Category: Magic 2015


Cruel Sadist is another one of the designer cards introduced in M15, created by long time magic lover and creator of Binding of Isaac, Edmund McMillen.

As someone who actually has played Binding of Isaac, I see where the card is coming from. As you can see here, he actually talks through the card.

the cards name became Cruel Sadist, a psychotic child that feeds off the play to grow strong then unleashes it on creatures or players, i had pushed the idea of the card being a succubus or vampire type creature that would drink your blood and spit it at stuff, but wizards liked the idea of a crazed child assassin a lot more.

I like the flavor behind this card – she causes everyone pain, not just your opponent.  He compares the card he wanted to create to something like Guul Draz Assassin.

That being said, I’m not really a huge fan of this card. Let’s go over the card mechanically.

B for a 1/1 Human Assassin isn’t bad. Being a human gives it access to some human tribal stuff, though definitely not in M15 limited.

The abilities are where I get a little iffy on this card.

B, tap, and pay 1 life: put a +1/+1 counter on Cruel Sadist.

2B, tap, remove X +1/+1 counters from Cruel Sadist: Cruel Sadist deals X damage to target creature.

If the card was more like the original concept, it would be much more appealing.

Black Child
T: pay 1 life put a +1+1 counter on this
T: remove X counters from this to do X damage to target creature or player

While this is much more powerful than the other printing, I see why they powered down the original. With some untap tricks or just the ability to put +1/+1 counters on creatures (which several cards in green do in M15 limited) it would be at least moderately abusable in limited.

The added mana cost and the adjustment to the ability to only hit creatures is what really drains the ability of its flavor – if you’re paying your own life to satisfy your creature’s sadistic desire, and it doesn’t let you hit your opponent?

The main problem with the card is the fact that it’s at rare. At uncommon, this card wouldn’t get as much dislike, but all but one of the designer cards are printed at rare (Xathrid Slyblade is printed at uncommon).

It’s a pretty cool card that could definitely see Commander play in something like Ghave, Guru of Spores that can put counters on it without having to pay life. Sadly, it does deal damage instead of -x/-x like Guul Draz Assassin does. When it comes to mono-black, I’ll stick to my assassin.

Until next time,

– SolemnParty



While I know this was spoiled quite a while ago, we didn’t get a chance to talk about it. To start, this was designed by Brian Fargo, who was the director of Wasteland and Executive producer of Fallout – but most importantly, he was the director of Bard’s Tale.

As this is a designer card, I want to look more into the source material behind it, and mention his story – but, DailyMTG already did that, along with the rest of the designer card, which you can read here.

To sum up, from the very beginning of the project, Fargo wanted to make a Bard. He first released a Blue “silver bordered bard”, and then a black bordered RWU bard. With some convincing from development, it eventually became the green creature we see now.

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is a 2/3 Legendary Human Rogue for 2G. Decent stats, but what else does it do?

Well, it has an activated ability.

2G, tap, Put a verse counter on Yisan, the Wanderer Bard: Search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost equal to the number of verse counters on Yisan, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

Personally, this card reminds me of Birthing Pod, but I also played that deck in standard for quite a long time. That being said, it’s much closer to Hibernation’s End.


Yisan, however, is much more optional and reusable than this card was. Having a creature that is consistently better (but less accurate than) Worldly Tutor is very strong. It’s namely a question of what you play along with him, though.

Rather than mentioning cards that go well with him, I’m going to just mention creatures that work very well with him in his own deck. I’m mentioning green and artifact creatures only due to the fact he is a mono-green Commander.

Some cards to play in Yisan, the Wanderer Bard:

CMC 1:

CMC 2:

CMC 3:

CMC 4:

CMC 5:

  • Acidic Slime

CMC 6:

CMC 7:

CMC 8:


Yisan is best played with a solid CMC curve in the deck, so he doesn’t miss a drop with his ability. One small card I’d like to mention is Clockspinning.


While you can’t play it in a Yisan-led list, as it isn’t green, Clockspinning is a very strong card alongside Yisan, whether it be to remove counters to get another creature at the same CMC again, or to add counters to speed up the curve of what you’re pulling out. Adding blue and playing Simic along with Yisan gives him even more targets, and adds the ability to bounce your own creatures to reset Yisan after you get to the top of your curve with Yisan.

