Category: MTG Card Reviews

Commander 2014 Spoilers – Mono-Black Spoilers

It seems that the majority of the mono-black deck has been spoiled, and is titled Sworn to Darkness.

Before we get into the majority of the reprints, I’m just going to go over a few things first.


Jet Medallion is getting reprinted, basically confirming a reprinting of all of the medallions! I’m happy to see these being reprinted, personally. I couldn’t see these getting a reprint in anything other than the mono-colored commander decks. For those of you that haven’t seen these before, they’re originally rares from Tempest, and are between 5 and 10 dollars depending on which medallion it is.Good to see being reprinted.


Demon of Wailing Agonies is another card with the new Lieutenant mechanic. A 4/4 flyer for 3BB is solid, but if you control your Commander you get an additional +2/+2 (bumping up to 6/6 for 5) and whenever he deals damage to a player, that player sacrifices a creature. Having this ability on a creature with evasion is pretty solid, and I think this could see solid play in Kaalia, over Angelic Field Marshall due to the sheer power of this card.


The picture is a little difficult to read, so here’s the text:

Raving Dead
Creature – Zombie [Rare]
At the beginning of combat on your turn, choose an opponent at random. Raving Dead attacks that player this combat if able.
Whenver Raving Dead deals combat damage to a player, that player loses half his or her life, rounded down.

This is a fantastic card in my opinion. Wizards is learning their lesson about big dudes with deathtouch and high power, and made this guy a 2/6 with a ridiculous ability that cuts a player in half after dealing his two damage. It’s a strong card, and is better balanced for multiplayer than it is for 1v1. Being a zombie is a huge benefit with cards like Zombie Master and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in existence.


Again, this picture isn’t loading well so here’s the text:

Flesh Carver
Creature – Human Wizard [Rare]
1B, Sacrifice another creature: Put two +1/+1 counters on Flesh Carver.
When Flesh Carver dies, put an X/X black Horror creature token onto the battlefield, where X is Flesh Carver’s power.
“Just a taste?”

Pretty solid card along with Gisa. Making this guy big with his own ability and then sacrificing him to Gisa’s ability is pretty strong. Not a whole lot to stay about him, he’s a pretty standard Commander bulk rare.


Spoils of Blood looks like a card I think will definitely see play. B for a big creature after a board wipe can turn this card into pure value town. Plus, it has fun flavor text.

“There are always leftover.” – Derecht, flesh carver

Just a really cool card.


Wake the Dead is an instant for XBB that can only be played on your opponent’s turn, that reanimates X creatures from your graveyard and then sacrifices them at end of turn. It’s essentially just to quickly block, get ETB or death triggers on some stuff, and keep yourself from dying.

However, this card is disgusting with cards like Mikaeus the Unhallowed and Athreos, God of Passage.


Just food for thought.


I’m glad to see that the deck had at least one board wipe, even if it is at 4BBB.

Necromantic Selection
Sorcery [Rare]
Destroy all creatures, then return a creature card put into a graveyard this way to the battlefield under your control. It’s a black Zombie in addition to its other colors and types. Exile Necromantic Selection.
It shambled from the cloud of ash and bone dust, undeterred by its own extinction.

This is a pretty cool card, honestly. It’s managable in a mono-black deck (which this is) and is reanimation to boot. I don’t know if I’ll play it personally in mono-black, but it’s an option for more board wipes if you need them in a mono-black deck.


Oversser of the Damned is a 5/5 flying demon for 5BB – which is pretty standard costing. This guy is really cool, though – when he comes into play, he destroys a creature (and this is a may, so you can cast him safely the rest of the time too) and whenever an opponent’s creature dies, you get a 2/2 black zombie creature token into play tapped. I can definitely see this seeing play in decks like Kaalia or something that constantly benefits from dead creatures on your opponent’s board. Solid card.


Malicious Affliction I think could see play in other formats. BB to kill a nonblack creature is already pretty solid (not quite as good as doom blade) but it’s morbid ability lets you copy Malicious Affliction to kill a second creature. BB isn’t hard even in 3 color commander decks due to Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and cards like Cabal Coffers. It’s preordering on SCG at 2 dollars, and I think it’s a reasonable price for it.

