Tag: restoration-angel

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



Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - May 15, 2014

Kiki Control by Shaun McLaren (3rd at GP Minneapolis Modern on May 11t...

Deck of the Day

Restoration Angel - Kiki Control

White-Blue-Red Control by Shaun McLaren

3rd at GP Minneapolis Modern on May 11th 2014

Shaun McLaren has already proven his dominance of the UWR Control deck in Modern so it looks like he felt it needed a tweak to keep performing for him. And while it was not able to propel him to the top spot, it was good enough to push him into the top 4 of a very strong field. His deck still has the classic control elements of draw, permission and removal but adds an interesting creature twist to grind out all the value.


Let’s start from the top with the title card which adds the new spin with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker who is no stranger to Modern but has traditionally been found in either the Twin or Pod decks. Here we find him used to grind out some mega-value or even surprise combo for the kill. So looking first at that combo kill, when we pair Kiki up with Restoration Angel you create a possible infinite loop of tapping Kiki to copy Resto then blinking Kiki with the copies into play trigger to rinse and repeat. You can also flash in Resto as a blocker if Kiki is in play and create enough blockers to shut down an alpha strike from a Twin deck, very sneaky. The other key target for Kiki is Wall of Omens which works to shore up some ground defenses while providing a solid and steady stream of card advantage. There is also Snapcaster Mage which can continue to rebuy spent spells in the grave with Kiki. A singleton Vendilion Clique is extremely useful in the deck as a way to not only gain information about your opponents plan but also to help disrupt it as well. The manabase also affords us the inclusion of a set of Celestial Colonnade which are a key beatdown element and one of the main avenues to victory. As advertised this is a control deck and thus has a well rounded permission suite starting with a set of Mana Leak, a pair of Remand, and singletons of both Spell Snare and Cryptic Command. The removal is also very heafty including Lightning Bolt and Electrolyze to either burn creature or straight to the dome, and Path to Exile to decisively remove any creature threat in the way. The deck is also able to squeeze two Tectonic Edge into the manabase as an additional hedge against manlands or Scapeshift combo. The draw power of the deck lies primarily with the Wall, Electrolyze, Remand and Cryptic, but the are also singletons with a Sphinx’s Revelation and a Desolate Lighthouse to bolster the draw package.

So once again Shaun shows us it was no fluke that he won Pro Tour Born of the Gods almost fighting his way to another victory. He clearly enjoys this style of deck and has a finger on the pulse of the metagame. It is going to be exciting and interesting to see what sort of evolution he continues to push with this deck, and also if it continue to be a strong metagame choice.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Email: ejseltzer@hotmail.com
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - May 8, 2014

GW Hatebears by Serafin Wellinger (1st at Bazaar of Moxen Modern Main ...

Champion’s Deck

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben - GW Hate Bears

GW Hatebears by Serafin Wellinger

Bazaar of Moxen – 1ST Place Main Event Modern

It seems like the GW Hatebears motif was out in full effect this past weekend. In addition to the winner of the SCG Cincinnati we also saw this port over to Modern at the Bazaar of Moxen. And with good reason as the overall theme of the deck is a very strong disruption with aggro beats. While there are differences of course since the Modern card pool and metagame is not the same as Legacy it continues to show dominance across formats due to its incredible power.

The Modern version also utilizes Æther Vial as a very key component to the deck and while countermagic is not nearly as prevalent as it is in Legacy gaining advantage by dropping basically free creature and doing so at instant speed provides a huge disruption element which is the focal point of the deck. The other first turn play in the deck is Noble Hierarch which serves the deck well as a mana dork providing both White and Green for the deck as well as a bonus power boost if you are sending in a lone attacker for the beatdown. Moving up the curve to the two drop spot there is the all-star of the deck Thalia, Guardian of Thraben which does as much in Modern as in Legacy to slow down all non-creature based strategies, pesky Leonin Arbiter which shuts down searching the library unless you pay the price, and Scavenging Ooze to nullify the popular graveyard based strategies most especially the rampant Birthing Pod decks. We then go to our three drop slot where we have disruptive Aven Mindcensor to effectively shut down any deck looking to search the library for tools, we can Vial in a Flickerwisp as a way to protect our important pieces which may get targeted by removal, and even Blade Splicer can be a shocking surprise as the Golem Token it brings along to fight can First Strike an attacker to death which had expected a free and clear passage. And finally we get to the angels of the deck at the four cost with added protective redundancy from Restoration Angel and the unique disruptive ability from Linvala, Keeper of Silence which will shut down manadorks along with any other activated abilities from opponents creatures. The deck also runs a full set of Path to Exile to have some pinpoint removal to take out those most important threats. To assist in the beatdown plan the manabase includes Gavony Townships for additional creature pump and for disruption there is a full set of Ghost Quarter which combine with Arbiter and Mindcensor to effectively become Strip Mine.

