Tag: abzan-ascendancy

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Avatar Bruce Gray - October 8, 2014

Let me AXE you a Question… [Abzan midrange]

Anafenza the Foremost - Abzan midrange

Let me AXE you a Question…

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters

Today I wanted to take a moment and share some of my other random thoughts that I’ve had since I last sat down to write.  I’ll be honest, getting back into the grind of the school year has been a challenge and left me without too many chances to sit down and play Magic, let alone write.  However, I’ve had lots of thoughts and ideas and finally had a chance to collect some of those thoughts.  So, I apologize if my ideas jump around a little, but that’s the stage I’m at this point in my playing.

 

Garruk’s Freaking Axe

So, I wanted to share just how excited I was the other day when I opened up my email and was notified that apparently I was selected to win one of Garruk’s Axes from the M15 pre-releases.  SWEET! My brother and I took a terrible photo at our pre-release event and were certain we’d never win.  However, when there were only 22 entries from across Canada and 16 potential axes to win, the odds were pretty good. So, when the email landed in my inbox I was pumped.  Sure, the odds were pretty much in my favor, but it is still neat to be selected.  I can hardly wait for the axe to arrive at my house because it is going to be hilarious.  My wife is going to ask why there is a giant foam axe at my house and just roll her eyes! Just priceless.  Also, it will get carted to every Casual card night we play as just another ridiculous MTG thing in my collection.  I can hardly wait.

 

M15 pre-release and Invitational Decklist

So, as the fallout from my brother and I placing second at our Two-Headed Giant pre-release in July we had something extra nice come our way.  The Local Game Store we go to holds an invitational tournament for all players who finish in the top 4 of a “premier event”.  Basically, any “premiere event” (as defined by the store) is an event played on the Weekend such as a GP trial, Game Day, or even a Pre-release.  So…my brother and I, for inadvertently placing second at the Pre-release got invited to play at another event.  Sweet!! The issue becomes this…I’m more of a Casual/Limited sort of guy and this event, which is hosted October 11th in conjunction with Canadian Thanksgiving, will be a Constructed event.  That leaves me in a bit of a quandary. I don’t have the deepest of pockets and can’t spring for cases of Khans…so I’m, in a bit of a tough spot rolling into the new Standard environment with only a few weeks to brew and get set up.  Also, I sort of pride myself on the home brew/budget approach to playing Magic but am concerned that my deck building skills won’t be up to that sort of a test.

 

With that said I think I’m on to something that could be pretty useful. I’ve been struck with the combination of aggressive creatures and controlling nature of the Abzan clan from Khans and feel like they might lead to something in the upcoming Standard format. Basically, I like the ground and pound game the Abzan provide and immediately said “there’s my boys”.  That means I’ll need to learn to play some Black for a change, but that is likely healthy for me in order to continue to grow and develop as a player.  Here’s what I’ve got as an early decklist.

 

Abzan Midrange – Khans Standard

 

This game plan is actually pretty straightforward.  Sylvan Caryatid and Courser come down early to play some early D and help you ramp up to some of your more expensive things.  The fact that half the mana base comes in tapped is an issue so the ramp could be pretty key.  Fleecemane is pretty beast as a 3/3 for 2 mana that is even better once Monstruous.  Anafenza comes down as a 4/4 for 3 mana and hates out graveyards pretty hard.  Polukranos is just about the best thing you can do for 4 mana and then can act as a Pit Fight if you need it.  Dawnbringer Charioteer is a disgusting 2/4 with Heroic, Flying, and Lifelink. I feel like this is a card that is a little under utilized, but could be just what this sort of deck wants and needs to gain back a little life, and if you can trigger the Heroic ability things could get out of hand…fast.  Siege Rhino is just another efficient fatty and enters with a gross Enter the Battlefield trigger.  Nylea is an automatic because she could just tip the scales in your favour so badly. The High Sentinels synergize nicely with all the creatures that make +1/+1 counters through a number of methods and can just be a killer. The last piece is the Abzan Falconer, because nothing is scarier than when all your creatures with +1/+1 counters take to the skies and can overload the air born defense of your opponent.

 

The removal package is pretty robust.  Abzan Charm has three relevant modes including an exile mode for other creature with power 3 or greater. Banishing Light is a nice catch all, and Hero’s Downfall just crushes just about anything.  The Abzan Ascendancy is a nice addition because it can dump counters on all your creatures to enable the Falconer (or just pump your team), but the second mode, that of making 1/1 flying spirits is pretty useful and could totally enable a plan B approach with Pharika (out of the sideboard) to flood the board with tokens. Reap What is Sown again enables all sorts of Counters and Heroic stuff.  Elspeth and Lili are just too powerful to overlook for a number of reasons and I’m sad I can only squeeze in a pair.

