So, I’ve already gone and taken a look at Fate Reforged for Casual play…how about we explore a little Constructed play…namely Standard? Let’s get right into this and take a look.
10– Valorous Stance– This is similar to Reprisal in many regards because it can be used as a removal spell to whack big stuff. Now, 4 toughness can be a bit of hurdle to leap over, but there are many bigger creatures that pack 4 toughness that this efficiently mops up. Butcher of the Horde, the Dragons, Polukranos, Courser, Siege Rhino, Wingmate Roc and a number of other threats all get taken out by this. On top of that, the other mode might make it more relevant than Ajani’s Presence…and the fact that this card can do BOTH things is what truly makes it a solid addition to Standard play. I expect this will certainly see sideboard play, at a minimum, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see this creep into the main board of a few decks.
9- Silumgar, the Drifting Death– I can make a case for this one creeping into a B/U or Esper control build as the win condition along side Ashiok, Prognostic Sphinx, or Pearl Lake Ancient. The evasion, hexproof, and a nasty ability puts this into the realm of discussion and I expect that people will give it a try. What I will remind people is that while this is 3/7 it tussles with other creatures very effectively because it essentially can fight through 4 toughness creatures meaning that Wingmate Roc, Butcher or the Horde, and even a Stormbreath Dragon are hard pressed to block this effectively. The 7 toughness makes it very difficult to kill via combat meaning your only option is a board wipe (or I suppose a Sacrifice outlet) and the control deck ought to have enough counter spells to make that threat fairly minimal. Expect to see this dragon lurking around in Standard for the foreseeable future.
8- Flamewake Phoenix– Temur or R/G Monsters just got one sweet addition to really turn up the pressure. Chandra’s Phoenix was extremely solid last year and this looks no different. It is 2/2 for 3 mana, flies, has Haste, and serves an almost identical purpose. The caveat where you need to attack each turn is no biggie either because if you are on the deck that wants this guy in Constructed then Blocking isn’t really your thing anyway. The trigger to get this guy back is a little different and might be a little harder to trigger depending on the deck, but with things like Ashcloud Phoenix, Savage Knuckleblade, Polukranos and Stormbreath Dragon being in the potential home for this guy it might be feasible. Here comes the nuisance that is a repeatable burn source to Standard.
7- Dromoka, the Eternal– This is intended to be the Abzan curve topper that we could see replace Wingmate Roc. With the Abzan Aggro decks looking to curve out by playing a 2 drop, a 3 drop, a 4 drop and then a 5 drop, this could slide right in. The fact that it can also pump your other creatures can’t be overlooked. Sure, Wingmate Roc can trigger some additional life gain, but the sheer power of a 5/5 flier that adds counters just can not be dismissed. People will certainly test this one out and see what this can do.
6- Wild Slash– Hmmm…an upgrade on Shock you say? Well…Shock has been very good for a long time, so I expect this one to be good too. It will find a way into every single deck playing Red burn spells and no one will miss a beat. At Limited, it will be good too, but it will not win you the game out right. You will need back up in order to seal up those wins, but Wild Slash will be a nice addition to your deck because it pairs well with Ferocious OR Prowess. Enjoy some more first rate burn.
5- Reality Shift– : Is this Blue Removal? It sure looks that way…because you just exiled their Butcher, or Dragon, or God, or …or…ANYTHING and replaced it with a 2/2. I think that’s a good trade in most situations. This looks like it could get insane and really give Blue the ability to deal with relevant threats after they hit the board. So much for respecting the Colour Pie! Blue Removal to the rescue!
4- Soulfire Grand Master: Jeskai Burn/Wins decks just got insane. This unassuming “Bear” just makes Burn decks plain old ridiculous. Your spells get LIFELINK?! You can get them back in your hand?! Good grief. The Lifelink is the back breaker here because it gives burn players a longer lease on life with which to find that all needed burn spell to finish you off by gaining 3,6 maybe even 10 points of life depending on the sequence of spells you can cast. The secondary ability is disgusting, the get your spell back, but it is a pricey cost to pay and most burn decks won’t really be interested in that. I mean, do you really want to spend 3 mana on your Jeskai Charm to burn him for 4…and then pay 4 more mana to get it back? You just spent 7 mana on the spell. If you have 7 mana to play around with in your Burn deck (and you haven’t won outright) you are doing something wrong. So, because of the high cost on the secondary ability I don’t think this will creep into Modern as anything more than a sideboard card, but in Standard I feel like this could take the Jeskai Burn decks to a whole new level.