Another fine deck makes its way to the forefront of the Modern meta showing how truly wide open the format really is. It will be very interesting to see how this deck fares this weekend at the Grand Prix in Minneapolis. Will it show that it was not just a one trick pony or is the meta going to react to this result by overcompensating. We will see.
Eric J Seltzer
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - March 14, 2014

Deck of the Day – UWR Twin by Samuel Tharmaratnam (10th at Grand...

Splinter Twin
U/W/R Twin
Samuel Tharmaratnam
10th Place at Grand Prix on 3/9/2014
From the time it was discovered that Splinter Twin could be paired with Twin in order to create an infinite army to smash your opponent it has been abused in every way possible. Its short life in Standard left people wanting to continue to abuse this interestingly unique interaction and has lead to several different iterations of this combo kill. Traditionally Blue/Red was the build of Twin but lately there’s been a new spin adding Green while this version of the deck goes for White.

While the main combo finish involves enchanting an Exarch with a Twin there is a redundancy package which includes Restoration Angel that can interact with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as a secondary plan to create infinite token creatures. One way the White splash helps in this deck comes from Wall of Omens which is part of the decks draw engine and especially abusive if you Twin in, but more importantly in a new meta which is partially defined by recently unbanned Wild Nacatl a four toughness two drop can be the sole difference between holding off a ruthless assault and holding on to combo the win. Additional draw comes from format staple Serum Visions with its Scry ability to not only draw valuable cards but also filter unneeded cards away and a one of Desolate Lighthouse allows you to dig through the deck to find answers or missing combo pieces. For removal with this deck having access to both Red and White we find the requisite format all-stars Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile both efficient and effective for their purpose. There is also Swan Song as a light permission suite to handle at an very cheap cost many of the problems that the deck might face and the token you give usually not problematic, with the removal able to handle most other problems. A full set of Snapcaster Mage are able to rebuy all of your used instants and sorceries to effectively double the amount of draw, removal and counters in your deck. As an alternate beatdown plan the deck sports a full set of Celestial Colonnade to bring the ‘death from above’ should the game stall into a draw out affair. Finally a one of Spellskite in the maindeck is there as a hedge preboard in the mirror and also a way to draw removal away from your combo creatures so you can go off unhindered when you’re ready for the kill.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - March 10, 2014

Champion’s Deck – Kiki Pod by Brian Liu (1st at Grand Prix...

Birthing Pod
Kiki Pod
Brian Liu
1st Place at Grand Prix on 3/9/2014
One of the marquee cards in Modern has been Birthing Pod and it’s unique ability to upgrade creatures into new creatures from your library. There is an entirely different Pod deck which centers around Melira, Sylvok Outcast but this version uses a different legendary creature Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to steal the ‘Twin’ win engine and combo kill your opponent with infinite creatures.

The engine of the deck runs primarily around the interaction of Birthing Pod with its ‘pod chain’ which is basically a set of creatures at each converted mana cost which you chain together to move up progressively. There is also a second way to ‘tutor’ your creatures with Chord of Calling which is why the deck is so heavily focused on creatures and has a toolbox which can find answers in the maindeck to many of the problems the deck may face from the different decks in the format.

