Tag: returned-reveler

Bruce Gray - July 14, 2014

Crack a Pack MTG Journey Into Nyx with Bruce

Crack a Pack MTG - Journey into Nyx boosters

Crack a Pack MTG Journey Into Nyx with Bruce

by Bruce Gray -Casual Encounters Welcome back to another installment of Crack a Pack with Bruce.  In the past few weeks we’ve cracked a pack of Theros and Born of the Gods meaning that today we have a terrific opportunity to complete the cycle and open up a pack of Journey Into Nyx.  The interesting thing with the Draft format for the full block of Theros (1 pack of Journey, 1 pack of Born of the Gods, 1 pack of Theros) is that it sort of got cut short in terms of a draft format because everyone was side tracked by the installation of Conspiracy. Full block Theros draft is really the default draft format at the moment as Theros is the current block this year but it is also less drafted than some of the other formats because it has been supplanted by Conspiracy as the preferred draft format of players heading out to the shops.  That said, full block Theros draft is very lively and very versatile and well worth a look.  Let’s go see what we crack out of this pack!









On the whole, this pack is quite strong.  There is no obvious first choice, but there are a number of very strong cards that will get my attention. Based on the quality of the cards there is a very real opportunity for something really solid to wheel around and come back to me, which is also a nice possibility. Let’s examine the cards available to us in this pack.   If you’re like me, the first place to start is your rare. This card holds the potential of having the most upside and being extremely powerful and today is no different. Prophetic Flamespeaker is exactly that sort of card…lots of potential power.  However, there are some rares that can also be duds just as quickly…and sadly Flamespeaker also falls into that category as well.  A 1/3 with double strike and trample for 3 mana AND the ability to gain you card advantage is nothing to sniff at and it makes this cards very appealing.  However, here’s the drawback with this card.  For 3 mana you are getting a relatively underpowered creature meaning that you absolutely need to upgrade this with an aura or some sort of other effect to really reap the benefit of this creature.  If you don’t believe me, think about all the creatures in the THIS PACK that block Flamespeaker and cost 3 mana…Harvestguard Alseids, Returned Reveler, Nyx Weaver…not to mention things like Nessian Courser, Scholar of Athreos, Grim Guardian and the list goes on and on.  No, for this card to be good it needs to be augmented by something and THEN you may be able to really gain some advantage. We call this the set up cost of this card and they are relatively high. The other piece is the ability to exile a card and have you play it.  This is totally contingent on you having enough mana to cast the spell.  Let’s imagine you Flamespeaker on turn 3 because you hit your land drops. Next turn you play your fourth land and cast, for arguments sake because it is this pack, Aspect of Gorgon which costs 3.  Now you’ve augmented the Flamespeaker and can swing.  Now you can see 1 or 2 cards (based on if your opponent blocked or not) but you only have 1 mana available to cast anything you exile. The chances are pretty slim you’ll be able to pull that trigger this turn…and you lose your cards.  I hate losing cards, particularly because I can’t cast them.  By turn 5 you may in a position to actually start benefitting from Flamespeaker, but there might have been other things you’d rather do with your mana. Before it sounds like it is all doom and gloom on this guy, the potential power level of this guy is very high.  Double Strike and Trample make this very appealing and the card advantage is still card advantage.  Also, draft is a place where you can come to table and try out some of the more flashy rare cards in the format and really see how they play. Even with you first pick is a Flamespeaker, you could totally recover if you decide to not play Red, so the real cost to you of picking this card first is lower than people might like to admit.  It might be worth the roll of the dice and grabbing this first and seeing where that takes you. Another card that grabs my attention is Golden Hind. A simple 2/1 for 2 mana that ramps you up.  This helps you go from 2 mana to 4 mana and that’s a big deal. Also, looking in this pack there are a number of other quality green and black cards that I would be looking at and by taking Golden Hind I would be opening the door to playing a B/G strategy that I like.  Nyx Weaver, Spiteful Blow, Market Festival, Aspect of Gorgon, and Returner Reveler would all be cards that would interest me and might wheel.  So, I would seriously be looking at taking the Hind and eyeing B/G as an option based on the choices that might come back my way later this round. Magma Spray is just solid, inexpensive removal and the best part is that it exiles the creature robbing them of the graveyard synergy if they want it.  This really isn’t a flashy pick but is safe and reliable. Spiteful Blow is another one that would certainly get my attention mostly because of the fact that it does not have a limitation imposed on the removal.  It doesn’t limit itself to enchantments, a certain colour, size, or mana cost…it just kills stuff dead.  On top of that you get to destroy a land setting your opponent back a turn which is nice additional value. The fact that it cost 6 is less ideal, but in a draft 6 mana removal can be useful, just ask Sip of Hemlock. The last card that gets me excited is Nyx Weaver and really motivates me to go down the B/G graveyard deck. A 2/3 with reach for 3 mana is a solid creature and the ability to fill your yard is huge to give you increased access to your resources.  The fact that this can basically regrow you the most powerful card in your graveyard is extremely powerful and can’t be overlooked. The issue with this guy is the Black AND Green in the mana cost meaning you likely need to play both colours in order to be able to play this guy. Other quality playable cards are Pin to the Earth which is a solid removal-type spell for Blue decks to run.  Countermand is a pricey 4 mana counter, but in a format with few counterspells this one isn’t bad and it hits the top of their library too. Harvestguard Alseids is a very serviceable 2/3 for 3 mana that can play a role in a Constellation deck. Mortal Obstinacy and Aspect of Gorgon are both reasonable auras although hardly exciting. Market Festival can be a cute ramp spell for a green deck and can really help push the tempo. Towards the end of this pack, Font of Ire is not high on my list.  Sure it acts a little like a time delayed Lava Axe but I’m not a huge fan of any of the Fonts and this one is no exception. Returned Reveler is a useful body at 1/3 for 2 mana, but the symmetrical mill effect is not my style.  Lastly, Solidarity of Heroes is basically an unplayable card.  In order to reap any benefit off of the spell you need to spend so much time and energy that it hardly makes sense. No, it would likely be something picked right at the very end, if not forced on someone.