3- Crux of Fate: I saw this card and said “well, there is your functional reprint of Damnation everyone. Sure, Damnation is 4 mana…and this is 5…but face it folks, you aren’t getting wrath effects at 4 mana any longer. We’ve seen that trend and Wizards has admitted as much. So, 5 mana Black sweepers is the best you can do…and really, wasn’t Damnation just a 4 mana Black sweeper à la Day of Judgment? So, here is your “updated” Damnation card that is Modal. Whatever. No biggie. Now, the 5 mana cost essentially prohibits this from seeing play in Modern or any format where Damnation is legal because Damnation is likely just better in every circumstance, but in Standard, for EDH players looking for a Black wrath effect, and in Limited this will do just as well. Decks rocking Black…thank R & D. That is all.
2- Mardu Shadowspear…So the B/W tribal warriors deck might be good enough to see play in Standard moving forward. Fate Reforged has given us a ton of new Warriors to complement the already disgusting amount of Warriors already available. If you look at the abilities of these new Warriors the deck could take on some frightening abilities and really punish slower decks. The Shadowspear and his Warrior buddies will just run wild and will surprise a lot of people…and while I’m headling Shadowspear here, the truth is he will have a whole pile of his friends that will coming to the party right along with him and will be bringing down the house.
1- Ugin, the Spirit Dragon– And now for the elephant in the room. Is Ugin good enough for Standard…well, he’s certainly good enough, but can you get him onto the battlefield. I figure lots of people are going to try and why not? He’s colourless, ridiculously powerful, and just plain warps the board. This guy is an absolute menace and his ultimate is just plain wrong. His –x ability wipes the board…so why wouldn’t a control deck try and play him? Mono Green Devotion would be keen to give him a try as well, because if you hit that ultimate, what could be more fun than dumping Hornet Queen and Polukranos onto the battlefield for free? No, people are certainly going to try and make Ugin work for them so be ready to have Ugin see play in Standard for a while.
Well, there we have ourselves some of the sweet new treats that Standard is going to get to rock out with. Let’s see how many of these make the cut…and what ones I missed. The Middle set of a block can always be tricky because the cards need to fit into an existing mold and we’ll see just what shakes out in the weeks to come.
Thanks for reading…By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
Fate Reforged is right around the corner and the anticipation in the Magic Community is mounting. So many SWEET treats! But with any new set it is also spoiler and preview time as everyone offer their own opinion on cards. However, anyone can offer an opinion…but what can we at Three Kings Loot do to make out previews a little bit different?
We decided that this time round that previews would be done a little bit differently. If you want a full, comprehensive review of each and every card, you are welcome to check out the host of sites that do that sort of thing. No, here at Three Kings Loot we decided that focusing on the cards that will be impactful at various formats and what they offer the Magic Community would be a different take on the whole “Preview” idea and might spice things up. On my end, I will look at cards that will impact Casual Magic players. Specifically, I will look at some of the cards that have got me excited and some of the ways I intend on using them to help diversify my Casual play experiences with my pals when we next meet around the Kitchen table.
I would like to make one major distinction because when most people hear “Casual” they immediately think of EDH. However, there is far more to Casual play than just Commander and so I will touch on a variety of cards and some of them may be awful for Commander. However, what keeps many of these cards all in step is that many are unlikely to see play in Constructed environments in most situations. Let’s take a look at my top 10 cards for Casual Magic.
Archfiend of Depravity – Who doesn’t like a 5/4 flier for 5 mana? Add on that extra ability and this guy is hilarious. Granted, only the guy who is a “griefer” in your play group is going to dig this, but it is still pretty amazing. This guy shuts out token strategies, destroys Manifest decks, or really just about any deck that is looking to go wide…and then shuts them down again by making you crash into a 5/4 flier if you get brave enough to attack. The best part is that is asymmetrical, meaning you can throw down as many creatures as you like! It wrecks Hexproof because it doesn’t target…really, there is very little this can’t do. Sure, it might not get everything, but this guy can single handedly make a mess of the board state and put you in the driver’s seat.
10- Fascination – This just looks like a ridiculous spell. Normally I don’t like symmetrical spells like this, but the option to Draw or Mill both players is incredible…and double blue and X is potent. At 5 mana it’s Jace’s Ingenuity. At 6 it’s Opportunity. At any more than that you are grabbing a huge pile of your deck and just going to town. Now, my IMMEDIATE thought was pair this with Notion Thief…which would be a hilarious interaction. Consecrated Sphinx sounds fun too. How about this plus…oh I don’t know…Reverberate/Fork/Howl of the Horde? Oh my…the hilarious nature of those spells. Also, there are a number of fringe decks that could run this because they don’t care what their opponent does. Turbo Fog has little to no interest in what their opponent does…so symmetrical card draw is fine because they only want to dig up Fog effects. Lastly, this could totally power out some busted Delve type spells by Milling everyone. All in all, this is just fun and the sort of card I would be looking to brew Casual non-sense with.
