Tag: magic-2015

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Avatar Bruce Gray - September 7, 2014

Crack a Pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce (4th)

Magic 2015 core set Booster Packs - Crack a Pack MTG

Crack a Pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce

 by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Welcome back to yet another Crack a Pack MTG with Bruce.  Believe it or not, this is our 10th Crack a Pack!  I can hardly believe it because that means we’ve been at this for 10 weeks now! We’ve seen everything from all three sets from Theros block, some Conspiracy, a little Return to Ravnica, and of course plenty of M15.  It’s been fun and I can hardly wait to get started on the next 10 weeks!  A big thank you goes out to the readers who take the time to stop and take a quick read at what I’ve written.  Thanks very much and I hope to keep it up for all of you in the coming weeks and months. So, without further delay, let’s see what we’ve got in this pack!

 

Rare

 

Uncommon

 

Common

 

 

On the whole, I’m pretty excited about this pack because there are a number of quality cards in this pack.  There are also some HUGE duds, but I think the premium cards in this pack outweigh the bad ones by a fair margin.

 

Let’s start with our Rare, Life’s Legacy.  This is an interesting card that might have some interesting ramifications because it can enable mass card draw in Green, meaning it could be useful.  However, I need to ask myself, in exactly what scenario do I want to play this card?  If i’m losing? No…because I’m likely needing to sacrifice one of my blockers, and that won’t help me win the war.  If I’m just starting the game?  No…not likely…because the creature is likely to be smallish, and I would rather get off to fast start than try to draw a few extra cards by sacrificing a creature.  What if we’re in a stalled board state or one with no clear leader?  Doubtful, although I won’t rule it out.  I might like the extra cards if the blocker that is holding them back is reasonably safe and I can spare a creature to sacrifice in order to eek out a little more advantage.  However, sacrificing my creature is likely going to set me back in real terms on the board and run the risk of me breaking the board stall…but in the wrong direction meaning I’ll soundly get thrashed.  Lastly, if I’m leading, this might be a reasonable card so that I don’t run out of gas.  Basically, it is a bad card in a number of scenarios, and marginally playable in a number more meaning that I probably don’t want to take this first.  If it comes around the table, and in this pack it just might because the relative strength of the pack, THEN I might take a chance on it, otherwise I’ll go in a different direction for my first pick.

 

Kird Chieftain grabs my attention as being a very solid creature.  If you are prepared to play Red/Green this is a can’t miss BOMB.  A 4/4 for 4 mana is already very good, but the extra activated ability makes this guy a real menace.  The sheer strength of this card makes it very appealing and can make your team tough to deal with. In most packs this is a slam dunk, but there are a number of other interesting cards in this pack.

 

Triplicate Spirits is in this pack and you can’t overlook it.  Draft results are showing that Triplicate Spirits just crushes games because the three fliers just break open almost any board state.  The synergy with Selfless Cathar or Sanctified Charge is unmistakable and the net result is an absolute beat down of pretty significant proportions.  This was routinely picked first at the Pro Tour and with good reason, and so I would need to look at it.  The drawback with this card is that I get the sense that White is over drafted because EVERYONE wants in on the Triplicate Spirits/Sanctified Charge game plan and so you might be in competition for the same cards.  However, to pass the Spirits means you are FOR SURE going to see it played against you, so you might be well served just to grab it and try to make White happen, but be 100% prepared to switch colours in you sense that you are being cut from White pretty hard.

 

Sanctified Charge is the other half of the combo, and it is also in this pack.  It isn’t a first pick, but I’d love to grab both cards out of this pack and ensure that I’m on the game plan.

 

A few weeks ago I raved about Quickling, and I’m still a big fan. Flying “bears” are awesome threats, and if I can recur something, ANYTHING, by bringing it back to my hand, well, I’m pretty sold on this card.  It isn’t the flashiest of cards but it is reliable, packs evasion, and is efficient for my mana investment.  This is a first pick in some packs, but not this one, although it would get some serious attention.

 

Caustic Tar seems like a lousy card because it enchants a land for 6 mana.  However, it is a great way to break a stalemate by ensuring you have a safe and sure method of delivering 3 damage a turn.  That puts your opponent on a relatively quick clock and can help you to salt away those grindy games that seem to have no obvious way to wind up.

 

Blastfire Bolt is super expensive removal, but later in the round you will need removal and this just might be something you have to grab.  You won’t be excited, but you’ll do it and you’ll be thankful you did when you can BBQ some threat on your opponent’s side of the board.

 

Zof Shade, Glacial Crasher, and Soulmender are reasonable creatures, but none of them get me excited.  They are role players and interchangeable so I won’t be overly concerned if I grab one much later.

 

Invisibility, Clear a Path, and Hunter’s Ambush are all very narrow cards and not overly useful.  These would be the last cards in this pack that I’d be looking at and would be hoping an opponent would mistakenly grab one of these useless cards in this pack allowing me a second chance at something better once it wheels around.

 

Top 5 cards

  1. Kird Chieftain
  2. Triplicate Spirits
  3. Quickling
  4. Sanctified Charge
  5. Life’s Legacy

 

First Pick

In the end, it comes down to 2 cards, namely Kird Chieftain and Triplicate Spirits.  In this instance I am going to have to side with Ben Stark who first picked this at the Pro Tour over a number of very good cards.  The reason is simple: I can’t let my opponent get a hold of this.  I don’t want to spend first pick hate drafting, but the fact remains this card is exceptionally powerful and if you can grab a Sanctified Charge to pair along with it you are going to steal a number of games.  Now, IF I can make White work, I’ll be very happy and my first pick is not just about hate drafting, but the competition for White is often stiff so I will need to be prepared to move colours quickly if I’m cut off from White. If I move colours I will not be sad to have the Spirits in my pile ensuring that I will not need to face it down the road in the deck of one of my opponents. I would very much like to be in White and then pair it with something else, but if I can’t I won’t force it too much. I’ll be sad to let the Chieftain go because it is a bomb, but I almost feel like it is easier to cope with even though it is much larger…it dies to a single removal spell…while the Spirits become a nightmare once the spell resolves.

 

There we have it…week 10 in the books! What do you think? Should I have rolled the dice on the Life’s Legacy?  The Chieftain?  The Quickling? Or am I well served grabbing the Spirits and moving on?  Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear all about it.

 

Next week I’m not sure what I’ll open…M15 is cool and all, but it feels like it is starting to get a little stale.  Maybe I’ll get back in my “Way Back” machine and see if I can find a retro pack of some sort, just to liven things up a little.  I don’t know…let me think on it and I’ll let you know.

 

Once again, thanks for reading and until next time, may you open nothing by Mythic bombs.

 

 by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter

 

 

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Avatar Bruce Gray - August 19, 2014

Crack a Pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce (3rd)

M15 Fat Pack - Crack a Pack MTG

Crack a Pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce (3rd)

 By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

                Welcome back to another Crack a pack MTG with Bruce.  Last week we busted open a pack of Journey into Nyx, but that draft format has come and gone.  Sure, you might get a chance to Retro draft that, but let’s be real, the new hot game in town is M15 draft.  We had a chance to watch the Pros draft M15 and got some neat new perspectives on things as some of the best drafters on the planet did their thing.  Honestly, to watch Ben Stark or some of the other greats of the game draft is something else.  I also had a chance to listen to Limited Resources and hear how Marshall Sutcliffe and Brian Wong, both very well respected limited players, regard the M15 draft format and with some interesting results.  Both of them commented on how unusual a format this is because there doesn’t seem to be a correct draft order for the cards.  Everything COULD be playable…but in that same vein everything COULD be the wrong pick.  It makes for some interesting choices and reads at the draft table.  So, with those ideas in mind, I thought a pack of M15 would suit our style just right…so here we go!

 

Rare

 

 

Uncommon

 

Common

 

 

This is pretty average pack, but there are certainly some stand out cards in this pack that really catch my eye.  The first place to start is with our Rare.  Stormtide Leviathan is a massive 8 mana  8/8 creature that also has Islandwalk, turns all lands into islands along with their other type, and ensures that only creatures with Flying and Islandwalk can attack.  Ok…normally I’m down on 8 mana fatty, but this guy can just lock an opponent out of their game plan and seal the deal for you.  I’m actually mildly interested by this guy and what it could mean at the end of the game if I need to bust open a board stall.  This will actually get a little consideration because the upside is actually so high.

 

Next, Quickling is exactly the sort of card I want to run.  This is basically a flying “bear” with a downside…except I don’t think it is actually a downside at all.  The fact that it was Flash means you can flash it in, bounce a creature that was about to die, and then recast your creature meaning that you don’t actually lose out.  You could also reap the benefits of an Enter the Battlefield trigger if you can wangle it.  No, this is very versatile, cheap, evasive, and could synergize nicely with a wide variety of fun creatures.

On Limited Resource, Marshall Sutcliffe was expounding on the virtues of Coral Barrier and I have to agree with him.  This innocuous little 1/3 defender comes along with a squid token giving you a very solid return for your mana investment.  Also, the fact that the squid has Islandwalk could also be very relevant.  If you can synergize this guy with an Invasive Species or a Quickling you could really see some benefits and start to build a board state that really puts you in the driver’s seat.  This is a very solid creature and would be high on my priority list.

 

The next creature that I would be looking at is the always boring Carrion Crow.  A 2/2 flier for 3 mana makes this a Wind Drake.  No one is going to write home about a Wind Drake, but the Crow is a serviceable flier and could make all the difference.

 

Sign In Blood is another card I’ve always liked because of the versatility. Usually I would cast this on myself to draw a pair of cards because I need to restock my hand. However, this one is versatile enough to target your opponent and effectively “shock” them .  This seems like a silly way to use your spell, but if you are out front and you just can’t quite close the deal, sometimes “shocking” them with a Sign In Blood is all you’ve got left.

 

Shrapnel Blast is nice card mostly for the rather sick amount of damage it can deliver in short order. My only issue is that I’m not really sure that I dig the U/R artifact deck in this draft format and so I don’t prioritize this very highly.  The only way I end up on THAT game plan is if I find “angry scissors” (Ensoul Artifact) early on and can then craft my deck to make use of artifacts.  Otherwise, if I see things like Shrapnel Blast, Aeronaut Tinkerer and Scrapyard Mongrel, they aren’t as interesting to me and will be things that I would be looking at later in the round.

 

Plummet is always a fun card and something I like very much.  Nothing like a Terror for fliers.

 

Research Assistant is an interesting card because of the “looting” ability that it packs.  Late in the game, when I’m drawing more land than I need, I will HAPPILY pay the expensive activation cost on this guy for the chance to draw something more useful.  Otherwise, he’s interesting, but not a super high priority and at common I’m likely to see at least one more before the end of the draft.

 

Ephemeral Shield is a nice combat trick.  I’m not sure if I like it better than Ajani’s Presence from Journey Into Nyx.  Ajani’s Presence has Strive meaning I can protect more than a single creature, but Ephemeral Shield has Convoke meaning you could still cast it even if you had no mana up to cast it. Either way, Ephemeral Shield is a very solid trick that can come in handy to save creature or lead to some sort of busted combat scenario.  It isn’t a high priority for me, but if I find myself considering playing White I’d like to know that I have at least one in my pile.

 

Satyr Wayfinder, Thundering Giant, Black Cat, and Runeclaw Bear are all perfectly acceptable creatures, but they are largely interchangeable depending on what strategy you want to play.  My motto for Drafting is always “more bodies is always good” and these help you to fill out those creature spots in your deck.  I won’t turn my nose up at these guys.

 

Feast on the Fallen. Ok, I feel like this is a TERRIBLE card.  The set up cost, of making an opponent lose life in order to trigger the effect, is very high.  And then, what is more, you get a SINGLE +1/+1 counter! I’m sorry…that seems like a very low return for working hard to do damage to an opponent.  Beyond the relatively low return, Feast on the Fallen does nothing to the board state.  It doesn’t STOP my opponent from doing anything to me, it eats a card slot in my deck, and has a marginal effect even when I can trigger it.  No, this is a bad card.  I’ll pass it all day long.

 

Top 5 cards

  1. Stormtide Leviathan
  2. Quickling
  3. Coral Barrier
  4. Carrion Crow
  5. Sing in Blood

 

First pick

For my first pick in this pack I would be weighing the Leviathan or the Quickling.  In the end, I would likely pick the Quickling.  With the Quickling I can almost be assured that I can cast it every game.  2 mana is very achievable (and if you don’t draw 2 mana before the game is over you may have done something terribly wrong) while the 8 needed for the Leviathan is not a sure bet. Besides, the Flying “bear” with synergy is super appealing and very much of interest to me.  So, at the end of the day I would take the Quickling and leave the Leviathan to go around.

 

It also bears mentioning at this point that this pack is a BUST for players in White and Red.  The vast majority of the cards in this deck are Black, Green, and Blue meaning that you could reasonably expect that there will be players beside you that will also be in those colours.  After a single pick I wouldn’t get worried, but I would start to become conscious of such factors as the draft continued.

 

Well, there we go.  We’ve seen a number of M15 packs and seem some pretty interesting stuff.  Would you have gone with the LeviathanQuickling?  Something else?  These choices start to get tricky and some other points of view will help us all, some shoot me a tweet and let me know what you think.

 

Next week I’m going to go and truly find a Retro pack…something from the Return to Ravnica block will be on deck.  Which set? That’s a surprise for next week, but it will no doubt bring back a measure of nostalgia for those of us who enjoyed RTR or GTC draft formats.

 

So, until next time, may you open only Mythic Rare Bomb.

 

Thanks for reading

 

 By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791   on Twitter
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Avatar Bruce Gray - August 12, 2014

Deep Thoughts… on Drafting M15

2015 core set logo - Drafting M15

Deep Thoughts… on Drafting M15

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

 

So, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about my impressions on M15 based on my experience playing Sealed at a Pre-release.  This week I was fortunate enough to get out to a local game shop and draft on what we call “Cheap Night”.  Usually entrance fees for a draft event is $15 or so…but on “Cheap Night” it is only $10, but does not have any prize support.  It is a perfect spot to get out and draft and really feel what the environment is like and is pretty friendly for newer players because there aren’t any prizes on the line.  I have to say, I really enjoyed drafting M15 and it felt very healthy and diverse with a number of very interesting decks.  Today I wanted to share some of those experiences with you before you head out to your next Draft and to see if they confirmed what I have grown to believe from playing M15 limited.

