay, but they all have a tendency to get outclassed relatively quickly. While Crusher Zendikon and Goblin Shortcutter are fine, I just don’t know exactly how much we can count on the red cards in this pool to still be relevant in the late game.

Looking over the artifacts and lands, nothing super-special jumps out at me, except for the pair of Adventuring Gear, the double Tectonic Edge and the Quicksand. However, I don’t want to play too many lands that produce colourless, and I think the Edges are best suited for the sideboard, to be brought in against any opponents lucky enough to open a new manland.

In the end I decided to play an aggressive blue-black build, using my early drops like Pulse Tracker and Welkin Tern in conjunction with Adventuring Gear to swing in for lots of early damage, and then use my late game cards to clean up the leftovers.

Here’s the list I ended up playing:

In round 1 I was paired against Tom, who told me that this was only his second sealed deck tournament ever, after starting around Conflux. I didn’t want to let my guard down, as I wasn’t familiar with the new cards he might have, so I made sure to treat him just like any opponent. I game 1 I got the jump on him with a pair of Pulse Trackers and an Adventuring Gear, and when he finally mustered a defense in the form of a Shepherd of the Lost, I had the Vapor Snare to punish him for playing such a good card, and he quickly succumbed to the beats doled out by his own angel.

Game 2 was quite different, with him resolving both the Shepherd of the Lost and an Archon of Redemption. He also had an Oracle of Mul Daya which ensured that he was able to dig through to his threats extremely quickly. I made one misplay in this game which probably would have bought me an extra turn or two. He had a 3/3 Gnarlid Pack which he attacked with into my Caustic Crawler. I blocked and used my Quicksand to weaken his attacker and ensure the survival of my creature. Looking back, I should have let the creatures trade so that the next turn I could cast Dead Reckoning for 4 to kill off his shepherd, rather than keep taking beats from the angel. Eventually I get a Vampire Nighthawk and equip him with both copies of Adventuring Gear, gaining 6 life in a single swing, but I fail to draw enough lands and quickly roll over to Baloth Woodcrasher and his fliers.

In game 3 he gets a Hada Freeblade on turn one, which I meet with my double Pulse Tracker and Adventuring Gear. On turn two me casts Explore and fails to play a land, while I augment my forces with Vampire Nighthawk and Thada Adel, Acquisitor. Even when he finally gets a third land, my fliers have dealt too much damage to him for him to recover.

1-0 (2-1)

In round 2 I’m up against Andrew, a player who was showing off his triple Windrider Eel and double Harrow earlier, so I’m wary of landfall creatures. He has a Wind Zendikon which trades with my Welkin Tern, and I play a turn 3 Theda Adel, Acquisitor when he has an Island on the battlefield. When the merfolk connects, I snag a Blazing Torch, which I use to later dispatch a Windrider Eel. Theda gets through on the next two turns to snag a Pilgrims Eye and a Walking Atlas over the course of the next 2 turns. Add an Adventuring Gear to my unblockable merfolk and the game is quickly mine.

When sideboarding I think about boarding in a Tectonic Edge to lessen the impact of a Zendikon, but I decide that my mana base is fragile enough with all the early drops I want to make, and the Quicksand is probably a better utility land in this situation. In the second game, I again get a Theda Adel, Acquisitor, as well as my Living Tsunami and a Vapor Snare to take a Windrider Eel. He can’t really do anything against this, and I take the match in 2 games.

2-0 (4-1)

In round 3 I’m up against my friend and ride for the day Matt. I’ve seen that he has a red deck packing both Mordant Dragon and Hellkite Charger, in addition to an Omnath, Locus of Mana. Needless to say, I’m worried. He starts out with an Arbor Elf and a Vastwood Animist, but doesn’t draw any mountains for a while. I punish him with my Ruthless Cullblade suited up with some Adventuring Gear, and his lack of removal spells defeat for him in game 1.

