Tag Archive: m15 spoiler


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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M15 Spoilers – Generator Servant

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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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.

reclamation-sage-promo

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.

harmonic-sliver

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.

chief-engineer-promo

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

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While not nearly as exciting as some of the recent spoilers, we do have some new cards, some of which may have interesting Limited connotations.

kapsho-kitefins

Kapsho Kitefins is an interesting uncommon from Magic 2015. It’s a 3/3 flyer for 4UU, which sounds a bit over-costed until you read its effect. Whenever it or another creature enters the battlefield under your control, tap target creature an opponent controls. There’s already been a suggestion to play this card alongside Master of Waves in mono-Blue devotion, but I think 6 mana for a 3/3 flyer is a bit fragile, even with the potential power of that effect. Tapping down creatures is nice, but it’s not as good as bouncing them. Scourge of Fleets from Journey Into Nyx is 7 mana, and actually bounces opponents’ creatures equal to your devotion to Blue.

However, Kitefins could be pretty good in Commander, where tapping down creatures in this way could be better taken advantage of, especially in a multi-player setting. DereviEmpyrial Tactician lists could find a home for this card. There are aggressive Grixis lists like Marchesa of the Black Rose and Thraximundar that could use this to help clear a path to victory. Bant tempo decks will be able to tap down any creatures in the way of their armies’ assault.

It’s also going to be an interesting card in Limited. It just doesn’t do enough on its own for 6 mana to warrant being viable in a Constructed deck, honestly.

research-assistant

Research Assistant is a much worse version of Merfolk Looter. The original Merfolk Looter was a 1/1 that had the same ability to draw a card, then discard a card, but without the added mana cost, only a tap. The only improvement here is that the Assistant is a 1/3. It’s also a Wizard, meaning Azami Commander decks could potentially use it. I don’t think that R&D had Azami in mind when they created this card, though. They must have had their reasons for not simply reprinting Merfolk Looter. A disappointment here. Seriously, 4 mana for a loot effect?

festergloom

Wizards just wants Mono-Black to be the best deck ever, apparently. Festergloom is basically a common version of Drown in Sorrow. It’s considerably worse, of course, but it only hits non-black creatures for -1/-1 until end of turn. Were it instant speed it would be a lot more useful, as it could be a combat trick. But at sorcery speed, it’s probably not going to see any play outside of Limited, or perhaps sideboards to help deal with Master of Waves Elemental tokens.

I don’t know why they didn’t just make this the black version of Holy Light, a common INSTANT from The Dark that did the same thing for non-white creatures. I guess they felt that may have been too good.

shaman-of-the-spring

I’m jumping for joy that Striped Bears from Weatherlight has been transformed into an Elf Shaman. Seriously, Shaman of Spring is literally Striped Bears as an Elf – same effect and same mana cost. I do like the artwork, however, and it is an elf, which counts for something at least. Of course, you could have just reprinted Elvish Visionary, the 1/1 for 1G that draws you a card when it enters. It may see Limited play, of course, and perhaps some Pauper Commander play, but it’s pretty underwhelming outside of that; again, the artwork is pretty.

nimbus-of-the-isles

Wizards seems to be continuing their trend of creating functionally worse versions of cards that they could have just as easily reprinted. While the art and flavor of Nimbus of the Isles is cool, it’s just a vanilla 3/3 flyer for 4U. You could have reprinted Chasm Drake from Magic 2012, which is the same thing but gives one of your creatures flying until end of turn when it enters. Or you could have reprinted Faerie Invaders from Magic 2013, which is this card plus Flash. I guess they have to lower the power level of the set somewhere, but why in such an obviously dumb way?

krenkos-enforcer

Being a huge fan of Krenko, Mob Boss (and he may be reprinted or get a new version in Magic 2015 – that hasn’t been confirmed yet), I’m glad to see Krenko’s Enforcer. He’s a 2/2 Goblin Warrior with Intimidate. As awesome as it is that he can only be blocked by Red or Artifact creatures, and that he’s a Goblin, he is in fact yet again a functionally worse version of a couple of cards that already existBlind Zealot from New Phyrexia was a black common with Intimidate, but it had an additional effect of being able to sacrifice it whenever it dealt combat damage to destroy a target creature. Spectral Rider was a White Uncommon from Innistrad and although it was a vanilla Intimidate creature, it also cost one mana less.