Yisan is definitely one of the cards that I’m looking forward to out of M15, and we’ll see if he can live up to the Commander format.

Until next time.




Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient is not the returning Krenko, Mob Boss that I was hoping for, but this Ogre is still fantastic.

Kurkesh is a 4/3 Legendary Ogre Spirit for 2RR, with an impressive ability. You can copy the activated ability of any artifact by paying R. Just 1 red mana lets you copy any artifact’s ability.

This automatically leads to all kinds of shenanigans, Gilded Lotus and Voltaic Key along with this guy produce infinite mana of any color after a certain point.



He also has very good synergy with Mimic Vat, which lets to make copies of creatures imprinted onto it.


Now, the question is, is he playable in standard?

Well, that’s to be left up to whatever artifacts will be in limited or standard.

As far as limited is concerned, we haven’t seen a whole lot of fantastic targets for this guy. In fact, at the moment the only target we have is Grindclock.


Now, as far as standard is concerned, we run into mostly the same problem. It just doesn’t have very mana relevant targets. The 5 weapons of the gods are the only really relevant ones in Theros, and the ones in Return to Ravnica block aren’t all that impressive. Unless there is more in Khans of Tarkir, this guy won’t see standard play.

Most likely, he’ll see a ton of commander play. Personally, I have a mono-red artifact deck headed by Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer that I play from time to time, but I think I just found my new commander for that deck. Plus, you can use Mycosynth Lattice to make all of your permanents into artifacts, letting you copy your creatures, planeswalkers, and land’s activated abilities too. I’ll leave that to my commanding opinion article, however.

If there are any other interesting interactions with him that show up in M15, I’ll revisit him sooner, and otherwise we’ll see him again when I talk about his Commander playability.

Until next time,



The Chain Veil is the card we’ve all been waiting for – a Legendary Artifact with Planeswalker interaction.

It reads as follows:

At the beginning of your end step, if you don’t activate a loyalty ability of a planeswalker this turn, you lose 2 life.

4, tap: For each planeswalker you control, you may activate one of its loyalty abilities once this turn as though none of its loyalty abilities have been activated this turn.

People weren’t too far off on what this card would do – we thought it would be an equipment for planeswalkers, but this is definitely the next best thing. 4 mana to double up on all planeswalker abilities is pretty damn cool. It is, however, very clunky. 4 mana to play and 4 mana to activate the ability to get double planeswalker triggers is expensive for all formats and is completely/nearly useless in limited.

So where will this card be played?


Honestly, I’ve just keep talking and talking about this deck during this set. Ajani Steadfast is another huge support card for planeswalkers, and in a set with 6 planeswalkers is the only reasonable place to put this – but it’s clear where this card wants to be.

Any deck that can manage to play tons of planeswalkers will love playing this card, and I’m excited to see it being used in Superfriends Commander decks.

There are other things to get to tonight, however.

Until next time,



M15 Spoilers – Stain the Mind

Now, Cabal Therapy is one of the strongest cards in Legacy at the moment. The first one scouts, and the flashback hits exactly what you know they have.



In some cases, it’s then followed up with one of these two cards:

74 84

Essentially the same card, but they both finished up the job of Cabal Therapy.


Stain the Mind is the new contender for targeted hand removal. 4B, declare any card name – search that player’s graveyard, hand and library for any number of cards with that name and exile them.

The fact that it hits hand, library, and graveyard all on just a declaration of name.

Then again, 4B is a little expensive for eternal formats. The convoke, however, can help with that quite a bit. Playing a hybrid black creature in your deck lets you play it in any deck, and you can always reduce that cost to some extent as long as you’re playing creatures.

Could it see eternal format play? Possibly, if there are decks with the mana equipped for it. Modern Pod may be able to make use of it due to the number of creatures the deck plays. Standard will be the most likely place to see it. Jund could afford to play this in the main deck if it wanted to. As it isn’t a turn 1 play like Thoughtsieze, the player can wait on playing it until they have more information. Even if they have no idea what they’re playing against, the first one lets them see their entire deck and hand – and possibly drop a declared card. Even Commander can make space for it in some decks, due to the fact it hits the library too, if you know that player is playing a certain combo, you can pull out their combo piece and kill it.

