Modern Masters 2015: Set Review for Limited

etched champion art wide

Hello all! I am veering from my usual tribal fun in Modern today to talk about the limited environment of the upcoming set: Modern Masters 2015. Hopefully all of you are excited for the release of this amazing set of reprints but I am most excited about the hand-picked and well-polished draft environment created by these special sets.

This is going to be one big long article / primer. It will be broken down as follows and you can jump around as you like.

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

As I said earlier, I am very excited for Modern Masters 2015 and will hopefully be drafting it more than I did the original Modern Masters. As well, right now I am going to go over my grading system for cards.

Grading System

A+: Best of the best. Best bombs in the format. I would splash for this nearly regardless. To distinguish this from an A, A+s can win the game, stabilize the game, and bring a player back from a losing position (yes, all of this in one card).

A: Still a very good bomb, just maybe only posses two out of the three of the traits that an A+ card has. These cards are auto-includes and might be splashed for too.

A-: The highest non-bomb cards can get. Very good utility. This is the premium removal or evasion creatures. As well, this would be maybe a bomb that cost 1 more mana than it should, but still very likely an auto-include if you are in the colors.

B+: Decent removal, evasion creatures, and utility cards. As well, this is about the average bomb. These are usually where the quality aggro creatures are at too. It is pretty likely that you will be playing these cards

B: The average card. Removal that works, decent evasion creatures, average aggro creatures, and low-end bombs. The middle of the road deck would have mostly B cards. In general, you will be running a decent amount of these cards.

B-: Good filler. Very low-end bombs, maybe not as effective removal, and not very efficient cards or evasion creatures. You probably will run some of these cards just as filler.

C+: Decent filler. Very bad removal and debatably costed vanilla creatures. Hopefully you are only running one or two of these cards.

C: Bad filler. Generally poorly costed vanilla creatures or creatures that have irrelevant abilities and so they are poorly costed. You are only going to be playing this is bad decks.

C-: Very niche cards that only act as bad filler in a few decks.

F: Fails. I would strongly advise against these cards in any deck or strategy.

S: Sideboard material. It shouldn’t make the mainboard but you might want to keep it handy for sideboards

These reviews will be slightly more relevant for sealed than draft, but in general the grades apply for both sealed and draft. This set is designed for the optimal draft experience, so my grading my be higher than a regular block set, but hey, that just means that the draft experience is more fun!

Draft Archetypes

Here are the archetypes that I think are draftable:

  • G(x) Eldrazi Ramp
  • (U)(W) Affinity
  • Ux Control
  • R(B)x Aggro
  • RU Elementals
  • UB(W)(G) Counters
  • W Spirits and Arcanes
  • GW Tokens and Convoke
  • U(x) Flyers
  • RB Sacrifice and Midrange
  • Midrange of any single color or two color pair

As a note, when I give a card that may be horrible out of context a good grade, remember that it has to be in its respective archetype to be good. As another note, if you crack open a foil [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] or [c]Karn Liberated[/c] or anything worth big money I would strongly recommend that you take it.

Take cards that will more than pay for this already expensive draft, despite the fact the my grades might not reflect the price tags of some cards. Hopefully you are as excited as I am not only to draft Modern Masters 2015, but also for this limited set review.

Feel free to discuss any of my grades in the comments below.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Blue Cards in MM15

The first color is blue. I’ll be going in alphabetical order.

[c]Aethersnipe[/c]: B+
This card should find a home in most blue decks. Not only can it provide tempo and a big body, but can bounce something in a pinch. It can have synergies with enter the battlefield triggers as well. I would be careful as 6 mana is a lot so I wouldn’t quite first pick it.

[c]Air Servant[/c]: B
This is an efficiently costed flyer that is a force to recon with in the air. Not only does the creature have a nice size for its price, but it is a tapper. Tappers are always good in limited and although it is limited to only flyers, that is what you usually want to tap the most. As well, it can tap down your opponent’s only blocker and attack in the same turn. The last plus is that it has evasion.

[c]Argent Sphinx[/c]: B+
The card is slight better priced than the [c]Air Servant[/c] and still has evasion. Alone the inclusion of this card can be justified in most blue decks, but if the metalcraft ability is turned most the time (i.e. affinity decks) then the card gets much better. For only {u}, it protects itself.

[c]Cloud Elemental[/c]: B-
It is a decent costed flyer. It can attack decently and it does definitely hurt that it is a 2/3 but yet has a huge drawback in blocking. In more aggresive strategies this card might be a bit better, alone that card isn’t great.

[c]Cryptic Command[/c]: B+
I gave this card a B+ (rather than a B or an A-) not only because I do feel that this is one of the cards you might consider picking up even if you aren’t in blue just for the value, but also [c]Cryptic Command[/c] just isn’t quite as good in constructed play. First of all, it costs {1}{u}{u}{u} and that triple {u} makes it very hard to play in a two colored deck. Also, it seems that especially in blue decks turn 4 is a busy turn and it would be hard to leave mana up for the command. Regardless of all of this, the card is very good at permission and card draw and will easily find its place in a control deck.

[c]Faerie Mechanist[/c]: B-
I was inclined to give this card a B, as a 2/2 flyer for 4 is always fine in limited, but the ability will be a whiff in most deck. Now considering that Affinity seems like a very viable archetype, and this card should likely find a home in most all affinity decks. Regardless, this is a fine-costed flyer and can be good in blue midrange or flyer decks.

[c]Flashfreeze[/c]: S
This is a great sideboard card against red or green decks. Bring it in against these decks and it is a straight up [c]Counterspell[/c], but I wouldn’t recommend maindecking the card.

[c]Guile[/c]: A
This is a premium finisher in any control deck. Not only can this big body either be just straight up unblockable or it will likely clog up the whole ground. At this point, it is already a big evasive creature. As well, in a control deck the counter clause can be backbreaking for an opponent, either scaring them out of playing spells or forcing them to play very conservatively or letting you steal all of their spells. On top of that, not even a removal spell can stop this from coming back. The only real downside of this card is {u}{u}{u}.

[c]Helium Squirter[/c]: B
A 5 mana 3/3 is nothing great, but for 1 mana you can make it gain flying. As well, you can give any creature that enters the battlefield after it gain flying for only 1 mana. This ability can be very good in a blue flyers deck or even just a good blue midrange deck.

[c]Hurkyl’s Recall[/c]: S
Although affinity may be a popular archetype, in most games you will get little to no value out of this card. This card finds a good home in the sideboard against affinity decks.

[c]Inexorable Tide[/c]: C-
This card is no better than when it was in Scars of Mirrodin. It is still an overpriced enchantment that still has little to no impact even in counter decks.

[c]Mana Leak[/c]: A-
This is one of the best permission spells in Modern and at common rarity I would pick up as many of these as you can get. Likely you will be countering any spell that is even close to on curve or even just make a great tempo play. This card is just as good as it is in constructed play as it is in limited. Likely the best counterspell in Modern Masters 2015 (maybe [c]Remand[/c]).

[c]Mulldrifter[/c]: A-
[c]Mulldrifter[/c] is just as good as it way in its Lorwyn days. Likely you are playing it as a 2/2 flyer for 5, which is already half decent, but then you get to draw not one, but two cards off of it. This tremendous advantage more than compensates for the slightly inefficient mana cost, making it an amazing card. I would pick up this card when you see it because I highly doubt something this good will wheel.

[c]Narcolepsy[/c]: A-
This card is basically a blue [c]Pacifism[/c]. At two mana [c]Narcolepsy[/c] is an extremely efficient removal spell that will likely take any creature out of the picture. Again at only two mana this is one of the best creature removal spells in the set and likely the best spell in blue. At common, I would pick up as many of these as I can get.

[c]Novijen Sages[/c]: C
6 mana for a 4/4 is pretty bad to start with. Even in a counters deck, the card draw isn’t really that helpful. For 8 mana you get only 2 cards. This creature is fairly inefficient and its card draw ability doesn’t really make up for its bad cost. I would try to stay away from this card if possible.

[c]Qumulox[/c]: C+
8 for a 5/4 flyer isn’t exactly good, but the affinity for artifacts might help to make this card playable. In a deck with little to no way to reduce the cost, this card shouldn’t be in a deck, but in an affinity where you can get the cost down to around 5 or 6 mana consistently, this beast can be a lot better and even act as a finisher in an affinity control build.

[c]Remand[/c]: B+
Probably the second best permission spell in Modern Masters 2015, this card is slightly worse in limited than in constructed, although it is still very good. For 2 mana not only do you get a card draw, but likely you get to time walk them with a very good tempo play, sending their threat back to the hand, giving you 2 draws minimum to find an answer to the upcoming threat. At uncommon, I would try to draft these as much as possible still.

[c]Repeal[/c]: B+
This is an amazing tempo card. You can make x=0 to return a land or get rid of a token for good and draw a card. As well, you can delay your opponent’s threats for likely another turn or get another enter the battlefield trigger off of one of your cards. It also can work very well against the counters decks to reset your or the opponent’s counters on a permanent.

[c]Somber Hoverguard[/c]: C+
I was on the fence between C and C+, but considering that the average affinity deck should be able to get a 2 mana reduction on this card, it will be at healthy 3/2 for 4. At this price, the card is definitely playable, although with no cost reduction this card is way overpriced.

[c]Steady Progress[/c]: C-
This is a bad cantrip. It is essentially two mana for a counter, which is likely a 1/1 with haste and a card. At this price, the cantrip is very overpriced and makes not nearly a large enough impact in combat or even in a counters deck to be played really at all.

[c]Stoic Rebuttal[/c]: B
I am not quite sure on my grade for this. In an affinity deck likely by turn 3 this will be a [c]Counterspell[/c]. The fact that it costs {1}{u}{u} makes it a bit hard on two colored decks. Even a non affinity blue deck would like to have it, even acting as a [c]Counterspell[/c] for one more mana. At common I would definitely pick up a few of them as they may be a major part of your control package.

[c]Surrakar Spellblade[/c]: B-
With no evasion and not exactly an aggressive cost or body, it is fairly hard to get this guy through to deal damage, even if it means drawing a lot of cards. Even a 1/1 can block and kill him. Against a blue control deck or a slower deck this could mean a lot of cards for you, but in general this will be a 2/1 that will be quickly blocked and will result in a loss of 3 mana.

[c]Telling Time[/c]: B+

[c]Tezzeret the Seeker[/c]: A-
In a non affinity deck, this card is likely a whiff. I wouldn’t pick him if you already aren’t in the affinity direction, I wouldn’t pick him, but he is a great first pick to get you into the affinity direction. In an affinity deck not only can he tutor an artifact and let you have multiple uses out of utility artifacts or let them have sudo vigilance.

[c]Tezzeret’s Gambit[/c]: B-
Paying two life and 3 mana for a counter and 2 cards is good deal. It is nothing amazing and this card loses a lot of its value if you can’t consistently proliferate but in a counters deck this is a great proliferate cantrip.

[c]Thoughtcast[/c]: B+
In affinity decks, this card is great. Even with just a 1 mana reduction, this card provides decent value, but in an affinity deck where you can get 2-3 mana reduction, this card is a very good straight up card draw engine.

[c]Thrummingbird[/c]: B
2 mana for a 1/1 flyer is already good value. At this point, the card is already good, but in a counter deck you can get even more value off of the proliferate triggers. If you combine all of this together, this is an efficient costed flyer that can really help you with getting extra counters on permanents.

[c]Vapor Snag[/c]: B+
For only one mana [c]Vapor Snag[/c] is an amazing tempo play. Not only do you get a life point off of them, but also likely a time walk since they have to replay the creature. At one mana the only downside to this efficient bouncer is that it only hits creatures.

[c]Vendilion Clique[/c]: A
This Modern staple is not only an efficiently costed flying beater, but also lets you see your opponent’s hand and take a card or even cycle a card from your hand. Without this ability, the card is still a great beater and blocker but adding this on top of it makes [c]Vendilion Clique[/c] an auto include in most any blue deck.

[c]Vigean Graftmage[/c]: B-
A 2/2 for 3 is fine in limited. The ability to make creatures with +1/+1 counters have sudo vigilance for only two mana makes this creature have fairly decent utility. He can find a nice spot in a counters deck.

[c]Water Servant[/c]: B
4 mana for a 3/4 is already a decent costed body. The ability to shapeshift the power and toughness makes this card a very good attacker and defender, all packed into a well-costed creature.

[c]Wings of Velis Vel[/c]: B
Personally I liked the card similar to this in Dragons of Tarkir. This spell can not only jump but also boost a lot of smaller creatures. I would usually run this type of card in an aggressive blue deck to smash in for a few extra points of damage.

Again I will talk about any discussions in the comments below. Tomorrow will be red, so get ready!

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Red Cards in MM15

The second color we’re going to look at today is red.

[c]Banefire[/c]: B+
This [c]Fireball[/c] can finish off a player or act as a removal spell. In an aggressive deck this can easily finish off your opponent with an x=5. As well, this spell can act as removal, burning a creature out. Also if you need to finish off a control player the uncounterable clause can help.

[c]Blades of Velis Vel[/c]: B-
This pump spell is a fine combat trick. The creature type is likely irrelevant in most decks, but being able to give two creatures +2/+0 in combat can either crunch in a lot of extra damage or make some favorable blocks for you. Since it is an instant, the card can also be used on the defense.

[c]Blood Ogre[/c]: B-
Depending on how aggressive your deck is, this is either a 2/2 for 3 or a 3/3 for 3. If you can get the bloodthirst to trigger consistently, this can be a fine on curve filler, and even at 3 mana for a 2/2 this can find a slot in most aggressive decks.

[c]Bloodshot Trainee[/c]: C
A 2/3 for 4 is nothing great to start off with. You would need either a lot of equipment or a lot of pump spells to be able to turn on a big burn engine. Unless you need a bad filler, it is probably not worth it to try to get him up to the 4 power.

[c]Brute Force[/c]: B
I’d be happy to pick up a red [c]Giant Growth[/c]. [c]Giant Growth[/c] is already a great combat trick on its own. The boost in power and toughness means that you can use this to save a blocked creature, bolt your opponent by giving the boost to an unblocked creature, or make one of your guys block well. I would pick up a few of this versatile cheap combat trick.

[c]Burst Lightning[/c]: B-
Most the time this is a [c]Shock[/c], which isn’t the best burn in the set. If this is kicked then it becomes a slightly worse [c]Lava Axe[/c]. All around this isn’t a bad burn spell. It gives you options, but it isn’t the most efficient burn spell around.

[c]Combust[/c]: S
Against a white or blue deck, this is an amazingly efficient removal spell. I wouldn’t recommend this maindeck but it definitely finds a good home in the sideboard.