 

Now, I am absolutely aware that this is not a Budget deck…heck, the mana base alone ensures that it isn’t a budget deck.  However, there are some interesting options to help bring the budget factor of the deck down.  The Fleecemane Lions can totally be subbed out and replaced with the Ajani Pridemate.  The Pridemate is very realistically a 3/3 for the same two mana…but likely a turn later.  The way this works is you drop some of the Temples and replace them with the Refuge lands from Khans and every time you gain a life when they enter the Pridemate grabs a counter.  So, turn 1 drop a land…turn 2 is better if your land is untapped and cast Pridemate.  Turn 3 drop a Refuge land and your Pridemate is now a 3/3 and you are basically on par with the Lion.  Siege Rhino can be dropped in favour of the Reaper of the Wilds and there are lots of other options at the 4 slot to play perfectly viable creatures instead of Nylea.  There are really no alternatives to the Caryatid or the Courser, but things like Voyaging Satyr or Golden Hind can do reasonable approximations of these all-stars but at a fraction of the cost.

 

The sideboard is whole other issue that I’m not sure about.  I’m not 100% sure I know what the meta will be playing, and seeing as I am only dabbling in Constructed I’m likely pretty screwed so I might just pack a sideboard full of removal and some Ajani’s Presence…and some Nyx-Fleece Ram to put the crews to Burn decks everywhere.  It isn’t a perfect fix, and I’m open to suggestions from anyone out there in the community.

 

Well, there we have another week.  The good news, I’ve picked up some Khans boosters and some Crack a packs are on the way for those who love to draft.  For those out there with a penchant for Constructed, let me know what you think about my deck for the Invitational.  Do you have some suggestions?  I’m all ears. Let me know because I at least want to put up a reasonable result (i.e. not embarrass myself). And we’ve got a Casual night coming up complete with a Fresh Hobo deck to share with all of you.  Lots to come, that’s for sure.

 

Until next time, keep it safe, keep it fun…keep it casual.

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
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Avatar Three Kings Loot - May 19, 2014

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler – Release notes, Artwork & Card Gal...

KHANS-PRE-ORDER LARGE

 

Set Name Khans of Tarkir
Block Set 1 of 3 in the Khans of Tarkir block
Number of Cards 269
Prerelease Events September 20-21, 2014
Release Date September 26, 2014
Launch Weekend September 26-28, 2014
Game Day October 18-19, 2014
Magic Online Prerelease Events October 3-6, 2014
Magic Online Release Date October 6, 2014
Magic Online Release Events October 6-22, 2014
Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir October 10–12, 2014
Pro Tour Khans of TarkirLocation Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Pro Tour Khans of TarkirFormats Swiss:

  • Standard
  • Khans of Tarkir Draft

Top 8:

  • Standard
Official Three-Letter Code KTK
Twitter Hashtag #MTGKTK
Initial Concept and Game Design Mark Rosewater (lead)
Mark L. Gottlieb
Zac Hill
Adam Lee
Shawn Main
Billy Moreno
and Ken Nagle
Final Game Design and Development Erik Lauer (lead)
Doug Beyer
David Humpherys
Tom LaPille
Shawn Main
and Adam Prosak
with contributions from Matt Tabak
Languages English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Available in Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Event Deck*, Fat Pack*

(* – Not available in all languages)

(Magic Online only available in English.)

 

Khans of Tarkir is going to be a large set—small set—large set block structure (like InnistradDark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored, with a special consideration for Limited and “a time travel element” yet to be revealed.

Tarkir itself is a plane of five warring clans, each worships a different aspect of the plane’s (now extinct) dragons.

  •  The five clans are based around a single color in WUBRG order with one ally and one enemy
  •  Each clan has it’s own mechanic plus morph

Abzan Houses – White ManaRed ManaGreen Mana, Aspect: Endurance, Khan: Anafenza, Symbol: Scales, Theme: Control
Jeskai Way – Blue ManaRed ManaWhite Mana, Aspect: Cunning, Khan: Narset, Symbol: Eye, Theme: Tricks
Mardu Horde – Red ManaWhite ManaRed Mana, Aspect: Speed, Khan: Zurgo Helmsmasher, Symbol: Wings, Theme: Aggro
Sultai Brood – Red ManaGreen ManaBlue Mana, Aspect: Ruthlessness, Khan: Sidisi, Symbol: Fang, Theme: Resource manipulation
Temur Frontier – Green ManaBlue ManaRed Mana, Aspect: Savagery, Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw, Symbol: Claws, Theme: Midrange fatties

 

Intro videos to Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

 

Khans of Tarkir Trailer from WotC

 

Khans of Tarkir WPN Retailer Video

 

