Hello and welcome back to another edition of A Seat at the Table. With Double Masters 2022 having such a huge gap of value in the rare slot ranging from hundreds of dollars to 25 cents, I thought why not find some silver linings and build around some of the less expensive legendary creatures that saw a reprint in 2X2.
This time, Kaervek the Merciless gets the build-a-beast treatment while a copy from this set will run you just under a buck.
So what does he do?
For a whole seven mana (5BR), Kaervek the Merciless is a 5/4 Legendary Human Shaman whose powerful ability can take over a table:
“Whenever an opponent casts a spell, Kaervek the Merciless deals damage equal to that spell’s mana value to any target.”
Of course, this only does stuff as long as your opponents cast spells, but as a Kaervek player, you learn quickly that players need to cast spells. It’s your job to nudge or force them to. By this I mean you can go group hug or you can go hard in the paint as a punisher deck. Do you want to offer favours to your opponents like “if you cast a spell, I’ll snipe their Commander” or do you want to pressure pressure pressure?
Let’s take a look at some of the tech I’ve chosen for this edition of A Seat at the Table.
Allow me to toot my own horn about one of my favourite cards. It was shortly after Prosper, Tome-Bound released and artist/content creator Sheepwave and I were in a Spelltable pod on Twitch when I slapped this bad boy on the field and everybody had a reaction. Sheepwave took to Twitter and posted a pic of the card saying something to the effect of THIS CARD IS NOT OKAY! Then in the coming weeks, Uba Mask saw a bit of a spike.
That said, I think it’s an excellent card to smack onto the table. With the possibility of losing their card to exile, it will force them to play their spells. Of course, this means the Mask and Kaervek will be targeted, but that’s where you want to play…
Your opponents won’t be too happy to feel like each of their spells costs them life, creatures, or planeswalkers with Kaervek. When they swing at Kaervek, it’s time for a little judo so you can flip that momentum onto them instead. My favourites of this bunch are Deflecting Swat because it’s free, Wild Ricochet because now you flip the script double, Wyll’s Reversal because possibly the same for one less, and Bolt Bend because Kaervek is a 5 power creature meaning it’ll cost you R most of the time.
Don’t like choosing between a creature or a player? Why not both!
With Toralf, God of Fury, give excess damage to any other target. That means if an opponent plays a Solemn Simulacrum, you can ping their Tymna and then their Oracle of Mul Daya. Screw that Abzan player!
(Note: the Abzan player is a fake player in this case, it’s just hype – look at how much damage is getting slung around!)
This reminds me of one of my favourite tribal decks, helmed by Sevinne, the Chronoclasm.
You really want to put the hurtin’ on somebody? Threaten the table with a Brash Taunter while Fiery Emancipation is out. Keep Kaervek safe with Lightning Greaves and Darksteel Plate (Look! Bonus picks!) and wait for somebody to cast even a one mana spell. Here’s how it works.
Your opponent casts a one mana spell, Kaervek triggers targeting Brash Taunter. Since it’s a source you control (Kaervek), that damage is tripled to three. Then Brash Taunter, taking three damage, gets to deal three damage, but because it’s ALSO a source you control, Fiery Emancipation triples that again, meaning a single one mana spell cast by your opponent can be mirrored out to make nine damage.
1 becomes 9, 2 becomes 18, 3 becomes 27, 4 becomes 36, and 5 becomes 45, aka game over even if they’ve managed to stay above starting life total.
Remove the ability to gain life and pressure your opponents’ life totals so they’re less likely to cast things, or if they do, your Kaervek triggers can take them out on the stack before their spell even resolves. Pretty simple and self-explanatory.
These work in this deck from what I understand. I have chatted with pals who are judges and they agree. If we’re wrong, please let me know, but I’ve done the requisite research and it looks right.
Here’s rules text from Gatherer regarding Mindslaver:
You choose which spells the other player casts, and make all decisions as those spells are cast and when they resolve. For example, you choose the target for that player’s Shock, and what card that player gets with Diabolic Tutor.