[c]Comet Storm[/c]: B+
This letdown of a mythic is still a fairly effective [c]Fireball[/c]. Although this costs one more mana than [c]Banefire[/c] and is always counterable, for a slower red deck this can hit not only a player, but also 1-2 creatures. For this reason, this is still an effective and scalable burn or removable spell.

[c]Dragonsoul Knight[/c]: C-
I do not at all suggest to try to build a 5 color domain deck. Since this archetype isn’t really a viable option, this is just an intimidating 2/2 first strike for 3.

[c]Fiery Fall[/c]: C
This very highly costed burn spell is a bit of a letdown as a finisher. First of all, it costs 6 for 5 damage, not the greatest efficiency. As well, the damage only hits creatures. It basically removes one creature for 6 mana. The best part of the card is the basic landcycling.

[c]Goblin Fireslinger[/c]: C+
This 1/1 for 1 is a decent aggressive creature that can basically act as unblockable. He is a fine filler for an aggressive deck, but I wouldn’t jump on him.

[c]Goblin War Paint[/c]: C+
For 2 mana likely the haste clause of this card will not be relevant. An aggressive deck likely wont be able to play a threat and have 2 mana to spare, but, regardless, the boost in power and toughness provides a big boost on any creature.

[c]Gorehorn Minotaurs[/c]: B
Either a 3/3 for 4 or a 5/5 for 4, this card just depends on how consistently you can deal damage. Even if you can deal damage super consistently, a 3/3 for 4 still isn’t horrible and a 5/5 for 4 is quite good.

[c]Gut Shot[/c]: B
1 mana or 2 life for only 1 damage isn’t great, but it works as a burn spell. Simple as that.

[c]Hellkite Charger[/c]: A-
This is a pretty good bomb. A 5/5 for 6 that has flying and haste is just a very good big body on its own. It is fairly unlikely that you will be getting any extra combat steps off of him, but the ability is there and can potentially be used if you get a land and have nothing better the next turn. I would definitely pick this up for a R(x) midrange deck.

[c]Incandescent Soulstoke[/c]: C+
The elemental theme is definitely one of the weaker ones throughout this set. It is unlikely that you will get to cheat an elemental into play, but there are some spells that make a creatures all creature types, which allows you to take use of the pump. A 2/2 for 3 is a respectable body.

[c]Inner-Flame Igniter[/c]: C+
Again a 2/2 for 3 is not horrible in limited. Likely in any aggro deck 3 mana for a mere +1/+0 to your whole team isn’t quite good enough. In a slower deck, this ability may be used to push some extra damage through and I highly doubt you will activate it three times in one turn.

[c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c]: A-
This [c]Splinter Twin[/c] on a stick is very good. Even though it does cost {2}{r}{r}{r} for a 2/2 haste, it is likely that you can easily get a lot of value off of his ability. Copying something that has an enter the battlefield trigger or just another attacker, Kiki-Jiki provides invaluable value.

[c]Lightning Bolt[/c]: B+
This classic burn spell is just as good as ever. Use it to pick off a smaller creature or even hit to the face, this card is a very efficient use of mana and a card.

[c]Skarrgan Firebird[/c]: B+
Either a 3/3 flyer for 6 or a 6/6 flyer for 6, either way the cost is still respectable (of course a 6/6 flyer for 6 is quite good). What really brings this card over the top is not only its ability to be a finisher, but also its insane recursion. What was once a rare is still a very good common.

[c]Smash to Smithereens[/c]: S
Against an affinity deck, this card is not only great removal but also a [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]. I would pick one of these up for the sideboard.

[c]Smokebraider[/c]: B-
This is basically a 2 mana 1/1. Your deck will likely just become a UR good stuff deck if you don’t pick up a few of these guys. If you go die hard elementals, I grab some of these, if not, then just draft the good stuff.

[c]Soulbright Flamekin[/c]: C+
A 2/1 for 2 is a decent deal and giving trample to some of your 4/1s, 5/1s, 6/1s, etc. can be very useful. This ability may even resolve three times in a turn in a more midrange deck.

[c]Spikeshot Elder[/c]: C
This is little more than a 1/1 for 1. It is very unlikely that you will get any value off of his ability at all.

[c]Spitebellows[/c]: B-
A 6/1 for 6 is nothing great, but likely removing a creature when this big beater dies provides it enough value to be picked up. On top of that, you can evoke it to likely remove a creature for only three mana.

[c]Splinter Twin[/c]: A-
Much like its on a stick counterpart, [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c], this enchantment can provide a lot of value, whether providing another attacker or blocker or simply getting more value off of the creature’s ability. The problem with enchantments are that they allow for you to get 2-1ed.

[c]Stormblood Berserker[/c]: B
Even without the bloodthirst trigger, a 1/1 that likely can’t be blocked the first turn it is played is good value. If you can get the bloodthirst trigger then you get a 3/3 that has decent evasion. For only 2 mana, that is an amazing deal.

[c]Thunderblust[/c]: B
At five mana this will likely be chump blocked then crunch in a matter of a few points of damage, but it can bring down creatures with it. This is a pretty nice finisher in an aggressive deck and even works well in red midrange decks.

[c]Tribal Flames[/c]: F
As I said, five color decks aren’t going to work. This will never be an effective burn spell. I would not recommend picking these up.

[c]Viashino Slaughtermaster[/c]: C
A 1/1 double strike for 2 is decent. That is likely the whole value of the card, considering that I wouldn’t play 3 colors in this format, despite the bounce lands, and even then this wouldn’t be something I would want to put my mana into.

[c]Wildfire[/c]: B
At 6 mana, this can do a good job shutting out a player, but you will need multiple outs to let you win after this near wrath. There are so many situations where this just is a flat out waste of mana and very few situations that work out well for you. Regardless, this can be used as a one sided sweeper in a ramp deck and does deserve a slot in a lot of RG decks.

[c]Worldheart Phoenix[/c]: C
4 mana for a 2/2 flyer is fine in limited. That is all this card is. The {w}{u}{b}{r}{g} alternate casting cost is not very realistic. So the value as a filler is fine, nothing great.

[c]Wrap in Flames[/c]: B-
Not only can this pick off a few 1/1s, possibly 2 for 1 the opponent, but it can also let you alpha strike in for the final points of damage. This is a slightly less good and overcosted [c]Pyroclasm[/c], but I would still pick one or two up.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Green Cards in MM15

Now on to the green cards!

[c]Algae Gharial[/c]: C
A 1/1 for 4, even with shroud, is not that good. Its ability is to slow. It is way to slow to get any good value out of the card at all.

[c]All Suns’ Dawn[/c]: B-
The five color deck is not a viable option. Despite the cool art, you will never get full value out of this card. Regardless of this, in a 2 colored deck you can still get some good recursion value for your 5 mana, even if it isn’t the most efficient.

[c]Ant Queen[/c]: A-
A 5/5 for 5 is a nice starting point and being able to churn out tokens for only 2 mana a piece is a very good ability. Alone this is a nice sized body but the ability to either make many attackers or clog up the ground for a cheap cost is a very good ability and can help break board stalls.

[c]Aquastrand Spider[/c]: B-
A 2/2 for 2 is fine value. The graft ability gives it a little more value and the last ability adds little value to the card. It is a very narrow ability that likely won’t do much, but still it is a fine card.

[c]Bestial Menace[/c]: B-
Getting 5 power out of 5 mana is a fine trade. It is both good and bad that this power is dispersed throughout 3 tokens. For the pros, it clogs the ground and can help break board stalls. On the negatives, all 3 of these creatures are fairly small and can be killed quickly. Both the pros and cons are fairly minor and I still believe this card is fairly good.

[c]Commune with Nature[/c]: B
This is a solid cantrip for a green deck. If you are playing green, it is highly likely that you will at least hit one creature off of this card. At common, I would pick up a few of these as some early game action and to fill up your hand.

[c]Cytoplast Root-Kin[/c]: B+
Again a 4/4 for 4 mana with graft is nothing to laugh out, but both of the other abilities on this guy are relevant. In a creature heavy deck, this can get quite a few counters down on other creatures. The last ability can be used to push through extra damage or even a constant threat, as it was a combat trick on a stick. I would try to pick up these guys.

[c]Gnarlid Pack[/c]: B-
As I have said many times now, a 2/2 for 2 and after the first kick the card gets to have pretty bad value. The card is fine and the multikicker is an option to scale him up for the late game, but it is likely a 2/2 for 2 or a 3/3 for 4, both fine inclusions.

[c]Karplusan Strider[/c]: C+
3/4 for 4 has some value. About 40% of the time the card will have hexproof. I would definitely consider it for the average green deck but for some stronger green decks you may want to the sideboard.

[c]Kavu Primarch[/c]: B+
A 4 mana 3/3 with convoke is a very good deal, especially in the GW Tokens Convoke. You ca easily power this out for 3 or even 2 mana and the ability to make it likely a 7/7 for around 5 is a very good scaleable option for the mid to late game. I would try to pick up a few of these.

[c]Kozilek’s Predator[/c]: B
A 3/3 for 4 is fairly good in limited, but it isn’t great. What really helps this guy is the fact that he makes not 1 but 2 tokens that can be used to convoke spells, ramp, and chump block if needed. All of this makes him just as good as he was in the Rise of Eldrazi days.

[c]Matca Rioters[/c]: C
Again I don’t believe that the 5 color domain strategy will really work so at best this is maybe a 2/2 or a 3/3. I wouldn’t prioritize this common over much better commons in the set.

[c]Mutagenic Growth[/c]: B+
2 life or 1 mana for +2/+2 is fine value. What really brings this over the top is its versatility. Not only can this be used to crunch in some extra damage, but also as a fine combat trick even when you are tapped out. All of this I feel makes this a very effective combat trick.

[c]Nest Invader[/c]: B
A 2 mana 2/2 is nothing to laugh at. On top of that, you get a token that can convoke, chump, and ramp. All of this for only 2 mana is a good deal that I would pick up.

[c]Noble Hierarch[/c]: B
This Modern staple is not nearly as effective in limited. In general, [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] is just a 3 mana fixer and a mana dork. The exalted triggers doesn’t do much. Most decks, especially green decks, won’t want to only attack with one creature. The card is still quite good, but still not the best bomb.

[c]Overwhelm[/c]: B-
This near [c]Overrun[/c] can have the potential to be very good. At 7 mana it is not at all worth the cost, but with convoke this spell can get a lot cheaper. Although the convoke doesn’t work well with the rest of the card, tapping creatures to cast it. This prevents you from attacking with them. Even despite these fore comings, the card can be quite potent for an alpha strike.

[c]Overwhelming Stampede[/c]: B+
Another [c]Overrun[/c] like spell, at five mana this is likely a +4/+4 to all of your creatures. For 5 mana, [c]Overwhelming Stampede[/c] is a very potent [c]Overrun[/c] spell that can easily allow for a big alpha strike.

[c]Pelakka Wurm[/c]: A-
This is quite a good finisher. This wurm is a huge 7/7 for 7 with trample. A big creature with semi evasion and it doesn’t even stop there. You gain 7 life when it enters the battlefield and you get a card if it ever leaves the battlefield. All of this for 7 mana, this card has great value as a finisher

[c]Plummet[/c]: B+
For only 2 mana this is a very effective removal spell likely for a flying finisher. In some decks this could find its place in the sideboard, but I feel like it is still very potent in the mainboard.

[c]Primeval Titan[/c]: A+
This standard and Modern powerhouse is still an amazing powerhouse in constructed. For 6 mana you get a big 6/6 with trample. Not only that, but also you get to ramp out a ton of lands. This giant will likely finish off the game fast, if not then it will allow you to play the spells that will finish off the game.

[c]Rampant Growth[/c]: B
In some type of eldrazi ramp deck, this can be an efficient ramper and fixer. For only two mana, if you want to play stuff off curve then pick up 1 or 2 of these.

[c]Root-Kin Ally[/c]: C+
3/3 for 6 is not that great at all. Adding convoke makes the spell closer to an acptable 3 or 4 mana. The second ability I feel is to overcosted. 2 less attackers for only a +2/+2 bonus I feel isn’t that worth it.

[c]Scatter the Seeds[/c]: B-
5 mana for 3 1/1s at instant speed is pretty mediocre to start with, but to add convoke to reduce the cost, this can allow you to add chump blockers, attackers with sudo haste, or extra creatures to convoke all at instant speed. This is enough value to try to grab 1 of these.

[c]Scion of the Wild[/c]: B
What was once a rare is now still a glorious common. In a tokens convoke deck this can easily become a 3 mana 4/4 or 5/5. At this rate, the creature is just value, a second [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]. I would pick up quite a few of these at common.

[c]Scute Mob[/c]: A-
This is a nice finisher, despite its small size. Play this turn five and it is only one mana. If you can keep the fragile 1/1 body alive to untap with it, he is going to get very big very fast. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any form of evasion so he is likely going to just get bigger and bigger. This little bug is a good bomb in my eyes.

[c]Simic Initiate[/c]: C+
A 1/1 for 1 that can give a counter to another guy is just fine filler. Pick him up if there is nothing more exciting in the pack. Simple as that.

[c]Sundering Vitae[/c]: S
A 3 mana [c]Naturalize[/c] is a fine sideboard card, but having the option to convoke it and make it 2 or even one mana earns this card a fine spot in the sideboard.

[c]Sylvan Bounty[/c]: C-
Life isn’t that important especially in the GW Tokens and Convoke deck. For 6 mana, 8 life is no where near that important. The only thing that keeps this from a fail is the basic landcycling ability, which is at a reasonable cost.

[c]Tarmogoyf[/c]: A-
This Modern staple and the most valuable card in the set is not nearly as good in limited as in constructed. Of course he is still very good, but by turn 2, since there aren’t fetches, cantrips, and perfect curves in limited, he will likely be a 0/1 or a 1/2. Still, later in the game your 2 mana investment will likely result in a huge payout later in the game when the beast is around a 4/5. I would almost always try to snag this guy.

[c]Thrive[/c]: B
In a counters or tokens and convoke deck, this spell can provide a lot of value. If you have a lot of creatures on the board or even just a few this can add a counter likely to all of them. The only downside is that it isn’t instant speed.

[c]Tukatongue Thallid[/c]: B
This green [c]Doomed Traveler[/c] provides not only a small body, but another body when it dies. For 1 mana you get 2 power and 2 toughness. In a convoke and tokens deck (or any deck), this can provide a lot of value in convoking and chump blocking.

[c]Vines of Vastwood[/c]: B-
This classic infect pump spell can provide a lot of value. Against maybe a control deck an unkicked [c]Vines of Vastwood[/c] can make a difference, but most the time you this is {g}{g} for +4/+4 and shroud. At this cost, this will likely mean that you want to pick up a few of these.

