Tag: magic-the-gathering-strategy

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Kyle A Massa Kyle A Massa - March 28, 2016

5 Quick Prerelease Tips

Heir-of-Falkenrath
Play the Ten Drop – 5 Quick Prerelease Tips


Ah, the prerelease. The first time we get to play with those shiny new cards. It’s also one of the few times of the year that we get to play Sealed deck (which may or may not be an exciting prospect, depending on your tastes.) Eh, whatever
––just hope for a bomb.

If you’ve never been to a prerelease before or just want a refresher, here are some quick tips, tricks, and suggestions for having a good time!

 

Do a Little Research Beforehand

You’ve probably already checked out the spoiler, but it never hurts to go a little deeper. Consider the strengths of the colors, the possible synergies, the cards you’d be thrilled to open and the cards you’d rather not see. For instance, if you made a vampire deck, it might help to consider a hypothetical ratio of discard enablers to madness spells. This helps for faster and better deck construction.

 

Find Your Bombs

Sealed deck, more so than draft, is a bomb driven format. A bomb is basically a card that, if unanswered, will win you the game by itself. Think Archangel Avacyn, Arlinn Kord, Sigarda, Heron’s Gracethose kinds of cards.

A word of warning: don’t be deceived by rarity. Despite the above examples, a rare (or even a mythic rare) does not a bomb make. Altered Ego is a great example. Sure, it’s a big, splashy spell with a unique effect, and it’s rare. But is it the kind of card that’s going to win you the game all by itself? Eh, probably not.

 

Be Kind

I see a lot of new players showing up for prereleases, which is outstanding. I think it’s because prereleases are generally a little less intimidating than, say, Modern tournaments. People are usually pretty laid back about the whole thing.

That said, I still see experienced players being totally unforgiving at prereleases. They just roll the new players and then walk away.

Am I saying that you should let the new player win? No, absolutely not. You paid good money to play, so you absolutely have the right to play hard and win. Furthermore, if you let the inexperienced player win, they’re not really learning how to play and they’re not getting any better.

However, if you notice that your opponent made a huge mistake in games one and two, you can definitely try to give a little advice. A lot of new players will appreciate it. You can say something like, “Hey, I’ve found that this works pretty well,” or, “I tried doing this and I love it.” Sometimes it’s tough to give advice without sounding like a know-it-all, but it can make a huge difference.

 

Throw Out Your Packaging

Maybe this is just a pet peeve, but packaging always seems to gravitate toward the middle of the table, where it clumps and turns into a gigantic mess for the store owners to clean up. You might say, “Who cares? They can just throw it out.” And sure, they can. But remember that these people are giving you a place to play Magic every week, and that they work long hours for not a whole lot.

Do them a favor. Show your appreciation by walking to the trash can and throwing out the wrappers. It’s not that hard.

 

Have a Good Time

I think this one’s pretty self-explanatory. Magic is the best game there is––but it’s still just a game. Just go and have some fun. If you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose. The most important part is having a good time.

 

In Parting…

Have any amazing prerelease stories? Did you flip your Westvale Abbey into Ormendahl? Did you make a successful investigate deck? Did you kill someone with Triskaidekaphobia? Tell us your prerelease story in the comments below!


By Kyle A. Massa – Play the Ten Drop

You can reach Kyle at @mindofkyleam on Twitter or through his site www.kyleamassa.com

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Kyle A Massa Kyle A Massa - March 18, 2016

Optimizing Your EDH Fun

Play the Ten Drop – Optimizing Your EDH Fun

By Kyle A. Massa

evacuation

When most people sit down to play a game, they play to win. That axiom is true of sports, video games, board games, and, of course, Magic.

But I’ve been playing Magic for thirteen years now, and the more I play, the more I see what makes the game special: you don’t always need to win to have fun.

No other format illustrates this notion better than Elder Dragon Highlander. For those who don’t know about the format’s origins, a bunch of judges dreamed it up to pass time between rounds at tournaments. If there’s one tenant which EDH was built upon, it’s casual fun.

Now when we talk about fun in EDH, it’s not just about you having fun. It might be fun for you to pull off one of your numerous Niv-Mizzet combos and wreck boards. But how fun is that for your three friends? Or what about that Derevi stax deck you have that taps down the whole board, destroys lands, and generally makes life miserable for everyone? Sure, you’ll win most games with it. But if your idea of a good time is slowly killing your friends, you probably won’t have friends to play with for much longer. Also, you might be a sociopath.

Instead, why not try something that’s fun for the whole table?

Let me give you an example. I built a Zedruu the Greathearted deck a few years ago that focused on giving away the absolute worst permanents you could think of. I’m talking stuff like Grid Monitor, Aggressive Mining, Statecraft––basically, R&D’s cruel jokes that somehow made it through to release. The deck played well and won me plenty of games.

But here’s what I began to notice––first off, no one liked to play against it. In fact, my friends would groan whenever I took it out, and then they’d just start attacking me right away. The fun of those games seeped away because the objective for all my friends changed from “How do I win?” to “How do I not lose to the goat overlord?”

So I tried something new. I deconstructed my perfectly serviceable Zedruu deck and created something much…stranger, we’ll say. I added cards with Will of the Council on them, fun creatures like Arjun, the Shifting Flame, and just plain wacky stuff like Warp World. When making the deck, I went in knowing it wouldn’t win many games. But that wasn’t the point. The point of the deck was to make each game unpredictable, and fun––and not just for me.

So I brought my deck back, and when I took it out, I got plenty of groans again. And then on turn two, I played Liar’s Pendulum, which is definitely not what one might call a competitive card. Everyone knew something was different.

After we played, all anyone wanted to talk about was the Zedruu deck and how much fun it was to play against. They loved the interactive cards, the way I gave away fun creatures, and how they felt challenged––but noticeably not frustrated––when playing against it.

And it was a funny thing. I didn’t win the game. In fact, I didn’t even come close to winning. If you judged the deck on game performance alone, it was horrendous. But, that being said, I and my friends  actually had more fun playing with the ostensibly worse version of the deck.

Thanks again, goat lady. You’ve given us all so much.

To reiterate, there’s nothing wrong with playing to win. You wouldn’t show up to a GP with a Hedron Archive deck, right? (Well, actually, I might do that, but that’s not the point.) All I ask is that you try building an EDH deck that’s main focus isn’t killing everyone immediately. You might be surprised at what you find.

Here’s a decklist for those interested in trying it out!

 

By Kyle A. Massa – Play the Ten Drop
You can reach Kyle at @mindofkyleam on Twitter or through his site www.kyleamassa.com

 

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JP Vazquez JP Vazquez - March 16, 2016

An Intro to Intros

Optimum Jank – An Intro to Intros

goblin-recruiter

So You Want to be a Magic Player?

Welcome to the world of Magic: The Gathering. A world filled with nuanced heroes in troubled circumstances, interesting monsters that are often more than they appear to be, captivating worlds begging to be explored and fantastic spells that bend the reality of those worlds. Somewhere in that mix, there just happens to be a pretty fun card game to collect as well. Exciting, isn’t it?

Whatever the reasons may be that brought you to this game, there are always a number of questions that plague new, returning, or even experienced players. Whether it be about card evaluation, deck piloting strategy, or simply how to introduce the game to a new player, there’s no end to the number of queries this game can create.

Although there’s an endless amount of content by pro players much better at the game than I am to answer questions about critical meta-game strategies, there’s far less content out there for the more casual players. The ones trying to figure out if now is the best time to come back to the game after a long hiatus. The ones who have no idea what to do with all the draft cards they’ve amassed. The ones who want to introduce the game to their friends but aren’t sure how best to present it to them. The ones who like to bring their silly combo deck to Friday Night Magic. If this sounds like you or one of your friends, I have a feeling we’ll get along swimmingly.

Totally-Lost

Everyone Starts Somewhere

Getting started (or re-started) with Magic can be a daunting and/or overwhelming experience. There are a lot of rules. There are a lot of experienced players. But most of all, there are a lot of cards. The sheer number of cards alone can often astound newer players. Some of the most frequently asked questions I get when explaining the game to prospective players are: “How do you remember what all the cards do? Did you have to study them all? Does every player know what all these cards do?”

Here’s a little secret: Most players don’t know what every card does. Certainly, there are players who do know a large percentage of the cards, but most don’t know every single card printed in the history of the game. A large majority of the time, you’ll only need to know a handful of cards at a time (depending on which format(s) you’re currently playing) to follow along. The longer you play, the more time you’ll spend talking about cards. After a while, you’ll notice that you’ll hear about particular cards more than others. Eventually, you start to learn based on this repetition. There’s no need to study the entire catalog of Magic cards before you start playing and there’s no need to memorize all the strategies, archetypes or lingo before you get going. All you need is a pack of cards and a buddy who’s willing to guide you through your first few games and you’re good to go.

treasure hunt


Anything and Everything

Now that we’ve covered what you don’t need to do, the next question becomes: Which cards do I need to collect or need to know about in order to play? Technically, the answer to that could be any and all cards in the history of Magic as long as your deck meets the format’s minimum card requirement.

I can see you panicking again. Don’t worry, we can fix this too.

Magic‘s most popular format is something called “Casual Magic,” also known as “Kitchen Table Magic” because of the mental image that most casual players play around the kitchen table. When playing Casual Magic, all you need is a deck of cards and some buddies to play. The reason this is the most popular version is that it has the least rules and regulations. At this level of Magic, people are just reading the cards and playing the game as they see fit. There’s no banlists nor format requirements that allow certain cards and prevent others cards from being in your deck.

Inevitably, there will come a time when you might want to optimize your deck. Or challenge yourself by playing against more difficult or focused decks rather than the random cards you’ve thrown together for kitchen table games. Most players will recommend Friday Night Magic (FNM) events at their local game stores as the next logical step. While this may be a solid step for returning players who already have experience with the game, I’ve seen a number of new players get very nervous about Drafting or playing against expensive, finely tuned Constructed format decks.

Frequently overlooked by enfranchised players of the game, there are other options available to newer players which will allow them to step up a their game before venturing in the realm of FNM. A format I love recommending to newer players is what I call “Intro Pack Magic.”

intro art

Allow Me to Re-Intro-duce Myself

Whenever a new Magic set is released, Wizards of the Coast (the folks who make the Magic cards) release “Intro Packs.” These are 60 card pre-constructed decks that (currently) come packaged with two booster packs. These decks and boosters predominantly contain cards from the current and/or immediately preceding set of cards. As an example, at the time of writing, the newest set released is Oath of the Gatewatch. Oath of the Gatewatch Intro Packs contain cards found in OGW (the abbreviation for Oath) and Battle for Zendikar (BFZ); the set that preceded OGW.

These decks are exactly what you would expect from something called an “Intro Pack;” they are a means to introduce a new player to the newest set and to Magic itself. These are not meant to be tournament competitive decks: They will be crushed by top tier decks if played against one. That being said, they’re usually solidly balanced to play against each other. If you can find a friend who’s interested in playing “Intro Pack Magic” with you, here’s how it’s done:

  • Both you and your friend buy an Intro Pack: You can each buy the same Intro Pack if you both desire, but it is much more enjoyable to play two different decks. You get to see more cards and more mechanics from the newest set if you do.
  • Don’t open the booster packs right away: You’ll often hear differing opinions about why you should or shouldn’t “crack packs” depending on who you talk to in the Magic community. In this particular case, there’s sound reasoning why you shouldn’t crack them open right away.
  • Play with your Intro decks first as is: You’ll want to get a feel for your Intro deck. Play a few games against your friend. Try to learn the strategy behind your deck and at the same time, try to figure out what your friend’s deck is trying to accomplish. Perhaps you like your friend’s deck better than yours? Ask if your friend would mind switching decks with you. It is very rare that Intro decks will contain tremendously valuable cards, so trading an entire Intro deck with your friend shouldn’t be too much of a hassle… unless of course, you friend loves their Intro deck. In that case, you’re on your own.
  • After you’ve played a few rounds with your Intro decks, now is the time to crack open those boosters.

Why are we waiting to open them, you may ask? By playing with your deck straight out of the box, you’ll hopefully have developed an understanding of your Intro deck and what it’s trying to do. These booster packs will have a lot more meaning to you now. Not only do you get to see sweet new cards and hopefully open an expensive rare, you’ll be looking at all the cards through the filter of your Intro deck. You’ll start to evaluate which cards would work well with your deck, which cards might actively work against it and which cards might not have any importance either way. Perhaps you’ll find a card or two that you’ll want to add to your deck. Great! Try to take one card out of your deck for each card you add in. Replay your decks with your new cards and see how that goes. You can continue making modifications to your deck as you see fit.

By focusing on this smaller initial pool of cards, you’re already starting to develop and learn basic skills you’ll be needing as a burgeoning Magic player: You’re learning such concepts as card evaluation, deck construction, the management of limited resources and the ability to quickly learn new cards found in a particular Standard set.

Intro Pack Magic can be taken a step further within your playgroup if, at the end of every week, you each agree to buy a booster from the set your Intro Pack is from. Add the cards you like from your new booster to your deck. Over time, you’ll acquire more cards for your collection, have a uniquely tuned deck that you’ve played with friends in a non-competitive environment, and will develop skills needed if you do decide to make that leap to FNM Draft or Constructed.

End-Hostilities

The End of the Beginning

I hope you enjoyed today’s column! The topic of how to start (or jump back into) Magic is one I often see pop up on Magic forums and websites, so I was excited to address it here. In future, we’ll be looking at various other ways to play Magic which will hopefully appeal to the Casual and Competitive alike. If you liked what you see here or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment in the Comments section below!

JP Vazquez – Optimum Jank

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Bruce Gray - September 30, 2014

Deep Thoughts on…Khans of Tarkir Prerelease

Abzan Houses -

Deep Thoughts on…Khans of Tarkir Prerelease

 by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

So, I’m back and all bleary eyed from my Khans of Tarkir prerelease experience.  Wow…what a time!  Let’s get out in front of this…I didn’t do very well.  I played in the Two-Headed Giant prerelease on the Sunday evening and it was packed! We ended up in the pizza joint next door for deck construction as overflow and it was nuts.  With that many players it was bound to be a tough hill to climb and it was exactly as I expected.  My brother, who is my usual partner, and I had a record of 2 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw.  We ended up way down the standings, but had tons of fun and really didn’t feel like our record was indicative of the strength of our decks.

 

In the first game we were a little slow off the mark but were starting to make some headway and stabilize the board.  It wasn’t helping matters that I drew land for 6 consecutive turns forcing my partner to handle the load of the work.  However, just as we were turning the corner and getting things set up to really get in the match we got hit with a HUGE Icy Blast that tapped us down for 2 full turns.  Needless to say, we didn’t last long because that sort of tempo play is just backbreaking.  We took it on the chin and were 0-1 to start.

 

In game two our opponents got out to a quick start and built up some solid board presence.  However, they got tentative and tried to slow roll us as they set up their kill stroke.  However, when both our decks roared to life at the same time, and yet another HUGE Icy Blast later, we had them dead and kicking themselves for playing so slowly.  We moved on in a very respectable 1-1.

 

Game 3 was a situation where we came out and dictated play reasonably well.  We had strong board presence, had preserved our life total reasonably well, and generally were in good shape…until they hit us with…you guessed it…Icy Blast.  Well, that was the game and we were 1-2.  You may have noticed that we were just getting crushed by Icy Blast and it was doing some work.  Essentially, whoever resolved Icy Blast typically won out and it proved to be a ridiculous bomb.

 

Game 4 we were on the beatdown plan pretty hard.  We had them on the ropes pretty good and were laying waste to them pretty hard when out of nowhere came End Hostilities clearing the board.  Since they knew it was coming they could follow up with some explosive creatures and very quickly we found ourselves in a hole.  We just never recovered from the Board Wipe and they quickly mopped up the rest of the damage to leave us 1-3 and feeling pretty sorry for ourselves because we felt we deserved a better fate,

 

Game 5 was one of those games that everything went our way.  We dodged all their big spells, countered or killed all the most relevant threats and generally had the run of things.  However, they scrounged and wouldn’t give up and we ended up going to extra turns.  In the end we drew, but it should have been a win for us…with our life total being at a ridiculous 49 life to their 2 points and all the threats in the world. We just couldn’t quite seal the deal leaving us in a draw. This sort of game leaves a bad taste in your mouth because we had the win…we could see it…we just didn’t quite get it in time. Sweet…everyone loves to be 1-3 and a draw.

 

It was at this point that we dropped the actual event, but we did sit down with some buddies of ours who came with us to play.  They had fared much the same way we had and were way down in the standings, so they dropped too and we played them in a sort of exhibition game with our Limited decks.  It was pretty fun but we pretty much ran them over quite quickly.  I’ll call this a win for us, even though it doesn’t appear in the standings.  2-3 and a draw…not ideal, but fairly reasonable.

 

Here’s my deck:

 

Abzan Limited

 

Breakdown

Overall, my impression of the format was that it felt very slow.  With so many tapped lands entering play to enable the wide array of colours, early pressure was super important and usually left your opponent reeling.  The good news was that it was easy as pie to meet your mana requirements in terms of colours.  I found that all evening I was able to cast my spells and never in need of looking for double black or double white to cast my spells…I always had it.  The “Refuge” land cycle was hugely important because it was occupying a common slot in just about each booster pack and was readily available to provide the fixing that was needed.  Also, casting costs seemed to be generally pretty high and did not have a ton of easy to cast 1-2 and 3 drops.  The argument on the flip side was that Morph could enable a quicker play, but a 2/2 for 3 is pretty poor considering what else we can get.  I’m not sure I saw Morph get used to its fullest abilities in this first go around, but it definitely looked powerful and could do some very neat things.  I liked the Limited play in general, but deck construction proved very challenging as I had to balance a number of colour requirements, a reasonable curve, and generally manage the demands of straining my mana that little bit further than normal.