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

KTK card reviews by authors Daniel Crayton and Bruce Gray

 

 Abomination of Gudulainok trackeralabaster kirinalpine grizzlyAltar of the Broodarc lightningarcher's parapetArmament Corpsarrow stormawaken the bearbarrage of bouldersbecome immensebellowing saddlebruteblinding spraybloodfire expertbloodfire mentorbrave the sandsbring lowburn awaycancelcanyon lurkersCranial archivecrippling chilldazzling rampartsdead dropDeath frenzydebilitating injurydefiant strikedisowned ancestordragon gripdragonscale boondutiful returnerasefeat of resistancefeed the clanFirehoof Cavalryforce awayglacial stalkerHeart-piercer bowhighland gameHighspire Mantisincremental growthjeskai studentkheru bloodsuckerkheru dreadmawkill shotkin-tree wardenKrumar Bond-Kinleaping masterlongshot squadmardu blazebringerMardu Hateblademardu hordechiefMardu RoughriderMaster the waymistfire weavermonastery flockmystic of the hidden waynaturalizePonyback brigaderite of the serpentroar of challengerotting mastodonRush of Battlesage-eye harrierSagu Archersalt road patrolscaldkinscion of glaciersscout the bordersseek the horizonseeker of the wayset adriftshattersiegecraftsinging bell strikesmite the monstroussmoke tellerSnowhorn ridersultai flayersultai scavengerSultai Soothsayersummit prowlerswarm of bloodfliesswift kicktaigam's schemingtake up armsThrottletimely hordemateTomb of the Spirit Dragontormenting voicetrumpet blasttusked colossodonvalley dashervenerable lammasuwar behemothWarden of the Eyewaterwhirlweave fateWetland Sambarwhirlwind adeptwindstormWoolly LoxodonUnyielding KrumarMonastery SwiftspearBloodsoaked ChampionHordeling OutburstDig Through TimeAbzan FalconerBriber's PurseChief of the EdgeChief of the ScaleEmbodiment of springGurmag SwiftwingHigh sentinels of ArashinKin-Tree InvocationMer-Ek NightbladeMolting SnakeskinPine WalkerRakshasa's SecretRetribution of the AncientsRide downTrap essenceTuskguard CaptainDespiseWinterflameAbzan CharmJeskai AscendancyDisdainful StrokeGoblinslideGrim HaruspexHooting MandrillsQuiet ContemplationSavage PunchSecret PlansSidisi 's PetSurrak DragonclawTreasure CruiseVillainous WealthBear's CompanionButcher of the HordeEfreet WeaponmasterKheru Lich LordMaster of PearlsWitness of the AgesAbzan BannerJeskai BannerMardu BannerSultai BannerTemur BannerAbzan Battle PriestHooded HydraJeskai CharmSiege RhinoAdamant NegationAshcloud PhoenixMurderous Cut Deflecting PalmTemur CharmPearl Lake AncientTrail of MysteryBloodfell CavesBlossoming SandsDismal BackwaterJungle HollowRugged HighlandsScoured BarrensSwiftwater CliffsThornwood FallsTranquil CoveWind-Scarred CragMardu CharmMeandering TowershellRakshasa DeathdealerSultai AscendancyEmpty the PitsFrontier BivouacHardened ScalesIcy BlastMantis RiderOpulent PalaceSandsteppe CitadelSavage KnucklebladeSuspension FieldMindswipeWar-Name AspirantClever ImpersonatorCrater's ClawMocking InstigatorSage of the Inward EyeKheru SpellthiefRaider's SpoilsDragon's Eve SavantsFlying Crane TechniqueGhostfire BladeHorde AmbusherRuthless RipperTemur ChargerWatcher of the RoostWingmate Roc Avalanche Tusker - Intro packs alternate artAnkle Shanker - Intro packs alternate artRakshasa VizierAbzan AscendancyAnafenza, the ForemostMardu Ascendancy Sagu MaulerSee the UnrwittenUtter EndSidisi, Brood TyrantEnd HostilitiesHowl of the HordeSorin, Solemn Visitor Ugin's NexusBitter RevelationAbzan Guide Ainok Bond-KinHeir of the WildsIcefeather Aven Jeskai Windscout Lens of ClarityMardu WarshriekerShambling AttendantsBloodstained MireFlooded StrandPolluted DeltaWindswept HeathWooded FoothillsRattleclaw MysticSarkhan the DragonspeakerNarset, Enlightened MasterCrackling DoomTemur Ascendency - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerSultai CharmDragon-Style TwinsDuneblastHerald of AnafenzaMardu SkullhunterNecropolis FiendIvorytusk FortressZurgo Helmsmasher Dragon Throne of Tarkir