[c]Wolfbriar Elemental[/c]: A-
A 4/4 for 4 is a fine deal. Hopefully you won’t just be playing this as a 4/4 for 4, hopefully you will be able to kick this 2+ times. If you can do this, then you will be getting a increasing amount of value. 4 mana for 4 mana, 5 mana for 6, 6 mana for 7, etc. At this rate, this wolf can work real well to flood the board with 2/2, which act as attackers, blockers, and convokers. I would pick this wolf up if you are in the colors.

dismember art wide

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Black Cards in MM15

Next up we have black.

[c]Bitterblossom[/c]: A
This faeries deck powerhouse is still as good as ever in limited. For 2 mana, you will be getting quite a few tokens. Even if they are 1/1s, not only do they have evasion, but they also can act as chump blockers and creatures to sacrifice. The life loss isn’t really that much. I would definitely snag this card if you see it.

[c]Bloodthrone Vampire[/c]: B-
2 mana for a 1/1 isn’t anything great, but being able to trade small creatures for a whole +2/+2 boost. At this rate, this vampire is a fine filler especially in a sacrifice and midrange deck.

[c]Bone Splinters[/c]: B+
A 1 mana destroy target creature is absolutely amazing value. In basically any black deck you can likely find a useless creature to sacrifice. If you are already going for the sacrifice archetype, this is the prime removal. Either way, if you are in black this will be quite good.

[c]Daggerclaw Imp[/c]: B-
This is a pretty good aggressive creature. Even at a 3/1 for 3, since it has good evasion this creature has nice value, especially as an aggressive creature. In general, it shouldn’t be a hinderance that this can’t block. I would definitely snag 1 or 2 of these if you are already going aggressive and even in a midrange deck he is a nice filler.

[c]Dark Confidant[/c]: A-
This Modern staple is still quite good in limited. Not only is it a decent 2/1 for 2, but also he provides an amazing amount of card advantage. Even if you do hit a bomb, the amount of life loss is nothing compared to the amount of card advantage. I would take this guy real quickly.

[c]Death Denied[/c]: B-
I really liked this spell in the first Modern Masters and now that the spirit and arcane theme is slightly supported, this card is even better. Personally, I found great recursion value even just to get back 1 or 2 cards back to your hand.

[c]Deathmark[/c]: S
Amazing removal against a green or white deck, but other than that I would keep it in the sideboard.

[c]Devouring Greed[/c]: F
First of all, I don’t think that I would want to sacrifice any number of spirits, especially considering that it would be traded for a simple life drain. If you add the 4 mana it costs to cast this, I wouldn’t even consider picking this.

[c]Dismember[/c]: A-
[c]Dismember[/c] is premium removal. Even just as a {1}{b}{b} target creature gets -5/-5, the card is great value and will likely get rid of any creature. What really brings this over the top is that it can be played in any color deck and can be a simple 4 life and 1 mana. As well, it is instant speed. All of this combined makes an amazing removal spell.

[c]Dread Drone[/c]: C+
A 5 mana 4/1 isn’t quite a great deal. Since it will be played in the midgame, the opponent will likely be ready to deal or trade with it. What makes this card fine is that it creatures acceleration, chump blockers, and sacrifice fodder.

[c]Duskhunter Bat[/c]: C+
Even just a 1/1 flyer for 2 is fine, but in a very aggressive deck with quite a few 1 drops this card can easily become a 2/2 flyer for 2, in which case it is pretty good filler.

[c]Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder[/c]: A-
My favorite EDH general is still quite good in limited. Especially in a sacrifice deck, this allows for any spell to provide its own sacrifice fodder and when the card isn’t a sacrifice outlet, Endrek provides some attackers or blockers or some sacrifice fodder. It is unlikely if you have a decent amount of sacrifice outlets that Endrek will ever dies (or if you have a big bomb of converted mana cost 7+). Endrek can really put you in a dirrection and can really help an already forming black deck.

[c]Ghostly Changeling[/c]: C+
A 2/2 for 3 is just fine and maybe the changeling ability will be relevant in a RB Elementals deck, but most of the time it means nothing. The pump ability is fairly inefficient but can still allow to crunch in some extra damage or block better.

[c]Grim Affliction[/c]: B-
In a counters deck is where this card gets most of its value. 3 mana for two -1/-1s and some other counters is a fine deal. At instant speed, this can act as a very nice combat trick. At this rate, it is a nice filler spell.

[c]Instill Infection[/c]: C
4 mana for a -1/-1 and a card is pretty bad deal. Even with both of these effects on one card, [c]Instill Infection[/c] still is very mediocre. It does allow you to hit another creature when you proliferate, but other than that it isn’t really worth the cost.

[c]Midnight Banshee[/c]: A-
{3}{b}{b}{b} for a 5/5 wither is fine value but a little heavy on the black mana. The wither works very well in a counters deck and on a 5/5 can really hurt blocks for your opponent. As well, especially in a mono black deck the second ability is amazing. Every turn making each of your opponent’s creatures weaker and opening any of them up to proliferate. Even in a two colored deck the cost you pay is fairly reasonable to the gain you get.

[c]Nameless Inversion[/c]: B+
For only two mana this can act not only as removal but as a pump spell as well. A -3 in toughness is pretty significant and a +3 in power can result in a lot of extra damage. With that much versatility, this is definitely good utility.

[c]Necroskitter[/c]: A-
A 1/4 wither for 3 is fairly nice value. As well, he is a very nice elemental in a deck that cares for this. As well, blocking can set the seed for proliferation. The second ability may have varying levels of potency. In a black midrange deck the ability likely won’t get to much use, but in a proliferate deck the ability could easily be a win condition. Just because of its potential, I would definitely still take this if you are in the colors.

[c]Plagued Rusalka[/c]: B+
A 1/1 for 1 is fine value. Also doubling as a pretty nice sacrifice outlet. It puts the creatures to decent use. The biggest problem with this is the 1 mana. This means that you have to waste a lot of creatures and likely a whole turn to bring down a big creature with this guy. He is a nice filler in a counters deck and fine in a black midrange deck.

[c]Profane Command[/c]: A-
With 4 all very potent modes, this can act in so many ways, all of which are scalable. It can act as removal, allow an alpha strike, an [c]Exaguinate[/c] style finisher, and a reanimation spell. Not only that, but it acts as two of these modes at the same time. With so much versatility and power level, this is probably the best instant or sorcery in black. The only downside is that it is sorcery speed.

[c]Puppeteer Clique[/c]: B+
A 3/2 flyer for 5 is nothing great, but this puppeteer has a bit more going for him. First of all he comes back as a 2/1 flyer after he dies once. As well, the biggest thing going for him is that you get to steal not one but two of your opponent’s best creatures, whether they died, were milled there, or simply taking a creature that traded with the Clique after its first death.

[c]Reassembling Skeleton[/c]: B
2 mana for a 1/1 is fine, but what makes this card a bit better is the recursion ability. For only 2 mana you can get this guy back. This makes him an invaluable chump blocker or sacrifice fodder. For this reason, this skeleton is quite a good card for most all black decks.

[c]Scavenger Drake[/c]: C+
4 mana for a 1/1 flyer is pretty subpar and in most sets the second ability would be just to slow but in this set the sacrifice theme is fairly prevalent. If you do find yourself with a heavy sacrifice theme then this card could be worth it. If not, then this card becomes a lot less good, likely being quite slow.

[c]Scuttling Death[/c]: C+
A 5 mana 4/2 is nothing great. Again likely by turn 5 the opponent will at least have decent trades with this guy. His ability is fine. It can complicate combat math, kill a 1/1, and most importantly return a spirit with converted mana cost 4 or less from your graveyard to the hand. This recursion value is what makes this card significantly better.

[c]Shrivel[/c]: B-
Likely all this will do is kill off 1 toughness creatures. This can really hurt against an aggressive deck. If you set it up well, this can also pick off blocking creatures. This is a usefully spell to have, but not quite a black [c]Pyroclasm[/c].

[c]Sickle Ripper[/c]: B-
2 mana for a 2/1 wither is pretty good value. It can be used for a 2/1 for 2 in an aggressive deck or still an aggressive wither creature in a counters deck. Either way, he is a fine pickup.

[c]Sign in Blood[/c]: B
2 mana and 2 life for 2 cards. I’d take that deal any day. This is a great draw spell for any black deck. The only real downsides are that it is sorcery speed and that it cost {b}{b}, a hard cost for a 2 colored deck by turn 2. Regardless, I would pick up one or two of these if they come to you.

[c]Spread the Sickness[/c]: B+
I’d be fine with {4}{b} destroy target creature, even if it is at sorcery speed, but this spell not only is non conditional removal, but it also fits in very well in the counters deck. I would play this even if you aren’t playing a counters deck.

[c]Surgical Extraction[/c]: F
In limited, this has no value. It does absolutely nothing. End of story.

[c]Thief of Hope[/c]: B-
3 mana for a 2/2 is fine. What puts it over the top is the life drain ability whenever you cast a spirit or arcane and you can get back one of your early aggressive spirits. I would pick this up especially if you are already devoted to the spirt and arcane theme.

[c]Vampire Lacerator[/c]: B+
This is the premium aggro creature. 2/2 for only {b} is great early aggression. The life loss really doesn’t matter. If you want to be aggressive at all, I would take as many of these as possible.

[c]Vampire Outcasts[/c]: B-
Either a 2/2 lifelink for 4 or a 4/4 lifelink for 4, this card is pretty nice value. Most decks will be able to deal damage turn 4, so at that rate as a 4/4 lifelink for 4, this card has great value as not only a nice sized body but can also gain you some life.

[c]Waking Nightmare[/c]: C+
Its an arcane [c]Mind Rot[/c] rot. That is fine as in filler in that deck. I would maybe take one of these if I want to be a bit more control-like, but it isn’t anything premium.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

White Cards in MM15

Now on to the white cards!

[c]Apostle’s Blessing[/c]: C+
1 mana and 2 life or 2 mana for protection not only from any one color but also artifacts is a pretty nice spell for a control deck. I would still consider this for some other type of white midrange or aggressive strategy.

[c]Arrest[/c]: A-
Even if it was just a [c]Pacifism[/c] for 3 mana, I would still take every one of these that comes around. But, this card is better than just a [c]Pacifism[/c]. For 1 extra mana, you completely shut down a creature. I would pick up every one of these that comes around.

[c]Battlegrace Angel[/c]: A-
5 mana for a 4/4 flyer is a fine deal. Even just attacking alone, a 5/5 lifelink for five is a fine deal. What makes this better is the potential for a voltron style deck and giving your best creature +1/+1 and lifelink is a good enough bonus on a 4/4 flyer. It is a nice bomb.

[c]Celestial Purge[/c]: S
Against a black or red deck, this card is amazing removal. 2 mana to get rid of anything on their board is great value, of course in the sideboard.

[c]Conclave Phalanx[/c]: B+
A 2/4 for 5 isn’t great value, but the more devoted to the convoke and tokens theme you are, the better this card gets. It can easily be 2 or 3 mana and gain you around 5 life. At this rate, [c]Conclave Phalanx[/c] is a key card in most convoke and tokens decks.

[c]Court Homunculus[/c]: C
Likely a 1/1 for 1, even if this does become an [c]Isamaru, Hound of Konda[/c], in terms of today’s creatures that isn’t that good. It is quite unlikely that this will happen. In particularly aggressive affinity decks, this can be a fine aggressive filler. In other decks, this is really just a 1/1 for 1.

[c]Daybreak Coronet[/c]: F
There are so few other auras in the set that this can’t really enchant anything at all, so in basically every case it is just a dead card in your hand. I wouldn’t even take it for a voltron deck.

[c]Dispatch[/c]: B
A 1 mana instant speed tap spell is pretty nice value. Stop an attacker or blocker at instant speed is pretty nice. What really puts this over the top is in an affinity deck, this is {w} for exile target creature at instant speed. That is insane value and is premium removal in an affinity deck and quite good value in any white deck.

[c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c]: A
A 4/7 vigilance for 7 is definitely subpar, although it does attack and block decently. What makes this a bonkers card is the fact that it makes your 1/1s better than their 4/4s and kills all of the opponents creatures with toughness 2 or less. This swings any board state very quickly in your favor the second it hits the battlefield.

[c]Fortify[/c]: B-
In a tokens and convoke deck, this can be 2 mana for an extra 4+ damage and more favorable blocks. Just that mode alone allows for a relatively cheap offensive combat trick. With the option to give a nice boost to all of your creatures’ toughness makes this quite a fine combat trick on the offense and the defense.

[c]Hikari, Twilight Guardian[/c]: B
This is basically a 4/4 flyer for 5 that has very conditional protection. A 4/4 in the air is nice size and body and for a fine cost of 5 mana. There really isn’t a flicker or enter the battlefield theme in Modern Masters 2015 and there aren’t a ton of instant speed arcane, so the second ability, although it may save Hikari occasionally, most the time it will do nothing. Still, it is a very nice in the air beater.

[c]Indomitable Archangel[/c]: A-
At even better value, a 4/4 flyer for 4 is a pretty nice deal and is a pretty nice in the air beater. Even if you can’t activate the metalcraft, this is a very nice beater. If you can, then it makes this card slightly better. Granted in limited shroud doesn’t do a whole lot, but in some cases it can provide some nice inevitability.

[c]Iona, Shield of Emeria[/c]: B+
It you get her down, this is backbreaking for the opponent. A 7/7 flyer that will likely shut down at least half of their deck. The biggest problem I have with her is her cost. 9 mana is a ton, not to mention the {w}{w}{w} included in the cost! She is great if you ever get to play her, but she is just so expensive, that is the big problem.

[c]Kami of Ancient Law[/c]: C+
A 2/2 for 2 is fine. That is likely all that the card is. It is very unlikely that there will be a really pesky enchantment where this comes in a ton of use, so it is just a fine on curve vanilla creature.

[c]Kor Duelist[/c]: B-
A 1/1 for 1 is fine value and if you do happen to be going for voltron deck (which I don’t think is that strong) then he definitely reaps the benefits of the enablers. I would pick him up if you already have a fine voltron shell, otherwise, unless you need a 1/1 for 1, I wouldn’t take him.

[c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c]: C+
There isn’t as much burn in limited. This doesn’t provide you nearly as much value as it does in a constructed format. You can’t aggressively mulligan into it and there isn’t a ton that is going to be targeting you. As well, 4 mana for hexproof isn’t great for the same reasons. It is basically a dead card.

[c]Mighty Leap[/c]: B
2 mana for evasion and +2/+2 is decent in my eyes. Play it on the offense or the defense, the spell is cheap and has a pretty potent effect, especially if you are jumping a big creature.

[c]Mirran Crusader[/c]: A
This is a great aggressive creature. 3 mana basically for a 4/4 is very good value and aggression. What really puts the card over the top is that it has protection from about 40% of everything. If you are in white, this is definitely the type of early beater I would pick up.