 

Icy Blast- This was a devastating card all night long.  Every time it resolved it pretty assured that a winner was going to be declared soon.  For limited this is a ridiculous bomb and automatic include in your deck.  If you see this in a Draft, grab it, even if you aren’t in blue just to ensure you don’t need to face it down.

 

End Hostilities- Another disgusting bomb that messed things up. Not as scary as Icy Blast, but still very good and pretty uncool to try and face down.  At least now you have the option of countering it, but it is still pretty crushing if you can hit it.

 

High Sentinels of Arashin- This is a disgusting bomb.  A 3/4 flier for 4 mana is pretty good, but it is the additional abilities that makes it just busted.  It gets +1/+1 for each creature you control with a counter on it.  Cool…but in Abzan that’s EVERYTHING.  This was routinely a 8/9 creature for me, and with the “Sliver-esque” feel to the Abzan it could get first strike, trample, Lifelink, or anything else really.  It’s pretty crazy to say the least.

 

Abzan “lords”-  As I said, the “Sliver-esque” ability of the Abzan to grant each other abilities can make for a devastating combination if left unchecked.  It resulted in gross amounts of life gain through the Lifelink granted by Abzan Battle Priest and coupled with the High Sentinels I had a full team of disgusting, Lifelinking monsters to terrorize my opponents.  I liked them and they all synergized well together.

 

Outlast

On the whole, I liked the Outlast mechanic, but I found it very slow.  Some of the other abilities, like Prowess or Ferocious ended up being easier to trigger and it was a bit of a challenge about when to spend the mana on the Outlast counter and tap the creature down versus when to keep it up to block.

 

Funniest card that I ran

Feed the Clan.  Normally I would never run a card like this.  Pure, unadulterated life gain is just not something I like to play, but we kept getting blown out on Icy Blast and such.  So, both my brother and I main decked one of these with the express intent of firing one off to save our bacon and let us buy another turn in order to staff out getting knocked out of the match.  Believe it or not, it worked.  It bought us considerable time in one match and was not a dead card in another game we played.  I could hardly believe it was playable.  I’m still not convinced based on my small sample size, but I will be keeping an eye on it.

 

MVP

My MVP was Armament Corps.  My opponents would always allow this to resolve thinking that it was just a 4/4, but it could target itself and be a nasty 6/6 to cope with it.  However, the real benefit was in dumping the +1/+1 counters on other creatures (without utilizing their Outlast mechanic) to gain the benefits of the Abzan “lord” cards or to trigger the High Sentinels.  It proved to be a terrific barrier to shut out an aggressive ground game and a great way to enable powerful plays through the synergy with other Abzan cards.  This was a quiet star and one I was always glad to see turn up.

 

Biggest Bust

Honestly, while it was useful a couple of times, Take up Arms largely disappointed.  This is not M15 limited where Triplicate Spirits and the like are defining cards.  This is an expensive card that spews out some counters that could be neat if you are all aboard the Warrior-tribal theme…but I think will usually be an under performing card.  1/1 tokens just aren’t relevant enough because they don’t really trade profitably with much unless you double (or usually triple!) block a creature.  I would have rather played something more powerful at 5 mana than this.

 

I really enjoyed the Prerelease and wished I could have played a few more over the weekend, but needless to say that wasn’t possible based on my schedule.  It was a ton of fun, but it was just a glimpse of the Limited format that is going to shape up now that Khans is hitting the stores.  This format seems light years more complicated and nuanced than M15 which felt very narrow and stifled, but Khans is crazy diverse and a breath of fresh air.  The next several months are bound to be fun.

 

Well, there we have it, thanks for reading this week.  I’ll be back to my usual affairs of putting together a crack a pack and I’ve got some other irons in the fire in order to brew up some new decks and some other fun things.  So, stay tuned as we start to ramp up some of the brewing and news now that Khans is here.

 

Until next time, keep it fun, keep it safe…and most importantly keep it is Casual.

 

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
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Three Kings Loot - September 24, 2014

Fatesealing Khans of Tarkir: Filtering Through Magic’s Future

Khans of Tarkir

Fatesealing Khans of Tarkir

Filtering Through Magic’s Future

By Bruce Gray and Daniel Clayton – The bag of loot

                There is no doubt what went through my mind and many others’ like me  when they heard about Magic returning to an Asian themed plane for their newest set: Kamigawa of course. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this set felt as much like Feudal China in theme as Kamigawa felt like Feudal Japan. Flavor-wise, the set feels like a country in a constant state of war which feels pretty cool as far as sets are concerned. Let me please note that at this point I write about my thoughts as they were when the first card of the set was first released, and all of the subsequent updates in this paragraph were my thoughts as more and more cards in the set were released. I do this to track sort of the feeling of the newly released cards. My first thoughts on the set were we are finally going to go back to shard colors and I hope, but doubt that fetch lands are going to be in this set. A huge slew of releases has been going on recently and as such I thought it was time to update my article a little bit. First things first, it turns out that fetch lands are going to be released, SWEET!!!! We’ll get to them later. The theme of the set has evolved into sort of what I felt when I first saw Zurgo Helmsmasher. If any of you have ever played Dynasty Warriors (Literally any of them) you’ll know who I’m talking about when I say Lu Bu cause that’s who I think of when I look at old Zurgo. The whole set really does feel like something out of those games and needless to say, I love it. Now that the whole set’s been released I feel as though they’ve balanced the set pretty well and look forward to seeing how this draft and standard season are going to play out, It seems as if R&D has done a pretty bang-up job of putting together a very balanced set that has a lot of fun and interactive cards in it. Also, the inclusion of the Delve and Morph keywords seem really fun and interesting in this set and I am looking forward to playing Morph in my draft decks, it adds another whole level to the game that just seems fun. 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. One big change since last time is that I’ll give my rating and opinion on each and then Bruce Gray will give his on each as well. 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: Darksteel Citadel, Elvish Mystic: 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.  Ratings 2 and 3 are most of the cards in Magic.

1: Charging Badger, Staff of the ____ Mage: 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.

 

New Mechanics for Khans of Tarkir

Ferocious: This ability activates when your creature attacks if you control a creature with power 4 or greater and does something cool.

Outlast: Pay mana and tap the creature to put a +1/+1 counter on the activating creature and do cool stuff in a lot of cases.

Prowess: Creatures with this ability get larger each time you cast a non-creature spell for that turn.

Raid: This ability activates and does cool stuff if you swung with a creature before the spell with Raid resolves.

Delve: Spells with this ability can get 1 colorless mana per card exiled from your graveyard in order to cast it.

 

 

The Meat and Potatoes

Abomination of Gudul

Daniel (2): This is a very mana intensive card for what you wind up getting and long story short, it’s not really worth it.  The card might be worth a 3 if it read draw a card each time he hits, but by making you discard when you draw it just gets worse. I can’t see this card in constructed, but might see some play in draft just because it is a big flyer.

Abzan Ascendancy

Bruce (4): When this enchantment enters the battlefield all creatures you control get a +1/+1 counter?! Sweet deal. Add with it the mighty Ivorytusk Fortress and they now all effectively have vigilance! Sweeter deal.  Oh, and when things die I get flying spirits too, can anyone say VALUE! I like this but I’m not sure quite where it will fit in.  Likely in draft it will be quite good and pump your team to swing combat in your favor.  In Constructed I doubt it will get much play.  Maybe a one of in an Abzan deck, but this is a late game card because dropping it turn three seems silly.  I think can safely be called a 3, but I’ll give it upside to maybe eek out a 4 before we are all said and done.

Abzan Battle Priest

Daniel (3): Giving lifelink to all of your creatures with +1/+1 counters on them is going to be a big deal in draft. Plus with a tap and 1 white mana he can grow each turn. He is still a 4 mana card and for that reason I’m not sure if we’ll see him in too many decks in the next season. As such I’m not sure how much play he’ll see in standard or other constructed formats, but I expect to see it be a pretty solid card in draft.

Abzan Charm

Daniel (3): Oh Khans charms cycle, well before you read into my article any further let me warn you, the charms are weak (not quite bad) at worst and lukewarm at best. Overall, compared to the charms from Return to Ravnica, they’re mostly just disappointing. 3 colors for 1 of 3 effects makes the cards clunky and hard to cast, and they sit in this weird limbo where almost all of them have 1 powerful effect and 2 others that are almost not worth it. Abzan Charm’s exile effect feels pretty good, but the other two not so much. I expect this card to not see a tremendous amount of play in standard or draft.

Abzan Guide

Daniel (3): A solid creature in draft that doesn’t necessarily need to be a 1st or 2nd round pick, but definitely not a problem to pick up a little bit later in a pack if it’s in your colors. In constructed formats its good stats mixed with lifelink may make it semi-playable, but it’s doubtful for 6 mana.

Ainok Bond-Kin

Daniel (3): This creature sits as a 2/1 for 2 at its worst, at its best it can “outlast” for a tremendous amount and give a whole bunch of your creatures with +1/+1 counters first strike. He should be a consideration for just about any deck looking for a simple, efficient 2 drop with the ability to get better; I expect this card to see mixed amounts of draft and standard play.

Bruce (3): This is a pretty sweet Draft card. A 2/1 for 2 mana makes it a very solid pick when quick two drops usually are the order of the day.  The fact that this also can put counters on itself (with an investment of course) AND gives creatures with a counter First Strike is very powerful and will routinely tip combat in your favour as you opponent is just unable to block profitably.  This looks and feels like a solid 3, but sadly is unlikely to see play in a Constructed environment.

Ainok Tracker

Daniel (1): First strike is a powerful and cool ability, but it shouldn’t double the mana cost of a card that it sits on. This card is an okay card stats wise, but the mana cost makes this card almost unplayable for what you get out of it.

Alabaster Kirin

Daniel (3): Now I’m not really sure what a Kirin is, but I do know that we haven’t actually seen 1 before this set since Kamigawa. Anyway, a 2/3 Flyer with Vigilance feels pretty good in draft, because it can get in there for damage and be ready to block to save you some life on your opponent’s turn. I don’t really see a future for this card outside of draft though, because it’s just not mana efficient at 4 mana.

Alpine Grizzly

Daniel (3): At least this bear is vanilla, a 4/2 for 3 is a pretty good deal; just keep him away from any small guys. This is a pretty solid card in draft that may have a tough time finding a home in standard.

Altar of the Brood

Daniel (3): This is 1 of those cards that gets worse the longer that it takes you to land on the field, because health becomes more and more relevant than deck size as the game drags on. I’m not really sure how the effect of this card fits flavor-wise with your opponent losing his mind not really having anything to do with the flavor of the card. While this card will probably have a tough time finding a place in Standard, it can be a bomb in draft if you manage to get it out turn 1, besides that the usefulness of this card is probably pretty limited.

Bruce (2): This is suitably cheap that it could enable a Mill strategy and the fact that it triggers on ANY permanent is neat.  It could leave a healthy dent in a  Limited deck where you pool of cards is a little reduced, but I feel like this is pretty clearly an EDH card.  I figure this is a 2 and will migrate to EDH  as part of Mill decks as a passive way to keep the Mill strategy up.

Anafenza, the Foremost

Daniel (4): As you’ll probably read later in the pack or come to your own conclusion, this set is filled with powerful creatures that may make great commanders or commander support for EDH, and you can definitely count this one among them. This card makes it hard not to give it a 5, but for its high mana demand I unfortunately see it struggling to break out of Standard play. I don’t want you to get me wrong however, I think this card can definitely be a huge staple in Standard and a definite winner in both EDH and draft play but following this season I see the card struggling to do much more than that.

Bruce (4): Ok…I can only describe this one as being awesome. A 4/4 for 3 mana (sure…A black, a white, and a green) but that hardly seems like a poor tradeoff.  Her abilities make her very appealing because when she attacks you can put a +1/+1 counter on another tapped creature (read ATTACKING) boosting your impact.  THEN, as if this wasn’t enough, your opponents don’t put creature  cards in their graveyard…oh no…they get EXILED.  Like really folks…this is huge.  How huge?  Goodbye graveyard strategies…they just get shut off from that..and EARLY too.  She’s 3 mana! One Llanowar Waste, an Elvish Mystic, and Plains and you have 4/4 on turn 2.  If that doesn’t seem SLIGHTLY unfair, let me know.  She synergizes something crazy with Soul Warden to give you a 4/4 (although since it has vigilance it may never profit from her +1/+1 counter ability).  In limited I can’t imagine she’d be bad.  Even if you stumble a little with the mana, she’s still a 4/4 and can start to tilt the board in your favour. However, based on the fact that her colour combo limits the number of viable deck options, she’s likely coming in at around a 4.

Ankle Shanker

Daniel (3): I almost feel like tribal goblins are trying way too hard in all of the wrong ways to be a thing again and I think that this card proves that more wholeheartedly than anything else. Don’t get me wrong the card feels awesome, all of your creatures attacking with it gaining first strike and deathtouch, but the only real problem is that the card feels that it fits into a mono-red goblin build but with its 3 colors and its mana cost of 5 the card feels like a hard sell for this type of deck. The card can be a bomb in draft so definitely consider picking him up if you see him and aiming for the token plan, but with his colors and his mana cost I’m not sure how much play he’ll see outside of this format.

Bruce (3): 2/2 Goblins for 5 mana is not usually where you want to start…BUT…this guy is pretty boss with the first strike and death touch combo it grants your team when it attacks.  Zurgo really wants this guy as his sidekick.  This is a mean Limited Bomb.  I think 5 mana for a 2/2 likely pushes it out of the realm of constructed, but it would be a sick critter to see hit the battlefield in a creature heavy game. Once again, a solid 3.

Archers’ Parapet

Daniel (3): I personally am a fan of walls, back when I started in Mirrodin, 1 of my best cards was a wall (Steel Wall to be exact) and I can’t tell you how many games I won off this little guy stalling the board for me. The card feels pretty good and the fact that I can ping my opinion every turn also feels pretty good. Overall, I think this card will find some homes in draft, but as standard usually doesn’t care about walls too much.

Armament Corps

Daniel (3): Efficiency goes pretty hand-in-hand with this card putting 6 power on the field for 5 mana, but it seems pretty lukewarm for the mana investment that you have to put into getting this card out there. I don’t see it making a splash in constructed, but I wouldn’t mind picking 1 up late in draft.

Arrow Storm

Daniel (3): 5 mana for 5 potential damage is pretty good in draft. For that reason the card will probably see at least limited play in this format, but may not make its debut in standard. There is almost definitely no chance of this card showing up in higher formats though, simply because there are better choices.

Ascendancy Cycle (Abzan Ascendancy, Jeskai Ascendancy, Mardu Ascendancy, Sultai Ascendancy, and Temur Ascendancy)

Daniel (3-5): The Ascendancy cycle really is a mixed bunch that range from the marginally playable to the seems pretty awesome. The first card in this cycle alphabetically is the Abzan Ascendancy. This is a pretty cool card and shares one of its themes token generation with another of the Ascendancy cards that we’ll get to a little later. This card really ramps up with outlast and the outlast “captains” that give all creatures that have a +1/+1 counter on them neat abilities like flying or first strike. The card’s 2nd ability puts spirits with flying into play each time one of your nontoken creatures die, this goes well with the theme of the Abzan, a group of nomads whose ancestors protect the still living. Overall, the card feels very good flavor-wise and is worth it to play in draft as well as a constructed outlast deck if you build one in standard. Jeskai Ascendancy has two powerful abilities that combo very well with the prowess. Its 1st is a neat trick that untaps all your creatures and gives them +1/+1 whenever you cast a noncreature spell. This is a cool ability that might even make it out of standard and might help storm if they can stomach adding white to their deck. Its 2nd ability allows you to cantrip yourself by giving you the option to draw and discard a card whenever you play a noncreature spell. This is a great combo that adds to any noncreature strategy including Storm. Overall, if you’re playing the prowess strategy in any format I would suggest at least trying to add this card. Mardu Ascendancy is the premiere way to do tokens in this set by putting a 1/1 goblin token into play and attacking each time you attack with a nontoken creature. This can mean a gigantic blowout against an opponent in a quick way. The 2nd ability also works well with this aggro plan by giving them more toughness until end of turn if you sacrifice Mardu Ascendancy. This card probably won’t take off this season because of its steep mana cost, but I definitely expect it to be a force to be reckoned with in both standard and draft. Sultai Ascendancy is the weakest of all of this cycle in my opinion, but it does offer you a way to turn on Delve in a big way and dig through your deck. Not a terrible card in draft if you’re careful about not decking yourself, it’s probably not going to show up in standard. Finally, Temur Ascendancy is another card that works pretty well with the overall theme of its colors, it allows you to draw a card each time a big creature enters the battlefield under your control and gives all your creatures haste. Looking at just the card advantage alone this is a great card to have in draft, and while I’m not sure that Temur will get off the ground in standard, I expect this card to be played if it does.

Bruce (3-4): These are a cycle of 3 mana enchantments, 1 for each clan, that are all quite playable in Limited and could be quite powerful.  They all give considerable upside and seem to play to the strengths of their clan quite nicely.  Clearly, they are strong limited cards.  The real question is if they cut the mustard for Standard.  I suspect no, although the Temur Ascendancy seems to be closest in that it draws you extra cards.  I feel like these are 3’s across the board, but a few could see fringe play at Standard and creep up a little towards a 4, but others won’t even see the light of day in a Constructed deck.

