Crack a Pack MTG with Bruce
#26 Magic Origins 1st

By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Welcome back folks! I was looking through my entries and noticed that it had been a long time since I cracked a pack for you guys and thought it might be time to pop open a pack and treat it like I was going to draft. I have drafted loads of DTK/DTK/FRF and towards the end it was starting to get stale…but Origins seems pretty spicy and is still very much a thing for a couple of more weeks. So, let’s open up a pack of Origins and have a look at what I might pick if I was sitting down to draft.





Ok, so the rare is a nice one! Scab-Clan Berserker is actually a very nice card. I wouldn’t call it a grade A bomb, but it is a very solid card and can start to warp the board if your opponent needs to think twice about casting non-creature spells.  The fact that this creature has Haste is incredibly valuable because it allows you to sneak it in to trigger the Renown on it and then sit back and allow the triggered ability to pile up and yield you further value.  I would be thumbing this to the front of the pack and looking for anything that might top it.

Malakir Cullblade is an interesting card, but in order for us to get value out of it you need to have your opponents creatures die and it is highly unlikely that this is going to do it, at least initially, on its own.  That means you need to do a fair bit of work to get this to a reasonable point. With one counter this is a 2/2, but it still trades with just about every other 2 drop in the format.  As a 3/3 you will start to get value, but that’s asking a fair bit.  If you can get this to being a 4/4 you’ve done well and you should be ecstatic, but most clever opponents will ensure that this never gets to that point.  If I end up in Black I would look at this as a mid-round pick up, but even then I might not run it because it takes a bunch of work to get it to be good.  I’m sure this pack has better cards, so I’ll pass and keep on looking.

Angel’s Tomb is a fun little artifact that can be a very real and relevant threat, but it is conditional on you casting other creatures to enable it.  This usually isn’t an issue, but it means that you can’t always rely on this to be your answer.  Make no mistake, I’ve lost my fair share of games to this card, but it is not a high pick for me and unlikely to be something I prioritize highly.

Mage-Ring Network is an interesting storage land.  I am unlikely to ever want this early in the pack because I’m not big on storage lands.  It has applications with Red and any X burn spells (like Ravaging Blaze) but there is no way this is an early pick.

Rhox Maulers is something I can get behind.  This guy is a beating and it is exactly the sort of 5 drop I want to play.  If this goes unanswered the game is over ridiculously quickly.  Whoever designed Trample on Renown cards should feel kind of silly because many games end on account of Rhox Maulers crashing in for a whole pile of life.  This one would get a long, hard look for sure.

Dreadwaters. No.  I know if you have 3 or 4 of these that you can Mill out your opponent, but you sort of fall into that deck.  You don’t go out LOOKING to draft it.  Leave this until near the end and if you start to see 2 or 3 floating around it might make a for a funny story.  Otherwise, save your pick on something actually relevant.

Reave Soul ! Yes Please.  This is premium Black removal and would immediately get pulled to the front of the pack.  With a set full of modestly sized creatures Reave Soul kills many of the most relevant ones.  I’m sad that it is Sorcery speed removal, but I can hardly argue with a mere 2 mana.  In most situations you are likely trading the 2 mana you spend on this spell for 2 mana to kill their “Grizzly” bear, but you could easily come out ahead on the mana if you can nab something like Charging Griffin.  That may sound like a trivial difference, but that difference in mana could be huge.  It could be the difference between you making them waste their 4 mana on a creature that is now dead, while you could spend your 4 mana to kill it and then follow up with a Screeching Scab or a Fetid Imp. I’m a big fan of Reave Soul and could make the case to pick this first.  Let’s see what else is in this pack.

Prickleboar is another very solid creature.  It loves to attack and can clear out lots of things and can really get the job done.  He’s not great if you are on the back foot, so he wouldn’t be a super early pick, but he does good work and can’t be ignored.

Heavy Infantry is just not something I’m big on. We’ve already seen two very solid 5 drops in this pack showing just what you can get in the way of  5 mana creatures.  The return on this guy isn’t great.  Sure, he does decent work in almost every situation, but you can’t tell me you’d pick him over the Maulers or Prickleboar.  No, he’s a much weaker pick and is something to look at late in this pack.

Vastwood Gorger gets played surprisingly often in Green decks.  He’s not flashy, but he’s a big body and can get pretty aggressive.  He’s not an early pick, but he’s something that I would be looking for late in the round if I’m in Green.

Negate. Sideboard.  Moving on.

Deadbridge Shaman is a card that has surprised me.  It has done a good amount of work and I have seen many aggressive decks ride this guy to wins.  Nobody is super keen to kill this and discard a card meaning it often goes unchecked.  I’m a big fan and would be looking for this fairly early in the pack to help secure the fact that I looking to play Black.

Yoked Ox.  Sigh.  I don’t like this card because it does so little… except when you need it. This gets sided in against aggressive decks as an early blocker.  Otherwise you will rarely play it.  End of discussion.


Top 5 picks

  1. Scab-Clan Berserker
  2. Reave Soul
  3. Rhox Maulers
  4. Prickleboar
  5. Deadbridge Shaman

I think we can all agree that there are really only two real picks to take out of this pack first.  The Berserker and the premium removal spell are the only real options and are a cut above the rest of this pack.  The safe first pick is the removal spell.  Reave Soul is almost always a good spell to have in your deck and even if you take it first and don’t play Black, at least you can rest assured that there is one less piece of removal floating around the table.  However, how often do you get to play with flashy rare cards like this?  Personally I would take the Berserker and then see what comes my way. There is a slight chance that I see another Reave Soul later in the draft, but the chance of seeing the same rare card come around the table is very low, so I’ll take my chances with the rare.

Cards 3 and 4 are pretty easy choices, but the fifth card was something I was weighing pretty closely.  I was debating selecting the Vastwood Gorger as the 5th card in this pack, but I sat there and compared a few things.  Deadbridge Shaman comes down many turns earlier and in this format that is huge.  You can’t afford to have many 5 and 6 drops in your deck or else you will be too slow and that is the dilemma with the Gorger.  On top of the speed issue, the fact remains that Deadbridge Shaman has a form of quasi evasion.  Few opponents are keen to kill it because that makes them discard and generates a form of card advantage for the player with the Shaman.  The discard is a very relevant ability and something that will invariably force your opponent to change how they play.  No one is truly scared of the Gorger because you can chump block it for days and continue with your own game plan or dig for an answer.  Ultimately, I hate to see Deadbridge Shaman far more than a Vastwood Gorger and would rather grab it early in the pack if I’m intent on playing any sort of Black deck, thus making it more likely to be the fifth pick in the pack.

Well, there we have it.  I have to say, this was a pretty interesting pack.  The first pick would be very debatable and you could approach it as being a removal spell or the rare creature and be right.  The thought that goes into selecting the fifth card would also be very interesting as you weigh the merits of the Gorger or the Shaman.  All in all, it gave me plenty to think about and was a good sample of what a pack might look like when drafting Origins. I hope you guys reading along at home enjoyed it and I will make a point of getting another Crack a pack MTG done soon.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and have read.  Your support is always appreciated. So, until the next time, have yourself a great MTG day.


By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

@bgray8791 on Twitter