[c]Mirror Entity[/c]: A-
A 1/1 for 3 is not very good and there is really no use for the changeling ability. What makes this card good is its ability to break board stalls. Late game you can make all of your creatures huge. This could mean that only 1 creature getting through could be lethal. With mana open, this can close out a game fast.

[c]Moonlit Strider[/c]: B-
A 1/4 for 4 isn’t great, possibly better in a control deck. What makes this card a lot better is the ability to protect another creature on a stick. You can threaten to counter any of your opponent’s removal spells. As well, it recurs another spirit if you are going for the spirits and arcane deck, but even if you are just playing a control deck I would pick up a few of these.

[c]Myrsmith[/c]: B+
This is the premium card for an affinity deck. It doesn’t matter what the body is (although a 2/1 for 2 is nice), the ability to crank out not only creature tokens, but artifacts creature tokens as well allows for quick enabling of metalcraft and a flood of tokens. I would pick this up even if you are just thinking of going into affinity.

[c]Oblivion Ring[/c]: A-
This is premium removal. 3 mana for any nonland permentant. Little more than another [c]Oblivion Ring[/c] or a [c]Kami of Ancient Law[/c] can get rid of this. Even though it is at sorcery speed, I would splash for this if I need removal.

[c]Otherworldly Journey[/c]: B
Being able to flash a creature for only 2 mana is like countering a removal spell for only 2 mana. As well, the creature grows when it comes back. This can fit in with the arcanes and spirits or just be a good spell in a control deck.

[c]Raise the Alarm[/c]: B-
This is the premium card in a GW tokens and convoke deck. At instant speed you get 2 1/1s, all for only 2 mana. It floods the board with tokens that can block and convoke. Even in a non tokens and convoke deck I would consider picking 1 or 2 up, at common.

[c]Skyhunter Skirmisher[/c]: C+
Another fine creature for a voltron deck. Basically a 2/2 flyer for 3 is good, but if you are in the voltron deck then this can become a huge evasive beater. Even if you aren’t, it is fine value for some semi early aggression.

[c]Spectral Procession[/c]: B
This is the prime card in GW tokens and convoke, even more so than [c]Raise the Alarm[/c]. Even if you can’t cast it for {w}{w}{w}, 4 mana for 3 1/1s that fly is very good value. Again, they flood not only the ground but also the air with evasive creature, blockers, and convokers. I would even consider this in a different white deck, but it mostly does wonders as a GW Tokens and Convoke deck enabler.

[c]Sunlance[/c]: B+
This is more very good removal. It is close to a [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] in white. Granted it has some restriction, this can still bring down nice sized creatures and in conjunction with a chump block, much bigger creatures. Against some decks this is slightly dead and it is to bad that this doesn’t work as a combat trick, but still I would pick this up and add it to the pile of great removal in white.

[c]Sunspear Shikari[/c]: B-
Again in most decks this is just a 2/2 for 2 if you need it, but if you already have a voltron shell going, this is definitely one of the better cards to equip. Lifelink and double strike really helps pay the equip cost. If you are building a voltron deck, snag these. Otherwise, only take it if you need a 2/2 for 2.

[c]Taj-Nar Swordsmith[/c]: B-
A 4 mana 2/3 is nothing great, but what is great about this card is its ability to enable voltron. I feel like there aren’t a ton of great equipments in this set but they definitely are cheap. The average converted mana cost is a mere 2, with the most expensive being only 3 mana. This means that with 7 mana open you can get any equipment in the set and with 6 you can get quite a lot. What brings down this guy’s grade is the fact the he isn’t that good in any other deck.

[c]Terashi’s Grasp[/c]: S
Against an affinity deck, this is quite good. Not only do you get to destroy their best artifact for only 3 mana, but you gain some life too (granted it is at sorcery speed). This is a fine card to have in the sideboard if you don’t already have a ton of removal.

[c]Waxmane Baku[/c]: B
A 3 mana 2/2 is fine in limited, but this is a very big enabler for the arcane and spirit deck. You should fairly quickly be amassing ki counters on this guy. Tappers are always good in limited and what makes this guy better is that he can not only keep a creature tapped down, but can also tap down multiple creatures and keep himself untapped for a fog or to enable an alpha strike. What brings this guy’s grade down is that he is really just a 2/2 for 3 in a control or any other type of white deck (maybe you will get a little value), but in the devoted arcanes and spirits, this guy is quite good.

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Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Colorless Cards in MM15

On to the colorless cards (artifacts, eldrazi, karn, and lands). I’ll sort these alphabetically by subcategory: colorless, then artifacts, and finally lands.

Eldrazi and Karn

[c]All is Dust[/c]: C
A 7 mana sweeper is not that good at all. What makes this not a fail is that maybe an affinity deck might want to run this, as it is a one sided sweeper, but even then it is so expensive.

[c]Artisan of Kozilek[/c]: C
Again the same problem. It is just so expensive. Ramp isn’t really supported in this format. 9 mana is just so much. Again if you do get to cast it, it is a huge swing. Reanimating something and annihilator 2 on a 10/9 is big. Regardless, 9 mana is just to much.

[c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c]: F
I have to disregard the power level on this monster. There is no way to cheat this into play and 15 mana is WAY too expensive.

[c]Karn Liberated[/c]: B+
More expensive cards. 7 mana is achievable and you do get a payout when you play this. It can turn the tables in your favor and assure the win and even act as a restart button in some cases, but t is just so expensive, so that is what it really holding it back.

[c]Kozilek, Butcher of Truth[/c]: C-
More of the to expensive syndrome. 10 mana is just way to much for basically every deck. This is the only one of the eldrazi that may very vaguely be castable, which is why it doesn’t fail.

[c]Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/c]: F
11 mana is to much. I don’t care what it does. 11 mana is to much for limited.

[c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c]: C
8 mana is finally near the realm of castable in some decks (maybe a ramp or control), granted that you will need likely around half of your lands. If you do cast it, an 8/8 annihilator 2 is quite backbreaking for the opponent, but it can’t quite stabilize you as it can’t act as a blocker. Regardless, the 8 mana is the most prohibiting part of this card and that is why it gets such a poor grade.

Artifacts

[c]Alloy Myr[/c]: B-
A 3 mana 2/2 is fine in limited. What makes this card better is it’s ability to ramp and fix. He can attack and block fine. I would pick a few of these up for most affinity and 3+ color decks.

[c]Blinding Souleater[/c]: B+
A 1/3 for 3 is nothing that impressive, but what really makes this card good is the tapping ability. In my experience, tappers are very good in limited. Granted this goes a lot better in a white deck where you don’t always have to pay 2 life, it does leave the option to put it in any deck. Tap down a blocker at their end step then still tap down an attacker next turn. Keep a threat on the board tapped. Any of these things. Its like a removal spell that can change what it is getting rid of. I would pick a few up especially if you are in white.

[c]Cathodion[/c]: B
A 3/3 for 3 is fine. It is a nice body and has the added utility of making the opponent afraid to kill this, and when it does, you could get nothing out of the mana, which is still fine (you got a 3/3 for 3 so be happy) or you could use it to play to spells in a turn or ramp into something off curve. All of these are fine options to utilize this nice sized artifact beater.

[c]Chimeric Mass[/c]: B-
This is anything you need it to be. A 1/1 for 1, a 2/2 for 2, a 5/5 for 5, anything. As well, it can act as a 0 cost artifact. The more counters you put on this the less that 1 mana to activate it becomes and this can be a good late game mana sink, but generally this is just an on curve creature that takes 1 to activate.

[c]Copper Carapace[/c]: C+
For a total of 4 mana +2/+2 and can’t block isn’t quite great value, but it is an equipment, so this means a few things. First of all, it acts as a 1 mana artifact for affinity decks and helps voltron decks. As well, you can move it around and pay that 4 mana in 2 installments. For those reasons, this is a fine equipment to suite one of your creatures up with.

[c]Cranial Plating[/c]: B
I was very conflicted over what grade to give this card. It can be decent in voltron, but really shines in affinity, where you will be getting great value out of it. I don’t care at all if you aren’t playing black, the equipment is still really just as good. What brought the grade down slightly is that this is a fairly narrow card.

[c]Culling Dais[/c]: C
Although its effect can be potent in a sacrifice deck, a total of 3 mana, a few turns, and a few creatures with a payoff of only a few cards doesn’t find a spot in most decks. In the sacrifice decks, this is a decent sacrifice outlet, but there are better ones.

[c]Darksteel Axe[/c]: C
It doesn’t matter that this thing is indestructible, still, 3 mana for +2/+0 (and 2 of that on the equip cost) isn’t that potent of an effect. Maybe in a voltron or affinity deck, but in most decks this will be just another under par pumper.

[c]Etched Champion[/c]: B+
3 mana for a 2/2 is fine but not great, but the ability to make it untouchable is what really makes this card over the top. Metalcraft is not that hard to get, and this guy provides a big payoff for that. In non affinity decks, he is just a 3 mana 2/2, but in an affinity deck he (it?) is definitely a great early aggressive creature.

[c]Etched Monstrosity[/c]: B
A 5 mana 5/5 is fine. I highly doubt that you will be able to make him a 10/10, for {w}{u}{b}{r}{g}, especially turn 6. If you can then it is a great payoff, a 10/10 and 3 cards, but this will likely be a trap of a bomb. Still this guy is a big 5/5 that may intimidate opponents and fits in any deck, affinity or otherwise as a 5/5.

[c]Etched Oracle[/c]: C
Another artifact card that goes with the 5 color theme, although in most decks this is a 2/2 for 4, maybe a 3/3 for 4. There are very very few decks that can put this out as a 4/4 for 4 on turn 4. The only reason this gets a C is that in a proliferate or counters deck this can get up to a 4/4, which means a big payout in cards.

[c]Everflowing Chalice[/c]: B-
I like a 0 mana artifact, even if it just sits there and activates metalcraft. For 2 mana you can get a decent mana dork and the best part about this is that it is scalable. Lategame this can be easily generating 3 mana. The only real problems are that the mana is colorless and it is a little expensive, but still good.

[c]Expedition Map[/c]: B-
In a limited environment where all this does is fixing, it is a little expensive. 3 mana to fix your mana is a little much, and that is all that is holding this card back from being in most all decks that need fixing.

[c]Flayer Husk[/c]: C
A 1/1 for 1 is fine. 2 mana to give another creature only +1/+1 is just to pricey. This could be a bit better as one of your low end equipments in a voltron deck, but in most decks it isn’t quite worth the spot.

[c]Frogmite[/c]: B-
A 2/2 for 4 isn’t great and in most decks this frog will be just that, although, if you are playing affinity then this could easily cost 1 or 2 mana. If you aren’t playing affinity, this is way to inefficient, but if you are then this is just another piece to the puzzle. Fairly cheap and it enables metalcraft.

[c]Glint Hawk Idol[/c]: B
Again, in a decent amount of decks this is a completely dead card, but in any white deck it is a fine inclusion. Only 2 mana then another {w} to make this idol into a 2/2 flyer. What makes it even better is that in an affinity deck you basically get a 2/2 flyer for 2. I would pick this up if you are playing affinity or are in white.

[c]Gust-Skimmer[/c]: B-
A 2/1 for 2 is pretty average. What makes this playable is easy evasion. Jumping itself is a nice thing to do in the early game to get in some extra points. In a non blue deck I wouldn’t recommend this pest, but in an affinity deck this is nice and also just in a blue deck it is good.

[c]Kitesail[/c]: C+
Again this is a bit to expensive for most decks. Granted it does give evasion, a +1 boost in power really isn’t that much. What makes this fine is the ability to make a creature in a voltron deck have evasion. That is generally the only place where this shines at all.

[c]Lodestone Golem[/c]: B
This vintage shops powerhouse isn’t nearly as good in limited. A 4 mana 5/3 is a pretty good body, but that isn’t exactly the focus of the card (although 5 power is very nice). In a limited format, even in an affinity deck, you will still have a significant amount of non artifact spells. Although this will definitely hurt the opponent more, affinity in limited isn’t as aggressive and it doesn’t matter nearly as much that you opponent is slowed down by a turn while you are sometimes slowed down too. Regardless, the card still does have some value as both a 5/3 and in slowing down your opponent, so if you are going the affinity rout I would pick it up.

[c]Lodestone Myr[/c]: C+
A 4 mana 2/2 isn’t that good, even if it has trample (trample on a 2/2 doesn’t do that much). What makes this card fine is that in an affinity deck you might be able to pump it up a little. Its not the best of cards in an affinity deck and definitely not the best of rares and is quite bad in any other deck, but you could give it a try.

[c]Long-Forgotten Gohei[/c]: B-
In a spirit and arcane deck, this card can not only be an anthenem effect, but it can also reduce the cost of a lot of your spells. For only 3 mana, in that specific deck it is a pretty nice utility card to have. In any other deck it is completely dead. Maybe you will get a little boost off of it, but in general it is completely dead. So, if you are already headed down the path to spirits and arcanes then pick this up, otherwise, don’t.

[c]Mortarpod[/c]: B-
A 2 mana 0/1 that pings is fine. The ability to keep on equipping this to keep on pinging is what makes this good in a tokens or sacrifice deck. I would definitely consider this for tokens and convoke decks and sacrifice decks.

[c]Mox Opal[/c]: B
This staple in affinity can still do lots of work in limited affinity decks. Although you likely won’t have metalcraft turn 1, even if you get metalcraft turn 2 or 3 this is still a premium mana rock in any affinity deck, although its only power is in its ramping and fixing ability. Even though it has a good spot in an affinity deck, it doesn’t have any insane power.

[c]Myr Enforcer[/c]: B-
A 7 mana 4/4 isn’t great value in most decks, but with a 3 mana reduction this becomes a nice beater as a 4 mana 4/4 in an affinity deck. By turn 4 or 5 most decks can get a 3-4 mana reduction on this guy, making it worth the big body. If you are going the affinity rout, this can be a nice sudo finisher, if not, then this is a dead card.

[c]Precursor Golem[/c]: B+
5 mana for 9 power is a really good deal. Even if this is distributed over 3 3/3s, it is still a nice deal. In an affinity deck this is a very good finisher. It adds a lot of decent sized artifact creature tokens to the board. It can also be decent in a tokens and convoke deck and can generally find a home in any deck, if it needs a sudo finisher. The big downside with this is that removal hits all of your golems. In an affinity deck, this can be a huge blowout and it can still be a pretty big blowout in any other deck, although this can work in your favor if you use pump or protection spells.

[c]Runed Servitor[/c]: C+
A 2 mana 2/2 is a fine deal. In most decks, this will act as just that. In an affinity deck it can act as another artifact. When this guy dies, each player draws a card so it evens out, making this little more that a 2 mana 2/2.

[c]Rusted Relic[/c]: B-
In an affinity deck, this is a likely a 4 mana 5/5. By turn 4 most affinity decks should have metalcraft, if the relic doesn’t make the 3rd artifact. In an affinity deck, this is a nice big and efficient beater but in anything else this is dead card, which brings down the grade a little.

[c]Sickleslicer[/c]: C+
3 mana for a 2/2 isn’t great, but not only is this an artifact but it can also be a pretty effective equipment in a voltron deck. +2/+2 is a pretty potent boost and 4 mana is fairly reasonable. This can find a place especially in voltron and affinity (and maybe even a sacrifice deck).

[c]Skyreach Manta[/c]: C
For most decks this will be a 2/2 or a 3/3 flyer for 5, which isn’t that good of a deal. There are few decks that can get any value out of this card at all. Maybe an affinity deck might pick 1 of these up or a 5 color deck, but generally I wouldn’t recommend it.

[c]Spellskite[/c]: B+
This Modern powerhouse is still quite decent. Not only is it a 2 mana artifact, but also an effective blocker. In a blue deck this can just be an annoyance to the opponent, sucking up burn, removal, and pump spells, although the ability for it to suck up burn and removal means that its lifespan is short. In a non blue deck the 2 life can hurt quite a bit, but still I would consider picking this up in any deck.

[c]Sphere of the Suns[/c]: B
This acts as a decently cheap fixer and an artifact for affinity decks. If you need the fixing, this can fit the bill. Other than that, it does nothing.

[c]Sunforger[/c]: B+
In any deck 3 mana for the equipment then another 3 mana to equip is a pretty nice deal for +4/+0. In a RW deck the ability to fetch up basically any instant or sorcery in your deck is a very nice ability for only {r}{w}. I would definitely consider this for any deck, but I would strongly consider this for a white or red deck.

[c]Tumble Magnet[/c]: B-
Tappers are pretty good in limited. 3 mana for 3 taps is fine. If you are playing an affinity deck or need a filler then this is a fine filler. To watch out for, once you use it all up, it just sits on the board.

[c]Wayfarer’s Bauble[/c]: C+
This, similar to [c]Expedition Map[/c] is decent fixing but is a little expensive. Your first 2 turns are spent fixing (or maybe ramping a little). Unless you need the fixing, this isn’t the best card to pick up.

Lands

Guild Karoo Lands: B
E.g. [c]Azorius Chancery[/c], etc. In general, these lands all fix pretty well and allow for a bit of ramp and prolonged land drops. In a faster deck, this can shut down your turn 2, but in general this is the best fixing in the set and should be your first attempt if you need fixing.

[c]Blinkmoth Nexus[/c]: B-
Generally this is just a colorless land. Sometimes you can crunch in some extra damage in the air. Little more than that. Mostly it is just a colorless land and maybe an artifact. The 3rd ability means nothing. I’d maybe consider this in most decks, especially affinity.

[c]Darksteel Citadel[/c]: C
In most decks this is just a colorless land, which brings down the grade on this card significantly, but in an affinity deck this can be very good, acting as not only a land (since color matters a lot less, it doesn’t matter as much that the land is colorless) but also a free artifact. In an affinity deck, this is a pretty good land but it does nothing in any other deck.

[c]Eldrazi Temple[/c]: C-
Maybe if you have picked up some of the cheaper eldrazi then you will get some value out of the second ability, but most of the time this will just act as a colorless land and even in a deck that uses its second ability this card is not very potent at all.

[c]Evolving Wilds[/c]: C+
This is a nice fixer. If you need the fixing then this is worth the value. If you already have your colors set then this isn’t the best fixer out there.

[c]Eye of Ugin[/c]: F
This does nothing in basically every deck. Simple as that. I wouldn’t recommend this for any deck.

niv mizzet art wide

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Multicolored Cards in MM15

Now the last section, multicolored!

[c]Agony Warp[/c]: B+
This is pretty premium removal. For only 2 mana you can likely remove one creature and fog another creature. If this isn’t close to a 2 for 1, this can really mess up combat math for the opponent. This might not be a first pick as it puts you in 2 colors, but it is definitely quite good if you are in the colors.

[c]Apocalypse Hydra[/c]: A-
Either a 4/4 for 6 or a 10/10 for 7, this usually isn’t exactly on curve. Usually this will be played as an early aggressive creature or a chump blocker. The versatility makes it quite good and this hydra scales very well. Also you can ping things. If you play it small you can crunch for some damage then cash it out for damage and as a big hydra and ping off some smaller creatures.

[c]Ashenmoor Gouger[/c]: B
A 3 mana 4/4 is very good in any mono red aggro deck. It is an efficient beater that comes down fairly quickly. This is a nice card to have in any aggressive deck.

[c]Boros Swiftblade[/c]: B-
This is a fine creature in an aggressive deck. It is from the days when double strike is way overvalued, although this is a pretty good price for a creature who suites up very well.

[c]Creakwood Liege[/c]: A-
This is a [c]Call of the Heard[/c] every turn. All jokes aside, a 4 mana 2/2 is nothing great. Pumping your whole team with a potential +2/+2 every turn is very potent. This is another great card for the BG sacrifice deck. Not only does this allow you to get a little extra kick out of sacrifice fodder, but also pumps out tokens every turn to sacrifice. Even if it does leave you with an army of 1/1s afterwords, this is still a nice card for any BG deck, especially sacrifice decks.

[c]Dimir Guildmage[/c]: B
A 2 mana 2/2 is a fine deal. What makes this nice is that it is both an early and late game thing to do. It is versatile and a good mana sync. Whether you make your opponent discard or draw some cards, this is a nice pick up for any BU, B, or U deck.

[c]Drooling Groodion[/c]: B-
6 mana for a 4/3 isn’t very good. What makes this card very good is in a sacrifice deck, this is a very good sacrifice outlet. Even though this costs 4 mana, not only can this act as pump and removal, but can also really mess up combat math for the opponent. This is definitely a good sacrifice outlet if you are going for that deck.

[c]Electrolyze[/c]: B+
This is a very good removal and cantrips. For only 3 mana, this can easily be a 2 for 1 and get you a card. Even if it is just a 1 for 1, it still cantrips. If you are in the colors, this is just the kind of thing you want to pick up.

[c]Ethercaste Knight[/c]: B-
A 2 mana 1/3 is fine in limited, but exalted is a very nice ability. Even though late game in a limited game exalted isn’t nearly as good, as you usually don’t just want to be attacking with just 1 creature, in a fairly aggressive affinity deck not only is this a nice artifact creature but it can provide a nice boost to one of your guys.

[c]Fulminator Mage[/c]: B-
A 3 mana 2/2 isn’t great. In a midrange deck this is fine, but this isn’t nearly as good in an aggressive deck. The ability that makes this card great in constructed is basically dead in limited. Although you may get some use out of it, generally this is just {1}{b/r}{b/r} for a 2/2.

[c]Ghost Council of Orzhova[/c]: A-
There is lots to this card, but this is the kind of a strong card that puts you into a WB Sacrifice deck. If you pick up then you are likely going to only be playing WB, as it does cost {w}{w}{b}{b}, but its effects are quite potent. First of all it is a 4/4 for 4, a nice body. Also, granted sacrifice fodder, it not only protects itself but can also drain a lot of life throughout the course of the game. All of this combined makes [c]Ghost Council of Orzhova[/c] the premium card for a WB Sacrifice deck (although it doesn’t fit in most all other themes).

[c]Glassdust Hulk[/c]: B
First of all, this cycles for {w/u}, which is always a good bonus. If this is not needed, just cycle it away for another card. Now on to the real stats. This is a 3/4 for 5 and is an artifact creature. Although that is a nice body, what really makes this good is in an affinity deck you can just go artifact, hit for 4, repeat. This can close off games pretty fast and is fine even in a non affinity deck.

[c]Hearthfire Hobgoblin[/c]: B-
Again back to the days when Wizards thought that double strike was the most over powered ability, this is basically a 3 mana 4/2. At that rate it is a fine aggressive creature in a RW or mono red aggressive deck and this is a decent card to suite up, but it isn’t the greatest aggressive creature.

[c]Horde of Notions[/c]: C
Elementals are cool and this is a cool card but really it is just going to sit stranded in your hand. Even with its stats, it is just to hard to cast. I wouldn’t recommend picking this up. Even in a 5 color deck the payout isn’t huge.

[c]Lorescale Coatl[/c]: B+
This is a very good card. A 2/2 for 3 is fine. If you can power this out turn 2 than it gets even better. Every turn this just grows and grows. If you have card draw spells, graft, or proliferate then this just gets bigger faster. If this snake doesn’t suck up a removal spell then he is going to be a big problem for the opponent. This can get you and put you into the UG colors very well as a great 3 drop.

[c]Mystic Snake[/c]: A-
This is [c]Counterspell[/c] plus [c]Grizzly Bears[/c]. A [c]Counterspell[/c] on a stick is always a big surprise. Even at 4 mana ([c]Cryptic Command[/c] is 4 mana remember), this is great value. For essentially a 2/2 haste and a [c]Counterspell[/c], this is a great pickup to start or add to a UG deck.

[c]Necrogenesis[/c]: B
This set doesn’t even use the graveyard, so for only {b}{g} to cast and 2 mana to generally pump out 1/1s is quite good. This is the best uncommon for a GB sacrifice deck. It repurposes all of the dead creatures into more sacrifice fodder and at a decent cost to. Even if you aren’t in the colors this is still a pretty nice card.

[c]Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind[/c]: A-
A 6 mana 4/4 flyer is decently costed, even though there is a {u}{u}{r}{r} included in that cost. A 4/4 flyer is a nice beater, but what makes this card quite good is that it can not only act as a big flying beater also pings every turn and can draw you an extra card every turn. With this much utility as a beater, pinger, and a card drawer, the 6 mana cost is warranted. I would pick this up if you are in the colors.

[c]Nobilis of War[/c]: B+
A 5 mana 3/4 flyer isn’t great value. What really makes this card good is that attacking creatures get a big boost in power. This card is versatile, pretty good in a token deck, an aggressive deck as a finisher, or in a midrange deck. All of this makes this a fine pick up.

[c]Pillory of the Sleepless[/c]: B+
Although this is multicolored and is 1 more mana, this is the [c]Pascifism[/c] of the set. Not only does this shut down a creature, but for an extra mana it pings your opponent every turn. Granted this is 2 colors so it isn’t as first pickable, if you are even thinking of going into BW then this is the premium removal.

[c]Plaxcaster Frogling[/c]: B
A 3 mana 3/3 is a pretty good deal. In a GU counters deck, the graft really helps. As well, for only 2 mana giving the majority of your creatures shroud. For that value, this is definitely a nice graft card for any deck, especially a counters deck.

[c]Restless Apparition[/c]: C+
A 3 mana 2/2 is fine, even if it does recur as a 1/1 (although this is quite good in a sacrifice deck), but the ability to make this a 5/5 for only 3 mana can help you get in some extra damage or mess up combat math for the opponent. It is just fine card in a midrange or sacrifice deck.

[c]Savage Twister[/c]: B
This is a pretty effective mass removal spell. Although this is no [c]Pyroclasm[/c], it can still easily clean up the whole board. At only 2 mana to start, this can easily reset the board in a RG Ramp or Aggro deck.

[c]Selesnya Guildmage[/c]: B
Just as [c]Dimir Guildmage[/c], this has 2 good abilities that are decently costed. Whether you want to pump out 1/1s every turn or provide an anthem for your army of tokens, this is a late game mana sink and an something good to do early game. This is a quite nice pick up for any GW Midrange or Tokens deck.

[c]Shadowmage Infiltrator[/c]: B+
A 3 mana 1/3 with evasion is fine. Most of the time it will be unblockable, 1 damage doesn’t do that much damage. What really makes this good is that it is a consistent card draw engine. With the decent cost and a potent ability, this is a good pickup to start or add to a BU deck.

[c]Shrewd Hatchling[/c]: C+
A 4 mana 2/2 isn’t very good. If you are in a UR Elementals, Midrange, or Control, or a deck of U or R, this is a nice card. He will slowly (or even quickly) become a big 6/6 that has very nice evasion. He is a nice big creature for any deck in the colors.

[c]Sigil Blessing[/c]: B
Even just {g}{w} for +3/+3 at instant speed is fine, but in a tokens deck were you can easily get a total of +8/+8, this spell is potent enough to make the cut in basically all tokens decks and most all GW decks. This can act to crunch in a lot of extra damage or mess up combat math or be used as a combat trick.

[c]Swans of Bryn Argoll[/c]: B
This is generally a 4 mana 4/3, which is a fine deal. It is nearly indestructible, but if you are playing some burn then you can get some card draws off of this. Otherwise, it is a fine attacker or blocker, although it can be a big draw engine for your opponent.

[c]Vengeful Rebirth[/c]: C+
For 6 mana this spell is a bit to expensive, despite its potent effects. 1st of all, it is sorcery speed. 2nd of all, there aren’t huge spells that really need recurring. Since this spell is just a bit to expensive for its effects, it isn’t quite premium.

[c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c]: A-
If you are in the colors, this is a great pick up. A 4 mana 4/4 is pretty good but to boost all of your tokens is a very good effect in a tokens deck. Even though the last ability doesn’t matter in limited, it still provides a big anthem to all of your little tokens.

[c]Wrecking Ball[/c]: B-
For 4 mana, most of the time this is going to be a nice creature removal spell. In a RB deck, this is pretty nice removal. Most of the time this won’t hit lands at all, but it also has that option, but most the time this will be a 4 mana creature removal. No catches.

Blue | Red | Green | Black | White | Artifact and Land | Multicolored

Hopefully you made it through this very long article / primer and you are excited to draft Modern Masters. Again feel free to discuss any of my grades below!

-Dylan

 

Pauper Daily Report: May 18, 2015

slippery bogle art wide

Hello again, my friends. Another week, another Pauper Daily Event. I would have run Burn again, since I 4-0d with it last week, but didn’t want to bore you all by running the same list two weeks in a row. So instead I picked up my other most successful DE list, GW Hexproof. I like the list that Dain5 runs: the manabase is straight-forward so that even though you depend on your fixing enchantments and [c]Manamorphose[/c] to get {W} you don’t have tapped lands messing with your tempo.

Let’s take a look.

[d title=”GW Hexproof by Dain5 (Pauper)”]
Land
16 Forest
1 Khalni Garden

Creatures
2 Aura Gnarlid
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Slippery Bogle

Spells
2 Kruphix’s Insight
4 Manamorphose
4 Abundant Growth
3 Ancestral Mask
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl

Sideboard
1 Flaring Pain
3 Gleeful Sabotage
2 Hornet Sting
3 Moment’s Peace
3 Scattershot Archer
3 Young Wolf [/d]

Play a Bogle. Grow a Bogle. Bogle smash. Another simple game plan this week, let’s see how it works out.

