Category: MTG Deck Reviews


Magic 2015 Clash Pack Dual Deck Review

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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journey-into-nyx-mortals-of-myth-intro-pack

Born of the Gods offered some interesting Intro Packs, but this time around, Journey into Nyx has even more interesting starter product to choose from. Today we start with reviewing the White/Green Intro Pack: Mortals of Myth. Like all intro packs, you get 2 booster packs of the latest set, so $8 of your purchase (or more or less depending on where you live) is already covered. Let’s see if the included deck is worth the other $3.99 or so.

Lands (26)
11 Forest
15 Plains

Creatures (19)
2 Akroan Mastiff
1 Akroan Skyguard
1 Dawnbringer Charioteers
1 Elite Skirmisher
2 Golden Hind
2 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
1 Oreskos Swiftclaw
1 Phalanx Leader
2 Pheres-Band Thunderhoof
1 Quarry Colossus
1 Skyspear Cavalry
2 Supply-Line Cranes
1 Vanguard of Brimaz
1 Wingsteed Rider

Other spells (15)
2 Ajani’s Presence
2 Banishing Light
2 Colossal Heroics
1 Consign to Dust
1 Font of Vigor
1 Nature’s Panoply
2 Oppressive Rays
1 Phalanx Formation
1 Raised by Wolves
1 Solidarity of Heroes
1 Spear of Heliod

Dawnbringer-Charioteers-Journey-into-Nyx

The cover card for the deck is Dawnbringer Charioteers, which was also the promotional pre-release card for those that chose White as their color. It’s a very good card in Limited, and definitely has its uses in Soldier-themed Commander decks. It’s border-line Constructed playable, though, but it’s not a terrible card. Having flying and lifelink, as well as the number of spells that will target this card, can make it fairly formidable in the late game.

spear-of-heliod

The other rare in this deck is a good one: Spear of Heliod. Not only does it give creatures you control +1/+1, but it also has the great tap ability for 1WW and a tap to destroy a creature that dealt damage to you this turn. Cards with Anthem effects that can do other things for you is always helpful, and the deck would do well to have a second copy put in, as well.

The rest of the deck actually has a pretty solid creature line-up including Akroan SkyguardPhalanx Leader, Vanguard of Brimaz, and Wingsteed Rider. There are also two new notable cards from Journey into Nyx. One of them is an Elk called Golden Hind for 1G, which can tap to give you Green mana. The other is a one-drop 0/4 called Lagonna-Band Trailblazer, which has the common Heroic effect of gaining +1/+1 counters whenever you target it with a spell. The Trailblazer is really good, and while the Elk might be a bit out of place, it’s still a useful mana “dork.”

As far as the non-creature spells are concerned, there are plenty of useful pump cards from Journey into Nyx with the Strive mechanic, which allow you to activate multiple Heroic triggers at once. Some are obviously better than others, but overall it’s a pretty good package for an Intro Pack. Ajani’s Presence, Colossal Heroics, Nature’s Panoply, and Phalanx Formation are all quite playable Strive cards.

Other notable new cards to mention would be Banishing Light and Oppressive Rays. Banishing Light is basically Oblivion Ring, but it can only target your opponents’ permanents – which most of the time is what you would do anyway. Also, Oppressive Rays is very much like Pacifism, except that the enchanted creature can attack or block or use its activated abilities, but at a cost of 3 colorless mana. For a single white mana, however, it’s not bad, although Pacifism is easily worth the extra mana. Functionally, however, it’s pretty much the same.

The obvious way to make this deck better is to include some more powerful Heroic creatures. Hero of Leina Tower would be the cheapest way to go, as a play-set of her is relatively inexpensive and works well in this build. Hero of Iroas is great if you want to shift to a more Aura-based build. Maxing out the Trailblazers, Phalanx Leaders, and Vanguard of Brimaz while also trimming some of the less cost-effective creatures is also a good idea. Also, Launch the Fleet, a rare from Journey Into Nyx, is a fantastic inclusion for this deck. If you want to add a third color, you’d want to choose blue to be able to play Battlefield Thaumaturge to make your Strive costs far more palatable, but in that case you’d be better off either going white/blue (a good idea) or blue/green (a bit more difficult).

All in all, this is a very good deck to use as a shell for a green/white Heroic deck and there are plenty of inexpensive cards available in the Theros block to make it a fun, if not incredibly competitive, deck to play.

~ Elspeth for the Win

 

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