Tag: magic-the-gathering

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Avatar Gregoire Thibault - May 20, 2020

Double Masters MTG

Double Masters

 Wizards of the Coast just announced Double Masters set in August

Double Masters is a new twist on the whole Masters series sets. This set doubles everything as the name implies! Two rares or mythic and two foils per pack and two non-foil Box-topper per Box. You even get two Draft first-pick per pack. Three Kings Loot will be excited to be Drafting this new product on Release Weekend. We will also have preorders for Booster boxes available. WotC also announced there will be a Collector’s edition called VIP Edition, packed with awesomeness with more information closer to release. They also announced that this will not be the 2020 set containing Enemy Fetch Lands, reprinted in Secret Lair Ultimate edition on May 29th.

Release Notes

Release Date: August 7, 2020

  • 332 cards
  • 24 packs per booster box
  • 15-card booster packs, with two rares and two foil cards per pack! (And, yes, those foils can be up to two additional rares.)
  • Two non-foil borderless showcase box topper cards included in each booster box
  • Available in English, French, German, Simplified Chinese, and Japanese

Double Masters will be available on Magic Online starting August 6 for $6.99 per booster. It will not be redeemable.

Sealed products preorders

Preorders August 7th for Double Masters Booster BoxPreorders August 7th for Double Masters Booster Pack

Preorders for Double Masters Booster Box available from Three Kings Loot inc.

VIP Edition Double Masters MTG

Similar to Collector Edition, these will be Double Masters premium packs. Their content is much different from the Collector’s packs, perhaps why they are called VIP Edition instead. Each pack will be around the price of a Draft Booster Box and will contain:

  • 21 Premium cards
  • 10 Full-art basic lands
  • 2 Full-art Premium lands
  • 2 Tokens

Previews

 

 

 

 

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Evan, Chewer of Thoughts Evan, Chewer of Thoughts - May 6, 2020

Ikoria Draft Archetypes: Identifying The Multiple Themes

The diverse Triomes of Ikoria reflect the draft's diverse themes

Art (clockwise from top left) by Jonas de Ro, Jonas de RoTitus Lunter, Sam Burley, Noah Bradley, and Eytan Zana

Welcome back, travelers! As I mentioned last week, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is not a set that rewards stubbornly sticking to a fixed pick order. Instead, I recommended that you reevaluate cards frequently during a draft to maximize the power level of your decks. However, Ikoria is a complex set and there are people that might need a little help to understand when a card that looks bad becomes good. Or when a card that’s already good becomes fantastic. For them, I shall outline the Ikoria draft archetypes in this article.

With some Magic sets, a breakdown for each of the 10 color pairs is good enough – but not Ikoria. Many color pairs actually have multiple themes with their own unique build-around cards. Ikoria’s variety adds nuance to every draft as you craft a synergistic two-color deck or even splash bomb rares. With the above-average fixing in the set (rare triomes, uncommon crystals, Evolving Wilds, common dual lands, Farfinder), it’s not hard to increase the power of your deck without harming its consistency. By being aware of the set’s diversity in themes, you can properly navigate the different Ikoria draft archetypes while drafting. Then, you will end up with a powerful deck that has a focused plan for victory.

For each theme below, I give a brief description of the theme’s game plan and list its synergy cards. Synergy cards are either the enablers that help you play a certain theme or the payoffs. Payoffs are the cards that reward you for playing into a theme. I list both enablers and payoffs as they all go up in value when you are in that theme. Consequently, many bomb cards and efficient removal cards from Ikoria will not be seen below. Their strength is already quite high and being in one theme vs. another has little-to-no bearing on their value. As I am just listing the cards, I’ve left it up to my audience to read each card and come to their own understanding of how it helps a particular game plan. Ultimately, I have full faith in each of you to figure this out.


Ikoria Draft Archetypes for each Color Pair

White & Blue (Azorius)

Blue & Black (Dimir)

Black & Red (Rakdos)

Red & Green (Gruul)

Green & White (Selesnya)

White & Red (Boros)

Red & Blue (Izzet)

Blue & Green (Simic)

Green & Black (Golgari)

Black & White (Orzhov)


Conclusion

Now that you can identify the many themes within the Ikoria draft archetypes, you should be able to make better decisions in your drafts. You’ll see when a certain theme might be open to you by a synergy card coming to you late in Pack 1. You’ll have the ability to understand when a card should be picked because it contributes more to your deck than it normally would. In short, you’ll win more drafts!

