Category: Magic 2015


M15 Sliver Cards – Are They Good?

Much ado has been made about the Slivers from the Magic 2015 (M15) Core Set. Are they good? Actually, yes, they are all actually quite good. The only trouble is that there is only one in each color, plus Sliver Hive, and the Legendary Creature Sliver Hivelord. Today, we’ll take a look at each of them and see just how good each of them is, in WUBRG (White, Blue, Black, Red, Green) order.

constricting-sliver-magic-2015

We’ve taken a look at Constricting Sliver at Win Target Game, and came to the conclusion that 6 mana is a lot for Constructed. It has a great effect, though, turning all of your Slivers into Banisher Priests. SolemnParty pointed out some great synergies that it would have with commonly played Slivers in Commander. But for Standard and Modern, it’s fairly highly costed. It’s a new addition to the Sliver toolbox, but not one that really should see any play outside of “kitchen table” Magic or Commander.

 

diffusion-sliver-magic-2015

Diffusion Sliver is one of the better Magic 2015 Slivers by far. It’s a bit similar to a Sliver from Time Spiral called Opaline Sliver, but with that card, you got to draw a card whenever a Sliver was targeted by a spell an opponent controlled. With Diffusion Sliver, you get to counter a spell or ability an opponent controls that targets a Sliver unless its controller pays 2 colorless mana. These abilities stack as well, meaning if you have two Diffusion Sliver, an opponent has to pay 4 mana. In Modern, this wouldn’t get around Abrupt Decay (which is also still in Standard until October 2014), but overall this card is a great way to protect your key Slivers from being targeted by removal. It’s one of the best of the bunch by far, and definitely Constructed playable.

 

leeching-sliver-magic-2015

Leeching Sliver is another strong Sliver from Magic 2015 that doesn’t look strong on the surface. It’s a 1/1 for 1B that says “Whenever a Sliver you control attacks, defending player loses 1 life.” Like Diffusion Sliver these effects stack. I did have this to say about Leeching Sliver previously:

“It has been mentioned by some players that Thorncaster Sliver is already in Standard and does pretty much the same job as Leeching Sliver, and in fact, is able to make Slivers deal damage to creatures as well. However, Thorncaster Sliver is 5 mana. Leeching Sliver is two mana, and their abilities stack as separate instances. So Leeching Sliver is overall a far more aggressive card and even though it’s only a 1/1, Thorncaster is merely a 2/2.”

I definitely like this card over the Thorncaster Sliver. As a two-drop, it may be fairly easy to remove, but it also is going to help deal its fair share of damage before it’s gone.

 

belligerent-sliver-magic-2015

Belligerent Sliver is a fairly strong card that essentially acts as a Goblin War Drums for all of your Slivers. This means that any of your Slivers cannot be blocked except by two or more creatures. This is a very powerful effect. However, this effect actually did exist on a previous Sliver: Two-Headed Sliver, which cost one mana less at 1R. The difference is that prior to the Magic 2014 re-imagining of Slivers, all Slivers affected all Slivers on the board. That was a common from Time Spiral, so for Modern purposes, that card is actually better unless you’re in a Slivers mirror-match – which is  not incredibly common in the Modern meta-game. It’s probably worth running in Standard, though.

 

venom-sliver-magic-2015

While deathtouch is not a new ability for Slivers, Magic 2015’s Venom Sliver is a definite improvement over Toxin Sliver, a rare from Legions that cost 3B to play for a 3/3. It gave all Slivers deathtouch, not just your own, but was created before Deathtouch was keyworded. Venom Sliver only affects your own Slivers and is much more cost-effective at 1G. It’s highly Constructed playable. That isn’t to say that Toxin Sliver is bad – it’s still extremely good. But it’s four mana, and not Modern playable, only Legacy-playable. (Doesn’t stop it from being about $12, though.) In Commander, it will pair well with Venom Sliver, a format in which reduncancy is perfectly fine. But for Constructed Slivers, Venom Sliver definitely wins here.

