Tag: gerald-knight

Gerald Knight - February 23, 2014

Knight’s Booty: The League, Day #2


Off to battle I went with my red white deck of unsurmountable speed.  I know, that’s a big word for me, but I figured why not try and make my deck sound better than I anticipated it would be.  To be honest, I didn’t really like my cardpool, not when I compare it to what I had at the pre-release.  But that is my first problem.  I’m comparing it to my previous sealed pool and I can’t do that. I have to look at this with fresh eyes, and so with a bit more analysis I went into my first match.

I had ten cards I could cast on turn one, six cards on turn two, one on turn three, and so forth.  Sounds like I have a good curve.  I have nine humans to abuse with the pegasus, I have five heroic creatures with XX spells (bestow and otherwise) to be able to trigger them, including some pretty cool combat tricks (coordinated assault is cute).  And I have a removal suite that can range from the little guys to gods.  Maybe I didn’t have such a bad pool afterall.  But there was only one way to find out.  And that was to take it into the field.

So my first opponent for the week was Robert who was playing a Blue/Green deck.  His seeded pack was Green and so he had the Nessian Wilds Ravager in his pool and he was boasting a bunch of fliers.  And he also had the Legendary Kraken.  I had a feeling that my little army was in for a big fight.

Nessian Wilds Ravager

Match one started with me on the play, dropping a Priest of Iroas, into his island.  Then I swung for one damage before dropping a Priest of Iroas.  He presented a second land, played  an Kiora’s Follower – Game Day Promo passed.  I swung in with both my guys and he blocked the priest.  Unfortunately for him they planned a Coordinated Assault and the follower fell.  He played a third land and passed, to which I responded by hitting him again uncontested and then played out an Akroan Phalanx.  His next turn saw another land and another pass.  I swung in again and he flashed a Horizon Chimera in, which would explain his lack of tapping, but unfortunately for him I held my mana open and had a Lightning Strike to answer that threat.  He sucked up the damage before I played a Cavalry Pegasus and he scooped.  Game one down.

Game two started with him having to mulligan down to six on the play and starting with an island.  I played a plains and put down a Nyxborn Shieldmate, by far one of my favourite commons of this set.  He played down a forest and like deja-vu he played down Kiora’s Follower again.  My second turn met with a mountain and a bestowed Nyxborn Rollicker to make my shieldmate ⅔ and swung past the Follower unblocked.  His next turn played down an Ordeal of Thassa on his Follower and swung in for three.  This is when I almost started to panic, until I drew into a Lightning Strike.  I swung simply and did my damage, leaving all my mana open.  He took the bait and declared attackers, which forced the Lightning Strike out of my hand to a combat trick I wasn’t expecting.  He played Retraction Helix on his own creature and responded by bouncing it back to his hand, ending combat and playing it back out.  But at least the bounty was gone.  By my next turn I was ready to swing again but this time he blocked.  Then I played another Akroan Phalanx to end my turn.  He played a land and passed.  I drew, played a land, attacked and the Phalanx met a Voyages End, only to be played out again.  This same thing happened the next turn, except after I played the Phalanx again I played a Pegasus that was met with an Annul, all the while whittling down his life.  Unfortunately this was where things started to look bad.  He finally had enough mana out to throw down his Nessian Wilds Ravager.  I knew I couldn’t let him destroy one of my guys so I let him have the counters and stared down a 12/12 hydra.  Not the most pleasant thing in the world to say the least.  I went to my turn, and played an Akroan Crusader and passed, knowing that nothing I would be able to do would get past the Nessian.  I needed him to attack with it and I could crack back to hopefully finish him off.  Which is how it played out with a little bit of a twist.  After he attacked with the hydra and dropped my life total down he played a Thassa’s Emmisary, nearly foiling my plans until I drew into one of my two Revoke Existence’s.  I cleared the way and swung in to bring him to within an inch of his life before playing down a Favored Hoplite just to make sure that I had more than one chump blocker back in case he had any tricks.  He drew up but couldn’t find an answer and said “good game”.

Revoke Existence

First match of the league in the books and I felt good.  Not entirely confident in the deck just yet.  Always found I had more mana than I needed and I am thinking about dropping one mana for another combat trick.  But I can still be happy being off to a good start.

I also took the time to look over Roberts pool and noticed that he went the wrong way.  Even with all of his blue control he had more in black with Hero’s Downfall and Asphyxiate, along with Pain Seer, and a Reaper of the Wilds.  I convinced him to maybe try out Green/Black for next week, might be a better challenge.

~ Gerald Knight

Gerald Knight - February 21, 2014

Knight’s Booty – Broken Heart

Spellheart Chimera

Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and gifts of love have been exchanged.

But not all creatures are loved equally, and if there is any card that has been so utterly left unloved from the Theros set I would have to say that it is Spellheart Chimera.  If you ever see your opponent play this card in draft you are pretty much guaranteed to win.  If you see it in constructed you will probably be asking yourself what your opponent was thinking?  Let’s take a closer look at it, shall we?

Spellheart Chimera

It has Flying and Trample and a static three toughness.  It’s power fluctuates depending upon the number of sorcery and instant cards in your graveyard.  It’s also aggressively costed at only three mana, a colourless, a red, and a blue.

