By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
Well, the whole spoiler went up the other day and so now is the perfect time to make some predictions about what some of the top cards from Magic Origins will be. Today I will be looking at Casual Cards that will likely make an impact in Casual formats. Some of these cards might overlap with cards for Constructed formats, and that is ok. Just because a card is good doesn’t mean that Casual players won’t be excited to play with it too. Many of my selections will be cards that will be often overlooked or just not make a ton of waves but pack a potent ability or offer something kind of unique to help keep your Casual game night kind of fun and fresh. Let’s take a look at what I’ve found.
I’m picking two for this selection. Alhammarrett, High Arbiter and Hixus, Prison Warden are both super flavorful and really capture the story that is being told in the orgins of our planeswalkers. However, I can’t say that they are super good.
Alhammarrett, High Arbiter is too expensive for Tiny Leaders. His ability is rather muted in Singleton formats in general where you can’t prevent multiples of a key spell from being cast just due to the nature of the format. 5/5 for 7 mana is expensive and he gets outclassed by a number of other things floating around kitchen tables like any of the Titans, Sphinx of Uthuun and things of that nature. Sure, from a flavor perspective he’s super cool, but not the easiest card to play with and might find himself relegated to the Bulk pile.
Hixus, Prison Warden is slightly different. He is still too expensive for Tiny Leaders, but in other formats he could be very useful. His Flash ability can mean he can ambush attackers and kill one, and then exile another. That is a very real scenario and can’t be ignored because it is a very powerful 2 for 1 and a big tempo change. I don’t think he’s good enough to see Constructed play, but I really like how flavourful he is and I find this is a neat space to use that is similar, but not the same, as Banisher Priest.
This looks and feels a lot like a watered down Spellskite. When it enters the battlefield you can change the target of a spell to Mizzium Meddler which is very similar to Spellskite but the ability can’t be repeated as easily. As a 1/4 creature it can absorb a pretty healthy amount of Burn and live through it or just cause your opponent to totally miss with their combat spell or other targeted ability. The antics you can get up to with this guy are pretty amazing. You might see people try and brew all sorts of nonsense using cards that can blink this guy or return him to their hand and make for a very fun addition to all sorts of decks. Don’t overlook this guy, he might be a little clunky, but a fun addition to the repertoire for sure.
Well, hello my old friend Mist Raven/Man-o-War! Long time no see. It seems like they are always trying to find a way to reprint this sort of card and make it less broken than they did with Man-O’-War. So, here we have 2/2 for 4 mana and a bounce effect. The antics this guy will produce will be legendary. No doubt he is already one of my favorite Limited Cards, but will do pretty awesome work Casually as well. A very useful common and will see lots of play in all sorts of decks where he will be abused by blinking him in and out of play and bounce a whole pile of creatures and set your opponent back quite a bit. Too bad he doesn’t cost 3 to fit in a Tiny Leaders deck, but you can’t have everything.
This is a very playable 2/2 flier for 4 mana that allows you to filter your cards by letting you look at the top 2 cards. You then put one card in your hand and the other in your graveyard. While the body is a little unexciting, this card replaces itself and does even better because it gives you a measure of selection as to which card you get to draw. Who doesn’t like drawing more cards? Tower Geist is going to be a quiet hit and often overlooked but should not be dismissed.
This card is hilarious and people are going to brew up all sorts of enchantment decks featuring this and Eidolon of Blossoms. There might be some people who will take a stab at a Constructed deck featuring this for a while until Theros block rotates out, but Casual players are going to jam this and run it all day in those janky enchantment decks they’ve got hidden down in their box of cards. Who doesn’t like making endless 4/4 Angels by playing enchantments? I’m a big fan already.
This is going to be a hit with Red Mage’s in every shade and tint. This is a sweet way to allow red some extra card draw in a vein similar to Chandra Pyromaster and Act on Impulse. This a pretty exciting little card not because it is going to generate a pile of damage through combat, but any time a Red player can have an extra chance to jam you with a Burn spell they’ll take it! It’s a cheap 2 mana for 2/1 body with a super relevant ability so I can see this one being a bit of a hot ticket.
There’s nothing sneaky or goofy with this. This is for those players who love to play big green critters and smash stuff. 8/5 with Haste and can’t be countered AND a near complete form of Hexproof is music to the ears of most Green mages and this guy is awesome. Also, if you are packing some sort of Devotion strategy or some ramp then 7 mana really isn’t out of the question. Look for this guy to appear in Green decks everywhere.
This just feels like an awesome way to generate a pile of dudes for relatively cheap. In any sort of Multi-player game producing 2/2 creatures for free is a big advantage. If you can enable a few extra land drops with some spells like Farseek or Map the Wastes then you will not only be ramping out your mana into a big old Gaea’s Revenge, but producing lots of attackers to then Alpha strike for the win with an over run type effect. This can be readily abused and will be ignored by many players…until then get beat by it.
The ability on this is super hilarious. It feels super conditional, but then when I take a minute to think about the number of creatures in Magic that don’t have equal Power and Toughness and suddenly this could be very interesting. For one more mana than a Nekrataal you get a 4/3 and a very relevant kill spell. Also, the sub-type could see it fit in a tribal Elf deck or a tribal Warriors deck…which are both very prevalent tribes in Casual magic games.
Our runner up is a very interesting card because it does EXACTLY what I want to do…rip my opponent’s deck apart and cast their stuff against them. There are very few decks that will ONLY run creatures and so you’re hoping you can find some pretty good Instants and Sorceries. I’m thinking things like Treasure Cruise of Dig Through Time, or maybe an Ultimate Price. And that’s only in among cards that are Standard legal because once you start to expand the card pool things get a little crazy. Looking at the top 7 cards is a long way to look so presumably you’ll find something. The Spell mastery is just extra gravy on top because 2 is always better than 1. I can imagine lots of people are going to try and make this a back breaking spell to shut down their opponent and do some very funny things and so I can see it getting played at a kitchen table pretty extensively.
This just feels super broken. Yes, it’s a 5 mana ramping mana rock. But the thought of copying ANY Red instant or sorcery is too good to turn up. I bet some competitive players are going to try and break this. They might even succeed. But before that happens I can fully bet some kitchen table player is going to have a spot for it in their Casual Red deck and try to burn out all his friends in record order while sitting around the kitchen table. I can already imagine two guys in my play group that are going to do exactly that…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg I’m sure.
Well, there’s my top 10 picks. Some of them may not be exciting for some of you, but that’s the beauty about Magic. We all have our own preferences and opinions about what we like to play and use in our decks. However, on the whole Magic Origins has given us a pretty interesting set with lots of neat cards. It doesn’t feel like a Core Set. My experience is that the Core Sets are usually watered down, but this feels more like they opened up the card vault and found a bunch of cards that were intended for their original sets and shifted them around to fit together. I rather like this and it feels like this could be a very fun set and a nice way to bid farewell to the Core Set.
Thanks for stopping by and until next time have yourself a great MTG day.
By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter