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Bruce Gray - September 30, 2015

Casual Encounters – Top 10 Casual Cards from Battle for Zendikar

 

Gideon and Nissa

Top 10 Casual Cards from Battle for Zendikar

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

The anticipation is mounting! In just a few short days we will be getting our first chance to play Battle for Zendikar and I’m pretty excited.  There are some amazing new cards in this set, and some terrific reprints that got some slick new art.  It looks like there are going to be some bonkers new additions to just about every format, including Casual Kitchen Table Magic.  Today I’m going to go through my Top Ten cards to bring to your next Casual Kitchen Table Magic game night and spice things up.  Let’s get down to business.

Sandstone Bridge

10. Common Land Cycle ( Sandstone Bridge, Skyline Cascade, Mortuary Mire, Looming Spires, Fertile Thicket ).  This common land cycle doesn’t look super spicy, but let’s be real, any time you can play a land card and have an effect that is normally created by a spell you have something that is deceptively powerful. There will be loads of decks looking to pick these up to replace just a regular basic land card, and the extra ability is always a solid trick. Now, let’s talk about how to abuse these (i.e. get more than one activation).  In a Kitchen Table world you are constrained only by your card pool and the rules you and your friends have established, so finding fun ways to take advantage of these should be easy.  Let’s start with the “Karoo” lands or “Bounce” lands from Ravnica.  These were reprinted in Modern Masters 2015 making them pretty readily available and an easy way to get more than one activation of these.  Emancipation Angel or Kor Skyfisher, or even Pearl Lake Ancient are also some of my favorites and could easily get you additional activations.  Going a little more in the the history of Magic, Soramaro, First to Dream would be hilarious.

As if just getting the value off these lands wasn’t enough, don’t forget this set is packing Landfall meaning that you are very likely to net all sorts of value off of just playing these lands. That makes these things even more appealing.  The nice part is that you will usually be pleased to see these guys, regardless of what stage of the game you’re in.  Keep your eyes peeled for these small, but significant, additions.

Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper

9. Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper: What isn’t to like about this guy?  He’s a 4/4 for 5 mana which is a pretty reasonable rate to start and you will not feel ashamed to run him out.  His size also makes him surprisingly robust and able to tussle if the need arises.  However, what is truly gross is his ability.  You get free +1/+1 counters on your lands every time you cast an instant or sorcery…and in Blue and White isn’t that what you want to do anyways?  I can well imagine EDH decks premised on this guy or just jammed in there for value.  However, what I think might be truly busted is playing Jeskai and slamming this guy and Zada.  Cast your instant on Zada, copy the spell a bunch of times, make a pile of Elementals, attack for the win…or something like that.  Yes, that is magical Christmas land, but it’s fun to dream.  I’m kind of excited to see this guy and try him out.

Omnath, Locus of Rage

8. Omnath, Locus of Rage:  I don’t know what to do with this guy…but I like the fact that Omnath is getting a reprinting, and this time he’s pissed. I haven’t got a clue how good he will be, or any deck built around him using elementals as a centerpiece, but this guy sure looks unhappy and ready to kick some butt.  All he really asks of you is to play your land and benefit from an army of 5/5 tokens, but that feels a little too simple.  Omnath makes the list because of his unbridled anger…and big scary tokens. For those of you out there with RTR block cards still kicking around, time to dust off those Populate enablers..

Catacomb Sifter

7. Catacomb Sifter:  This guy is among my favorite cards in the set and the art is insane.  That is spectacular art!  The colours and contrast really stand out and makes this thing look super frightening.  But enough about the art.  This 3 mana creature packs 3/4 worth of power and toughness across 2 bodies which is a very good rate.  I know I play casually, but I also really like efficient creatures…they help me get to the much less efficient but fun part of my deck!  This is exactly the sort of thing I want to do. However, there is still more.  This packs the Scry 1 ability that Reaper of the Wilds packs just because…umm…value?  This is a very strong card and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these guys and ride the Value Train.