Ashclound Phoenix

Daniel (3): This card is pretty cool and just based off of the fact that the card is a 4/1 flyer for 4 makes it a potentially playable card in Red, but that fact that it has 2 devotion for red means that it may have a hard time finding a home in Standard. Its Morph abilities and its return to the battlefield ability is pretty cool, but its Morph cost may be too high for it to be cost effective. I see this card being playable in Standard if it can find the right deck and I would definitely be willing to pick one up in draft, but outside of these formats I don’t see it as having high playability.

Bruce (3): This is merely a Limited card.  Yes, we all love our Phoenixes and the Morph trigger is hilarious, but a 4/1 without haste won’t cut it for Constructed.  Limited Bomb and will just keep on coming back.  This is a 3.

Avalanche Tusker

Daniel (3): As far as vanilla stats this card is lacking a little bit as a 4/4 for 5 mana. The card’s ability is almost like a strictly worse provoke and it doesn’t make up for the high mana cost of the card because it is so mana intensive. If you see this card in draft, a 4/4 is still a 4/4 so he might be worth it just for that, but in constructed I don’t see him making too much of a splash.

Awaken the Bear

Daniel (3): 3 mana for 3 more power and toughness and trample on a creature is a pretty nice effect, so nice I really only have one problem against it being a great card, and that is the fact that it’s not an enchantment. The problem is amended by the fact that it’s at instant speed, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact entirely. I might not mind picking this card up in draft, but I don’t know if I’d try to run it in my standard deck.

Banner Cycle (Abzan Banner, Jeskai Banner, Mardu Banner, Sultai Banner, and Temur Banner)

Daniel(2): Not a bad filler and mana fixer for Draft, but 3 mana for 3 different types of mana feels a lot like the cluestones out of the last set. I don’t believe these are going to make an impact on any of the constructed formats though.

Barrage of Boulders

Daniel (4): A board sweep and a functional reprint of Falter that’s been burning up Vintage Masters on Magic the Gathering: Online recently. This card is all about the tokens, you can play it against the tokens in the format to take out almost all of the cards you’re up against. In the token deck, it doesn’t hit your creatures and stops your opponent from being able to block, potentially winning you the game. I expect this card to be played in both draft and standard, but not make it past this because of the fact that there are better choices than this card in higher formats.

Bear’s Companion

Daniel (3): A 2/2 and a 4/4 for 5 isn’t absolutely abysmal, but it’s not really great either when you consider how color intensive the card is. If you see one in draft, I would pick it up just don’t expect it to really do much for you outside of this format.

Become Immense

Daniel (3): Delve is such an interesting mechanic and it really does make this card hard to place, but still, by the time you need to use this card your graveyard should have at least a few cards in it. I think it’s probably better than it would be without Delve, but I’m not hugely sold on the card.  I still feel as though it’ll probably see its time in the sun in draft before it falls off into ambiguity.

Bellowing Saddlebrute

Daniel (3): This card comes down a 4/5 for 4 mana and for those two reasons alone this card isn’t bad and definitely earns itself a place in draft. The downside to the card is the fact that you may lose 4 life when it enters play. That is easily avoided however by attacking before it comes into play, which is looking to be pretty easy for black in this format and as such, this card could very well find its way into an aggro deck in standard.

Bitter Revelation

Daniel (2): Bitter Revelation doesn’t really feel like an effective card. Coming down at 4 mana and with lukewarm effects that were better finished in the previous block I don’t expect this card to have an impact on Standard, but card advantage is card advantage in draft so while not a first round draft pick, definitely a consideration in draft.

Bruce (2): This is a strict downgrade from Read the Bones from Theros.  It’s 4 mana (not 3), it’s sorcery speed (not an instant) and just is generally not as good because you dump your cards in the graveyard instead of scrying them to the bottom.  It will see play in Limited for sure, but it won’t excite anyone and most certainly will not see play in Constructed. This is  a 2.

Blinding Spray

Daniel (4): Blinding Spray bcan be better than a regular fog effect, I really like this card. The fact that it not only works so well against tokens but also draws you a card means that I’ll be trying my hardest to pick up one late in draft if I’m in blue. It might see some sideboard action in standard, but I wouldn’t expect much more than this on this front.

Bloodfire Expert

Daniel (3): A 3/1 for 2 that gets bigger each time you cast a non-creature spell feels pretty good. I wouldn’t mind running this card in standard or draft, but I don’t expect more than that.

Bloodfire Mentor

Daniel (2): Filtering seems to be a theme for red in this set, and while it is better than nothing, it doesn’t really give red the chance to gain card advantage over your opponents which is one of the things you typically want draw for. Besides the effect being over-costed on this card, the card itself isn’t efficient for its mana cost (3 mana for a 0/5). The card probably won’t see much play in either standard or draft.

Bloodsoaked Champion

Daniel (4): A 2/1 for 1 that can perpetually bring itself back is pretty solid of a card. Add to that the fact that it sits in a color that’s going to be a great token rush type strategy and we’re looking at a card that’s probably going to be a pretty big deal in the next season. The fact that it can’t block is bad, but I don’t know If you’d even want to block with this guy. If you see this guy in draft I’d pick him up and if you’re wondering if he’s going to be played next season, my money would be on yes. He might even see some play outside of Standard, but time will tell.

Bruce (4): Wow…black Aggro just got another sweet treat.  Who cares if it can’t block…you weren’t blocking with it anyway.  The fact that you can essentially buy it back with the Raid trigger on this is bananas because what else is Black Aggro doing apart from attacking ALL THE TIME…not much else…that’s what. A solid 1 drop in Limited and very likely will see play in Constructed in the right Aggro shell I’ll give this a 4…but don’t be mistaken…this card alone will not crush your opponent because a 2/1 for 1 is good, but not format defining or ridiculously overpowered.  It is a useful card, plenty playable, but needs support to get the job done.

Brave the Sands

Daniel(3): I’m not really sure what braving sands has to do with vigilance or why this specific group of people can do it with no drawbacks, but excusing the flavor, the card’s not too terrible. Vigilance and being able to block multiple creatures is really good for decks that run larger creatures and so I expect this card to at least have a small spot in draft even if its prospects in constructed don’t look so hot.

Bruce (2): I feel like the Abzan could really use the Vigilance ability and the defensive nature of this spell to block an extra creature might enable  the Abzan deck to hold off getting blownout by using some of its larger creatures to take out a pair of creatures and really dictate the terms of combat.  This is still likely a 2 because you need to have the board state to really enable this card, but it could most certainly be a valuable card.

Briber’s Purse

Daniel (3): I’m not sure how much I get behind the flavor of this card, I can imagine I guess being able to bribe certain creatures in the set but others are more like zealots than hired hands who could be paid off. I guess there are others you could bribe to stop someone from attacking or blocking if you really wanted to though… From a game aspect the card isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t do a tremendous amount. Still in the right situation it could be the difference between a win or a loss though so not too terrible overall. I still don’t expect to see this card run too frequently.

Bring Low

Daniel (3): Instant speed is extremely important for removal, because it allows you to pull off some combat tricks on both players’ turns. There are a lot of cards in the format that either gains +1/+1 counters or put them on creatures you control, which means that this card can deal 5 damage in a lot of cases. I expect this card to see a little play in draft and less in standard.

Burn Away

Daniel (3): Removal is a big deal in draft. The reason it’s such a big deal is that there are many creatures that your deck may just not be able to deal with. Additionally, it helps you get in for that extra damage you need to get in by removing your opponent’s blockers. I expect this card to be played loosely in draft and not so much in Standard.

Butcher of the Horde

Daniel (4): A flying 5/4 for 4 is a pretty strong card; add to it the fact that it’s got its ability to give itself trample, lifelink and vigilance for the sacrifice of a creature. The card is also going to be in the colors for a token deck in the next standard season and so you’ve got plenty of cards to sacrifice to him. I think this card is a bomb in draft and will definitely find a place in a deck this standard season, but I don’t see the card doing much more than that.

Bruce (5): This is ridiculous.  4 mana for 5/4 with Flying and the sacrifice ability is nuts.  I have read that sacrificing a creature is perhaps the most powerful ability in the game of Magic and this guy sort of makes that rule stand up. This will be a monster in Draft, for sure, but I could see this be relevant in Constructed because it is so aggressively costed.  The Mana fixing is there and decks are always looking for a menacing finisher…so…yeah…this is a thing.  Likely a 4 or a 5 for sure.

Canyon Lurkers

Daniel (1): A 5/2 for 5 mana is an okay card unless your opponent has blockers than the card becomes a very bad card that trades with a 2/2 and doesn’t give you anything else when it dies. If the card had trample then it might score a 2, but as a vanilla 5/2 the card is pretty terrible. I don’t expect this card to be run much in anything.

Charm cycle (Abzan Charm, Jeskai Charm, Mardu Charm, Sultai Charm, Temur Charm)

Bruce (4-5): These are terrific cards.  All three modes for each of the charms are extremely powerful and very useful.  These will do awesome work in Limited and will absolutely see play in Constructed.  They are more expensive than the Charms from RTR, but by having fewer charms (and thus fewer modes to consider) they’ve consolidated many of the most powerful effects on to these cards making them highly sought after uncommon and very useful.  Strong 4’s or maybe even 5’s. Oh, and the new clearer template is terrific and very jazzy.

Clever Impersonator

Daniel (5): I really like this card and it pretty much feels like sideboard gold for blue, dealing with almost any board problem by just copying a vital card. I expect this card to at least be tried if not find a permanent place in every format.

Bruce (5): This is gross.  Copy any non-land permanent! Shut up.  I hate you.  This is really, really, really good and will be a bomb in Draft and Constructed because it can copy a Planeswalker…like…I don’t know…maybe their Elsbeth…or…their Garruk…and then kills their Garruk…and you still have the freaking Garruk.  The options are endless and this card is stupid good. I have no doubt this is a 4 but I feel like this will creep up towards being a 5.

Crackling Doom

Daniel (5): Crackling Doom is 1 of those cards that has a tremendous amount of potential, but has the potential to be killed by the fact that it has so many colors. I feel that the card is a solution to the biggest and baddest creatures in the game. I feel that if it can overcome this color barrier however, it may find itself a home in Legacy. This card is an easy pick up for draft and will almost definitely see some play in Standard.

Bruce (4): This is a terrific spell for all environments for the sole reason that it forces an opponent to sacrifice their biggest creature. That’s awesome because that creature is likely the reason you are up a creek…and now it’s gone for 3 mana…and it gets around hexproof and protection shenanigans.  The damage is also appealing but not the prime feature of this card.  EDH, Constructed, Limited, every one wants this card and it will do very good work.  This is a 4 and could see a 5 at the upward end of the scale.

Cranial Archive

Daniel (2): The whole shuffle your library into your deck thing is old, and it never really amounted to anything in its better form (Exilir of Immortality), and I don’t expect anything from this card either.

Crater’s Claws

Daniel (3): Short, simple and to the point, this is an improved Fireball. This is just my opinion of course, Fireball isn’t played much anymore but variants of it have found their way into various decks over the years. I’m not sure how much constructed play this will see, but it can be a very helpful card in draft.

Bruce (3): Well, hello my old Friend…Fireball…I’ve missed you.  This will be disgusting in Limited and just totally enabled another round of Burn decks for Constructed.  Who doesn’t love Red X spells?  Heck, pack in a big fatty in your deck and burninate for some more! Sigh…if only it were an instant it would be totally broken.  Yeah…this is 3 for sure with a chance to hit as high as a 4.

Dazzling Ramparts

Daniel (1): This is a defender with a pretty cool effect, but 5 mana for a 0/7 defender is too much, I don’t expect this card to see any real play.

Bruce (2): Yes, 0/7 walls for 5 mana are hardly exciting, but the ability to tap something down is very relevant if you are committed to playing the long game.  Couple this with Brave the Sands and this wall could easily block two creatures without much fear of losing the combat.  This will be perfectly playable and will no doubt do good work.  This is a 2.

Dead Drop

Daniel (4): There was a card called Chainer’s Edict that Magic printed way back in the day and It also earned itself a reprint in From the Vault: 20. Chainer’s Edict was and still is considered one of the best removal cards in the game and this card does what Chainer’s had a hard time doing for right around the same mana cost and its flashback. When you throw Delve on this card it makes it even better. I don’t know about Standard play just for its high casting cost and late game utilization, but draft will probably really like it and it might even make its way into a constructed format.

Death Frenzy

Daniel (4): There are definitely better choices in standard than this card such as Drown in Sorrow for example, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better solution against the token plan in draft than this card. It will definitely be a force to be reckoned with against Token strategies in limited and the life gain just makes it that much better.

Debilitating Injury

Daniel (3): This is a pretty simple card that gives a creature-2/-2 for 2, but that doesn’t make it a bad card. I wouldn’t mind picking one up in draft, but even as good as it is in limited I’m not sure it makes the cut in constructed.

Defiant Strike

Daniel (2): This card is basically a draw card with a bonus +1/+0 until end of turn. It’s a cantrip and that’s about it. I don’t think this card will have too much success in Limited or Standard.

Deflecting Palm

Daniel (2): This is a very situational card that may see a little bit of play this upcoming season in a Boros Burn type of deck. The card does seem very good against a big threat as a good way to solve that problem for a turn or switch a situation on its head. I don’t think the card will be hugely effective in anything but a mirror match, because of its limited applications. I believe this card may find a home in a few sideboards this upcoming Standard season, but don’t think it’s that impressive of a card in Limited or outside of Standard.

Bruce (1): This card has a lot of text.  All that text may as well read “This card will basically do nothing. Don’t bother with it.”  Sure, there will be situations where it COULD be good…but in most situations this card will be terrible.  You need to keep the mana up, pray they don’t have a counter, and after you fire this spell off you had better hope that they either they are dead or that you have a way to finish them off because you have had no significant impact on the board.  This is likely a 1 and something no one will be keen to play.

Dig Through Time

Daniel (4): Digging through 7 cards can be a pretty big deal, drawing two of them and moving the rest out of the way may make this card a serious contender. I’m still not a huge Delve fan, but it does keep powerful cards from becoming broken and this card is an example of that. I expect people to at least try this card out in standard and play it when they can in draft.

Bruce (3): I have heard people say that this is Constructed playable, but I’m not so sure.  The mana cost is super expensive and even with the Delve I’m a little taken aback.  I’ll give it a 3 and resign it for Limited for now but will acknowledge that the ability to dig for 7 cards and find 2 spells at Instant speed could be absolutely crazy because control decks will usually have cards to burn in their graveyard and gobble this thing up. I want to revisit this one in a few weeks to see how it has fared.

Disdainful Stroke

Daniel (3): Counterspells are a funky bit of business, the first thing to consider with them is the fact that cheaper is almost always better unless they have a strong restriction on them. This is one of those restrictions that could go either way. By targeting a higher mana cost spell, it means that you’re targeting a lot of your opponent’s bomb spells. It is usually more important that you target lower mana costs though, so that’s why this card is potentially a bad card. In Limited as I always mention, running a counterspell is a risky bit of business.  In standard this card may find a home as it protects you from the larger cards in the format.

Disowned Ancestor

Daniel (3): A 0/4 for 1 that can power up himself every turn is a great card in this format. While a lot of the set has been late game stuff, this card can be played turn 1 then pumped up every turn until you find something else to do. This has the potential to give you a powerful creature in exchange for your plays on less useful early turns. I definitely expect to see this card in Limited and if outlast becomes a thing in standard this card will probably be there.

Dragon Grip

Daniel (3): Enchantments are a dangerous game to play, especially when you’re not casting a bestow enchantment. They’re so dangerous because the instants in the game give your opponents the chance to get a 2-for-1. However this card has flash so as long as you have a powerful creature it makes this card better. This card isn’t that bad in Limited and can make your lower costing creatures easier to play and keep them competitive later in the game. I don’t expect this card to be played in Standard too much though.

Dragon-Style Twins

Daniel (3): Dragon-Style Twins feels just sort of lukewarm for its mana cost. The card is cool for a double-striker that grows by 1 every time you cast a non-creature spell which  can be very painful for your opponents. The card is very prohibitive both with the double red in its mana and its high casting cost of 5. This isn’t to say that it won’t see any play or that you should definitely pass one up in a draft, I just don’t expect that much from it. Remember that it is an expensive card and isn’t necessarily a game finisher.

Bruce (3): This is Limited bomb…a 3/3 with double strike is almost like having a 6/3 with First strike…meaning it wins combat almost all the time.  The Prowess makes this crazy powerful if you can trick it out with a few non-creature spells to tip combat in your favour.  A 3 for sure, but won’t see Constructed play.

Dragon Throne of Tarkir

Daniel (3): This card may be rather costly mana-wise and I know that everyone will get tired of me saying it by the end of the article, but I feel that this card would fit very well into the token game plan. That being said, it’s a tricky card for both Standard and Limited.

Bruce (3): Well…this could be messy one at Limited and tip combat your way more often than not.  The +x/+x bonus is pretty absurb.  Even equipping this to a Bear of some sort gives your team a +2/+2 bonus, which is pretty sizeable.  At Constructed we’ve seen that unless 4 mana artefacts are crazy good they’ll get passed over, and this one is no different.  This will be a 3 for its relevance in Limited.

Dragonscale Boon

Daniel (2): +1/+1 counters are pretty cool and so is the ability to untap a creature, but 4 mana to do it with only these effects is unimpressive. Considering what else you can do for 4 mana in this set, this card might see some Limited success, but don’t expect much more than that.