I feel as if the card is a strong play in standard, and we’ll see if it extends to other formats.

Until next time.


Magic 2015 will actually have two pretty good game day promos, both of which are definitely playable. We’ve already gone into quite a bit of depth about Chief Engineer. The card I’m more excited about is actually the card everyone will get for playing Game Day, the uncommon Reclamation Sage.


Besides having gorgeous art on the full art promo, Reclamation Sage is an Elf Shaman that is basically a better version of Viridian Shaman, which had a mandatory ability to destroy an artifact when it entered play. The Sage is a 2/1 rather than a 2/2 for the same mana cost (2G), but its ability isn’t mandatory and it also can hit Enchantments. Not only is this going to replace the Shaman in Legacy Elves, but it is definitely Standard Playable.


Plus, Reclamation Sage may perhaps even replace Harmonic Sliver in Modern Pod as a more inexpensive removal card, both in mana cost (1GW) and money ($3-4 USD). Also, the Sliver has a mandatory ability, and blowing up your own Birthing Pod isn’t really that good.

In Commander, she’s even better, having the dual types of Elf and Shaman. Elves, obviously, are very popular in the format and there are cards in the format that care about the creature type Shaman like Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro as a Commander, and of course, Coat of Arms.


Those that make the Top 8 at Game Day events will also rece3ive a full art foil Chief Engiener. The art is pretty fabulous, and we’ve discussed the card at great length already. He’s going to be a sought-after promo in any case due to his Commander play-ability, so he’s a strong card to pick up even if his Constructed value doesn’t become what it hypothetically could. Decks are going to have to center around Chief Engineer for his value to skyrocket, which as we’ve discussed is definitely possible in Modern. However, Standard will have to add tons more Artifact support for him to really see his potential maximized.

I won’t be playing in any Magic 2015 Game Day events personally, as I do not play Standard, at least at this time, but I’m actually more excited about the Sage than the Engineer as a promo, as the Sage will see lots of play.

Which card are you more excited about?

– Elspeth for the Win



Sliver Hivelord was just spoiled by Gavin Verhey – and it’s definitely impressive.

Sliver creatures you control have indestructible.

Well then. I don’t even know what to say about this one. While I don’t agree with Gavin in saying this is the most powerful 5-color sliver, it’s definitely a very, very strong card. 5/5 that makes all of your slivers, including itself, indestructible is just incredible. The only reason slivers are as vulnerable as they are is because they never had access to indestructible. They had Shroud in the form of Crystalline Sliver, and with this it’s just ridiculous that your board is practically invincible.

Also, at WUBRG, 5/5 is decent due to the fact it’ll always have other sliver buffs – whether it be getting +x/+x, flying, trample, or whatever, it’ll always be impressive.

Now, the question is, will this see standard play?

Well, the main problem is that this and the M14 slivers will only be in together until September, but it’s still enough time to play for a bit. Between Mana Confluence, Sliver Hive, and the pain lands and shock lands all being in standard make the deck somewhat consistent, and the abilities of the M14 slivers support this one well. We still don’t have any idea what the slivers in this set do, however. I’ll talk about him again when we have the whole set.

Now, casually, this will definitely get a slot in Commander Slivers, though most likely as an additional sliver and not as a commander. Making everything indestructible is a fantastic ability, and searching it out with Sliver Overlord is definitely terrifying.

Overall, while I don’t think it’s quite as powerful as Gavin thinks, it’s still very impressive, and I’m looking forward to getting one.

Until next time.



chordofcalling 156

Chord of Calling is getting a reprint in M15!

For those of you who don’t know, Chord of Calling is one of the centerpieces of Birthing Pod decks in Modern, after the banning of Green Sun’s Zenith, and is another very expensive reprint.


Original Ravnica ones are sitting at 36 dollars as of this moment, but they’ll be going down any moment now due to the reprint.

This reprint was very needed, and due to our returning mechanic for the set being Convoke, this is probably the only opportunity they’d be able to put this card back into standard.

To actually explain what the card does, it searches for a creature converted mana cost X or less and puts it into play – clean, simple, and effective. In fact, it’s actually better than Green Sun’s Zenith due to the fact it doesn’t have the limitation on what it can search, but at the disadvantage of being 2 green more. However, that’s easily solved with the magical ability of Convoke! With enough on board, you can tap out to search out combo pieces, or just to search whatever you need to pod into, instead of podding into it.