 

sliver-hivelord-magic-2015

Sliver Hivelord is easily an auto-include in any Sliver Commander deck. Still, he isn’t quite the Commander that the other three 5-color Sliver Legendary Creatures in Sliver LegionSliver Overlord, or Sliver Queen are. The Legion and Queen, however, are quite pricey money-wise, and Overlord himself is about $20 USD. Also, only the Legion is Modern-playable, and he would definitely be played considering he’s a 7/7 for 5 mana (WUBRG) and the weight of his effect: “All Sliver creatures get +1/+1 for each other Sliver in play.”

That being said, making all Slivers you control indestructible is huge, especially in a Slivers mirror match-up – unlikely, but possible. Being able to survive most board-wipes definitely helps your cause. He’s also currently the least expensive of all of the Sliver Legendaries (at this time). He is definitely a potential Commander, but his best place is in Constructed.

Lastly we have the Sliver-friendly land, Sliver Hive.

sliver-hive

Modern already has Cavern of Souls and Ancient Ziggurat to help cast Slivers, but having yet another play-set of a land that fixes mana for any of your Slivers very much helps. In Standard, Sliver Hive and Mana Confluence is all you really have. The fact that it also can tap for 1 colorless mana is a nice bonus, and the third ability to create a 1/1 colorless Sliver creature token for 5 mana is just a nice little bonus you can use as a mana sink (as long as you control a Sliver, that is.) It’s a very strong non-basic land, even though its usage is so narrow.

So the problem right now is that Magic 2014 has a bunch of Slivers, too. Right now, Slivers would appear to be a playable deck with Galerider Sliver at a single Blue mana able to give all of your Slivers flying and Manaweft Sliver at 1G to help all your Slivers become five-color mana rocks. You also have Predatory Sliver at 1G to give all of your Slivers +1/+1 and Blur Sliver to give all of your Slivers haste. To top it all off, you have Bonescythe Sliver at 3W to give all of your Slivers double strike. All things considered, you could have an extremely nasty Sliver list. You even have Obelisk of Urd in Magic 2015 to help with Tribal! It’s 6 mana but it has Convoke and gives all creatures of the chosen type you control +2/+2.

So are the Slivers good in Magic 2015? I would say that Constricting Sliver is only Commander playable, and Two-Headed Sliver may be a bit better than Belligerent Sliver in Modern. Until October 2014, there is some potential for Slivers to make some noise. But unless the Khans of Tarkir block has more Slivers, they are going to be a curiosity for awhile. Most of these Slivers are quite Modern-playable, though, and they have all definitely strengthened Slivers in the Commander format. Five of them are also uncommon, which makes them easier to get, and the Hive is only a rare in a Core Set.

I like that Wizards put these new Slivers into the M15 Core Set, but it felt like a plant for Casual Constructed more than anything else. Slivers are not really a viable draft strategy in M15 Limited because there simply aren’t enough of them and there aren’t any at common. I do like all of the Slivers overall, however, and I’m excited to see them potentially start showing up in Modern on a more competitive basis. I love the tribe, and I wish they would bring back their original “hive-mind” flavor of affecting all Slivers, but I’ll live with these. After all, it’s always better when you get to enjoy the effects and not your opponents.

Final verdict: M15 Slivers are good. We’ll just need more in the Tarkir block for them to have much impact in Standard. But Modern needs to watch out: they have some new ammunition to play with.

– Elspeth for the Win

 

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hydra-broodmaster-journey-into-nyx

Last time, we examined the “Fate” deck from the Magic 2015 Clash Pack, and found some replacements from the Theros block and Magic 2015 that made the deck far more solid. Today, we’ll be doing a deck tech for the “Fury” deck from that same Clash Pack, and see how we can improve upon it.