 

First off, I went 3-1 and was in contention to go 4-0 right up to the very end, but in my final match I made a couple of major mistakes that ruined all that hard work.  With that said, I felt like I drafted a very solid deck that gave many of my opponents absolute fits because they couldn’t really deal with my deck. My selections were a little more helter skelter than I would have liked, but with a variety of less experienced players at the table I was having a hard time reading the signs coming around the table.  My first pick was a Hushwing Gryff as a very serviceable 2/1 flier for 3 and a solid ability.  My next several picks were all Blue and I looked like I was going on the U/W plan. However, I was a little disappointed that I was being cut off from White so I started to explore Black and Green  a little bit and picked a couple of nice cards from both of those colours.  Pack 2 landed me a Caves of Koilos and then a Preeminent Captain in back to back picks and yielded some more White.  Pack 3 saw me open up Jace, the Living Guildpact and really locked me into Blue.  A couple of more decent White cards came my way including my boy Boonweaver Giant as a finisher and I was well and truly on the U/W Flier plan for sure.  Here’s my deck list.

 

 

Some highlights of the games were totally beating down an opponent with Welkin Tern over and over again.  Tern just did good work and brought a huge smile to my face when I’d see it in my opening hand because I really felt I had a solid chance to win.  In Round 2 I was able to live the dream with Jace.  I cast Jace relatively early in the game and immediately started ticking him up to filter my card draw.  I had just enough to run interference and give Jace some breathing room and tied up a few more of his creatures.  When Jace got to the point where I could ultimate him I did and shuffled my hand and graveyard, including Jace, back into my library.  I shuffled my deck up and offered to let my opponent cut the deck and then drew my next 7 cards while my opponent just looked on in dismay.  You would not imagine his look of disgust when I drew, and subsequently cast, Jace all over again.  Needless to say, the game was over in short order with the ridiculous card advantage I had just developed.  Lastly, Triplicate Spirits and Selfless Cathar make for a terrific combination that can quickly bring down the pain.  I finished off my opponent in Game 3 with a trio of Spirits who all got a boost from the Cathar and brought the hammer down.

 

The low light was in Round 4 where in game 1 I mulled to 6 cards and kept a 1 lander because I had a hand full of gas.  I should have had the sense to toss it back and try again because when I missed my 2nd land drop I knew I was on the ropes…and sure enough I was dead in short order. In Game 2 I did a little better but misplayed Jace when I cast him.  I should have bounced the Paragon my opponent was playing and then used the opening to force combat creating a situation where I had a profitable attack instead of sitting still and passing back the turn.  My hesitation opened the door for my opponent once again and left me reeling and trying to catch up. Needless to say, I never did and I was a little disheartened that I had misplayed those games so badly.

 

On the whole, I felt I had a pretty good showing and was relatively pleased with my performance. Going 3-0 against some pretty decent players was a good feeling and even if I did blow game 4 it just further re-enforced that I can’t get greedy and should be prepared to mulligan me regularly.  All in all, a fun evening with some solid results and few sweet finds in my draft pool.

 

Some other deep Thoughts and Observations

Jace, the Living Guildpact

This guy has got a bit of a bad rap since everyone has seen him, but I have to admit, he’s a very solid Planeswalker.  Is he crazy busted and overpowered?  No, but he is pretty versatile and reasonably skill intensive and will make a good piece in many decks when other versions of him rotate out of Standard.  His +1 is an acceptable way to filter your cards, particularly later in the game and he really helped set up some solid draws for me.  I can imagine that in Standard, where your deck is more finely tuned, ensuring that you draw into that perfect card will be pretty crucial.  However, it is timing that -3 ability that is truly vital.  You can really set your opponent back by bouncing something with Jace and I found that more often than not it was this ability that was the most powerful.  It may not say “Kill target creature/planeswalker” but sometimes bouncing it will be just as relevant.  The ultimate, like any ultimate on a Planeswalker, is totally back breaking.  To make your opponent lose his hand and only YOU draw 7 is bananas.  He’s not the best Jace, heck, he’s not even the best Jace in Standard right now, but he’s very solid and will be useful later on, I promise.

 

The speed of this format feels slow.  There is not an overwhelming number of aggressive 1 and 2 drops running around the format and the beat down plan really only begins when people hit 3 land…and can attack on turn 4.  Even then, there are lots of the 3 drop creatures that really aren’t that scary meaning that you need to get a little creative with your attacks to get early pressure on your opponent or you need to be ready to play a little more of a control route because you can’t get out the gates as quickly.  However, it is important to get creatures down on board because the removal is lousy and you will need to block to buy yourself time.

 

Invisibility

This is a terrible card.  This was just a dead card for me all night.  When I had it in my hand, I hated seeing it, and if I cast it on a creature I wished it was something else.  Don’t waste your time…it’s a pretty poor aura and not worth the card slot in your draft deck.

 

Triplicate Spirits

It’s a very good card!  This card did terrific work for me and I was impressed.  I was initially a little down on this card because it’s 6 mana for three 1/1 flying spirits.  However, with the Convoke ability these guys can be cast much sooner and make the casting cost feel much more like 4 mana…and gives you 3 bodies.  This is very useful and they proved to be just terrific for me all evening long.

 

Paragon of Gathering Mist

Of all the Paragons I think I like this guy the best.  Don’t get me wrong, they are all very good, but the ability to give something flying is just tremendous.  Nothing makes combat feel bad for an opponent than being ambushed by a creature who is suddenly flying and able to handle their flier.  He did good work for me all night and I’ll be sure to look for him again the next time I draft.

 

Aeronaut Tinkerer

This guy is a trap.  He is a very reasonable 2/3 for 3 mana and can get flying if you have an artifact.  I watched numerous players run this guy with a bunch of Ornithopters and other bad artifacts to try and trigger the Flying ability.  Yes, Yes, I know I ran one too, but I was looking at him as a 2/3 body on the ground because I only had 1 artifact, so if he could fly it was all the better.  However, to purposefully skew your deck to try and live the Ornithopter/Aeronaut Tinkerer game plan seems a bit wonky and not the best line of play.  Draft the Tinkerer, heck, play the Tinkerer and if you have an artifact or two all the better, but don’t go all in on that game plan because the reward just isn’t there.

 

I have to ask the question, do people actually say the word “Ratchet” outside of a Home Depot?  While I was playing my games they had the radio playing in the back ground and there was a song that came on by the Chain Smokers (“Let me take a Selfie”) which has been playing for months.  However, every time I listen to the girl in the song talk about  “That’s so Ratchet” I’m just left shaking my head.  First off, do people ACTUALLY sound like her?  I hope not…for all of our sakes.  Second, a ratchet is a TOOL…it’s a noun used to describe something to help repair your car or your bike…not an adjective used to describe lord knows what! C’mon…I’m not the language police, but even I have to admit that it sounds ridiculous.  Or maybe I’m just getting old.  One way or the other it sound ridiculous and should probably be stricken from the English language.  Rant over…thank you. [Editor’s Note: Sorry Bruce, but you’re getting old. Pop stars are always using the latest urban slang.  -Greg]

 

Thanks everyone for reading again this week.  If you have had your experiences drafting M15, let me hear about them.  What did you draft?  Any cool cards?  What did you deck look like?  If we are going to improve at this sort of thing we all need to be prepared to share and learn from our experiences.  I hope some of mine will help you the next time out and help you to steer clear of a few of my pitfalls.

 

Until Next time keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.

 

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
 

 

 

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Avatar Bruce Gray - August 8, 2014

Crack a pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce (2nd)

Crack a pack MTG - Magic 2015 core set Booster Packs

Crack a pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce (2nd)

 by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Welcome back to another Crack a Pack MTG with Bruce.  With M15 being fresh and all the buzz these days I have decided this week I’ll crack a pack of M15 and see what we find.  I promise that next week I’ll bust open something else, but for this week we’ll go with another pack of M15.  I’ve had a chance to test the set out, see the limited environment first hand and feel like I’m starting to get a pretty feel for the set.  That said, there are lots of options available in M15 so I feel by no means am I an expert, but I feel like I do have a solid grounding to base my selections in a pack.  Let’s open up the pack and see what we’ve got!

 

Rare

 

Uncommon

 

Common

 

So, this is the first week in which we’ve had a snap first pick.  Liliana Vess is very clearly the best card in this pack. The ability of Planeswalkers to warp the board state is reason enough to grab one if you see it in a pack, but Liliana Vess can be extremely nasty to cope with in a Limited game.  Her +1 forces your opponent to discard, ensuring that you gain a significant card advantage.  If she doesn’t get answered Liliana will eat away at their hand to eventually put them in Top Deck mode.  That puts you CLEARLY in the drivers seat and reason #1 to grab her.  Her second ability is essentially a tutor effect.  Wonder where that great BOMB is in your deck?  Oh never mind…Lili just found it for me! Reason number 3…is that everything that is dead is now back…and it’s mine! Yup…sounds pretty bananas to me.  There really is no doubt, Liliana Vess is the best card in the pack and a darn good reason to grab her and go Black.  But, what about the other cards in this pack?  You still need to consider what might come back your way when the pack wheels, so let’s see what else there is.

 

Let’s just get it out there, Staff of Death Magus is largely unplayable.  You might get stuck trying to jam this in your draft deck, but this card is suitably passive that you would likely be better off taking another card . Sure, it pops up once in a while in Mono-Black decks to fight Burn decks in constructed environments, but in Limited you don’t want to sacrifice the card space for this card.

 

Belligerent Sliver is a reasonable creature at 2/2 for 3 mana, but with there being not enough slivers to actually play a Sliver deck he’s just a 2/2 for 3 mana. I would be looking at something else in this pack and not this.  As a result, 2 of the 3 uncommons in the pack are pretty lousy for Limited.

 

Gargoyle Sentinel is 3/3 for 3 mana and is something I can get behind.  Sure, you need to pump three mana into it, but once you do you get a fairly formidable 3/3 flier that can attack.  This is an efficient creature with a useful ability and is an artifact so it can legitimately go in any deck and any combination of colours.

 

Encrust is a very reliable and useful blue removal spell.  It is efficient, tangles up a creature quite well and is very reliable.  It may not be flashy, but when you need a problem to be dealt with Encrust will fit the bill pretty nicely.

 

Scrapyard Mongrel is another efficient creature provided you have an artifact to trigger its bonus.  I don’t really put tons of value in picking up BAD artifacts to trigger this guy, but if I already have a solid artifact or two (like the Gargoyle Sentinel perhaps?) I would prioritize this more highly.

 

Goblin Roughrider is a solid 3/2 for 3 mana.  It isn’t exciting and is just a vanilla creature, but three power is three power and can trade up to take out larger creatures.  Also, knowing that there are quite a number of Goblins in this set I might be able to swing a Goblin sub-theme to the deck.  This is worthy of some consideration in the mid-rounds for sure.

 

Pillar of Light is reasonable removal but is a bit narrow.  Many creatures in this limited environment are small enough that Pillar of Light is unlikely to target them.  However, instant speed is a nice bonus for this sort of removal.

 

Peel from Reality is a very useful bounce spell at Instant speed.  It is even better if you can net extra value by targeting a creature that has an enter the battlefield trigger on it for when you cast yours again.

 

Selfless Cathar is a solid 1 drop creature that can really tip combat when you sacrifice him to pump your team.  I like early drops and I like pumping my team…so I’ll take a look at him.

 

Sungrace Pegasus is a perfectly reasonable 1/2 flier for 2 mana and it even comes with Lifelink.  If you can augment this thing a little bit with an Aura or Equipment then it really pulls its weight, otherwise it is just one more semi-useful creature in your pile.

 

Black Cat is very disruptive both as a blocker and as an attacker. No one really wants to interact with it because it dies to a light breeze…and then you pitch a card.  This is a reasonable early play, but is not a priority and will likely be available late.

 

Verdant Haven is cute if you want to splash a colour, but otherwise enchant land is another way of saying “does nothing”.  As a result, this should likely be avoided right to the very end.

 

Inferno Fist is a very efficient 2 mana aura that can give you a little boost, but even better, can clear a path as you “shock “ something out of the way and rumble on in.  I like this little aura and can see it being very useful.

 

 

Top 5 cards

 

  1. Lilianna Vess
  2. Gargoyle Sentinel
  3. Encrust
  4. Peel from Reality
  5. Scrapyard Mongrel

 

There is really only 1 choice in this pack and that’s Liliana.  To tell any of you I would consider anything else would be a bold faced lie.  She’s an automatic “build around” card that warps the board.  She’s worth a pretty penny from a finance standpoint if I wanted to try and trade her or sell her and she can even be viable in Standard.  She’s basically a win in every department.  The rest of the pack is overall pretty marginal and as a result the player picking 2nd from this pack will very seriously have some tough decisions to make.  It’s not like the cards aren’t playable…many of them are quite playable…but it is assessing the value of the card to the chosen strategy that will really determine what is picked second  through fifth. Even in the mid to late rounds this pack has some very useful cards that could really push a deck over the top.  As always, the last 2 or 3 picks will be basically castaways, but most of this pack is very viable and can contribute towards a perfectly viable deck.

 

Well there we have it.  First picking Liliana is the first easy pack I’ve had in the 6 weeks I’ve been doing this.  However, the rest of the pack order is less of a sure thing.  What are your thoughts on my selection order?  Have I missed something and should have valued something higher?  Something Lower? I’d love to know what you think, so shoot me a tweet and let’s figure it out.

 

Thanks for reading and until next time may you crack on mythic bombs.

 

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@ bgray8791 on Twitter
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Avatar Bruce Gray - July 31, 2014

Crack a pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce

2015 core set booster packs - Crack a pack MTG

Crack a pack MTG Magic 2015 with Bruce

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Welcome back to another Crack a pack with Bruce.   I would like to first off apologize for being a little behind this week.  It being the summer and all I was away with my family, but I am back now and excited to Crack open a pack for all of you and to see what we find.  We’ve had some interesting packs in the last couple of weeks and if you want to catch up with things you can find those articles right here on Three Kings Loot. This week we’ll be opening a pack of M15 because it will now be the default draft environment if you are out in the shops.