My only reasoning for making Krenko’s Emissary 1RR with no additional effect is that he’s a Goblin that can get a lot bigger with Goblin Lords in other formats. He’s also a nice inclusion in many Goblin Commander and Pauper lists. He’s a good Limited card in any case, but this trend of reprinting functionally worse versions of existing cards and at times color-shifting them is kind of annoying. But he is better than Bladetusk Boar; I will give him that.

chronostutter

Here we have another functionally worse version… oh, seriously I feel like a broken record. It’s basically a more expensive version of Griptide and Grasp of Phantoms, both of which put a target creature on top of its owner’s library. Griptide was an Instant, though, and Grasp of Phantoms was a Sorcery, but both were 3U and very playable in Limited. Chronostutter does put the target creature second from the top, which is the reason for the two more mana. But guess what? There’s another card that already did that in Magic, Oust in White, which does the same thing for ONE White mana at Sorcery speed, but its controller gains 3 life. Blue is the color of bounce for God’s sake. Why not just make this 3U as an instant in Blue and just make it an upgraded Griptide and put it at uncommon?

And it might be playable in Commander. In Pauper Commander, that is.

borderland-marauder

Wait, Borderland Marauder is a functionally better version of a card that already existed! Rogue Kavu was a 1/1 for 1U that had the same effect as this creature: whenever it attacks, its gets +2/+0 until end of turn. It’s no Goblin Piledriver, obviously,  but it’s essentially a 3/2 for 2 mana, which at common is perfectly good in Limited. This one gets a thumbs-up for a good aggressive early drop.

Overall, these spoilers are a bit disappointing for M15 Limited fans. There’s only one common that’s functionally better than a card that could have just as easily been reprinted (Borderland Marauder) and an uncommon that could serve a purpose somewhere somehow outside of Limited. Color me unimpressed with these cards.

– Elspeth for the Win

Some new common cards spoiled today over on MTG Salvation. Two of them are reprints, Razorfoot Griffin and Black Cat. There are also two new cards, Invasive Species and Miner’s Bane.

razorfoot-griffin-m15

We haven’t seen Razorfoot Griffin in awhile – since Magic 2010 to be exact. The 2/2 flyer with First Strike is OK in Limited for 3W, especially at common. Nothing wrong with reprinting this.

black-cat-m15

Black Cat is a particularly popular card among Magic fans originally printed in Dark Ascension. The fact that it makes players discard a card at random when it dies is pretty useful. What makes it especially popular, however, is that it is a Zombie, meaning that it sees play in Zombie Tribal Commander decks. Also, it is a Cat.

invasive-species-m15

Invasive Species is a 3/3 Insect for 2G. When it enters the battlefield, you return another permanent you control to its owner’s hand. The fact that it can be any permanent, a la Kor Skyfisher, makes this an intriguing card in Limited. Being able to reuse one of your lands if you don’t otherwise have a land-drop is always useful, and in some cases you may want to reuse an enter the battlefield effect here and there. It’s a good card at common if deployed properly.

miners-bane-magic-2015

Miner’s Bane is a big 6/3 brute of an Elemental for 4RR. It does have the ability to gain +1/+0 and trample until end of turn for 2R, and the effect to pump his power can be used multiple times in a turn. He’s a good late-game Limited beater, certainly. At common, what more can you ask for?

What do you think of these cards? When might you pick them in draft?

– Elspeth for the Win

nissa-worldwaker

It might have come as a bit of a surprise to some people that Nissa was getting a new incarnation in the Magic 2015 Core Set. We’ve been expecting a Nissa 2.0 for quite some time, however, and here she is. Is she better than the original Nissa? In some respects, perhaps, she is.

First of all, she has two +1 abilities, which is automatically a great sign for a planeswalker, especially one with a converted mana cost of 5 and only 3 loyalty. Her first ability makes a target land you control a 4/4 Elemental creature with Trample that remains a land. This is a bit similar to the effect of Koth of the Hammer, but the major difference here is that the land remains a 4/4 creature for as long as it remains on the board. The fact that it gains trample as well is also quite relevant.