FURY (Red/Green)

Creatures (28)
Hydra Broodmaster (FOIL)
Elvish Mystic
Generator Servant
Voyaging Satyr
Nessian Courser
Reclamation Sage
Courser of Kruphix
Ill-Tempered Cyclops
Karametra’s Acolyte
Nylea’s Disciple
Nessian Game Warden
Arbor Colossus
Nemesis of Mortals
Genesis Hydra

Non-Creature Spells (7)
2 Lightning Strike
2 Plummet
1 Boulderfall
1 Font of Fertility (FOIL)
1 Fated Intervention (FOIL)

Lands (24)
Mountain
16 Forest
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Previously, we’ve discussed that Hydra Broodmaster is a fun card. In a deck based around Green Devotion, it will likely become pretty big. A single copy can remain. The playset of Elvish Mystic will also remain. The Voyaging Satyrs will go, despite being useful ramp cards, to be replaced by two more copies of Generator Servant. They simply do more for the aggressive theme.

courser-of-kruphix-born-of-the-gods

Nessian Courser comes right out, as we’ll need that deck slot later. Courser of Kruphix will gain three more friends. The Karametra’s Acolytes, while nice cards, will be replaced by Sylvan Caryatid, and the Nessian Courser that was removed earlier will also be replaced by a Caryatid. 

Ill-Tempered Cyclops will be replaced by better cards, as well. Nylea’s Disciple can gain you a good chunk of life, but we have an easy replacement for these, as we also have replacements for the Nessian Game Wardens. Arbor Colossus is solid enough to stay. The Nemesis of Mortals are nice, but won’t fit the theme we are going for here, so they’ll go. The one Genesis Hydra will also stay in.

The three new copies of Courser of Kruphix will replace the Nylea’s Disciples. The Nessian Game Wardens will be replaced by 3 Polukranos, World Eater. As you may notice, we’re lowering the mana curve considerably. We’ll be replacing the Ill-Tempered Cyclops with two copies of Fanatic of Xenagos. As good as Reclamation Sage is, they will come out for two more copies of the Fanatic since we need more aggressive creatures. The two Nemesis of Mortals will be swapped with two copies of “Xenagod” himself, Xenagos, God of Revels.

For the non-creature spells, there are some pretty obvious fixes. The two copies of Plummet come out of the main deck for two more copies of Lightning Strike. Boulderfall isn’t very good in Constructed and it will come out for a new card from Magic 2015, Stoke the Flames. We’ll also cut the 16th forest for another Stoke the Flames. The Font of Fertility and Fated Intervention also are kind of throw-ins at this point. We could replace them with two copies of a new Magic 2015 Convoke card, Nissa’s Expedition, which will help us ramp up to our bigger creatures faster, using our smaller creatures to help us Convoke it. With all of the green mana available to us through the Caryatids and Mystics, it will be easy to cast the 4G ramp spell.

stoke-the-flames-m15nissa-expedition

As this deck is still primarily green, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx will be a valuable card. We’ll bring it up to three copies, cutting a two Forests. We’ll also cut two more Forests and two more Mountains to add in a play-set of Temple of Abandon.

The list will now look like this:

Creatures (28)
Hydra Broodmaster
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Generator Servant
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix
Fanatic of Xenagos
Polukranos, World Eater
2 Xenagos, God of Revels
1 Arbor Colossus
1 Genesis Hydra

Non-Creature Spells (8)
4 Lightning Strike
2 Stoke the Flames
2 Nissa’s Expedition

Lands (24)
Mountain
11 Forest
Temple of Abandon
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

 

sylvan-caryatid

The deck is still heavy on the Green Devotion, which will be quite useful for both Xenagos, God of Revels and the Nykthos lands. There is now plenty of mana ramp in the deck, whereas before you were depending on Voyaging Satyrs to untap your lands and the Karametra’s Acolytes to gain you mana equal to your devotion. In a deck that needs to hit hard and fast, a four-drop needs to be aggressive, which the Acolytes are not. Add to that the Sylvan Caryatids have Hexproof and you have much more durable mana “dorks” to rely on.

Fanatic-of-Xenagos-Born-of-the-Gods-Spoiler

We also needed some creatures that could be aggressive. There are now four copies of Fanatic of Xenagos in the deck. Being a 3/3 with Trample isn’t bad for 3 mana but the Tribute ability can be quite relevant. It gives your opponent the choice of a 4/4 with haste until end of turn, or a 3/3 with a +1/+1 counter on it. Either is good for you, as the trample is there no matter what. He is, of course, perfect when combined with Xenagos himself.

polukranos-world-eater

The deck also needed some creatures that could hit hard, and who better than Polukranos, World Eater as a 5/5 for 4 mana with a potentially very useful Monstrosity ability? You still also have the Arbor ColossusGenesis Hydra, and Hydra Broodmaster as your heavy top-end hitters.

xenagos-god-of-revels

Now the deck also has a top end finisher in Xenagos. His ability to have a creature double its power and gain haste is extremely relevant in this sort of deck. Plus, seven devotion to red and green shouldn’t be too hard to get in this deck, and he’s probably going to be a creature a good amount of the time that he’s around.

