Welcome back to another Crack a Pack MTG with Bruce. With M15 being fresh and all the buzz these days I have decided this week I’ll crack a pack of M15 and see what we find. I promise that next week I’ll bust open something else, but for this week we’ll go with another pack of M15. I’ve had a chance to test the set out, see the limited environment first hand and feel like I’m starting to get a pretty feel for the set. That said, there are lots of options available in M15 so I feel by no means am I an expert, but I feel like I do have a solid grounding to base my selections in a pack. Let’s open up the pack and see what we’ve got!
So, this is the first week in which we’ve had a snap first pick. Liliana Vess is very clearly the best card in this pack. The ability of Planeswalkers to warp the board state is reason enough to grab one if you see it in a pack, but Liliana Vess can be extremely nasty to cope with in a Limited game. Her +1 forces your opponent to discard, ensuring that you gain a significant card advantage. If she doesn’t get answered Liliana will eat away at their hand to eventually put them in Top Deck mode. That puts you CLEARLY in the drivers seat and reason #1 to grab her. Her second ability is essentially a tutor effect. Wonder where that great BOMB is in your deck? Oh never mind…Lili just found it for me! Reason number 3…is that everything that is dead is now back…and it’s mine! Yup…sounds pretty bananas to me. There really is no doubt, Liliana Vess is the best card in the pack and a darn good reason to grab her and go Black. But, what about the other cards in this pack? You still need to consider what might come back your way when the pack wheels, so let’s see what else there is.
Let’s just get it out there, Staff of Death Magus is largely unplayable. You might get stuck trying to jam this in your draft deck, but this card is suitably passive that you would likely be better off taking another card . Sure, it pops up once in a while in Mono-Black decks to fight Burn decks in constructed environments, but in Limited you don’t want to sacrifice the card space for this card.
Belligerent Sliver is a reasonable creature at 2/2 for 3 mana, but with there being not enough slivers to actually play a Sliver deck he’s just a 2/2 for 3 mana. I would be looking at something else in this pack and not this. As a result, 2 of the 3 uncommons in the pack are pretty lousy for Limited.
Gargoyle Sentinel is 3/3 for 3 mana and is something I can get behind. Sure, you need to pump three mana into it, but once you do you get a fairly formidable 3/3 flier that can attack. This is an efficient creature with a useful ability and is an artifact so it can legitimately go in any deck and any combination of colours.
Encrust is a very reliable and useful blue removal spell. It is efficient, tangles up a creature quite well and is very reliable. It may not be flashy, but when you need a problem to be dealt with Encrust will fit the bill pretty nicely.
Scrapyard Mongrel is another efficient creature provided you have an artifact to trigger its bonus. I don’t really put tons of value in picking up BAD artifacts to trigger this guy, but if I already have a solid artifact or two (like the Gargoyle Sentinel perhaps?) I would prioritize this more highly.
Goblin Roughrider is a solid 3/2 for 3 mana. It isn’t exciting and is just a vanilla creature, but three power is three power and can trade up to take out larger creatures. Also, knowing that there are quite a number of Goblins in this set I might be able to swing a Goblin sub-theme to the deck. This is worthy of some consideration in the mid-rounds for sure.
Pillar of Light is reasonable removal but is a bit narrow. Many creatures in this limited environment are small enough that Pillar of Light is unlikely to target them. However, instant speed is a nice bonus for this sort of removal.
Peel from Reality is a very useful bounce spell at Instant speed. It is even better if you can net extra value by targeting a creature that has an enter the battlefield trigger on it for when you cast yours again.
Selfless Cathar is a solid 1 drop creature that can really tip combat when you sacrifice him to pump your team. I like early drops and I like pumping my team…so I’ll take a look at him.
Sungrace Pegasus is a perfectly reasonable 1/2 flier for 2 mana and it even comes with Lifelink. If you can augment this thing a little bit with an Aura or Equipment then it really pulls its weight, otherwise it is just one more semi-useful creature in your pile.
Black Cat is very disruptive both as a blocker and as an attacker. No one really wants to interact with it because it dies to a light breeze…and then you pitch a card. This is a reasonable early play, but is not a priority and will likely be available late.
Verdant Haven is cute if you want to splash a colour, but otherwise enchant land is another way of saying “does nothing”. As a result, this should likely be avoided right to the very end.
Inferno Fist is a very efficient 2 mana aura that can give you a little boost, but even better, can clear a path as you “shock “ something out of the way and rumble on in. I like this little aura and can see it being very useful.
There is really only 1 choice in this pack and that’s Liliana. To tell any of you I would consider anything else would be a bold faced lie. She’s an automatic “build around” card that warps the board. She’s worth a pretty penny from a finance standpoint if I wanted to try and trade her or sell her and she can even be viable in Standard. She’s basically a win in every department. The rest of the pack is overall pretty marginal and as a result the player picking 2nd from this pack will very seriously have some tough decisions to make. It’s not like the cards aren’t playable…many of them are quite playable…but it is assessing the value of the card to the chosen strategy that will really determine what is picked second through fifth. Even in the mid to late rounds this pack has some very useful cards that could really push a deck over the top. As always, the last 2 or 3 picks will be basically castaways, but most of this pack is very viable and can contribute towards a perfectly viable deck.
Well there we have it. First picking Liliana is the first easy pack I’ve had in the 6 weeks I’ve been doing this. However, the rest of the pack order is less of a sure thing. What are your thoughts on my selection order? Have I missed something and should have valued something higher? Something Lower? I’d love to know what you think, so shoot me a tweet and let’s figure it out.
Thanks for reading and until next time may you crack on mythic bombs.
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @ bgray8791 on Twitter
|Set Name||Magic 2015—Core Set|
|Number of Cards||269|
|Prerelease Events||July 12-13, 2014|
|Release Date||July 18, 2014|
|Launch Weekend||July 18-20, 2014|
|Game Day||August 9-10, 2014|
|Magic Online Prerelease Events||July 25-27, 2014|
|Magic Online Release Date||July 28, 2014|
|Pro Tour Magic 2015||August 1-3, 2014|
|Pro Tour Magic 2015Location||Portland, Oregon, USA|
|Pro Tour Magic 2015Formats||Swiss:
|Official Three-Letter Code||M15|
|Initial Concept and Game Design||Aaron Forsythe (lead)
|Final Game Design and Development||Billy Moreno (lead)
|Languages||English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish|
|Available in||Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Clash Pack*, Fat Pack*
(* – Not available in all languages)