Tag: top-10

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 Bruce Gray - January 13, 2017

Top 10 Casual Cards From Aether Revolt

Casual Encounters- Top 10 Casual Cards from Aether Revolt


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.


  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.


  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.


  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!


  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.


  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.


  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.  


  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?


  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.


  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!


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



Avatar Bruce Gray - July 15, 2016

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

Casual Encounters – Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

Oh boy, oh boy! It’s Christmas in July! Ok, maybe not, but it has been a very fun spoiler season for Eldritch Moon.  From the return of Emrakul, awesome Planeswalkers, the final Oath, a pile of neat, new flip cards and even Meld, this set is shaping up to be loads of fun and something that is going to leave us all with something to talk about. Who needs Core Sets in the summer when you get things like this?! It’s been a blast and today I’m going through my top 10 cards from Eldritch Moon  with an eye towards what Casual players are going to enjoy. Here we go:


Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

10. Mind’s Dilation: I’m not sure how truly good this is going to be, but the effect is very unique and seems very fun. The idea of casting the spells off my opponent’s deck for free is extremely appealing and could make for a totally fun and unpredictable card. Maybe you get a board wipe? A card draw spell? A Fireball (which would actually suck)? Something else that I haven’t conceived of yet?! This gets even more fun in a multiplayer format where you will get multiple triggers as each player takes a turn making this something really spicy. This sounds like it has SO much potential and is going to be loads of fun around the kitchen table.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

9. Prey Upon:  This isn’t that spicy a card, but the new art is so cool. The original Innistrad gave us Prey Upon and the art had a Werewolf attacking a soldier. Well, in this iteration the tables have turned and now the Werewolf is being hunted by an Eldrazi Horror Werewolf. It is just such a great new art that harkens back to our first visit to Innistrad and I’m excited to see it. It is call backs to things like this that make me love this block so much.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

8. Emrakul, The Promised End: If the titular bad guy of the set doesn’t make this list I’m probably doing something wrong. So many people have passed judgement on this card that one more opinion by little old me is not going to matter,  but here is what I know: she is going to be the lasting image of this set. If you remember nothing else about this set you are absolutely going to remember the set where Emrakul reappears. Beyond just the sheer iconic imagery of the final titan arriving on Innistrad, her ability to Mindslaver your opponent remains to be something that I yearn to do. I managed to cast Worst Fears in Theros block and that was cool, but that doesn’t come with a 13/13 spaghetti monster with it. This sounds MUCH better and  I can’t wait.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

7. Spirit of the Hunt: This is for all the Werewolf Tribal players out there. Tribal Werewolf decks now have another way to save all their guys as a combat trick by flashing this guy pumping all your dudes with a little more toughness to fight off that pesky Languish or other potent sweeper. It isn’t super special, but it is on theme and is vastly preferable to Ulrich because Spirit of the Hunt matters to all your other wolves and werewolves. I know my tribal deck will be looking to pick up one or two of these guys and I suspect I am not alone in that regard.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

6. Eldritch Evolution: This card just feels broken. It kind of feels like it is way to try and fix Birthing Pod. I still think this is too good for Constructed because it just allows you to tutor up whatever answer you need at that time. Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely going to get abused in Constructed, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this gets banned fairly readily. However, it will be yet another fine addition to degenerate Kitchen Table Magic games everywhere. The possibilities are endless and the choices are ridiculous.  I just can’t believe they are printing this card.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch MoonTop 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

5. Docent of Perfection: The ultimate evolution of Delver of Secrets! I am very interested in seeing this card in action because we have now traced the development of this card through three iterations and each one has been super sweet. This final version is pretty wild because the Prowess trigger makes dudes, the dudes get pumped, and it makes yet MORE dudes. Who needs Thing in the Ice?  This is flavourful, fun, and makes Tribal Wizard totally a thing.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

4. Shreds of Sanity: This feels super powerful because there are lots of powerful Instants and Sorceries out there in Kitchen Table land and the ability to get them all back seems totally busted. Sure, you have to discard one, but with Madness still being a thing, is that even really a problem? I might be totally off my rocker here, but could there be a chance that a Storm deck is looking for one more spell to cast to buy back something, maybe as a form of insurance, to help them go off? I’m not sure, but I read this and could only conclude that this was extremely powerful.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

3. Bruna, the Fading Light:  Of the two Angels that make up Brisela, Voice of Nightmares, this is the one I expect to make a big splash casually. Gisela, the Broken Blade is a mini Baneslayer Angel and will get lots of play in Constructed. However, Bruna and her ability to buy back a creature and put it directly into play is insane. Think of all the really powerful reanimation targets? Angel of Serenity, Craterhoof Behemoth, Griselbrand (although I’m not sure where you’re playing these two together exactly), Prime Speaker Zegana, and on and on and on. Now, someone is going to say that she is pretty expensive at 7 mana. You’re right. However, this ability is usually very expensive. Defy Death, from Avacyn Restored  was a 5 mana Sorcery for a similar ability. Emeria Shepherd is also an expensive creature and requires an 8th land to even get an effect. You’re getting your Defy Death plus a 5/7 flier for 7 mana…I’m not about to complain. She’s going to be an awesome Kitchen Table card that is just going to make your opponents weep…or have Nightmares…whatever.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

2. Tree of Perdition:  Is anyone surprised? This one is ridiculous because in formats that have more than 20 life you’re tapping this to deal a whole pile of scary damage. People have pointed out correctly that in Commander that tapping this essentially deals 27 points of damage. Assault Formation or Doran, the Siege Tower makes this a hilarious card that is just going to be abused. Oh, and I’m just going to say Triskaidekaphobia.  The end.

Top 10 Casual Cards from Eldritch Moon

1. Harmless Offering: Much like the tree, this is just waiting to be abused much the same way Donate was abused. Demonic Pact is the most obvious place to start, but I bet there are loads of other fun ideas. I’ll leave the particulars of that up to you. On top of the fun little combo, that cute little kitten is worth her weight in gold, but don’t look too closely at her tail and see that tendril sneaking around. Once again, a complete and utter flavour win and the card that I am most excited about in Eldritch Moon.


Ok, ok…I know. No Liliana. No Tamiyo. No Gisela. These are all awesome cards, but there is no doubt in my mind that these will all see extensive constructed play because they are among the most powerful cards for their casting cost in the format. However, the cards I’ve highlighted today are the sorts of things that people around the kitchen table dream about playing and using to maximum effect. That’s why I selected a number of cards that are a little off the beaten path. They might be cards you overlooked, discounted, or forgot about but will get good mileage around a kitchen table some Saturday night with your buddies.  Give them a try and see for yourself.

Did I miss something? Is there something else that you have your eye on?  Let me know by leaving a comment down below or finding me on Twitter.  Good luck to all of you at your Prereleases and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.


Bruce Gray – @bgray8791

Avatar Bruce Gray - June 8, 2016

Eternal Masters Top 10 Cards

Casual Encounters- Top 10 Cards from Eternal Masters


    Well, it is that time of year again when we have had a new set of spoilers and all sorts of fun stuff get revealed for Eternal Masters.  Typically I go through my top 10 picks for Casual Play but that seems like a ridiculous proposition.  There are so many cards in this set that are ideal in Casual circles of all kinds that it is kind of like shooting fish in a barrel…you just can’t miss!  There are still countless cards that have got me excited for the arrival of EMA and I’ve got my own top 10 list that I’m going to share with you guys.  I have this sort of list mostly because I know that I won’t be opening much, if any, EMA product because the MSRP is as high as it is.  I should probably just buy a lottery ticket because the net effect is about the same. That said, I will certainly be looking to find some of these cards as singles in a few weeks.  So, without further ado, here’s my top ten list from Eternal Masters.


