Magic has a storied history all the way back to the Alpha release of counter magic coming from Blue mages. Clash of Wills follows in the same vein as the classic Power Sink, much like Broken Ambitions or Condescend have also filled that role previously. More recently we’ve seen Syncopate used as that necessary turn two counter, which scales up later in the game unlike other ‘unless its controller pays’ counters like Mana Leak. It’s almost as if Wizards is trying to push some of the more controlling styles with recent Blue FNM Promo Anticipate just finishing up its reign as the current FNM offering.
The art is truly stunning with that pose of Jace in a skirmish with an Eldrazi by relative newcomer Anna Steinbauer. This scene really is miles beyond the original art of Jace locked in the battle of will against Alhammarret. I can only imagine that the honor of showcasing her talents on a promo card means we can look forward to more of her working in the upcoming Oath of the Gatewatch release. And the piece de resistance is that chilling quote from Jace about the true mental nature of the Eldrazi.
I hope you all get your shot at nabbing one of these babies at an FNM near you in February, and if you happen to be in Montreal be sure to take in one of our FNMs at the Butin des Trois Rois. We hope to see you there, and good luck !!!
@ejseltzer on Twitter
Welcome back folks! I was looking through my entries and noticed that it had been a long time since I cracked a pack for you guys and thought it might be time to pop open a pack and treat it like I was going to draft. I have drafted loads of DTK/DTK/FRF and towards the end it was starting to get stale…but Origins seems pretty spicy and is still very much a thing for a couple of more weeks. So, let’s open up a pack of Origins and have a look at what I might pick if I was sitting down to draft.
Ok, so the rare is a nice one! Scab-Clan Berserker is actually a very nice card. I wouldn’t call it a grade A bomb, but it is a very solid card and can start to warp the board if your opponent needs to think twice about casting non-creature spells. The fact that this creature has Haste is incredibly valuable because it allows you to sneak it in to trigger the Renown on it and then sit back and allow the triggered ability to pile up and yield you further value. I would be thumbing this to the front of the pack and looking for anything that might top it.
Malakir Cullblade is an interesting card, but in order for us to get value out of it you need to have your opponents creatures die and it is highly unlikely that this is going to do it, at least initially, on its own. That means you need to do a fair bit of work to get this to a reasonable point. With one counter this is a 2/2, but it still trades with just about every other 2 drop in the format. As a 3/3 you will start to get value, but that’s asking a fair bit. If you can get this to being a 4/4 you’ve done well and you should be ecstatic, but most clever opponents will ensure that this never gets to that point. If I end up in Black I would look at this as a mid-round pick up, but even then I might not run it because it takes a bunch of work to get it to be good. I’m sure this pack has better cards, so I’ll pass and keep on looking.
Angel’s Tomb is a fun little artifact that can be a very real and relevant threat, but it is conditional on you casting other creatures to enable it. This usually isn’t an issue, but it means that you can’t always rely on this to be your answer. Make no mistake, I’ve lost my fair share of games to this card, but it is not a high pick for me and unlikely to be something I prioritize highly.
Mage-Ring Network is an interesting storage land. I am unlikely to ever want this early in the pack because I’m not big on storage lands. It has applications with Red and any X burn spells (like Ravaging Blaze) but there is no way this is an early pick.
Rhox Maulers is something I can get behind. This guy is a beating and it is exactly the sort of 5 drop I want to play. If this goes unanswered the game is over ridiculously quickly. Whoever designed Trample on Renown cards should feel kind of silly because many games end on account of Rhox Maulers crashing in for a whole pile of life. This one would get a long, hard look for sure.
Dreadwaters. No. I know if you have 3 or 4 of these that you can Mill out your opponent, but you sort of fall into that deck. You don’t go out LOOKING to draft it. Leave this until near the end and if you start to see 2 or 3 floating around it might make a for a funny story. Otherwise, save your pick on something actually relevant.
Reave Soul ! Yes Please. This is premium Black removal and would immediately get pulled to the front of the pack. With a set full of modestly sized creatures Reave Soul kills many of the most relevant ones. I’m sad that it is Sorcery speed removal, but I can hardly argue with a mere 2 mana. In most situations you are likely trading the 2 mana you spend on this spell for 2 mana to kill their “Grizzly” bear, but you could easily come out ahead on the mana if you can nab something like Charging Griffin. That may sound like a trivial difference, but that difference in mana could be huge. It could be the difference between you making them waste their 4 mana on a creature that is now dead, while you could spend your 4 mana to kill it and then follow up with a Screeching Scab or a Fetid Imp. I’m a big fan of Reave Soul and could make the case to pick this first. Let’s see what else is in this pack.