Duneblast

Daniel (4): This is the new world we’ve arrived in and we pretty much have to accept that mass removal for 6 or 7 is the way that R&D has decided to push it; if the card had come out a set ago, I would have given it a 2, but because of the lack of good mass removal in the block, this card has a very real chance to see a good amount of play in the next season.

Bruce (2): And once again we get 7 mana mass removal.  Super sweet card, but borderline unplayable in almost any format except EDH.  Limited will be unlikely to see you hit 7 mana in time for this to matter…Constructed most certainly not…so this will be resigned to a lifetime of EDH play.  This can safely take up residence as the coolest board wipe I’ve seen in ages…but is still a 2 at best.

Dutiful Return

Daniel (1): This card is basically just a worse reprint of the card Urborg Uprising. Long story short it didn’t work before and it won’t work now. I don’t expect this card to find much play in any format.

Efreet Weaponmaster

Daniel (3): A first strike 4/3 for 6 is not really worth it especially when you throw in the fact that the card is so mana-intensive. Its Morph ability isn’t really all that good compared to how much you have to pay for it. Overall it’s a pretty solid draft pick but I don’t see it doing much more than that.

Embodiment of Spring

Daniel (3): Two of my favorite cards to draft in Theros block were Burnished Hart and Opaline Unicorn. Needless to say I consider mana fixing to be a very important aspect of the game. While Embodiment of Spring might not be a substitution for Burnished Hart, it still feels pretty good in this set and is almost certainly going to be a pick-up in draft. It certainly will not be played much outside Limited.

Empty the Pits

Daniel (4): This card is definitely a bomb in Limited if you play it late in the game. The format does seem to cater to late game strategies over faster, earlier game strategies. For these reasons if nothing else, I expect the card to make an impact on standard play and to see a good amount of play in draft.

Bruce (3): Ahh, zombies…how I haven’t missed you.  This is kind of a ridiculous spell because at Instant speed (and with Delve) you could flood the board with zombies.  I don’t feel like this is going to be an awesome constructed card because the quad black and double X of the casting cost makes it too tough to cast. In Limited this could be a ridiculous bomb if you find it late game with a full board.  Cast it on the end step of your opponent and then untap a swarm of zombies for the win…sounds good to me.  I feel like this is a 3 but once again it is a Mythic  and tough to find.

End Hostilities

Daniel (4): The big news at the beginning of this block was that there weren’t going to be any cheap and easy sweepers in this set. They have gone out of their way to realize quite a few sweepers however, and while they have kept their promise about them not being quite so cheap we are bound to see quite a few of them. A mass removal spell is always a solid pick in draft and this one is fairly cheap compared to the others. If this is as good as it gets in the terms of cheap removal, I would totally expect to see it run this Standard season.

Bruce (6): Can I say “I told you so?” A few weeks ago (before WoTC wrote their article) I called the no 4 mana sweeper in Khans…and I was right!  This one is just fine.  A 5 mana sweeper doesn’t feel overpowered  but it does certainly put the screws to Bestow creatures.  I like that little twist.  Because control decks will run it, it will be a staple, I’m sure.  That bounces it up the table and makes this about a 6, but I doubt we’ll ever see it creep into modern or another format.

Feat of Resistance

Daniel (3): This card looks to be the premiere creature protection for the upcoming season. While it may not keep up with Ajani’s Presence, it is poised to at least give it a run for its money. This card will pump up your team, allow you to avoid blockers and have a way to protect your important creatures for a pretty low cost. I feel that this card has a possibility to be run both in Limited and Standard.

Feed the Clan

Daniel (2): Life gain spells are almost never worth it, unless they have another cool ability or are recurring in some way. Being able to set your life back 10 points is kind of a big deal though and that may just pull this card through to being playable in Limited. The jury’s still out on this one and I’m not sure whether this is a good or terrible card. It might get some play in Limited, but probably not in standard this season.

Firehoof Cavalry

Daniel (2): As a 1/1 for 1 that can pump for 4 and gain trample, this card is okay, but I don’t feel that it really keeps up with the format in the long run. This card might see a little bit of play in Limited , but I don’t expect much more than that out of it.

Flying Crane Technique

Daniel (2): Feeling just as gimmicky as it looks and sounds, this card does not pass as a good card in my book. Clocking in at 6 mana and only really being able to utilize half of its abilities on any given casting makes this card not so good in my opinion. The future for this card seems pretty bleak, but with a late game token deck the card might have a future in the game. I would have serious reservations against even picking the card in draft as most of the time the card won’t either be playable or useful in most situations.

Bruce (3): I read this the first time and largely dismissed it.  Then I stopped and Re-read this.  This is a Jeskai Overrun spell.  Think about it…everything gets flying, double strike, triggers Prowess and makes your team go nuts.  The mana cost is even just fine for an Overrun type effect.  If you are in Jeskai in Limited you want one of these in your deck as a finisher to break open the board state or to close out a game.  This is a solid 3.

Force Away

Daniel (3): 2 mana to bounce an opponent’s creature is a pretty good deal. It can answer a problem for a few turns and can also set them up to get countered later. When you add the fact that if you’ve got a big creature you get to filter your hand, then the card is definitely solid enough to see some play in Limited. My only problem with the card is its flavor, but I feel only people like me will understand that. As a pretty vanilla bounce spell with good stats this may also find itself a home in standard.

Gain Lands (Bloodfell Caves, Blossoming Sands, Dismal Backwater, Jungle Hollow, Rugged Highland, Scoured Barrens, Swiftwater Cliffs, Thornwood Falls, Tranquil Cove, and Wind-Scarred Crag)

Daniel (3): Lands like this are going to be vital in this set as they allow you extra chances to draw your dual lands. Decks will probably contain multiple copies of these withthe Shard lands, Fetch Lands and Pain Lands this Standard season. These lands help you make a playable 3-color deck in both Standard and draft. The lands are not as good as many of the other choices that are available in other formats, so I don’t expect these lands to break out of Standard.

Ghostfire Blade

Daniel (3): I think this card is cool, but it is definitely in the wrong set. The only colorless artifact creature in the set being Witness of the Ages.  I still love equipment in Limited, they just make things better. I don’t expect this card to find much play unless it is somehow coupled with a good amount of powerful artifact creatures in the next few sets.

Bruce (2): This is cheap,  equips for a reasonable cost, and is even better for colourless creatures.  Here’s the deal…we don’t have a lot of colourless creatures in this set.  There’s a couple…but not enough to really warrant this being super relevant.  This feels more like a harbinger for things to come.  We’ve seen that Ugin is here on Tarkir, Sorin who helped Ugin imprison the Eldrazi is also here, Sarkhan let the Eldrazi out is kicking around as well…could we see some sort of Eldrazi crawl into Tarkir and faceoff off with the Clans in the later sets?  Who knows.  This seems pretty neat and I want to see where it goes, but the actual card is about a 2.

Glacial Stalker

Daniel (3): A vanilla 4/5 for 6 mana that can unmorph for 5 isn’t terrible. It has 4 power so it may see play in draft, but I feel as though it will have a hard time moving into the constructed formats.

Goblinslide

Daniel (4): I may be a little biased when it comes to goblins… I suppose I should just admit to it now before I’m accused of it by someone. Most goblin cards just feel really good, and I would definitely include this card in their numbers. Following the token theme of the whole deck, this card can be responsible for dispatching a tremendous amount of goblin tokens onto your side of the field throughout the course of a game. Additionally, the added bonus of falling into the Prowess strategy makes this card feel awesome in at least this Standard and Limited season. I personally plan to pick up a playset of this card and am going to try to make it work in Modern. On the negative, the card does seem expensive in a Goblin deck at 3 mana, as well as needing non-creature spells to activate, which you might be a little short of in a true Goblin deck.

Grim Haruspex

Daniel (4): Since Magic printed Bob (Dark Confidant), it has been looking for a way to fix and reprint him. This card comes down as one of my “favorite” fixes for Bob like Dark Prophecy. While I am a bigger fan of Prophecy, the fact that it doesn’t cost your life is an important part about this card that hasn’t been explored before. Still the fact that you have to have 3 mana versus Bob’s 2 makes this card a harder sell than usual. Still all things considered I definitely wouldn’t mind running this card in a deck or pulling one in Limited.

Bruce (3): This is going to be stellar in Draft or Constructed.  The card advantage generated from having non-creature tokens die is extremely relevant in any format.  Also, a 3/2 for 3 mana is suitably aggressively costed that it can’t be ignored.  I feel like this is ideally suited for the same sort of Black Aggro strategy that Bloadsoaked Champion fits in (and can be abused somewhat by buying the Champion back) but it could be equally relevant to draw you extra cards in a Limited game. This feels like a 3 and with a chance to slide up into the 4 spot with the right strategy.

Gurmag Swiftwing

Daniel (3): While this card isn’t going to break any decks, a 1/2 Flyer with haste and first strike for 2 is pretty good. I still wish it had 2 power even if it cost 2 mana. The card is still probably going to see a respectable amount of play in Limited, but not so much in Standard.

Hardened Scales

Daniel (4): If this card was any more than 1 mana I wouldn’t be that excited, but it’s one of those enchantment that has the potential to flip the game on its head and get its own deck built around it in different formats. Hardened Scales feels really good in this set with a whole bunch of cards being able to put +1/+1 counters on things. The deck falls into various strategies that are typically covered by Doubling Season and this card does it much faster than that card. I think it has definite potential for Limited and it would be a shock not to see it run in standard and tons of other formats as well.

Bruce (2): This is exclusively a Limited card and frankly is a pretty marginal one unless you are rocking the Abzan in a large degree. It impacts the board very little initially and takes some investment to enact it with the Outlast mechanic or spells that impact the power and toughness of creatures through counters.   Otherwise, I don’t think this will be impactful enough at Constructed and pretty fringe at best.  This is likely a 2 and unlikely to be much more.

Heart-Piercer Bow

Daniel (3): What’s faster than first strike? That’s right, it’s damage before combat. The card is competitively costed and has a pretty cool ability, but it just doesn’t seem worth it in either Limited or Standard.

Heir of the Wilds

Daniel (3): A 2/2 deathtouch for 2 is a very good “Bear“. Add to that the fact that with Ferocious he gets +1/+1  when he attacks then you have a very effective beater that I expect to be run in most of the Green decks of the next standard season. Almost worth first picking cause it’s so good in Draft.

Herald of Anafenza

Daniel (5): A 1/2 for 1 is a pretty good vanilla creature, but add the fact that the card generates a 1/1 warrior tokens when using Outlast and you’ve got a creature that is playable at any point in a game. The card feels really good and efficient, I think that it will find its home in just about any token deck in about any format you want it to. It’s a great card in Limited definitely worth picking up.

Bruce (3): So, 1 mana 1/2 creatures are good.  They outclass many other 1 drops, but sadly are often outclassed themselves by the time turn two rolls around.  However, with the Outlast ability this can remain relevant well into the long game and can be an ample supply of tokens to plug up the ground or to put pressure on your opponent. This is doubtless a Draft all star and a strong 3, but perhaps it could see fringe play in a Constructed deck looking to pump a bunch of tokens to exploit with Purphorous or something.  I might go back to the drawing board with this guy and see what I can do.

High Sentinels of Arashin

Daniel (4): Acting as the strategy for Outlast, this is the card that officially changes this strategy from being very hard to pull together to very possible. This is a huge bomb in Limited capable of pumping up all of your creatures and just pushing your deck out of the range of your opponent over time. Even from just an efficient creature standpoint a 3/4 flyer for 4 that gets bigger for every other creature with a counter on it  makes him potentially playable in standard. Adding +1/+1 counters to other creatures and pumping himself at the same time is also useful late game. As long as 4 mana doesn’t turn out to be too expensive in the constructed format, it will still see play in Limited.

Bruce (3): This is a very strong Limited card that rewards you for packing your deck full of Abzan Outlast abilities.  Think about it, if you have even a pair of creatures with +1/+1 counters this is a 5/6 and can fly.  That’s crazy bomb-y!  Not likely Constructed playable, but still nuts in Limited.  This is likely a 3.

Highland Game

Daniel (3): 2 mana for a 2/1 that gains you 2 life when it dies. Short, sweet and to the point this card is a solid play in Limited that can probably get you in there for a few damage early, but I don’t see it doing much outside of this.

Highspire Mantis

Daniel (3): Highspire MantisMantis Rider… maybe there’s some similarities there… This card is a weaker form of Mantis Rider, that is uncommon instead of rare. Overall the card is not terrible as a 3/3 flyer with trample for 4, I don’t know if you really need trample on a 3/3. There are certainly worse cards to pick in draft and Mantis Rider requires a more intensive color base, so sometimes it may even be better to pick Highspire Mantis over Mantis Rider. I’m not too sure how well it’ll do in standard, but probably not well enough all things considered.

Hooded Hydra

Daniel (4): Hydras are pretty simple and good and this one feels like that. This card is a definitive bomb in Limited for its sheer power and the fact that when it’s gone it makes tokens to replace itself. It’s interesting to see how they incorporated Morph into the card, and the only problem really  is the fact that it doesn’t have trample. Even though the card does feel good and it’s a definite pick in draft, I’m not sure how big of a deal it is in Standard or the other formats, but time will tell.

Bruce (3): More Green Hydras?  Ok.  This is kind of neat because it packs Morph, spits out Tokens and is just generally another big fat creature monster. This is a Limited Bomb, but could sneak into a Mono-Green Devotion or Monsters build in Constructed as a possibility.  I think this will likely be a sleeper and 3 to start but could creep up if it finds a home in Constructed somewhere.

Hooting Mandrills

Daniel (3): If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a 100 times, when creatures get to a certain power level (namely 4) it needs trample or it’s immediately worse in my book. I am happy to report that this card has trample, and as such even with its higher mana cost of 6 it’s still a really solid card in Limited. On its mana cost, delve does help, but it still feels a little bit high for its cost. Overall, I expect to see this card in Limited a little bit, but don’t expect more than that out of it.

Hordeling Outburst

Daniel (2): Even if I do love the bum-rush with Goblins strategy in this set, this card just seems too flimsy to make an impact on standard, but in Limited it is card advantage.

Howl of the Horde

Daniel (3): My explanation for this card is short and biter, if Reverberate and fork didn’t have a huge impact on the game it’s unlikely that a sorcery speed version of them will.

Bruce (2): This should really read “Fork…but slower”.  It is pretty conditional and if you don’t have a good target then it pretty well sits as a dead card in your hand.  It could be super powerful, but I suspect it will be mostly a dud.  Constructed I think is a far outside shot with this but I could prove wrong.  This is likely a 2 and perhaps a 3.

Icefeather Aven

Daniel (3): A 2/2 flyer for 2 is pretty good, but the fact that you need Simic colors to cast is not so good. Wrap it up and put a bow on it and it still stacks up better than most other uncommons in Limited. The card’s second ability to bounce when it morphs can just be counted as the icing on the cake for a pretty solid card. I think Icefeather Aven has some real potential to play at least a little in the upcoming Standard season as well as in Limited.

Icy Blast

Daniel (3): Tapping (Freezing) and bouncing seems likes blues two favorite abilities in almost any set. If there is anyone that remembers back in the days of Titans, they’ll remember how damning Frost Titan’s ability to tap down your opponent’s creatures and keep them tapped can be. This effect may not be recurring like TORMOD’S CRYPT, but it does potentially hit a lot more targets and come out earlier. I think this card is a pretty cool in Limited and might make it into Standard, but I don’t expect it to do much more than that.

Bruce (3): This is a Limited Bomb.  Tapping down your opponent’s team on their end step, untap and then Alpha strike for the win makes this ridiculous.  The Ferocious trigger is also 100% nuts because they then STAY tapped.  Like…that’s bonkers and will lead to blow outs of unbelievable proportions.  In Constructed the impact will be somewhat reduced by virtue of the fact that the board is usually somewhat less strewn with creatures, but as a singleton or a pair of to force through damage it could useful.  I figure this is a 3 with some wiggle room to creep up to a 4 if it finds a home in Constructed somewhere.

Ivorytusk Fortress

Daniel (4): This is going to be a tough set. If I’ve learned anything from it, it is that this set is going to be difficult for anyone but some of the most experienced deck builders to really get their head wrapped around it. This being said I have my reservations with this card, fair enough. Another partially functional reprint of Seedborn Muse feels pretty good, especially with this card coming so soon after Prophet of Kruphix being powerful from Theros. I’m just not sure that the card does enough, but I suppose time will tell. If nothing else, I suppose it is a 5/7 for 5 mana even though it is a little color intensive.

Bruce (4): Clearly the Abzan have got a bunch of overpowered, undercosted bulldozers in this set.  This is a 5/7 for a paltry 5 mana.  That’s pretty good value and the fact that it untaps all your creatures with a +1/+1 counter on it is bananas.  Think about it…Heroic is still a thing.  Most Heroic creatures (or at least the good ones) are in White.  What could be more fun than a Dawnbringer Charioteer or a Fabled Hero with Vigilance?  Not much.  I could see a mid-range Abzan deck take shape and just pack a wicked punch and this Fortress is just the icing on the cake.  In Draft, there is no good reason to NOT take this.  It’s a huge beat stick that immediately sures up the board and likely outclasses anything they control.  This is the real deal in limited, even if tough to cast with the triple mana cost.  I could see being an easy 3, but perhaps creep up as far as a 4 if the right conditions emerge.

Jeering Instigator

Daniel (5): I feel like I’ve given a lot of 5’s out to this set, but it really does feel like they’ve released a whole bunch of sideboard gold in this set, and this card is an outstanding addition to that group. 3 mana for a steal spell is pretty awesome, I think it’s a great card that will make an impact.

