I’m trying to get things back in order and get back into a routine of writing for you guys. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and done much in the way of writing, but I have been tinkering with some decks some more and have some ideas that I am prepared to share with you guys, however not today. Today I’m going to bust open another pack of Khans and see what we get because this weekend I’m actually going to get a chance to draft some of this stuff. I’m pretty excited and hope that my preparation (such as writing here on Three Kings Loot) and watching a number of other guys stream their draft videos will help me to a decent record in my upcoming events. Let’s open up our pack and see what we find.
Well, this pack has a number of solid commons, a high profile Rare, and bunch of lousy uncommons so it makes for a number of interesting selections. Let’s start with the Rare. Crater’s Claws is a pretty awesome ‘Fireball’ that is just really versatile. It’s even better if you can trip the Ferocious trigger on this little treat that makes this a shock at worst, and just insane from there on. Seeing as this can serve as removal if you need it, or as a form of inevitability to just burn out an opponent to the ‘dome’ this makes for a pretty excellent spell to pick and one that your opponent is unlikely to play around or expect. This is a nice spell and will be a high priority in this pack for me.
Seek the Horizon and Goblinslide are spells that I don’t much care for. Seek the Horizon is a pretty marginal ramp spell that can be useful if you need the fixing, but it eats up a slot at 3 mana on your curve. You know what else takes 3 mana on your curve? Only every Morph in the format is what. You would rather be playing a Morph at 3 mana and not durdling for more land. So, Seek the Horizon is likely to be cut in favor of creatures and spells that have more impact. Goblinslide takes a fair amount of set up and then you STILL need to pay for it. I can imagine a Jeskai sort of deck with lots of non-creature spells that would be interested in this, but honestly, if you WANT to run this card it is because you want the comedic value of trying to bury your opponent under a pile of Goblins. However, I am generally not that motivated by this one either because I would rather be doing some other things with my mana.
Watcher of the Roost is the other uncommon in this pack and I’m pretty okay with it, but I would not be taking this early. Sure, it comes down as a Morph and can flip essentially for free if you reveal a White spell, gives you two life and even has flying. These are all relevant things to do. However, a 2/1 with Flying is…how to put this…slightly disappointing. I will happily play this but I won’t be taking it early because I maintain that there are better things and select.
Moving on the commons there are some very reasonable spells and creatures to weigh. The first one that gets my attention is Alabaster Kirin. It’s a 2/3 with flying and vigilance which makes it a pretty solid attacker that can also play defence. The 3 toughness makes it a very reliable blocker to handle all those Mardu aggro creatures or Warrior tokens. It isn’t flashy but very effective. It is also nice because it dodges stuff like Suspension Field and Smite the Monstrous making it a surprisingly difficult to creature to handle.
Abomination of Gudul is another very solid Morph and among the best of the Gold common cycle of Morphs because it packs flying and lets you ‘Loot” once you get through for damage. It dodges Smite the Monstrous which is also a thing, but sadly still gets caught by Suspension Field. I like this one too, but it falls behind the Kirin for me because the mana requirements are pretty tough to meet.
Mystic of the Hidden Way is another very reliable Morph that provides good inevitability because you can’t just block it. It’s a very solid, Morphs for cheap and is just a stud to wreck an opponent. The part I like best about this card is that it isn’t as broken as Invisible Stalker was, but it is still a tricky creature to contain because of the evasion it has. It’s a pretty solid mid-round pick up.
Mardu Hateblade is a solid 1 drop that can pack deathtouch. If you are Abzan, or Mardu, or even the Warrior deck you want this guy because he is just a reliable creature that is major deterrent to your opponent because nobody wants to have the feel bad of having your better creature die on a 1/1 deathtoucher. He’s a nice pickup, but Ruthless Ripper and Heir of the Wilds are better choices because you don’t have to activate the deathtouch ability. Sadly, they are both uncommons and you are far more likely to find this guy in your pack than either of those.
Kin-tree Warden is yet another solid Morph that is a resilient defender that helps a Abzan deck get to the late game by regenerating for the ridiculously cheap cost of 2 mana. Honestly, I miss the days of cheap regeneration cost and this guy is as close as you are likely to get. I like it and would be prepared to grab this as a mid round pick.
Rugged Highlands is pretty solid because the common Refuge lands are lynch pins in any multi colour deck and even MORE crucial if you are rocking the 5 colour Morph deck with all the flashy spells you can grab. It isn’t an exciting pick, but in this format, with a lack of obvious pick you grab a land and fix your mana to do something more powerful than you would otherwise do in a regular 2 colour deck.
Rotting Mastodon is a big dumb wall. 5 mana 2/8’s or huge to fight through and make solid ways to get your shields up while you Outlast your Abzan dudes. I’m not a huge fan but can see the role this fatty can play.
Cancel is acceptable counter magic that is an insurance policy. If you play Blue, you’ll want one of these just to be sure you can counter their biggest threat or that key piece they are looking for, but otherwise you don’t really want this too highly.
Barrage of Boulders is not something I want. It doesn’t do enough for me and to trigger the “unable to block” feature means you need to have the Ferocious online. I don’t know…I might give it a try this weekend to see if I can make this lead to a blow out, but I’m not big on this guy at this point.
Lastly, Summit Prowler is a just another dude in your deck. You aren’t excited about this guy at all.
First pick is pretty easy this week. Crater’s Claws is most obviously the first pick in this pack but there are a number of very solid creatures and Morphs available. The hope is that you can wheel at least one of them when the pack comes back, but the relative depth of this pack is pretty low meaning that you might get this pack back with nothing but junk left in it. That’s a shame. However, Crater’s Claws offers you, like I said, a bad shock at worst, or a way to close out a game out of nowhere. The potential ceiling on this card is extremely high and you will absolutely grab this and make a point of playing it. Not to mention, you will not be sad to draw this at just about any point in your match. It may not be worth all that much on the secondary market, but the relative impact this can have in a game is huge and well worth the risk.