Prickleboar is another very solid creature. It loves to attack and can clear out lots of things and can really get the job done. He’s not great if you are on the back foot, so he wouldn’t be a super early pick, but he does good work and can’t be ignored.
Heavy Infantry is just not something I’m big on. We’ve already seen two very solid 5 drops in this pack showing just what you can get in the way of 5 mana creatures. The return on this guy isn’t great. Sure, he does decent work in almost every situation, but you can’t tell me you’d pick him over the Maulers or Prickleboar. No, he’s a much weaker pick and is something to look at late in this pack.
Vastwood Gorger gets played surprisingly often in Green decks. He’s not flashy, but he’s a big body and can get pretty aggressive. He’s not an early pick, but he’s something that I would be looking for late in the round if I’m in Green.
Negate. Sideboard. Moving on.
Deadbridge Shaman is a card that has surprised me. It has done a good amount of work and I have seen many aggressive decks ride this guy to wins. Nobody is super keen to kill this and discard a card meaning it often goes unchecked. I’m a big fan and would be looking for this fairly early in the pack to help secure the fact that I looking to play Black.
Yoked Ox. Sigh. I don’t like this card because it does so little… except when you need it. This gets sided in against aggressive decks as an early blocker. Otherwise you will rarely play it. End of discussion.
I think we can all agree that there are really only two real picks to take out of this pack first. The Berserker and the premium removal spell are the only real options and are a cut above the rest of this pack. The safe first pick is the removal spell. Reave Soul is almost always a good spell to have in your deck and even if you take it first and don’t play Black, at least you can rest assured that there is one less piece of removal floating around the table. However, how often do you get to play with flashy rare cards like this? Personally I would take the Berserker and then see what comes my way. There is a slight chance that I see another Reave Soul later in the draft, but the chance of seeing the same rare card come around the table is very low, so I’ll take my chances with the rare.
Cards 3 and 4 are pretty easy choices, but the fifth card was something I was weighing pretty closely. I was debating selecting the Vastwood Gorger as the 5th card in this pack, but I sat there and compared a few things. Deadbridge Shaman comes down many turns earlier and in this format that is huge. You can’t afford to have many 5 and 6 drops in your deck or else you will be too slow and that is the dilemma with the Gorger. On top of the speed issue, the fact remains that Deadbridge Shaman has a form of quasi evasion. Few opponents are keen to kill it because that makes them discard and generates a form of card advantage for the player with the Shaman. The discard is a very relevant ability and something that will invariably force your opponent to change how they play. No one is truly scared of the Gorger because you can chump block it for days and continue with your own game plan or dig for an answer. Ultimately, I hate to see Deadbridge Shaman far more than a Vastwood Gorger and would rather grab it early in the pack if I’m intent on playing any sort of Black deck, thus making it more likely to be the fifth pick in the pack.
Well, there we have it. I have to say, this was a pretty interesting pack. The first pick would be very debatable and you could approach it as being a removal spell or the rare creature and be right. The thought that goes into selecting the fifth card would also be very interesting as you weigh the merits of the Gorger or the Shaman. All in all, it gave me plenty to think about and was a good sample of what a pack might look like when drafting Origins. I hope you guys reading along at home enjoyed it and I will make a point of getting another Crack a pack MTG done soon.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by and have read. Your support is always appreciated. So, until the next time, have yourself a great MTG day.
By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
since the long awaited release of modern masters 2015, we had the privilege to see a spoiler of new cards coming ahead for the new set Origins. After that we’ve enjoyed opening packs and figuring out the strategies for limited in the last prerelease weekend, here are the cards that have most impressed me for modern and standard;
Since the arrival of Dragons of Tarkir, a green spell changed the metagame by bringing back a similar combo used with a banned card. Figured it out? You don’t know yet???
by Samuel Carrier
The Podless collected deck, as they love to call it, is looking to do the Melira Sylvok outcast , Viscera seer and Kitchen Finks or (Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit, Viscera seer, Kitchen finks can do it as well) infinite life combo and then do the infinite damage Murderous Redcap to kill you if you didn’t scoop the game already…
BUT! as the darkness arised, a bright light glare came from the skies…
This card will block many staples combo cards used at the moment in the metagame. Forget Collected company , Goryo’s Vengeance, Chord of calling, Living end, Splinter twin, Summoner’s Pact, Through the breach, Lingering Souls and Unburial Rites. They can now be managed by Hallowed Moonlight.
