OK, Khans of Tarkir has been a bit of an underwhelming set for me, as I believe it has been for many Magic players. When I heard we were getting a Mardu-themed Event Deck, though, I was looking forward to it. Now that I see the list, I’m not so much…

Creature (25)
1 Herald of Anafenza
3 Mardu Hateblade
3 Tormented Hero
1 Bloodsoaked Champion
2 Chief of the Edge
2 Chief of the Scale
2 Seeker of the Way
3 Oreskos Swiftclaw
3 Mardu Skullhunter
1 Pain Seer
1 Mardu Hordechief
1 Herald of Torment
2 Timely Hordemate

Sorcery (1)
1 Rush of Battle

Instant (2)
1 Bile Blight
1 Silence the Believers

Artifact (1)
1 Spear of Heliod

Enchantment (7)
1 Spirit Bonds
2 Banishing Light
2 Raiders’ Spoils
1 Dictate of Erebos
1 Dictate of Heliod

Land (24)
1 Caves of Koilos
4 Scoured Barrens
10 Plains
9 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
2 Despise
2 Solemn Offering
3 Glare of Heresy
3 Dark Betrayal
1 Drown in Sorrow
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Brain Maggot

There’s no Bloodstained Mire. Skip this deck. See you next year for Fate Reforged…

OK, OK, it’s not that bad. Actually, it’s really not good. The card below is the best thing about it.

bloodsoaked-champion

Most of the creatures are fine. A lot of them are not. Tormented Hero is good if you’re playing Heroic. Gnarled Scarhide is a lot better if you don’t. That was a curious decision – although it is a Warrior which matters for some cards in this deck. Herald of Anafenza feels really out of place in this deck to me, but again, it makes Warrior tokens. Bloodsoaked Champion is awesome. Herald of Torment is fine. Pain Seer is – odd.

Most of the other creatures are solid enough, with both the Abzan and Mardu Chiefs in the deck, and some solid Raid cards like the Mardu Skullhunters and Timely Hordemates. The vanilla Oreskos Swiftclaws seem strange, but they are 3/1 for two, and guess what? They’re Warriors! Seeker of the Way seems like another flavor fail, but again, it’s a Warrior!

So why am I building up so much about Warriors? OK, the Chiefs both pump all Warriors you control. That seems good enough. Actually, there’s another reason.

raiders-spoils

Really, Wizards? Two copies of Raiders’ Spoils is why we’re going all-in with Warriors? Sure, it’s a nice little anthem effect with the possible benefit of card draw. But we’re playing aggro here, aren’t we? Why do we want to stop and pay 4 mana for this? Maybe it’s better than I think, but I feel like this card is too slow for Constructed and we’re over-committing to cards that are not really optimal for this sort of deck.

There is a grand total of one sorcery and two instants in the deck. Rush Into Battle is fine in Limited, but a bit clunky in Constructed. One Bile Blight doesn’t get the job done. One Silence the Believers is nice, but again, doesn’t get the job done.

You do get two Banishing Lights. You also have a Spirit Bonds to make little 1/1 flying Spirit friends when one of your nontoken creatures enters the battlefield for W. The aforementioned Raiders’ Spoils are here as a pair. Then you have Dictate of Erebos and Dictate of Heliod. While they kind of make sense for various reasons… again, this is an aggro deck. The Heliod one I kind of get as an instant speed blowout, but Dictate of Erebos can be sort of situational.

There’s also a Spear of Heliod thrown in for good measure.

It’s hard to say how this deck would play. It feels clunky and the Warrior theme forced a bit too much. It feels more like an Intro Pack stuffed with a bunch of Theros block rares. Yeah, there’s only two Khans of Tarkir rares in here: the Herald of Anafenza and the Bloodsoaked Champion.

Oh, and to help your mana-fixing? You get one copy of Caves of Koilos. And 4 Scoured Barrens, the white/black tap land that gains you 1 life when it enters the battlefield. Thanks, Wizards.

Is this deck worth the $20 or so that it will retail for? Technically, when you add up all of the rares and the Banishing Lights, yes, it is worth it – if you’re a new player that needs some cards. I might be under-estimating the power of this Warrior build, but the deck just doesn’t feel like an Aggro deck. It feels like they just threw this together with every card they could find with “warrior” on it. But then Pain Seer makes no sense. It’s like they just threw a lot of “what if” ideas into a deck and the synergy seems off. The Standard format is probably going to be a slog-fest soon enough, so this deck may actually be playable. But if this is what Standard is going to look like, ugh.

Should you buy it? If you want the cards, sure – not if you want to play a good deck at a Friday Night Magic event.

– Elspeth for the Win

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