Now in Limited this card is near unplayable because creatures are the name of the game, not spells.  Your typical draft, or sealed, deck is going to be made up of at most five to seven non-creature spells.  Which means that this flying roadblock’s Trample ability will be almost irrelevant as it’s power will be too low for it to matter.

In constructed however I may have found a home for it, in Block.  If you read my “That’s Bull!” article then you already know what Block Constructed is, if not here is a brief description.  It’s like any constructed format with a minimum of sixty cards in the deck, but you are limited to only a Block of cards.  In this case we are using Theros Block, for obvious reasons.

Now the Block Constructed deck I started out with was based on the Scry mechanic.  Every card in the deck had some interaction with Scry or had the Scry ability.  This was the core of the design concept for the deck.  Being able to rig your draws to be able to keep on curve or be able to ‘dig’ for the answers you needed to stop your opponent.  If you look up all the cards that have Scry in red and blue from Theros alone you total seventeen, Born of the Gods adds an additional 8, bringing our grand total to twenty five different cards that have or use Scry.

Flamespeaker Adept

Before the Chimera came to mind I was playtesting the deck online with the Flamespeaker Adept as it’s champion creature, and for good reason.  With combat tricks like Titan’s Strength to make boost it’s power from the simple two to nine, and Aqueous Form to make him unblockable, he can be quite the little beatstick.  On top of that if you can get the Prognostic Sphinx joining him in the air it makes for a near game ending combo.

That combo was what fueled this concept in the first place after I went undefeated in a Theros Draft after getting the Sphinx with two Adept’s a a couple of Magma Jet’s and Voyage’s End.  It made me wonder if it was viable as a deck concept and that is when I decided to try it in Block Constructed.  Let’s take a look at the deck

It’s initial testing was against blue green Prophet of Kruphix deck and was favorable as the creatures were weak enough to succumb to the first striking adept and it didn’t have enough to stop it in the air with the Sphinx.  Next up was blue white heroic, which was too easily defeated with Voyage’s End and Sea God’s Revenge.  The biggest test was going to be against naya monsters, which featured ramping with Voyaging Satyr and Sylvan Caryatid into Polakranos, World Eater and Stormbreath Dragon and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and you get the point.  Naya Monsters, at the time of this writing, makes up seventy-five percent of the online meta, which shows just how dominant it is.

Now the secret to beating naya monsters was to be patient and wait for them to cast their big creatures that they were relying on.  They usually want to curve out and get their big threats in play as they expend all their mana, so cards like Dissolve and Stymied Hopes are great ways to combat them.  Voyage’s End will buy you a turn, and the new Sudden Storm will buy you two turns, all while using Scry to set up your next big road block, or curve out, or threat.


And so after doing some testing with the original list I realized that Prescient Chimera wasn’t very beneficial and was way too expensive, but the deck couldn’t afford to lose anymore creatures.  The deck was creature light already.  And that’s where the Spellheart Chimera comes into play.  The deck is using a lot of “counter/burn” to keep our opponent’s board in check, so why not have a cheap creature that can take advantage of all that.  Spellheart Chimera is cheaper than the other chimera and grows larger as we cast more spells.  What it doesn’t do is scry every time we play a spell, but that’s not bad because a lot of our spells already do that.

So let’s take a look at the new list.

It’s different, that is for sure and I can almost guarantee that nobody at your FNM is going to expect it and might even think you are crazy when you play out the Spellheart Chimera, but when you beat them with it you will make some people rethink what I though.  Because, I never thought that the Spellheart Chimera would find a home, I thought it was absolute garbage.  But, this redheaded bastard stepchild of the Theros set just might have found some love.

~ Gerald Knight

Extra Booty: Before you jump on me for that red-headed bastard comment, I was born a bastard, proud of it too, and I fathered a red-headed child who is now a step-child to my fiance.  Don’t say that writers never talk about themselves!

Gerald Knight - February 17, 2014

Knight’s Booty – The League, Day #1


So a few months ago a new brick and mortar gaming shop opened up in the heart of my beloved city’s downtown core.  I was there the day it opened and couldn’t thank the owner enough for doing something that was so risky.  See, shops in our city’s downtown region don’t usually last long unless they serve coffee or cigarettes, so this guy was taking a huge risk.  But it was a necessary one because if you wanted to game and you lived downtown there was nowhere to do so without hopping on a bus for a 20 minute ride or so.

So you can imagine my excitement when this shop opened up, and how excited I was to hear that they were going to be starting a Born of the Gods league if they got enough DCI numbers before the release.  Well they managed to accomplish this and I’m now entered into this league.

But what is a league you ask?  Well this league is a WotC sanctioned series of events.  You start with a seeded sealed pool.  Meaning that they are using Born of the Gods pre-release overstock packs to start our limited decks off.  So, I chose white again seeing as I had such great luck with it last time, but I will get to that in a bit.  From this sealed pool of three Born of the Gods boosters and three Theros boosters you make your deck of 40 cards (minimum) and then you play at least 3 matches against others in the league within a weeks time.