Bruce (4): Oh boy…Threaten effects are super fun and this guy is awesome.  Threaten on a stick?  Hell yes! This will be a 3 for sure because it is just value and perhaps even a 4 if it creeps into the right deck.  I’m just a big fan for the surprise value of Morphing this guy and then smashing your opponent with his own critter.  Oh the fun I will have.

Jeskai Charm

Daniel (3): Setting charms as uncommon makes them better than if they were rares because in that case they would be very disappointing. As it is an uncommon though this card feels pretty good and I love its versatility. It comes with three abilities, sending a creature to the top of the library, can deal 4 damage to an opponent or it gives your creatures +1/+1 and lifelink until end of turn. However I still don’t necessarily like its mana cost, it just feels expensive to pay three different colors to play it. I still feel that the card is very playable both in Standard and Limited, but not much more than that.

Jeskai Elder

Daniel (3): I’m still not completely sold on the Prowess mechanic, but if it’s going to work anywhere I suppose blue is where it’s at. This card not only offers a way to get bigger, but also gives you a fair amount of filtering each time it hits your opponent. I think this card is a definite pick in Draft and I feel that if blue is still a thing next season then this card will at least see a little bit of play.

Bruce (2): A 1/2 for 2 mana with Prowess is pretty solid.  The fact that if it deals combat damage to a player scores you the chance to loot is pretty sweet as well. My problem with the Jeskai is that there is a tension between their creatures  and the Prowess ability. In Draft you want to play creatures, but Prowess wants you to play noncreature spells resulting in you being torn as to what direction you want to take your Draft deck.  There is little chance this will see play in a Constructed format, but that doesn’t make it an interesting card and a solid draft addition as a 2.

Jeskai Student

Daniel (3): A 1/3 with prowess for 2 is pretty solid, so I expect it to see an okay amount of play in Draft and maybe some in Standard.

Jeskai Windscout

Daniel (3): A 2/1 flyer for 3 in Draft is a pretty solid pick almost all of the time. Throw in Prowess on top of it and you’ve got a great pick that will get in there and deal some quick damage to your opponent. I think it’s playability in Standard is going to be contingent upon the amount of blue decks there are in the format.

Bruce (2): This is just a serviceable flier in blue for the Limited environment. The fact that it packs Prowess is a nice addition and could allow this to get a little tricky and win combat with a couple of non creature spell, but it is hardly a menace. This is yet another 2 and unlikely to ever amount to much more.

Kheru Bloodsucker

Daniel (3): This card is kind of like a powered up but worse Blood Artist. First, this card only cares when your big creatures die, taking 2 life from your opponent and giving it to you. Then you can sacrifice creatures to this card to give him +1/+1 counters. Stat-wise this is a 2/2 for 3, which means that you should be able to get it online before you have to worry about your big creatures. I expect this card to see limited success in Draft and maybe even find its way into a Standard deck or two, but any more than that would be pushing it.

Kheru Dreadmaw

Daniel (2): I’m not too sure what’s this card’s flavor. My first question is why is this a Defender? My next is why do you gain life when you feed him creatures? I’m not sure who got to make the creative decisions on this card, but I don’t think I like it. Besides the two problems I already mentioned, it just doesn’t feel that useful. I guess sacrificing a creature that’s about to die for life can be useful. However 5 mana for a 4/4 blocker, then I would much rather the sacrifice ability take away defender for the turn and say that you have to lure the beast out of its pit with a bit of meat to get him to do stuff for you. Overall, I’m not really expecting much from this guy in standard or draft.

Kheru Lich Lord

Daniel (3): A 4/4 for 6 is too much for this card even with its powerful ability to bring back creatures every turn. I think this card could be some pretty good card advantage in Draft, but I don’t expect it to see too much play in any constructed format.

Bruce (3): This one smells like Whip of Erebos on a stick…but I would rather play the Whip over this almost any day of the week.  This will be perfectly fine in Limited, but 6 mana 4/4’s with an activation ability that costs an additional 3 mana is just not going to cut it at Standard most days. Even in Limited this will be a bit of a dice roll to cast it and then use it on anything truly good.  Cool card, but this feels like an EDH special to me and will likely be a 2 or 3 on our scale.

Kheru Spellsnatcher

Daniel (2): This card feels bad for a Rare. It either enters the battlefield as a 3/3 for 4 or it can be a sort of pseudo counterspell for 3 up-front and 6 later. Realistically to get value out of this card, it requires you to leave up 6 mana just in case your opponent casts a spell you want to steal. The card might be a one of in a couple of decklists, but might be too expensive to run and keep up multiple copies in a deck. Additionally, I’m not too sure of its effectiveness in Limited only because it doesn’t seem that consistent of a card for an already potentially unstable deck.

Bruce (3): This is super fun because who doesn’t love to steal your opponent’s spells and hit them with them?  Yes, it is expensive and a 3/3 is hardly overwhelming, but it will be hilarious in a Limited environment and even better in EDH where craziness can occur with regularity.  This is a 3 simply for the high ceiling level of the spell (and I love stealing my opponent’s spells!) but is most certainly not good enough for constructed.

Kill Shot

Daniel (3): I’m very confused about the flavor of this card, just like some of the other cards in the set. The card says that supposedly Mardu archers are trained to such a high level that they score kill shots on all of their targets. Now maybe there are special archers that can do this, but there are Mardu archers in the set and they don’t have all that impressive abilities. Additionally, how do they kill anything with one shot, I mean there are demons and angels in the game, and they can be killed with one arrow…Anyway, Limited loves removal and this is better than a lot of it in this set. It will probably see some Limited play, but I don’t think it’ll do that well in constructed.

Kin-Tree Invocation

Daniel (3): There are cards that scale pretty well throughout the course of the game and this is one of those cards that does just that in my opinion. It is aggressively costed enough to come down early enough in the game to be a strong beater and its effect can make it aggressive enough to be a big deal late game. My only two problems with the card are what separates it from scoring a 4 versus a 3, that is the fact that the creature doesn’t have trample and it it has two different colors in its casting cost. This means that the card doesn’t come out quite as soon as you want it and when it pops down late it may not get in for the damage you need. I still expect this card to play in quite a few Standard decks and I would not be surprised if it’s a pretty big deal in Limited.

Kin-Tree Warden

Daniel (3): A 1/1 for 1 that can regenerate is a pretty rare find for this set that is so devoted to big and expensive cards. I don’t think this card will be anything huge, but as a blocker it’s not a bad addition to any Limited deck. As for standard, he just feels too small to have any real impact.

Krumar Bond-Kin

Daniel (3): This card is a pretty vanilla 5/3 for 5. That’s pretty much it. It feels too overcosted to see any real notable level of play. Additionally, it dies pretty easily to blockers so it doesn’t even get in for that much damage most of the time. It might see a little play in Limited, but I don’t expect it at all in Standard.

Leaping Master

Daniel (3): This is a 2/1 for 2 that you can give flying to for 3 mana. Two-drops in this set are going to be a pretty big deal for Limited because there are so few of them, but with Theros in Standard I don’t expect this card to be that big of a deal.

Lens of Clarity

Daniel (3): They say that information is power, if that’s true then this card may be one of the most powerful cards in the game for its mana cost. I believe this card has a few great combos with cards that have already been printed and it does take care of the surprise out of morphs sails. If you come up with a combo with it or you are worried about the surprise factor of morph put it in, but besides that I can’t see it seeing much play.

Longshot Squad

Daniel (3): A 3/3 that can outlast for 2 and gains reach feels amazing in Limited. The fact that it gives all of your creatures with +1/+1 counters reach definitely gives your outlast deck a way to deal with flying. I see this card being a pretty big factor in Limited, but not so much in constructed.

Mantis Rider

Daniel (4): A 3/3 flying, vigilance and haste for 3 is pretty awesome. All of those abilities on a card with 3 different colors makes the card very intensive, but still extremely good in Limited. If Red White Blue is a thing in Standard, this card probably won’t be far behind.

Bruce (4): Well, to start, the art on this is nuts.  That’s a sweet piece of art, and while the Jeskai aren’t my favorite clan, that may be the best art of the set.  The card is very solid as well.  A 3/3 flier for 3 mana makes this quite playable and it packs Flying, Vigilance and Haste making it have all the key words for each of its colours. This is a Limited All-Star for sure and is exactly the sort of efficient, evasive creature that could see play in a Standard deck down the road.  I feel like this is a 3 and could emerge as a sleeper for a Constructed deck and make a splash as a potential 4.

Mardu Blazebringer

Daniel (2): A 4/4 for 3 that would definitely be playable if you didn’t have to sacrifice it at the end of combat. I don’t expect this card to be played much in any format.

Mardu Hateblade

Daniel (3): Later on in my review you’ll probably hear me talk about how important two-drops are in this set for their rarity, and one drops are even scarcer. It is for that reason and the fact that this card can take down pretty much any creature it wants with its deathtouch, that I feel like this card is going to be a big deal in Limited. I don’t think this card will find a home in Standard though because there are just better options.

Mardu Heart-Piercer

Daniel (3): Sitting at four mana for marginally bad abilities and stats this card feels almost strictly worse than Flametongue Kavu. Mardu Heart-Piercer is still pretty cool removal in Limited and may see a little play in Standard.

Mardu Hordechief

Daniel (3): The name of the game for the Mardu forces in this set seems to be tokens and that’s all this card pretty much does. There are better options, but I still feel he’ll have his place in Limited if nothing else.

Mardu Roughrider

Daniel (3): I want this card to be Snowhorn Rider, as a 5/4 without the Morph ability basically that’s my whole review. You can refer to Snowhorn Rider for the rest of the details about my fixed version, and make this card a little worse.

Mardu Skullhunter

Daniel (3): At 2 mana for a 2/1 that enters the battlefield tapped doesn’t feel very strong. Add to it a discard effect and the card feels just a little more worth it. I expect this card to at least see limited play in Standard and is well worth picking up in Limited.

Mardu Warshrieker

Daniel (3): 4 mana for a 3/3 is okay. Add to it the fact that it gives you RWB mana when it enters if you attacked this turn and you’ve got yourself a pretty good filler for Limited. In constructed, however, I’m not sure how useful the card is.

Master the Way

Daniel (1): I gave this card a 1 because I don’t feel it’s right in a lot of ways and I think it kind of goes against some of the strongest strategies in Red/Blue in this set. I feel that the card would better be suited either for a lower mana cost or just a more efficient draw card for much less mana. Long story short, the set isn’t really set up for much draw and that’s really the way this card works in my opinion. I don’t expect to see it in standard, maybe in draft once or twice though.

Master of Pearls

Daniel (3): A 2/2 for 2 isn’t terrible and this card can flip up for a pump to all of your creatures. This card is pretty solid, but its high Morph cost may hamper its ability to appear in a lot of decks this season.  I still expect tokens to be pretty big this set so I wouldn’t be surprised if the card found its way into a couple of decks in Standard this rotation. Overall, while I’m not so sure how well it’ll do in constructed, it is not the worst card in the world to pick round 1 in Draft assuming you’re playing white.

Bruce (2): This feels underpowered and over-costed  There must be a reason that this is a rare and can only  assume that in testing the +2/+2 granted when it Morphs is backbreaking in Limited, butit seems super expensive and only nets me a 2/2.  That’s hardly exciting…and the Morph cost is steep.  This is likely a 2 but if it proves to be solid in Limited and do some powerful things to blow out the board state I could see this creeping up a little further.

Meandering Towershell

Bruce (1): This is just bizarre.  The delay on the attack makes it pretty crazy.  If this were part of the Evolve mechanic type of tricks from Gatecrash I could see some of the appeal, but having it leave play, delay the attack, and then come back in is really undesirable.  The islandwalk is neat, but I’m going out to find this on account of that.  The only real value is as a huge wall but that hardly seems appealingf. This feels like it is a 2 at best and could easily slide back into the situation where it is 1.

Mindswipe

Daniel (3): Not a terrible counterspell that dual functions as a damage spell. Counters are typically not very good in Limited, but this card may see play in Standard during the coming up season.

Bruce (4): This one is cool.  This is Syncopate crossed with a Fireball.  I know that really isn’t the best comparison, but it isn’t far off.  The part I like best is that the damage portion of this spell  resolves regardless if they match the X cost they are using to counter the spell. Great, resolve your big fatty, but in the process eat and additional 4 damage! HA! I like this. I think this could be good enough for Constructed and will certainly be played in Limited pretty steadily. This feels like a 4.

Mistfire Weaver

Daniel (3): This card almost feels like it deserves 2 different ratings, the first rating is for its morphed form and the second for its regular casting. No matter which we’re talking about though, the card still comes down as a 3/1 flyer on your 4th turn. Being cast the regular way doesn’t feel that good, but it is still a flyer with 3 power for 4 mana and that feels ok in Limited. On the other side its Morph costs one less to unmorph and gives one of your creatures hexprooof until end of turn, which feels pretty good to dodge a spell. This card could go either way in Standard, but I believe that it will see play this season.

Molting Snakeskin (3): I’m not really sure how molting saves you from regeneration or gives you extra attack, but overall this is a fairly straightforward regeneration/pump enchantment that’s pretty solid in draft and probably won’t see much play outside the format.

Monastery Flock

Daniel (1): The Morph on this card is pretty neat, but that’s about where the cool parts of this card end. First of all for 3 mana a card that has largely been considered unplayable is Wall of Frost, a defender that also costs 3, comes down as a 0/7 and keeps anything it blocks tapped down for an extra turn is way better than Monastery Flock, at least in my opinion. I don’t believe we’ll see this card played too frequently in the next season in Limited or Standard.

Monastery Swiftspear

Daniel (3): 1 mana for a 1/2 with haste and prowess is a pretty strong card. It’s almost better than Goblin Guide and paces itself pretty well by powering up each time you cast a non-creature spell. The fact that it isn’t a Goblin though deals a serious blow to this cards usability though. If there is a red deck in Standard or Limited, I expect this card to be there if it can.

Murderous Cut

Daniel (3): Delve is a very under-utilized ability in the game that utilizes the most under-utilized resource in all of Magic, the graveyard. That being said, on a card like this it just feels too expensive. I mean sure, it might come out as a kill spell for 1, but it also costs 5 if you don’t have any in your yard. Long story short, the card is expensive, but is probably going to see a good amount of play in Standard and Limited.

Bruce (4): Instant creature removal?  Nice. 5 mana? BOOO! Even with Delve it costs too much.  The Delve could be nice to help reduce the casting cost, but every time I Delve I rob my deck of the resources I want to do busted things like…oh…I don’t know…Empty the Pits.  Yes, if I need it, it’s there, but this will usually be a 5 mana instant removal spell.  You’ll Draft this and it is a staple in any Limited game and with reduced options will see play in Standard as well.  I figure this is a little better than a 3 but a bit poor on being a 4.

Mystic of the Hidden Way

Daniel (2): 5 mana for a 3/2 unblockable isn’t terrible, but I’m not really sure where they’re aiming the printing of this card at in the set. I don’t expect to see much play out of this card in the upcoming season.

Narset, Enlightened Master

Daniel (5): Out of the cycle of commanders in this set, I feel that this is the creature best posed to break out of the confines of Standard and into one of the higher formats. I’ve already seen a few mash ups of the card in some pretty interesting decklists and it seems that people like the idea of it most in American Super Friends (Big Planeswalker in Modern every once in a while). I personally think the card works best in a dual functioning equipment and planeswalkers, she practically screams pump me out and pump me up with equipment and I’ll hit in for big damage every turn. Expect a big impact in Standard, EDH, Limited and potentially even higher formats if someone figures out this powerful creature.

Bruce (2) 6 mana for a 3/2?  I’m skeptical already.  First Strike and Hexproof help this girl, but the real seller is her ability. Whenever she ATTACKS (notice, not deal damage to an opponent like Prophetic Flamespeaker who shares some similarities with her) you can exile the top four cards and cast non-creature spells without paying their mana cost.  I love getting free spells, and this works really nicely with the Jeskai Prowess ability to pump your team.  However, 6 mana is a lot for 3/2.  Her triggered ability is cool…but it feels like it goes in a very narrow deck in any sort of constructed environment.  I can also conclude that I am highly unlikely to be keen to play her in Limited because I would rather run more CREATURES over spells.  She might be a star in EDH, I hope so because she seems neat and in a cool design space. I still think she’s a bust.

Necropolis Fiend

Daniel (2): This card is expensive and clunky. It feels almost like it’s a finisher for a very long game and drawing it at any other point up is probably not a good thing in the least. I guess the counterpoint to this card is that the Delve makes up for it and the graveyard is an under-utilized resource, but the card just feels expensive for a 4/5 with flying. I don’t expect the card to make too large of an impact in anything.

Bruce (2): 9 mana?! Pardon my language…but ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?  Even WITH Delve this is borderline unplayable. It’s neat…don’t get me wrong…but it costs SOOOOO much that it hurts me to look at it…and it’s ONLY a 4/5.  Yes, a 4/5 is big…but I want my 9 mana to be redonkulous, not just acceptable.  Then, once I cast this thing (likely using Delve because it is so bloody expensive), how do you propose I use the secondary ability?  How many cards am I going to have in my yard to use this if this costs 9 mana?  Not nearly as many as I would like. Again, this is likely a pretty beefy bomb that you’ll dump all your resources into to make it work and will do work in Limited, but I highly doubt this will see anything like Constructed play (BUT…EDH will undoubtedly love this guy with a sound graveyard deck!)