In game 2 he has a pair of early Harrows to ramp up his mana, and he quickly resolves a Hellkite Charger. I think I’m set when I draw a Vampire Nighthawk, but he has Claws of Valakut to make my vampire a lot less impressive. However, I have enough creatures on the board so that he can’t attack multiple times with his dragon and live, so he needs to spend 7 mana (including his Arbor Elf) to give his dragon pseudo-vigilance. Luckily for me, I draw the 5th land I needed to cast Vapor Snare, taking his untapped dragon and swinging for the win thanks to the dragon’s haste.

3-0 (6-1)

In round 4 I’m up against another one of my good friends, Josh. I know he’s packing Sorin Markov, Abyssal Persecutor, and Lodestone Golem. In the first game he resolves a Marsh Threader and swampwalks his way to victory, aided by a Hedron Rover. In game 2 I take the draw and Quicksand his threader as soon as he attacks with it, and I use Welkin Tern and double Adventuing Gear to pound for 6 repeatedly and clinch the second game. In the rubber match, I keep a 2 land hand on the play, and live to regret it, as I don’t draw a land for 2 or 3 turns. By the time I cast Vampire Nighthawk, I’ve been taking 4 a turn to the double Marsh Threader assault, and he has no problems casting a Journey to Nowhere.

3-1 (7-3)

Due to my tiebreakers I get second place, earning me 5 packs of Worldwake. I realize that I shouldn’t have kept the 2 land hand in the last game, and I realize that I need to mulligan more often, as I have a tendency to keep sketchy hands. I also realized that Treasure Hunt is a very poor card in limited. I must of cast in 7 or 8 times in the day, and I never drew more than a single card off of it. I think that it is much better in constructed, but in limited, I’d much rather have something that affects the game state more. Like Twitch, and I have a personal vendetta against the reprinting of Twitch. I also love the irony of how in yesterday’s article I touted Marsh Threader was extremely important in this new limited format, only to lose to a pair of them in the finals.

Anyway, the tournament was great, and I look forward to using what I learned tomorrow, when I play in another Worldwake Prerelease. If you want live updates of how I’m doing, make sure to follow my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan, and as always, post any comments, suggestions or questions in the comments section, or email me at zak -AT- power9pro.com.

Cheers,

Zak

Zendikar and Worldwake: A Combined Limited Format

Well it’s that time of year, where Magic players from all around the world gather together to play in the prerelease for the latest set, in this case, Worldwake. This set brings with it some of the most powerful cards to hit standard in recent memory such as Jace, the Mindsculptor and Abyssal Persecutor. However, standard isn’t currently in season, and I’m still getting a feel for extended, so I decided to write about limited, and how to best succeed at your local prerelease.

Unlike Zendikar before it, Worldwake is a second expansion, which means that we’ll still be using three packs of Zendikar for our sealed pool. Thus, we cannot simply consider cards in the context of the Worldwake set, we must consider them in the context of the entire Zendikar block thus far.

For example, take the new one-drop ally, Hada Freeblade. In Worldwake, there are 11 allies, 4 of which are rare. We can discount the rare ones because they will seldom show up in a limited card pool. Of the other 6 non-rare allies, none of them share a colour with the Freeblade, and although we will often play multiple colours in a limited format, the benefit of any ally is greatly reduced when you have a low density of allies. Of course you could remedy this by increasing the number of colours you play, but then you run the risks associated with an unstable mana base. Thus, we can say that in a format that only includes worldwake, the Freeblade is most often going to be a white Norwood Ranger.

However, when your sealed pool is a 3-3 split of product, the power of freeblade goes up because of the number and quality of allies in the Zendikar expansion. Freeblade is best when you can follow it up with a turn 2 ally, ideally Kazandu Blademaster, but something like Oran-Reif Survivalist also works. Compare the survivalist to something like Bojuka Brigand, and you see the difference in card quality.