 

M15 is an interesting set to draft because the overall power level of the cards is much more flat.  There are much fewer absolute bomb cards in this set, but there are also a much higher level of generally viable cards that can make spots in your deck and offer you some interesting twists mid-game.  Let’s take a look at what we’ve got in this pack.

 

Rare

 

 

Uncommon

 

 

 

 

Common

 

Foil

 

 

Once again, this pack is a very mediocre pack.  There just are not any huge, obvious bombs in this pack that make it clear what direction you should be taking it.  The rare is Aggressive Mining which is a fine card, but is not something I would be looking for to start my draft off.  For starters, it’s an enchantment that has very little impact on the board when I cast it.  As I have said before, I want my first pick to be something that when I cast it I can tangibly see an impact on the board.  Aggressive Mining does very little initially.  Also, while the situation can arise in draft that you have too many land cards, I very rarely ever want to physically prevent myself from playing further land by casting Aggressive Mining.  Sure I can net some extra cards, but at what stage of the game am I comfortable doing that?  My initial sense is late in the game at which point Aggressive Mining is likely too late…or helping me to pour on the pressure because I’m out in front anyway.  It also isn’t even worth that much, so drafting it for value also falls short.  While Aggressive Mining is a neat card, and might have a place in a Constructed deck somewhere, for a draft I’ll pass and find something else.

 

So, what else grabs my attention.  Believe it or not, the card that gets my attention first is Frost Lynx.  This simple little 2/2 for 3 mana is exactly the sort of card I like to play in a draft.  It has a serviceable body at a decent cost and even comes with a very useful ability to “freeze” another creature.  While this guy isn’t flashy, he’s very useful and something that I can get behind.

 

Another card that I could see myself get on board with is Coral Barrier.  It seems weird to be ready to get behind a Defender, but 2/4 worth of power and toughness for 3 mana is good value, and if I can find a way to recur it I would be pretty happy.  Also, the squid token has Islandwalk which is surprisingly relevant.

 

The third card that grabs my eye is Encrust as a piece of reasonable removal for Blue.  There isn’t much to say about this card, but it is reliable and reasonably costed and always seems to do good work. Also, you might notice that this point, we’re three cards deep and they are all Blue meaning something from this pack might wheel because the other players at the table might not want to be grabbing Blue at this point.

 

Oreskos Swiftclaw is another decent body as a 3/1 for 2 mana.  He’s vanilla and hardly exciting, but if you want the aggressive body, he’s the guy for you.

 

Wall of Frost is the 4th Blue card that gets my eye and is another defender.  This one is another one that doesn’t need much in the way of discussion because he’s just solid, but not flashy at all.

 

Dissipate is a solid counterspell and something that I would be looking at to wheel.  I don’t prioritize counter magic too highly in a draft if I’m Blue, but it is nice to have a little in your deck to keep your opponent honest.

 

Verdant Haven can play a useful role to let you splash for another colour, but let’s be honest, this will likely be there late if you really want it.  I’ll take my chances on finding one later in the draft if I really want one.

 

Torch Fiend, Ornithopter and Soulmender are all sort of blah creatures that you’ll take in the last half of the round, but you won’t be getting excited over any of them.

 

Gather Courage is a solid Giant Growth type effect, but I’m not a huge fan and would really rather grab this much later when I know I have some bodies to target.

 

Sacred Armory is about the poorest card in the pack, which isn’t too bad.  It is still a playable card, but I’m not really excited about pumping my creatures for power only with this, but it could be a useful mana sink if you lack other options.

 

Top Five Cards

  1. Frost Lynx
  2. Oreskos Swiftclaw
  3. Wall of Frost
  4. Encrust
  5. Coral Barrier

 

 

First Pick

 

My first pick, as discussed, would NOT be the Aggressive Mining, mainly because I don’t think it does enough for me. I’d pass on it and see if it comes back to me.  No, my first pick in this pack would be Frost Lynx.  A serviceable body, a relevant ability and it doesn’t overly commit me to playing any one colour too heavily at this point.  It fits in almost any deck, even if I just need to splash it, and can impact the board quite significantly by freezing something else. As much as this isn’t an exciting first pick it is a reasonable choice.  Also, seeing the amount of Blue in this pack I might hope to see something else that is useable come around when the pack wheels.  Perhaps the Dissipate or Coral Barrier could still be there to give me another solid Blue card to add to my pile.

 

Well, there we have it…another week…another pack.  What would you have picked out of this pack?  Would you take your chances on the Rare?  Would you have gone with another of the Blue cards in this pack?  Something else?  Let me know…I’d love to hear what you guys think and what you feel should have been the first pick, so tweet at me and let me know.

 

Next time we’ll bust open another pack of M15 or a pack of Journey into Nyx…I haven’t decided, but once I do I’ll let you all know. Thanks for reading and until time may you crack nothing but mythic bombs!

 

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
 
@bgray8791 on Twtitter
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Daniel Clayton Daniel Clayton - July 13, 2014

Scrying M15 MTG: A Look into the Future

M15 Logo

Scrying M15 MTG: A Look into the Future

(Full M15 spoiler Gallery here)

by Daniel Clayton – The Will of the Floral Spuzzem
additional commentary by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

If you’ve been asleep or just haven’t cared for the past month in a half you may have missed it, but it’s Spoiler season everyone. As such it is time for the compulsory look into the set and see what’s hot and what’s not; as with most core sets there are about 95 million re-prints, I will not be examining this sets re-prints (they’ve already had their time in the sun) unless the re-print is something worth mentioning and if that’s the case, I will mention it. Now, before we begin I should give my opening thoughts on the set and explain how the rating system will work for me. When I first saw the sets, I was, as most people usually, are pretty impressed with the mythic rares that they’d released up to that point and was waiting for the ball to drop on the big name cards as they’d been doing in previous sets (Most of the mythics of Modern Masters, Thoughtseize in Theros, and Mutavault in M14). The first feeling I got from the set was that it felt very Zendikar, and it is a very Zendikar-ish set, but that’s not all it is, it’s imported things from many different planes of Magic and brought them all together in a sort of “fixed” sense, a few good examples are Ob Nixilis and Avacyn, being brought in and being drastically different from their original counterparts. Another theme in the set, as expressed by their commercial for the set more than anything else is the theme of it being a war between planeswalkers and the set also accomplishes that very well including several different planeswalkers into the overall design of the set. As for the rating system, I will score all cards out of ten, and give a brief description of why I felt that card deserved that rating. I’ll give an example of each rating to show you what I mean:

10: Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire: A card that can fit into almost any deck and is so powerful that it has earned either a banning or restriction in any format it’s in.

9: Skull Clamp, JTMS: A card that has earned bannings in multiple formats for its power.

8: Tarmogoyf, Force of Will: A card that skates just under the power window of banning and is a staple in multiple formats.

7: Mox Opal, Snapcaster Mage: A powerful staple in its own right skates just under crossing over to another format.

6: Lightning Bolt, Brainstorm: A great versatile, work horse card that you can find 4 of in many formats without the card ever being considered broken (Even if a card breaks a deck, that doesn’t necessarily make the card broken).

5: Creeping Corrosion, Abrupt Decay: A powerful card that isn’t quite a workhorse, but is run enough of to take significant note of. This is the area for sideboard staples.

4: Goblin Grenade, Gray Merchant of Asphodel: A powerful card in the right deck, used right, might have been considered a staple at one point.

3: Archetype of Finality, Asphyxiate: Solid filler, draft bombs that don’t really see play outside the format.

2: Razorfoot Griffin, Jace’s Ingenuity: Okay filler, may see some play in Draft, EDH or Casual, but mostly lost to almost every other format. 2 and 3 are most of the cards in Magic.

1: Charging Badger, Staff of the ____ Magus: Bad cards, okay filler. Not run almost ever outside of draft, these cards would have a tough time having someone defend it, even on the Internet.

0: Storm Crow, Search the City: While opening most cards give you a sort of meh feeling; these cards make you feel legitimately bad pulling them from a pack. People hate pulling them so much so that they complain on the Internet about it.

 

The meat and potatoes

Ajani Steadfast: 4

Daniel: To Start things off we have Ajani Steadfast and he continues on the tradition of the long line of Ajani’s before him, namely being interesting and good in the right deck, but leaving you feeling unfulfilled by the end of using him. Let’s talk about the negatives, he costs 4 and comes in with 4 loyalty, not a huge deal unless you consider the fact that he can only give himself +1 and he has no traditional way to defend himself from threats; this means that a lot of the time you’ll get him out only to lose him in a turn or two. That isn’t to say I don’t like the big cat; his +1 is a kind of pseudo protection as you can leave up whatever creature you gave vigilance to block, his -2 is definitely interesting making everything you control more powerful by giving up a little of himself (A theme of Ajani they’ve kind of been going with since Theros). Finally, his final lends itself to Forcefield, one of the most powerful cards ever created in magic’s history. Not to mention, the planeswalker is almost aggressively costed at 4 mana, and with the right deck (I’m thinking a deck that involves a lot of token production, probably working along-side new Elspeth) he could be a powerful card in standard, but past this I don’t see him having a very long life or breaching any format but standard too harshly (maybe Modern for a little while… but we’ll see); even with all of this, not too major of a player, but definitely an interesting card. If you see this card in draft I would definitely pick it up, but in constructed the card doesn’t play too well without the right deck.

Bruce: Holy CRAP…another new Ajani! This one is pretty sweet and at 4 mana is very playable. The +1 ability is strong and will see plenty of use…but it is the -2 ability that is just BROKEN.  Your whole team gets a +1/+1 counter and your OTHER PLANESWALKERS get more loyalty!! That is totally going to be abused.  Think…Bant super friends…Kiora comes down on Turn 3 with some ramp.  She pluses and is now at 3.  Turn 4 Ajani comes down…you plus Kiora so she’s at 4.  Then -2 Ajani and she goes to 5 and is ready to ultimate.  Turn 5 Kraken emblem?! Wow.  Or Speed Elsbeth to her Emblem.  Watch out! The ultimate is ok with Ajani…but that -2 is going to be all the buzz. He will be an automatic first pick slam dunk in draft and absolutely see tons of Standard play.

Act on Impulse: 2

Daniel: I know Ajani comes after these next ones, but I already did the Ajani one and thought that most of these cards were reprints. This is one of those cards you have to re-read before you call it good or bad. Extra playable cards in red is an amazing ability you almost never see. It makes up for making the cards only playable for 1 turn and by turning up the cost of the card to 3 making it unplayable in most red decks. I don’t know if you necessarily play this card in draft, but with a higher mana cost, constructed, red deck I believe you could easily run this card and it be a powerful part of your deck.

Bruce: A 3 mana sorcery that exiles the top 3 cards of your library.  Until the end of the turn you may play cards exiled this way.  This plays on Red’s propensity to take a risk and exile cards that may, or may not, be useful to you this turn.  The fact that you COULD net some good card advantage off this card is pretty impressive.  If you flip over 2 or 3 solid spells that are cheap enough to cast, you are off and running.  If you flip 2 lands and some dud, well, you just burned through your deck all that much faster (although at least you might be able to find some action at the NEXT draw step).  This one is risky business and not usually my style, but there are people out there who love this.  Enjoy it.  It looks spicy.

Aegis Angel: 3

Daniel: A 5/5 flyer for 6 isn’t bad in draft and its ability may make it a great card to pull, but I see its usefulness in constructed being limited by its high mana cost. This card is pretty much the top of your curve in draft and a great bomb at that, but it doesn’t really play too well in constructed at all.

Bruce: A 5/5 angel with Flying for 6 mana (4 and 2 white) that gives another creature indestructible as long as Aegis Angel is on the battlefield.  Let’s be real…5/5 angels for 6 are very playable and won’t get outclassed by much.  The fact that something else gets indestructible is just gravy.  You’ll grab this is a first pick and smash face.

Aeronaut Tinkerer: 3

Daniel: There was a cycle of creatures that were called ____ Splicer’s; they entered the battlefield created a token and gave Golems abilities such as flying or first strike. The Flying Ability on creatures didn’t work then and it won’t work for this card either. Overall, I’m not sure there’s really a place for it in draft with such a limit of artifact creatures in this set, and history speaks for itself about this card in constructed.

Bruce: So, here we have what is effectively an undercosted flier. 2/3 for 3 mana and can have flying if you control an artifact is pretty solid, particularly when there are a fairly high number of artifacts in the set.  Even nicer if you play the Darksteel Citadel and then run this guy out there.  If you want to be on the Blue/Artifact deck this is a must have.

Aetherspouts: 5

Daniel: While 5 mana is a lot, sending all attacking creatures way away is a powerful effect, I believe that this card may make quite a splash in Standard for a while and may be one of the better cards released in the set. The card works as a situationally better evacuation, sending away all opposition sent against you and returning them to their owner’s library either choking out their deck by residing on top of it or removing them almost permanently by sending them to the bottom of their deck. A great addition to constructed and draft decks that run blue, definitely think about including this card if you can afford the mana commitment.

Bruce: A 5 mana instant that says for each attacking creature, its owner must decide to return it to the top of their library or place it on the bottom of their library. Potential mass bounce effects like this are very powerful, but your opponent will only fall for it once because it is pretty easy to telegraph this one. I like it, but I’m a little skeptical of its application in most games.

Aggressive Mining: 5

Daniel: That being said this may be my favorite card in the entire set as well as I believe this card may be one of the most significant releases of the entire set. In the classical red deck by the time you have 4 or 5 mana, you already have too much and you probably just want to burn off mana by this point. Additionally, red has never really had a way to simply draw cards (outside of Wheel of Fortune) and it’s the one thing that it’s kind of always needed. This card works perfectly and should fit into the top of any good red curve (for the most part). The one negative side to this card is it stops you from playing lands and that could cost you the game. The final verdict of this card is be careful about running it in draft, it is dangerous, but in constructed if you run mono-red, I would run 1 or 2 of these in your deck to give you a little card draw.