In the non-creature spells, we added a bit more in the direct damage department, adding 2 more copies of Lightning Strike and the two Stoke the Flames, which late game can deliver the final damage to finish an opponent.

If you’re willing to put a little more money into the deck, another option is to substitute in the planeswalker, Xenagos, the Reveler.

xenagos-the-reveler

The pre-God version of Xenagos is pretty decent. He’s a 3 loyalty planeswalker for 2RG. His +1 gives you some free mana, and his 0 gives you a 2/2 creature with haste. His “ultimate” ability for -6 exiles the top seven cards of your library and allows you to put any number of creatures and/or lands from among them onto the battlefield.

To fit him into the deck, you could drop the Arbor Colossus, the Genesis Hydra, and the Hydra Broodmaster. The Genesis Hydra would probably be the best to keep of the three, but three copies of this planeswalker could go a long way towards making the deck a bit more consistent. Whether you run one, two, or three copies, he’d make a good fit in one of those slots.

Red/Green aggro is a fun archetype to play, and it looks to still be quite strong when Theros becomes the primary block in Standard come October 2014. Obviously, Khans of Tarkir could bring some enhancements to this deck, but until then, if you’re just breaking into Standard, this new list seems like a pretty good shell to build around.

Let me know what you think and how you might alter the list. Keep in mind that this is an exercise purely meant to improve upon the pre-constructed version with only the most recent sets. If you play other formats and are wondering what you could go after, please feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do to help.

Until next time,

– Elspeth for the Win

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The Magic 2015 Core Set Clash Pack and foils from the decks are available on Amazon.com.

cruel-sadist-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
B
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

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yisanthewandererbard

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.

110

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.

53

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.

-SolemnParty

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m15_clash_pack

Earlier today, I published a video review of the first ever Clash Pack product released by Wizards of the Coast. This first release is for the Magic 2015 Core Set, and will be replacing the Event Decks every other set going forward. It’s a fascinating product that is definitely a step up from intro packs and has some very useful, and some rather valuable, cards within them.

Here’s my video (25 minutes):

For those that don’t want to sit and watch a 25-minute video, here’s a quick rundown of the deck lists and my quick thoughts about the construction.

CLASH PACK DECKLISTS

“FATE” (Blue/Green)

Creatures (22)
Prognostic Sphinx (Foil)
Prophet of Kruphix (Foil)
Hypnotic Siren
Leafcrown Dryad
Omenspeaker
Vaporkin
Kiora’s Follower
Frost Lynx
Nimbus Naiad
Thassa’s Emissary
Horizon Chimera

Thoughts on the Creatures of “Fate”:

  • Prognostic Sphinx was a beast in the Theros Block Constructed Pro Tour and could be a decent card in Standard at some point. Plus, great new art on the foil promo.
  • Prophet of Kruphix gets gorgeous new art. Will she see more than fringe Standard play? That remains to be seen, but a Seedborn Muse that gives all of your creatures Flash is just so good!
  • Hypnotic Siren is meh, but it fits with this decks Bestow theme. Leafcrown Dryad, Nimbus Naiad, and Thassa’s Emissary all support that theme.
  • Kiora’s Follower is a card that has an infinite combo in Standard, albeit not the easiest one to pull off, with Illusionist’s Bracers (one such deck list here). It’s a great card in Commander, too.  Un-tapping important permanents is just super awesome.
  • Horizon Chimera is a card I raelly like. It has flying, trample, and flash, and gains you 1 life each time you draw a card. Not exactly the most Standard-playable card, but it’s extremely strong in Limited and has a place in Commander where you tend to draw tons of cards.