There are still tons of other spoilers, but these are the new cards in the mono-black deck. The notable reprints include Grave TitanBlack Sun’s Zenith, and Aether Snap. Sadly, no Damnation, which a lot of people are unhappy about. You can find the full list here.

Until next time,




Bitter Feud is a 4R Enchantment that is essentially Dictate of the Twin Gods/Furnace of Rath except it’s specifically for two players – and no one else. It’s a very interesting take on the type of enchantment, and I think I’m likely to play it in something like Krenko.


Unstable Obelisk is an unusual mana rock. A 3 mana rock that produces 1 colorless upon a tap, you can also pay 7 mana into it and tap it to destroy any permanent. I’m actually a huge fan of this card. Mono-Red has a very hard time destroying Enchantments, and a mana rock like this makes it a lot easier to have a multipurpose card than to devote a slot to something like Spine of Ish Sah.

Overall, not exciting stuff, but still decent cards. I’m leaning towards the mono-red deck due to Dualcaster Mage and Feldon, but only time will tell what deck I”m gonna end up going with.

Until next time,



We’re finally starting to see more Commander 2014 spoilers, and I’m already a fan of what we’re seeing.


Feldon of the Third Path is originally from the Brother’s War storyline on Dominaria – I’ll talk about that more when I do a Commanding Opinion on him. Needless to say, he’s better known for his Cane.


He doesn’t introduce any new mechanics, but his ability is pretty solid. But let’s take a good look at him.

Feldon of the Third Path is a 2/3 Legendary Human Artificer for 1RR. Well costed for a decent Commander. Being a 2/3 rather than a 2/2 gives him a little more versatility – but still gets killed by Inferno Titan, Lightning Bolt, etc. It’s his ability that makes him powerful, though.

2R, tap: Put a token onto the battlefield that’s a copy of target creature card in your graveyard, except it’s an artifact in addition to its other types. It gains haste. Sacrifice it at the beginning of the next end step.

The article that announced him immediately compared him to Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.



They describe him as slightly weaker than Kiki-Jiki, but harder to disrupt than Kiki is, which I agree with. The main downsides to Feldon are the lack of haste and the mana cost on his ability – but that doesn’t make him bad. Over all, I’m a fan of this card (and Kiki-Jiki) and gives me a reason to build another Mono-Red Commander deck that isn’t Krenko.



Angelic Field Marshal is a cool card that introduces the new mechanic of this set – Lieutenant! Now, we don’t know if this is the only mechanic (aside from planeswalker-commanders) that’s being introduced in this set, but it’s the first one we’ve seen. Essentially, these cards gain an effect if you control your Commander.

In this card’s case, it’s a 3/3 flyer for 2WW – pretty standard body – that gets +2/+2 if you control your Commander. Plus, all of your creatures gain vigilance. Sadly, it doesn’t give all of your creatures the +2/+2 also, but it’s still a decent card, especially if you want to cast your Commander at all times.



Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath is the new mono-black planeswalker-commander, and isn’t bad. It’s a little surprising that he’s our black walker of old right after getting a new Ob Nixilis legendary creature in M15. But, I digress. At 3BB, 3 loyalty is a little low, but it’s compensated with a +2, where each opponent loses 1 life, and you gain life equal to the amount lost this way. While not fantastic, this can be anywhere from +1 to +5 depending on how big the pod you’re playing in is. The -2 is pretty solid, though – it gives you a 5/5 flying black demon, and you lose two life. It’s a pretty solid ability. The final ability is a solid emblem – at any time, for 1B, you can sacrifice a creature to gain X life and draw X cards, where X is the power of the sacrificed creature. And, of course, it can be used as your Commander. He’ll also get his own Commanding Opinion fairly soon.



Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury is yet another planeswalker-commander, and hails also from the original Dominaria storyline. Again, the story stuff will be covered when they get their own Commanding Opinion articles. At 3GG for 3 loyalty, she looks similar to Nixilis above, but she has a little more protection and utility. Her +2 makes a Llanowar Elf – solid ability, and acts as both protection and mana generation. Her -2 destroys any artifact or enchantment. It can also be a form of protection taking into account the number of artifact and enchantment creatures now, and at the worst takes out a threat on the board you might have a problem getting rid of otherwise. Finally, her -6 draws you a card for each green creature you control.