Another card I think has huge potential in Limited is Marsh Threader, the companion to Zendikar’s Cliff Threader. We saw in 6x Zendikar sealed that the most popular colour combination was without a doubt red/black. This card is a tool that will hopefully be good enough to see mainboard play because of the sheer number of players that choose to play black for cards like Hideous End, Urge to Feed and Disfigure. The allure of the removal spell is a strong one, and many players will choose these colours for that reason. Therefore, I think that this card is an extremely viable candidate for any deck playing white. In Zendikar limited, having efficient creatures is of the utmost importance, and so when we have a creature that will be unblockable against the majority of the field, we might wish to overvalue it a little bit more. In the same vein, Quag Vampires might be a bit more playable in this format than it normally would, but the colour commitment for that card is slightly higher and thus makes the vampires slightly less attractive.

Oftentimes in Zendikar limited, I would notice that some creatures were amazing in a vacuum, but never stayed alive long enough to be absurdly powerful. I’m talking about cards like Territorial Baloth, Merfolk Seastalkers and Baloth Woodcrasher. All these cards were powerful, but they were only a Hideous End or Inferno Trap away from being destroyed. Even some bombs out of Zendikar packs could be quickly invalidated by removal, making them a lot less spectacular. For this reason, I believe that Canopy Cover is a Worldwake spell that should not be overlooked. Of course it can be responded to, but it adds so much resiliency to your creatures that are otherwise so vulnerable that I would run the risk of the 2-for-1 that accompanies all aura to better enhance my long-term game plan.

These are the 3 cards that I believe should not be undervalued now that Worldwake has been added into the mix. While most players will be able to identify the likes of Bestial Menace and Apex Hawks as powerful in limited, the best players will look beyond those for the cards that are best suited to the environment.

If you have any ideas as to what cards might be great in limited out of Worldwake, sound off in the comments. Any questions/comments/suggestions can also be aired there, by emailing me at zak -AT- power9pro.com or via my twitter feed at www.twitter.com/zturchan.

I wish you all luck in your prereleases, and may open many copies of Jace, the Mindsculptor.

Cheers,

Zak

Worldwake’s affect on Standard decks

Worldwake is an interesting set with a few tricks up its sleeve when it looks onto the Standard scene. We have some powerful cards that are sure to make it into every archetype available. Lets look at Jund first.

Jund became the most powerful deck when Zendikar first pushed Lorwyn and company out of the way. Jund only had to use a single card, Verdant Catacombs, from the Zendikar block. It was easy to build, and had so much raw power from cascade that decks could not compete with the card advantage. At Worlds, players were replacing Putrid Leech with Rampant Growth to help fix their mana, and ramp up to their more powerful cards such as Broodmate Dragon and Siege-Gang Commander. Now, Jund gets to look at the new face of mana ramping: Explore.

exploreImagine your turn 4 Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Explore. I like that it allows me to draw a card before I play my land, so I get a chance to draw a land that I might prefer to put into play. Explore will be a go-to mana ramp spell for decks that run off Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, or are trying to just play Warp World. It is a fantastic choice for many different decks other than Jund.

Speaking of lands, Jund gets the option of a couple new ones.

ragingravineRaging Ravine plays nicely with Explore, where it wouldn’t with Rampant Growth as it is a non-basic land and can’t be tutored up. Raging Ravine is the perfect example of how these new manlands are so powerful. They fix your mana and can be a threat at any moment. My friend Seneca pointed out a trick with this land as you can pay the 2RG multiple times to stack the “Whenever this creature attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on it” ability, so when it does end up attacking it will be granted multiple +1/+1 counters. This land can surely get out hand pretty quickly. The other beautiful thing about these lands other than being able to help your land and being almost no investment in a reusable creature resource, is that it will be living through Day of Judgment and will be unaffected by things like Sleep and Oblivion Ring. These lands will almost be invaluable in every deck they rest in.

