Welcome back to yet another Crack a Pack MTG with Bruce. Believe it or not, this is our 10th Crack a Pack! I can hardly believe it because that means we’ve been at this for 10 weeks now! We’ve seen everything from all three sets from Theros block, some Conspiracy, a little Return to Ravnica, and of course plenty of M15. It’s been fun and I can hardly wait to get started on the next 10 weeks! A big thank you goes out to the readers who take the time to stop and take a quick read at what I’ve written. Thanks very much and I hope to keep it up for all of you in the coming weeks and months. So, without further delay, let’s see what we’ve got in this pack!
On the whole, I’m pretty excited about this pack because there are a number of quality cards in this pack. There are also some HUGE duds, but I think the premium cards in this pack outweigh the bad ones by a fair margin.
Let’s start with our Rare, Life’s Legacy. This is an interesting card that might have some interesting ramifications because it can enable mass card draw in Green, meaning it could be useful. However, I need to ask myself, in exactly what scenario do I want to play this card? If i’m losing? No…because I’m likely needing to sacrifice one of my blockers, and that won’t help me win the war. If I’m just starting the game? No…not likely…because the creature is likely to be smallish, and I would rather get off to fast start than try to draw a few extra cards by sacrificing a creature. What if we’re in a stalled board state or one with no clear leader? Doubtful, although I won’t rule it out. I might like the extra cards if the blocker that is holding them back is reasonably safe and I can spare a creature to sacrifice in order to eek out a little more advantage. However, sacrificing my creature is likely going to set me back in real terms on the board and run the risk of me breaking the board stall…but in the wrong direction meaning I’ll soundly get thrashed. Lastly, if I’m leading, this might be a reasonable card so that I don’t run out of gas. Basically, it is a bad card in a number of scenarios, and marginally playable in a number more meaning that I probably don’t want to take this first. If it comes around the table, and in this pack it just might because the relative strength of the pack, THEN I might take a chance on it, otherwise I’ll go in a different direction for my first pick.
Kird Chieftain grabs my attention as being a very solid creature. If you are prepared to play Red/Green this is a can’t miss BOMB. A 4/4 for 4 mana is already very good, but the extra activated ability makes this guy a real menace. The sheer strength of this card makes it very appealing and can make your team tough to deal with. In most packs this is a slam dunk, but there are a number of other interesting cards in this pack.
Triplicate Spirits is in this pack and you can’t overlook it. Draft results are showing that Triplicate Spirits just crushes games because the three fliers just break open almost any board state. The synergy with Selfless Cathar or Sanctified Charge is unmistakable and the net result is an absolute beat down of pretty significant proportions. This was routinely picked first at the Pro Tour and with good reason, and so I would need to look at it. The drawback with this card is that I get the sense that White is over drafted because EVERYONE wants in on the Triplicate Spirits/Sanctified Charge game plan and so you might be in competition for the same cards. However, to pass the Spirits means you are FOR SURE going to see it played against you, so you might be well served just to grab it and try to make White happen, but be 100% prepared to switch colours in you sense that you are being cut from White pretty hard.
Sanctified Charge is the other half of the combo, and it is also in this pack. It isn’t a first pick, but I’d love to grab both cards out of this pack and ensure that I’m on the game plan.
A few weeks ago I raved about Quickling, and I’m still a big fan. Flying “bears” are awesome threats, and if I can recur something, ANYTHING, by bringing it back to my hand, well, I’m pretty sold on this card. It isn’t the flashiest of cards but it is reliable, packs evasion, and is efficient for my mana investment. This is a first pick in some packs, but not this one, although it would get some serious attention.
Caustic Tar seems like a lousy card because it enchants a land for 6 mana. However, it is a great way to break a stalemate by ensuring you have a safe and sure method of delivering 3 damage a turn. That puts your opponent on a relatively quick clock and can help you to salt away those grindy games that seem to have no obvious way to wind up.
Blastfire Bolt is super expensive removal, but later in the round you will need removal and this just might be something you have to grab. You won’t be excited, but you’ll do it and you’ll be thankful you did when you can BBQ some threat on your opponent’s side of the board.
Zof Shade, Glacial Crasher, and Soulmender are reasonable creatures, but none of them get me excited. They are role players and interchangeable so I won’t be overly concerned if I grab one much later.
Invisibility, Clear a Path, and Hunter’s Ambush are all very narrow cards and not overly useful. These would be the last cards in this pack that I’d be looking at and would be hoping an opponent would mistakenly grab one of these useless cards in this pack allowing me a second chance at something better once it wheels around.
In the end, it comes down to 2 cards, namely Kird Chieftain and Triplicate Spirits. In this instance I am going to have to side with Ben Stark who first picked this at the Pro Tour over a number of very good cards. The reason is simple: I can’t let my opponent get a hold of this. I don’t want to spend first pick hate drafting, but the fact remains this card is exceptionally powerful and if you can grab a Sanctified Charge to pair along with it you are going to steal a number of games. Now, IF I can make White work, I’ll be very happy and my first pick is not just about hate drafting, but the competition for White is often stiff so I will need to be prepared to move colours quickly if I’m cut off from White. If I move colours I will not be sad to have the Spirits in my pile ensuring that I will not need to face it down the road in the deck of one of my opponents. I would very much like to be in White and then pair it with something else, but if I can’t I won’t force it too much. I’ll be sad to let the Chieftain go because it is a bomb, but I almost feel like it is easier to cope with even though it is much larger…it dies to a single removal spell…while the Spirits become a nightmare once the spell resolves.
There we have it…week 10 in the books! What do you think? Should I have rolled the dice on the Life’s Legacy? The Chieftain? The Quickling? Or am I well served grabbing the Spirits and moving on? Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear all about it.
Next week I’m not sure what I’ll open…M15 is cool and all, but it feels like it is starting to get a little stale. Maybe I’ll get back in my “Way Back” machine and see if I can find a retro pack of some sort, just to liven things up a little. I don’t know…let me think on it and I’ll let you know.
Once again, thanks for reading and until next time, may you open nothing by Mythic bombs.
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
|Magic 2015—Core Set
|Number of Cards
|July 12-13, 2014
|July 18, 2014
|July 18-20, 2014
|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
|Official Three-Letter Code
|Initial Concept and Game Design
|Aaron Forsythe (lead)
|Final Game Design and Development
|Billy Moreno (lead)
|English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
|Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Clash Pack*, Fat Pack*
(* – Not available in all languages)