Bruce: This is an intriguing card.  For 3 mana (2 colourless and a red) you get an enchantment that says you can’t play lands and when you sacrifice a land draw a card but you may only use this ability once per turn.  This is interesting because Red doesn’t usually get card draw because it usually has to discard first and often at random before it can draw.  However, this card allows you to trade your land for cards much like the way Black trade life points for cards when it gets to draw.  That’s a unique twist on things and may be attractive to many players.  I think in draft it will be a little underwhelming, but perhaps in some form of constructed Burn deck where you need extra cards is where this card will turn up and be very powerful.

Altac Bloodseeker: 4

Daniel: I love this card, in red black agro this card may just take over standard for a period of time. Get it onto the field, kill as many of your opponent’s things as possible, then swing in for a lot. Also, with a little instant creature destruction this creature may be a pretty solid defender as well. I think this card is a powerhouse in any red black deck with a lot of creature kill, definitely consider this card if you are planning to make a rakdos deck.

Amphin Pathmage: 2

Daniel: This is a card that would be very powerful if it was a Merfolk, but it isn’t so the card just seems like it’s not worth it. It can be an okay draft choice, but for the most part it’s not really good enough to see any real constructed play.

Bruce: I like this card only because it is a salamander wizard! I think that is awesome.  The fact that it is 3/2 for 4 is reasonable, but I like the ability to make something unblockable…like…I don’t know…my Soul of New Phyrexia or some other gross fatty.  I think this is a suitable mid-round pick.

Avacyn, Guardian Angel: 3

Daniel: A flavorful twist on a not-to-distant classic, this angel feels like the Avacyn that Avacyn should have been, but while original Avacyn was closer to a 5 or a 6 this card squeezes in at a high 3 when actually translated to card form. This card is definitely a draft in bomb and while I love the flavor that fits well in line with the story protecting both players and creatures alike with her activated abilities and the player even more with vigilance, that doesn’t make for too powerful of a card. It would definitely be something serious to consider in draft, but its stats and abilities don’t make it a very good choice for any constructed deck.

Bruce: This one has me super excited.  I loved the original Avacyn, Angel of Hope but she was so difficult to cast at 8 mana.  This one is for 5 mana and is much more reasonable. 5 mana for a 5/4 vigilance flier is pretty amazing.  Serra Angel is 4/4 for 5 mana…and she’s good…this one is better.  The abilities are also pretty relevant and can really help out when combat starts to get harry.  Now , I don’t think she’ll see play in Standard, but EDH for sure and is a limited bomb.  I’ll be getting my playset simply because I think she’s super sweet and fun to play with.

Avarice Amulet: 2

Daniel: 4 mana is a little bit much for this equipment, and then on top of that your opponent may gain control of it; Overall, not worth it. I don’t see this card being very played in either draft or constructed.

Bruce:  When the equipped creature dies your opponent gets the Amulet of Avarice. This is a card in a draft that you need to be all in on.  It gives you +2/+2 to a creature, vigilance, and an extra card meaning it is very powerful.  The drawback of losing it is also very crucial because it basically sinks your whole plan and turns all those resources over to your opponent.  I’m a big fan of this and think it is worth the risk, but you need to watch out.  Believe it or not, I could see this being run as a single in a Hexproof deck where t can allow your Witchstalker or Gladcover Scout to really get a big boost, and then draw you extra cards as you put together the other pieces needed to dismantle your opponent.  I could see this sneak into a Standard deck like that, even if it is a Tier 1.5 deck and not a Tier 1 deck.

Belligerent Sliver: 2

Daniel: I like the fact that they went back to the old sliver art, but this card is not a good card, only making it more likely to lose your slivers. This card is not that playable in either draft or constructed, unless you are running a sliver deck; but even at that, the card is only marginally playable in this type of deck.

Blastfire Bolt: 2

Daniel: The mana cost of 6 on this card compared to the ability to deal five damage to target creature is a pretty bad deal. The card is not worth it in constructed almost at all, but might be playable in draft as removal, but even that would be a stretch.

Blood Host: 2

Daniel: This is a 5 mana 3/3 creature that can grow by sacrificing another creature. It’s bonus do not outweigh the negatives and overall this seems like a pretty terrible and over-costed creature. I do not see this card being played in either in draft or constructed for the most part.

Boonweaver Giant: 3

Daniel: Coming directly after Theros, this card feels very well timed, but while a 1/1 for 4 that searches and equips an aura may have been fun, if not broken, a 4/4 with the same effect for 7 feels far too expensive to be very playable. I would say that in draft it might see a little play, but unless there’s a white deck with a lot of acceleration I can’t see this card being played much in constructed.

Bruce: Ok. Let’s all agree 7 mana is pretty steep for limited and most constructed decks.  So, unless this ability is off the charts…he’s probably a pass most times.  The fact that he goes and gets an aura is cute and fun when paired with Theros…but without some pretty heavy acceleration he’s not going to hit the table to do anything.  I don’t even know if he’ll see play in Commander.  He’s just very lacklustre and I think he’s going to fall by the wayside more often than not.

Brawler’s Plate: 3

Daniel: A little bit expensive to play and to equip, adding 2 to power and toughness and giving out trample makes it a solid draft pick, but very little chance of ever being used in constructed.

Brood Keeper: 3

Daniel: Well coming in-between the enchantment and dragon blocks this card could not be more appropriately timed, but it stills feels too clunky to really be considered a good card. While it may be wrong to use a keyword on only one card in a set, this card really feels like the heroic ability would work well on it.

Bruce: Whenever an aura is attached to Brood Keeper put a 2/2 flying dragon token into play with firebreathing. This is kind of flashy and has some fun synergy with cards in Theros Block.  Suit this guy up with some Auras and reap the benefits of Dragons! It’s kind of cute and could make a fun casual deck. Here’s the problem with it in Limited.  You have no Bestow creatures to suit it up with making this a prime card to get 2 for 1 on. Sure you got the extra Dragon token, so you aren’t totally out of luck, but you never want to set yourself up to get 2 for 1 if you can help it.  Now, will it be played…sure…and it’s a perfectly reasonable card, but I’m not rushing out to grab this first and play the Brood keeper/Aura deck when I draft.  If this is the best red card in my pack and I’m playing red…sure…but this isn’t a reason to play Red yet.  Maybe another card spoiled will change my mind, but that’s my thought.

Burning Anger: 2

Daniel: An over-priced aura that ensures a hit on something or someone each turn at the cost of the creature’s ability to swing, might be cool in draft attached to a deathtoucher, but will almost assuredly not have much of an impact on constructed.

Carnivorous Moss-Beast: 2

Daniel: 6 mana for a 4/5 creature feels over-costed and the cost of its ability proves this fact whole-heatedly. It’s playable in draft if only for a 4/5 body, but I don’t see it making its way into constructed anytime soon.

Carrion Crow: 0

Daniel: It’s hard to find a card worse than Storm Crow, but I think this card is a definite competitor for the title of worst card ever. Please reference previous sentence and don’t play this card.

Bruce:  Hello my old friend “Wind Drake”.  We all know Wind Drake is a very solid limited card and so is this one…even with the drawback.  Really…were you going to block with it anyway?  Probably not.  Get it down early and put down some early pressure.  This will likely make your black deck, but isn’t a high pick because I can imagine that it will likely be available late.

Chasm Skulker: 3

Daniel: This is an interesting card, with the ability to grow very big, very quickly, it has the ability to be a powerhouse in certain decks and when you combine that with the ability to create tokens when the creature dies, it seems like you’re getting a solid card; but the 3 mana cost associated with it being a 1/1 makes this card fall just below the norm. I could see this card being run in a Blue White life gain deck, but its play will be limited at best.

Bruce: This is just value.  We’ve seen that creatures who replace themselves are huge (think Thragtusk…that 3/3 beast token was just crazy extra value)  and this could be bonkers as well.  If it is left unchecked it’s going to be large…think pair this with the Avarice Amulet we just looked at, it’ll get +2/+2 from the amulet and get +2/+2 each turn because you are drawing 2 cards…so in a mere 2 turns you are looking at a 7/7 that when it dies spews out 4 squid tokens! That’s a lot of value, and you can decide if you want to chump with them or swarm with them.  What do people think…Mono-Blue devotion post rotation with Chasm SKulker, Master of Waves, and a Hall of Triumph?  There might be something to that…but we’ll see.

Chief Engineer: 3

Daniel: I struggled between three and four for this card. I love the fact that it’s a 1/3 for 2 in draft. I love its ability to give artifact spells convoke, there are a ton of decks, especially in EDH that will find some way to make this their own and will run with it into a perfect combo. What I don’t see is the rest of the Artifact spells that this is working with in this set. With it being released when it was I believe this will be a waste of an outstanding card. This card may not be playable in draft, but it will almost assuredly be playable in constructed play in multiple formats.

Circle of Flame: 4

Daniel: Acting as a solution to ground pounding agro decks (especially token decks) across the spectrum for a low mana cost and it only protects you meaning you could run it in a mirror match against these decks as well. I expect this card to be run in some of form of constructed and it may be helpful in draft as well. Additionally, I expect it to be run in some sideboards this season.

Constricting Sliver: 4

Daniel:  While Magic has worked hard throughout this set to make it so that they released cards that were fair and balanced (even more so than the originals that they printed), it seems that the R & D had a soft side for slivers. Constricting Slivers is a card that almost feels too powerful for a card. It turns all of your slivers into an oblivion ring for creatures. The only reason that it did not achieve a higher position on my list is for the sheer wall that six mana may pose for various decks and the fact that I want to see how the rulings work for this card. It actually is a huge rules question on cards like these, and the question is what happens if the sliver (Constricting Sliver) leaves play before another sliver that entered after it leaves play? Maybe I’m overthinking it, but with an ability like this if the ruling comes out that the creatures in exile just stay there a combo blinking all of your creatures such as Sudden Dissapearance may make it a blowout games especially when you consider how quickly slivers get strong. By itself in constructed or draft, I don’t believe that this card is playable, but in a sliver deck this card could be a huge bomb in constructed.

Bruce: So, slivers are back, but not a whole lot of them, meaning they likely aren’t overly relevant in Draft.  However, there is a chance that a 3, 4, or 5 colour sliver deck could emerge over the summer while both M14 and M15 are Standard playable.  This sliver has the Banisher Priest ability…and grants it to every sliver as they enter the battlefield.  6 mana is pretty steep, but this ability is super powerful.  It’s the removal that Sliver decks want and need and a 3/3 body to come along with it is also pretty decent. I’m not going to write Slivers off quite yet and I would be pretty pumped to see them emerge over the summer as a force to be reckoned with.

Coral Barrier: 2

Daniel: A vanilla 1/3 wall for 3 that gets an islandwalking token when it enters the battlefield; well, it’s not the worst card in the game and isn’t overly terrible when it comes to drafting, but constructed is a different story and this card just doesn’t make the cut when you’ve got an option like Wall of Frost in the same set. The card is playable in draft for sure (maybe not as a core card of any deck, but still), but doesn’t really hold up when you go over to the constructed formats.

Bruce: Putting 2/4 of power and toughness on the battlefield for 3 mana is actually quite good value and makes this a solid pick in Limited.  I’m not sure Tribal squid is a thing, but t could be a sub theme you want to try out…or not…whatever.  This is will just be a useful card.

Covenant of Blood: 2

Daniel: The card costs 7 mana which in my opinion is far too much for a card that only deals four damage and gains you 4 life even if it does have convoke. I see the card seeing some play in draft, but just about no play in constructed.

Bruce: For a whopping 7 mana you get a sorcery with Convoke that deals 4 damage to target creature or player, and you gain 4 life.  In draft this will see play because removal is removal and you’ll need it.  However, by comparison, Pharika’s Cure deals 2 damage to target  creature or player and gains you 2 life…and costs 2 mana as opposed to 7 here.  No, this will be just playable in Draft but is otherwise pretty mediocre…and verging on being bad.

Crowd’s Favor: 4

Daniel: This is a really solid card +1/+0 and first strike in exchange for potentially only tapping a creature or 1 red mana. I think this card will be played quite a little bit in both draft and constructed.

Cruel Sadist: 2

Daniel: This card is effectively a 1/1 for 1 with the ability to grow if you have any extra mana to spend. The card feels slow and clunky and doesn’t feel that it really ever enters the field at the right time. While the card’s abilities might never be used, a 1/1 for 1 still might be run in the 1 spot in a lot of draft decks just to flesh out their curve, but I see almost no play for this card in constructed.

Bruce: This is effectively a form of repeatable removal or a threat that can grow to apply early pressure.  The fact that this uses your life as a resource is something that you might be totally down with to power out this versatile weapon, so don’t overlook it.  I think this will also see home in Standard as people dabble to find it a home.  I think these abilities are too powerful to overlook and it will settle somewhere.

Diffusion Sliver: 4

Daniel: This card acts almost as the Crystalline Sliver of old as it provides protection for slivers unless your opponents pay 2 extra to affect them. I believe this will be a staple in Sliver decks if they start to become a thing this season.

Bruce: It just got a whole lot harder to destroy Slivers with Spot removal, giving sliver decks more time to flood the board and dismantle you.  This is deceptively powerful.  It may see some play in Limited, but this is a card clearly geared to go into other formats straight away.

Endless Obedience: 2

Daniel: If any of my readers are old enough they may remember the card Reanimate (The card that the deck is named after), the power of that card and Magic’s strong shift to avoid printing cards of the same power ever again; will Reanimator ever be a serious shell in Standard again? Well with Whip of Erebos I thought we might have seen a shying towards more power for this deck archetype. Endless Obedience disproves this notion, giving us high cost Reanimation at 6 with convoke for the typical reanimation at 5. I don’t expect this card to be run in either constructed or draft.

Ensoul Artifact: 4

Daniel: 2 mana for a 5/5 creature seems good even if you have to give up an artifact to do it. I expect this card to be run in both constructed and draft play.

Bruce: An aura that targets artifacts and makes them into 5/5 creatures…all for 2 mana.  I wasn’t aware this was something people wanted to do any more, but it reminds me of animate artifact, but much cheaper, and by far and large an upgrade.  I feel no burning urge to play this…but there could be artifact decks that would love this and enjoy turning their Staff of Mind Magus into a 5/5.