10- Mother of Runes:  What’s NOT to love about this card.  In any deck running white she is just a blow out waiting to happen and if your opponent isn’t aware then they could see themselves walking into a bad block and having Mom give it protection.  I love this for Commander and any deck running white will totally run her and just ensure that you have game against every colour in the format.


9-Necropotence:  I love nothing better than drawing more cards.  The more I play the more I’m prepared to spend my life points, sacrifice stuff, discard stuff, or jump through other hoops to draw more cards…and Necropotence is among the best cards for drawing extra cards ever.  If you are familiar with the history of Magic there was a time when this card was just a dominant force  because it allowed players to draw just so much more of their deck that the life spent was well worth it.  In Commander that still holds true and Necropotence can allow you to draw such a higher percentage of your deck that the advantage gained is often overwhelming. It is hard to imagine this card not being on my list.


8-Mystical Tutor : So, many moons ago I had a chance to cube draft with some of my friends and I had a truly weird U/G deck (and I wrote about here). One of the fun things I drafted was a Mystical Tutor…in a deck with a Time Walk. Just that thought alone, of instant speed searching up something crazy busted and taking extra turns, wrathing away the board, or some other very powerful effect is reason enough to be excited for this. I’m sure many of you all have your favorite targets already and can’t wait to sleeve up this little treat and to go crazy.


7-Regal Force: So, when i’m looking for bombs I love a big body with upside. However, when the upside says draw more cards, I’m totally in. Like, unbelievably in. Green is my favorite color, this has a huge body, and it draws me a boat load of cards. I’m in love…and I didn’t even know this card existed until I saw the spoiler. This just calls to my inner Timmy and there is just no shame in admitting it.


6- Green Sun’s Zenith: Banned green creature tutor. Ok. I’m totally on board and imagining all the sick things I could do with this. My first reaction is to pair this with Nykthos giving my EDH deck the ability to go find whatever I need in my deck…Like a Craterhoof Behemoth or a Worldspine Wurm. Just imagine going and finding all the biggest and scariest monsters you can think up. Sounds like fun to me.


5-Vampiric Tutor: This is just an awesome tutor and in any commander deck you will happily pay the life to get the card you really want. What more do you want? This is your ticket to drawing that magic silver bullet and having that knowledge feels amazing.


4-Toxic Deluge: I wanted Damnation. I think we all did. But for casual games and EDH this is more than satisfactory. I mean, three mana kill every thing (with the added cost of some life points…which we have in spades in EDH) is pretty awesome. Also, it can shrink down and kill indestructible creatures, can be used flexibly to leave you with the biggest, beefiest creature on the board and still wax all of your opponent’s stuff. It’s no Damnation, but it is still pretty exciting.


3-Deep Analysis/ Burning Vengeance: These seem pretty innocuous to be third on my list, but anytime I can get more utility out of cards in my graveyard I am totally on board. Both of these can be cast from my graveyard making them very valuable and can allow me to draw more cards and dig for answers.  Oh…and with a Burning Vengeance these are just hilarious. So, they may seem simple, but they are very useful and I’m excited to have renewed access to them for a whole range of decks I like to play including Pauper and Commander..


2-Maze of Ith: I’m excited for this one because I have an original printing of this from The Dark and love the card. Sadly, my version is slightly beat up, so the chance to find a new copy is kind of exciting. Add in the fact that it’s just a good card that just blanks so many creatures and you have something that is very appealing even if it seems somewhat underwhelming. Also, i’m pretty excited for the chance to search for it with an Ulvenwald Hydra and fetch it up because that feels like a fun interaction that no one really ever talks about.


1- Jace, The Mind Sculptor: This guy is number one when it comes to Planeswalkers. C’mon, the dude is banned in modern, has four abilities all of which are good, is a Legacy staple, and just feels unfair. I don’t play much Legacy, but when I do I want to play JTMS. The fact that the price might start being “just expensive” instead of “ungodly expensive” is reason enough to be excited. Honestly, if you had a chance to play Jace…would you? I know I would without a second of hesitation.