Halimar Tidecaller

6. Halimar Tidecaller:  How is this NOT a rare?  Can you just imagine pairing this with Noyan Dar and making FLYING land creatures?  Wow. And you even get to bring another relevant spell out of your graveyard to replay and get yet ANOTHER land creature.  Sure, it is a bit of a build around, but if you can successfully build around it this looks amazing!  For a paltry 3 mana this feels as if it has been pushed to try and push an elemental theme…and I’m taking the bait!  I can almost taste the Elemental Deck…Brews to come!

Defiant Bloodlord

5. Defiant Bloodlord: Ok folks, this makes the list because you now have Sanguine Bond attached to a 4/5  flying body. This gives those janky “life gain” decks you  see around the Kitchen table yet another win condition and NOW it gets to attack too!  I’m just dreaming of casting this and Feed the Clan to maximum effect.  The interaction between this and Gray Merchant of Asphodel seems like it could be potent too. All in all, there will be lots of ways to abuse this around the Kitchen Table so you had better buckle down.

Felidar Sovereign

4. Felidar Sovereign:  Felidar Sovereign is yet another example of the power of alternate win conditions.  This guy is a reprint from the original Zendikar block and became a staple in EDH decks all over the place as an alternative win condition.  The issue WAS that Felidar was a $10-12 card that essentially exclusively saw play in Casual formats.  By getting a reprint players will be getting a shot to grab this guy at a much more affordable $2 price point.  Enjoy the savings Casual players, this one is for you.

Kiora, Master of the Depths

3. Kiora, Master of Depths:  Kiora made this list because her ultimate is nutty. Three 8/8 octopus tokens PLUS they get to fight your opponent’s creatures?  Whatever…you win the game if you get this Emblem online.  If you can look me in the eye and honestly tell me that you aren’t interested in doing that then you’re lying to yourself.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

2. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: If the Eldrazi somehow didn’t make this list then I wouldn’t be doing my job.  What’s NOT to like?  It’s big, splashy, hard to kill, wrecks the game instantly, can be played in virtually every deck and looks to be about the best thing you can do with 10 mana. Also, because this version of Ulamog doesn’t come with the “feel bad” Annihilator mechanic your buddies around the kitchen table are more apt to agree to let you play it.  Yeah, Ulamog is a thing and makes our list.

Zada, Hedron Grinder

1. Zada, Hedron Grinder:  Zada is getting lots of buzz and with good cause because her ability is just outright insane.  Any time you can copy spells you have a strong effect.  Zada will let you copy them multiple times for FREE! Magic players love the word FREE and so Johnnies around the world are setting up to break this.  I’ve heard lots of players talk about casting Titan’s Strength or Become Immense on Zada and then pumping your team to significant effect, but I was going somewhere completely different.  I was going to aim for Feat of Resistance and essentially allow your team to get protection from…oh…everything…and crash in for the win.  But things at the Kitchen table can get better!  Ranger’s Guile protects ALL your stuff.  Rootborn Defenses fights off Board wipes.  Retraction Helix allows you to turn all your creatures into Unsummon spells! Really, the possibilities are endless and this is why so many people are excited about Zada.  There really isn’t much doubt, Zada is the real winner for the Casual Magic crowd.

Well, there we have our top ten cards for Casual Magic.  I’m sure there are a few spicy things that I left off the list, but I have to draw the line somewhere.  If you have something you think should be added to the list, send me a tweet and let me know.  I’d love to hear what has got other people excited!

Thanks for taking the time to stop in and have a visit and have yourself a great MTG day!

 

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

@bgray8791 on Twitter

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Three Kings Loot - May 19, 2014

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler – Release notes, Artwork & Card Gal...