The wording here says that the other player casts the spells in the end. So if you control your opponent and they’ve got some sort of way to generate a ton of mana and you’ve still got Kaervek out, have fun! Every spell you make that player cast nets you a trigger that can be slung anywhere you want.
That does it for another edition of A Seat at the Table. Thanks for stopping by and see you at Commandfest Montreal!
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Hello and happy Double Masters 2022 era! I hope you all opened good stuff whether cracking packs or drafting.
It isn’t lost on me that there a massive gap between money spent and the cards in the rare slots. We can’t all open Dockside Extortionist!
That said, you can make the best out of your Double Masters bulk by taking an inexpensive legend and turning it into a new deck.
Let’s talk about a legendary Vampire who was overshadowed by its original face Commander. That’s right: Edgar Markov’s precon came with two other new legends and one of them was reprinted for the first time in Double Masters 2022.
Mathas, Fiend Seeker is a very fun Commander. I have a Mathas deck myself that I affectionately have dubbed Mathas “Everything Feels Like a Curse but Isn’t One” where I play stuff like Polluted Bonds and Vicious Shadows.
Before we move forward, let’s take a look at what Mathas, Fiend Seeker does.
At the beginning of your end step, put a bounty counter on target creature an opponent controls. For as long as that creature has a bounty counter on it, it has “When this creature dies, each opponent draws a card and gains 2 life.””
With one look at Mathas’ text box, it becomes pretty clear that he needs your opponents to have some creatures and for your opponents’ creatures to die to really benefit from that second ability. The more your opponents’ creatures die, the more that Menace becomes relevant.
Because you have to choose a creature an opponent controls to gain the ability to give its controller’s opponents to gain advantage, Mathas, Fiend Seeker is a political Commander. You’ll have people pointing fingers at each other and suggesting creatures they think are going to die next or promising to use their Generous Gift on a problem creature if you put a bounty counter on it. This is flavourful as hell and brings a fun dynamic to the table.
Here are a handful of cards I think will really shine in a Mathas, Fiend Seeker deck.
Starting with a card that you can get for cheap soon thanks to Double Masters 2022, Forbidden Orchard is a card I’d assume would be a staple of any Mathas deck regardless of theme. Not only does it fix your colours in a colour combination not known for its mana, it also provides your opponents with creatures and remember saying something about opponents having creatures die being a pretty important part of gaining anything from Mathas’ ability. Pick this up now, though. I cannot recommend this card enough in 3+ colour decks regardless of theme. There’s always someone who will offer a favour. In my experience, there’s a lot of fun to be had by partnering with the opponent with a sacrifice outlet by giving them a Spirit token for them to sacrifice after you put a bounty counter on it. Just make sure you’ve got Vicious Shadows on the board and then you can target the player with the Reliquary Tower and Consecrated Sphinx.
Are you really looking to make a friend? Why don’tcha marry ‘em!
Wedding Ring is a card I’m embarrassed to say I paid way too much for when it came out considering it hasn’t gone into all the decks I thought it would. But the one deck it did make the cut in was Mathas, Fiend Seeker’s Everything Feels Like a Curse but Isn’t One. If your partner decides to pop one of the creatures you’ve marked with a bounty counter on their turn, as long as it wasn’t theirs, you’ll draw two cards and gain four life. But if your partner becomes wise to this and decides to save their removal for your turn so they can benefit from it, not only are you getting them to use their instant-speed removal, but you can probably convince them to do it while you’ve still got a main phase to play with and they’ve just given you a card. You’ll either get somebody generating you a ton of value or basically a minion with a cannon pointed at the creatures you target on the board.