Ephemeral Shields: 3

Daniel: Not quite as good as Gods Willing; this card offers its protection at a slightly higher cost, but with Convoke to make up for this weakness. I expect it to play well in draft, and have almost no showing this season in constructed because of Gods Willing.

Bruce: A 2 mana instant that gives target creature indestructible until end of turn.  This even comes with convoke.  This is perfectly good combat trick or way to preserve your creature from getting killed.  Instant speed.  Cheap. And could very seriously lead to a blow out if you can orchestrate a wonky combat scenario. It is a tad situational, but reasonably powerful.

Eternal Thirst: 3

Daniel: Has the ability to make a creature large later in the game and gives lifelink, but until you can get the creature large it doesn’t really add to the ability of defending the creature. I feel it will find its way into draft for its lifelink abilities and may even find its way into a constructed rakdos creature kill deck.

Feast on the Fallen: 2

Daniel: While the card would be impressive if its effect affected all of your creatures just affecting one makes the card seem just a little under-powered. I suspect this card will see limited play in draft just for the sheer ability to make small things bigger, but do not expect it to make its way into constructed play.

Feral Incarnation: 3

Daniel: Three 3/3 creatures for 9 is good enough to be playable in draft, equip it with convoke and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid draft card swinging field advantage in your favor for a potentially pretty cheap cost. I expect it to be run in draft, but not to make its way over to constructed at all.

First Response: 2

Daniel: Its 4 mana cost makes this card overcosted; its ability only activating when you lose life makes it weak. Still I expect people will play it in draft and attempt to figure out a way to incorporate it into a Standard deck or two.

Flesh to Dust: 2

Daniel: 5 mana for a kill spell is a little bit much; being situationally worse than Hand of Death… This is not that good of a card. Is it worth to pick up in draft? Well, if it comes down to this or a third string creature and you’re black, I’d probably go with this; as for constructed with Hero’s Downfall in constructed I do not expect this creature to be run in almost any deck.

Bruce: 5 mana removal is steep, but it has no limitation like Doom blade or ultimate price. This kills stuff dead.  So, it will see play in draft…no doubt.  Will it make Standard?  Not sure…usually decks aren’t really cool with spending that much mana on removal…but you never know what might happen post-rotation.

Frost Lynx: 3

Daniel: Oh M13, the implications of this set are still felt today… well at least one mechanic is. This was the time that Magic’s R&D fell in love with the idea of Freezing on a creature and this mechanic has appeared on at least one creature in every single block following. Frost Lynx is the next addition to this set of Ice-breathing creatures and it does its job as well as any Dungeon Geist. Do I think the card will have a huge impact like its predecessor Frost Titan? No, I have no illusions about that. Do I think the card may be a solid draft pick as well as a not too terrible addition to a standard blue deck? Yes. I highly expect this card to be run in both draft and constructed, as a side board card, if nothing else.

Bruce: A 2/2 elemental cat that taps target creature and it doesn’t untap during the next untap phase.  This is a solid utility creature that can help to slow an opponent down and gives you a serviceable body.  It will get drafted lots by players in Blue and will see plenty of play.

Garruk, Apex Predator: 6

Daniel: This is the second 4 ability planeswalker that Magic’s R&D has developed; the last one that they developed is Jace, the Mind Sculptor, is arguably the best planeswalker ever, and sits at a price over $100 per card. It’s needless to say that Wizards needed to take great care when they made this card, so as to not create the monstrosity they did last time, how did they do this? Namely through mana cost; they tried to balance the abilities of this planeswalker with the mana cost associated with him, and the question is, did they succeed? That is a question that is more up in the air; they did make him a 7 mana walker, making him the most expensive planeswalker they’ve printed to date, but they made him in green, a color that traditionally hasn’t had any problem producing a tremendous amount of mana. Anyway, let’s examine his abilities to determine if the card is worth its cost. His first ability is the ability to destroy target planeswalker. If we examine a card by its ability to beat out other cards of the same type then he is the best planeswalker of all time; on top of everything else, this is a plus ability. The second ability (also a plus ability) is the ability to create a 3/3 beast with deathtouch, giving him a powerful way to defend himself. On top of this, his third ability just kills a creature and you get to gain life equal to its toughness. His final ability will make the Timmy in all of us happy by turning all of the creatures in your deck into a large if not huge creature with trample that pretty much spells the end of the game for your opponent. On the other hand Garruk only starts out at a 5 and even though he’s only 2 turns away from his ultimate his loyalty abilities only add 1 to his loyalty and his third ability takes away 3 from his loyalty count. Overall, I expect this card to be a huge bomb in draft, but unless a deck comes along that produces a lot of mana I can’t see a future for it in constructed.

Bruce: Hello my friend…is this where you have been hiding?  Last year we had a 6 mana Garruk…now we have a 7 mana Garruk and I think he’s awesome…totally unplayable in competitive environments…but awesome.  +1 destroy a Planeswalker? Sweet! +1 make a beast! Sure. -3 destroy a creature and gain life equal to its toughness…sweet deal. The ultimate just oozes multiplayer non-sense…and the reason I love this version of Garruk…target opponent gets an emblem saying that whenever a creature attacks them it gets +5/+5 and trample until end of turn.  Well, isn’t that a nice little present to leave someone in a multiplayer game! He’s ridiculously unplayable…but terrific all in the same breath.

Geist of the Moors: 2

Daniel: As a card I can only really see this as a card that acts as okay filler in draft and doesn’t really have a future in any other way.

Bruce: You’ll take this because 3 power fliers are solid in draft, but the 1 toughness makes this guy scarce because there are lots of mini-sweepers and -1/-1 effects that will take this guy out.  He’s a solid pick, but be ready to have it killed pretty readily.

Generator Servant: 3

Daniel: A battery with legs that can give haste; not a terrible card and might even affect draft in some way but overall a pretty bland card; might see some play in fast burn decks and draft.

Genesis Hydra: 4

Daniel: This is one of those cards that requires a re-reading, and it falls into the category of “fixing” a broken card for the same reason; so what card am I alluding to? The answer to that question is Genesis Wave and even its name, Genesis Hydra, lends itself heavily to that same card. The card feels very good in terms of flavor, getting more powerful and looking for more powerful cards if you paid enough mana. While this card will probably not have a huge impact on the game (but who knows with how powerful green is starting to look this season), definitely a card worth picking up in draft both as a bomb and just in case.

Glacial Crasher: 1

Daniel: A card that is worse than a vanilla version of itself, this card is bad, very bad. I don’t see a future for it in draft or constructed play.

Goblin Kaboomist: 2

Daniel: I love Goblins as a general rule, they’re fun. Are most of them good? No (Yes I understand that Goblins are one of the most powerful tribal decks of all time, but those decks run a very small portion of the multitude of different goblin cards out there), but fun? Yes; Goblin Kaboomist is a great example of this. A 1/2 for 2 that has the potential to deal a huge amount of damage to other creature’s is great, him blowing up before he ever gets the chance to swing… not so great, but it deals 2 damage one way or the other, which isn’t great, but it’s not terrible. There was a card released a while ago that allowed you to re-flip coin flips, with this the card might be playable in a constructed deck with this, but is it worth it to make such a complicated deck, probably not. In draft this card is not that powerful of a card based on the randomness of the card.

Bruce: Goblins really do appear to be a thing and this one is interesting. 2 mana (1 colourless and 1 red) gets you a 1/2 Goblin Warrior that makes a Landmine token each upkeep.  You may pay 1 red mana to sacrifice a Land mine Token and have it deal 2 damage to target creature without flying.  Then you need to flip a coin and if you lose the coin flip Goblin Kaboomist deals 2 damage to itself.  This is classic red…I blow you up…but I might also blow myself up in the process.  I like this card because of the flavour, and if you are into cards that have a high degree of chance to them you will love this little guy.  I think he’s not something you really want to draft, much the way Goblin Test Pilot was with Dragon’s Maze, but some people surprise me and might roll the dice with this one.

Goblin Rabblemaster: 5

Daniel: As I mentioned before, this set attempts to “improve” a lot of cards that they’ve printed in the past and this is one of the most powerful “fixed” reprints they’ve ever done. As a functional reprint of Goblin Piledriver, it loses Protection from Blue, gets a little bit more expensive and a little weaker, but it gains the ability to put goblin tokens in play and most importantly, it’s now in modern. If there was ever a chance for goblins to take off in Modern, that time may be now with this card. I see this card as a big player in draft and also as the potential to make a huge goblin tribal deck in modern.

Bruce: A 2/2 Goblin Warrior that makes all your goblins attack each turn if able, gives you a 1/1 Goblin token at the beginning of your attack phase, and gives itself +1/0 until end of turn for each other attacking Goblin.  This is going to be a an easy first pick even you don’t get any other Goblins because this just makes free stuff for you.  He makes Goblins, wants to attack lots, gets bigger whenever he attacks…you just to protect him a little to get some major league benefit from this guy.  The other piece is that I hope this is a signal that post-rotation Goblins are going to be a think again.  Tribal Goblin decks are always lots of fun!

Hammerhand: 3

Daniel: This card is solid and aggressively-costed, at 1 mana to give a creature haste, +1/+1 and stop a creature from blocking this card is a powerful draft card, but it will most likely not see play in any of the constructed formats.

Heliod’s Pilgrim: 3

Daniel: This is a pretty vanilla 1/2 for 3 mana. Its effect doesn’t do much but interact with the previous set… which it won’t do much of in draft… overall it feels like a card that missed its mark by a set. I think this card might make a short appearance for a little while in an enchantment based deck.

Hornet Nest: 3

Daniel: I like this card honestly, it has good flavor and the token generation makes this card a very viable draft choice, and may even make itself known very briefly in standard.

Hot Soup: 2

Daniel: The mana cost is right, but the abilities don’t even out for this card. Giving a creature unblockable for a mere 3 is a pretty good deal, but destroying it whenever it gets damaged makes the card fall just short of being a value card in draft. Pretty sure that this card will not see play in constructed formats.

Bruce: An artifact equipment that costs 1 and then equips for 3.  It says target creature can’t be blocked, but when damage is done to destroy the creature.  There doesn’t appear to be much in the way of Hexproof creatures, but that doesn’t change much really.  The drawback is acceptable because you can play around that a bit.  No, the real issue with this card is the name.  My lord…Hot Soup?  That’s a terrible name.  There better be another card in this set called “Ice Cream” or “Frozen Blueberries” because that’s awful.

Hunter’s Ambush: 1.5

Daniel: This is an over-costed, targeted version of fog, and even though there are situations that could make the card better than fog, these are limited and the card becomes worthless in a mirror match. Doubtful to see play in draft. Even though it’s unlikely, this card may seem some sideboard play in the constructed arena this season.

Hushwing Gryff: 4.9

Daniel: Another solid for a set full of solid cards; this is a 2/1 flyer for three that has Torpor Orb Effects. This card just barely skates under my 5 rating as sideboard gold if only it had been colorless, as it stands right now this card shuts down two of the most powerful gods in my opinion (Purphoros and Karametra) as well as Eidilon of Blossoms and Gray Merchant. I expect this card to have an effect on white sideboards throughout standard and maybe even peeking its way into Modern, Legacy or Vintage. As for why to run it over Torpor Orb, well flash quite frankly is a great help. Nonetheless I hardily expect this card to make quite the impact on the game in general.

Bruce: This reminds me kind of Stifle…but on a creature.  True, it is a little more limited in scope, but the effect is very strong and comes on a creature with Flash all at the reasonable cost of 3 mana.  I feel like Control decks can’t wait to get their hands on this to shut people down even further.  I like it…maybe not a first pick in draft…but very strong and likely has a reasonable future in standard.

Hydrosurge: 2

Daniel: This card at one mana makes it a playable card in standard, but being a functional reprint of a card (Shrink) in a different color and seeing the history of that card, I do not expect this card to find its way into the constructed arena this season.

Indulgent Tormentor: 3

Daniel: When this card originally came out I was on the bandwagon for it (Of course I was also on the bandwagon for Pain Seer, and you can tell how well that worked out). After thinking about it and examining it, I began to see that it wasn’t all that I thought it was, a 5/3 Flyer for 5 isn’t great (It isn’t terrible, but it’s not great). Its ability is pretty cool, but not as good as a lot of the other choices available to players at this point. Overall, it’s a pretty cool card that hasn’t found a niche and at this point probably isn’t going to find one; not a bad card in draft, but the card’s going to have a hard time finding a home in constructed play for a long time.

Bruce: I think this is wildly powerful. 5 power fliers are nothing to laugh at, and while his 3 toughness is an issue, this guy must be answered or it will take over the game.  The ability to draw a card, at no cost to you, is super significant.  The fact that it can be countered by 3 life isn’t really an issue for you because you want your opponent to spend that life anyway, so who cares HOW it happens.  No, this will be a huge bomb.  I think this might sneak into Standard paired with Master of the Feast in some sort of B/W mid-rangey sort of deck with an Athreos just for extra good measure.

Inferno Fist: 2

Daniel: Overall, not that impressive of a card, +2/+0 for 2 is bland with the option to deal 2 straight damage for 1 red mana. I don’t expect the card to make a real splash in either draft or constructed play.

Bruce: It gives target creature +2/+2 and can be sacrificed to effectively shock something…but without the mana cost we just aren’t sure how playable this is.  At 5 mana I’d say this will only see play in Limited, if the cost is 2 or 3 it could see play in Standard in the right deck.  We’ll have to wait and see.

In Garruk’s Wake: 2

Daniel: This targeted sweeper seems pretty cool, but at 9 mana it seems very clunky and overall not costed correctly. I can see this card being run in constructed along with its namesake Garruk, Apex Predator, but only if someone can figure out the mana problem. On the other hand, this card may be too expensive of a card to run in a draft deck (well a competitive draft deck that is).

Bruce: The casting cost for this is wild, but this is not intended for a limited environment.  I figure EDH will gobble this guy up because who doesn’t love an asymmetrical wrath effect? Oh…right…everyone else you’re playing against.  Oh well, whatever…this looks fun and just the chance to shoot this one off once is well worth the story.