Vampires is the pet tribe of Wizard’s right now. They want it to succeed, and they want it to be a powerful deck. With Worldwake they got their wishes. Vampires get access to a plethora of different spells one of them being Urge to Feed.

urgetofeedThis will be competing with the already powerful removal spells Disfigure and Tendrils of Corruption, but I see this replacing Disfigure in nearly all Vampire main decks. There is another removal spell that is returning from a hiatus nearly as long as I have been playing this game, its name is Smother. Both Urge to Feed and Smother are powerful cards, but Urge to Feed can do more relevant things such as kill Bloodbraid Elf, Ranger of Eos and even bring Baneslayer Angel down to size so that Vampire Nighthawk is able to tango with the big flier in town. The side to Urge to Feed that also interests me is its ability to pump an entire flock of Vampires. I can foresee turns where the Vampire player cracks a Marsh Flats and bring back their two Bloodghast from their graveyard, plays Urge to Feed on your Emeria Angel and pumps their entire crew of creatures getting ready for an alpha strike of their newly resurrected, now 3/2 Bloodghasts and a 3/4 Vampire Nighthawk. Its potential to turn combat so one-sided is what I love about this card. Smother on the other hand has fewer targets, but can hit things Urge to Feed can’t kill. For instance Smother can kill any token, be it a Broodmate Dragon token or a 5/5 Quest for the Gravelord zombie token. Smother can also hit the new manlands, which is pretty awesome. They both have their shining moments, but I foresee Urge to Feed being the crowd favorite by a long shot.

Another spell Vampires have in their clutches is Mires Toll. It is more of a controlling card but sure to be a hit among a lot of players.

mirestollIt reminds me of a middle ground between Ravens Crime and Blackmail, with a bit of Mind Sludge in there. I am still kind of up in the air about if it will beat out Duress, I’ll have to play with it a bit and see. What I do like about it is as long as they have cards in their hand, it will always hit, unlike Duress. It can also hit land, which might or might not be relevant. I do like the card though, it has a lot of power.

Vampire players get another gem in Worldwake, one that I think will be popular at first, but end up as a two-of in Vampires lists. Her name is Kalastria Highborn.

kalastriahighborn

Kalastira Highborn is obviously very synergistic with Bloodghast with perhaps even an Eldrazi Monument mixed in there. She gives the Vampire players a bit of reach, but she with be battling with Vampire Hexmage as the ‘other’ two drop to Bloodghast and you obviously don’t cut any of him for Kalastra Highborn as they are nearly meant to work together. Vampire Hexmage having first strike is sometime invaluable, but in some matchups it might not even be relevant. I see Vampire Hexmage getting the full boat maindeck slot while Kalastria Highborn perhaps comes out of the board. Her “put into a graveyard” clause sometimes does not as trigger as much as the Vampire player would like due to Celestial Purge and Path to Exile picking off Bloodghasts and Vampire Nocturnus‘ left and right. That all being said, Kalastria Highborn is a powerful card in matchups like red deck wins, where cards like Bloodghast are nearly useless. She also has a cool synergy with Bloodchief Ascension that almost cannot be ignored.

White decks of all shapes and sizes get some creatures that, for the most part, are highly efficient. Lets look at Hada Freeblade first.

hadafreeblade

This is the friend Kazandu Blademaster has been looking for. These two guys will work together with Honor of the Pure to create a serious army within the first few turns. Also, they are both Soldiers allowing Veteran Swordsmith to perhaps pump them into the red zone. Not to mention Ranger of Eos can pickup Hada Freeblade and bring him into the battle, along with Elite Vanguard and Akrasan Squire. There is another card that allies are going to enjoy, and coming in at instant speed is Join the Ranks.

jointheranksJoin the Ranks is a card that will usually be a blowout in Limited, but in constructed it can be a house too. Getting multiple triggers on allies at instant speed very powerful. Imagine having a Turntimber Ranger on the battlefield and then playing Join the Ranks as your opponent attacks you. Turntimber Ranger will get two +1/+1 counters, he will put two 2/2 wolf tokens into play and then you will get your two 1/1 allies. That is an army at instant speed. Lets look at Hada Freeblade and Kazandu Blademaster both getting two +1/+1 counters, probably becoming a 4/5 and a 4/4 respectively, and you are getting two 1/1 allies. That is without an Honor of the Pure on the field. It is a powerful card, but the only problem with it is that it competes with Ranger of Eos at the four casting cost space, and we already Conquerors Pledge. It has its work cut out for it, that is for sure.