As we don’t have an English picture available yet, here’s the text:

Jazal Goldmane
Legendary Creature – Cat Warrior
First Strike
3WW: Attacking creatures you control get +X/+X until end of the turn where X is equal to the number of attacking creatures.
“As our king he is the source of my courage, as our brother he is the one who personifies my desire.” – Ajani Goldmane

Yes, Ajani’s brother is getting his own card in the Commander decks. At 4/4 for 2WW, he’s already pretty solid, especially with First Strike. But 3WW for his ability is decent: giving everyone you control +X/+X where X is the number of creatures attacking. While it’s disappointing that it’s only attacking creatures (meaning it can’t be used defensively) it’s a very strong ability, and a lot of people are excited to see this in their Kemba Commander decks. He will, of course, also get his own Commanding Opinion.



We don’t have an English picture for this card either, so here’s the text:

Creature – Elemental Beast
When Gravesifter enters the battlefield, each player chooses a creature type and returns any number of cards of the chosen type from their graveyard to its owner’s hand.

This is a pretty cool card. Mono-Green tribal decks will likely play this card, and green decks that may not have a whole lot of other recovery may too. Plus, a 5/7 for 5G isn’t terrible. I’m definitely interested in getting a few of these for my collection. If anything, I’m likely to play this in mono-green elves, or playing it in tribal elementals with Horde of Notions if you need certain ones back in your hand.



Dualcaster Mage is Reverberate on a 2/2 with flash for 1 more mana. There isn’t a whole lot else to say. A 1RR 2/2 flash that copies an instant or sorcery definitely isn’t a bad card, but the RR in the cost makes him a little harder to play. If he was just 1R, I could see this card possibly seeing competitive play. He can copy any player’s spells, so you can also counter counter spells, which is fantastic for red to be able to do, and having a creature do it keeps it from getting Spell Pierced. Solid card, but the cost will dictate what he’ll see play in.



Seeing cards like Reef Worm make me happy. Small enough to die easily especially with such a funny ability. It’s the old joke of “there’s always a bigger fish.”

When Reef Worm‘s 0/1 body dies, he’s replaced with a 3/3 blue fish creature token. But when the 3/3 fish token dies, it’s replaced with a 6/6 blue Whale token. Finally, that token has the ability that when it dies, it’s replaced with a 9/9 kraken.

I have nothing bad to say about this card. It could even see play in Legacy Pod in the 4 slot along with Glen Elendra Archmage and Venser, Shaper Savant. It’s just a matter of it finding a solid place. At worst, it’ll see play in Commander decks that want to abuse token generation. Blue/Green decks that want Doubling Season will have a ball with this card.



Lastly, we have Myriad Landscape, our land that will likely be in each of the decks. Going with the mono-colored theme, it’s main draw is it’s ability to sacrifice itself for two basic lands that share a land type. Sadly, this doesn’t go the route of Kroasn Verge and let you search dual lands with basic land types, but it does ramp and is easily playable in certain mono-colored Commander decks. I can definitely see this being a staple in decks that already play Crucible of Worlds, assuming there’s enough basic lands in the deck to support playing this card.

These spoilers have gotten me really excited for the new Commander decks, and I’ll be waiting for the next spoilers to pop up.

Until next time,



Is Khans of Tarkir a Bad Set?

With all of the hullabaloo about Khans of Tarkir being a “bad” set, it was time I finally sit down and put the issue to rest. Is Khans of Tarkir a “bad” set? It depends on how you look at it. I personally don’t like the set very much, but as Head Designer Mark Rosewater has been saying, a lot of it will make more sense as the Block continues.

I’m technically still on hiatus, but I just had to write about my impressions of how Khans of Tarkir has done so far. Maybe it’s not quite as bad as some of thought.

And while I’m not at all interested in Standard or Modern or the other competitive formats really right now, let’s look at the Pros of this set:


I shouldn’t have to tell you that Mantis Rider is a good card. 3 mana for a 3/3 flyer with Vigilance and Haste is very, very good. Sure, pushing into three colors can be tricky, but this guy is totally worth it, which is why his price has been skyrocketing. He hasn’t really made his voice heard in Standard just yet, but he will. He’s too good not to be played.