After the first week you get to choose either a Born of the Gods booster or Theros booster and add those cards to your pool, and keep going.  This goes on for 5-6 weeks and then prizes are handed out depending upon how you did.  The store keeps the decks in their shop to ensure that nobody cheats by modifying the contents in between matches, but after the first week you can opt out of the league and take home everything you pulled.  Though I don’t know why someone would do this.

So, like I said I picked the white seeded sealed pack and went to town opening up my product to see what I could manage to pull off.

First I will get to my rares:

Plea for Guidance

Plea for Guidance – This was in my seeded pack, and I couldn’t have groaned any louder upon pulling it.  I am not a fan of this card, though it might not be that bad if I could pull something else to compliment it, such as a god, but overall at sorcery speed I can’t be happy with this.


Mindreaver – I didn’t really look twice at this card.  It’s not that bad as a mill engine with it’s heroic ability, but it’s second ability holds almost no relevance to the limited format because you don’t generally see multiples of cards in within your top 23.

Chained to the Rocks

Chained to the Rocks – This card I was happy to see.  One of the best white removal spells in the format.  Though it is not as good with Born of the Gods bringing in Revoke Existence, but it is straight up cheap removal.

Xenagos the Reveler

Xenagos, the Reveler – The planeswalker, not the god.  I was quick happy to see him show up in my pool.  If things went my way I could easily pull off an awesome deck if I got cards to compliment him.  Either way I had found my money card.

Arbor Colossus

Arbor Colossus – Another great card, cheap beats with a monstrous ability that can take out every pre-release promo except green.  Awesome!

Fellhide Spiritbinder

Felhide Spiritbinder – This guy is a beast for abusing enter the battlefield abilities.  Not to mention a ¾ body for four mana isn’t bad at all.

Overall I wasn’t too pleased with my pulls, I mean I certainly wasn’t pulling off the Blue/White heroic deck like I did at the pre-release, but from the rares I pulled it looked like I might have been able to pull off a monster Red/Green deck.  So let’s take a look at what I did pull that didn’t make it into the deck.







And then I had the deck.  I resorted to playing Red/White with the use of Chain to the Rocks and the Felhide as the champion rares.  The deck looked to be as fast as I could possibly make it with a quarter of the deck being only a single converted mana cost, the next stage up had another six, after that there was one three CMC card with only a handful beyond.

Creatures (17)

Spells (6)

Land (17)

Come back for Day 2 and beyond as I take the deck through the league.  If you have any suggestions or see something I missed please leave a comment and I will look into it.  Thanks.

~ Gerald Knight

Gerald Knight - February 11, 2014

Knight’s Booty: That’s Bull!

Fanatic of Mogis

So by now everybody has gotten their hooks or teeth into the Born of the Gods expansion and have probably started to brew up a hundred new decks or just stuck to minor modifications to current decks in the format.  Well, I’m not exception.  But I’m not going to look at Standard today, I want to look at Theros Block Constructed.

For those who don’t know what Block Constructed is, it is where you create a deck based off of cards from only a block.  Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?  If you haven’t gotten it yet I will give you an example.  The previous block involved Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, and Dragon’s Maze, and if you constructed a deck out of only those cards then you would have a Block Constructed deck.  So that means, if we move to the present block, that we are going to only use Theros and Born of the Gods for this exercise.

If you are asking why we would do something like this, and potentially ‘gimp’ ourselves in design space, you need to read my previous article about Pauper and how restricting your card selection forces you to look at things differently, challenges you more, and makes you see cards that you wouldn’t have normally looked at.  Not to mention an exercise like this can prepare you for when the eventual standard format rotates.

I am going to use a focus card for this article, and one that caused a little bit of a stir when it wa previewed, Ragemonger.

I don’t know how many creatures or cards in the past have been able to reduce coloured cost of creature spells being cast, but there aren’t that many.  Colourless cards have been printed throughout the ages starting from the days of Urza’s Incubator all the way through the Scourge with the Warchiefs, and beyond.  But coloured cost is something special.  It makes playing creatures much easier, most of them turning into colourless casing only, leaving you free to keep up whatever mana you need for your combat tricks and removal in your hand.

So, how can we abuse this?  Let’s take a look at some of the more prominent Minotaurs that showed their heads in the last two sets.

Fanatic of Mogis, a devotion based Flametongue Kavu that hits your opponent’s life total instead of a creature.  While sometimes that creature removal is preferred, it can’t be denied how much damage he can cause, especially if you remove the coloured mana costs.  Can you imagine being able to spend three generic mana to get what he can do?

Felhide Spiritbinder, a creature with the new mechanic Inspired.  When he becomes untapped, presumably during your untap step after having attacked with him the turn before, you can pay two mana to make a token copy of a creature you control and give it haste until the end of your turn.  When you combine this with other minotaurs that have Enter the Battlefield abilities, such as the above mentioned Fanatic of Mogis, it can quickly get out of hand.

Kragma Warcaller is one of the biggest creatures that can be affected by Ragemonger, reducing his casting cost from five converted mana cost down to three.  Would you like to play a turn four Warcaller for only three mana? Can you imagine how much damage that would punch your opponent for?  Imagine if you copied it with Spellbinder?! Such potential.