Thanks for listening to my words, friends, and may fortune favor you on Ikorian battlefields. If you’d like to join me and a great community of players in our explorations of the different Ikoria draft archetypes and themes, enter our Discord server at https://discord.gg/5nRhMGV. During this time of quarantine, Three Kings Loot still fires draft tournaments, using MTG Arena and 3rd party sites. Come play with us Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 19h30 Eastern Time!

-Evan, Chewer of Thoughts

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Evan, Chewer of Thoughts Evan, Chewer of Thoughts - April 29, 2020

Ikoria Draft: A Planeswalker’s Survival Manual

Conquer Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths!

Hello traveler! Ah, I see you’re going to Ikoria – the Lair of Behemoths. Yes, if I recall it’s a wild plane and full of monsters, both man and beast – all of them sure to be out for your blood. Best not let your guard down! Being a Mythical planeswalker, I have ventured there and survived its dangers time and time again. As a result, I have some advice that might just help you keep your head when exploring the depths of Ikoria Draft. So, please, listen carefully…

Find Yourself An Ikorian Companion

It’s dangerous to go alone! Companions are creatures that allow you to play them from your sideboard as long as your starting deck meets the card’s companion requirements. You should take all of them highly. First of all, they are powerful rares with hybrid mana costs. This increases their chance of remaining a relevant first pick. As long as your deck is able to play either of the hybrid colors, you can play it normally. In addition, if your 40-card deck meets their requirements, you can make them your companion. More often than not, it is worth doing this while drafting as long as you maintain an average power level. In Limited, resources are often traded fairly evenly between players and end before either player has seen most of their library. Starting a game with an extra card will end up winning you many duels on Ikoria.

 

The Best Defense Is A Good Offense

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is not a set that supports blocking. Firstly, there’s a lot of instant speed interaction that can make combat turn out bad for you. Secondly, the value of your own creatures is high. This is especially true for decks that are built around mutating, a set mechanic that demands you have a non-human creature on the battlefield. Finally, there’s an abundance of creature removal, able to take out the biggest bombs and threats of this format.

When you are faced with a choice to block, it’s important to step back and consider if you can afford to accept this damage in exchange for one of their own blockers becoming tapped to attack. You must think about your ability to win a race, given what’s in your hand and your potential draws. After all, in an Ikoria draft, there are many cards that can help you deal damage more quickly than, and ultimately defeat, your opponent.

The first prominent type of card in this set is an efficient removal spell. Blood Curdle, Ram Through, Pacifism, and Fire Prophecy are just a few examples all found at common rarity. Using efficient removal means you spent less to deal with a threat than your opponent spent to cast it, also known as mana advantage. With enough mana advantage, you are able to develop and attack with a few creatures while simultaneously removing their relevant threats. Be aware of the strength of removal in this set and use it judiciously!

The second category I want to note is cards that have the potential to deal huge damage on the turn that you play them. There are many examples in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Zenith Flare, for decks that are heavily invested in cycling. Similarly, unblocked Prickly Marmosets and several Drannith Stingers also use cycling to deal so much damage that games will suddenly end in your victory. In other decks, mutating creatures effectively grant themselves haste when merging with a non-human that you already own on the battlefield. You can easily swing a race in your favor by adding significant power (Archipelagore) or evasion (Vulpikeet/Cavern Whisperer) to an important attacker. Even the humble Lava Serpent works in a pinch to deal an unexpected 5 damage.

In this set, you should highly scrutinize every block you make, even ones that seem favorable to you. It doesn’t matter if your creature seems much larger or if you might have an instant-speed interaction spell. Ultimately, not blocking means that you avoid risking your board state and you preserve your ability to swing back on future turns. Then, with the aid of the aforementioned spells, you can deal the final points of damage for an exciting victory!

 

Reducing, Reusing, Recycling in Ikoria Draft

You should take 1 mana cycling (1MC) cards more highly.  Particularly if you’re in pack 1 of the draft and there are no above-average playables. These are likely to end up being good picks for several reasons. First, if you end up in the cycling deck, you will definitely play the card. Second, this signals to others that the cycling deck is closed off to them which will help you move into the archetype. Lastly, even if you’re not cycling or of it’s a cycling card you can’t play, they can be used as a colorless cantrip to effectively reduce your deck size. Instead of playing an average 23rd card and a 17th land, you can simply stick two 1MCs in your deck. This increases your chances of drawing powerful cards you want to play.

Keep in mind, however, you’ll need to reduce your land count proportional to the amount of 1MCs you play. Otherwise, you risk drawing too many lands and flooding. Personally, I tend to treat them as non-cards. So, for a deck with five 1MCs, I would build a mana base for a 35 card deck. Meanwhile, others use ratios such as one land removed per every three 1MCs.