Rattleclaw Mystic is as good as advertised, too. I’m happy about that. The other three color creatures haven’t really made an impact yet, though.



I loved Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and his +1 ability. That’s really all you need him for, and he’s currently the priciest card in the set. I was underwhelmed by Sorin, Solemn Visitor at first, but he fits into the current meta like a glove as I saw happening fairly early on. So both of these planeswalkers were hits. They may not be as wonderful once they leave the Standard format, but they’re Limited bombs and just plain fun cards to play with. Fun cards are fun.



Apparently, Crackling Doom is pretty good. Loved it for Commander and it’s totally Standard playable. The entire Charm cycle and most of the Ascendancies are quite good as, well.


Jeskai Ascendancy is wreaking havoc in Modern with “Mana Dork Combo” or whatever they want to call it. Some four-color Shenanigans. It’s just very solid in any case.


Now the cons. Most of the Khans (totally not intended to rhyme with cons) are simply not that great when you put them into Constructed context. I love Anafenza in Constructed. Surrak Dragonclaw is a house for Standard. Zurgo Helmsmasher is good, but Ankle Shanker even outclasses him in some ways. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant has reanimator potential. The only one that is truly super ridiculous is Narset, and she’s just absurd in Commander. Heck, she’s Constructed playable if you can land her.


As Commanders, they’re all outclassed by others in their wedge color combos, with the sole exception of Narset, Enlightened Master, who is just ridiculous. I’ve lost to her so many times already. I love Surrak Dragonclaw, but he works better with Animar, Soul of Elements as the deck’s Commander. They were all so disappointing.

Delve did have some powerful cards: Dig Through Time, Murderous Cut, and Treasure Cruise. There are some super big misses, too, but overall Delve is a bit better than I initially gave it credit for. The Sultai strategy still appears to have so many holes to me, but in a Planeswalker based “BUG” deck, perhaps the strategy almost works. Apparently Development saw something we players haven’t quite seen yet.

You know what’s really bad about Khans of Tarkir, though? It’s not even the set. It’s that we have the super under-powered Theros block now propping up the Standard format. Courser of Kruphix is every where. Rabble Red is still making people sad. It’s not the set itself, per se. Yes, the forced three-color theme really blows without the proper mana fixing and while Wizards gave us a good chunk, it wasn’t enough. I think once Fates Reforged is released, Khans will look a lot better. Let’s hope so, because overall, this set was a major disappointment. But I think it’s better than we all at first thought.

I’ve already given my take on most of the cards in this set. These are really the only amendments I have to make.

That event deck still sucks, though…

– Elspeth for the Win


Khans of Tarkir – Notable Reprints

Today, the entire Khans of Tarkir set has been spoiled by Wizards of the Coast. As of this writing, it is not yet up on Gatherer. However, the complete set can be found on several spoiler sites, including MTG Salvation.

While we will be doing complete set reviews very soon, today I just wanted to go over some of the notable reprints in this set. We previously discussed Despise being reprinted from New Phyrexia. But there are some other interesting reprints, as well, of mostly which will really only be relevant in Limited.


As if we needed more Enchantment hate, Erase is being reprinted in Khans of Tarkir. It was last printed in Magic 2013 and was originally from Urza’s Legacy. It saw approximately zero play in Standard during its last time in the format, but considering we’re going forward into a Standard where Theros block will be a major component for awhile, Erase may see some sideboard play. Note that it exiles at instant speed for only a single White mana. That’s really solid. Enchantments are going to be pretty silly for a while, and there are a decent number in Khans, as well, so look out for this card!


Smite the Monstrous is originally from Innistrad. It was also reprinted in the Heroes vs Monsters duel deck. While I highly doubt it will see Standard play, considering the number of 4-power or higher creatures in the set, it should be a big deal in Limited.


Cancel has been reprinted. That’s been reprinted so often that I don’t really have to say anything about it.


Crippling Chill is a fine card in Limited, originally printed in Avacyn Restored. 2U to tap a target creature and have it not untap during the next untap step plus drawing a card is excellent in Limited Tempo decks. It’s not going to see any play outside of that format.


Act of Treason gets some sweet new art. This is always a great Limited card, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing it in the Intro Packs.