Oracle of Bones, a new creature from Born of the Gods using the Tribute mechanic.which will either pump him up to a decent 5/3 or keep him at 3/1 and grant you a “free” instant or sorcery from your hand. (Side note: Going standard this can make split cards from Dragon’s Maze with fuse free, see Toil // Trouble)

And lastly the new Minotaur Lord, Rageblood Shaman.  The last key piece to making a deck like this work is certainly a guy who will pump up your little cow army up and even give them the ability to trample over your opponent.

Now if we include a playset of each of these we have twenty-four of our sixty cards already spoken for.  So what Black and/or Red (leaning more towards the Red) can we arm ourselves with?

Well, if we go expensive we can grab Hero’s Downfall for spot removal, Fall of the Hammer and Lightning Strike are cheaper ways to remove more roadblocks, Magma Jet to deal some damage and to dig for the key pieces.  A playset of each of these and we have forty cards with which to bullrush our opponent.  Trim that deck down a bit and we might be able to find something like this:

What do you think?  It’s not Slivers, and it’s not Humans, it’s a tribal all of it’s own, and it ain’t no bull!

~ Gerald Knight

Extra Booty: Some things to consider if you want to take this into Standard, Boros Reckoner works amazingly well with Fanatic of Mogis and becomes cheaper with the Ragemonger.  Any Black and/or Red Fuse cards from Dragon’s Maze become viable with the Oracle of BonesDoom Blade is a cheap alternative to Hero’s Downfall and is also less mana restrictive.  If you want to go really big you can include Mogis, God of Slaughter himself to keep the pressure on your opponent.

Gerald Knight - February 8, 2014

Knight’s Booty – Defenders of Phenax

Phenax God of Deception

So by now everybody has seen the new God of Dimir colours, Phenax.  When he was previewed (without the rest of the set) it was met with mixed reactions, at least it was on Mythicspoiler.com.  Half the people were saying how this card sucked and that they wished that Wizards would move away from the Mill deck, and the other half were screaming at how great the card would be, especially if you combined it with Consuming Aberration.  Let that combo sink in for a minute.  A powerful combo indeed and almost guaranteed to kill your opponent within 2-3 turns.  But that is almost entirely a casual deck.  Not that there’s anything wrong with casual, as it drives the market, but what surprised me was that nobody was talking about how this card could impact limited.

Consuming Aberration

In limited this card is going to be a bomb, and in my opinion it is almost assuredly a snap first pick.  When you figure that your opponent is running a 40 card deck then draw 7 on average for their first hand leaving them with 33 cards, and then by the time you get to play this baby down they have drawn 4-5 cards more leaving them with 28 cards or so.  And with this guy as a milling engine, the games won’t last long.  Much in the same way that Jace used to pump your deck in 2-3 turns when he hit the table and milled 10.  Only this isn’t a planeswalker, can’t be destroyed or attacked directly.  It’s an indestructable God.  So there is my limited analysis for you.

But back to the group of people that really drive this game, the casual market.  This guy is going to be a lot of fun and people are going to try and work him to death to make the fabled mill deck that seems to have become as niche a collection of cards as classic burn has.  So I thought to myself, why not try and see what can be done by combining as many high toughness stall out wall-type creatures in the deck as possible and waiting out Phenax to drop.


Sadly we have no one drop defenders in Black or Blue, but we have several two drops that will fit in quite nice.  The first is Doorkeeper, a 0/4 defender which has built in milling already, which works well if you don’t have Phenax out already, but is probably a little lackluster once Phenax is in play.  Next we have Murmuring Phantasm, a very simple 0/5 defender for one and a blue.  Nothing too complicated, but it will clog up the ground rather nicely.   In keeping with going alphabetically we have Returned Phalanx next at a 3/3 with defender and a little combat trick that will let you attack if need be.

Moving into our three cost slot we can find Corpse Blockade, a nice 1 /4 creature that has a little combat trick of sacrificing a creature to gain deathtouch.  An ability that should make opponents wary about attacking into you at all times if you have another creature to offer up to the god.  After that comes a very nice Hover Barrier, a 0/6 defender with flying to boot.  There isn’t much out there that isn’t monstrous that this fat wall won’t take care of.  And after that comes an old goodie in Wall of Frost, a 0/7 defender that can cause your opponents creatures to stall out for a turn if they are blocked by him.  And then we have the new member to the Fat Defender family from Born of the Gods with Black Oak of Odunas, a 0/5 defender for two and a black that can pump itself up with +1/+1 until the end of the turn at the cost of a Black mana and tapping another creature.

Wall of frost

But we can’t rely on just these defenders in order to keep our opponent at bay, we need spells too.  Defensive spells, such as Hero’s Downfall, Doom Blade, and Voyage’s End.  Cards that can stall out our opponent until we can get our awesome defender mill engine online.  Another card that came to mind is Far//Away, a multi-purpose card that acts as both an edict and a boomerang effect.  Versatility goes a long way in deck construction.

So where would that leave us?  Well, lets throw something together.

Creatures (24)

Spells (12)

Lands (24)

Overall, this is a very casual deck, and doesn’t appear to do very much, but when you get the engine online your opponent is bound to pull his (or her) hair out.  It has the potential to be a very deceiving deck.