KHANS-PRE-ORDER LARGE

 

Set Name Khans of Tarkir
Block Set 1 of 3 in the Khans of Tarkir block
Number of Cards 269
Prerelease Events September 20-21, 2014
Release Date September 26, 2014
Launch Weekend September 26-28, 2014
Game Day October 18-19, 2014
Magic Online Prerelease Events October 3-6, 2014
Magic Online Release Date October 6, 2014
Magic Online Release Events October 6-22, 2014
Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir October 10–12, 2014
Pro Tour Khans of TarkirLocation Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Pro Tour Khans of TarkirFormats Swiss:

  • Standard
  • Khans of Tarkir Draft

Top 8:

  • Standard
Official Three-Letter Code KTK
Twitter Hashtag #MTGKTK
Initial Concept and Game Design Mark Rosewater (lead)
Mark L. Gottlieb
Zac Hill
Adam Lee
Shawn Main
Billy Moreno
and Ken Nagle
Final Game Design and Development Erik Lauer (lead)
Doug Beyer
David Humpherys
Tom LaPille
Shawn Main
and Adam Prosak
with contributions from Matt Tabak
Languages English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Available in Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Event Deck*, Fat Pack*

(* – Not available in all languages)

(Magic Online only available in English.)

 

Khans of Tarkir is going to be a large set—small set—large set block structure (like InnistradDark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored, with a special consideration for Limited and “a time travel element” yet to be revealed.

Tarkir itself is a plane of five warring clans, each worships a different aspect of the plane’s (now extinct) dragons.

  •  The five clans are based around a single color in WUBRG order with one ally and one enemy
  •  Each clan has it’s own mechanic plus morph

Abzan Houses – White ManaRed ManaGreen Mana, Aspect: Endurance, Khan: Anafenza, Symbol: Scales, Theme: Control
Jeskai Way – Blue ManaRed ManaWhite Mana, Aspect: Cunning, Khan: Narset, Symbol: Eye, Theme: Tricks
Mardu Horde – Red ManaWhite ManaRed Mana, Aspect: Speed, Khan: Zurgo Helmsmasher, Symbol: Wings, Theme: Aggro
Sultai Brood – Red ManaGreen ManaBlue Mana, Aspect: Ruthlessness, Khan: Sidisi, Symbol: Fang, Theme: Resource manipulation
Temur Frontier – Green ManaBlue ManaRed Mana, Aspect: Savagery, Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw, Symbol: Claws, Theme: Midrange fatties

 

Intro videos to Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

 

Khans of Tarkir Trailer from WotC

 

Khans of Tarkir WPN Retailer Video

 

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

KTK card reviews by authors Daniel Crayton and Bruce Gray

 