Outlast Captain “Cycle” (Mer-Ek Nightblade, Abzan Falconer, Tuskguard Captain, and I know I already did his review, but Abzan Battle Priest)

Daniel (3): Overall I like the idea, but the cards just don’t seem efficient compared to most of the other set. If you pull enough of these cards together you could build yourself a pretty solid Limited deck. I don’t think that these have too much of a future in standard, but only time will tell I suppose.

Bruce (3): The Abzan put off a “Sliver” like feeling in that they have a number of “Lord-ish” type cards like this  that make Limited play  against them kind of unpleasant.  It’s hard to fight creatures that all get relevant bonuses and feed off each other because it can be difficult to unravel that sort of synergy without an optimal removal package.  These feel like a very solid 3 for their Limited playability, but probably  not suitable for Constructed.

Pearl Lake Ancient

Daniel (3): I like this card, but like so many other cards I like I’m not exactly sure that it’s all that good. He feels good in blue for the counter match-up, but more than one or two in any deck feels a little excessive especially in a counter deck. He’ll offer you protection for himself through the cost of returning a few lands to your hand, he can’t be countered and he has a big power and toughness being a 6/7. Plus it also has flash to surprise block the cards your opponent may not want to lose or to play it at the end of their turn. Still though, the flash helps a lot, but 7 mana is still a tremendously large mana cost for a blue deck. While I don’t expect this card in any decks outside of this Standard season, I expect it to be run in a few blue decks this season. I wouldn’t mind picking up one in Draft, even round one.

Bruce (3): 6/7 for 7 mana with flash and can’t be countered…hmmm…this is one BIG BLUE FATTY.  However, he is totally unplayable in any form of constructed.  The fact that you can return it to your hand is interesting, but you will likely be setting yourself so far behind that it is unlikely to be a relevant ability as well.  No, this is just a big fatty to crush your opponent with at Limited.  The fact that it is mythic means that it is going to be rarely seen, but when you see it, you grab it for the tremendous power and flexibility it offers.  This is a 3 whether you like to admit it or not.

Pine Walker

Daniel (3): A 5/5 for 5 with a little bonus but no Trample is pretty straight-forward and solid. His 2nd ability to untap flipped up cards is cool, but the flavor doesn’t make sense to me and I don’t really know how it helps. I think this card is definitely solid in Limited and might even find its way into Standard given enough time even though it’s going to be a little hard.

Ponyback Brigade

Daniel (2): This card is another fun Goblin card, but it’s not very good. It has the flaw of being 3 different colors and 6 mana whether you are unmorphing it or straight up playing it. In Standard with tokens it is a big deal to put four cards into play, but only if you can make it this late.

Quiet Contemplation

Daniel (4): This card looks like an outstanding pairing for all of those Prowess decks out there. I really think it was a neat idea to put together prowess and to match it up in a deck against such a strong token presence in the set. It really does feel like a war between mages and a horde, brute force versus technique. The ice-breathing ability to tap down a creature for two turns feels very good and suited in this match-up. Overall, I feel that this card shuts down the big creature strategy and will be an outstanding addition to both the Standard and Limited decks that are using prowess this season.  Although it might be too clunky for any other formats except maybe EDH.

Raiders’ Spoils

Daniel (2): This card works very well into the token deck. The card does just about everything you could ask for in a card for a token deck, it draws cards and makes your tokens bigger and combines well with Wingmate Roc and Herald of Anafenza. The downsides of the card are the facts that it only triggers draw when a warrior hits,  it costs you life and it’s a little bit on the expensive side to cast. It is a very situational card I would definitely consider running if you have the right cards both in your Standard and Limited decks.

Rakshasa Deathdealer

Bruce (4): What is NOT to like about this? It’s a nasty 2 drop that does an early impression of a Bear…but can be pumped to ensure that it remains relevant later in the game as well.  And the pump ability is HUGE…+2/+2 is a big boost in power and toughness.  Dear LORD.  And if you can’t pump it enough, you can always just regenerate this guy continuing to make this guy relevant.  This is suitably costed and packs enough punch that it will likely see Constructed play and will be a very powerful Limited card.  This is quite certainly at least a 4.

Rakshasa Vizier

Daniel (3): This card is interesting, but I need to see more of the next few sets to give a fair interpretation. At this point the set only really has delve to exile cards from your graveyard for any beneficial effects, there could be more effects added in later, but right now it feels like the card missed its set by one rotation. I don’t expect this card to be too big of a deal in Standard or Limited  just because of the lack of interactability with the rest of the set.

Bruce (3): A CAT DEMON! Shut up! And a 4/4?! That is the meanest looking kitty I’ve ever seen…and it gets counters for exiled cards?  Well…HELLO TORMOD’S CRYPT! That could be pretty sick…drop this guy, then exile their whole yard with the crypt and watch the already huge kitty get bigger! This is a bomb in Limited play but I doubt seriously that anyone other than casual brewers will take a stab to play this guy.  This is another solid 3.

Rakshasa’s Secret

Daniel (3): Making your opponent discard cards is a pretty powerful effect, but it just feels forced in this set. Honestly I’m not really sure why they’re trying to force discard so much, they already have a pretty solid set without it. This card doesn’t feel terrible, but I don’t expect it to do too much outside of Limited.

Rattleclaw Mystic

Daniel (4): A 2/1 for 2 is pretty good. Add to that the fact that it is mana acceleration both when it morphs or when it sits on the field for 3 colors and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid creature. I expect this card to see some amount of play in Limited, EDH and constructed, but I feel that it may have trouble going past this Standard season.

Bruce (5): Ok, we have seen that Burning Tree Emissary is good.  It has been a Constructed all-star since day one when it arrived and this draws a lot of parallels.  It mana ramps you.  It can lead to explosive starts off the Morph bonus.  It can even double as a very reasonable “Bear” if you need to get on the beat down plan.  In limited we’ve seen that Golden Hind was a very high pick, and so is Elvish Mystic,so logic would dictate that this would be key as well.  This is good in Limited, very good in Constructed and is a solid 5 and I could even see it keep creeping up.

Retribution of the Ancients

Daniel (2): As a rare I think this card is undoubtedly bad. I do like the fact that it plays well into the sets +1/+1 theme with outlast, but that’s about it. The card mostly feels not worth it and weak. You might see a little bit of this card, but I don’t expect too much.

Reveal Cycle (Dragon’s Eye Savants, Horde Ambusher, Ruthless Ripper, Temur Charger, and Watcher of the Roost)

Daniel (2): This cycle of creatures feels basically like a set of value creatures with a Morph ability that makes them marginally better. I don’t expect these cards to make any real showing outside of Limited and their power  to be pretty low in of itself.

Bruce (2): This cycle is a very playable Limited cycle where all the creatures have morph, so they can come down as a 2/2 and then when you Morph them back you get a nice bonus.  In my mind the White and the Green ones are clearly the best of the cycle with the Blue one largely being a dud, but they will all be played in draft and help fill out your deck nicely. These guys are all a 2.

Ride Down

Daniel (3): I just realized what this set was missing, Horsemanship. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to print any cards with that keyword, but it is a very powerful ability that feels as if it really does fit in. Additionally, the only time they’ve ever printed Horsemanship was back in Portal 3 Kingdoms, which always went along with the idea of Feudal China. Regardless, this card and Horsemanship seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s a pretty solid kill spell for 2 color that typically doesn’t get them, but red has been leaning towards this strategy of killing the blocker for a while so flavor makes sense on this card. Overall, I think this card is great solid filler in Limited to get through the defense, but I don’t expect it to find much play in Standard due to the prevalence of better options.

Rite of the Serpent

Daniel (3): Being one of the few removal cards in the set, this card has the possibility to be a pretty strong factor in Limited. The token producing isn’t all that relevant, and for not too much more mana you actually have access to In Garruk’s Wake which wipes all of your opponent’s creatures and planeswalkers from the field. I don’t know why you’d run this card in Standard when there are better choices available, so for that reason I doubt that this card will see much constructed play.

Riverwheel Aerialists

Daniel (3): Prowess is a pretty neat mechanic in the set, and this card really does feel posed to best take advantage of it. Sitting as one of the creatures with the best protection in the set and being one of the strongest flyers this season definitely doesn’t hurt this creature’s cause. 6 mana is a little bit of a steep cost, but I still expect to see one or two in Prowess decks this season and see players playing them in Limited quite a little bit.

Roar of Challenge

Daniel (3): It’s good to see them reprinting lure effects, and this card is a fresh look at the whole idea of them. This card may just be good enough to win the game in Limited and Standard sometimes, by luring all of the blocks to your weakest attacker and getting the rest of the team in. Also combining this card with deathtouch on a powerful creature can almost be a board wipe. The indestructible on top of everything is just the icing on the cake for this card and makes an already good card even better than it already is. Overall, I expect great things from this card in Limited as it’s a great way to surprise your opponent with something they weren’t expecting, but I don’t see it doing much in Standard because of its sorcery speed.

Rotting Mastodon

Daniel (3): A 2/8 is going to be a tough customer to deal with, with this set being the way it is. I still don’t expect this card to really win you the game or anything, just to make it that much harder for your opponent to win, which is good in its own way. This card is a great way to slow down your opponents in Limited but at 5 mana I doubt any Combo/Control deck in Standard will opt for it over card’s like Nyx-Fleece Ram.

Ruthless Ripper

Bruce (3): This, THIS I can get behind. My good friend Typhoid Rats are back…and better than ever because it packs Morph PLUS a sweet bonus when you morph it back.  Limited All-star and it might sneak into the odd aggro strategy at Constructed…so I’ll give it a 3 with room to move up.

Rush of Battle 

Daniel (4): This may be the best common in the set… Pumping up all of your creatures by 2 power is a pretty big deal even if it is expensive in this set. This is a great combo piece with all of the token makers in the set, and will probably lead to a few blow-outs in a few games. The lifelink for Warriors is just icing on the cake of this already great card. I think this card is a bomb in Limited token decks, but don’t think it’ll play in Standard.

Sage-Eye Harrier

Daniel (2): Long story, short, 5 mana for a 1/5 doesn’t feel good even if it has fly. I don’t think this card will play too much in standard or Limited.

Sage of the Inward Eye

Daniel (4): The ability to give all of your creatures lifelink is going to be a huge deal if your opponent can’t find a way to deal with this powerful Flyer. I look forward to seeing a whole deck built around this card and I would definitely consider using it in Limited.

Bruce (3): A 3/4 flying Djinn Wizard for 5 mana that has the ability of giving your team Lifelink whenever you cast a non-creature spell. I’ll be honest, this is a Draft only card.  It is an underpowered Air Elemental with an ability.  The ability is cute and relevant in a Limited game, and the 4 toughness in the air seems to be where you want to be at with this set, but I doubt very highly that this will see any sort of Constructed play.  This is a solid 3.

Sagu Archer

Daniel (3): Reach and flying are typically pretty big deals in Limited, the flying because it gets around most of the cards in the set and the reach just because it can deal with this work around. 5 mana for a 2/5 is pretty bad, but when you look at a late game set like this, it might be a significant player in Limited. In constructed play, my original thoughts on the card do stand, it’s just too costly to be playable.

Sagu Mauler

Daniel (4): I love this card and it just goes to show that tokens aren’t the only way to go in the next season. I’m not a huge fan of this card just being straight green, but a 6/6 with trample and hexproof for 6 is pretty nice. His morph abilities feel pretty amazing too. He doesn’t do anything special, but surprising your opponent with him is enough. I don’t know if he’ll see play in standard next season, but I want him to be. When I see him in a draft pack I’ll try to take him.

Bruce (3): 6/6 for 6 mana…trample and Hexproof. Wow. Yes please.  The nice part is that you can actually play it earlier than turn six on account of the Morph cost.  This is a solid Limited Bomb that can protect itself and the trample just brings extra beats.  I doubt it will ever see the light of Constructed play, but that’s fine.  This is a 3.

Salt Road Patrol

Daniel (3): A 2/5 for 4 that has the potential to grow and work with the outlast strategies in the deck. This card feels like some solid filler that has the potential to hold off your opponent and still be a threat late game if left alone long enough. I don’t think this card will play in Standard, but it has the chance to do some good things in Limited.

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

Daniel (5): I really like this planeswalker. His plus ability turns him into a 4/4 dragon with Flying, Haste and Indestructibility for a turn. His minus ability is a Flametongue Kavu on a stick dealing 4 damage to target creature and his ultimate lets you draw more cards each turn. My one discrepancy with the card is the fact that it costs 5 mana, a little bit high for your typical red deck but still at the top of the curve. This card is definitely playable in Limited and will probably find a home in Big Red in the upcoming Standard season. I personally plan to pick up two of these cards for my Modern Goblin deck.

Bruce (5): Oh boy…New Planewalkers are sweet and this guy is spicy. 5 mana is pricey, but his +1 is petty crazy.  Let’s turn into a dragon and Burninate everything! The fact that he becomes a creature means he can get bounced or exiled easily enough, but survives most of combat is a pretty huge bomb.  His -3 is just devastating to crush a creature.  Hell Yeah!  His ultimate is a continuation on the neat design space to give Red more card draw…but they need to use it right NOW!  I like this, it feels pretty balanced and not unfair while being very flavorful and fun.  This feels like a 5, but could even creep up a bit.

Savage Knuckleblade

Daniel (4): This is a really strong creature that seems to be based off of older great multicolored creatures to take advantage of all its colors. For starters, the creature is a 4/4 for 3 mana, each of a different color. While that does seem like a little much, its effects more than make up for this intensive casting cost. It’s first ability reminds me heavily of Basking Rootwala which was a huge card back in the days of madness, it pumps our 4/4 up to a 6/6 for a turn making it deadly against a lot of cards. Its second ability adds the type of protection which was afforded to Morphling and more recently Aetherling, it deters its destruction by your opponent’s spells by returning him to your hand. Savage Knuckleblade is obviously great in Limited, but might even see play in Standard if RUG decks (Temur) starts seeing play again.

Bruce (4): This is a bomb in almost any metric you can find.  3 mana.  4/4. Packs loads of abilities. Can pump.  Have haste. Evade kill spells and board wipes.  The only thing better would be if this could make me sandwich.  This will be a staple in Temur Monster style decks for sure because it is too good to pass up and will be a ridiculous bomb in Limited.  This is likely a 4.

Savage Punch

Daniel (3): Fighting has been a mechanic that’s been almost overplayed since Innistrad Block. This card feels almost stale if nothing else, still, the combination of fighting and big creatures really does feel good. And just because something is overused doesn’t mean that the ability isn’t good, I mean there must be a reason they keep printing it so much. I still feel like the card can be good in the right deck, but it’s one you have to be careful about using because there are so many tricks that can lose you your creature once you cast it. Still, in the right deck this can be an important card in a Limited deck, but I feel as though Domri Rade might be the better choice in Standard if you’re running red.

Scaldkin

Daniel (2): 4 mana for a 2/2 flyer is too much, even if that flyer can blow itself up to deal some extra damage to a creature or player. This is a flyer so it might see a little bit of play in Limited, but I don’t think it will do much more than this.

Scion of Glaciers

Daniel (3): 4 mana for a 2/5 that can rearrange his stats isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible. If you swing in and he gets blocked just leave his stats where they are to protect him or move them around to take down his blocker. But if he gets through then pump him as much as you can to get in for some extra damage. It’s a neat little card that can get in for some good damage when you need him to and has a good amount of variability to deal with different situations. Overall this card is pretty good,  I could imagine it being run in Limited and maybe even in Standard for a little while.

Scout the Borders

Daniel (2): I don’t really know what was wrong with Grisly Salvage, but now we have Scout the Borders. It doesn’t do anything different, but it does cost 3 mana versus costing 2 different colors of mana. It’s a pretty nice bit of filtering by going through your top five cards and giving you one. But mostly just like its predecessor, the card doesn’t do a whole lot except fill your yard. This card might see a little bit of play in Limited through a Delve deck, but I don’t see it as very effective in constructed play.

Secret Plans

Daniel (4): Between this and Trail of Mystery that you’ll read about in a little while, Blue/Green/X Morph is looking like it’s going to be a lot of fun in the next Limited and Standard season. While I’m still not entirely sure that it’ll be competitive, it looks fun nonetheless. Secret plans is great, it makes all of your Morph creatures 2/3 and gives you card advantage when you flip them up, by drawing you a card. If no one else does it, I’m going to try to build a Standard deck around Morph (look forward to an article about it) so you can expect at least one deck that is going to run it in the next season. If you’ve got it in your head to try to do neat things with Morph I’d pick it up for draft pretty early. I don’t really see much of a future otherwise for this card sadly, as Morph isn’t really a thing in any format.

See the Unwritten

Daniel (3): If any of you have been following my writing for a good amount of time then you probably know that I love big creatures, and I also love ways to cheat them into play. This is a pleasant fairly costed card that has the ability to do just that and when combined with something like worldly tutor, the card basically gets the creature you want into play. I still have a hard time believing that this card will find is way out of Standard as long as cards like Tooth and Nail exist, but a fun card nonetheless. Just like a few other cards in the set be careful of decking yourself if you do decide to play this in Limited.

Bruce (4): Ok…This 6 mana sorcery reveals 8 cards and you get to put a creature from among those cards on the battlefield without paying its mana cost.  Now 6 is a pretty steep mana cost…usually…but not for Green in a world with Nykthos exists.  With Devotion powered Monster decks you could see something truly degenerate being spewed out with this card.  What makes it even more disgusting is if you can trigger the Ferocious trigger (and honestly…that SHOULD be easy…you’re in Green…everything is a fatty!) and you get to dump two creatures.  What would make this card just perfect is if there was just some devastating Green death machine in one of these sets prior to Theros rotating out. Now as for Limited, you could run it, but you’re liable to flip over some 1/1 with your 6 mana, so I might not be too keen to try it.  Based on the potential upside this has to be a 4, but only in the right deck.