Arc Lightning is an old favorite that’s finally back in Standard. Obviously, it’s a great card in Limited, as it is very versatile at spreading out the damage. But with Battlefield Thaumaturge from Journey into Nyx, Arc Lightning can hit two target creatures and only cost R. And while it’s not recommended, it is a way to activate Heroic on one of your creature, though dealing 1 damage is not the typical way you’d want to do that. There is definitely room for this card in Standard. Also, all of the old Arena League foils are suddenly going to be rather valuable – it’s a $4 card now.


Shatter is your standard artifact removal for Limited. Not much else to say about it.


Trumpet Blast is a nice little anthem effect for Limited that with the aggressive nature of this set could actually be a decently high pick.


Incremental Growth is a card originally from Lorwyn, and was also recently reprinted in Modern Masters. It’s pretty awesome for putting +1/+1 counters on things: 1 on one creature, 2 on another creature and three on another creature. It’s very good for Heroic, too, obviously, but at 5 mana it’s not going to see Constructed play. It has, however, seen plenty of Commander play. It will also be very strong in Limited for any green deck, especially in Abzan.


Naturalize is a fairly standard reprint for Limited purposes.


Seek the Horizon has actually been printed a couple of times: Saviors of Kamigawa and Return to Ravnica. It’s particularly good in Khans Limited since you’re often going to be playing three colors, so grabbing one basic land of each color is going to be happening a lot with this card.


Windstorm is a reprint from Magic 2014. It’s not bad in Limited, especially if you’re dealing with a bunch of pesky flyers, which is something that could happen rather often with this set.

Of all the reprints I’m quite liking Arc Lightning. I also really like the art on most of these Khans cards. It would’ve been nice to see some more value reprints, though.

– Elspeth for the Win


Hordeling Outburst is a pretty solid uncommon. At 1RR, this sorcery makes three 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens. It’s hard to say a whole lot about this card, aside from the fact it’ll definitely see play in Limited. It could see play in Rabble Red, but being at the same slot in the curve as Goblin Rabblemaster makes it a little iffy. Though, it does give you +3/+) on your Foundry Street Denizens you have in play. I personally will stick to playing Krenko’s Command/Dragon Fodder in Commander. I can definitely see some people playing this in Krenko, though. Three 1/1s for 3 is pretty solid.

Until next time,


Dig Through Time is an interesting card. At a super-high 6UU instant, this has to do something good.


Look at the top seven cards of your library. Put two of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

This is actually a pretty solid card, even at 8 mana. Gravehate doesn’t interact with Delve much, as Delve exiles the graveyard as the spell is cast, not upon resolution. It’s hard to support too many Delve cards in one deck, but I’d be wiling to play this one by itself, honestly. A few of them in a control deck in Standard will be pretty solid. In fact, Wizards already thought of that and gave us a Narset control list, which you can see here.

The only thing I’m not a fan of is the flavor fail, where you have a card with Delve that puts the rest on the bottom of the library instead of the graveyard. Developmentally I understand as tossing 5 in the grave for Delve would be really strong, letting you cast a second Dig Through Time immediately for 1UU.

I think the card will be Standard playable, but I don’t think it’ll be worth a whole lot as far as I can tell. It’ll be played in standard Control decks as a way to dig for play-ables, but due to the necessity of Snapcaster Mage in other formats, it’s unlikely to see play anywhere else.

Until next time,



Trap Essence is a counterspell for RUG that also puts two +1/+1 counters on up to one target creature. I’m personally not a huge fan of this card due to the triple cost of the spell, but it will probably see some play in limited due to the low number of hard counter spells that we’ve seen so far. The two counters is pretty relevant, though. On any given morph creature, that makes them a 4/4, letting you trigger Ferocious on your other Temur clan cards. As far as standard is concerned, I don’t see a three-color counter spell being played unless we see 4/5 color decks seeing play. With fetch lands, this isn’t impossible, but wouldn’t be worth it just to play this card.


Abzan Falconer is the Outlast card I was hoping to see. 2W for a 2/1 with Outlast W, and he gives all creatures you control with +1/+1 counters flying. While this seems like a minor ability, it’s very important in Commander, especially for Ghave, Guru of Spores. One of the big problems the deck has is a lack of flyers, as there are less cards that give massive amounts of flying tokens. The fact it does give itself flying once it has a +1/+1 counter is good, however. I definitely see this seeing solid limited play, and maybe standard play if Abzan becomes a force.