 Abomination of Gudulainok trackeralabaster kirinalpine grizzlyAltar of the Broodarc lightningarcher's parapetArmament Corpsarrow stormawaken the bearbarrage of bouldersbecome immensebellowing saddlebruteblinding spraybloodfire expertbloodfire mentorbrave the sandsbring lowburn awaycancelcanyon lurkersCranial archivecrippling chilldazzling rampartsdead dropDeath frenzydebilitating injurydefiant strikedisowned ancestordragon gripdragonscale boondutiful returnerasefeat of resistancefeed the clanFirehoof Cavalryforce awayglacial stalkerHeart-piercer bowhighland gameHighspire Mantisincremental growthjeskai studentkheru bloodsuckerkheru dreadmawkill shotkin-tree wardenKrumar Bond-Kinleaping masterlongshot squadmardu blazebringerMardu Hateblademardu hordechiefMardu RoughriderMaster the waymistfire weavermonastery flockmystic of the hidden waynaturalizePonyback brigaderite of the serpentroar of challengerotting mastodonRush of Battlesage-eye harrierSagu Archersalt road patrolscaldkinscion of glaciersscout the bordersseek the horizonseeker of the wayset adriftshattersiegecraftsinging bell strikesmite the monstroussmoke tellerSnowhorn ridersultai flayersultai scavengerSultai Soothsayersummit prowlerswarm of bloodfliesswift kicktaigam's schemingtake up armsThrottletimely hordemateTomb of the Spirit Dragontormenting voicetrumpet blasttusked colossodonvalley dashervenerable lammasuwar behemothWarden of the Eyewaterwhirlweave fateWetland Sambarwhirlwind adeptwindstormWoolly LoxodonUnyielding KrumarMonastery SwiftspearBloodsoaked ChampionHordeling OutburstDig Through TimeAbzan FalconerBriber's PurseChief of the EdgeChief of the ScaleEmbodiment of springGurmag SwiftwingHigh sentinels of ArashinKin-Tree InvocationMer-Ek NightbladeMolting SnakeskinPine WalkerRakshasa's SecretRetribution of the AncientsRide downTrap essenceTuskguard CaptainDespiseWinterflameAbzan CharmJeskai AscendancyDisdainful StrokeGoblinslideGrim HaruspexHooting MandrillsQuiet ContemplationSavage PunchSecret PlansSidisi 's PetSurrak DragonclawTreasure CruiseVillainous WealthBear's CompanionButcher of the HordeEfreet WeaponmasterKheru Lich LordMaster of PearlsWitness of the AgesAbzan BannerJeskai BannerMardu BannerSultai BannerTemur BannerAbzan Battle PriestHooded HydraJeskai CharmSiege RhinoAdamant NegationAshcloud PhoenixMurderous Cut Deflecting PalmTemur CharmPearl Lake AncientTrail of MysteryBloodfell CavesBlossoming SandsDismal BackwaterJungle HollowRugged HighlandsScoured BarrensSwiftwater CliffsThornwood FallsTranquil CoveWind-Scarred CragMardu CharmMeandering TowershellRakshasa DeathdealerSultai AscendancyEmpty the PitsFrontier BivouacHardened ScalesIcy BlastMantis RiderOpulent PalaceSandsteppe CitadelSavage KnucklebladeSuspension FieldMindswipeWar-Name AspirantClever ImpersonatorCrater's ClawMocking InstigatorSage of the Inward EyeKheru SpellthiefRaider's SpoilsDragon's Eve SavantsFlying Crane TechniqueGhostfire BladeHorde AmbusherRuthless RipperTemur ChargerWatcher of the RoostWingmate Roc Avalanche Tusker - Intro packs alternate artAnkle Shanker - Intro packs alternate artRakshasa VizierAbzan AscendancyAnafenza, the ForemostMardu Ascendancy Sagu MaulerSee the UnrwittenUtter EndSidisi, Brood TyrantEnd HostilitiesHowl of the HordeSorin, Solemn Visitor Ugin's NexusBitter RevelationAbzan Guide Ainok Bond-KinHeir of the WildsIcefeather Aven Jeskai Windscout Lens of ClarityMardu WarshriekerShambling AttendantsBloodstained MireFlooded StrandPolluted DeltaWindswept HeathWooded FoothillsRattleclaw MysticSarkhan the DragonspeakerNarset, Enlightened MasterCrackling DoomTemur Ascendency - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerSultai CharmDragon-Style TwinsDuneblastHerald of AnafenzaMardu SkullhunterNecropolis FiendIvorytusk FortressZurgo Helmsmasher Dragon Throne of Tarkir

Khans of Tarkir Tokens

Goblin Token Bear Token Zombie Token Vampire Token Snake Token Spirit Warrior token Spirit Token Morph token Emblem - Sorin Emblem - Sarkhan Bird token

 

 Each of the Khans of Tarkir Intro Packs will have alternative art

Sage of the Inward Eye

Sage of the Inward Eye – Jeskai Way Intro packs alternate art

Rakshasa Vizier

Rakshasa Vizier – Sultai Brood intro pack (alternate art)

Ankle Shanker - Mardu Horde prerelease promo

Ankle Shanker – Mardu Horde Intro pack (alternate art)

Avalanche Tusker

Avalanche Tusker – Temur Frontier Intro pack (alternate art)