This set is just cranking out surprise after surprise! I’m excited to see what else lies in the last 80-so cards of the set.

Until next time,




Well, we finally got another planeswalker with 4 abilities – though Garruk, Apex Predator is 5BG unlike Jace, the Mind Sculptor at 2UU.

To start, we see that he’s 7 mana for 5 loyalty – and with two +1’s, he’s going to tick up to 6 immediately. The value isn’t too bad here.

He’s well out of burn range, even from the new burn card with convoke and the returning Lightning Strike.

127 stoketheflames1

His four abilities are pretty impressive, though.

+1: Destroy another target planeswalker.

+1: Put a 3/3 black Beast creature token with deathtouch onto the battlefield.

-3: Destroy target creature. You gain life equal to its toughness.

-8: Target opponent gets an emblem with “Whenever a creature attacks you, it gets +5/+5 and gains trample until end of turn.

His two +1 abilities are where he really shines.

His first plus that destroys planeswalkers is both fantastically playable (though it isn’t quite hero’s downfall, as this can only hit the planeswalkers) and very flavorful as Garruk is supposed to be hunting planeswalkers. Being able to kill Jace, Architect of Thought
and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion in Standard is pretty solid.

His second plus still lets you do plenty when there aren’t any other planeswalkers around. You get a 3/3 black beast with deathtouch. For a plus, that’s a fairly solid power.

His -3 destroys any creature, and you gain life equal to its toughness. With Gray Merchant of Asphodel running around, -3 to kill a 2/4 and gain 4 life is pretty good, though Gary is usually the least of your worries once you’re at 7 mana.

His ultimate, at -8, is interesting to say the very least. Target opponent gets an emblem that gives all creatures that attack that player +5/+5 and trample. This ability confused me for a little bit, but you need to think of it from a casual point of few first. The opponent gets the mark because in Commander, it’s a multiplayer format – you drop the ultimate on whoever you want off the table, and that +5/+5 and trample definitely makes it a lot easier. In one-on-one however, it’s just ridiculous. Assuming you +1 3 times to get your 3 3/3’s, after his ultimate they swing in for 24, and due to the interactions between trample and deathtouch, 21 of that damage is getting through most likely.

Now, the question is, is this standard playable? Or any other formats, for that matter?

For standard, I’m leaning towards no, but it’s possible depending on what we get in Khans.

Right now, Jund and BG devotion are both huge in standard, and this guy’s +1 bashes through the opponent’s Elspeths and Jaces handily, while pumping out 3/3 threats with deathtouch. Not to mention that his -3 is decent spot removal for bigger threats, and his -8 is game ending with enough creatures on board.

As far as other formats, 7 mana will usually be better spent than on him in competitive formats, but I definitely see him seeing Commander play, especially in Superfriends. I personally could definitely see him seeing play in a few of my decks that play both of these colors.

Time will tell if he sees play, but I personally like the direction Garruk’s been taken in, and this is definitely very similar to his player card.


In fact, it’s a fairly close mirror. 4 abilities, makes dudes, kills stuff. Fairly straightforward things. I’m glad they saved the cooler name for the set card and not for the event card.

Until next time.




Hushwing Gryff is a really cool card to me. Another throwback to the planes of Innistrad, we get a white 2/1 flier for 2W.

However, he also has Flash, and has a Torpor Orb stapled to him, which is fantastic.

For those who don’t know the card, here it is:



Literally the same effect, just on an artifact rather than a creature.

The main thing I like about Hushwing Gryff is that it has Flash, letting you surprise your opponent by turning off their enter the battlefield ability as soon as they flash in their Snapcaster Mage, similar to how Aven Mindcensor flashes in as soon as someone goes to crack a fetchland.

It will most likely see Standard play as long as ETB triggers are still relevant, but that really has to do with the rest of the format. It’s likely to see Modern and possibly legacy play. GW Hatebears likes the idea of this card and wouldn’t surprise me in the main deck in Modern.

As far as Legacy is concerned, I’m not sure what may play it, due to Death and Taxes needing its own ETB abilities too much to forgo them for this card.

Overall, I’m excited for this card, and this is turning out to be a fantastic core set.

Until next time.


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