Round One vs Burn

Burn is an okay match-up. If we stick our lifegain spells it’s pretty much GG, but we can certainly die before that ever happens. It’s pretty much a matter of who can count to 20 first. We are more likely to stumble since we have more components to put together, giving Burn a slight edge.

Game 1: We keep a one-lander on the play, but have a great hand otherwise. Our turn one Bogle hangs out for a bit while we Utopia Sprawl on t2, and then we get to live the dream of [c]Rancor[/c] and [c]Ethereal Armor[/c] right off the bat. He gets us down to 7 with burn spells on t3, but is tapped out. We rip [c]Ancestral Mask[/c] and swing in for lethal on our next turn.

Sideboard: We have nothing for Burn, really, so we keep the list as is and head into g2.

Game 2: We keep another one-lander, this time on the draw, and play a t1 [c]Gladecover Scout[/c]. Our opponent plays [c]Keldon Marauders[/c] and we’re not hitting our land drops, so we throw on a Rancor and offer the trade, which he takes. We’re stuck on land for awhile but our opponent can’t seem to close us out. By t5 we’ve got two guys on board, we’re at 10 life, and even though he has 3 cards in hand and a curse on us, we’re feeling pretty good. We don’t have {W} for [c]Armadillo Cloak[/c] but we’re making due anyway. On our t7 we’re down to 5 life and our opponent must be flooding because he doesn’t burn us out. We finally stick an Armadillo Cloak and swing for lethal, making the lifegain pointless anyway.

Match score: 1-0 | Game score: 2-0

Round Two vs Affinity

Affinity is always a hard match-up but it also just loses games to itself. We’re up against Eredion, who is my favorite Affinity player and who isn’t going to give away any games with silly mistakes, so we have to play our best.

Game 1: We’re on the play and by t3 have a Ledgewalker with an Armadillo Cloak and more gas to come. Our opponent is stuck on one land a turn too long and scoops after we cast Mask and swing with our 9/9 trampling life-linker.

Sideboard: IN 3x [c]Gleeful Sabotage[/c], 1x [c]Moment’s Peace[/c] | OUT 4x [c]Manamorphose[/c]. I don’t love Gleeful but it works fine here to keep our opponent stumbling. Moment’s Peace can be pivotal but I’ve been stuck with it in hand while I was [c]Fling[/c]ed to death one too many times to bring in the whole set. Manamorphose is my easy “side out” card though I’m not sure it’s correct to do so.

Game 2: Our opponent gets a much better start, so even though we’re quickly squaring off with a 5/3 lifelinked Bogle, he has 2 [c]Frogmite[/c]s and a [c]Carapace Forger[/c] to contend with and we can’t get through. On t5 I manage to swing through the stalemate with a 6/6 Gnarlid and the next turn I stick [c]Ethereal Armor[/c] on my bogle to swing in with him and the (now 7/7) Gnarlid. My opponent shoves everything into his [c]Atog[/c] to trade with the bogle, but I still get him down to 7 life and, after moving the [c]Rancor[/c] over to the Gnarlid I’m still showing lethal on the next turn and my opponent has no board left to speak of. He concedes.

Match score: 2-0 | Game score: 4-0

Round Three vs RUG Tron

This should be a good match-up for us. I’ve been shut out by [c]Circle of Protection: Green[/c] from the sideboard here, though, so we need to consider that in our SB decisions. Otherwise this can be very one-sided, since Tron’s traditional tools to keep control until they stabilize don’t work very well against us.

Game 1: We keep another one-lander on the draw, but have all sorts of wonderful things if we hit any of our fixing. On t2 we swing with Bogle + Rancor and on t3, thanks to a land drop and 2x Manamorphose, we swing with a Bogle + Rancor + 2x Ethereal Armor. Our opponent put Tron together well enough but scoops to our lethal swing on the next turn that he can’t answer.

Sideboard: IN 3x [c]Gleeful Sabotage[/c], 1x [c]Flaring Pain[/c] | OUT 3x [c]Ancestral Mask[/c], 1x [c]Armadillo Cloak[/c]. Note this is how I SHOULD have sideboard both games, but for g2, even though I was thinking about COP:Green in particular, I only brought in the Flaring Pain and left out the sabotage.

Game 2: He sticks COP:Green on t2 and then keeps me from hitting him until we gets up to a lethal [c]Rolling Thunder[/c]. I never find my 1x Flaring Pain which is reasonable, and curse myself for messing up and not bringing in the sabotage this game. I definitely bring them in for g3.

Game 3: He is a bit slower getting the Circle out this game and I get him to 5 life before he stabilizes, but stabilize he does. Now having 4x answers to his Circles, I feel like I should be able to draw an answer eventually. He blows me up with a [c]Rolling Thunder[/c] on t12 because even though I saw 26 cards I never hit an answer to his Circles. I curse myself, my opponent, and the gods of luck. Mostly I swear at Gleeful Sabotage once I spot it another 7 cards down in my deck. Finally I swear at myself because had I boarded correctly in g2 I likely would have been able to win at least one of these last two games.

Match score: 2-1 | Game score: 5-2

Round Four vs Affinity

As I mentioned before, this is never not a tough match-up. Affinity can be just as explosive as we are, and in a stalemate on board, they will eventually just [c]Fling[/c] into us for a win, meaning that time is on their side.

Game 1: I get my first really stupid 7 and throw it back, keeping a reasonable 6 though (again) with just a single land. The fixing has been strong with me today, so I cross my fingers and go for it, especially since we’re on the draw. By t4 we are outclassed by his [c]Auriok Sunchaser[/c], a [c]Frogmite[/c], and an [c]Atog[/c] representing lethal. We have a 6/4 Bogle with trample and firststrike, but it’s not quite enough to kill him or counter his threat on the next turn. He uses his Atog to hold us back while he hits us in the air. He gets us to 6 life on t6 with three cards still in hand. This is the board state on our t6. (You can click the image to open a larger version.)

What’s the play?

Screenshot 2015-05-19 at 6.49.45 AM

The play I made was to throw [c]Armadillo Cloak[/c] and [c]Rancor[/c] on the Gnarlid and swing in. We get our opponent to 1 and gain a bunch of life, but remain dead to his crack-back the next turn + [c]Galvanic Blast[/c], which he has. (Pro tip: Affinity always has a Galvanic Blast in hand.) I think the better play is to grow the Bogle, hitting him harder or, at the least, netting us more life and killing a few of his creatures. What do you think? Did I throw away a win here, or was there no chance?

Sideboard: IN 3x [c]Gleeful Sabotage[/c] | OUT 3x [c]Ancestral Mask[/c]. Yes, I sideboard here different than my last Affinity match-up. I’m not sure why. I like my prior SB plan better because Ancestral Mask can be a huge back-breaker in this match-up and it feels wrong to bring it out.

Game 2: We keep *another* one-lander and cross our fingers, dropping the t1 Bogle. By t4 that Bogle has Rancor + Ethereal Armor + Armadillo Cloak, and our opponent scoops.

Game 3: We keep a three-lander with some guys and a Rancor and a Gleeful Sabotage, and pick up another Sabotage on our first draw. He manages to stick [c]Carapace Forger[/c] and Atog before we blow up his {R} and {G} mana sources and our remaining 2x Gleefuls stare balefully at his [c]Darksteel Citadels[/c]. We make some trades to protect our life total, and on t7 play a Bogle with a Rancor and Armor staring down an Atog and Darksteel Citadel on our opponent’s side. The only problem is that, at 9 life, I am dead to any two artifacts he plays and feeds to his Atog, so I can’t afford to swing in. He still has 17 life and I’m out of gas. We take a chance, swinging once to get him to 10. He cracks back for 1 and plays a Sunchaser, representing both lethal and an unblockable threat that will close the game quickly if I can’t win. After drawing land after land, we finally are forced to block the lethal Atog and lose our board, dying next turn to the Sunchaser and a [c]Myr Enforcer[/c].

Match score: 2-2 | Game score: 6-4

Wrap-Up and Videos

Nothing worse than going 2-0 into a 2-2 finish. Except, I guess, when you probably could have won those last two matches if you hadn’t made dumb mistakes. Not bringing in the right cards vs RUG Tron in game 2 was a back-breaker, and I have only myself to blame. The Affinity match in r4 was a closer thing; I’m not sure making different decisions would have won me that one, but I do feel like it was possible. Hexproof handled itself well, as it almost always does. We avoided MBC, which is the toughest match-up, and even Delver, for the second week in a row. Are we sure people are still playing those decks?

I know that they are but, hey, I’m happy to avoid them for now.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the write-up. Here are videos of the matches.

See you next week!

/bava

 

 

Community League #5: Classic Pauper, Week 1

community league 5 banner

Get your Pauper lists together, because it’s time to get this league rolling!

First, a shout-out to our Patrons. Without our supporters on Patreon we would not be able to do these leagues, which now occur every 2 months. For as little as $2 per month you let us do awesome things. If you’re not a patron already, please consider signing up today.

Here is a quick reminder of how this thing works.

League Rules

1. Classic Pauper lists may include commons from MTGO sets. It’s an official format in Magic Online, so just use the Pauper filter and you’re all set. You may play a new list every week or keep the same list, so long as each list is Pauper legal.

2. You get 3 points for a match win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss. A BYE counts as a win.

3. It is the responsibility of the winner to report their win. They should do so in the comment section of that week’s post. Your comment should look something like this: “Hi, fanofhistory beat bava this week, 2-1.” Report by the end of Thursday each week.

4. Communicate early and often. I will only send out the one email with all your contact information. Don’t lose it! Get in touch by email (it is much more effective than waiting around on MTGO). If no one communicates with each other or with me, that week’s pairing will be considered a draw. After two consecutive draw weeks due to lack of communication, you will be removed from the League. If one person is attempting to communicate and the other person is not, they should let me know. I will attempt to solve issues when I can, but when that doesn’t work out, the person who is trying to communicate will always get the win. Don’t wait until the last minute.

5. After the initial email all official league announcements will happen here on the site. I will update every Friday. You can always stay up to date with the link on the home page or by keeping tabs on the Events page. You can also get updates by liking us on Facebook or following me on Twitter @bava_mtg.

6. We’ll play 4-5 weeks of Swiss and then cut to Top 8. The league will end by June 28.

7. You can drop at any time. Please let me know if you’d like to drop before the next week’s pairings go up. You will always be welcomed back into subsequent league events.

8. Chat about the league or share lists over in our forums.

9. Contact me if you have any questions.

League Prizes

Prize support is enabled through the support of our patrons and sponsors. If you’re interested in sponsoring this event or future events, please get in touch.

Thanks to Jason Sirichoke (jsiri84) for contributing a $10 MTGO Traders Gift Certificate to the prize pool.

The winner of the league will receive 5 tickets and a $10 MTGO Traders Gift Certificate.

Second place will receive 5 tickets.

The best-ranking patron in the league will receive 10 tickets in addition to any other prizes they are due.

The winning patron will have to have been in good standing for at least one month, so go sign up now if you haven’t already!

I will double the prize payouts if we reach Patreon support of $200 by the end of May and maintain it through the end of the event.

Week One Pairings

With further ado, here they are. Good luck, have fun! If you have any questions, get in touch.

league-5-week-1

Commander Corner: Vorel of the Hull Clade

Welcome back,

[c]Vorel of the Hull Clade[/c] was the maze runner for the Simic during Dragon’s Maze. Though, his background isn’t exactly what you might expect. He was originally a leader of a small Gruul tribe. During his leadership, he gave the order to give territory away to the encroaching Boros Leagion, so they may set up a garrison. This move was to protect his tribe, but his followers quickly turned on him. He was cast out of the Gruul, and nearly died in the process.

Vorel, being a shaman, took his skills over to the Simic Combine, where his skills were a natural fit. Though he is more emotional than most of the Combine due to his Gruul background, he fit right into the Simic way of life and became a biomancer.

[c]Vorel[/c] is a very flavorful and deceptively powerful commander. His ability, which doubles the counters on specific permanents, resonates with his guild and their mechanics, evolve and graft. This ability, coupled with some ways to utilize those counters outside of just beating your opponents faces in, makes for a unique and dangerous build. What may seem unassuming at first will grow out of hand quite fast. Lets take a look at what this biomancer is bringing to the table.

arc1215_vorel_2

Once a Gruul leader, now a Simic biomancer. He utilizes his shamanistic powers to evolve and create new life in the Combine

[d title = “Vorel of the Hull Clade (EDH)”]
Commander
1 Vorel of the Hull Clade
Lands
1 Breeding Pool
1 Evolving Wilds
11 Forest
1 Gemstone Mine
1 Hinterland Harbor
7 Island
1 Llanowar Reborn
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Mirrodin’s Core
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Novijen, Heart of Progress
1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
1 Rushwood Grove
1 Saprazzan Cove
1 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Simic Guildgate
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
1 Yavimaya Coast
[/d]
[d]
Creatures
1 Avatar of the Resolute
1 Bane of Progress
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Champion of Lambholt
1 Chasm Skulker
1 Cytoplast Manipulator
1 Cytoplast Root-Kin
1 Den Protector
1 Draining Whelk
1 Experiment Kraj
1 Fathom Mage
1 Feral Hydra
1 Forgotten Ancient
1 Fungal Behemoth
1 Genesis Hydra
1 Gyre Sage
[/d]
[d]
Creatures Cont.
1 Heroes’ Bane
1 Hooded Hydra
1 Kalonian Hydra
1 Lifeblood Hydra
1 Master Biomancer
1 Mystic Snake
1 Novijen Sages
1 Phantom Nantuko
1 Prime Speaker Zegana
1 Protean Hydra
1 Renegade Krasis
1 Sandsteppe Mastodon
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Scute Mob
1 Vorapede
[/d]
[d]
Instants
1 Beast Within
1 Decree of Savagery
1 Krosan Grip
1 Pongify
1 Rapid Hybridization
1 Setessan Tactics
1 Solidarity of Heroes
1 Think Twice
Sorceries
1 Collective Voyage
1 Cultivate
1 Explore
1 Give // Take
1 Increasing Savagery
1 Incremental Growth
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Rampant Growth
1 Search for Tomorrow
1 Sunbringer’s Touch
[/d]
[d]
Enchantments
1 Doubling Season
1 Primal Vigor
Artifacts
1 Coalition Relic
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Darksteel Reactor
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Simic Keyrune
1 Simic Signet
1 Sol Ring
1 Thousand-Year Elixir [/d]

Cost: Paper = $425.43 | MTGO = 94.84 TIX

We are going to need a ton of dice. The amount of counters we can make is bananas. These creatures will get so large so quickly that your opponent probably won’t be able to deal with it outside of wrathing the board. This deck is very different and really speaks to the flavor of the Simic Combine and what they can do.