Gurmag Swiftwing is actually a pretty cool looking card. A 1/2 for 1B would be good for a flyer – but this also has first strike and haste.  While I’m not usually a fan of stuff like this above common, the fact it has three abilities earns it that slot pretty easily. A solid pick in limited as it only needs a single black, and could possibly see standard play if black needs the haste swings from this guy. I definitely could see a red/black raid deck with this being pretty strong. Being able to immediately swing in the air and have that first strike to deal with 1/1 flyers easily. Pretty solid card.


Mer-Ek Nightblade is our first black card with Outlast. 3B for a 2/3 is good stats in this set, as it kills morph creatures easily. Plus, its outlast is just B, and he gives all of your creatures with +1/+1 counters deathtouch. Pretty solid card, and will definitely help out with making Abzan a force in limited.


Molting Snakeskin is actually a pretty decent card. For just B, you give the enchanted creature +2/+- and 2B: Regenerate this creature. At common, I’ve got no complaints about this card for limited. I’ll definitely be playing it.


Pine Walker is an interesting card. 3GG for a 5/5 with Moprh 4G. The morph cost is mostly to let you play it at only a single G mana, which will be important in three color decks. Also, whenever he or another creature is turned face up, you untap that creature. Most of what we’ve seen from Temur is morph cards, and this card is interesting.


Tuskguard Captain is a 2/3 for 2G with another Outlast for just G. Plus, he gives all of your creatures with +1/+1 counters with trample. I definitely could see this seeing play in Vorel of the Hullclade Commander decks. Pretty solid.


Briber’s Purse is a pretty interesting card for limited. An X drop artifact that enters with X “gem” counters on it. You can pay 1, tap, and remove a gem counter to make a creature unable to attack or block this turn. While it isn’t permanent like Gwafa Hazid’s Bribery counters, it’s still a decent play for limited.

Until next time,



Sixteen new cards, plus Despise which we already talked about, were spoiled last night. I’ll be covering the first eight.


Retribution of the Ancients is a perfect example of what Abzan will be able to do with the +1/+1 counters it generates. The effect is reminiscent of Cruel Sadist from Magic 2015, except that said creature can generate its own counters. That being said, a 1-drop Black Enchantment that can serve as cheap removal at anytime – removal that gets around indestructibility as well – is quite welcome in a deck that is based around the Outlast mechanic and other ways of distributing +1/+1 counters. The Sadist dealt damage, this deals damage in the form of -X/-X and at a lower cost. It’s basically a more utility version of that effect. It should definitely see some Standard play if Abzan decks truly can compete, and at the very least some Commander decks will find a home for it.


Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale have complimentary effects. However, Chief of the Edge is a Mardu card that offers power for its fellow Warrior creatures and Chief of the Scale offers toughness for its Abzan Warrior companions. While it seems a bit strange from a flavor stand-point to put these two together, it does make sense. A 3/2 for WB and a 2/3 for WB is solid enough. The Chiefs make sense in their respective Clans, but it’s likely you could end up seeing them played together.


Embodiment of Spring is a 0/3 Elemental for a single Blue mana that belongs to the Temur clan. For 1G and a tap, you can sacrifice it to search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library. A Rampant Growth effect on a one-drop 0/3 seems fairly decent, especially in Limited. However, if its activation cost on its ability had been only G, it’s likely this could have seen Standard play. It may still, but right now it looks more like a Limited only card.


Rakshasa’s Secret, while not specifically designated for the Sultai clan, feels like a Sultai card. It’s basically Mind Rot, in that a target opponent discards two cards for 2B. However, it also makes you put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard. It obviously has good synergy with Delve and if you play it alongside Sultai Ascendancy, it’s likely you’ll already know what the two cards you’ll be ditching are.


Ride Down feels like a Mardu card, despite not being watermarked. It’s essentially an upgraded version of an older card, Vanquish, which destroyed a target blocking creature for 2W. In this case, not only is that blocking creature destroyed for RW, but any creatures blocked by that creature during that combat gain trample until end of turn. This means that all damage would be dealt to the opponent as if the creature were not actually blocked. Soem have already pointed out that this card combos very well with Zurgo Helmsmasher, as if he becomes blocked, his 7 power (if not higher by that point) will still go through, and because he dealt damage to that creature, he’ll still get the +1/+1 counter at end of combat. This feels like a very powerful combat trick.