Until next time,

~ Gerald Knight

Gerald Knight - February 5, 2014

Knight’s Booty – A Pre-Release Story


Adrenaline started pumping as I walked through the door to the shop, seeing it filled with only a few people.  The owner of the store playing a match of magic at a table close by, he greeted my friend and myself.  I remarked that there weren’t as many people as last time, to which he replied “just wait, there will be more” and with that I looked up at the Harley Quinn clock to note there was still half an hour until the Born of the Gods pre-release was to begin.  Maybe he was right, maybe the field would grow.  It was always more enjoyable with more people.

The half hour passed with introductions of my friend to the locals of the shop that had already shown up, digging through the commons boxes for a chance that I would find those Slippery Bogle’s I need for my legacy deck, and deciding which sleeves I was going to buy for the event.  It is a tradition I started a while ago and keep to this day.  New cards, new sleeves.  My friend was going to do the same thing and of all the choices that were there he wanted the yellow shields.  Leaving me with Black, White, and Purple.  Black seems so plain and I have had them before, and White is so bland, so Purple it was.  I’m not a huge fan of Purple as a colour, but maybe tonight it would help me out. (ed. note – you had the lucky 3KL Purple !!!)

The store filled up faster than I had anticipated and before I knew it we were packed and starting to roll dice for our picking order.  Two d10 were set on the main table and we all took turns rolling.  I rolled a 54, which didn’t mean much more than I would be choosing from the middle of the pack of people.  My friend however rolled 99 which meant that unless someone rolled ‘aces’ he was going to get first pick of the box of 5, then the next person down got to pick until the box was empty at which point we opened a new box and continued the process.  It was fair and made sure that people didn’t just hoard all of the colours perceived to be more powerful than the others, such as Blue which is what my friend picked when the order was sorted out.

Arbiter of the Ideal

I lucked out when my number was called and we were fresh into a new box, only blue having been called and so I went with my second choice.  White.  The pre-release creature seemed rather powerful compared to all of the others, and it had the best common removal for the format that I could see with Revoke Existence, and there were going to be a lot of enchantments running around.

The rest of the packs are given out and we are told that we can open them and start building.  Excitedly I open up my “Destined to Lead” box and pull out the Quest card and look it over.  Target my pre-release creature or return an enchantment creature from the graveyard to the battlefield, sounded like an easy enough quest.  Then I picked up my seeded pack and proceeded to tear the plastic off.  It was filled with white, and a few blue cards and a red card.  But none of that mattered as I looked to the rare.  Hero of Iroas!  I couldn’t be more excited, and a little disappointed too, but only because I already had 4 on pre-order with 3KL.  Oh well, a fifth one won’t hurt me and it is a fantastic card to have in your sealed pool right?  Not to mention there was a Ghostblade Eidolon in the pack.  I opened up the next pack and feel a bit of joy and disappointment again.  Ephara, God of the Polis.  The second worst god in my opinion.  But it was a god, so who was I to complain really.  I didn’t hurt that there was an Archetype of Courage in the pack either, which is in my opinion the best of the Archetype cycle.  The last Born of the Gods pack gave a Temple of Enlightenment and an Ephara’s Enlightenment.  I think the Gods were trying to tell me something.

Ephara, God of the Polis

I quickly set all of those cards aside and ripped through the Theros packs to find anything that could compliment what was already starting to form into a very aggressive Blue/White Heroic deck, and I couldn’t have laughed any more when I pulled a Fabled Hero.  Number 5 for my collection like the Hero of Iroas, but hell, I didn’t care at that point.  Everything was falling into place and I couldn’t have been more giddy.  I worked through my card pool and thinned it down to twenty-three playables and this is what I came up with:

1x Ephara, God of the Polis – Cast a creature spell on your turn, draw a card on theirs
1x Fabled Hero – Double Strike – Heroic +1/+1
1x Hero of Iroas – Aura’s cost 1 less, Heroic +1/+1
1x Temple of Enlightenment – Blue/White Scry land
1x Silent Sentinel – Attack and return an enchantment to the battlefield
1x Archetype of Courage – Creatures you control get First Strike, opponents don’t
1x Ephara’s Enlightenment – Creature gains flying and gets a +1/+1 counter
1x Ghostblade Eidolon – Doublestrike, Bestow
1x Phalanx Leader – Heroic +1/+1 counters on all creatures you control
1x Akroan Skyguard – Flying, Heroic +1/+1
1x Battlewise Valor – Creature gets +2/+2 until EoT, Scry 1
1x Crypsis – Creature gets Protection from Creatures until EoT, untap it
1x Ephara’s Radiance – Creature gets 1W{T}: Gain 3 life
1x Griptide – Target creature goes back ontop of it’s owners library
1x Hopeful Eidolon – Lifelink, Bestow
1x Loyal Pegasus – Flying, can’t attack or block alone
1x Mortal’s Ardor – Creature get’s +1/+1 and Lifelink until EoT
2x Nyxborn Shieldmate – Bestow
1x Observant Alseid – Vigilance, Bestow
1x Omen Speaker – Scry 2
2x Revoke Existence – Exile target Artifact or Enchantment
1x Stratus Walk – Creature gains flying, can only block flying, draw a card

Overall, I was quite happy with this Heroic deck.  It had just enough creatures, of which five could be used to trigger heroic, and I only had to splash a moderate amount of blue.  I don’t think I could have built it any better or lucked out in the pool I received.  I was happy as anything and eagerly awaited my first match.