Spells (13)
Negate
Pin to the Earth
1 Voyage’s End
Divination
Griptide
AEtherspouts
Jace’s Ingenuity
Curse of the Swine

Thoughts on the Non-Creature Spells:

  • There are some decent tempo cards in here. Negate is a pretty catch-all counter-spell. Pin to the Earth is pseudo-removal. Voyage’s Eye, Griptide, and especially the M15 new-comer Aetherspouts all severely disrupt opponent’s tempo.
  • Jace’s Ingenuity and Divination are decent card draw, giving you the ability to continuously have answers.
  • Curse of the Swine can offer fairly effective removal for big problem creatures

Lands (25)

1 Temple of Mystery (FOIL)
7 Forest
17 Island

That Temple of Mystery is pretty!

Overall, “Fate” is not a bad blue/green tempo deck with plenty of evasion. It’s definitely a step-up from most Intro Packs, and Prognostic Sphinx, Prophet of Kruphix, and Temple of Mystery are all Constructed playable cards that players will be happy to add alternate art versions of to their collections.

 

FURY (Red/Green)

Creatures (28)
1 Hydra Broodmaster (FOIL)
4 Elvish Mystic
2 Generator Servant
2 Voyaging Satyr
1 Nessian Courser
2 Reclamation Sage
1 Courser of Kruphix
2 Ill-Tempered Cyclops
3 Karametra’s Acolyte
3 Nylea’s Disciple
3 Nessian Game Warden
1 Arbor Colossus
2 Nemesis of Mortals
1 Genesis Hydra

Thoughts on Fury’s Creatures:

  • Hydra Broodmaster is a fun little card. It can get big in a hurry, especially in a deck based around Green Devotion.
  • Four copies of Elvish Mystic is just always a plus.
  • Generator Servant could be one of the best commons in Magic 2015. It’s super good in this deck, helping you ramp into your bigger creatuers and giving them haste.
  • Voyaging Satyr helps you ramp by helping you untap lands.
  • Nessian Courser is a vanilla. It’s too bad they didn’t include the original full art version from Future Sight!
  • Reclamation Sage is a strictly better Viridian Shaman in Legacy and is even slightly better than Harmonic Sliver is in Modern Pod! Oh, and it’s good in Standard, too. And Commander. It’s just a really good removal card.

courser-of-kruphix-born-of-the-gods

  • Apparently, Courser of Kruphix is pretty good. 2/4 are good stats for a 1GG. It gives you 1 life every time you play a land. It lets you play a land from the top of your deck. It does reveal information aboutIll the top card of your library and it is an enchantment. But those upsides definitely outweigh the downsides. It may be the best card from the entire Born of the Gods set. Super Constructed-playable in every format.
  • Ill-Tempered Cyclops is a big trampling brute that can gain Monstrosity. There are better creatures out there. More of a Limited card.
  • Karametra’s Acolyte is a solid mana producer in a mono-Green devotion deck. But at 4 mana, you’re better off playing Sylvan Caryatid. Obviously, you won’t have three copies of Caryatid in a Clash Pack, but just saying.
  • On the other hand, Nylea’s Disciple has seen some Mono-Green Devotion Standard play due ot the fact that she can gain you a ton of life equal to your devotion to Green, including her own two Green mana symbols.
  • Nessian Game Warden is good at searching out creatures from your deck. Not the strongest Constructed card, but it’s very good in Limited and has some Commander uses.
  • Arbor Colossus is a 6/6 for 2GGG with reach, and a pretty sweet Monstrosity 3 ability to destroy a target creature with Flying. Definitely a fan. I’ve seen what it can do in Standard. Solid mono-Green inclusion.
  • Nemesis of Mortals is pretty scary in Dredge decks, that is, decks that end up putting a lot of its creatures in the graveyard. Getting a 5/5 for potentially only 2 green mana is pretty scary, and its Monstrosity ability looks expensive until you realize its cost is reduced by the number of creatures in your graveyard, as well.
  • With enough mana, Genesis Hydra can drop one of your big creatures onto the board for free. Plus it has excellent synergy with Generator Servant.

The creature line-up isn’t the best ever, but it has tons of solid inclusions.