With this deck, you’re mostly going to be building your monsters instead of just casting them. Many of the creatures in here have very little, or no power at all, and rely on the +1/+1 counters on them to even survive. This is where [c]Vorel[/c] comes in. He will generate enough counters for the creatures to become a force to be reckoned with over the course of turn or two. We also have a couple of ways to generate more counters with [c]Doubling Season[/c], [c]Primal Vigor[/c], [c]Solidarity of Heroes[/c], and the handful of bolster effects. These effects will be able to generate humongous monsters that will crush our opponents into dust.

If, for some reason, this doesn’t work, we do have a backup plan. That plan is [c]Darksteel Reactor[/c].

[c]Darksteel Reactor[/c] is a perfect fit for this type of deck. With its ability to place counters on itself, and our ability to double those counters, we will be able to win the game in just a couple of turns. Its very simple, quick, and effecient, as there is no way to remove the reactor outside of exiling it. It doesn’t combo well with cards like [c]Primal Vigor[/c] and the other ways we can put counters on things, but it works well enough with [c]Doubling Season[/c] and [c]Vorel[/c] that its worth including as an alternate win condition. Its a fun and unique way to win outside of smashing your opponents.

The biggest problem with this deck that I’ve had so far is against a super grind heavy deck, we won’t be doing that well. If the opponent can keep our board clear, the likelihood of us winning will severely diminish. Outside of the [c]Darksteel Reactor[/c] win condition, we pretty much rely on our creatures to be able to get the job done. Without them, we are pretty much just dead in the water. We also tend to lean on our commander a bit, so if he is not sticking around that often, then our progress will slow down as well. We do have access to [c]Lightning Greaves[/c] though which will help immensely.

Overall this deck is a ton of fun and really speaks to the flavor of the Simic Combine. Its all about evolving and making our own monsters to tear apart the opposition. We also get to play a sweet alternate win condition with [c]Darksteel Reactor[/c] which is always hilarious to pull off. Its a deck that requires a little set up, but it will snowball quickly. If you’re looking for something fun to bring to the kitchen table, look no further. just make sure you have plenty of dice. You’re going to need them.

Thank you for checking out this week’s Commander Corner. As always, if you have any suggestions for a commander I should check out in the future, let me know in the comments below.

Next week, we go tribal. See you soon, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: May 13, 2015

nettle sentinel

This article courtesy Najay1 and is reprinted with his permission.

About this article

This is a weekly report on the online pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. It looks at the data that Tom the Scud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

The meta continued to develop this week, with the big story being W Tokens. The deck exploded onto the scene 2 weeks ago, and put up strong results in those weeks, but did not have quite as good of a week. Also, many of the top decks continued to put up middle of the road results. The tier two players came out to fight this week, and did very strong in the process. It’ll be interesting to see how these successful, yet less popular, strategies develop in the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading!

Winners

1. Stompy – Stompy put up one of its strongest weeks of late with a 69.2% cash rate and a 66.6% win rate. It was the 5th most popular deck, making up 7.1% of the meta. This is one of the decks that I expected to be strong going in, but has only really put up modest results. This week was a strong exception as not only did the 13 pilots put up 6 3-1s, they also put up 3 4-0s. Just absolutely insane numbers, and something that can be expected not to happen frequently. I would expect this deck to continue to put up strong results, but not close to as strong as this weeks result.

Strong Outlook

These decks all put up very strong results, but were at or under 5% of the meta, with 9 or less pilots, which means that their results are able to be more influenced by variance. All of these decks are known quantities, and many have been doing better recently, so it is interesting to see how strong they were, but the small sample size means they should be taken with a grain of salt.

1. UB Teachings / UB Angler – There again is two main flavors of UB Angler, but the Delver version seems to be getting slightly more results recently. The deck had 9 pilots for a prominence of 5.0%. The Delver version had 3 3-1s and 1 4-0 whereas the Teachings version had a lonely one 3-1. This makes for a cash rate of 55.6% and a win rate of 55.4%, both quite strong. This deck has consistently put up results and has continually grown. Based on the success of the deck, I wouldn’t expect that to stop.

2. Esper Fae Combo – One of the bogymen of the last format, this deck has slumped back into the shadows recently. Never one to have too many decks, it was just 3.9% of the meta last week with 7 pilots. They put up a cash rate of 57.1% and win rate of 58.3%. As there is only 7 decks, this could obviously be variance, but it is a bit of a departure from some recent bad results. At this point, I’m pretty confident that it will not increase in popularity too much (as it never did when it was one of the best decks) so maybe don’t watch out for this one too much.

3. UR Control – Another deck that was a lot more popular in the previous meta, UR Control has made a slow comeback to be a deck to look out for. Combined with UR Fiend Control, it could make up a decent force in the meta, but the decks do end up playing out differently. This week it had 6 results (3.3% of the meta) for a 66.7% cash rate and 68.0% win rate. Now this could be variance, but 4 out of 6 decks in the cash is still very strong. Also, it appears the decks are making some new card choices which could be a factor in their success as seen just a bit below.

kiln fiend art wide

Losers

1. Affinity – This was the top performer last week, and is now the worst performing deck. It had a 18.8% cash rate and a 35.3% win rate. Now, a lot of this seems to be from a bad record against non-top decks, 6-10. As Affinity is a very high variance deck, I’m not too surprised at the difference from one week to another. Sometimes Affinity can just get lucky and get strong results, this was the opposite of that. Part of this week to me says it was bad luck, but that is one of the downsides to playing a deck like Affinity. At that same point, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see the deck continue to do below average.

2. UR Fiend – UR Fiend has been very much average as of late. Even with the addition of Temur Battle Rage, the deck has not been able to get into solid tier one status. This week it had a lot less pilots than it has averaged, with a 6.1% prominence (compared to about 9% usually). Out of the 11 decks, 6 went 0-X. Looking at its matchups, the majority of that came from a 6-13 against those less popular decks talked about above. Usually, UR Fiend is strong against these decks as it can come out of nowhere to win and a deck that cannot deal with that very quickly will lose. I would expect this to change next week as it faces different rogue matchups.

3. W Tokens – The token machine jumped up to being the 2nd most popular deck with 9.4% of the meta in really just its 3rd week on the scene. One of the defining characteristics of this deck is how much it can fold to silver bullet cards. These were at least partially used as W Tokens fell to a cash rate of 29.4% and a win rate of 28.9%. A lot of that came from the fact that over half the decks went 0-X. This was at least a bit from the fact it went 4-4 vs. MBC, down from 6-0 last week. Most of the MBC decks were packing at least 4 hate cards between Shrivel, Crypt Rats, and Pestilence. Yet, the real culprit was probably the 4-17 record against those pesky rogue decks. This means it went 15-13 against the top tier decks which is actually really strong. As the rogue matchups change more rapidly than top decks, I would expect this to still be a viable option for the near future, even if not the best. I would expect the hate to grow which means that eventually the deck will probably have to go back into tier 2/3 status. I would expect this deck to be strong next week, but it will find too much hate at some point in the future.

distant melody art

Deck to Watch For

Elves – Not always the strongest deck, Elves is one of the combo decks that exists in pauper. With 4 pilots this week (at a total of 2.2% of the meta), they had 2 3-1s and 2 2-Xs for a cash rate of 50% and a win rate of 62.5%. As a combo deck, it is relatively resilient and puts out a ton of creatures (which gives it reasonable protection from sacrifice effects). The real interesting this to me was how each pilot did very well with the deck. Not sure how well it is positioned in the meta, but it seems to have done quite well for a rogue deck up to this point.

Brew of the Week

UR Control by carthaginians – There wasn’t too many brews that had success this week, but this UR Control deck seemed very interesting in the card choices it has. It plays 4 Beetleback Chief as one of its main threats. The Chief is a fantastic value in a format filled with lots of 1-for-1 removal. Additionally, he plays 1 Vulshok Morningstar to get more value out of the tokens and his 8 other creatures. Another one of the more interesting choices is 2 Harvest Pyre, not an option in the Treasure Cruise days, this allows the deck to take out things such as Gurmag Anglers in a deck that would previously have to spend 2+ cards to get it off the board. Really interesting choices for a deck that has seen some more success (as referenced above). Carthaginians was able to 4-0 one daily and 3-1 two others (over the whole week, not just from Tom’s dailies) and it looks like an innovative list.

Data

Thanks to Tom the Scud. Check out his Facebook and his [Big Fat Spreadsheet.

pauper-meta-5-13-15

PCT Results

The PCT is a weekly tournament hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesday at 8 pm est.

pct-5-13-15

 

The MagicGatheringStrat Show, Ep. 12

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

Section 2: Player run events

MPDC 29.05
11 May 2015
Standard · 18 Players
16 Decks · ~89% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st Fg by gonz
2nd Ksco Merchant by Papieru
T4 R by Alcarin
T4 Izzet Control by tazerdadog
T8 Mono-Red by IGotCareless
T8 Crazy_Grixis by Mace_Windu
T8 WUB by Nagi_Bultra
T8 Stubborn Dromoka Heores by rremedio1

Cruise Watch: 2015
1st Place: 0 Cruise
2nd Place: 3 Cruise
3rd Place: 0 Cruise
4th Place: 4 Cruise

Do my eyes deceive me? Another mono-colored deck as a winner? Well bless my stars, it is mono-green!

The winning deck:

FG
Standard · Unclassified
1st by gonz in MPDC 29.05 (5-1)

[d]
Creatures
4 Alpine Grizzly
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Glade Watcher
4 Stampeding Elk Herd
4 Swordwise Centaur
2 Aerie Bowmasters
2 Nessian Courser
2 Nylea’s Disciple

Spells
4 Aspect of Hydra
4 Epic Confrontation
4 Titanic Growth

Lands
22 Forest

SIDEBOARD
3 Plummet
3 Sedge Scorpion
2 Return to the Earth
2 Living Totem
2 Aerie Bowmasters
1 Savage Punch
1 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Hunter’s Ambush
[/d]

This recent push for mono green in both standard and standard pauper has inspired me to create an modern stompy deck in paper. We will discuss that on a future issue.

Now, lets look at an opening hand:

A decent keep. I wish there were some more protection but this is not a bad start by any means.

Now I want to show you the “curve”:

An actual curve. Such a novel concept in this meta.

Let’s look at the next six cards:

Not bad. Though you aren’t casting that Herd for a long, long time.

Would you have kept that hand? I don’t think you have much of a choice really.

Section 3: A preview

For months and months I have asked for pictures or video of you all playing Standard Pauper at your local store.

And now Mr. Johnnyinabucket has done it! I want to show you what you he did

fnm standard pauper

Look at that hot stuff! This picture was taken at “The Book Stan”

The Book Stan

Address:
6055 Phelan Blvd
Beaumont, Texas 77706
Phone (409) 833-2324

From the great state of Texas!

I have a full report and will give it to you on the next MagicGatheringStrat show!

Game of Thrones Chat S05E05 Kill the Boy

Dan and Thomas discuss the fifth episode of season five of Game of Thrones, called Kill the Boy.

We assume that you have seen the first four seasons and all the episodes of the fifth season up to and including this one when you listen to this. Otherwise there will be spoilers.

You can find Game of Thrones Chat on itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/game-of-thrones-chat/id972440953?mt=2

Please do not spoil anything from the books or later episodes in the comments to this podcast.
The fourth season on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjeCcjfkz_E&list=PLiLMS0AQ-jpBqXMsxwqnj1Hb9Uhk0bWqd
The fifth season will be published on Hard Nerd Cafe on YouTube as well as on itunes.

Talk Game of Thrones with us on Hard Nerd Cafe or
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Game-of-Thrones-Chat/233435420181626
or https://twitter.com/GameofThronesCt

Learn more about the Fan of History on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28o-28fc-t8
or check out the Fan of History podcast on itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fan-of-history/id958058555?mt=2

Tribal Fun in Modern #5: Fiery Elementals

incandescent soulstoke

This week we I have yet another fun tribe for you. Although this deck may not be quite as competitive as the last, it is an extremely fun aggro deck. So, here is the list.

[d title=”Elementals in Modern”]
Lands
3 Cavern of Souls
18 Mountain

Creatures
4 Ball Lightning
3 Coal Stoker
4 Nova Chaser
4 Spark Elemental
4 Flamekin Harbinger
4 Incandescent Soulstoke
3 Fulminator Mage

Instants and Sorceries
2 Fling
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lava Spike
3 Rift Bolt

Sideboard
2 Ingot Chewer
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Molten Rain
4 Rending Volley
3 Blood Moon
1 Dragon’s Claw [/d]

So, the deck looks a bit like some very strange Red Deck Wins. Following tradition, I am going to give you the run-down on card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

Card Choices

The lands are pretty self-explanatory. The deck is aggressive so the list only runs 21 lands and wants to play all of its burn so it doesn’t run the full playset of [c]Cavern of Souls[/c].

Going down the list, a large portion of the creatures are simply meant to be aggressive creatures that are also elementals. These include [c]Ball Lightning[/c] and [c]Coal Stoker[/c] who can allow very explosive turns. We also have [c]Spark Elemental[/c], and then [c]Nova Chaser[/c], who can champion[c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] for an extra tutor.

After those there is [c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] who obviously tutors for an elemental, [c]Incandescent Soulstoke[/c], who is the one lord in the deck and also allows for you to play some of your other creatures that already are going to die at a slightly cheaper cost, and [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] who does an amazing job at destroying man-lands, punishing greedy mana bases, and just general land destruction.

The instants and sorceries are a fairly straightforward burn package. The [c]Fling[/c]s synergizes well with the high power / low toughness creatures ([c]Fling[/c] plus [c]Nova Chaser[/c] could be game).

Flamekin Harbinger

Strategy

The strategy is much like any other aggro deck. Play all of your creatures, attack with them, burn the face or a threat. The only thing to note really is that [c]Nova Chaser[/c] can champion [c]Flamekin Harbinger[/c] for an extra tutor.

As well, the play style is much like a RDW. There is significantly less burn and of course it doesn’t splash white, but the feel is generally the same. As well, although the deck is quite aggressive, it isn’t that aggressive as the average RDW or Boros Aggro deck.

As I mentioned earlier, the deck isn’t horribly competitive. Its very fun to play with, don’t get me wrong, but the results from testing don’t exactly show me that this is going to win the next Pro Tour. In general it beats most control decks. It can have some trouble against Tron. The deck has survivable matchups against Abzan, Affinity, and Merfolk and generally loses against most forms of aggro and fast combos (RDW, Boros Burn, Infect, Twin, etc.) and basically everything else.

This is finally a sideboard that I am fairly happy about. The [c]Ingot Chewer[/c]s and the [c]Smash to Smithereens[/c] are both for Affinity, the [c]Molten Rain[/c] is for Tron and other greedy mana bases, even Abzan (it can replace [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] if he isn’t working), [c]Rending Volley[/c] is for Abzan, Twin, and anything else in the colors, [c]Blood Moon[/c] can be a good sideboard backup plan for Abzan, Tron, the mirror, and many other decks, and [c]Dragon’s Claw[/c] is good for the mirror and against other aggro decks.