Invasive Species: 3

Daniel: While the judge is still out on whether effects like these are actually good in the long run, I feel like this card is well-positioned to be a work horse of the Green Enchantment decks. Besides having a cool effect that will give you a 2-for-1 on any Enchantment enter the battlefield you might have, it also works as an effectively-costed beater sitting at the 3 spot in your mana curve. I expect to see this card in constructed worked alongside Eidolon of Blossoms, if that deck takes off, but not played as much in draft as there are not as many good enchantments.

Jace, the Living Guildpact: 3

Daniel: Let it be known that I am not a Jace fan, but I hate this card, it just feels lazy. In an attempt to bring the multiverse into this set, they have brought one of the coolest moments in Magic’s history into the form of a card and just like all of the major events of the Magic multiverse they managed to screw up the card. As I’ve mentioned multiple times before, this feels like the safe version of a previously printed card in Magic, namely the most powerful planeswalker card ever printed, Jace the Mind Sculptor. As an example let’s start with his abilities, only give him a plus one, a negative three and a negative eight versus the plus two, the zero, the minus one and the negative twelve; but we’ll make up by giving him five to start with versus three. For the actual abilities, he trades brainstorm and fate seal for look at the top two take one and the other goes in the graveyard, he trades an unsummon at negative one for a boomerang at negative three and finally he trades a basically game ending final ability for card advantage. Needless to say he’s a huge step down from his old self and may in fact be one of the worst Jaces ever printed. On top of all of this the timing flavor of the card is terrible also showing up so late that he just barely makes it in before Return to Ravnica rotates, and he doesn’t feel like a Ravnica card, he feels like a blue card with no flavor. Finally, on top of having lukewarm abilities, no flavor, and just being pretty much a rip-off of a much better card he has no real sustainable way to defend himself and he need to defend himself. It’s still a planeswalker, so it would still be a good draft pick, but with Jace, Architect of Thought still in standard and hopefully a new blue planeswalker coming out in Khans of Tarkir I can’t see this card making its way into constructed any time soon.

Bruce: ANOTHER new Jace.  This guy gets all sorts of love from Wizards, and why not. The guy is a star.  His +1 allows you to filter your cards so you draw more of what you need.  Who doesn’t want to keep drawing gas?  His -2 returns ANY NON LAND PERMANENT.  Planeswalkers, Enchantments, Artifacts…they all get bounced.  That’s pretty potent, don’t overlook it.  The ultimate is fun, but not really something overly relevant.  This version of Jace does exactly what you want him to do.  He draws you cards.  Anything else relevant is a bonus.  Sure, he’s no JTMS…but he’s perfectly serviceable and will do good work.

Jalira, Master Polymorphist: 4

Daniel: This is one of those cards; one of those weird cards that will find its home and explode into almost every format. This is a card just waiting for a deck that can use it right. It feels like a card that would work outstanding in a deck with enter the battlefield abilities. Regardless, this card feels really good and truly feels like a card that will find its home one day. I don’t know about its playability in draft, but I do feel that this card will make its home in constructed play without a doubt.

Bruce: She is a 4 mana (3 colourless and a blue) for a 2/2 Legendary Human Wizard that allows you to spend 3 mana (2 colourless and 1 blue), tap her, and sacrifice another creature and then reveal cards from your library until you reveal a non legendary creature and place it on the battlefield.  Put the cards revealed back on the bottom of your library.  This will average to slightly below average in draft just because you can’t set your deck up to really take advantage of her ability.  However, in a constructed format you can use her to reveal ANY non legendary creature.  There are no other drawbacks…no limitations…no nothing.  Just flip it over and get the creature. So…Worldspine Wurm anyone?  I think there will be a bunch of people out to break this is a bunch of formats because the ability it grants and I can’t blame them.  Like I said, in draft potentially a little underwhelming but has potential for a constructed format.

Kalonian Twingrove: 3

Daniel: An overall okay card that generates card advantage by generating a token when it enters the battlefield; the only thing that stops this from being a genuinely good card is the fact that both it and its token are missing trample. I don’t expect this card to find its way into constructed play, but draft may find a use for it through the sheer fact that it is card advantage and that it is such a powerful creature in terms of its power and toughness.

Bruce:  Two creatures for six mana is very good and a potential source of significant advantage in a Mono-coloured deck.  Sadly, with no trample, evasion ,or other ability is just the prototypical “big, dumb, green creature”.  I’ll still play it in draft and I think it could be a real bruiser, but I think that is where the long term playability of this card ends.

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient: 4

Daniel: Duplicating an ability is a very powerful ability itself, it can very easily act as an engine for a very powerful combo and that seems to be the way that most of the cards in this cycle have positioned themselves to take advantage of a powerful ability; will this card make a deck that will be a serious competitor for a while? Who knows, but a powerful card nonetheless that I expect to do well in constructed play even if its play in draft is a little bit underwhelming.

Bruce: So…we all just read The Chain Veil…right?  Pair this guy with Chain veil…copy the activated ability…and you get 2 free activations of your Planeswalkers…right?! That’s how I read this one and it makes my senses tingle because that’s BUSTED.  Wow.  I don’t even WANT to think about the possibilities in other formats…but this seems pretty bananas powerful.  Johnnies…wherever you are out there…someone PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, break this one wide open and let the artifact craziness start.

Leeching Sliver: 4

Daniel: Turning all Slivers into a pulse tracker this card is cool, but without a sliver deck to run it in, the card just doesn’t seem worth it; in draft this card isn’t terrible as pulse tracker wasn’t a bad draft card, but I can’t see it running in constructed unless its backed up by a sliver deck.

Life’s Legacy: 2

Daniel: This card feels reminiscent of Momentous Fall, and just like that card (which I loved) I’ll say this, I’ve tried to make it work and it just doesn’t. At the end of the day, the cards that you wind up with at the end of the day is almost never as good as the card you have to give up to get it. Still, card advantage in draft is nothing to laugh at and this card can be a great source of that; so I’ll say while it will probably never find its way into constructed, it might be a solid card to pick up for draft purposes.

Living Totem: 2

Daniel: This card is aimed right and with convoke the card costs right, but it’s overall very unimpressive and may see very light play in draft, but not much besides this.

Master of Predicaments: 3

Daniel: This card is very interesting, it can come as either a treat or a punishment and overall I think the card is very well made to keep it from being broken at all. The only thing that keeps it from rising even higher in ranking than 3 is the fact that it’s a random ability (not good to build a deck around), and as such, there is a very real possibility that someone will thwart your plans. Still, it worked for cursed scroll and who knows it might work for this card too; don’t see much chance of it making a splash in constructed or draft play.

Bruce: A 4/4 flying sphinx for 5 mana (3 colourles and 2 blue) that when it deals damage to a player you pick a card from your hand.  They need to guess if the converted mana cost is more or less and than 4.  If they get it wrong you may cast that spell without paying its mana cost.  This will be good in limited, no doubt.  Air elemental is the same 5 mana for a vanilla 4/4.  This has an ability that could be crazy.  Any time you have the chance to pick up a spell and NOT have to pay for it is pretty big.  I’m a big fan.  I don’t know if it is good enough for a constructed format, but it looks like tons of fun for around the kitchen table!

Meditation Puzzle: 1

Daniel: Life gain even this much is almost never worth it to add to a deck, especially if it’s a one-time shot like this. It might see some very light play in draft, but overall I don’t think this card will see much play.

Bruce: 5 mana (3 colourless and 2 white ) for a sorcery with Convoke that gains 8 life.  No, I’ll pass on this.  It does NOTHING to impact the board, is sorcery speed and if you do make use of the Convoke ability to reduce the casting cost you are tapping one of your creatures further hampering yourself.  NO, this is not a card you want to run. I’m struggling even to find an upside for this one. Just pass it and keep moving.

Mercurial Pretender: 1

Daniel: I really don’t like this card, if this card was any worse it would undoubtedly be a 0 as this card still has the ability to be good in a very limited expanse it earned itself half a point, but only just barely. It is almost strictly worse than a card that was printed a year ago and that card (the better version of this one) fell flat on its face. This card is bad from every point of view. If clone couldn’t do it, I don’t see any real hope for this card either in draft or constructed play.

Bruce: I’m usually a little down on a Clone variant, but I really like this one.  Sure, it’s 5 mana  to be a Clone of another creature on the battlefield, but you can return it to your hand.  So, you can change targets, or protect it if you have to.  This makes it a considerable upgrade and gives you more flexibility.  I’m in and really like this card.

Meteorite: 1

Daniel: Dealing 3 damage generally costs 2 mana, tapping for 1 mana of any color typically costs 3 mana but Magic numbers typically are not simple math and this card is a perfect example of that. Separately, at their respective mana costs, the two cards would have been marginally playable, but together they make a 5 mana monstrosity that is nearly unplayable. On a more positive note, I love the flavor of this card, it feels very much like what a meteor should do; still I don’t feel that this card will see much play in either draft or constructed.

Bruce: A 5 mana artifact that when it enters the battlefield deals 3 damage to target creature or player and can then tap to add 1 colourless mana. Ths can’t decide what it is.  Is it a very expensive ‘Bolt or ramp?  Honestly, I look at this as just an expensive bolt spell because by 5 mana you are unlikely to be too hard pressed for the ramp ability this offers.  It’s cute and kind of funny…but if you are relying on this for “acceleration” you might find yourself behind in a lot of races.  This is just a pricey bolt spell.

Might Makes Right: 2

Daniel: With the ability to sweep away defenders or to make a strike more powerful you can see where the theme for this card came from; the card itself feels very well flavored, you’re so strong that others are afraid to go against you and join you. The card itself though is far too highly costed and comes off as one of those cards that if you can use, you probably don’t need it. Stranger things have happened however and it may be more utilized especially in draft to deal with defenders this time around; don’t see much hope of constructed play for it though.

Military Intelligence: 3

Daniel: This is one of those cards that make me mad. This is a great card in literally any color but the one it has chosen to make its home in. Now I understand that the flavor of this card, and it really does feel like a blue card, but it misses its chance to be a great card by not being in literally any other color than the one it’s in. As such and with Bident of Thassa existing in standard I can’t see this being used for anything but draft play.

Bruce: This is pretty sweet but does need the right build to maximize its use.  I could see this being an amazing card draw engine in an aggressive deck in order to pour on the beats.  The casting cost feels cheap and the fact that you get to draw cards is pretty big.  I like it, but I figure this is a mid-round pick in your draft once you’ve started getting yourself set up.

Mind Sculpt: 4

Daniel: A huge bomb in draft taking a sixth of their deck away from them, and it may finally make mill a playable strategy in constructed formats.

Miner’s Bane: 1

Daniel: 6 mana for a 6/3 creature is pretty bad, and his pseudo firebreathing doesn’t really make him any better. I do not expect many players to play this card assuming they have a choice.

Necrogen Scudder: 2

Daniel: Not the worst filler in draft if you have to take it, but there are better choices no matter what you’re playing. As a side note, do not expect this card to come into the constructed formats any time soon.

Necromancer’s Assistant: 2

Daniel: I’m sure there are some situations, where it’s actually beneficial to put cards into your graveyard, but not for me without some bonus. Dredge is not currently a viable strategy in Standard, but maybe it will be at some point this season. A 3/1 creature for 3 isn’t terrible, so overall not the worst draft pick out there. Long story short, this card just doesn’t do it just yet to be considered a good card in either constructed or draft play.

Necromancer’s Stockpile: 3

Daniel: Do the advantages of this card outweigh the negatives? Almost definitely; discard a card to put a creature into play then draw a card to make up for the one you just discarded, it’s essentially getting a creature onto the field without losing any cards from your hand. The real question is, what creature card is worth discarding to play down a vanilla 2/2? The answer may be found in Dredge and Reanimator, but not too much besides that. On the other hand, may be very cool to run in draft.

Bruce: A 2 mana enchantment that allows you spend 1 colourless and a black to discard a card to draw a card.  If you discarded a Zombie you get a 2/2 zombie token that comes into play tapped.  This is a Zombie deck’s dream come true.  I can pitch my zombie, draw MORE zombies, and still get a Zombie Token?! Yes Please! How relevant in draft?  Who knows.  I’m not the guy to find out as I usually avoid the Zombie strategy, but I know some casual players who will gobble this one up!

Netcaster Spider: 3

Daniel: This card is probably a good defense against flying in draft, but not likely to see a whole lot of play in constructed.

Nissa, Worldwaker: 4

Daniel: Just barely holding onto the number 4 slot, just like her predecessor, is Nissa, Worldwaker; an over-costed planeswalker that just doesn’t feel worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, the card’s abilities are pretty awesome and feel well-costed if you can get enough of them off. Her first ability makes a creature to defend her, I like that, and a 4/4 at that. Her second untaps 4 lands making her ability to accelerate your mana base heroic; jumping from 5 mana turn 3 or 4 to 9 or 10 next turn. Her final is definitely heroic and will leave the Timmy in all of you happy to play magic with an army of 4/4 creatures with trample fit to take down any kingdom. It’s a fun card and will almost assuredly be picked up by any Timmy casual players out there, not to mention, all of her abilities are plus abilities with the exception of her ultimate. It may even be run in a few standard decks for a little while; and while I hate to use the adage well it’s not good because blah blah blah dies to blah blah, it is relevant here. She is a 5-drop planeswalker with only plus one abilities that dies to a lightning bolt… a lightning bolt. (Or for you standard players out there, Searing Blood) Her protection is good, and she is a fun card, but she is too much work to get killed off by a lightning bolt.

Bruce: Wow…so for the first time in a long time the Green Planeswalker isn’t Garruk.  Nissa makes a comeback and she looks pretty amazing.  For 5 mana you get a 3 loyalty Planeswalker.  She has two +1 abilities.  The first one turns a land into a 4/4 elemental.  That’s always sweet.  The second one allows you to untap 4 forests.  4 FORESTS! That’s ridiculous and ramps you like nuts.  Her Ultimate just makes you an army of 4/4 land elementals by tutoring up your WHOLE deck worth of lands.  In limited she’ll be out-right amazing and turns those draws where you get a whole slough of lands into 4/4 creatures (which is actually a very good size). I would like to think that she will see play in some sort of Mono-Green Devotion Strategy…but we’ll see.  Still, she’s very solid.