No matter what, pay attention to how the deck feels while playing. There’s no exact science to the proper amount of lands when cheap cycling is available. Many factors are involved: cards that cycle for higher costs, the number and quality of your cycling payoffs, whether you’re playing Best-of-One on Arena which uses a hand smoother to improve starting hand quality, etc. All these affect the number of lands a cycling deck might require. The most important thing one can do is stay observant!

 

Think Flexibly And Reevaluate Constantly

An Ikoria draft is not a place for inflexible pick orders. It’s more important to build a deck that synergizes with itself than to end a draft with a mixed bag of “strong” cards. Even some removal is hard to play in certain styles of decks. For example, Rumbling Rockslide has a lower value in streamlined cycling decks. Such decks often posses a low land count both in the library and on the battlefield. In fact, such decks usually look to defeat their opponent before Rumbling Rockslide becomes respectable removal. In those same decks, you will likely want to play Cathartic Reunion to avoid flood. Meanwhile, hardly any other archetype would want such a card. It is one of many cards in this set that may look bad but are useful – somewhere.

You must be able to recognize when a card goes from barely playable to above-average in your deck. Otherwise, you will struggle in this set. A pick order cannot tell you when such moments occur, so you’ll have to determine them for yourself.



Thanks for listening to my words, friends, and may fortune favor you on Ikorian battlefields. Check back here next Wednesday, May 6, for my next article breaking down Ikoria’s many archetypes and themes. It will be a great guideline for understanding the synergies of the set and thinking flexibly about your card evaluations. If you’d like to join me and a great community of players in our explorations of the Ikoria draft format, enter our Discord server at https://discord.gg/5nRhMGV. During this time of quarantine, Three Kings Loot still fires draft tournaments, using MTG Arena and 3rd party sites. Come play with us Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 19h30 Eastern Time!

-Evan, Chewer of Thoughts

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Avatar Gregoire Thibault - April 15, 2020

Fetch Lands – Secret Lair Ultimate Edition

Image of all five Fetch Lands in Secret Lair - Ultimate Edition

The King is back with a quick article about this silky box, containing the five enemy Fetch Lands that feature the artwork of premier Magic artists Alayna Danner, Adam Paquette, Sam Burley, John Avon, and Seb McKinnon.

There has been some complaining online about this reprint of Fetch Lands. The complaints are not about the reprint, but because of the way they are being released. As a Secret Lair: Ultimate Edition, a collection containing one non-foil copy of each enemy Fetch Lands. Some would have preferred a reprint in a Booster Set like Modern Masters 2017. While Masters Sets may be discontinued, Wizards had other opportunities to reprint fetches like Modern Horizons and Mystery Boosters. Wizards of the Coast did say WPN stores will receive up to 10 copies starting May 29.

This collection reminds me of From The Vaults. Except that, for the week after these go on sale at WPN stores, Wizards will be running a Secret Lair superdrop as well. More details about all of the drops will be released closer to June. The only detail Wizards has shared is that if you purchase the bundle that combines each drop that goes on sale during the superdrop, you’ll receive one random fetch land for each bundle you purchase. Wizards also added there will be another way to pick up some stylized versions of fetch lands later this year that will also be in your local game store. It could be Commander Legends, the first-ever Commander set, set to release in December 2020. The JumpStart set in July is the other possible non-Standard set. However, I don’t think they would contain Fetch Lands.

Fetch Land: Verdant Catacombs

Pre-orders for the Secret Lair – Ultimate Edition containing all five Fetch Lands are on our website for only $299.99. Don’t miss out!

Full Art of  Verdant Catacombs
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Avatar Bruce Gray - March 17, 2017

Modern Masters 2017 Top Ten Casual Cards

Casual Encounters- Top 10 Casual Cards from Modern Masters 2017

Deadeye Navigator

Well, Wizards has fully spoiled Modern Masters 2017 and in the process have driven players wild with just loads of amazing reprints.  They must have looked at the reprint policy and then just shredded the thing in the recycling bin because this set looks NUTS.  Honestly, who’s idea was it to reprint all this awesome stuff?  On top of the set being full of many valuable reprints, Wizards has done an admirable job of balancing cards intended for competitive play and those destined to see play in Casual formats.  Today I’m going to go through my top 10 cards for Casual play from Modern Masters 2017. If you feel like I missed something on my list, leave a comment down below.  