While not watermarked, Kin-Tree Invocation definitely feels like an Abzan card. For only BG, you put a X/X black and green Spirit Warrior creature token onto the battlefield, where X is the greatest toughness among creatures you control. Considering that Abzan creatures seem to tend towards the defensive side, you could easily get a 3/3, 4/4 or something even larger for only 2 mana. It does seem to fit into Abzan quite perfectly – a clan that looks to be quite formidable. In Limited, this could have some great interactions with cards like Meandering Towershell (which has 9 toughness) and Ivorytusk Fortress (which has 7). To be fair, the Fortress is probably Standard playable, especially if the +1/+1 counters flow freely, so I can see the Invocation being a Standard-playable, as well. It’s going to do stupid things in Commander, where you have Treefolk with massive toughness. Hello, Doran, the Siege Tower decks?


High Sentinels of Arashin is a flying 3/4 Bird Soldier for 3W. It also gains +1/+1 for each other creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it.  It also has the ability to put a +1/+1 counter on a target creature for 3W. Being a flyer that could easily be a 4/5 or even 5/6 when it drops because of Abzan Ascendancy is very strong. Abzan’s creatures just continue to impress. Not only does this combo well with the Outlast mechanic and Abzan Ascendancy, but Ajani, Mentor of Heroes ability to distribute +1/+1 counters just became a lot more relevant.  Also, Preeminent Captain is going to have fun throwing these guys into play – although Abzan is mostly Warriors, but there will still be a fair amount of Soldiers in Standard. This is a very Standard playable card.

Solemnparty will have the next eight cards coming soon…

– Elspeth for the Win


Grim Haruspex (one who practices haruspicy, the form of divination that looks for signs in entrails) is a pretty cool card. A 3/2 for 2B with a cool ability.

Whenever another nontoken creature you control dies, draw a card.

While it is mandatory, it’s still a very cool card. It’s a little more limited than Dark Prophecy, but it’s also more open as it doesn’t bleed you to death for your creatures dying. The only thing I”m confused about is why this particular card has Morph for B, aside from being a surprise when it flips to this creature, or to let you play it turn three regardless of your mana base and flip it later when you have black mana.

I like the flavor of the card, personally. Though I did have to look up the word Haruspex – which you should probably know for your SATs in the future.


Abzan Charm is a card I’m very happy to see. WBG for a 3-mode instant.

  • Exile target creature with power 3 or greater.

This is pretty close to Pillar of LIght from M15, though it’s 3 power instead of 4 toughness. It’s solid removal on a modal spell. Being able to kill big indestructible things is pretty cool.

  • You draw two cards and lose two life.

Literally Sign in Blood that can only target you. Draw power is always good.

  • Distribute two +1/+1 counters among one or two target creatures.

This is basically Common Bond. It’s pretty solid.

All of the Charms so far have been pretty solid for this set, and I’m a fan of this one.


Both of these enchantments have the same trigger, so I’m talking about them together.

Quiet Contemplation is a 2U Enchantment that lets you tap and freeze your opponent’s creatures every time you cast a non-creature spell. Goblinslide is the same, except you get a 1/1 red Goblin creature token with haste onto the battlefield.

These two are very similar, but it’s strange to me that only Quiet Contemplation has a watermark. I know that Goblins are more Mardu-aligned this set, but it’s just a little unusual. I think both of these will be pretty solid in limited, and Goblinslide might see some Commander play, but I don’t see them seeing Standard play.


Lastly, we have some bear punching.

Savage Punch is a 1G sorcery that causes a creature you control and a creature you don’t control to fight. It’s Prey Upon for 1 more mana. So what else does it get?

Well, it also has Ferocious – The creature you control gets +2/+2 until end of turn before it fights if you control a creature with power 4 or greater. It could see some standard play as mono-green’s removal. Nissa, Worldwaker‘s animated lands are all 4/4s and easily trigger Ferocious, so I think this could actually see some play.

Until next time,



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