9- Mob Rule – Hello! This is just Harness by Force on Crack…or Threaten on steroids…or something ridiculous to do with 6 mana. Take all your opponent’s stuff, untap it, and smash them with it? Wowzers. That’s filthy. I’m on board the train to silly town with this guy. And at Casual, 6 mana isn’t an unreasonable casting cost…and the effect is kind of bonkers. I’m in. Just ridiculous. But wait! There’s MORE! “What is even better than just taking their stuff?” you ask. Well let me tell you. Let’s imagine you CAN’T kill them by stealing all their stuff…why not start sacrificing their stuff to some sac outlet for hilarity’s sake? Altar’s Reap is an easy place to start…but why not keep going and go to Bloodflow Connoisseur , Cartel Aristocrat, Corpse Traders, Culling Dais, Dark Triumph…and you’re getting the idea. I’m not sure that there is something that makes me happier than sacrificing my opponents stuff for a laugh and a giggle. Time to find Free sac outlets!
8- Ghastly Conscription – Oh c’mon…as if you didn’t think of this with Fascination? Mill their Graveyard and the next turn turn them ALL into Manifested 2/2 creatures? That seems like fun. Heck, any Mill strategy with this will be hilarious and ensure that you will bury them under a pile of their own cards. I’m quietly giggling waiting to pick up a couple of these and surprise my pals. I might get Booed out of the room…but that’s ok for the look of sheer disgust on their faces. I love it. 7 mana ridiculousness never looked so good.
7- Manifest – Yup, that’s right…I like this new Mechanic so much that it is effectively on here twice. Ghastly Conscription is just the tip of the iceberg! I’m lumping this whole mechanic in as being sweet for Casual play because there are a number of fringe ideas that this can play right into. The card that highlights this ability most to me is Ethereal Ambush that dumps a pair of 2/2 Manifested critters on the board for you and give you and immediate board presence. I’ve already expounded pretty well on where I think this idea can go, but to sum it up, anytime you can guarantee to turn random cards into 2/2 creatures it is not a bad thing. Pack your deck full of creatures and very few spells and you can make your Casual deck tons of fun to play with and still flip them over by paying their casting cost. Add in the interaction with Secret Plans and Trail of Mystery and you have some very powerful engines to power through a deck. Oh, and you know all those Moprh triggers? There could be some really interesting interactions as you need only pay their mana cost to flip the card over…meaning Master of Pearls now flips for 2. 2 Mana! Wow. Yeah…this could get silly and I’m going to be diving right in trying to break it huge.
6- Ojutai, Soul of Winter – Ok, so all the other Legendary dragons in this set could at least see some sort of Constructed play…or at least I could conceive of a deck that would want them…whether they see play is another matter all together. However, Ojutai just will not get the job done. The ability isn’t powerful enough by itself and Ojutai needs some dragon buddies to really go off. That said, he will still be a sweet addition to a number of decks in the Casual realm. First off, Dragon Tribal EDH will LOVE this guy. That’s an obvious starting point. However, a W/U deck premised on Freezing your opponent or Detaining their whole team is indeed a thing and Ojutai is right there playing along. How about Jeskai Dragons featuring Brood Keeper and Crucible of Fire? That has some promise. Or, just as a really big dude in any deck dabbling around with W/U really…Ojutai is still a big beat stick with a Crippling Chill attached to him for good measure. He may not see Constructed too readily, but I’ll still be pumped to open up this guy and run him in other things.
5-Temporal Trespass – Ok, so the debate is already raging if this is good for Constructed or not. My sense is that it is, but who the heck am I? There is absolutely no doubt that this is good enough for Casual because it says TAKE AN EXTRA TURN! You know what I can do with an extra turn? Absolutely ANYTHING. I love it and I will make in happen …regularly. Stay tuned because there will be deck lists featuring this little beauty.
4- Siege Cycle – These will be terrific in Limited, but they will all be amazing in Casual games, in large part because of the wording. Each of these cards have a mode that impacts each player sitting at the table, meaning that you can impact each opponent at a multiplayer game. That’s big in EDH and 60 card multi-player variants because it gives you good bang for your buck. While they aren’t degenerate cards, except for maybe Frontier Siege which ramps at EVERY MAIN PHASE, they will all be useful and are likely to be solid additions to most decks.