Most of the time, the other opponents get jealous, but who will they come for first? Probably the one putting in the work to destroy. It’s classic Jerry Springer where the guy cheats on his girlfriend but when she comes out she attacks the other woman when she should be coming at the guy. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
Sometimes, you need your counters to serve multiple purposes. With Nils, you turn your bounty counters into taxes should their controllers wish to send some hurting your way. Each end step, you can even make them bigger, but I don’t think that’s the best thing to do. Stack those bounty counters instead, because when Nils is gone and they swing at you, a well placed Terminate means you’ll get to draw three cards and gain six life if you piled on the bounty counters this way.
I didn’t want to give too much away earlier, but Mathas having Menace is a bigger deal with you’ve got this Background on the battlefield. What better way is there to have a creature with a bounty counter die than to have it attack into someone’s deathtoucher or bigger creature? With a bounty counter on it, the likelihood of the attacked player not blocking and killing the bounty hunted creature drops significantly because no one can resist the siren’s song that is drawing cards and getting rid of something an opponent controls. If you can force a situation where you can get two bounty counter having creatures to smash into each other to send them to their graveyards, that’s just chef’s kiss, baby. Well done.
Finally, I’m ending with a card that I have a really soft spot for. Combat Calligrapher was in the Silverquill Statement precon with Breena, the Demagogue and it creates flying Inkling attackers that can negate your opponents life gain from the bounty counters going off. But it also creates Inkling creatures for your opponents if they attack someone other than you. This means that every time there is a combat scenario, your opponents will likely take two extra damage per Inkling created.
What’s more is as long as the Calligrapher sticks around, those tokens your opponents create can’t attack you or planeswalkers you control. But that doesn’t matter since you’ll be putting bounty counters on them and your opponents will be very tempted to smash into each other for that sweet, sweet card draw.
Yeah, yeah. Thematically, it fits and mechanically, it destroys any creature with a bounty counter on it. However, the bounty counters it puts on other creatures do not carry the rest of the ability granted by Mathas at end steps. Just a heads up. This wasn’t originally on my list, but I figured I’d cover it since it’s a rare from Tempest that hasn’t had a reprint and sits at $5. I think it might see a reprint on The List as a nod to Mathas being in Double Masters, but that’s a bet that I won’t put much on. I also didn’t want to include it primarily because it’s like the first card people find when building Mathas while searching bounty counters on scryfall.com and I wanted to provide you with some cool stuff.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next time with some more to claim that seat at the table.
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Hey gang, welcome back to A Seat at the Table.
This week, I’m doing something a little different. With the release of an all reprint set like Double Masters, I thought it would be a great idea to let you know what cards I think you should buy when they hit their bottom.
This article is the follow up to Part One that was posted yesterday, so make sure to check that one out for all your colour card needs!
Without further ado, here is my list of artifacts, lands, and just pure Magic gold!
One of the best removal spells in Orzhov, Anguished Unmaking is a solid reprint given it’s been $8 for a little while. Pick up a foil while they’re low, I bet you’ll feel good not just drawing a pretty and flashy version of the card, but also when you snap it to removal something awful from the table, you’ll catch a glint in your opponent’s eye off of the shine.
What I said about Anguished Unmaking but for Golgari except more expensive and it destroys rather than exiles.
Aurelia’s been 20-ish bucks for a while and she’s a damn fine Boros legend to lead a deck or assist in an aggro beatdown.
What I said about Aurelia, the Warleader, but about Elenda and instead of Boros, it’s Orzhov. And instead of aggro, it’s tokens and aristocrats. It’s also the first time we get the legendary border on Elenda with the split colours down the middle. Not to mention the absolutely gorgeous Richard Kane Ferguson alt art.
Everybody builds a spellslinger deck at some point in their EDH lifetime, so why not get ahead of the curve (or add a little fun to your current deck) and pick up a Thousand-Year Storm for $5 instead of the $13 it currently costs? This being downshifted to rare means that the supply will be better than when it was mythic in Guilds of Ravnica, so treat yourself to something spicy for cheap.