  1. Cyclonic Rift: This makes the list because it is totally and utterly ridiculous in any multiplayer game. It is also just about as ubiquitous as you can get in a deck playing blue in edh. There is no messing around around with this card and it always does good work. The rift may not be a flashy start but it is a highly sought after card and something EDH players are happy to see reprinted as the price continues to steadily climb.
  1. Coiling Oracle:  The color requirements kind of hamper this card but it is a super sweet card to play if you can handle blue and green.  The card advantage stapled to this creature is super fun and is just asking to be abused. It plays one part ramp, one part card draw spell and all for 2 mana and even comes with a body.  There may not be tons of Simic coloured commanders in EDH but they all love this little guy.  I was happy to see this get reprinted.

 

  1. Ghostly Flicker: this card is ⅓ of a combo in Pauper that had to be banned. Flicker + Archaeomancer +Peregrine Drake essentially ruined Pauper by giving it an infinite mana combo that took over the game. I don’t expect the same level of dominance in Casual circles, but with the format already being heavily weighed towards getting lots of value from your ETB  triggers this seems like a pretty potent way to land a bunch of new triggers. I can think of plenty degenerate things to do with this and am happy to grab a few more copies on the cheap off the draft table. The existence of an infinite combo helps to some degree too.

 

  1. Craterhoof Behemoth: Ah. Yes. ‘Hoof. Well this guy is just hilarious and any deck that’s a) playing green and b) has tokens is just going to love this guy as a way to win out of nowhere . Think of all the Commanders that could make good use of this big fella: Prossh, Ghave, Trostani,  just to name a few.  He’s bonkers and the fact that the price is about to get crushed will be good news for Casual players.  Sure, Elves players are seriously stoked about the inclusion of their #1 finisher, but Casual players like the beef this guy offers.

 

  1. Temporal Mastery:  I think every time I see a card that says ‘Take and Extra Turn” I slap it on this list.  This feels super flashy and powerful and is exactly the sort of thing casual players like me want to do when we play.  The fact that this can be cost for its Miracle cost makes it extra appealing because I love the thought of top decking it and going ham.  Yes, I know that the statistical probability of me top decking this is slim to nil, but the thought of doing it is just too appealing.  I’m happy to see the price on this get dropped quite a bit so I can get a couple more copies and see if I can’t live the dream.  #6 seems generous for a card that I’ll likely never cast for its Miracle cost, but I’ll let it ride with my eternal optimism.
    5. Shard coloured trilands:  I wasn’t playing during Shards of Alara block, but I was exposed to Tri-Lands in Khans Block and I was a big fan.  To have them reprinted in Commander 2016 gave me a bit of a taste for the mana-fixing these offer, but now to have them in wider circulation as part of this set is super exciting.  These will be readily available to afford colour-fixing for casual players for years and that’s good news for the rest of us.

     

  1. Signet Cycle:  While the tri-lands are nice, these are far more sought after and represent very good value in this set.  You can feel better knowing that if you don’t open Lili or Goyf in your pack that you might at least open something of use in the form of a signet.  While these aren’t flashy, they do offer yet another way to offer mana fixing and ramp quite easily and can fit in virtually every Commander decks. 
  1. Zur the Enchanter: Commander players were pretty happy to see this reprint, although he is a little unexpected.  I have read a few places describing some of the broken shenanigans that this enables and it seems pretty excessive.  The fact that this guy was last seen in Coldsnap back in 2006 means that it was about time for this guy to get a reprint and to make him a little more widely known.  The only thing I might have asked is new cooler artwork, but that’s a little thing. 

 

  1. Restoration Angel – I feel kind of silly putting this on the list but Restoration Angel is just too good to pass up. This is just a massive value engine that is totally under costed. A ¾ flier with flash AND blanks a removal spell is just a huge value swing that can’t be missed. The blink on the angel is probably the most valuable attribute on a card that is an A in almost every regard. Add in the fact that this enables infinite combos with Kiki Jiki and you have something that shouldn’t be trifled with. Yes competitive players want this too,  but competitive and casual players can both like doing powerful, efficient things and this card is where they overlap.

 

  1.  Deadeye  Navigator:  This one makes the list because it is skating on thin ice.  Every player that I know who plays EDH either loves or hates Deadeye Navigator because it is so difficult to deal with once it is resolved and soulbonded.  If the player controlling Deadeye has mana open this becomes a nightmare to deal with and every time you blink something with it you generate even further value.  The consensus from players I know is that it is just a matter of time before this gets banned because of the gross and abusive things that it can do. 


If you feel like I missed something, please leave a comment down below or find me on twitter because I’d love to hear what other people have got in mind.  As always, thanks for stopping by and be sure to come again for another Casual Encounter.