Nissa’s Expedition: 3

Daniel: Fetching up 2 lands is typically a pretty good ability, but this card will have a tough time finding a home with a mana cost of 5, even if it has convoke. I guess this card may splash in draft a little bit, but I don’t see it finding its way into a constructed deck any time soon.

Obelisk of Urd: 2

Daniel: Adding 2 to the power and toughness of all of your creatures is nothing to sneeze at, but doing so for 6 even with Convoke seems a little shaky. Not to mention it can only help creatures of a specific type, it’s interesting and strong if you can get it out, but at the end of the day it doesn’t feel worth it. I can see this card potentially run in draft as well as a few token standard decks, but that’s about all.

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled: 4

Daniel: This is another one of those cards that really needs to find a deck to get a higher place on the list. It’s really sad for Avacyn to come out and be overshadowed by her opposite in two separate sets (First it was Griselbrand in Avacyn restored and Ob Nixilis does this handily with his stats and abilities alone). He could have sat at a 4 with just Flying, Trample and his second passive ability and still be more than a match for any creature in any draft match, but it’s his 1 passive ability that his potential may truly lie. A huge punishment for those that decide to use fetch lands or search through their decks for combo pieces; not to mention, with a way to make your opponent search through their library, it’s a fast track to the end of the game. The card definitely has the potential to get there and I can’t wait to see what players do with it. I expect to see this card in draft a lot and to find it in quite a few decks if someone can figure out how to break it.

Bruce: Whoa! Ok, this is a 4/4 flying demon with trample for 6 mana (4 colourless and 2 black) that has some scary abilities.  First off, any time your opponent searches his or her library they must sacrifice a creature and lose 10 life.  Whenever a creature dies it also gets a +1/+1 counter. That first ability is stupid powerful and could be seriously abused…heck…I bet people are already proxying up this guy for all sorts of format just to punish fetchlands, tutoring, or other tricks that let you search through your deck.  The other ability is neat, but much less relevant in constructed…and very relevant in Limited where there are far more creatures and the possibility to pick up a large number of counters. All in all, this is pretty strong in almost any format even at 6 mana and likely a first pick.

Paragon of ______, Kird Chieftan, Sunblade Elf, Nightfire Giant, Jorubai Murk Lurker, Dauntless River Marshall: 3

Daniel: Sitting comfortably at a solid 3 is this cycle of cards that make friends or themselves more powerful based on the lands and colors you control. While I don’t expect any of these cards to make too large of a splash in any format, the best looking of the entire cycle are the Sunblade Elf (Marginally playable in standard GW decks and maybe even a modern deck or two) and Paragon of Open Graves and Paragon of Gathering Mists (which will allow you extra flying or creature destruction in draft). Overall though, the whole cycle seems fairly bland and they almost seem a little forced in the grand scheme of things; on the other side of things I did like the throwback to Kird Ape through Kird Chieftain. With only an exception or two I feel like these cards may be bland filler for any deck, and as such not see much play in either draft or constructed outside of a very limited expanse.

Perilous Vault: 5

Daniel: If I’ve seen anything it’s how much decks love board wipes and this is one of the most powerful ones ever created. I expect this card to find its way into just about every format, the tron decks in most formats, the control decks, and Scapeshift decks. Basically any deck that wants the field clear of just about everything but lands and has the mana to activate this card would be able to use it… might be hard in blue, but it still is a pretty solid card for them too.

Phytotitan: 3

Daniel: I like this card, I really like this card; but one word separates this card from being a truly outstanding if not broken card, and that is the word trample. Without this word, the card just feels weak and easily held off; not capable of scoring a hit almost ever. Still, I would definitely suggest picking this card up in draft, even though it’ll probably never see constructed play.

Bruce: Big Plant elemental huh? The fact that this is pretty tough to kill is kind of fun, but this cards feels like a trap.  Let’s imagine, your opponent attacks and you block with Phytotitan…wait…it’s a 7/2, why are you blocking with this?  Ok, change the scenario…YOU are attacking and your opponent blocks the Plant Elemental and it dies.  It goes to your graveyard where it stays for the rest of this turn, and then for your opponent’s turn, and then you get your turn again.  So, untap your stuff…upkeep…get Phytotitan back tapped…tapped? Aww crap. So, now it’s tapped thoughout your whole next turn and your opponent’s next turn before it can FINALLY untap and be useful. No thanks.  It’s cute and is kind of interesting, but the low toughness means this dies to readily, and then comes back to slowly.  If you see him, grab him and try him out, but I wouldn’t rate this one overly highly.

Pillar of Light: 3

Daniel: A workhorse in draft that won’t be played much outside of it because there are many cards in almost all formats that are better.

Bruce:  This is an inexpensive way to take out their fatty and the nice feature is that it exiles the creature meaning that it just goes away.  Solid and relatively inexpensive makes this very playable and solid mid-round pick up.

Polymorphist’s Jest: 5

Daniel: Acting as a functional reprint of Humility, this card has its advantages and disadvantages over that card. Its advantages come from being a surprise (Instant), and working on only 1 player. The disadvantage comes from being temporary (Instant). I would definitely pick this card up if I was running blue in draft as it has the ability to turn a game into a complete blow out and with its abilities as they are I highly expect this card to be run in formats throughout magic if for nothing else than to deal with Emrakul.

Preeminent Captain: 3

Daniel: I actually struggled to place this card correctly, it’s another of those cards that attempts to card a card previously printed (Hero of Bladehold in this case) and make it more what they meant it to do. In this case, that meant scaling back both the power and mana cost. Did it work? Well if they meant to make it weaker, they succeeded, this card is a shadow of its former self, but they may have taken it too far. Don’t get me wrong in draft this card makes the cut into most white decks, but in constructed this card has just been too weakened to be any type of serious contender.

Bruce: A Kithkin soldier that when it attacks allows you to play soldier cards from your hand for free.  If this is going to be a herald of a Soldier Tribal feel to this set then this will be well poised to take full advantage of it.  I like this for draft…and am intrigued about the future of White weenies soldier decks when this gets mixed in with Theros and such.  There could be some possibilities there.

Profane Memento: 1

Daniel: Just like the staffs in this set, this card just doesn’t feel worth the card spot it plays in; would be interesting to see it play against a token deck though. This card may enjoy limited draft play, but I would be very surprised to see it take on a more dominant role than this.

Quickling: 3

Daniel: Quickling is a solid 2/2 with flying for 2. It has Flash and makes you return a permanent to your hand. Everything I said for evasive species also applies to this card except in your two spot. My one complaint with this card is the fact that it sits in blue versus green, but with Flash and Flying it almost overcomes this complaint. This card will most likely see a fair amount of draft play as well as a fair amount of play in constructed play as both a bounce spell to protect your creatures as well as getting double the effects out of your creature cards.

Bruce: This is another very strong card because a 2/2 flying “Bear” with Flash is very good…even if you have the drawback.  I could see this in Standard in a Mono-blue Devotion or a G/U Flash deck because a 2/2 flier for 2 mana is quite good. In draft he’ll also be very strong and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Radiant Fountain: 1

Bruce: It taps for colourless mana, has incidental life gain and won’t hurt you.  This is playable so long as it doesn’t dilute your land base for your draft deck. It’s a little lackluster but generally quite playable

Reclaimation Sage: 3

Daniel: Overall, this is a pretty cookie cutter creature; a little over-costed for its power and toughness, but with an ability to destroy an enchantment or artifact that may be extremely relevant in this format. I don’t know how much draft play this will see as it isn’t terribly relevant to destroy artifacts or enchantments in this set, but I could see this run as a side board card in both draft and constructed play.

Bruce: This is naturalize on a stick…so…yeah you’ll draft this and you’ll run this all day.  Again, this could creep into standard because with Theros block remaining after rotation there could be a heavy preponderance of enchantments running around and this guy kills them dead. This is just a solid card with value.

Resolute Archangel: 3

Daniel: A solid creature with a powerful ability, but it’s mana cost is too high; might see draft play, but anything beyond that would be a stretch.

Bruce: You’ll draft this as the top of your curve if you are in white and you’ll be ok about it.  4/4 for 7 is steep, but the ability to re-stabilize your life total is actually a pretty big swing. This will never emerge in Standard but I could imagine this seeing play in EDH as well to really put the screws to someone.

Return to the Ranks: 2/3

Daniel: I like cards like this, heck, at one point one of my favorite cards was Death Denied, but I can’t get my head around this card showing up right now. It’s the converted mana cost two or less that really does it for me. The card just feels like it showed up at the wrong time and for that, I don’t like the card, especially when you consider how well the rest of the set is themed and timed. With its high mana cost, I don’t see this as too major a player in either draft or constructed play.

Bruce: It also has convoke in an effort to hep keep the casting cost down and hit this one for cheaper.  The ability to bring back creatures to the battlefield is a powerful ability, but this one is limited with the exception of in the right aggressive strategy.  Creatures with a casting cost of 2 or less means you are going for an aggro approach in your draft to maximize the effectiveness of this card, but in other more mid-range builds it might not have that many legal targets.  All in all, a little limited in terms of the decks that want this, but the ability is unmistakably powerful.

Rogue’s Gloves: 3

Daniel: A solid card to pick up in draft that just feels like it came out at the wrong time. In draft this card will help you get to where you need to be in terms of card advantage, but in constructed, Bident of Thassa feels like the better choice.

Rotfeaster Maggot: 1

Daniel: I thought all Maggots ate rot… so shouldn’t this card be called Maggot then… anyway, this is another card of the set that comes down and just feels altogether too high-costed for what it does. A 3/3 for 5 is very unimpressive and its ability doesn’t do a whole lot either. Overall, it might see a tiny bit of play in draft but anything more than that would be a stretch.

Bruce: Terrible name…urgh.  Ok, this is a playable card but you aren’t going to be thrilled about it.  A 3/3 for 5 is ok and the incidental life gain is nice, but it’s not going to pump itself or gain any extra power or toughness or abilities after consuming the creature…which is a shame…but it is still a perfectly playable card.  So, while being a half step better than a vanilla creature, it’s still nothing to write home about.

Sacred Armory: 1

Daniel: This card costs 2 mana to get out and 2 mana to increase target creature by +1/+0, and the added power doesn’t even stay on, this card is over-costed with an over-costed ability. I don’t expect this card to see just about any play in either draft or constructed play.

Sanctified Charge: 2

Daniel: An interesting card that can be vital to a token draft deck; at 5 mana it will be hard for this card to make it out of draft however without trample.

Scrapyard Mongrel: 2

Daniel: Let’s talk about this card for what it is a vanilla 3/3 for 4 with the ability to become a 5/3 with trample. At 5/3 with trample for 4 it would be a pretty solid draft pull, but as it stands right now it’s only an okay draft card and almost unplayable outside of draft.

Scuttling Doom Engine: 4

Daniel: Strong creature with slight evasion and powerful ability when it dies, may see some standard play and work its way into a few interesting combo decks, but overall limited play I believe. On the other hand, the can be card is a powerhouse in draft and has the power to win you the game all by itself potentially.

Seraph of the Masses: 2

Daniel: 7 mana on this card, enough said; it’s far too much for this card, even if it has Convoke. This card may be run in a token draft deck, but play outside of that would be a stretch.

Bruce: She costs 7 to cast  and carries convoke and flying.  This will be a popular card in white weenie strategies where if you flood the board with cheap creatures and then tap them to reduce to reduce her mana cost with the Convoke ability…and then in turn she could be a powerful bomb particularly at the uncommon slot.  Still, you may not want to tap down your team to get her out early and 7 is steep.  She could close out a game in a hurry…or lead to blow out central.  I’m still pretty in on this one.

Shadowcloak Vampire: 2

Daniel: An over-costed creature at 5 mana for a 4/3 that gains flying if you’re willing to give up half the life that it will take away from your opponent if it hits, as it stands this creature is not really worth the cost to cast it; the card may enjoy some limited play in draft, but anything outside of that would be pushing it.

Bruce: 5 mana  for a 4/3 vampire that can also gain flying if you pay 2 life.  This is the sort of meat and potatoes creature every deck needs.  It has decent stats. It isn’t horrible from a cost perspective.  It could even gain flying for a little evasion.  No, this is a decent pick for Black and will be a useful addition to your deck.

Shield of the Avatar: 3

Daniel: At its mana cost even its basic values are solid for its mana cost. Giving a creature pseudo regenerating toughness the creature is worth the 1 to play and 2 to equip. Will it see much play? Probably not; it doesn’t leave you with any wow factor and it doesn’t do anything too impressive. It’s certainly value for its cost and I would consider picking up one if I saw it round 3 or 4 of a pack. The card has the potential for limited play in both standard and draft.

Bruce: I could see this be a useful card in an aggressive deck looking to flood the board and attack an opponent quickly.  You could equip this on your biggest creature to ensure it stays alive and then attack with near impunity.  This could be a fun card and make combat very tricky to deal with a threat, but I’m not sure it’s constructed worthy.

Siege Dragon: 3

Daniel: Someone, somewhere, one day in R&D decided that there should be a format for certain flying creatures (1-4 mana and 1-3 p/t for birds, etc.), and one of those thing that they decided on was dragons; the format has held true in recent memory for 98% of all dragons, that format is Flying, mana cost between 5 and 7, power and toughness between 4 and 6, with some effect that corresponds to dragons and done. This format turns them from the unique creatures called dragons we used to see into something bland that comes off as a 5th string draft pick sometimes. This is another one of these, its abilities are cool and it even seems fairly well costed for its abilities, power and toughness, but that’s it. A definite play in draft if you see it, as well as a potentially but doubtful play in constructed because of Stormbreath Dragon.

Bruce: OK, I’m not sure, but this seems very powerful in a limited environment.  Walls aren’t usually a big thing and so the wall clause is a little weird.  The second part basically wipes out the whole ground game of your opponent whenever this critter attacks. Notice it doesn’t even need to deal damage, just attack.  This is a first pick bomb because it can totally warp the board in your favour.