The store hushed as names were called out.  I listen carefully and then groan slightly as I hear my name paired up with Brian.  He is one of the locals in the store and is generally a really good player.  Looks like my road to victory wasn’t going to start easy.  Oh well, that just means it will be all the sweeter.  We roll off and I keep while playing first.  I get off a quick start with a Hero of Iroas and just start pumping him with bestowed creatures.  I realized quickly how powerful the Nyxborn Eidolon was as a cheap heroic trigger, and I start beating my opponents face in.  I think it was turn five or six when I beat him.  He sides into a few cards and we start match two.  The play starts off fast out of the gate for me again and I build outwards with a Phalanx Leader, an Archetype of Courage, and an Omen speaker each with a few counters and swing in to drop him to 3 life.  Next turn was death, my death.  I got tunnel vision and didn’t realize that swinging would leave me open to lethal.  I then realized that this wasn’t going to be as easy I thought and that I had to play smarter.  Third match couldn’t have started worse for me.  Turn 3 I met up with a Nullify on my Fabled Hero.  From there it was an uphill battle, but I managed to get another pumped up Hero of Iroas and Ephara out.  This was where my opinion on Ephara turned around, as I was able to keep a steady draw of cards going and my field built up enough that the stand off we found ourselves in could quickly swing my way.  At least it was that way until a Sudden Storm tapped them down during my declare attackers step and my opponent swung with two Arbiter of the Ideal’s in back to back turns to build out and finish me off.  But I did manage to get my quest done when in the last match I got the Sentinel into play and returned a Stratus Walk to play on the Hero of Iroas.

Hero of Iroas

Not a great start to the night.  I couldn’t believe that I had let him win that second match, and my confidence was almost shattered right there.  But I vowed that I was going to go into the next matches with my wits about me and the fog of drowsiness behind me.  I grabbed a Monster Energy drink and pounded it back.  This wasn’t going to happen again.

My next opponent , Cody, created an Orzhov deck with his pool.  My first hand after he shuffled was filled with all five of the islands in my deck, and two white cards.  I wasn’t keeping this, and then went down to five when my next hand showed no land.  This wasn’t starting out too well.  My third hand wasn’t too good, as it only had one land, but it had a Pegasus and a Hero of Iroas so I kept it.  My opponent started out with a quick Gorgon’s Head to match my Pegasus.  My next turns I lucked out catching a break with drawing into mana and being able to play out my Hero of Iroas while my opponent merely played lands and passed.  I swung in for some damage over the next few turns, putting the pressure on him until his fifth turn he dropped a Sentry of the Underworld.  My Pegasus assault was stopped and I could only attack with the Hero, slowing his demise.  Next turn he equipped the Gorgon’s Head and left mana open to Regenerate him.  Thankfully I drew into a Ghostblade Eidolon and with the help of Hero of Iroas aura reducing powers manage to Bestow it on him, to swing in for what would be lethal unless he blocked with the Sentry, which of course he did and he paid the three life to regenerate it, not realizing that because of double strike the Sentry was going to die anyway.  The next turn I found a Fabled Hero and that was game as he couldn’t draw into anything to stop it.

The second game went very much like the first except I managed to not have to mulligan down to five, and only mulliganed down to six this time.  So first turn he dropped the Gorgon’s Head, I dropped my Pegasus.  He played out lands while I played a Fabled Hero and an Archetype of Courage and a Stratus Walk.  Eventually he played out the Sentry again and equipped the Gorgon’s Head to it, but it was already too late as I was able to push damage through with an Akroan Skyguard after the Sentry had been dealt with.  It was a quick victory, and made me feel more confident about the deck and my choices.

Akroan Skyguard

Cameron was my third opponent who was also sitting with a 1-1 record.  He had built a Rakdos deck and started off our match complaining about how he had been getting hosed on mana almost every match.  Apparently he would get enough mana to cast what he had in hand, except that it was always of the off colour.  Inwardly I grinned because I knew that my deck was more streamlined than his, and shouldn’t have as many problems with mana even though I’d had to aggressively mulligan in previous matches.

Reflecting back on it, I only had five cards that were off colour, and 6 sources of blue mana, not to mention that I only had three cards over four converted mana cost.  It was a really well built deck, and I just knew that I could take on his deck if he was complaining about mana issues.

The first match went similar to how I battled Cody with the Hero of Iroas coming down on turn two with the next turn being followed by a Ephara’s Radiance to swing in for three damage, keeping two mana up for when he attacked, so I could Crypsis and kill his Nyxborn Eidolon.  Then swinging back the next turn after dropping an  Observant Alseid and eating his life total away.  He missed on a critical land drop and scooped game one.  The second match saw him sitting on two mana while I dropped Fabled Hero on turn three into a Stratus Walk on turn four, and my opponent struggling to keep up.  The match finished quickly after that when he couldn’t find a way to eliminate the aerial threat and I rejoiced and breaking above the fifty percent margin with one more match to go.