Spells (7)
2 Lightning Strike
2 Plummet
1 Boulderfall
1 Font of Fertility (FOIL)
1 Fated Intervention

Quick thoughts:

  • Lightning Strike is pretty basic removal. Plummet is awfully specific for its matchup with its Clash Pack counterpart. Boulderfall is a similar inclusion – not something you’d typically see out of Limited.
  • Font of Fertility, besides having a very pretty alternate art version, is sort of a mediocre ramp card in this build. It’s better in a deck that utilizes Constellation, in which case it’s actually fairly strong.
  • Surprise Centaurs! Fated Intervention isn’t as good as Advent of the Wurm, but it’s not a bad card. You’re usually going to play it on your opponent’s turn, though, so the Scry 2 may not be super relevant. Love the alternate art, though.

This is an aggro build, so not a surprise not to see many non-creature spells.

Lands (25)
8 Mountain
16 Forest
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

That Nykthos and all those green mana symbols, though…

Overall, “Fury” looks like the stronger of the two decks on paper. Value-wise, it’s not even close. But I could see the “Fate” deck keeping decent tempo advantage over “Fury” if the red/green deck stumbles in the early going and can’t ramp up into its finishers before the fliers finish them off. Also, remember Prophet of Kruphix is pretty good.

All in all, I’m happy with this first Clash Pack. Apparently, the MSRP for this product is $29.95 USD, but I’ve seen mentions of $24.95 USD other places. It’s a bargain at $25, and still worth the value at $30 if you’re looking for a couple of Standard decks to play and tweak.

I’ll be going over ways to improve upon these Clash Pack decks in the near future. I think these offer great skeletons to work from for players new to the game or returning to Standard. The alternate art foils are all attractive pieces that will be sought after, although perhaps not the Font of Fertility or the Fated Intervention quite as much. It’s worth the value, but I wouldn’t buy it just for the Courser of Kruphix. However, 2 complete decks with 12 rares between them is not a bad place to start.

What do you think of this Clash Pack product? I’m looking forward to future incarnations.

– Elspeth for the Win

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Magic 2015 Core Set Review – Ensoul Artifact

ensoul-artifact

Ensoul Artifact is a very interesting Enchantment for artifacts. For only 1U, it makes the enchanted artifact a creature with base power and toughness 5/5 in addition to its other types. The most notable thing about this card is the fact that it actually mentions the word “base” in its rules text. This means that its power and toughness can be affected in ways that many other cards that make artifacts into creatures cannot.

I can see this card being fairly good, actually. I think the best use for this card is to slap it on a Darksteel Citadel, which is an indestructible artifact land that becomes a 5/5 indestructible creature. Or you can slap this on an Ornithopter. Getting a 5/5 flyer for 1U, as Ornithopter costs 0 to play, is fairly good, as well. So in M15 Limited, this card already has its uses. Making Phyrexian Revoker into a 5/5 is definitely good, also.

Also, it seems like I say this about a lot of cards in Core Sets, but it definitely is viable in Commander. There are a ton of artifacts in Commander, and turning a problem artifact into a creature, then using creature based removal on it or  board-wiping is definitely a viable option.

Someone on Mythic Spoiler, Gustavo Lyra, came up with a potential list built around this card:

CREATURE SPELLS
4 Generator Servant
4 Heliod’s Pilgrim
Illusory Angel
4 Ornithopter
Phyrexian Revoker

NON-CREATURE SPELLS
4 Ensoul Artifact
4 Shrapnel Blast
4 Retraction Helix
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Peel from Reality
4 Fated Infatuation

LANDS
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Mana Confluence
4 Shivan Reef
4 Battlefield Forge
Temple of Epiphany

(Steam Vents was originally included in the list, but replaced with Temple of Epiphany due to Steam Vents being now rotated out of Standard.)

This is a potentially very fast deck. You use Generator Servant‘s ability to give your other Generator Servants, Illusory Angels and Phyrexian Revokers haste. Even though Illusory Angel can only be cast if you’ve cast another spell during that turn, since Ornithopter is a 0-drop, it has good synergy in this deck. A 4/4 flyer for 3 mana is really good. Heliod’s Pilgrim seeks out an Ensoul Artifact or Retraction Helix when it hits the board.