Phyrexian Altar is what prompted this entire article. Altar is one of my all-time favourite Magic cards, full stop. End of sentence. The original Ron Spears art featuring Tsabo Tavoc was burned into my brain as a young boy when I started paying more attention to the game. I absolutely love this card.
The original printing one is $130 and won’t be coming down. The Ultimate Masters edition was at one point $20 and if the Double Masters 2022 version ever reaches that low, I will be purchasing 10. This card is one I put in nearly all my decks. For the copies I don’t use, I’ll smile at in my binder or sell eventually when they inevitably spike again down the line.
I remember buying Crucible for $50 before it got reprinted in M19 and then I bought another for $15. Now both are $40 and $30 respectively and have home in two decks, with a vacation home of a third deck waiting for one of them. At mythic rare, it’s hard to say how many of these will be opened and put into the singles market, once again, because Landfall and land decks have returned as leading strategies. If you’ve been looking at this or Ramunap Excavator, be sure to keep your eyes open for when this hits its bottom.
Panharmonicon is a Timmy card and a Johnny card in one. It hasn’t been meaningfully printed beyond Kaladesh, so I expect this to drop the price down from $13 to potentially less than $5. With ETB abilities getting stronger and stronger, come on, live a little. Get a copy.
Taking your turns during your opponents’ turns is very powerful. You get all the information at the best time and get to react accordingly. At $40, this was due for a reprint. It’s Josh Lee Kwai’s favourite card and he talks about it a lot. This will dip, but not significantly. Leyline of Anticipation is better, but locks you into Blue. This is more open ended and can be useful in a number of strategies, it’s just so generically great.
Did you know this piece of equipment is $20? This finds its place in equipment decks and Voltron strategies. I run it in my Brash Taunters tribal list. It doesn’t have the most applications, but what a role player when it fits!
Make some friends at the table or use the lil guys to your advantage like in a Grismold, the Dreadsower deck. It’s a land that taps for any colour that was last printed in C16 and is $30 right now. It fits everywhere and adds a fun dynamic!
One of the original rainbow lands gets its first reprint since Modern Masters. It’s a classic and fits in all your multicoloured decks. Colour hungry decks have better options, sure, but this is still a great one. It’s the OG!
I don’t think I’ve seen this card hit under $40 in all the time I’ve known of it. At the very least, name your commander’s creature type and make sure that it won’t be countered. At the very best, slap this absolute tank of a land in your tribal decks and protect your most valuable of creatures.
The Ravnica karoo lands are no doubt just fine. They’re okay. They should only be included when strapped for colours or when you’ve got uncap shenanigans like with Estrid, the Masked. That said, the full art cards look absolutely GORGEOUS in foil. If you’ve got a cube, make it look great with these amazing new treatments. They won’t be less expensive than the regular ones, but they will only be printed in this set. Once this supply runs out, that’s it and these can be like $5 for a land that’s had many, many printings.
That does it! I hope you found my picks helpful and that you keep a watchful eye on this set. Hit it at its lows and enjoy the cards in your decks. I’ll see you at Three Kings Loot for some games and we’ll all get to brag about our beautiful treatments of absurd Double Masters 2022 pulls.
Hey gang, welcome back to A Seat at the Table.
This week, I’m doing something a little different. With the release of an all reprint set like Double Masters, I thought it would be a great idea to let you know what cards I think you should buy when they hit their bottom.
Keep an eye on the set at mtgstocks.com and as the cards trend down due to supply, you’ll be able to see the right time to snag copies of these cards. Head to scryfall.com and take a look for yourself. I don’t want to cover super niche cards, but I also think that Mana Vault and Sensei’s Divining Top are both very obviously powerful and popular cards that folks who play at a high skill level should favour.
Not that you shouldn’t get them if you’re not ready. Better to pick them up when they’re cheap, but I realized that unless it’s the perfect deck for it (like Top in Prosper, Tome-Bound), I’m less likely to include it myself unlike a friend of mine who has a top in every deck regardless of strategy. That said, these are my picks for the set.