The second +1 ability allows you to untap up to four target Forests. This is extremely good. If you tap five forests to cast Nissa, then you immediately get to untap four of them, essentially making her cost one mana. Obviously this would seem only relevant in mono-Green, but keep in mind that she can also untap things such as Breeding Pool, Temple Garden, Stomping Ground, and Overgrown Tomb. While the shock-lands will no longer be in Standard after October 2014, this opens up Modern play-ability for Nissa, Worldwaker, as well.

Her ultimate is quite strong. While it’s potentially unlikely that she’ll ever reach 7 loyalty, if you do happen to ultimate her, you get to search your library for any number of basic land cards (notice not only Forests) and put them onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. Then, those lands become 4/4 Elemental creatures with trample which are still lands.

That’s a pretty ridiculous amount of ramp, and it’s very similar to Nissa Revane‘s ultimate ability of getting all Elves from the deck onto the battlefield. The fact that they enter untapped is also quite relevant.

The only real downside to Nissa, Worldwaker is that now your lands can become vulnerable to mass removal spells. However, being 4/4’s puts them out of range of cards like Lightning Strike in Standard and Lightning Bolt in Modern. Then again, most of the time you’re going to use Nissa for her ability to untap Forests. With her second +1 she pays for herself quite quickly. Also, even though she has only 3 loyalty, because of how turn priority works, you can +1 her in response to a burn spell being played.

Best of all, in a Mono-Green Devotion deck, you’re likely not even tapping 5 lands to play her in the first place. But she is not only good in Mono-Green. Her ultimate may be best used in Mono-Green, but her first +1 affects any land you control and her second +1 affects shock lands, as well. She seems to be Modern playable, as well. There is an interesting interaction that she has with Inkmoth Nexus, as well, making Mono-Green infect more viable in Modern.

In any case, she is a Constructed playable planeswalker. She’ll also definitely see play in Mono-Green Commander decks. It will be interesting to see how Nissa pairs with the Garruk planeswalker from Magic 2015. How do you see yourself using Nissa, Worldwaker?

SolemnParty has also written a far more in-depth look at Nissa, Worldwaker that you definitely want to check out!

– Elspeth for the Win

jalira-master-polymorphist

Jalira, Master Polymorphist is a particularly fascinating Legendary Creature new in the Magic 2015 Core Set. She is a Human Wizard costing 3 and a Blue to cast with 2 power and toughness. Her tap ability costs 2U to activate and requires you to sacrifice another creature. If you do so, you reveal cards until you reveal a non-legendary creature card. Put that card onto the battlefield and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. The random order, in particular, is an interesting addition – as effects of this nature are usually in the order than they’re revealed or in any order.

Jalira’s effect is very similar to another card, Polymorph, which clearly inspired Jalira’s effect.

polymorph-magic-2010

Polymorph actually requires you destroy a creature rather than sacrifice it in order to activate this card’s ability. Interestingly enough, this Sorcery has the same converted mana cost as Jalira. However, this card allows you to get Legendary Creatures, as well, whereas Jalira’s ability does not. Polymorph would be a good card to run in a Jalira-based deck to help you hit Legendary creatures, as well. Do also notice that Polymorph shuffles all other revealed cards into the deck, which is another interesting difference.

Clearly, Jalira was a Legendary Creature designed for Commander play. But since she’ll be in Standard and other competitive formats, how does she fit? Potentially, she could be a pretty good card, especially if you know what your next card is going to be, sacrificing a creature to get out a major bomb is definitely worth the 3 mana. There may be some rogue deck that could take advantage of her ability. But her true power is as a Commander.

There’s the possibility of running a Commander deck chock-full of value artifact and Blue creatures, sticking in some token generation such as Genesis Chamber and being able to consistently play creatures out of the deck. Mono-Blue has easy access to ridiculous amounts of mana (read, infinite) and has many ways to untap creatures. There has been the suggestion to play mostly Legendary Blue creatures and just have several bomb cards like a Tidespout Tyrant that you would mostly be guaranteed to hit. There are a few ways to play a deck around her. She’s probably even better used as one of the 99 in a wide variety of creature-based decks, especially Grixis, that don’t mind sacrificing its creatures to get others out.

Wizards of the Coast has been making it a point in recent years to release more fun Legendary Creatures in each set for the casual crowd, as well as the massive base of players that only play Limited and Commander. Jalira is an excellent example of such a card, and it should be fun to watch how she’s played.

How would you play Jalira, Master Polymorphist?

– Elspeth for the Win

 

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