Khans of Tarkir Tokens

Goblin Token Bear Token Zombie Token Vampire Token Snake Token Spirit Warrior token Spirit Token Morph token Emblem - Sorin Emblem - Sarkhan Bird token

 

 Each of the Khans of Tarkir Intro Packs will have alternative art

Sage of the Inward Eye

Sage of the Inward Eye – Jeskai Way Intro packs alternate art

Rakshasa Vizier

Rakshasa Vizier – Sultai Brood intro pack (alternate art)

Ankle Shanker - Mardu Horde prerelease promo

Ankle Shanker – Mardu Horde Intro pack (alternate art)

Avalanche Tusker

Avalanche Tusker – Temur Frontier Intro pack (alternate art)

Ivorytusk Fortress - Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Ivorytusk Fortress – Abzhan Houses Intro pack (alternate art)

Promo Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Rattleclaw Mystic - Buy-a-box promo Dragon Throne of Tarkir - Launch Promo Heir of the wilds - Game Day participation promo Utter end - Game Day  top 8 Game Day Khans of Tarkir champion playmat

 

DD: Speed vs. Cunning – Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

 

Jeskai Elder - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerMystic Monastery - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerNomad Outpost - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerMardu Heart-Piercer - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerThousands winds - Khans of Tarkir SpoilerZurgo Helmsmasher

Artwork for KTK

Demon art ktk Jeskai art 1 Jeskai art 2 Jeskai constructs Mardu Horde art 1 Sorin 1 Sultai art 2 Sultai art 3 Sultai art Temur art 1 Temur art 2 Termur art 3 Termur art 4 Ugin's Nexus

Duneblast artwork Herald of Anafenza artwork Khans of Tarkir art 1 - Mardu Skullhunter artwork Rattleclaw Mystic artwork

Fetch Lands artwork for KTK

Bloodstained Mire artwork Flooded Strand artwork Polluted Delta artwork Windswept Heath artwork Wooded Foothills artwork

Sarkhan Vol artwork Sultai brood artwork Temur Frontier artworkKhans of Tarkir Artwork 6

Abzan Houses clan artwork

Abzan Houses banner Abzan Houses clan art 01 Abzan Houses Clan art 02 Abzan Houses clan art 03

 

Jeskai Way clan artwork

Jeskai Way bannerJeskai Way Clan art 01 Jeskai Way Clan art 02

 

Mardu Horde clan artwork

Mardu Horde bannerMardu Horde clan art

 

Sultai Brood clan artwork

Sultai Brood banner Sultai Brood clan art

 

Termur Frontier clan artwork

Temur Frontier Banner Temur Frontier Clan art 01

More Khans of Tarkir spoiler artwork

Khans of Tarkir artwork 01 Khans of Tarkir artwork 02 Khans of Tarkir artwork 03 Khans of Tarkir artwork 04 Khans of Tarkir artwork 05 Khans of Tarkir artwork 06 Khans of Tarkir artwork 07 Khans of Tarkir artwork 08

Clan Symbols for Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Abzan Houses symbol

Abzan Houses symbol

Jeskai Way symbol

Jeskai Way symbol

Mardu Horde symbol

Mardu Horde symbol

Sultai Brood symbol

Sultai Brood symbol

Temur Frontier symbol

Khans of Tarkir Spoiler

Clan Champions Artwork

Abzan Champion

Abzan Houses

Jeskai Champion

Jeskai

Mardu Champion

Mardu

Sultai champion

Sultai

Temur Champion

Temur

Intro Pack Rares of Khans of Tarkir Spoiler (Alternate art)

JESKAI - Sage of the Inward Eye

JESKAI – Sage of the Inward Eye Illustrated by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

SULTAI - Rakshasa Vizier

SULTAI – Rakshasa Vizier Illustrated by Peter Rohrabacher

ABZAN - Ivorytusk Fortress

ABZAN – Ivorytusk Fortress, Illustrated by Matt Stewart

TEMUR - Avalanche Tusker

TEMUR – Avalanche Tusker illustrated by Eric Deschamps

MARDU - Ankle Shankler

MARDU – Ankle Shankler illustrated by Steven Belledin

 

Tarkir Clans

Abzan Houses

Abzan Houses

Mardu Horde

Mardu Horde

Sultai Brood

Sultai Brood

Temur Frontier

Temur Frontier

Jeskai way

Jeskai Way

Khans of Tarkir Artwork 1

Anafenza

Anafenza

Narset

Narset

Sidisi

Sidisi

Surrak Dragonclaw

Surrak Dragonclaw

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Zurgo Helmsmasher

Sarkhan Vol

Sarkhan Vol

Khans of Tarkir Artwork 3 Khans of Tarkir  Artwork 4Khans of Tarkir Artwork 5

 

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