We then get to the creatures in the deck which comprise an entire half of the deck. Starting at the bottom we have the one drop creature with four Birds of Paradise and three Noble Hierarch which serve as the primary acceleration of deck to power out you Pods as quickly as possible. Then moving to the two drops there is three Wall of Roots which complete the mana dork suite and have a favorable interaction with Convoke from Chord of Calling to provide two mana towards the casting cost. There is also two Voice of Resurgence which will leave behind its token when podded, two Scavenging Ooze for incidental lifegain and graveyard control, one Spellskite which can be used either to protect key creatures or disrupt opponents such as Splinter Twin, and one Qasali Pridemage that can destroy a pesky enchantment or artifact especially after sideboard. From the three drops there are two Kitchen Finks which helps to regain life lost from spending Phyrexian mana as well as basically two creatures each for Birthing Pod because of Persist, one Eternal Witness which can rebuy anything lost to the graveyard back to your hand, and one Deceiver Exarch which is a key piece in comboing off for the kill using its ability to untap your Pod or combined with Kiki create infinite creatures. At the next level the four drop are comprised of four Restoration Angel which is another integral cog in the combo by blinking a Pod or Exarch to continue chaining or as a Kiki target to create an infinite army of flying angels. There is also utility from one Murderous Redcap which can be used to kill off low toughness creatures or go to the dome to finish the last points of life, one Glen Elendra Archmage which is the decks only permission, and one Linvala, Keeper of Silence which shuts down many creature abilities to either stiffle the opponents chance to win or at least severily delay it. Finally we have the five drops where we find the namesake of the deck with two Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker the way this deck combo kills for an instant win and also one Zealous Conscript which can be used in the chain to continue by untapping a Pod to be used again.
This deck also has in its manabase two Gavony Township which allow it to switch to the beatdown plan if necessary and also remove -1/-1 tokens from the Persist creature to get additional use from them.
This deck is truly a work of art and only continues to improve with each new creature that is printed being another possible option to add to your pod chain. You should definitely expect this deck to be around for a long time in Modern and must either prepare to face it or learn to master it.
Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Avatar Eric Jeffrey Seltzer - January 12, 2014

Champion’s Deck – UWR Midrange by Vjeren Horvat (1st Place...

Geist of Saint Traft

UWR Midrange
Vjeren Horvat
1st Place at GP Prague Modern on 01/12/2014

Lands (25)

Creatures (13)

Spells (22)


The first Grand Prix of the new year has come and gone this past weekend from the historical European capital of Prague in the Czech Republic.  The format for this tournament was Modern which since its inception two and a half years ago has been one that always piqued my interest, much like the Extended format which it took its roots from did for me before it.  This weekend was another very exciting weekend and Vjeren was able to battle through Moderns rather diverse field to rise to the top and take the first GP crown of the new year.  It was great to see Modern in action as it is sorely lacking from this PTQ season since Wizards decided to push the Modern PTQs to the summer.  This was also partially a tune up for some players as this is the only big tournament for the format before the Pro Tour in Valencia next month which is also going to have Modern for its constructed portion.

Getting into the deck it is at its core an extremely strong Counter-Burn shell using some of the most powerful elements of control and aggression to take over games and destroy opponents with impunity.  The creature suite is centerpieced by a pair of legendary creature with Geist and Clique.  They are supported by a pair of one-ofs in Resto Angel and Thundermaw which really help to dominate the skies.  But the real synergy comes from a full set of Snapcaster with a plethora of targets to push his value to the limit.  A huge burn package starts with the requisite set of Bolt along with a set of Helix, then to top it off Electrolyze which doubles as card draw as well.  As if all that burn wasn’t enough there’s a trio of Path to clear away any pesky creature threats.  Then we get into the permission package with the versatile Cryptic, tempo play Remand and stock control piece Leak.  Put that package together and we get a deck that can really lay out the beats.

So if you are lucky enough to have your local game store host Modern FNMs or are already thinking ahead towards the summers PTQs definitely give this deck high consideration.  And even if you don’t think this deck is your style make sure you have it in your gauntlet to be sure you know how to attack it lest it burns you out with a Bolt Snap Bolt GG finish.

Eric J Seltzer
@ejseltzer on Twitter


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