by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
Well, things are starting to pick up with Khans limited and we’re starting to get a feel for what things look. Many of the podcasts and experts in these regards are raving about the format and the variety that it offers. So, I thought this week we’d dive back into the realm of Khans limited and Draft and bust open a pack and have a look. Let’s see what we’ve got this week!
Well, this week this is pretty much a slam dunk. The moment a fetch land shows in your draft pack you’re pretty well going to grab it based on value alone. However, in this pack there are still some interesting cards…but they will all be pick 2 or worse through out the pack.
So, there are a number of interesting cards, but Mardu Warshrieker is quite possibly the most attractive card in this pack. A 4 mana 3/3 is nice, but it is the Raid triggered “ritual” effect of ramping out a dump load of mana that is ridiculous. You don’t really have a 4 mana turn…you’re basically looking at a 7 mana turn…and the options get wild. Aggro decks just love this guy.
Burn Away is pretty terrific as far as removal goes because it is a sure way to deal with Blood Soaked Champion, exile the yard, and then reap the benefits. Yes, it is a steep spell to cast, but pricey removal is the flavour du jour and in the much slower Khans limited format is totally manageable. Everyone fights removal in Draft and this is pretty much premium removal.
Savage Punch is yet more removal and is inexpensive to boot. The Ferocious trigger makes this awesome because your stupid Alpine Grizzly (A vanilla 4/2) totally drops just about everything when it gets +2/+2. Really…what survives getting punched for 6? Not much in this format. This is yet more premium removal and is highly sought after.
Mer-ek Nightblade seems like it could get pretty crazy in the Abzan style builds to enable a ridiculous amount of deathtouchers. It is a solid card, but the Outlast mechanic is a little slow, but at least this one is relatively efficient to Outlast. I like it, but I’m not crazy for it.
Rotting Mastodon is a HUGE blocker that can really help a deck get its shields up and get prepared for the long game because there aren’t many spells that can take this one out and most creatures can’t attack profitably though it. I’m not thrilled that it is a 5 mana spell when I want a little more mustard behind a 5 drop, but if I need a big body to give me a little breathing room, this may be a good choice.
Erase and Naturalize are perfectly decent sideboard options, but they aren’t early picks and won’t be main decked. If I find one much later in the draft I’ll be happy because I’m unlikely to use an early pick on these cards.
Taigam’s Scheming could be a useful Delve enabler, but it mostly does nothing. It doesn’t put a card in your hand, it doesn’t impact the board, and it just filters your deck a little. I’m not really keen on it and would rather select a number of other cards before I get to this. If this were an instant I would be more inclined to run it so I can fix my card draw on my next draw step…but sadly this is a sorcery and is likely a bust.
The Banner and the Tranquil Cove are fixing. These are nice cards, but are more or less mid-round picks to enable splashing and ease the mana strains. The land would be my preferred option in most instances, but the banner could be relevant to help you draw a card in the late game and dig a little deeper into your deck.
Shambling Attendants is once again a pretty reasonable card, but like last week it’s pricey even with the Delve. Deathtouch helps to redeem this a touch, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. Sure, it shuts a lot of attacks, but it just feels slow, ponderous, and not overly useful at some huge fat mana cost.
Oh…and Barrage of Boulders. I’m not a fan, but if you can trigger the ferocious on it, it could be a good way to force through some damage. I’m not sure it is really worth a card slot because at sorcery speed it really isn’t that flexible or impactful but I guess if you need it for Prowess or something I guess it’s an option…but I’m leaving this until late.
Secret plans…I’m not sold on this because a 2/3 morph is…ok? Sort of? Sometimes? The card to be drawn off the triggered ability is more useful, but it feels hard to trigger and not overly relevant unless I have a bunch of Morphs. You COULD be running a bunch and that card draw could really help fuel you through your deck. If you don’t…well…it’s a dead card. That’s a lot of uncertainty for a card that you want to use to abuse the Morph mechanic. I might take a chance on this once I’ve established that I’ve got some Morph creatures, otherwise I might just let this one slide.
The first pick is easy. Flooded Strand is very good value and allows you to pay for draft all by itself. It’s freaking Modern playable, will be run in Standard for the time being too, and is generally just a star. If you are drafting and you open one of these, grab it, and don’t worry about it because you have the rest of your picks to help you set the rest of your deck.
With Flooded Strand aside, I would quite seriously be looking at the Burn Away as the next best card in this pack. It is instant speed creature removal and can kill just about anything with the 6 damage. It is also serves as some serious graveyard hate to hamstring any Delve strategy meaning that it can play a secondary role to disrupt an opponent. What isn’t to like about this card (except the 5 mana to cast it).
Well, that pack seemed anti-climatic. Sure, I’m glad I pulled a Fetch land, but it sort of makes the whole exercise rather academic and not overly relevant. I still enjoy the chance to go through the cards and perform my Limited format assessment, but it just feels a little “bad” because none of it really matters thanks to the Fetch. Oh well…maybe next week’s Crack a pack MTG will be different.
Until next time may you open nothing but mythic bomb rares!
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
|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:
|Official Three-Letter Code||KTK|
|Initial Concept and Game Design||Mark Rosewater (lead)
Mark L. Gottlieb
and Ken Nagle
|Final Game Design and Development||Erik Lauer (lead)
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 Innistrad, Dark 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.
Abzan Houses – , Aspect: Endurance, Khan: Anafenza, Symbol: Scales, Theme: Control
Jeskai Way – , Aspect: Cunning, Khan: Narset, Symbol: Eye, Theme: Tricks
Mardu Horde – , Aspect: Speed, Khan: Zurgo Helmsmasher, Symbol: Wings, Theme: Aggro
Sultai Brood – , Aspect: Ruthlessness, Khan: Sidisi, Symbol: Fang, Theme: Resource manipulation
Temur Frontier – , Aspect: Savagery, Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw, Symbol: Claws, Theme: Midrange fatties