 

Bruce Gray

@bgray8791

 

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Avatar Bruce Gray - January 13, 2017

Top 10 Casual Cards From Aether Revolt

Casual Encounters- Top 10 Casual Cards from Aether Revolt

karizev

Hi everyone and welcome back once again.  Aether Revolt is just around the corner and everyone is counting down the top cards to be excited for. Well, I’m no different except that I’m not looking at Limited cards or Constructed cards.  No, what I want is some fun new toys to splash around with in some Casual decks and to really spice things up when I get to sling cards with my buddies around a kitchen table.  So, with Casual decks in mind, let’s look at the top 10 Casual cards that I’m eyeing from Aether Revolt.

ajanivaliantprotector

  1. Ajani, Valiant Protector: I usually don’t put Planeswalkers on my lists because they are typically very good and clearly geared with Constructed decks in mind,  but this one is just my style.  Ajani, Valiant Protector is the face of one of the Planeswalker decks meaning he is undoubtedly under powered because the product is geared for new players and as introductory product to playing Magic.  However, he plays ideally into a recurring Green/White theme and that’s namely +1/+1 counters on creatures. With a pair of plus abilities that are likely both very relevant in decks where he is featured he provides both +1/+1 counters AND card advantage without losing any loyalty.  That’s big because you can steadily march him upwards to his Ultimate and likely use that to end the game in a quick and decisive way.  Is he flashy the way some Planeswalkers are?  No.  Could he be on theme and very useful?  Absolutely.  Casual decks all over are going to love this new addition.

karizevskyshipraider

  1. Kari Zev, Skyship Raider: Kari Zev makes the list for the sole reason that she makes a Legendary Monkey Token whenever she attacks.  She makes a Legendary Monkey Token when she attacks! How awesome is that? Her casting cost is very favorable at a mere 2 mana, but really, who cares?  It is all about that Monkey Token.

rishkarsexpertise

  1. Rishkar’s Expertise: I took one look at this card and wasn’t really worried about the second clause on this card.  The card had me hooked at “Draw a huge pile of cards”.  Let’s face facts.  If you are playing Casual Magic and you are playing green you likely have some very large creatures which essentially means you get to draw a big old pile of cards when you cast this.  The second clause is potentially very relevant too because you just might want to slam a second play after playing this, but I’m all in on the card draw effect in my Green decks anyway. Can you imagine this in a deck with Ajani, Valiant Protector after a couple of activations?  Oh, that sounds like FUN to me!

whirofinvention

  1. Whir of Invention: Hello Chord of Calling for artifacts! I’m not going to suggest any combos because everyone will likely have their own, but the power level on this just can’t be missed.   Go find that big awesome artifact at the end of your opponent’s turn and then reap the benefits (end of turn Blightsteel Colossus anyone?) EDH decks love tutors and this one is going to be able to do some very powerful things in short order. It might see Constructed play to allow you to go and fetch a Gearhulk or something, but in Casual decks where the sky is the limit, this is going to be very spicy.

exquisitearchangel

  1. Exquisite Archangel: The life swing on this alone is kind of nuts. I can imagine this finding an immediate home in an EDH deck where this is used as a way to totally negate all the damage you’ve sustained at the hands of your opponent by giving you back your starting life total AND to give you a powerful flying blocker to help secure the battlefield.  At 7 mana it is undoubtedly too expensive for a Constructed format, but this will have a very bright future around the Kitchen table for years to come.

maulfistrevolutionary

  1. Maulfist Revolutionary:  This one is a little understated but the interaction it could have to in a deck interested in +1/+1 counters just can’t be missed.  However, the fact that it could potentially net you loyalty counters on your Planeswalker, or add to the Poison or Energy Counters in play is extremely interesting.  It gets even MORE appealing when you start to blink this guy in and out of play resulting in a whole bunch of triggers.  Sure, it is a little slow and potentially a little durdly, but it is exactly the sort of card a Casual player is going to scoop up and put to good use on  some Saturday night slinging cardboard with his buddies.  

trophymage1

  1. Trophy Mage:  This may as well read “Go tutor up your Sword of X/Y”.  EDH decks are going to love the ability to tutor up their Swords and so there is little doubt that this will see fairly steady Casual play.  Oh, it gets better if you can blink it and go and find more goodies in your deck. Really, what isn’t to love?