Top 5 cards


  1. Prophetic Flamespeaker
  2. Golden Hind
  3. Magma Spray
  4. Spiteful  Blow
  5. Nyx Weaver


First Pick     

  There would seriously be 3 cards that I would weigh very carefully.  The Flamespeaker is a little underpowered in terms of raw stats but could have some super explosive abilities with some augmentation.  The potential upside for this card is extremely appealing and would be tempting to say the least.  The fact that there are so many creatures that block it readily is an issue, but not dire.  Golden Hind is just simply a terrific creature to ramp up with.  Acceleration in any format is key and often determines who wins by helping you to get a turn or two ahead of your opponent.  Think about it, if you’re playing 6 drops and they’re playing 4 drops, who’s coming out ahead most of the time?  You are…I assure you. Lastly, Magma Spray would get a look because cheap removal is always at a premium.   In the end I would select Golden Hind.  The ramp ability is a sure thing, unlike with Flamespeaker where I need to work to set up the benefit from the Exiling ability, and there are a number of other cards, namely Nyx Weaver, that might wheel if I start in Green and leave myself open to being G/B.  I would be also very conscious that to my left is now someone who will be playing Red because I’m sending along a Flamespeaker and a Magma Spray and both are potential first pickable cards. It feels weird admitting that I’d take the common over the mythic in this pack, but I’d rather have the less powerful card that is a sure thing than the flashy card that could prove to be a dud if I can’t connect.   Well, there we have it for another week.  What would you have done?  Would you have gone with the Flamespeaker?  The Magma Spray?  Something else all together?  I’d love to hear what you think, so shoot me a tweet and let me know what you would do.   Thanks for reading and until next time…keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.

by Bruce Gray
Three Kings Loot - April 20, 2014

Journey into Nyx- Nyx Infusion, Oakheart Dryads, Opressive Rays, Oresk...