White also gets Admonition Angel.

8bjdgc5ifh_EN

She is able to Oblivion Ring targets just from a landfall trigger, and has a steady 6/6 body for six mana to boot. If you are facing down an Admonition Angel and you can’t find removal, I feel sorry for you. There are going to be games where she comes down, you either Tendrils of Corruption her or perhaps you Terminate her. Then as you pass your turn, during their upkeep their Emeria, the Sky Ruin just brings her back. The mono white control decks are going to be cutting their Felidar Sovereigns and playing with yet another angel.

White decks get Silver Knight 2.0 in the form of Kor Firewalker.

korfirewalkerKor Firewalker is a creature that not only shuts down an entire archetype in Standard, but will be reaching his way across the formats. He makes Hellspark Elemental utterly useless, Ball Lightning just hit for a mere 3, and makes Earthquake cry. With his built in Dragons Claw, which is already in a few sideboards, you get the body of a soldier, and a seriously powerful sideboard card. Jund decks can kill it with Maelstrom Pulse and maybe block it with Putrid Leech. I see Smothers sliding into the Jund sideboard to kill this guy. The Boros mirror is going to be a fight to see who gets him out first. He isn’t exactly metagame warping, but his presence is sure to create a lot of waves.

Red also get some good cards. It might be all for not because of Kor Firewalker, but we shall see. The first card is Chain Reaction.

6mvou0qxyd_ENI nearly see this as a red Day of Judgment in some circumstances. Against Boros, obviously Pyroclasm is almost as useful, but it can kill Kor Skyfisher most of the time. Against Elf decks where they are all pumped up over 3 toughness, Chain Reaction can do some serious damage. I like because it can very easily do 3-4 damage to everything, which isn’t that common.

Next up, red gets Dragonmaster Outcast.

dragonmasteroutcastA new, and more powerful variant of Scute Mob, this gal can give you a board dominating presence in no time. Unfortunately, she has to live long enough for that to happen. Seeing as how every removal spell in the format can kill it, it isn’t going to be living long. It suffers the same problem as Elvish Piper, powerful effect, but too vulnerable. Obviously Dragonmaster Outcast has an advantage of only costing one mana, and she can be tutored up with Ranger of Eos, but at the same time, I just don’t see her being beyond a one-of card that you might get late game. She is good at what she does, but isn’t good at surviving.

Red got very few good cards, but the last one I think that will make some Red control deck happy is Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.

kazuultyrantKazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs is the type of card that is costed just right. At five mana you can justify him almost all day long. Red doesn’t really get any good five mana spells other than Chandra Nalaar. The Tyrant and her seem like you could pair it with aforementioned Chain Reaction and you might just have a red control deck under your belt. Perhaps even some Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and some burn spells. I think Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs has just enough board presence and power to see play. I’m sure whoever builds this deck isn’t going to enjoy seeing Kor Firewalker though.