Fabled Hero

Between matches myself and a few of the guys in our grouping began to figure out how things were going to play out.  See, Brian had played and lost against the currently undefeated Barry and was the only other player to have a 2-1 record, which meant that unless the computer screwed something up I was facing probably one of the best players at the shop.  And I was right.  What made this more amusing was that we had been sitting next to each other when we were opening our packs and building our decks.  He knew I had pulled the two Heros and Ephara, and I knew that he was on RUG with the 6/6 Tribute pre-release guy.  It was going to be an interesting match to say the least.

So we sat down and rolled the dice.  I lost by one  Which in that building usually is a sign of good luck as I tend to win matches when that happens.  He played out an Island and for the first time that day got to play out my Temple of Enlightenment first turn and Scry’d away a land that would have put me over the curve of four that I already had in my hand.  He played a second land and passed while I played down an Akroan Skyguard.  He dropped a third land with no play, which is where the game started looking really bleak for him because I dropped a Pegasus, and Ephara’s Radiance to start the beat down from the sky.  He played down a fourth land and dropped down a Bow of Nylea.  This could have been bad, very bad.  I swing in for what damage I could get off before dropping an Archetype of Courage as a little bit of ground insurance.  His next turn he played down another creature, but failed to leave mana open for the bow activation to take down the flyer.  Which he paid for next turn as I played a Revoke Existence and removed it as a factor and swung again.  In his last ditch effort to slow his death he played the Nessian Wilds Ravager hoping he could get a creature taken care of, because lets face it, nobody wants to stare down a 12/12 with cards like Aqueous Form in the format.  But I was holding a Griptide in hand and allowed him to have the extra six +1/+1 counters only to return it to the top of his library next turn and swing in for lethal.


This was when he remarked at just how fast the deck was, and conceded that his probably wouldn’t be able to keep up, but wanted to try anyways for obvious reason.  I mean we were playing for packs.  The way we figured it we were playing for first and second.  There was honor at stake.  Well, there wasn’t actually, but why not see if my deck had what it took to take him down, right?

So the next match gets underway he drops a Satyr Hedonist into a second land, and I drop down a second turn Hero of Iroas, which I have to say really is the best card I played all day.  His third turn saw. Third turn he played a third land and passed, where I played a Stratus Walk and an Bestowed Nyxborn Shieldmate and swung for five in the air. His fourth turn saw the Bow of Nylea come out again.  I came back and swung for another five in the air and played down more land, with Ephara coming down to the board.  This was where his hopes came alive thinking that he could have the game swing in his favour and I had to applaud him for the neat little trick, because the Bow couldn’t deal enough damage to destroy the Hero.  He attacked in with the Hedonist making it an attacking creature and triggering off the Bow, and then cast a Fall of the Hammer to have the satyr deal damage to the Hero and kill it before combat resolved.  It was a cute trick and worked to get rid of the biggest threat he had seen.  The next turn I played a Revoke Existence on the Bow to ensure it didn’t happen again and put a Fabled Hero out in place of the Hero of Iroas. The next few turns saw nothing of consequence from him until he played down an Akroan Conscriptor, which had me worried because by that time I had built up a 10/10 Lifelink Double Strike Fabled Hero.  Mind you I was at fifty life by that point, so I was comfortable.  But I didn’t like the idea of him stealing it from me and keeping himself alive.  Fortunately that didn’t last too long as I played down a Sentinel and he scooped having no way to deal with it.

Revoke Existence

I finally breathed as the match came to a close and went to report to the organizer the results of the match.  He seemed almost surprised that I managed to take Barry down in two matches, but then again so was I.  All that remained was waiting to see how we seeded in the rankings and get our prizes.  I was pretty confident that I was going to go home with a bunch of packs.  I mean I only had two losses in games and finished with an overall 7-2 record having won six straight games and I beat the only undefeated third round player.  Then the organizer came out and handed the first stack of packs to Brian.  My first opponent.  He then handed the next pile to Barry, and I got the shortest pile having come in third.  Apparently we all had the same record and it came down to percentages and Cody and Cameron didn’t help my odds any.

I was a little upset, I will admit.  But I still managed a respectable third, and have every confidence that if I had to play more rounds or was in a GP or grander event that I could have continued to stomp face.  Though there was a certain irony of this pre-release that occurred to me as I opened my prize packs.  The last pre-release I participated in, Theros, saw me lucking out and getting the colour I wanted, Black.  It saw me playing four of my six rares, and I ended up third place with first place being the only guy that beat me that night.  What are the chances?

I hope you enjoyed the story and may the gods of the mulligan ever be in your favour.

~ Gerald Knight

Gerald Knight - January 13, 2014

Knight’s Booty – Inspired by Insomnia

I feel inspired.  Another night of insomnia and another night of previews coming in from the mothership.  For which I think there is reason to celebrate.  And not just because we are seeing new cards, which always makes things exciting as we lead up to a release, but for being able to use old cards.  Well, the card I’m thinking of isn’t exactly old, but it was from a few sets ago.  And that card is Hidden Strings.

Hidden Strings

I’ve heard so many bad things about this card.  It’s useless in limited, it’s even worse in constructed, and it will never find a home in any deck because it is just plain bad.  Well, have you had a chance to see the newest spoilers?  See the new mechanic?  That’s why I got Inspired!