3- Warden of the First Tree – There is no doubt that this will be outstanding in the Casual arena. I have my doubts if this is good enough for Constructed, but in Casual I can assure I will ramp to the ultimate and make the 8/8 trampling, lifelinking sprit token. Yeah…this seems like fun and the Hybrid mana cost means he could fit in sooooo many Casual brews that it is ridiculous. There will be a warm spot for him in my Evolve deck powered with Gyre Sage and ramp this guy out. Really, any mono-green ramp strategy will be a solid fit and will make this guy into an instant all star. Look for this guy causing havoc at Kitchen tables for years to come.
2- Shamanic Revelation – Ok, this is an upgrade on Collective Unconsciousness, and it will be ridiculous in Casual Games. Any strategy going wide playing Green will gobble this card up, run it, and gain about a bajillion life and draw ALL the cards. Think about it. I can name at least 2 of my own decks that will love this and there is room for plenty more. Mass card draw in Green is never easy to find and the fact that this one takes some set up is not ideal, but the potential upside is huge. I can hardly wait to fire this one off.
1- Temur War Shaman: Ok, if this were a 4/5 for 6 mana it would be ok. However, this packs an additional Manifested creature when it enters the battlefield meaning that you get 6/7 for power and toughness…across two bodies…for 6 mana. That is some pretty good stats that you shouldn’t overlook when you are playing this card. This is also absurdly easy to abuse…bounce it to your hand with Sage Eye Avengers, Roaring Primadox, Quickling or Deputy of Acquittals…but even better is all the flicker non-sense from Avacyn Restored. Cloudshift, Ghostly Flicker, Conjurer’s Closet, Deadeye Navigator…and you are off to the races Manifesting everything. I really like this guy and feel like it has some Casual applications in addition to the ridiculous pile of Manifest cards that can just make the battlefield one huge mess. I’m a fan!
Well, there we go. Of course, you might have some other casual favorites in mind, and that’s 100% fine. The nice thing with Fated Reforge is that it seems to offer quite a number of really interesting cards for Constructed and Casual applications making it look fun and feel pretty neat. Also, I feel like the Manifest ability is going to make this set very complicated and challenging…which is a good thing because it will force us all to deviate from playing boring linear decks, but instead splashing it around and seeing what other sorts of shenanigans we can concoct as we move forward. I’m a big fan, in case you haven’t seen. However, the Khans of each of the clans, Ugin, and some of the other spells and creatures are all insane, but I wanted to take some time and highlight some of the things that have got me excited.
Thanks for taking the time to read. Until next time, keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it Casual.by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
Sandsteppe Mastodon is not the most exciting promo card. Especially being such a high casting cost Green creature. It`s an elephant that stops fliers though, that`s quite a feat.
Mardu Shadowspear is a much cooler promo reminding me of a very cool vampire Pulse Tracker. It was an auto include in almost all the Vampire decks. Cheap casting cost and guranteed 1 point of damage after each attack. The new Dash ability is very interesting as well, there could be some Enter the Battlefield shenanigans possibly with this new ability. Yep this is one of the Fate Reforged promos I’m looking forward too.
Supplant Form one more of the cooler Fate Reforged promos. This instant comes with two nifty abilities, bounce a creature and clone it for 6 mana though. It maybe too expensive for other formats other than EDH/Commander. It still a cool promo that may see some play.
The exclusive playmat for the Game Day champion with a fantastic picture of Ugin. It’s a beautiful playmat with an awesome Dragon & Planeswalker, best of both worlds for some.
I’m not too excited with Shamanic Revelation as a buy-a-box promo, another Green card that may see more fringe play then constructed. It’s draw for Green though so I should not be too quick to judge, let time tell. It’s better than Life’s Legacy. I guess for now it works for EDH/Commander decks where Green is definitely a popular color.
Fate Reforged prerelease will introduce special promo ‘Time Shifted Cards’. During the event you get to pick your Tarkir Clan and will also receive a special ‘Ugin’s Fate’ booster pack which contains a Token, a Land card and certain amount of ‘Time Shifted Cards’ from a pool of 40 holo foil stamped cards with alternate art which demonstrates how the plane of Tarkir has changed. The PAX Australia panel showcased three of these cards.
Fate Reforged pre-release will introduce special promo ‘Time Shifted Cards’. During the event you get to pick your Tarkir Clan and will also receive a special ‘Ugin’s Fate” booster pack which contains a Token, a Land card and certain amount of ‘Time Shifted Cards’ from a pool of 40 holo foil stamped cards with alternate art which demonstrates how the plane of Tarkir has changed. The PAX Australia panel showcased three of these cards.