By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
Well, I’m back after having spent a lovely holiday season with my family. Santa was very generous to my little guy and there are now plenty of trucks and farm animals to scatter around on the floor. The only real unfortunate part about the holidays is that I don’t get much chance to sit down and play much Magic. Sure, I can sneak a little bit of time here and there, but I would like to pour a little more time into it and really sink my teeth into a few things…building decks, playing, or drafting. So, now that things have settled down a little I can take a few minutes and take one last kick at Khans of Tarkir pack before we have Fate Reforged arrive on the scene and force us all to adapt pretty heavily. So, let’s crack a pack and see what we get!
Well, let’s start with the rare in this pack. Rakshasa Vizier…hmmm…I really like this guy and feel like he could be an absolute menace. A 4/4 for 5 mana isn’t a bad stat line and if you have any Delve sources things will get pretty out of control as you just have a pretty big beat stick. However, I’m not a big fan of taking him with my first pick in pack one because of the fact that it forces me into playing three colours right off the hop. It’s just too many colours too early in the draft. I’ll let this guy go and see where my picks lead me.
Hordeling Outburst: This is a premium spell and generates effectively a 3 for 1. Whether you are Jeskai, Mardu or just a 2 colour Red deck, Outburst is the sort of spell you want to be running all day and all night. This would get thumbed straight to the front of the pack for sure.
Abzan Guide and Ponyback Brigade: These are both first rate Morphs in this set and can really turn the tide of battle for you, but just like the Vizier, they are too many colours too early in the draft. So, I’ll need to let these go and establish my colours…and THEN see if these wheel around and give me the chance to grab either one of them.
Swarm of Bloodflies: This is a very strong creature in Limited. It is mono coloured, casts for a single black, is evasive, and has upside. All of these abilities make this a prime target to take first. It gets pulled to the front of the pack along with the Outburst.
Watcher of the Roost: I’m probably higher on this guy than most people, but I feel like creatures that un-Morph very inexpensively (like this guy) can’t be overlooked because of the synergies you can create and extra value your deck can eke out. Also, add in the fact that it is an evasive creature is never a bad addition. My only regret with this guy is that he has 1 toughness, meaning he dies to a stiff breeze. So, while I like him and might be prepared to take him in the first half of the draft round, there is very little chance I’d take this guy first.
Jungle Hollow: We have seen the value of the mana fixing in this set become a high priority…and with good cause. With so many 3, 4, and 5 colour decks the mana needs to be available in order to make those all work. Jungle Hollow is fixing and is very reasonable. Based on the fact this pack is relatively weak, the Hollow would get a good long look too and so I’d probably pull it to the front for consideration.
Savage Punch: Quality, cheap removal in Green. While the art is awesome, the truth is that I will not be taking this first because it isn’t that sort of good. I would be looking to find one of these late in the draft and see what comes from there.
Weave Fate: You might take this in the very late portions of the Draft, but you aren’t happy to do so and you don’t want to run it. You would only play this if you didn’t grab a Treasure Cruise and even then you might opt to leave the 4 mana card draw spell in your sideboard because it just isn’t that good. I’ll keep looking and largely ignore this.
Feed the Clan: Nope. Bad spell. Don’t waste your time.
Barrage of Boulders: We’ve seen that this can do some good work and bust up those board stalls that develop and let you force through the damage you need to close out an opponent. It isn’t a first pick, but if you are in Red you certainly will not mind running 1 or 2 of these in amidst your spells just to open the floodgates and close out the game.
Jeskai Student: A very reasonable Bear…but not a first pick. A playable card you’ll want, but should be able to find in the mid rounds.
Kheru Dreadmaw: I know this is a 4/4, but really, this feels like a bad card because it is a defender. If only it could attack! I’m not on board taking this even if I am in Black and Green, and I’m certainly NOT taking it first!
Whirlwind Adept: The fact that this guy has Hexproof and Prowess makes him interesting, but with no evasion I’m not really keen on this guy unless I need filler. He is certainly playable, but you likely aren’t happy to do so.
First Pick in this pack is a little dicey, but I figure it really comes down to either the Outburst or the Swarm…and I’m taking the Outburst. I feel like the Outburst and the fact that it produces 3 tokens is super useful and can be used to enable all sorts of things. The Tokens chump block readily in a pinch, can double up and take out a Morph, get Trumpet Blasted to make a mess of your opponent and are just very versatile. The Swarm is good too, but 5 mana for 2/2 initially is not exactly what I want to be doing and it needs work in order for it to be good. I’d rather have the 3 tokens and move on. Also, the Outburst has ramifications for Constructed decks if you want to play Jeskai Tokens or the like, so the double application (much as it really isn’t a consideration for me too frequently) is kind of nice.
Well, there we go. I will be honest, I’m looking forward to mixing up the Draft format a little with Fate Reforged because I have largely stunk at Khans Limited in all its varieties. Maybe, with some fresh cards and a shake-up of the format I will see some more success and better results from my decks.
Thanks very much for taking the time to read. Enjoy your pre-release events and I look forward to opening up some Fate Reforged for you in the not too distant future. Until next time, may you open nothing but Mythic bombs.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
KTK card reviews by authors Daniel Crayton and Bruce Gray