Seeker of the Way

Daniel (3): 2/2’s for 2 being so rare in this set, all of them have the potentially to be really good in Limited. This one more than the others is probably going to be a great card in the format, because he’s also got the ability to get +1/+1 and lifelink each time you cast a noncreature spell. This keeps him relevant for a little while, pumping himself up and gaining you some life each time he swings if you cast a noncreature spell. I expect this card to be well-suited in Limited and to have play in at least a few competitive Standard decks.

Bruce (2): A Bear with prowess and it gets lifelink?  This will be playable but you can likely do better. This will be a 2.

Set Adrift

Daniel (3): Delve again, this is one ability R&D’s obviously brought back in a big way for this set. Bounce spells are typically an important part of the blue strategy, and if the traditional control strategy comes into Standard this season, then we’ll probably see this card. Set Adrift is also a pretty solid bit of filler for Limited.

Shambling Attendants

Daniel (3): This is an okay card, coming down for 8 mana at worst or 1 mana and 7cards from the graveyard. Shambling Attendants feels expensive even when it isn’t. Its stats feel pretty good, a 3/5 with Deathtouch. But for what feels like a relatively large investment, you get something that kind of just feels like a lukewarm creature.

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

Daniel (3): Recently this has become an on-going theme with a lot of the cards that Magic has been printing, especially with the way that Commander 2014 is shaping up. The style that they’ve started printing so much of are cards that deck you and give you creatures in exchange. I feel like this card could be good even great in the right deck, but I just feel that it’s effects are just too narrow to have any lasting impact. That said I almost fell in love with it when I first saw it, but after looking at its effects and its mana cost it just may have a tough time finding a home in any deck at all. If you do decide to use this card in Limited, it may just wind up milling you instead so use it with caution.

Bruce (4) 3/3…4 mana…self mill…MAKES ZOMBIES!Ok…Sultai just got a little off the hook here.  Sure, this guy is totally thwarted by Anafenza, but whatever.  He’s SPICY.  I like the 3/3 for 4 mana.  That feels very reasonable and totally something I can get behind.  The more I play, the more I love the self milling strategies to speed up your access to resources.  The ability to make Zombies is just broken…and it isn’t just if creatures are milled…it is creatures from ANYWHERE.  That makes this a token factory.  Particularly when most of the ridiculous removal from Theros is in Black (ummm…Hero’s Downfall anyone).  This seems cool and an avenue Sultai players might want. In limited I’d be leary of the self mill aspect a touch, mainly because of the smaller library, but the free tokens off the second triggered ability could totally offset that loss in an environment laden with creatures. In the right deck, this could be a monster Constructed card and a very scary Limited card.

Sidisi’s Pet

Daniel (2): A 1/4 with lifelink for 4 is pretty terrible. I get that you can cast it for 3 with morph and then flip it up for 2, but this means that you’re going to have to spend almost half of your 4th turn just flipping this card up. It just doesn’t feel  like it’s worth it. I don’t expect this to see much Standard play, but with token decks still being a potential strategy in Limited, this might not be the worst pick in Draft.

Siege Rhino

Daniel (4): A 4/5 with trample for 4 is going to be a huge bomb in Limited. The card sits at a unique position where it’s a solid card that may not be good enough for Standard.  Its stats combined with its ability to gain you life and take away from your opponent’s mean it might see play in Standard. I am almost sure that it won’t find a place outside these formats though.

Bruce (3): 4/5 for 4 mana and I can drain 3 life from each opponent?  Hell  yes!  This is a huge fatty and is undercosted.  The fact that comes in with a powerful enter the battlefield trigger is just gravy and makes this eminently playable as a powerful bomb.  The 6 point life swing will be big in Limited I’m sure.  I don’t think it does enough to warrant a spot in a Constructed strategy because it lacks evasion (although does come with trample) but is on that borderline in my opinion.  This is probably a 3.

Siegecraft

Daniel (2): I love how this card references War Beast in its flavor and they’ve done it a couple times in this set. Siegecraft’s stats aren’t that good though, especially when compared to the last set’s enchantments. This card will probably see some limited success in Draft, but can’t really stack up to the last set’s enchantments so I don’t see it being run in Standard.

Singing Bell Strike

Daniel (3): Acting as a good way to slow down your opponent’s creatures is Singing Bell Strike. This card feels like a remake of the old-school Paralyze, which cost one less mana, was in black and your opponents needed 4 mana to untap their creature. I feel like this card will almost definitely be run in Limited and may also find a place in Standard.

Smoke Teller

Daniel (3): A 2/2 for 2 that can peek at morphed creatures for 2. This card isn’t going to break any formats, but it will probably be a pretty big deal in Limited for being one of the few two-drop creatures in the set. I don’t believe this card will have too much of an impact on Standard.

Snowhorn Rider

Daniel (3): A simple 5/5 with trample for 6 that can morph to go down to 5 cost is pretty solid. This is probably not Standard material, because it’s so slow. This card is great in Limited and curves out face-down for an intimidating surprise on turn 4 or 5.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Daniel (4): So after writing reviews on so many cards between the last set and now I’ve come to the conclusion that writing on Planeswalkers are the hardest of all card types. They take longer to write than other card types because they have more abilities than other cards and their powers are very hard to compare to other card types. His first ability makes your creatures stronger and gives them lifelink for a turn, his minus creates a Vampire token and his ultimate makes your opponents sacrifice creatures during their upkeeps. As was mentioned before if you see a planeswalker in a draft, you always pick it up. If this card has a future, it’s really more of an open-question. The one hope I do have for this card is a red, black and white tokens deck and they seem to have printed a lot of cards in this set that work well with this strategy. After this season I can’t see this card really being a major player, but if this token deck exists in Standard, It should be there.

Bruce (4): Whoa! New Sorin! Good deal.  So, from the outset, I like this guy.  4 mana is very reasonable and makes him ultimately very playable.  His +1 is perfectly reasonable and is very flavourful. It isn’t oppressive and you aren’t playing him for this +1 ability (unlike Sarkhan whom you are likely ONLY playing for his +1 ability).  The -2 ability is very solid because everyone loves to make a flying 2/2.  It impacts the board, is suitably evasive to help bring the pain, and is a solid blocker.  His ultimate is the Abyss on an emblem and it impacts ONLY your opponents.  That’s solid and will quickly tilt the board in your favour.  Yes, getting him there is the tough part, but in the right strategy it is very achievable.  He won’t warp the Constructed format, but he will see play.  He will be terrific in Limited environments for sure.  I expect him to be a solid 4.

Stubborn Denial

Daniel (5): Acting sometimes as a better Spell Pierce, I expect great things from this card. For those of you who don’t know, Spell Pierce is a card that has been played in just about every format it’s been legal in since its first printing. The card is great, but the reason it didn’t earn a 6 is because most of the decks won’t get the chance to use the 2nd part of the spell: the straight up counter that makes it better than Spell Pierce. If a new set of decks can find a home for it then it might be a great card. Maybe even something like Sneak and Show, we’ll see. I like this card a lot and think it can easily find a home in Standard, but Limited is always hard for counterspells to be good in. They will need to find a deck for it in higher formats.

Sultai Charm

Daniel (4): I almost want to give this card a 5 for how much play I think it’s going to receive this season, but I don’t think that’s fair because I don’t expect it to break out of Standard. The card is great acting as removal for creatures, artifacts and enchantments, or drawing you two cards as long as you discard two cards afterwards. The mana cost is pretty fair with it being 3, but the mana intensiveness of the card makes it almost unplayable outside of this format.

Sultai Flayer

Daniel (3): A 3/4 for 4 that gives you life every time something big dies doesn’t feel so good, but not terrible either. The card will probably see mixed amounts of play in Limited, with it not really being a factor in constructed formats.

Sultai Scavenger

Daniel (3): A 3/3 flyer for 6 with Delve. This card is pretty much like most 4 drop comparable flyers and will probably fit into decks in their spot if you decide to run it. This card will probably see some Limited play, but not do much more than that.

Sultai Soothsayer

Daniel (2): A card with mediocre abilities and stats for a high and intensive amount of mana is not worth it in most cases. I don’t expect this card in standard. It’s not the worst card in Limited so if it comes late I wouldn’t mind picking it.

Summit Prowler

Daniel (3): A vanilla 4/3 for 4 isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible. You might see some of these cards in Limited formats, but don’t expect much more than that.

Surrak Dragonclaw

Bruce (4): Well, there goes the neighbourhood.  Surrak is a ridiculous 6/6 for 5 mana and basically makes your Monster deck totally unmanageable.  One of the big draw backs to all the Monster decks is that they are susceptible to counterspells and denial strategies.  Surrak totally crushes those strategies because your Polukranos or your Stormbreath Dragon can’t be countered any more.  Oh…and those same critters now ALSO have trample.  Back this guy with a Rattleclaw Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid or two and you can ramp up to this guy quickly and then go nuts.  So long Jund Monsters…hello TEMUR Monsters backed by Surrak. A bomb in either Standard or Limited, I can see this hitting as high as a 5…but I’ll hedge my bets based on the colour restrictions being pretty high and make him a 4.

Suspension Field

Daniel (4): Removing a creature has always been a powerful effect. The ability to deal with an opponent’s creature for a little mana is what makes spells like this great. Sitting at 2 mana I feel that this card is a great Limited and Constructed card. However based on the fact that there are many other better options in higher formats, I don’t expect this card to survive past this season.

Surrak Dragonclaw

Daniel (4): I don’t know why this set has so much about bears in it… I guess they were a big deal when all the dragons were gone… Anyway, a 6/6 uncounterable for 5 that makes all of your creatures uncounterable and gives them trample is a pretty solid card that is a Limited bomb if you’re running enough big creatures. On the standard front, I’m not so sure that you can build a deck around big creatures, but if you were, you would probably want to include this card in the deck.

Swarm of Bloodflies

Daniel (3): Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is a card that’s been released recently that I love. Swarm of Bloodflies is a card that is worse than Ob Nixilis in almost every way, but beats it in mana cost by one. The efficiency of this card in relation to its mana cost is pretty terrible, but will probably still see play in Limited for its powerful ability. This card won’t see much play in Constructed because there are just better options.

Swift Kick

Daniel (2): I’m not so sure about the flavor of this card, why is a card that’s so defensively themed such an offensive card? The card is too expensive for what it is, and the flavor, color, and abilities of the card don’t really match. Overall, fight cards are okay in Limited formats, but don’t expect it to show up in Standard.

Taigam’s Scheming

Daniel (3): This card is a strong filter for 5 cards in your deck, this card fixes your draw so that you can find the answers to the problems you might come across. Sitting at only 2 mana this card can come down early and that’s when it’s most important. Limited formats will probably like this card for the amount of digging you can do with it. Since it doesn’t really provide you any card advantage then I don’t really see Standard or any other constructed format trying to take advantage of this card.

Take Up Arms

Daniel (2): With so many choices in just this set alone to make a ton of tokens, this card just doesn’t feel worth it. 5 mana for 3 tokens isn’t great and this card just doesn’t do it for me. This card might finds some very limited success in Draft, but I don’t believe it’ll find a home in Standard or any other Constructed format.

Temur Charm

Daniel (3): It makes creatures fight, it counters spells, or it stops creatures from blocking. This is a powerful card that is only really pulled down by the fact that it costs 3 mana of three different colors. This is a pretty big pull down, but I still don’t have a problem with this card finding a home in Standard. In Limited formats this card is a pretty solid uncommon to pull, but I don’t expect this card to have too much of an impact outside of these formats.

Thousand Winds

Daniel (3): Acting as a solid bit of removal if your opponent swings all of their creatures at you and entering the battlefield as a 5/6 flyer this is a great card to pull in Limited if you can play it As long as Aetherspouts exists in Standard I don’t expect this card to make too much of a splash in constructed.

Bruce (3): This IS a menace.  5/6 flier gives it the stats of a Mahamoti Djinn and then packs a Morph making it even more versatile. However, it is the ability to Flip it back for it’s Morph cost and return tapped creatures to their owners hands that just makes this deadly.  Your opponent in a Draft will have no way of knowing, will attack with  two or three creatures and you return them to their hand effectively getting a 3 for 1 and you STILL KEEP THE 5/6 blocker.  This is  an absolute bomb in Limited but will be unlikely to see play much beyond that, making this yet another strong 3.

Throttle

Daniel (3): Being an instant is both a positive and a negative for this card. It doesn’t permanently keep a creature down, but it does allow you to goad your opponent into attacking and then moving your opponent’s creature into a range where you can kill it. It is removal so it will probably see a good amount of play in Limited formats, but won’t see play in Standard because of all the better options available.

Timely Hordemate

Daniel (3): I like this card, but I feel like it’s just not his format. Coming down at 4 mana and returning from the grave a two or less casting cost creature with Raid. I just feel like there aren’t that many good two-drops and  in this set and for that reason a pretty solid card may have a tough time finding a home in Standard and Limited.

Tomb of the Spirit Dragon

Daniel (2): This card raises a few questions, first why isn’t it legendary? Is there more than one spirit dragon? Then why is a tomb such a big deal? And most importantly, where are all the colorless creatures? I almost feel like they’re going to do a big colorless creature cycle in the next set, but that just means that they should have waited on these cards till then. Seems like another Eye of Ugin style of situation. As the card stands right now, it doesn’t really have a purpose and doesn’t feel good in Standard or Limited formats.

Tormenting Voice

Daniel (3): Card draw in red is a big deal, they don’t get many at all and when they do, it’s typically pretty bad. This card is one of those bad draw cards in red all things considered, doing more to filter your cards than really earn you card advantage. One of the larger downsides to the card is that you have to discard a card to cast it meaning that you may wind up with a worse card than you started with by casting this card. Still, draw in red is rare and good when you get it, so this card will probably see some limited play in Red decks that aren’t running Blue.

Trail of Mystery

Daniel (4): Make your creatures bigger? Check. Accelerate your mana? Check. Is mana efficient without being broken? Check. This card is just about as good as it could be without being broken. I like the mana cost at 2, it comes down as early as you need it to. You play this turn two and follow it up next turn with a morph creature to score a land off of it, which lets you build towards turning it face up. It feels like it’s in the right color by being green (It pumps and ramps) and with this being a Wedge set that means that you can play it in a lot of the decks in the format. I think this is easily a top pick in Draft and will definitely find a deck to play in in Standard, but morph isn’t really a thing so I don’t really expect it outside of this.

Trap Essence

Daniel (3): Three different colors on a counterspell… really Magic? Three colors !?!? I can’t say that it’s a great counterspell. There are definitely better counterspells even just in this set, but I guess it does fall into the theme of the set. The second ability on the card just doesn’t feel like its worth it. As there are better choices everywhere and I feel that counterspells are tough in Limited, I don’t expect much out of this card in Draft or Standard.

Bruce (4): Yet another crazy example of the Temur and its increasing abilities to disrupt to protect its massive fatties rolling around the battlefield.  3 mana and counter the spell and THEN spit out +1/+1 counters for a creature? Sure.  Dear Lord.  Super solid at Limited, and fringe playable at Constructed this is probably  a 3 with a chance to hit a 4.

Treasure Cruise

Daniel (3): Drawing three cards for potentially 1 mana is a huge deal especially when you consider that the only card in the game that does this is Ancestral Recall, one of the power 9. I usually don’t like Delve, but on this card it feels really good and the Delve makes it very powerful without being broken. The only real questionable part of the card is the fact that in order for it to cost one is by removing the equivalent to your opening hand from the grave. I would definitely try to play this card in any deck that could afford it. You should consider this card in Standard and Limited if nothing else.

Tusked Colossodon

Daniel (3): A 6/5 for 6 without trample, might see some play in Limited just for the fact that it’s a 6/5, but don’t expect more than that.

Ugin’s Nexus

Daniel (3): I’m not really sure what the point of this card was as I don’t see extra turn cards in this set… the only thing I can see is that maybe this card isn’t in the set for Standard or Limited, but for a higher or different format like EDH. Nonetheless, I’m planning on picking one up for my EDH deck, because I found a combo for it and I really like the card. It should go without saying, but I don’t expect to see this card much in Standard or Draft.

Bruce (1): This is a fun little artifact that no one will play. 5 mana do-nothing cards won’t see play even if the ability is pretty crazy. I can think of very few applications for this card can’t say I’m keen to play it.  Sure, it’s cute from a flavour perspective for Sarkhan, but the card itself is not relevant for me.  This is about a 1.

Unyielding Krumar

Daniel (2): The sad part about this card is that if it came with First Strike as just a static ability on the card, it would be a fairly good card. As it stands right now, the card is pretty bad and overcosted at 4 mana for a pretty much do nothing card. I don’t expect to see much of this card in Standard or Limited formats.

Utter End

Daniel (4): This is a powerful piece of removal for white and black with Hero’s Downfall proving that a little bit of extra mana for a better removal spell is worth it. I like this card a lot, it’s simple and as I’ve mentioned a few times, I like big Red, Black, White tokens in the next Standard season. I think this card will definitely see play in a good amount of Constructed decks and is a great card in Limited as well.

Bruce (5): And here we have premium removal…and among the best answers I’ve seen to just about anything.  This is the ultimate swiss army knife of removal…God? Done. Aura? Toast. Critter…adios Amigo.  Yup…this will be a sweet one and will be a staple in Constructed and a Limited Bomb.  Can we say…this is a 5?