Nyx Infusion

Nyx Infusion-  A 3 mana (1 black, 2 colourless) aura that gives enchantment creatures +2/+2 otherwise the creature gets -2/-2.  The versatility is nice here…it could be a form of removal for a pesky “bear”, or a nice boost to a creature on your board.  Overall, it’s kind of meh, but playable if you are looking for the flexibility this offers.  This will be around late in the round, so no rush to grab this up.

Oakheart Dryads

Oakheart Dryads- a 2/3 for 3 mana (a green and 2 colourless) this enchantment creature comes with Constellation that says whenever it or another enchantment enters play target creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.  This is a serviceable body, a reasonable Constellation ability, and is generally pretty reasonable, if not exciting.

Opressive Rays

Oppressive Rays- a 1 white mana aura that prevents target creature from blocking or attacking unless their owner pays 3 colourless. Also, activated abilities of the creature cost 3 colourless more to activate.  This is pretty cheap and can really slow down an opponent.  It acts much like a Pacifism and strangles off activated abilities making it pretty decent “removal”.  You will have to pick your spot and use this strategically because they may just be prepared to pay the cost, particularly the later the game goes, but as an early ay to freeze up your opponent this will be a strong card.

Oreskos Swiftclaw

Oreskos Swift Claw- a 3/1 for 2 mana (a white and a colourless) is a good aggressive creature in a White Weenie style deck.  He’s a little vanilla, but still solid and aggressive in a draft.

Pensive Minotaur

Pensive Minotaur- a 2/3 Minotaur for 3 mana (2 colourless and a red).  He’s a solid enough body in red and if you are drafting the B/R  Minotaur deck he’s ok, but just a little bland.  He’ll still make decks, but is just a dude.

Phalanx Formation

Phalanx Formation- This is a 3 mana (1 white, 2 colourless) for an instant that grants target creature double strike and has Strive to allow you to target additional creatures by paying a colourless and a white. It could be a fun combat trick, but you will need to be careful with all the Strive combat instants that you don’t water down your deck by substituting tricks for bodies.

Pharika's Chosen

Pharika’s Chosen- This is a 1/1 for 1 black and you get a snake with Deathtouch.  This will see plenty of play and will be an early deterrent to your opponent to attacking because NOBODY like attacking into deathtouch creatures.  Sedge Scorpion is solid, and so is this.

Pheres-Band Thunderhoof

Pheres-Band Thunderhoof- Another Centaur, this time a 3/4 for 5 mana (1 green and 4 colourless) and comes with Heroic and gets two +1/+1 counters when targeted by a spell. He’ll be playable, but is a little expensive considering Nessian Courser is a 3/3 for 3 mana, and you then need to work to make this guy bigger, but if you need a sizeable body and solid Heroic trigger this will be just fine

Pin to the Earth

Pin to the Earth- Don’t look at this as an Aura.  Look at this as actual blue removal, because a -6/-0 pretty much means the creature is useless.  Yes, it can block and act like a wall, but if you’re casting this Aura it’s because you don’t want to get smacked across the face by a big beater, so that’s a trade off I’m prepared to make. At a mere 2 mana (a blue and a colourless) this spell is cheap, splashable, and quite effective.

Pull from the Deep

Pull from the Deep- A blue sorcery where for 2 blue and a colourless you may return an instant and a sorcery from your graveyard to your hand and exile Pull from the Deep. This allows you to re-buy a solid combat trick, a Heroic enabler, or just grab your Divination one more time to fill up your hand.  With no flashback in this set, this will be useful to get access to your spells in your yard, but will mostly a late game play as you would rather be doing other things with your mana earlier in the game.

Quarry Colossus

Quarry Colossus- a 5/6 Giant for 7 mana (2 white, 5 colourless) this is a neat card with a quasi removal effect.  When Quarry Colossus enters play return target creature to its owners library just beneath the top X cards, where X is equal to the number of plains you control. Let’s be real, this is a huge body and with 2 white mana will be in a pretty White heavy deck, so you should have a high number of plains on the battlefield.  This guy makes your opponent’s best creature disappear for…oh…I don’t know…a large number of turns and gives you a chance to finish him off with the Giant beat stick you just cast.  I like him, but at seven he’s a little slow.  Cross your fingers and hope you get there.