Sliver Hive: 5

Daniel: This is a card that has the same ability as Sliver Queen… on a land… it has so much potential as a power house that it may just get banned in Standard if they print too many good Slivers in this set. By and large it reinforces the logic that R&D is trying to bring Slivers back into Modern without having them corrupt Standard, but who knows, I could be very wrong and just like the Slivers printed in M14 this card could fall flat on its face, only time will tell. If you’re planning on running a Sliver deck in either draft or constructed this card is almost a necessity and if Slivers become a thing again this card will see quite a bit of play in constructed.

Sliver Hivelord: 6

Daniel: This card and all of the others like it may just bring tribal slivers back into the competitive zone of play in almost every format. This is an insanely powerful card that basically ends the game once it hits the field in a sliver deck unless your opponent can find an answer in a short period of time. If you’re running a deck that already runs 5 colors or you run Slivers, this is another one of those cards that you almost have to run.

Bruce: 5 colour 5/5 legendary Sliver…and makes them all indestructible.  Yuck! Clearly an EDH  card and will haunt casual and multiplayer meta games with sliver decks.  I see no real appeal for him in draft because there isn’t a critical mass of sliver cards in this set (unless they start popping up soon in the spoilers!).  No, this is for other formats that are supported by Wizards…making this one feel a little out of place.

Soul of _____: 3 or 4 depending on which one you’re talking about.

Daniel: All of these Soul Cards Pretty much fall into the same lot for me, they don’t feel terribly costed and their abilities are not terrible, the cards just don’t give me a lot of feeling dragging me down to a 3. I’ve actually already decided I love the Soul of New Phyrexia and am picking up a foil once they start selling them. They actually remind me a lot of the colossus out of Theros, definitely a bomb in draft, but overall pretty hard to build a deck around in constructed formats; that all being said, I like the idea of flashback effects on creatures and with a lower mana cost they’d probably be something that was run quite a bit. The cards may see their day and not be staples or a prime card in the deck, but a nice component of a standard deck nonetheless.

Spectra Ward: 3

Daniel: Not a bad card giving a target +2/+2 and protection from colors but at 5 mana the card seems bulky; as such a big card to play in draft, but I feel that it’s play in constructed will be limited.

Bruce: I’m usually luke warm on Auras, and this one is not much different.  5 mana for +2/+2 and protection from all colours. Now, I get the fact that protection from all colours ALMOST makes this untouchable, but the real question is…what else could you be doing with 5 mana?  The answer is lots. Maybe with the Boonweaver Giant…I don’t know.  But there are a decent number of artifact creatures and such that just might be able to render this less powerful (Perilous Vault is a thing…just saying).  I’m willing to try it out because I love the protection from all colours, but I’m leery of the 5 casting cost.

Stain the Mind: 3

Daniel: A functional reprint of Memoricide that plays almost identical to the original. The one difference between this and the original is the fact that you add 1 mana to it and add convoke to the mix. As with its predecessor, I do not expect this card to be run too heavily in either draft or constructed play. 

Statute of Denial: 3

Daniel: An okay Counter Spell that comes off as much too expensive; the marginal benefit of drawing and discarding a card does not make up for the added cost. Counter Spells are rarely run in draft and there are better Counter Spells that are better than this in the current meta, so I don’t expect this card to be run too heavily.

Stoke the Flames: 4

Daniel: This feels like one of the best convoke spells in the set, sitting comfortably in red and with potential to be directly adopted into red decks across the board, this feels like the right card at the right time.

Sungrace Pegasus: 3

Daniel: A solid card that gets you value in draft with its lifelink and flying; outside of draft this card will most likely not be played too frequently, if at all.

Bruce: Flyers with Lifelink are pretty key and great targets for augmentation. At 2 mana this is also suitably costed and with 2 toughness means that it avoids MOST (not all) of the mini-sweepers in this set.

The Chain Veil: 5

Daniel: Being able to play a planeswalker’s ability twice a turn is awesome, but for 4 you have to question if it’s good enough for its cost; still a potentially powerful card that may just see its time in the sun and break a few decks (I’m thinking Tron featuring Karn would love this card… maybe). In draft I do not believe that planeswalkers will be drafted heavily enough to really make this card worth playing.

Bruce: Ok, here is the little beauty that has caused all this fuss with Garruk and friends. First, let’s just get this straight…this will likely be terrible in draft.  Enough said.  However, in Constructed this could be SUPER abused. There are tons of Planeswalkers floating around for people to pick from and getting an extra activation off each of them is down right filthy.  I’m not convinced it’s going to make an impact in Standard, but there are going to be a bunch people out there trying their hardest to bust this and make the “Super Friends” deck a real and scary option.

Triplicate Spirits: 2

Daniel: It’s not a terrible card and convoke brings it to a more reasonable level, but 6 mana is a little bit much for a spell like this; might see limited play in both draft and standard for its ability to create card advantage and creatures.

Bruce:  6 mana for 3 spirits is steep but you can reduce the casting cost because it does have convoke meaning it could see play earlier.  I think this pairs nicely with your Seraph of the Masses and can lead to a pretty heavy white weenie deck, but the flying tokens are always useful.  SIGH…I miss Lingering Souls…oh well.

Tyrant’s Machine: 2

Daniel: While the utility of tapping down a creature every turn may not be so useful in constructed, it can be extremely useful in draft. This card in particular may be too expensive to use in draft however, depending on your deck and most likely no play in draft.

Ulcerate: 4

Daniel: -3/-3 for one; the life loss on this card hurts but isn’t that bad. Overall, the card is a pretty solid removal card that will probably see a good amount of play in Standard next season. Removal is a very powerful force in draft so you can be almost sure that it will see quite a bit of play in draft as well.

Bruce: Usually 1 mana removal spells at Instant speed are pretty good.  The trade-off is stiff, but if you’re in black you are likely willing to make that trade.  Solid removal and well worth the early pick in a draft.

Undergrowth Scavenger: 3

Daniel: This card could be extremely powerful and cost-effectively; the only problem is that with its mana cost and its ability it will spend a large portion of the game being a dead card and eating up a spot in your hand, still can be a huge bomb in draft so consider it if you’re running green with a lot of small creatures.

Unmake the Graves: 1

Daniel: A strictly worse card than a card (Urborg Uprising) that was already pretty terrible, enough said. This card is not terribly playable in either draft or constructed play.

Venom Sliver: 4

Daniel: Slivers have been getting some awesome prints in this set and this card just continues to contribute to this tradition. A 1/1 deathtoucher for 2 is already a pretty solid pick in draft, but putting it on a sliver makes the card almost, if not wholeheartedly good enough to run in a constructed deck.

Vine Weft: 3

Daniel: A card that can give +1/+1 for 1 is pretty good, especially if you can recur that card, but the card feels underwhelming at best. It will probably be played in draft if the player is playing green, but play in constructed will be something that’s almost impossible for this card.

Void Snare: 3

Daniel: A lot like Boomerang (except as is the theme with this set a little bit weaker for cheaper), I think this card competes well with Boomerang as a standalone card in many situations. I think the added value of making it more cost effective adds more than you lose to the weakening of the card. I believe this card will be playable in both constructed and draft.

Bruce: The sad part is that this is at sorcery speed and not instant (if this were instant speed it would be amazing).  All the same, this is still a very solid ability and nicely costed at 1.  Blue players will draft this and play it regularly.  However, I don’t think this will see much play in Standard because sorcery speed bounce spells aren’t really in demand.

Wall of Limbs: 3

Daniel: I tend to think that 3 mana for a 0/3 Defender is pretty terrible, but this card works each time you gain life which is a pretty good ability. The second ability is a little bit much but can win you the game if you gain life frequently enough.

Warden of the Beyond: 3

Daniel: For an uncommon, a 2/2 with vigilance isn’t terrible; one that can pump up to a 4/4 with vigilance will not break any decks and probably won’t break out of draft, but still a solid card at a good price.

Bruce: I like the feel of this.  A 2/2 for 3 isn’t bad, and vigilance helps…but if you trigger that bonus you have really got something.  It usually isn’t too hard to exile something so I feel like it could happen more often than not.  A solid pick for a deck playing White.

Waste Not: 4

Daniel: This is the hallmark of the deck and it begs to ask the question, is it strong enough to carry the set? This is the fan created card and it feels cool, it feels right, and it might just make discard work in Modern again. Is this a likely scenario? No, but one can hope; I love the rack decks in Modern and would love for one of them to succeed for once. Is it the set carrier we all hoped for? Probably not… am I gonna try to pick up a full playset if the price is fair? Most definitely; I don’t think this card has a chance in standard, but if someone manages to build a working discard deck in constructed I think the card will be a powerful addition to that deck.

Witch’s Familiar: 2

Daniel: This card is a vanilla 2/3 creature for 3 mana, the way creatures used to be. All things considered I kind of wish magic was still like this sometimes. That being said I can’t see this card being played too much.

Will-Forged Golem: 2

Daniel: A vanilla 4/4 for 6 with convoke makes this card almost strictly worse than a 4/4 for 4; this card won’t see much play in either constructed or draft.

Xathrid Slyblade: 3

Daniel: This is one of my favorite cards in the entire set, it reminds me very much of Bogles for Black. At 3 and 4 mana to activate its ability, I fear that this card may see less play than it deserves. It has a great amount of protection, when sitting, it sits under the shroud of Hexproof and while swinging in if blocked you can switch it over to Death Touch and First Strike (I like to call it Death Strike). This card feels very good and well-defended for its cost without being broken, however the mana cost to play and to activate may be too high for this card to ever really see play.

Bruce: Hmmm…this one is a bit of mixed bag. Hexproof is interesting because I usually assume it is an ability that is Blue or Green…not Black, but it fits in a flavour sense if you think about an assassin. For 3 colourless and a 1 black Slyblade loses Hexproof and gains deathtouch and first strike. So, that pretty much makes it a nasty blocker and just kills stuff dead.  So, in limited this will be a very solid card and can jump out of the shadows and take down all sorts of things.  In constructed I feel like this is just a little frail.  I mean, Bassara Tower Archer has the same 2/1 body with hexproof (and reach too) but isn’t intending to be used extensively as a blocker unless you’ve dressed it up with some “pants”.  However, with Slyblade you aren’t likely to have mana to put pants on it, do anything else, AND keep up the mana to activate the deathtouch and first strike abilities.  So, either it doesn’t block, or it becomes a speed bump for something larger.  Nice.  It’s still pretty sweet, but likely doesn’t cut it for a constructed format.

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard: 3

Daniel: This card comes from a cycle of cards that I’ve actually been a huge fan of in this set, it’s the well we made it in the past, but now let’s fix it set. My biggest problem with Yisan is the fact that he feels slow and with as weak as he is, this slowness may cost him his spot as a good card; but let’s take a step back and look at the positives of this card for a second, he is based off of 2 of the best cards in the modern meta (In my opinion), those cards being Aether Vial and Birthing Pod, and for his mana cost he’s overall not a terrible creature (I could ask for better, but I’m just nit-picking). While this card could be turned into a powerhouse in the right deck, just like most of the others of this cycle it feels like more of a stretch for this card, but who knows, he may have his own spot in the Melira Pod modern deck in the future.

Bruce: This is something interesting that might catch the imagination of some “johnnies” out there.  The stats alone aren’t bad, although 3 toughness sets it up to get burned out pretty quick…but I digress. The real interesting part is that for 2 colourless, a green and tap ability.  This has a very “Birthing Pod” feel to it…and if anyone is wondering Birthing Pod is VERY MUCH A THING! So, the options here seem pretty high and the ability to abuse it is pretty sweet…but in a draft environment you may not be able to take full advantage of the ability.  I could see this migrating to a constructed environment and be abused with the high quality cards…so sit tight on this guy. I have only one complaint with this and it is that this feels like it should be an elf and not a human rogue.  It is just a minor complaint, I know, but one that I think makes sense considering cards like Elvish Piper and such exist.

 

Notable Reprints:

Back to Nature Not that valuable of a card, but in a format saturated with enchantments, a card like this with such a low mana cost is an outstanding card),

Chord of Calling A card being a $20 straight out of the gate reprint makes this card definitely worth picking up if you get the chance

Convoke Because it would be the preface to about 90 cards in the set I believe I should address this mechanic here, it feels pretty good in this set and it feels right with token decks seeming to come more into the fold right now, so 10/10 on the timing of bringing back this mechanic Wizards

Juggernaut Just wanted to mention the new art on Juggernaut, it’s amazing

Lightning Strike I guess a theme going for Wizards as seen in the reprint of this card is the printing of a lot of downgraded versions of older cards, changing the classics of the game like lightning bolt into the tamer lightning strike, or maybe I’m over-reacting and this is just Wizards deciding that two lightning bolt look-alikes in Standard is too much

Pain Lands Releasing lands that are marginally worse than the Shock Lands seems to be a new theme with Magic’s R&D Department, in their own way, in some situations, the pain lands may actually be better than the shock lands, but that’s for you to decide

Phyrexian Revoker The reprinting of the fixed Pithing Needle, while not terribly exciting, it is worth noting as the card is sided in many decks

Tormod’s Crypt This card may have been reprinted a few times, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less good than the original printing. There’s a reason this card is run in just about every format, and that reason is because there aren’t many better graveyard hates than this card 

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth Extremely powerful and ran in multiple formats, enough said

Wall of Frost  I know it’s pretty boring compared to the rest of the set, but this is an example of one of the best walls in the entire game

 

 

by The Will of the Floral Spuzzem
Daniel Clayton
Twitter: @DC4VP

 

 

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Avatar Three Kings Loot - June 18, 2014

M15 Core Set – Intro Decks

M15 Intro Deck: Price of Glory

M15 Intro Deck: Hit The Ground Running

M15 Intro Deck: Infernal Intervention

M15 Intro Deck: Dragon’s Hoard

M15 Intro Deck: Will Of The Masses

 

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Avatar Three Kings Loot - April 12, 2014

The Duels of the Planeswalkers – Magic 2015

Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers will be out this summer on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, iPad, Android, and Kindle.

Magic 2015 Duels of the Planeswalkers

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