Well, there we have it. I know there are people out there that are pumped for the chance to get super pricey cards like Force of Will and Wasteland. For me, those cards are great, but they aren’t what gets me excited. I bet every player out there will have a slightly different list of what they like…and that’s the best part! I don’t think you can go wrong in a set like this from a gameplay perspective. I can hardly wait to see what new cards start making decks because they are now increasingly accessible and have a real impact on how games are played. It is going to be an exciting time.

Thanks for taking the time to stop in and have a read. Leave a comment down below or find me on Twitter to let me know has got you excited and if it looks anything like my list.  And as always, be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.


Bruce Gray

@bgray8791 on twitter

Avatar Bruce Gray - April 8, 2016

Top 10 Casual Cards From Shadows Over Innistrad

Casual Encounters – Top 10 Casual Cards From Shadows Over Innistrad


With the set releasing this weekend, I thought today would be an excellent opportunity to go through my top ten casual cards from Shadows Over Innistrad for all of you. Now, these may not be all the hottest competitive cards. Sometimes there are other cards that are spicy and fun to play with, but may not be particularly good in the competitive Magic scene. However, even casual players appreciate mana-efficient, powerful cards so don’t be surprised if some of those also appear on this list too. Let’s get down to business and see what I’m excited for in this new set!


Honorable mentionNew rare land cycle

 I always get excited for new land cycles because having good mana is so crucial to playing this game. I have maintained now for a long time that good mana is often better than having the premier spells because you can reliably cast your spells if you’ve got the correct mana. The new lands give us one more tool to help fix our mana, but the interaction with the Battle lands, namely that the Battle lands are dual typed, means that you can have this new cycle come into play untapped quite reliably. They aren’t exciting and most people aren’t thrilled about them, but I think they are one more viable land option. The other piece is that these lands should be fairly readily accessible and inexpensive for the foreseeable future making them an inexpensive investment and something that helps casual players get the mana fixing they want without breaking the bank..

sigarda, heron's grace

10- Sigarda, Heron’s Grace: While the other angels have gone crazy, Sigarda has stayed pretty true to her original printing. She’s still 5 mana, is a good body, but now she gives your humans and you hexproof. This doesn’t seem like it is very relevant, but she goes in tribal human decks very readily. Whether you are playing human Allies, Warriors, or even pre-transformed werewolves, she is relevant and could make life difficult for your opponents. I’m not sure if she has a future in constructed decks yet, but I know casual players will be excited for her to be played in tribal decks.


9-  Triskaidekaphobia: I feel like this will be one of the cards that leave a lasting impressions on this set long term. Triskaidekaphobia is not likely to see much in the way of Constructed play, but it is templated beautifully for Multi-player games giving it more appeal for Casual players. The real draw here is that it is an alternate win condition for a deck that is interested in that sort of thing.  I know some EDH deck is going to brew with this thing and I have a few friends who will take a stab at making this viable, but that will only see the light of day around the kitchen table.  The art on this card is insane too in that it calls out to so many different instances of the number 13 that it is almost comical.  This will certainly be remembered and is extremely unique even for a set as rich and flavourful as Shadows over Innistrad.


8- Seasons Past:  As a casual player, this speaks to me very clearly.  For 6 mana I can regrow MULTIPLE targets?  So, sure, it is NOT what a Constructed deck wants, but I can imagine getting all sorts of things back in a Casual game very easily.  Just think about your favorite 1 drop.  Do you have it in mind?  Great.  Now a 2 drop.  Repeat that for a 3 drop.  Keep going…how about 4 now…and 5, and 6, and, and, and.  Seasons Past is exactly the sort of card that will scale ridiculously depending on what’s in your deck and we all know casual players are more apt to have bigger, splashier things in their deck.  This could be amazing… and the stories you will tell will start like this “Remember when I cast Seasons Past and got back…”.  Yeah.  I’m pumped.