Hallowed Moonlight can hose all those instantly and can be used again with Snapcaster Mage in u/w control or u/w/x control decks. I can easily see that as a one-of main deck card for those two archetypes. If not, a possible 2-of in sideboards at least.
The next card from the Origins set is an old favorite for our favorite freaky goblins.
I shall name it,
Its been quite a long time this card was due for a reprint, but here it is. Recently, we saw the card Blood Moon skyrocket to 60$ as the average on the market and this goblin won’t help lower it as Goblin could very well be a thing in Modern. I could definitely see a list including Goblin Chieftains, Frenzied Goblin, Foundry Street Denizen, Dragon Fodder, Goblin King, Goblin Guide, Goblin Warchief with this mischievous Goblin Piledriver.
You can even have 4 Blood Moon with 1 Magus of the Moon as a way to be unblockable and Goblin Grenades to finish off your opponent. With only 22 lands and you can kill quick while locking his mana since so many shock lands and fetchlands are played in almost all Modern decks. If this deck ever becomes popular and wins, it could very well change the metagame to 1 or 2 color decks to be less punished by Blood moon strategies. It reminds me of my old days playing goblins in legacy events and killing opponents in 4 turns easily.
Watch your face so it doesn’t get piledrived!
After the hordes comes the army of light flying towards us….
I totally think that Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a good card. Although, it needed some kind of transportation.
Here she can ride on this pegasus and dominate once again! This guy can be entered on turn 2 with help from Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch and wreck your opponent’s possibilities to cast removal spells.
by Samuel Carrier
I’d be considering playing Aether Vial in the list but It’s not necessarily needed as we got 6 one-drops to accelerate to our 3 drops. I would suggest to remove 1 x Qasali Pridemage , 1 x Loxodon Smiter , 1 x Voice of Resurgence , 1 x Scavenging Ooze if you want to play a set of Aether Vial. This deck consist of screwing up your opponents mana with Ghost Quarter and Leonin Arbiter so they can’t search for a land, as Thalia and Vryn are making sure they can’t manage your creatures. It’s a prison aggro deck.
To wrap this up, I’d definitely think there is possibility of combo using Day’s Undoing for card draw. Harbinger of the tides as a new merfolk. since you don’t have to cast it really with vial at 2 or cast it for 4 to bounce your opponent’s attacker or at end of turn to force your opponent to recast it.
I will be attending a PPTQ modern this weekend and wish to hear your comments about the future of the Modern metagame. What do you expect in this new meta? Have a great weekend everyone and I will come back soon with an article on the effects of Origins on the standard format. Until then, enjoy some modern testings!
By Samuel Carrier
@infiwill on Twitter
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
Wizard of the Coast announced at the Fate Reforged Pro tour, the latest Summer 2015 set: Magic Origins. It will be instead of the usual Magic 2016 core set . This set seems revolve around the back stories of the Planeswalkers we know and love. We got Planeswalker cards of old characters in Commander 2014, now we will get Legendary creatures of Planeswalker in Magic Origins. Are you guys as excited as I am?
We will get more info at PAX East, so tune in fellow Looters for more updates!
Awesome trailer for the latest Duels of the Planeswalkers called Magic Duels: Origins. It will have some essences of the Magic Origins set coming out this summer, but just like other Duels of the Planeswalkers games, it will contain other great cards from passed sets. This makes a great gift for gamer friends you want to introduce to MTG.
|Planeswalker||Home Plane||First-Planeswalk Plane|
|Gideon||Not yet announced||Not yet announced|
|Jace||Not yet announced||Not yet announced|
|Liliana||Not yet announced||Not yet announced|
|Chandra||Not yet announced||Not yet announced|
|Nissa||Zendikar||Not yet announced|
Liliana before and after in Magic Origins. Looks like we’re going to have some more cosplay options for Lili!