aethertidewhale

  1. Aethertide Whale:  This giant flier is a solid creature, but what really gets me excited is the amount of Energy this thing produces.  You get a whooping 6 energy whenever this enters the battlefield and that could be super important. You can even return the Whale to your hand for 4 energy and then re-cast it meaning that each time you do you are netting 2 Energy.  You could see yourself scoring a whole pile of extra Energy and doing some really powerful things  There are whole bunch of really neat things you can do with that sort of Energy production like Aetherworks Marvel or Gonti’s Aether Heart or casting a very large Harnessed Lightning.  Whatever you like, there are lots of fun options that this creature will enable making him likely a slightly under appreciated card heading into the pre-releases. If you are looking to make use of Energy in  a deck this is the sort of creature you are looking to include.

paradoxengine1

  1. Paradox Engine:  This just screams to be abused.  The ability to untap ALL your nonland permanents when you cast a spell is hugely powerful. I’m sure that there are people out there looking to break this card already, but the potential is dead obvious that you can’t miss it.  I kind of hope I get my hands on one of these in my pre-release so I can take it for a spin too!

planarbridgeregular

1.Planar Bridge:  This is a very potent card for EDH decks.  As a repeatable creature tutor that activates for 8 mana, this is an amazing way to go and find that big bomb you have lurking in your deck and dump it straight on the battlefield.  However, the other thing this does is it allows your deck to go and play more like a “Tool Box” deck that is so acclaimed in other formats.  Now, R & D has assured that at 8 mana to activate this that it is not a Constructed card, but in EDH, if you need an answer to eliminate that terrifying artifact, creature, or enchantment, you now have a tool to allow you to go and find it at Instant speed.  It may not be the most efficient way to answer something, but if the alternative is you dying then I would rather take my chances with the expensive creature tutor.  The one thing I am glad of is that Planar Bridge puts them on the battlefield rather than “casting” them and thus avoiding all the nasty “When Cast” triggers like on Emrakul, the Promised End.   This is going to make EDH very interesting.  Also, the Masterpiece version of the art of this card is stunning and one of the few times I might be prepared to shell out for the premium version rather than a simple non-foil version.  A very fun and beautiful card and in my estimation the top pick for Casual Players from this new set.

Well, there you have my top 10 Casual Cards.  As always, these lists are highly debatable and there is no doubt that I could have added another 5 cards easily.  However, I have to draw the line somewhere and 10 feels about right.  What has caught your attention from Aether Revolt? If you’ve got something that has captured your attention or something that you are really looking forward to playing let me know in the comments down below or find me on Twitter.  As always, thanks for stopping by and be sure to stop in next time for another Casual Encounter.

Bruce Gray

@bgray8791

 

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Avatar Three Kings Loot - December 13, 2016

Aether Revolt Spoilers

Aether Revolt Spoilers- Release Notes, Cards & Artwork Gallery

aether-revolt

Card Gallery

aetherchaseraetherherderaetherinspectoraetherpoisoneraetherswooperheraldofanguishkarizevsexpertisekarizevskyshipraidermidnightentourageefficientconstructionuniversalsolventhopeofghirapurmetallicrebukeravenousintrudertreasurekeepergiftedaetherbornhiddenherbalistsnight-market-aeronautrenegadewheelsmithspirepatrolimplementofmaliceimplementofimprovementimplementofferocityimplementofexaminationimplementofcombustionexquisitearchangelcogworkassemblerbaralsexpertisebaralchiefofcomplianceaegisautomationaeronautadmiralaethergeodemineraetherwindbaskerconsulatedreadnoughtcountlessgearsrenegadedecommissionfatalpushfoundryassemblerfreejamregentglintsleevesiphonergontisaetherheartgreenbeltrampagergreenwheelliberatorhungryflamesindomitablecreativitymechanizedproductionmetallicmimicpacificationarraypeacewalkercolossusreleasethegremlinsrenegademaprenegaderallierreverseengineerrishkarpeemarenegaderishkarsexpertiseroguerefinersecretsalvageshipwreckmoraysiegemodificationsilkweaverelitesramsenioredificersramsexpertisesweatworksbrawlertezzeretstouchuntetheredexpresswhirofinventionwindingconstrictor1yahenniundyingpartisanquicksmithspytezzerettheschemeroathofajaniajaniunyielding battleatthebridge consulatecrackdown darkintimations disallow heartofkiran piasrevolution quicksmithrebel1 scraptrawler1 trophymage1 yahennisexpertise1

Masterpieces

paradoxengineplanarbridgearchboundravager blackvise chaliceofthevoid defensegrid duplicant engineeredexplosives ensnaringbridge extraplanarlens grindstone meekstone oblivionstone ornithopter pithingneedle platinumangel sphereofresistance staffofdomination sunderingtitan swordofbodyandmind swordofwarandpeace trinisphere vedalkenshackles wurmcoilengine