Ivorytusk Fortress - Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Ivorytusk Fortress – Abzhan Houses Intro pack (alternate art)

Promo Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Rattleclaw Mystic - Buy-a-box promo Dragon Throne of Tarkir - Launch Promo Heir of the wilds - Game Day participation promo Utter end - Game Day  top 8 Game Day Khans of Tarkir champion playmat

 

DD: Speed vs. Cunning – Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

 

Jeskai Elder - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerMystic Monastery - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerNomad Outpost - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerMardu Heart-Piercer - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerThousands winds - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerZurgo Helmsmasher

Artwork for KTK

Demon art ktk Jeskai art 1 Jeskai art 2 Jeskai constructs Mardu Horde art 1 Sorin 1 Sultai art 2 Sultai art 3 Sultai art Temur art 1 Temur art 2 Termur art 3 Termur art 4 Ugin's Nexus

Duneblast artwork Herald of Anafenza artwork Khans of Tarkir art 1 - Mardu Skullhunter artwork Rattleclaw Mystic artwork

Fetch Lands artwork for KTK

Bloodstained Mire artwork Flooded Strand artwork Polluted Delta artwork Windswept Heath artwork Wooded Foothills artwork

Sarkhan Vol artwork Sultai brood artwork Temur Frontier artworkKhans of Tarkir Artwork 6

Abzan Houses clan artwork

Abzan Houses banner Abzan Houses clan art 01 Abzan Houses Clan art 02 Abzan Houses clan art 03

 

Jeskai Way clan artwork

Jeskai Way bannerJeskai Way Clan art 01 Jeskai Way Clan art 02

 

Mardu Horde clan artwork

Mardu Horde bannerMardu Horde clan art

 

Sultai Brood clan artwork

Sultai Brood banner Sultai Brood clan art

 

Termur Frontier clan artwork

Temur Frontier Banner Temur Frontier Clan art 01

More Khans of Tarkir spoiler artwork

Khans of Tarkir artwork 01 Khans of Tarkir artwork 02 Khans of Tarkir artwork 03 Khans of Tarkir artwork 04 Khans of Tarkir artwork 05 Khans of Tarkir artwork 06 Khans of Tarkir artwork 07 Khans of Tarkir artwork 08

Clan Symbols for Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Abzan Houses symbol

Abzan Houses symbol

Jeskai Way symbol

Jeskai Way symbol

Mardu Horde symbol

Mardu Horde symbol

Sultai Brood symbol

Sultai Brood symbol

Temur Frontier symbol

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Clan Champions Artwork

Abzan Champion

Abzan Houses

Jeskai Champion

Jeskai

Mardu Champion

Mardu

Sultai champion

Sultai

Temur Champion

Temur

Intro Pack Rares of Khans of Tarkir Spoiler (Alternate art)

JESKAI - Sage of the Inward Eye

JESKAI – Sage of the Inward Eye Illustrated by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

SULTAI - Rakshasa Vizier

SULTAI – Rakshasa Vizier Illustrated by Peter Rohrabacher

ABZAN - Ivorytusk Fortress

ABZAN – Ivorytusk Fortress, Illustrated by Matt Stewart

TEMUR - Avalanche Tusker

TEMUR – Avalanche Tusker illustrated by Eric Deschamps

MARDU - Ankle Shankler

MARDU – Ankle Shankler illustrated by Steven Belledin

 

Tarkir Clans

Abzan Houses

Abzan Houses

Mardu Horde

Mardu Horde

Sultai Brood

Sultai Brood

Temur Frontier

Temur Frontier

Jeskai way

Jeskai Way

Khans of Tarkir Artwork 1

Anafenza

Anafenza

Narset

Narset

Sidisi

Sidisi

Surrak Dragonclaw

Surrak Dragonclaw

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Sarkhan Vol

Sarkhan Vol

Khans of Tarkir Artwork 3 Khans of Tarkir  Artwork 4Khans of Tarkir Artwork 5

 

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