Thanks very for taking the time to join me this week as we go through yet another pack. Things are looking pretty spicy and the format looks like a lot of fun with a ton of variance meaning that there are a number of successful archetypes and strategies to win with. I hoping to be able to return next week, after my weekend of getting a number of drafts in, and be able to pass along a little more to you guys.
Thanks again and until next week may you open nothing but Mythic bombs.
By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters@bgray8791 on Twitter
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
Well, things are starting to pick up with Khans limited and we’re starting to get a feel for what things look. Many of the podcasts and experts in these regards are raving about the format and the variety that it offers. So, I thought this week we’d dive back into the realm of Khans limited and Draft and bust open a pack and have a look. Let’s see what we’ve got this week!
Well, this week this is pretty much a slam dunk. The moment a fetch land shows in your draft pack you’re pretty well going to grab it based on value alone. However, in this pack there are still some interesting cards…but they will all be pick 2 or worse through out the pack.
So, there are a number of interesting cards, but Mardu Warshrieker is quite possibly the most attractive card in this pack. A 4 mana 3/3 is nice, but it is the Raid triggered “ritual” effect of ramping out a dump load of mana that is ridiculous. You don’t really have a 4 mana turn…you’re basically looking at a 7 mana turn…and the options get wild. Aggro decks just love this guy.
Burn Away is pretty terrific as far as removal goes because it is a sure way to deal with Blood Soaked Champion, exile the yard, and then reap the benefits. Yes, it is a steep spell to cast, but pricey removal is the flavour du jour and in the much slower Khans limited format is totally manageable. Everyone fights removal in Draft and this is pretty much premium removal.
Savage Punch is yet more removal and is inexpensive to boot. The Ferocious trigger makes this awesome because your stupid Alpine Grizzly (A vanilla 4/2) totally drops just about everything when it gets +2/+2. Really…what survives getting punched for 6? Not much in this format. This is yet more premium removal and is highly sought after.
Mer-ek Nightblade seems like it could get pretty crazy in the Abzan style builds to enable a ridiculous amount of deathtouchers. It is a solid card, but the Outlast mechanic is a little slow, but at least this one is relatively efficient to Outlast. I like it, but I’m not crazy for it.
Rotting Mastodon is a HUGE blocker that can really help a deck get its shields up and get prepared for the long game because there aren’t many spells that can take this one out and most creatures can’t attack profitably though it. I’m not thrilled that it is a 5 mana spell when I want a little more mustard behind a 5 drop, but if I need a big body to give me a little breathing room, this may be a good choice.
Erase and Naturalize are perfectly decent sideboard options, but they aren’t early picks and won’t be main decked. If I find one much later in the draft I’ll be happy because I’m unlikely to use an early pick on these cards.
Taigam’s Scheming could be a useful Delve enabler, but it mostly does nothing. It doesn’t put a card in your hand, it doesn’t impact the board, and it just filters your deck a little. I’m not really keen on it and would rather select a number of other cards before I get to this. If this were an instant I would be more inclined to run it so I can fix my card draw on my next draw step…but sadly this is a sorcery and is likely a bust.
The Banner and the Tranquil Cove are fixing. These are nice cards, but are more or less mid-round picks to enable splashing and ease the mana strains. The land would be my preferred option in most instances, but the banner could be relevant to help you draw a card in the late game and dig a little deeper into your deck.
Shambling Attendants is once again a pretty reasonable card, but like last week it’s pricey even with the Delve. Deathtouch helps to redeem this a touch, but it’s still a tough pill to swallow. Sure, it shuts a lot of attacks, but it just feels slow, ponderous, and not overly useful at some huge fat mana cost.
Oh…and Barrage of Boulders. I’m not a fan, but if you can trigger the ferocious on it, it could be a good way to force through some damage. I’m not sure it is really worth a card slot because at sorcery speed it really isn’t that flexible or impactful but I guess if you need it for Prowess or something I guess it’s an option…but I’m leaving this until late.
Secret plans…I’m not sold on this because a 2/3 morph is…ok? Sort of? Sometimes? The card to be drawn off the triggered ability is more useful, but it feels hard to trigger and not overly relevant unless I have a bunch of Morphs. You COULD be running a bunch and that card draw could really help fuel you through your deck. If you don’t…well…it’s a dead card. That’s a lot of uncertainty for a card that you want to use to abuse the Morph mechanic. I might take a chance on this once I’ve established that I’ve got some Morph creatures, otherwise I might just let this one slide.
The first pick is easy. Flooded Strand is very good value and allows you to pay for draft all by itself. It’s freaking Modern playable, will be run in Standard for the time being too, and is generally just a star. If you are drafting and you open one of these, grab it, and don’t worry about it because you have the rest of your picks to help you set the rest of your deck.
With Flooded Strand aside, I would quite seriously be looking at the Burn Away as the next best card in this pack. It is instant speed creature removal and can kill just about anything with the 6 damage. It is also serves as some serious graveyard hate to hamstring any Delve strategy meaning that it can play a secondary role to disrupt an opponent. What isn’t to like about this card (except the 5 mana to cast it).
Well, that pack seemed anti-climatic. Sure, I’m glad I pulled a Fetch land, but it sort of makes the whole exercise rather academic and not overly relevant. I still enjoy the chance to go through the cards and perform my Limited format assessment, but it just feels a little “bad” because none of it really matters thanks to the Fetch. Oh well…maybe next week’s Crack a pack MTG will be different.
Until next time may you open nothing but mythic bomb rares!
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