7- Odric, Lunarch Marshall:  Wow…so, you know when I had Sigarda playing guardian angel for a tribal humans deck?  Well, I want this guy to be the reason I win that game because he just grants all my other creatures silly abilities.  It isn’t hard to imagine this guy being ridiculous and casual players are ready and willing to give this guy a brand new home leading their decks.  Just a sweet new treat to make decks unbelievable. Fellow looter JP Vazquez is also excited by Odric, so check out his article if you haven’t already!

thalia's lieutenant

6- Thalia’s Lieutenant:  Hmmm…tribal humans just got another lord. Ok.  Sign me up. I could almost see this guy helping to build the foundation for a silly Humans build in Modern playing alongside Champion of the Parish and Hardened Scales but even without that push this is hard to miss.  


5- Second Harvest:  I read this card and had to stop and look at it again.  For 4 mana for that ability doesn’t seem THAT good. Oh wait, what am I talking about.  I’m clearly wrong and can’t wait to play this and do some degenerate token shenanigans with it.  Think about playing this in some of the EDH decks out there that are focused on token strategies: Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, Ghave, Guru of Spores, Rhys the Redeemed, just to name a few.  These decks look to go wide. This lets them go WIDER. At instant speed.  We’re all going to die to this card in EDH.  I accept it and want my chance to try and cast it too.  


4- Epiphany at the Drownyard: This is perhaps my favorite card in this whole set.  I love drawing extra cards and nothing makes me happier than being able to do that at Instant speed.  The fact that this scales in the late game when I have a pile of mana is very appealing and could help me stock my hand all over again.  The similarities between this and Fact or Fiction is unmistakable and further adds to the appeal of the card because I love forcing my opponent to make a choice and see if they make a bad one for me to capitalize on.  This is a very strong card and certainly not something I will overlook.


3- Trail of Evidence:  I’m using Trail of Evidence as a placeholder for cards that allow you to create multiple Clue artifacts.  I think these Clue artifacts are an ingenious way to help smooth out limited play by allowing players the chance to draw more cards.  If you can draw more cards you might find that answer you desperately need to stave off your death.  The result is very positive for Limited.  However, for a Casual player, these Clue tokens create a very interesting opportunity when paired with Ghirapur Aether Grid because you can use your Clue tokens to help deal damage to your opponent.  Any time you can weaponize something that is essentially harmless you have something that will appeal to a certain type of Casual player.

the gitrog monster

2- The Gitrog Monster: This is a wild card that has entirely too much text on it for it to NOT be something that Casual players are going to drool all over.  Don’t ask me where it goes…maybe it is the general for a whole new EDH deck…but I know that this thing is a) stupid big b) packs a ton of powerful abilities and c) has super cool art. I want me one of these guys.




1-  Arlinn Kord:  This was a tough choice because I kind of wanted to put Avacyn in this spot. The reason I picked Arlinn is just because she is the first Planeswalker with the ability to flip back and forth under your control.  Garruk Relentless flipped over and stayed that way with no chance of flipping back.  Same for the more recent flip Planeswalkers in Magic: Origins.  This is the first time that we’ve seen a walker who can go back and forth at will. That makes her unique and something that can’t be overlooked ever.  She will undoubtedly be a strong competitive card in Constructed, but Casual players are going to love her too.  I mean, she packs 5 abilities, is a Werewolf, and looks amazing…she’s a casual all star and takes top spot on my list.


Well, there we have it.  My top ten is likely very different from most top tens.  Heck, I left Sorin, Avacyn and Relentless Dead off my list!  Don’t get me wrong, these are going to be amazing cards but they will find their home in Constructed Magic right away.  Some of the cards on my list will see competitive play, but there are others that will never see the light of day at a major tournament and will shine brightest around the kitchen table.  

Was there anything else that caught your eye or has you super excited?  Let me know by finding me on Twitter or by leaving a comment down below. This is clearly going to be a terrific set and I’m excited to see these cards dominate kitchen tables for years to come.    

Until next time good luck and have fun wherever you play Magic and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.


Bruce Gray
@bgray8791 on Twitter


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