Reprisal- a very funcational reprint of an efficient White removal card.  With all the enchantments out there boosting the power of creatures it should be no issue to find a suitable target and at instant it will come out of nowhere and really shift combat.  Basically, combat just got impossible to predict, so don’t bother trying to play around the removal…just accept that if your opponent has mana up and cards in hand that he has a trick or something make you go nuts.

Returned Reveler

Returned Reveler- A 1/3 Zombie satyr for a black and a colourless mana, this pretty vanilla creature says that when it dies each player mills the top three cards of their library.  Here we go with the Mill again, this time on a creature that needs to DIE before you get the benefit…and…as if that weren’t already bad enough, it is symmetrical meaning the Mill hits you too! No, there are very few cards I’ve called poor in this set, but this is poor.  Lots of set up, bad stats, symmetrical ability…more like don’t waste your time.  This will be last pick regularly, I’m sure.

Reviving Melody

Reviving Melody- a 3 mana (1 green and 2 colourless) sorcery that allows you to choose 1 or both of return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand and/or return target enchantment from your graveyard to your hand. I get to re-buy 2 cards for 3 mana?  That’s a pretty good deal and in a set with enchantment creatures it means you are basically getting back two creatures.  Good deal! Anything running Green will play this.

Rise of Eagles

Rise of Eagles- a 6 mana (2 blue, 4 colourless) sorcery that gives you two 2/2 bird enchantment creature tokens and then Scry 1.  Ok, Talrand’s Invocation is the closest comparison I can draw, but that was 4 mana for a pair of 2/2 fliers.  This is 6 for a pair of birds…and a Scry… umm…yuck?! Unless you are REALLY working hard for those Constellation triggers this will be a bubble card and will likely miss out in favour of something that will impact the board more directly.

Rollick of Abandon

Rollick of Abandon- a 5 mana (2 red, 3 colourless) sorcery that gives all creatures +2/-2 until end of turn.  This looks PERFECT for the B/R Minotaur deck where all your Man-Bulls are 3 toughness…suddenly your stampeding horde are all 5/1’s at a minimum.  The B/R deck doesn’t care that they die to a feather duster…all this deck cares about is trying to stomp on your jugular…and if enough Man-Bulls hit the mark it’s game over.  It could also be a very unusual sweeper to wipe out a White weenie/Bear deck, but that takes work and I would rather bank on this being an aggressive card over the potential sweeper effect.

Rotted Hulk

Rotted Hulk- a 2/5 elemental for 4 mana (1 black and 3 colourless).  A decent body at a reasonable cost means that this vanilla creature will see play in draft.  He’s just another dude with a big butt to hold off your opponent’s critters.

Rouse the Mob

Rouse the Mob- This is another scary trick to make the B/R Minotaur deck really scary.  For 1 red mana target creature gets +2/+0 and trample and you can cast the Strive ability for an additional 2 colourless and a red to start getting additional targets.  Boost your Man-Bulls with Rollick of Abandon and then give one (or MAYBE more…but good god am I living in fantasy Christmas land then…think of the mana requirements!) trample to just keep the beat down pouring in.  I bet your opponent will just about ready to scoop after that barrage.  However, this one feels pretty narrow and a bit limited.  Unless you are all in for aggro beat down you can probably do better.

Satyr Grovedancer

Satyr Grovedancer- A 1/1 for 2 mana (1 green, 1 colourless) you get a Satyr Shaman that when it enters the battlefield put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.  This is Timberland Guide from Avacyn Restored and is pretty fun.  The Grovedancer can be a Bear if you need it (or lack another target) by pumping itself, but just like the Supply-line Cranes, can boost another creature for more value.  A serviceable card and nice ability.

Sigiled Skink

Sigiled Skink- This is a 2 mana (1 red, 1 colourless) 2/1 lizard that lets you scry whenever it attacks. What more reason does Red need to attack? All in…all the time…and now you get to scry to improve your card selection next time.  It’ll be played in Aggro builds of all sorts if only to hit the Scry ability.