Eldrazi Elves got a few powerful cards, the big one is Joraga Warcaller.

joragawarcallerThis is what Eldrazi Elves have been waiting for. He has lots of synergy with Oran-rief, the vastwood, he is an Elf, and he makes their army of Elves really large, really quickly. The problem with cards like Elvish Archdruid is you usually just don’t have something to dump all that mana into. Joraga Warcaller is the guy who can take all that extra mana and make it worth your while. There are going to be those games where you just go Llanowar Elves into Elvish Archdruid and from there you can just play out your hand. Perhaps you just play Nissa Revane, summon up a Nissas Chosen, and then tap your Elvish Archdruid for GGG and get your Joraga Warcaller like another Elvish Champion on the table. There is also the ability to not play Nissa Revane and just dump it all into Joraga Warcaller. He is the type of card where he is sometimes ‘just’ an Elvish Champion but there are also times where is like an Elvish God, giving all your other Elves +5/+5. A cool trick I see is where you play Joraga Warcaller, as he comes into play he pumps your army, then after you attack some guys and your opponent blocks, you can tap your Oran-rief, the vastwood to put a +1/+1 counter on your Joraga Warcaller to pump them all a little more. Seems like something you can only really pull off a couple times against one person, but throughout a tournament could catch lots of people off guard. Once you do it though, be sure get back to me on how surprised they were.

Another card that has some serious board presence, and works well with Oran-rief, the vastwood is Bestial Menace.

bestialmenaceFor five mana you can get six power worth of guys, and they are all green. Also, the three different named tokens are Maelstrom Pulse proof, so it isn’t shut down like a Conquerers Pledge would be. I remember Cloudgoat Ranger seeing a lot play back in his day, although that is a bit different as they put Kithkin soldiers into play and they were all pumped by Wizened Cenn, but nowadays we have Oran-rief, the vastwood to pump them all. Although, we don’t have Windbrisk Heights to put this spell underneath. Either way, times have changed, but Bestial Menace is still a powerful card either way you look at it. There isn’t much else Green would rather spend five mana on. You could argue Ant Queen but Bestial Menace is harder to handle with removal, and if next turn you are looking to play Eldrazi Monument then Bestial Menace is going to deal more damage, faster, unless you have a bunch of mana to spill into Ant Queen, but at that point, you are probably winning anyway.

Control decks have mustered some power in Worldwake, too. First off is their go-to draw spell Treasure Hunt.

treasurehuntThis is one of the cards I am really excited to play with alongside Ponder. Going first turn Ponder and then setting up a beneficial Treasure Hunt turn is going to almost be backbreaking for your opponent. Control decks are notorious for running 25-27 land as it is, so they are the ones who will be getting the most bang for their buck with Treasure Hunt. The library manipulation will go a long way for these hunters. This spell would be great with Brainstorm.

In comes, Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

jacemindsculptorHis ability to Brainstorm every turn without losing loyalty is incredibly powerful. Then, when things get rough, he can start Unsummoning to create an easier board for you to find your Day of Judgment or Essence Scatter to deal with that nasty Baneslayer Angel or Knight of the Reliquary. Perhaps, you are in a stalemate so you begin building up loyalty, deciding what your opponent will draw with his +2 ability. Also, like most Planeswlakers, his ultimate ability is usually game winning, and Jace’s is no different. Exiling their library and replacing it with their hand will almost certainly win you the game. This is an incredibly powerful Planeswalker, and deserves to see a lot of play in anything running blue. If people are talking about how the old Jace Beleren came down a turn earlier, just show them Everflowing Chalice.

chaliceThis can come down on turn two for the control deck and push out a turn three Jace, the Mind Sculptor kind of like old times. Everflowing Chalice doesn’t stop there though, it can get you to Martial Coup mana on turn five if you play it on turn four. Unfortunately it isn’t Mind Stone with the ability to draw you a card, but it can help cast some really powerful spells much sooner than certain decks would have ever seen. I see Everflowing Chalice finding its way into many decks that are more top heavy. Also, it is important to note that how it produces mana is by having charge counters on it. You can remove those with Vampire Hexmage. Also, if you want to stop your opponent from removing those counters you can set a Pithing Needle on “Vampire Hexmage” and it won’t be able to activate. I also see Jund and Naya decks perhaps packing Vithian Renegades in their sideboard to destroy their opponent’s Everflowing Chalices. It will be an important card for the control player.

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on Worldwake. Have fun at the Prerelease this weekend.

-Dillon