Ensoul Artifact is obviously the big card in the deck, making your artifacts like the Ornithopter, Revoker, and even your Springleaf Drum into 5/5 creatures. Shrapnel Blast is a card that you sacrifice an artifact to deal 5 damage to a target creature or player, and with how fast this deck can hit, that can likely be lethal damage. Retraction Helix exists to help save your Ensoul Artifact if the creature would otherwise be destroyed or you want to put it on a new target.  Springleaf Drum helps you mana fix by tapping down a creature you control, and that effect is unaffected by summoning sickness, plus it can become a 5/5 creature itself that can still use its ability.

Peel from Reality, an instant reprinted from Avacyn Restored in Magic 2015, helps you save your creatures while also un-summoning an opponent’s creature. Fated Infatuation is an amazing card in this deck. It’s an instant for UUU (triple Blue) that allows you to make a copy of a target creature you control, which means that you can copy one of your 5/5 artifact creatures, while also having it gain all of that artifact’s abilities. Also, if it’s your turn you get to Scry 2, which is always good.

The mana base is America colors (red, white, and blue), with the White in the deck for the Heliod’s Pilgrim. Kudos to Gustavo for creating this list, as it looks quite viable.

Anyhow, I am a huge fan of Ensoul Artifact. How about you?

– Elspeth for the Win

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kurkeshonakkeancient

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.

206219

 

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

175

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.

163

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,

-SolemnParty

thechainveil

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?

Superfriends.

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,

-SolemnParty

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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.

12

 

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.

stainthemind

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.

-SolemnParty

generator-servant

Here at Win Target Game, we typically don’t review all that many common cards as feature articles. However, Generator Servant is interesting enough that it just has to be looked at. As someone who’s always been fond of Pauper and the Pauper Commander formats, I see potential for this card. It’s also a card that I can definitely see being a strong Limited pick and perhaps even more.

First of all, I don’t see Generator Servant running all over Standard. It’s not quite that good. But what it does is definitely interesting. It basically puts the effect of Hall of the Bandit Lord on a creature, and in this case, you’re sacrificing a creature instead of paying 3 life and in fact you even get 1 more colorless mana out of it.

hall-of-the-bandit-lord

Hall of the Bandit Lord is a very useful utility land from Champions of Kamigawa that sees some Commander play in decks that care about giving its big creatures haste. But first of all, it comes in tapped, and you have to pay 3 life to use its ability, which does give that creature haste, but only gives you 1 mana.

But Generator Servant is actually a bit better. Albeit its effect isn’t so reusable, but it gives you 2 colorless mana only at the cost of itself. That mana can be spent on any sort of spell, much like Hall of the Bandit Lord’s mana, but without the life cost. It’s sort of a ramp card in Red on a 2/1 body. Plus, if you happen to use even one of that mana on a creature spell (it doesn’t specify that BOTH of that mana need be used on a creature spell) that creature gains haste.

At common, this effect on any sort of body is pretty useful. In Limited, it’s great, because say you no longer need the 2/1 creature, you can turn it into 2 mana to either play some utility or removal spell, or cast a bigger creature and give it the added value of haste. Is this effect good enough for Standard? Of that I’m not positive yet. But there’s a lot of potential here. I can think of many Pauper Commander decks that could use its utility and Standard Pauper lists will definitely find room for this. A two-drop that can essentially pay for itself is pretty awesome.

There are definitely some potential ways to abuse a card like this. Marchesa, the Black Rose comes to mind as a Commander that could use this card a great many times, and that’s certainly a Commander who cares about her creatures having Haste. In Limited, it makes cards like Siege Dragon into a 3 mana Dragon with Haste. Granted, it is a weak body, and will probably die before its ability becomes relevant, but forcing removal on this guy would mean one less piece of removal for something else later.

Also, he’s an Elemental, which means Brighthearth Banneret makes him a one-drop. Definitely relevant in Pauper and some mono-Red Commander lists.

Overall, this is a fantastically designed common with an effect from the past made even better. How will you use Generator Servant?

– Elspeth for the Win

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