Release Notes

Set Name – Aether Revolt

Block – Set 2 of 2 in the Kaladesh block

Number of Cards – 184

Prerelease Events – January 14–15, 2017

Release Events – January 20, 2017

Launch Weekend – January 20–22, 2017

Game Day – February 11–12, 2017

Magic Online Prerelease Events – January 27, 2017

Magic Online Release Date – January 30, 2017

Pro Tour Aether Revolt – February 3–5, 2017

Pro Tour Aether Revolt Location – Dublin, Ireland

 

Official Three–Letter Code – AER

Twitter Hashtag – #MTGAER

Languages – English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

Credits

Initial Concept and Game Design

Mark Gottlieb (lead)
Mark Rosewater
Ken Nagle
Gavin Verhey
Adam Prosak
Ari Levitch

Final Game Design and Development

Ben Hayes (lead)
Sam Stoddard
Ethan Fleischer
Adam Prosak
Yoni Skolnik
Tim Aten

Kaladesh World Design

Doug Beyer (lead)
Sam Burley
Kelly Digges
Jenna Helland
Jeremy Jarvis
Colin Kawakami
Kimberly J. Kreines
Matt Knicl
Liz Leo
Ari Levitch
Melissa Li
Dawn Murin
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Avatar Bruce Gray - December 7, 2016

Adding Commander 2016 to Your Commander Decks

Casual Encounters- Upgrading EDH decks with Commander 2016

reyhan

I have recently been switched on to Commander and have relished the opportunity to brew and build again in a format that I am relatively inexperienced in.  The goal I set before myself was to build a three-coloured Commander deck for each of the five Khans from Fate Reforged.  The basic premise being that they were fairly readily accessible and seemed to have useful abilities that could be utilized in a Commander game given the right circumstances.  Also, the hybrid mana activation costs seemed very unique and something that I wanted to try and use to the best of my abilities. 

Well, I have completed all 5 decks (for now) but am always on the look for new and fun additions in new sets and products.  The great news is that we have had a huge influx of Commander cards get released with Commander 2016 and my brain is humming thinking of some of the additions that could be made to each of the decks.  Today I’m going to highlight a few of the cards that I’m really excited for that come out of the new Commander 2016 sets and where I might see them fitting.

Abzan

Commander: Daghatar the Adamant

My Daghatar deck plays more or less like the greatest hits of Abzan from Khans of Tarkir block and is capable of doing some really heavy, creature-based attacks.  The strategy is not flaw-proof in a multi-player game, but it is really true to me as a player because there is very little that I like to do more than playing efficient Green fatties and crunching my opponent. Daghatar can allow for a repeatable source of +1/+1 counters to move around, which is fairly minor, but could prove to be highly annoying and generally make combat a bit of nuisance.  

There are a number of sweet additions that could be used to bolster the deck from the new Commander decks, but my eyes lit up when I saw Ravos, Soultender.  My Abzan deck largely lacks recursion and this little addition is recursion on a stick and the deck is packed with amazing targets from Sidisi, Undead Vizier, Siege Rhino, Den Protector, Wispweaver Angel, or Green Warden of Murasa.  We will look at Ravos again in a little bit, but needless to say he would make an excellent addition.

Another card that really grabbed my attention was Reyhan, Last of the Abzan  because in theory the Abzan want to make use of +1/+1 counters and Reyhan allows you yet another way to get maximum use out of the counters you do get into play.  Playing Reyhan and Daghatar in conjunction with one another seems like a dead obvious synergy and one that I am intrigued to try and to see if it is truly as good as I think it is.

Simply because I like to do silly things Cruel Entertainment struck my fancy but is likely not good enough to warrant a deck slot.  Sylvan Reclamation seems to be a very solid spell to allow you to deal with enchantments and artifacts, but the versatility offered in the early game to Basic Landcycle is appreciated. Lastly, Mana Gorger Hydra isn’t exclusively from Commander 2016 but is just a card that can get out of control so quickly that it is well worth adding.

Temur

Commander: Yasova Dragonclaw

This deck wants to make combat miserable by stealing my opponents creatures and then smashing them over the head with their own things.  There is also a slight value engine in the form of Temur Sabertooth and a Species Gorger that allows me to replay my value creatures.  There isn’t much that this deck wants from Commander this year because most of the decks are premised on playing along a totally different axis, but Evolutionary Escalation seems intriguing as a way to boost the power of Yasova and allow her to steal virtually anything on the table. Bloodbraid Elf  and Etherium-Horn Sorcerer seem like good choices, but primarily for the Cascade ability. Otherwise the options here are a little limiting.