Without further ado, here is my list by colour with a brief explanation if needed…
While some might argue that it’s near ubiquity in the format is hurting it, it’s hard to compete with the claim that this is White’s best card for Commander. It absolutely is busted and while I have begun to cut it from some decks, I have a few proxies that need replacing so I’m happy for this one .
White’s second best card is back. I remember when this hit $90 and I thought it was a mistake. Now it’s hovering at $30-40 and bound to come down to $20, maybe even lower. With a Mystical Archive printing and an extended full art card this set, the regular old version is bound to be lower, and hopefully people who’d been priced out can grab a couple of copies.
Monastery Mentor is an amazing card that most likely sees most play in Jeskai decks in Commander, but any deck with a high instant or sorcery density or ways to buy them back will be glad to have this. Every time I’ve seen it, the Mentor has performed!
These are being reprinted into the ground just like Swords to Plowshares was. Good! I remember a time where these costed $9. This is premium removal folks!
ConSphinx is one of Blues all-time great creatures. A beefy blocker that fills your hand. A control player’s dream and just a solid include if you’ve got the slot.
I hate Counterspells but they serve a purpose. They’re not for me but there are people who love this play-style. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV is in the set too, for what it’s worth.
Get your copies for your cEDH decks folks. Fierce Guardianship is a bonkers card, and while this isn’t as good, it’s a solid second and it exiles the card. It’s a staple to some and a multi-format all-star. They’ll be less expensive for the tiniest window, so get on them fast.
I love this card and it’s been downshifted! I don’t know what that means for non-rare formats, but with all the graveyard strategies out there, this is way better than it has any right to be. I play this in my clone deck, my Brash Taunter tribal list, and my mill deck. I love the art, it’ll be a cheap foil pick up. Try it out, I believe it can surprise you.
I love this card in mono or two colour decks and think more people should play it. It’s a board wipe that can keep your stuff around, it bounces even if you do hit yourself so you can plan around redeploying, it can make an ally of someone else at the table. Don’t sleep on Wash Out.
Bitterblossom is a beast of a card for aristocrats and token strategies. It’s excellent in the early game and enables some strategies, but by modern Commander standards is a little slow. It’s not the OP card it is elsewhere, but it’s a Tribal Enchantment which means Baba Lysaga has heart eyes for it.
Black’s Wrath of God is back and it’s just a good, clean, solid include in any Black deck. If the deck has White and Black, Damn is more favourable, but Damnation is still a house that deserves a home in your decks. It’s going to definitely go down in price for a while.
Grabbing a foil Gravecrawler is something I want so much from this set. I love Gravecrawler and it’s always hovering around $10 more or less. Gravecrawler is a combo piece that Zombie tribal lists like Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver or Aristocrats lists like my Lyzolda, the Blood Witch list. It’s a card that always gets included and will drop for a short time, but don’t be surprised to see it cost you a tenner down the line.
Speaking of combo potential, Necrotic Ooze is always begging to be broken. A $4 card isn’t the flashiest, but it’s only a matter of time before this becomes an all-star in combo lists. There are so many activated abilities on creatures and this guys gets all of them from creatures in the graveyard.
A $4 common? Bring that price down baby. It’s one of those “you can have any number of these in your deck” cards and Athreos, God of Passage was heralded as the de facto Shadowborn Apostle leader when JLK played them on Game Knights years ago. Get these while they’re cheap!
A card that is a staple of some archetypes should be about $4 when it hasn’t been reprinted often… but it’s been reprinted and it’s an uncommon? Plus, give me that beautiful new art! I’m looking forward to not spending $25 on a foil copy of Blood Artist!
Let’s be honest, Dockside Extortionist should have been printed in Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. Dockside is absolutely everywhere, but the price tag it commands is because it was only in a Commander deck precon. Now that boosters will have this little pirate in them, we’ll see a steep drop before it goes way up again. But… I don’t think I’d be surprised to see Dockside get banned someday.