The card can finally have a home in being able to pull off some crazy things.  Especially with that pre-release blue creature.

Arbiter of the Ideal

Arbiter of the Ideal

Arbiter of the Ideal
Inspiration — Whenever Arbiter of the Ideal becomes untapped, reveal the top card of your library. If it’s an artifact, creature, or land card you may put it onto the battlefield with a manifestation counter on it. It is an enchantment in addition to its other types.

Everyone knows that Flying is the strongest creature mechanic out there, especially in limited, but also in constructed.  So seeing that thing with a Hidden Strings attached to it?  That’s just plain scary.  And then you have other cards like the new Orsekos Sun Guide which will grants you two life every time it becomes untapped.  In constructed that might not be very high on your list of interactions when you have a ton of mythics and rares running amok, but I can say that in the Standard Pauper community it will definitely be seeing some form of play.

Oreskos Sun Guide

And then you have Pain Seer

Pain Seer

The new “Bob” (Dark Confidant).  Not quite as powerful as Bob, but close enough, especially when you take into account that ways to interact with the untap step are few and far between.  And did we not see a Springleaf Drum spoiled?  Or at least talked about?  I heard something about a functional reprint.  Or wait… it is official!  So you don’t even need to attack with “New Bob” in order to have his ability go off.  You don’t even need to take Haste into account.

I think this ones name should be Doug, or Neil.

So many exciting things ahead, and I am looking forward to seeing what the Pros and Casuals come up with concerning these new mechanics.  I’ll be especially happy if I see anybody pulling some Hidden Strings on the Pro Tour.

Until next time,

~ Gerald Knight

Gerald Knight - January 12, 2014

Knight’s Booty – Hunger Games Edition

Here at District Three we have already selected our Tribute, and it is me. Well, no not really. But I couldn’t help throw in the quite obvious puns to be made given the spoiler I am going to talk about today. It comes from, what I can only assume is, one of the Pre-Release Promo cards for the Born of the Gods expansion of the Theros Block. The card I’m going to look at uses a new mechanic titled Tribute. Now can you see the pun? Three Kings Loot, District 3, Tribute, Hunger Games. Got it? Good! Now that that ugliness is behind us I can focus on the card.

Nessian Wilds RavagerWild Nessian Devastator

Nessian Wilds Ravager is a creature filled with flavor and has so much going on.  First off it is a Hydra which is flavor enough for me to be included in the set.  Where Monsters of Myth, especially Greek or Roman, are concerned it is one of the most dangerous creatures to face off against and is used in adventure movies from the modern Percy Jackson to the classic Willow.  But that’s not all that it has going for it.  Let’s break it down a bit more.

First off it is a six cmc creature, at four colorless and two green, that gives you a 6/6 body.  Already it has passed the Limited Vanilla Test.  But it comes with a built in Pit Fight, if your opponent chooses to let it.  That’s right, because of the new Tribute mechanic you put an opponent on the spot and force them to make a decision.  The Tribute mechanic as it reads is:

Tribute 6 (As this creature enters the battlefield, an opponent of your choice may put 6 +1/+1 counters on it.)

That in and of itself isn’t very powerful, because right off any opponent you choose is going to say no.  I mean what opponent would want to say “yes, please, have 6 free +1/+1 counters”?  None that I know of.  Subtle side note, note the choice of words “an opponent of your choice”.  I like how this is worded and makes me think that they are considering multiplayer formats, like Commander and Two-Headed Giant, more seriously.  Now, back to the card.  Your opponent isn’t going to just hand you those without a good reason.  And this is the reason:

When Nessian Wilds Ravager enters the battlefield, if the tribute wasn’t paid, you may have it fight another target creature.

So, if your opponent doesn’t pay the Tribute you get to have it fight another creature.  Depending upon the board state that could be a very devastating thing for them, but then again so could staring down a 12/12 creature.  If this is a taste of things to come in the Born of the Gods set, I can say that I am liking it.  It isn’t exactly a control ability but it can easily put your opponent into a position that makes them uncomfortable.  Side note, it says “may” meaning that you don’t have to make it fight even if your opponent doesn’t pay the Tribute.

Now this card is reminiscent of a card from Gatecrash that sadly didn’t see any real play, and that was the Gruul Ragebeast.  This could be because of the multicolour requirements which makes it more restrictive, or the fact that you didn’t get a choice in whether it fought or not.  And because of those two factors alone I can see the Ravager having a better chance at seeing any level of Constructed play over the Ragebeast.

Did I mention that it’s a Hydra?  I think that part is awesome!  In keeping with the lore of a Hydra doubling it’s heads when one is cut off, and that if your opponent doesn’t pay Tribute that it will grow to twice it’s size.  And another flavor point to be made is making Tribute to Gods and Monsters is a very common theme when you are dealing with Monsters and Heroes of Legend and Myth.

I personally think that this is one of the more powerful cards that was spoiled this weekend and if these truly are the Pre-Release cards for Born of the Gods I am most likely going to be picking it for that night’s battles.  If not for the mechanics, then for the flavour.

This is Gerald Knight, reporting in from Kings Loot District 3.

 May the mulligans ever be in your favour.