Mardu

Commander: Alesha, who Smiles at Death

This is perhaps my most fun deck because the synergy here is pretty clear.  Alesha rewards you for playing creatures with power 2 or less, so any interesting creatures in any of the combinations provided by Alesha make for an intriguing addition.  

By FAR the most interesting addition is Ravos, Soultender because Ravos also allows you to recur all sorts of ridiculous things.  All Alesha wants to do is to get back her soldiers from the yard and Ravos plays right along making them pretty much best friends.

Tymna, the Weaver is another extremely interesting option because it allows you to go out and draw cards for having attacked and dealt damage, both things Alesha is really encouraging you to do already.  

Vial Smasher the Fierce is another interesting target, but the fact the damage she deals is assigned randomly is less interesting and often serves more as a detriment.  I want to control where the damage goes, meaning Vial Smasher is further down my list despite the fact that the creature has an interesting ability.

Grave Upheaval is very intriguing because an Alesha deck is relying on the fact that many of the creatures are smaller but have powerful synergy linked to their ability to be recurred.  However, Grave Upheaval allows you to go and reanimate  something from your opponent’s graveyard giving it plenty of versatility. Who knows what treats your opponents have hidden in their Graveyards?

There are plenty of interesting options in these colours and it really comes down to how you want to play Alesha and what sort of ETB effects you are looking to recur.

Sultai

Commander: Sidisi, Brood Tyrant

Ok, yes, Sidisi is from Khans, not Fate Reforged, but I was having a hard time tracking down a Tasigur so I opted for the more inexpensive Sidisi as a way to get access to my three colours.  Of all the decks that I have this one is the one most interested in ramping because of things like Villainous Wealth that I want to cast for big value multiple times.  To that end, Collective Voyage is exactly the sort of spell I want to hit early in the game and see if we can’t get it to do something kind of nutty.  When I tried it out with my playgroup in a 6 person Commander game Collective Voyage landed us 17 basic land cards apiece meaning that I could untap and make good use of Villainous Wealth to devastating effect.  

Another strong addition is Swan Song because inexpensive counters that have such a minor drawback are well worth their weight in cardboard.

Keening Stone is something that grabbed my attention too because it serves a very versatile purpose in a deck intent on self milling.  The first and obvious approach is to mill yourself and a single activation could very well yield you all the graveyard fodder you would ever need.  However, the fact that after you have milled yourself you can then turn and mill your opponents and eat a huge chunk of their library is extremely appealing. The way I see it, most decks are very effective at removing creatures and threats that damage their life total.  However, many decks have a harder time dealing with something that attacks them on a totally different axis…namely milling.  Keening Stone could be a very potent win condition to mill out your opponents and be very difficult to address making it a great addition.

Jeskai

Commander: Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest

This is the least tested of my decks, but the intent is to have it play kind of like a combo deck.  The plan is to use the Prowess triggers on Shu Yun to make him explosive and then give him double strike to try and deal lethal in a single attack. With a deck packed full of instants and sorceries, I’m not really looking for more creatures, but rather some interesting spells to complement the game plan.

The obvious first one that jumped out at me was Order//Chaos because it gives Shu Yun the evasion needed to get in for a strike, and allows him to turn on his Double Strike for maximum damage.  Add in the fact that it is a versatile card due to its split nature and you have the making of a really solid addition to the deck.

Conqueror’s Flail is another very interesting addition because it too can make Shu Yun into a one-hit wrecking ball.  For a mere 2 mana and then 2 more to equip I am getting +3/+3 ? The turn you cast this Shu Yun becomes a 7/6 creature, and then gets double strike.  Add in Order//Chaos and you almost have a kill in a single turn.  If you have any burn that goes to the face or any other way to pump Shu Yun you could be walking away with an easy kill.

The final piece is that these colours have a hard time ramping to any degree because of the fact that they don’t play Green, but yet still need to play more expensive threats or have mana open for non-creature spells.  Commander’s Sphere is a very reasonable mana rock that you can sacrifice to draw a card making it extremely useful in the late game if somewhat innocuous.

I know that with the new Commander decks just coming out that it seems strange to be taking them apart for pieces to use elsewhere, but when there are so many tantalizing pieces and plenty of interesting things to do and change up, these actually all seem like useful and relevant things to do.  What things have caught your eye to make use of in other that you have built?  Let me know in the comments down below or find me on Twitter at @bgray8791.  Thanks very much for stopping by and as always, be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.

Bruce Gray

@bgray8791

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