Valley Dasher

Daniel  (3): In a set of mostly high mana costs, this card comes down early and hopefully gets in for a pretty solid amount of damage. As a 2/2 for 2 this card hopefully comes down turn 2 and gets in for 4 damage before trading to another card. On the more negative side, if you draw this card late, don’t expect it to do much but die. If you’re going to go in on the early game plan in Draft, pick this guy up, but don’t expect him to much outside of early game in Limited formats.

Venerable Lammasu

Daniel (3): This is a big card with an even bigger mana cost. 7 mana might be a lot, but to put your opponent on a hard-to-dodge 4 turn clock will probably be enough for this card to find a home in at least a couple Limited decks. With the consistency of constructed play, I don’t expect this card to find too much though.

Villainous Wealth

Daniel (3): This one of those cards that I really like even if it’s probably going to have a very hard time finding a home. It actually reminds me of another card Genesis Wave, except it’s opposite. What I mean by opposite is that where Genesis Wave says permanent, Villainous Wealth says nonland, where Genesis Wave says yours, Villainous Wealth says target opponent. The only real similarity in the 2 cards is the fact that both only let you use the cards that cost X or less to cast. To reiterate, I’m not sure how much play this card will see in any format, it feels too bulky for Limited Formats and  for constructed. If you do manage to make a way to make it work, you’ve got yourself a pretty solid card.

Bruce (2): This wins my prize for coolest card of the set, but I can’t see it having much of an effect on Constructed.  Mill strategies rarely cut it and you are unlikely to ever have enough mana in your 3 colour Standard deck to pull this off and really have a meaningful impact. At Limited this might be ok, but it feels like a card you only want to see at the end of the game and you are hoping and praying to find their bomb and then wreck them with it.  That sort of high risk/high reward game plan probably won’t fly…so this is likely a 2 but could have ridiculous upside in the right Limited build.

War Behemoth

Daniel (3): This card is a vanilla 3/6 for 6 that may see some play in Limited, but I don’t expect to be play in Constructed formats at all.

War-Name Aspirant

Daniel (3): A solid 2/1 that can potentially come down as a 3/2 for 2 and can’t be blocked by any small guys and most walls. This is a great card that personifies the idea of efficient creature play, I expect this card to see a place in both Limited, Standard and potentially even higher level decks.

Warden of the Eye

Daniel (3): A long time ago there was a card called Scrivener, this was a huge deal even though his effect was a little more limited than this card’s. Personally, out of the two I’d probably pick old Scrivener over this card because of his mana cost consisting of only blue and colorless mana. In this set Warden of the Eye feels good to combo with Prowess type decks if it finds its way into Standard then it will probably be in t. On the Limited  side of things, if you can handle his casting cost he’s probably going to be one of the better creatures you’re going to find out there, so I would pick him up.

Warrior Chief “Cycle” (Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale)

Daniel (3): I admit that two cards does not make a cycle, but I really feel that there’s no way to review these cards separately. So I decided to toss the two together and see what came out of it. Let me preface by saying that the two creatures really should have been a 3/3 for 3 that gave all of your warriors +1/+1, then that would have been one great card versus two good cards. Don’t get me wrong a 2/3 or 3/2 for 2 that pumps your stuff is a solid bit of filler for Limited, but it’s that difference between good and great that will probably stop these cards from seeing any Standard play.

Waterwhirl

Daniel (3): Coming in the block directly after the printing of Sea God’s Revenge, this card feels pretty terrible. I guess I’ve just been spoiled by good bounce spells and then to get this feels like a slap.  Sea God’s Revenge was still pretty awesome in Limited formats and I expect good things from this card as well. Being worse than Sea God’s Revenge which didn’t see any play yet in Standard leads me to believe that this card will also receive no love this upcoming season.

Weave Fate

Daniel (3): Card advantage is a pretty important factor in Limited formats. The ability to trade this one card for two makes Weave Fate very interesting. However being more expensive than other accessible cards like Divination means that it probably won’t find a home in Constructed formats.

Wedge lands cycle (Frontier BivouacMystic MonasteryNomad OutpostOpulent PalaceSandsteppe Citadel)

Daniel (4): The introduction of Khans of Tarkir brings with it the fading out of Return to Ravnica and with that comes the fading out of the Shock Lands cycle. As it stands right now, this land cycle combined with the fetch lands and Pain lands are probably going to fill the hole left from the sets rotation. That being said this is a very mana intensive set and I expect these cards to see play in Standard, EDH, and Limited. Once they rotate out though, I don’t see this cycle having any effect just as their predecessors Shard lands.

Wetland Sambar

Daniel (2): A vanilla 2/1 for 2 that will probably see some play in Limited, but not much more than that.

Whirlwind Adept

Daniel (3): Whirlwind Adept is a 4/2 creature for 5 that has prowess and hexproof. It’s a pretty big card with a pretty big mana cost. The hexproof is pretty important on this card as it protects it from dying to a quick bit of burn and the prowess ability can push it out of the range of a lot of creatures. I expect this card to see a good amount of play in Limited, but not so much in Standard.

Wingmate Roc

Daniel (4): I feel like I’ve said this a lot in this set, but yet again I almost find myself wanting to give this card a 5. The only problem is how much playability the card will see outside of this Standard season or even other constructed formats. The card comes down as essentially 3/4 creatures with flying for 5, but only if the Raid condition is met. It also gets a bit better by gaining you 1 life for every other creature that attacks with Wingmate Roc. It’s a nice gain if you swing with an army of tokens.

Bruce (3): 5 mana for a 3/4 flying bird with Raid and if it triggers gets you ANOTHER 3/4 flying bird.  Oh…and it gains you LIFE TOO! This is a ridiculous limited bomb that is a snap first pick every single time.  In terms of constructed playability, I don’t think there will many decks looking to rock this guy, but I can totally dream up an Ajani Pridemate/Wingmate Roc deck that will be hilarious for the kitchen table (or a tier 2 or 3 standard environment). This is likely a 3.

Winterflame

Daniel (2): Long story short, the mana cost is too high for something that taps and Shocks for 2 damage strictly creatures. It’s removal so It will see some play in Limited, but don’t expect much more than that.

Witness of the Ages

Daniel (2): A simple bit of filler, a 4/4 is okay in Limited even with a mana cost of 6. This is the sole colorless artifact creature in the set. I don’t expect this card to see too much play even in Limited formats.

Woolly Loxodon

Daniel (3): This card is simple and efficient as a 6/7 for 7 that can be unmorphed for 6. I can see it being played in a few Draft decks, but there are hopefully better creatures to pick first.  It’s clunky and doesn’t have trample so I don’t see this card entering Constructed play in any competitive way.

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Daniel (4): Zurgo definitely comes down almost at the top of the pack. This is one of those cards that I absolutely love the flavor. He is the commander of a berserker horde with the name Helmsmasher and he grows bigger each time he kills a creature. All this plays well into the idea that he is a giant ripping people limb from limb. He feels like the correct colors as a very violent Mardu horde commander and is appropriately-costed so he won’t come down early. When you do cast him he rushes into battle with haste to deliver the beats. This card is a definite bomb in Limited with indestructibility on your turn, your opponent almost has to block thus making Zurgo grow larger and more dangerous. I feel that this card may have a future as a pretty popular commander in EDH. Possibly in other constructed formats as soon as people can figure him out, because he is a 3-turn clock that gets larger, protects himself and has to be answered.

Bruce (4): The stats on this thing seem ponderous.  7/2 for 5 mana?  Ok…if you say so.  The real trick is with the abilities and with three of them (all of them being very relevant) this guy could very easily get out of control.  In limited, this is a ridiculous bomb, mainly because removal is significantly much less common…and you can’t profitably block him because he’s a freaking bulldozer with indestructibility.  In Constructed…I’m not sure there is a deck for him yet, but I can certainly envision such a deck with this guy as a center piece to clean up the mess (or make a little more).  I figure he’s better than a 3…but maybe not quite a 4…but I’m leaning towards a 4 .

Notable Reprints:

Ally Colored Fetch Lands Flooded Strand, Polluted Delta, Windswept Heath, Bloodstained Mire, Wooded Foothills 

Daniel: Fetch lands are some of the best mana fixing in the game. Rumors had been running about fetch lands being released in Khans of Tarkir for a long time, so pick them up if you’ve got the money because they are undoubtedly going to go up a lot after rotation.

Bruce (6): This will be the key to Constructed decks splashing all sorts of ridiculous colours once rotation hits in about a week.  Seriously.  We’ve seen all sorts of funky coloured decks pop up and this will just enable full on silliness and you can now quite seriously fetch whatever further “splash” colour you want easy as pie.  They will be terrific at Limited, Staples at Standard and are now all relevant in Modern too…and that’s just freaking amaze-balls.  This will just enable so much flexibility that it is nuts and the possibilities are almost endless.  I want to see what the best builders in the world dream up with these in the fold.  These are clearly about a 6…and that may be on the conservative end of things.

Erase

I mentioned it in the last M15 set review and I’ll mention it again. Cheap and good removal for enchantments is going to be important in the upcoming standard season and this card can exile Gods for 1!

By the Will of the Floral Spuzzem

Khans of Tarkir - PRE-ORDER

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Daniel Clayton Daniel Clayton - July 13, 2014

Scrying M15 MTG: A Look into the Future

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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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Bruce Gray - July 10, 2014

Crack a pack MTG Born of the Gods with Bruce

Crack a pack MTG -BNG Boosters

 

Crack a pack MTG Born of the Gods with Bruce

by Bruce Gray -Casual Encounters

 

This week I will be opening a pack of Born of the Gods  and go through the top five cards and the first pick from the pack if you were drafting.  This is a follow up to last week’s Theros pack and acts as a bit of bridge towards the full block Theros draft.  Let’s have a look and see what we’ve got.

 

 

Rare:

 

 

Uncommons:

 

 

 

Commons:

 

 

 

Foil

 

 

 

Once again we have a fairly mediocre pack just like last week. A good starting point is always the rare but in this pack we have an awful card to draft first.  Plea for Guidance is a lovely way to tutor up enchantments, but it is terrible as a first pick.  You have no idea what direction your deck will be headed, it costs 6 mana for a sorcery that simply tutors up enchantments, and has no impact on the board.  No, this is a terrible choice for first pick, so we need to go deeper into this pack for some other things.

 

Once I’ve discounted the rare  (because it’s AWFUL) there are a few things that grab my attention. The first one is Siren of the Fanged Coast.  I always like playing blue and this gives you a very solid creature to start with.  It can either be a 4/4 flier (aka Air Elemental) or if your opponent is feeling particularly dense lets you take control of their creature.  In either case, this card is good and something that will a good long look to be first pick.

 

Everflame Eidolon is another good card because of the ridiculously aggressive cost of its Bestow ability.  Sure, it is 2 mana for a 1/1 with Firebreathing, but it Bestows for a very reasonable 3 mana.  If nothing else, using it as an aura is its intended purpose.  Don’t believe me?  Remember the Bestow costs in Theros?  Spearpoint Oread is a 2/2 for 3 mana and Bestows for 6. 6 mana! That’s huge! By comparison the Everflame Eidolon is HALF of that, gives your creature +1/+1 AND firebreathing. In draft, aggressive red decks love this guy and abuse him all day long.

 

Swordwise Centaur is another reasonable choice for first pick.  A 3/2 for 2 mana is solid and this just does work.  He’s gets down early, applies early pressure, and if you end up playing the devotion game is a solid devotion engine too.  The lack of other relevant abilities probably means that this guy isn’t picked first, but if you have your heart set on green you’ll give him a long hard look.

 

Pheres Band Tromper is another solid green card giving this pack two very good green cards.  3/3 for 4 mana is a good sized body and isn’t over priced, but the Inspired trigger to make it bigger is super relevant and makes this a very strong card.  Let’s be real…if you’re the type of player who likes to play green you love to turn creatures sideways and smash.  The Tromper rewards you handsomely for doing that and in the process makes you and even BIGGER beat stick.

 

The last card of real interest in this pack is Loyal Pegasus.  A 2/1 for 1 and has flying is always of interest, even with the drawback.  I would be less likely to get super excited for the Pegasus, but there are always people who want to force the aggro train and will jump on this as the entry point to an aggressive White based deck.

 

The other cards in this pack are very lacklustre. Stormcaller of Keranos is interesting for the repeatable scry effect, but a 2/2 for 3 with haste doesn’t really excite me.  Griffin dreamfinder is another reasonable card, but a 5 drop that is a 1/4 hardly scares anyone.  I’ve said as much before but Felhide brawler is a pretty poor “Grizzly Bear”.  A 2/2 for with a drawback makes this quite undesirable unless you are the B/R Minotaur deck. Crypsis, I suppose, could be a fun little combat trick, I would hardly take this early in the draft because I’m sure I’ll see several copies in the later rounds. Eye Gouge could be a perfectly reasonable choice because it kills a number of important creatures from Vaporkin, to Soldier of the Pantheon, to Sigiled Skink and Sedge Scorpion.  If you can nab a Cyclops with it, all the better. Grisly Transformation and Evanescent Intellect are both lacklustre auras that should be avoided in most cases.  Finally, Culling Mark is just a bad card and not worth wasting a selection…it will be the card forced at the end of the round.

 

So, top five cards we have in this pack:

 

  1. Everflame Eidolon
  2. Siren of the Fanged Coast
  3. Pheres Band Tromper
  4. Swordwise Centaur
  5. Loyal Pegasus

 

First pick:

 

Really, there are only 2 cards worth considering as a FIRST pick.  The others on this list are nice cards and can play big roles in a number of decks, but really only Siren of the Fanged Coast and Everflame Eidolon would be serious contenders to be first picked.  The Siren is unfortunately a Tribute card, meaning you could find yourself taking control of your opponent’s Nyxborn Rollicker or other innocuous creature instead of getting a 4/4 flier, but in most cases you’ll be getting a 4/4 flier which is pretty strong.  The Eidolon isn’t as powerful by itself, but the pretty inexpensive Bestow makes something else pretty frightening…particularly because if you can slap it on a Heroic creature, well, you’re off to the races.  At the end, the fact that the Siren is most consistently a 4/4 flier, and you aren’t looking to attach it to something like the Eidolon, makes the Siren a better choice and my pick for 1st pick in this pack.

 

Well, there we have it…our Crack a Pack for Born of the Gods all primed up for you.  I hope you enjoyed reading.  Next week we’ll crack a Journey into Nyx pack just before we start looking at M15 pack.  Until next week, take care and may you open many Mythic Bombs.

 

Bruce Gray -Casual Encounters
@bgray8791
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Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - July 9, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Esper Control by Gerard Fabiano (1st at ...

Esper Control -Detention Sphere

Esper Control by Gerard Fabiano

1st Place at StarCityGames Standard Open on 7/5/2014
As we get ready for a little metagame shake-up from the upcoming release of Magic 2015 we finish up the lame duck Standard with a final tournament. This one continues to show that Mono-Black Devotion is not the end all and be all of this metagame. We also see the Aggro dominance tamed by pro player and crowd favorite Gerard with a return of Esper Control to the spotlight.

Esper Control decklist

 

As with any Blue and White based control strategy we find a stock shell with this deck sporting a trio of Jace, Architect of Thought for draw and protection from creature swarms, a set of Sphinx’s Revelation to restock your hand with options and incidental lifegain to boot, a set of Supreme Verdict to deal with Aggro creature swarms, and a set of Detention Sphere which is able to answer most every other problem the deck may face. The meat of the deck comes from its planeswalkers, where we find the duo of the light and darkness alongside a pair of Jace options. First looking at the light we have Elspeth, Sun’s Champion as a primary win condition spitting out soldiers three at a time, while also able to sweep the board of all creatures with power greater then four and should she go ultimate will pump those soldiers of hers into veritable jet planes. Next plunging into darkness we find Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver who is especially powerful against creature decks to steal away their threats by milling away the top of the library and given enough support then dropping them into play. Then we have the two Jace, Architect of Thought integral to the deck surviving creature rush Aggro and grinding out card advantage, but also a singleton Memory Adept to work against Control strategies and mill them down to no library while you sit back playing a defensive role. The potatos of the deck come from a variety of Control staples of permission, removal and draw. The permission package is two-fold using the potent Thoughtseize to strip away their threats before they can play them while also providing you with very valuable information about what their plan is, and also a pair of Dissolve as the deck only real denial with a bonus Scry tacked on to help dig through your deck for more answers. As for removal this deck is chock full of including Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere already mentioned, but also some spot removal with a trio of Devour Flesh to abolish that huge threat when the enemy doesn’t have a swarm present and a Doom Blade able to destroy anything in RG Monsters in a pinch. As for draw power the main tool lies in Revelation and Architect, but the deck also leans heavily on the eleven Temples for Scry to help filter draws into what is absolutely needed. We wrap up with the utility player Azorius Charm which can gain a few points of life with Soldiers if desperate, filters itself into a new draw when needed, and even bounces an attacking or blocking creature to the top of its owners library to set them back and save some life.

 

While it’s true we are on the verge of a new Standard format in a few weeks it is certain that UW Control will be a strategy to continue going forward. Normally I would also say that with the summer here and Magic in its dog days that it isn’t important what to play, but remember that the World Magic Cup Qualifers are coming up. If you like oppressive Control strategies then I would definitely recommend this deck for you but be sure to clue into the current meta as this is always a deck that needs to be tweeked and tuned for what’s current. And good luck chasing down that glory.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com

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