Did you know Twinflame was about $6? I didn’t. I was happy to see it because creating token copies of creatures you control is a fun thing to do, but when you’ve got stuff like Dockside Extortionist, you can really go off. When you can use a little extra mana to double up a few creatures on your board? That’s dope. I really like it.
One of the format’s staple removal cards for Red can target any permanent and adds a fun tension to the table. Will they flip something better? Will they flip something worse? What if someone tries to exile one of your creatures and you target it with Chaos Warp? Spin that slot machine, baby! Let’s get something new! I love hitting a Treasure token with Chaos Warp in my Prosper, Tome-Bound deck when I’m ahead because it’s mostly permanents and I’m bound to hit something better than a token Lotus Petal!
Bloom Tender is one of my all-time favourite mana dorks. I’m not much of a Green player, but whenever I have a three or more colour deck and Green is involved, I reach for Bloom Tender right after I grab my Sol Ring. I’ve got a Mike, The Dungeon Master and Will the Wise deck brewing, and when I playtest it, Bloom Tender and Faeburrow Elder are huge boons.
Landfall decks were in vogue again around Zendikar Rising, and everybody and their mothers had their fingers crossed for an Oracle of Mul Daya reprint. Finally seeing one (Jumpstart doesn’t count – it barely got into players’ hands) in Double Masters means that this Land deck staple will make its way into maybe more strategies like top of library matters decks! If this is more affordable, it’s only a good thing.
Combo machine that has only seen a meaningful reprint on The List which again I think doesn’t really count. I have a lot of thoughts on The List, mainly that it’s poorly executed, so I will not consider that printing as a meaningful reprint of Food Chain.
Got a stack of tokens? Wrong: you have lots of mana to power out your creatures. Got a Dargo, the Shipwrecker in the command zone after sacrificing a ton of stuff? Wrong: you’ve got infinite mana for creatures. It’s not going to drop in price a ton because for a lot of people this is a holy grail type of card that was out of reach for their wallets especially when it hit just over $80 in Canada last year.
Jumpstart exclusive card and jaw dropper one drop Allosaurus Shepherd gets its first meaningful reprint since the underprinted Jumpstart product. Making sure your Green spells can’t be messed with until they’re on the field is great. It’s an Elf and an Elf finisher for tribal decks, so pick one up if you’re into decks filled with Elves. Otherwise, I’d say, you don’t really need this one.
Despite having three printings in a year, Devoted Druid is still a busted card. Especially with Myrkul, Lord of Bones and Swift Reconfiguration. Before the reveal that it was in a precon for New Capenna, Devoted Druid shot up to $10 and will likely not hit that number in a while, but I can see this commanding a $5 or $6 tag. A lot like…
Format staple of yore Eternal Witness, aka EWit, is back in the (in my opinion superior) Chris Rahn art. Eternal Witness is a beautiful card with a ton of printings, and yet it always sits at $5 after a little while. They’ll be low for a bit, but with Timeless Witness out, it’s got to get used to sharing the spotlight.
Thanks for checking in, everybody. Come on by next time for part two to dive into some of the best options for your next deck, including artifacts and lands!
It’s time to get a blast from the past! Double Masters is back in 2022 with all the most powerful cards Magic: The Gathering has ever seen. While there won’t be any new cards introduced in this set, there will be plenty of special reprints you will want to get your hands on.
With the success of Double Masters in 2020, we see the spectacular return of this booster box set. Each pack will include 16 cards, 2 of which will either be Rares or Mythics of powerful reprints. Some of these reprints will have brand new artwork to impress both collectors and players alike. Some early card reveals show the return of Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Liliana, The Last Hope, and Wrenn and Six!
While these reprints will be handy for any collectors or Modern players, this set release is especially important for Commander players. Commander players will find some powerful cards to add to their next deck, or Commanders to build a new deck around. Based on the cover art alone, Aminatou, the Fateshifter may even make an appearance…
Double Masters 2022 comes out on July 8th, 2022!