The variants are when things get even more fun with the deck. As I said earlier, for the $150+ spent on [c]Fulminator Mage[/c]s and [c]Cavern of Souls[/c], the deck isn’t up to par on competitiveness. For that reason, here is a simple budget fix (including the sideboard).

mtg-morph-art

[d title=”Budget Elementals in Modern”]

Creatures
4 Ball Lightning
3 Coal Stoker
4 Nova Chaser
4 Spark Elemental
4 Flamekin Harbinger
4 Incandescent Soulstoke
3 Spark Elemental

Instants and Sorceries
2 Fling
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lava Spike
3 Rift Bolt

Lands
21 Mountain

Sideboard
2 Ingot Chewer
2 Smash to Smithereens
2 Molten Rain
4 Rending Volley
1 Dragon’s Claw
3 Searing Blood [/d]

And there is the deck for less than $100, and still basically just as good (especially if you are playing this at your kitchen table). A [c]Malignus[/c] or two could be added to the deck to spice things up a bit too.

As well, the other major change that could be made is to make it a 5 color [c]Horde of Notions[/c] deck. This would be a major revamp of the deck, so I am not going to talk about it in detail (if you would like I can discuss more in the comments) but here are two good decklists and deck techs for 5 color [c]Horde of Notions[/c] decks:

5-Color Elemental Blitz

Elemental Awareness

That’s it for this week. Again, feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments and I can talk with you about them.

Thanks! -Dylan

The Many Flavors of Goblins in Modern

krenkos command art

Hi all,

Everyone goes gaga over tribes, and Goblins are no exception. They’re cheap to buy and cheap to cast, and droves of them often swing for lethal by the critical turn four. Still, they aren’t producing results. Perhaps it is because we are giving them the wrong role. Consider where they are most powerful in Legacy: a slew of them mix with [c]Rishadan Port[/c] and [c]Wasteland[/c] for a control deck. Again, in Vintage, where many decks win with a few cards, the go-to game plan is [c]Goblin Lackey[/c] on turn one into [c]Goblin Warchief[/c] and [c]Earwig Squad[/c] on turn two. This is a very controlling strategy.

In Modern, we have been focused on one thing: attacking quickly, and reaching with [c]Goblin Guide[/c]. The most recent exciting thing for many Goblins enthusiasts has been [c]Howl of the Horde[/c]. A turn four triple [c]Goblin Grenade[/c] still doesn’t launch our green friends to success, though.

Instead of the aggressive strategy, then, let’s try and take Goblins through the other two modes of play: Control and Combo.

Control Goblins

What exactly are we trying to control with a red-based deck, and how do Goblins contribute to it?

Looking at Modern as a whole, we want to have favorable percentages, or at least plans, against Twin, Abzan, Affinity, Infect, Burn, and Amulet Bloom.

vs. Twin – First of all, we can assert the aggressor role and race. Traditional Goblins decks have been blown out by [c]Electrolyze[/c] in the match-up, but we can do better than a horde of x/1 creatures. Sideboard [c]Combust[/c] and [c]Rending Volley[/c] keep them off their combo plan, and other pieces of burn removal ensure that we can get there.

vs. Abzan – This is a nightmare matchup for Goblins. If they develop their mana, we will throw fodder into massive rhinos and lhurgoyfs until finally succumbing to the stampede. Goblins do not have to allow them to develop their mana, though. We have two of the most powerful effects against Abzan available: [c]Magus of the Moon[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c]. We can bolt their birds or target them with [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c].

vs. Affinity – It is strictly a race, but we can play cards that give us the edge in the race: [c]Tin Street Hooligan[/c] seems limited in scope, but a beater for two that grows is efficient enough. [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] keeps [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] shenanigans at bay, and our sideboard has the most powerful effects available to beat Affinity.

vs. Infect – Infect folds to sufficient removal. [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] and [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], coupled with a nice clock should eliminate their [c]Blighted Agent[/c] and [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] so that we can keep blocking and establishing a clock.

vs. Burn – Like Affinity, we are out to race Burn, but [c]Aether Vial[/c] keeps us from just losing whenever they have an [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] and are ahead, and [c]Dragon’s Claw[/c] post side will give us a lot of life since we are casting red spells as well.

vs. Amulet Bloom – We have the only relevant cards against the [c]Primeval Titan[/c] plan and the [c]Hive Mind[/c] plan: [c]Magus of the Moon[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c].

So why choose Goblins for a control deck, anyway? Well, [c]Goblin Rabblemaster[/c] has shown himself to be a capable card even in Jund Midrange, so if those same wheels get turning in Goblins, the train will be hard to stop.

Now that we know what we need to have a plan against archetypes, let’s see if we can build a deck with consistency and pressure.

[d title=”Control Goblins (Modern)”]
Lands
4 Copperline Gorge
8 Mountain
4 Stomping Ground
4 Wooded Foothills

Creatures
4 Ember Hauler
1 Goblin King
4 Goblin Rabblemaster
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Magus of the Moon
1 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Simian Spirit Guide
3 Tin Street Hooligan
4 Warren Instigator

Other Spells
4 Aether Vial
3 Blood Moon
4 Lightning Bolt

Sideboard
1 Blood Moon
4 Dragon’s Claw
4 Rending Volley
4 Searing Blaze
1 Shattering Spree
1 Tin Street Hooligan [/d]

If we’re being honest, this is really a deck that is looking for free wins with turn 2, [c]Simian Spirit Guide[/c] and [c]Blood Moon[/c] or [c]Magus of the Moon[/c]. Of course, while this works against a massive portion of the format, we have to place it in a shell that can still win otherwise.

Looking back at the list, I like our chances here against the format. The only deck that gives me a lot of pause is Zoo, and that is why the 4 [c]Searing Blaze[/c] are in the sideboard.

Combo Goblins

Modern does not have anything remotely close to [c]Food Chain[/c] in terms of power level, but when we fail to port a list from Legacy or Vintage into Modern, we know our next step: old Extended.

There is a long-forgotten piece of equipment that combined nicely with Goblins and Shamans there: [c]Thornbite Staff[/c]. Together with [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c], a number of infinite combinations are present. The easiest two are [c]Mogg Fanatic[/c] and [c]Lightning Crafter[/c], winning on the spot. [c]Ember Hauler[/c] may or may not win immediately, but he will certainly get you close. Aside from those, we can likely easily clear the board with [c]Siege-Gang Commander[/c] or [c]Lightning Crafter[/c].

[d title=”Combo Goblins (Modern)”]
Land
20 Mountain

Creatures
4 Ember Hauler
4 Goblin Chieftain
4 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Krenko, Mob Boss
4 Lightning Crafter
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Mogg War Marshall
1 Siege-Gang Commander
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Warren Instigator

Other Spells
4 Aether Vial
4 Thornbite Staff

Sideboard
4 Blood Moon
4 Dragon’s Claw
4 Rending Volley
3 Shattering Spree[/d]

Finally, since so many want to do stuff like this …

[d title=”Aggro Goblins (Modern)”]
Land
20 Mountain

Creatures
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Goblin Buswhacker
4 Goblin Chieftain
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Mogg War Marshall

Other Spells
4 Dragon Fodder
4 Hordeling Outburst
4 Krenko’s Command
4 Obelisk of Urd
4 Shared Animosity[/d]

If it isn’t [c]Foundry Street Denizen[/c] into [c]Krenko’s Command[/c] (attack for 3) into [c]Hordeling Outburst[/c] AND [c]Obelisk of Urd[/c], then my friend, it isn’t curving out.

So will any green men rise to the top besides Elves, aided now by [c]Collected Company[/c]? I think if we shift gears away from Aggro, Goblins can do it!

-drinkard

Fan of History episode 12 – Great Civilizations of the World in 900 BC

Dan and Brennon give you a walkthrough of all the great nation states of the world in 900 BC. This includes states like the fledling Neo-Assyrian Empire, Elam, Babylon, the Olmecs, the Chavin, Zhou China and others.

Here is a map: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NlVs2ndVpA

World Politics 1000BC global overview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpOAqqdogXs

Contact information:

facebook.com/fanofhistory
twitter.com/thefanofhistory

This was made by a fan of history, not a scientist. The Fan of History wants to learn and he is happy to be corrected.

Music: “Tudor Theme” by urmymuse.

Used here under a commercial Creative Commons license. Find out more at http://ccmixter.org/files/urmymuse/40020

Pauper Daily Report: May 11, 2015

needle drop art

Hello, my friends. It’s been awhile now since Paupers & Kings wrapped up, and I’ve been trying to find a new series idea that thrills me. In the meantime, I’ve been playing lots and lots of Magic (check out the YouTube channel) but not writing quite as much. I thought an easy win and a good way to bring more Pauper content to the site would be to write-up the Daily Events I have been playing. I usually manage to get one in per week, generally on Mondays, so that syncs up well with a Tuesday article.

This week I played Mono Red Burn in the Daily Event. I’m not sure why I picked it, except that I thought it would do well against MBC and the various creature decks that try to work around MBC. It’s not a great match vs Delver, unfortunately, and the WW Tokens list that is super popular right now can also pack a lot of lifegain. But if I avoided those two pitfalls, I thought I could do okay.

As of this article, MTGGoldfish claims Burn is under 3% of the competitive metagame (just counting 3-1s and 4-0s). It’s practically a rogue deck at those numbers. I netdecked a list that mcguire8 used to win the May 9 Daily, since it had all the things I like in a Burn list.

[d title=”Mono Red Burn by mcguire8 (Pauper)”]
Land
2 Forgotten Cave
16 Mountain

Creatures
4 Keldon Marauders

Spells
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Rift Bolt
4 Fireblast
4 Incinerate
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Needle Drop
4 Searing Blaze
2 Shard Volley
4 Curse of the Pierced Heart

Sideboard
2 Electrickery
4 Flame Rift
2 Flaring Pain
2 Martyr of Ashes
2 Molten Rain
3 Smash to Smithereens [/d]

You can’t get a lot simpler than that. Play mountains, burn face. Let’s see how it went.

Round One vs BorosKitty

BorosKitty can pack a ton of lifegain, and they can race with a good hand. Anything they want to do (e.g. gain life) they can do over and over thanks to all the bounce effects. I’d put this match-up under 50% for Burn.

Game 1: I suspended [c]Rift Bolt[/c] into [c]Curse of the Pierced Heart[/c] and he proceeded to gain a lot of life from his [c]Radiant Fountain[/c] which he took turns bouncing along with his card-draw artifacts. He didn’t get any real pressure going until T6, but by then it was too late, since I top-decked another [c]Fireblast[/c] and, blowing up five of my lands (2x Blast, 1x [c]Shard Volley[/c]) I got him down to 1 life and let my Curse finish him off during his upkeep.

Sideboard: IN 3x [c]Smash to Smithereens[/c], 2x [c]Molten Rain[/c], 2x [c]Flaring Pain[/c] | OUT 4x [c]Curse of the Pierced Heart[/c], 3x [c]Needle Drop[/c]. Blowing up artifacts AND getting 3 damage in seems like a no-brainer, here. I brought in Molten Rain mainly to deal with things like Radiant Fountain again, while Flaring Pain stops a lockout from COP: Red, which most decks with White run 1x or 2x in the SB.

Game 2: He gets an [c]Azorius Chancery[/c] followed by a [c]Lone Missionary[/c]. I blow the Missionary up with [c]Searing Blaze[/c] only to have him cast another and start bouncing it. Annoying! On turn 5 he returns the Missionary to his hand and can’t recast it that turn, and I top a [c]Molten Rain[/c] to blow up his Chancery, cutting him off from white mana and keeping the Missionary stuck in his hand. The burninator in me cackles. Unfortunately it’s turn 5 and he still has 16 life. I get him to 7 with a [c]Fireblast[/c] and [c]Smash to Smithereens[/c] still in my hand, but unfortunately (and oddly) he has no artifacts in play. Turn 8 he plays a [c]Great Furnace[/c] before swinging in with his team, and in response to his attack I blow up the artifact land and fireblast him for exactees.

Match score: 1-0 | Game score: 2-0

Round Two vs MBC

Mono Black Control is probably the underdog, here. Their greatest threat is discard, but if we get Hellbent as quickly as possible, even that doesn’t matter. Once they hit 4 mana and up we do have to worry about [c]Tendrils of Corruption[/c] and then [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c] and then [c]Corrupt[/c] gaining them life. Not all lists play Tendrils, so the main goal here is to kill them before Gary starts coming down.

Game 1: We’re on the play, and [c]Chain Lightning[/c] into Curse gets us off to a great start. I love Curse on t2 since you’re maximizing the impact. Our opponent plays some [c]Cuombajj Witches[/c], and we [c]Searing Blaze[/c] both of them with landfall, then risk a [c]Keldon Marauders[/c] into a possible t4 Tendrils play from our opponent. He only has [c]Geth’s Verdict[/c], though, which is completely fine, and we close the game out with a [c]Shard Volley[/c] on our t5 (before our opponent gets to 5 mana).

Sideboard: IN 4x [c]Flame Rift[/c] | OUT 4x [c]Keldon Marauders[/c]. If he has Tendrils he will keep them in no matter what, but this way he will have to target his own creatures instead of ours. Flame Rift simply helps us close out the game as early as possible. We’re the aggressive deck here, so the symmetry of the card is fine, it’s still to our advantage.

Game 2: We keep a one-lander on the draw, which is rough considering our hand contains [c]Fireblast[/c], [c]Shard Volley[/c], and [c]Searing Blaze[/c]. We keep it anyway and draw another Fireblast. Damn. Our opponent hits us with a t2 [c]Duress[/c] and takes the Searing Blaze, even though we don’t have the mana for it and he has no creatures out. We draw a third Fireblast (double-damn!) and throw a [c]Lava Spike[/c] at our opponent’s head. On our third draw we finally hit our second land, but at this point we have 3x Fireblast, 1x Shard Volley, and 1x [c]Needle Drop[/c] in hand. Rough. Our opponent simplifies our life somewhat by casting [c]Wrench Mind[/c], and we happily throw away 2x Fireblast. At the end of his turn we throw a Volley into his face so that we can Needle Drop. This puts us back down to one land, our opponent at 10 life, and we draw a [c]Flame Rift[/c] off the Needle Drop and then a [c]Rift Bolt[/c] on our turn, which we suspend. So our opponent makes it to t5, but he’s stuck on 3 land and has almost no pressure with double witches on board. We draw another Flame Rift, he casts a [c]Phyrexian Rager[/c] putting him to 6, and we pick up another land on our next draw for the game, hitting with Rift for 4 and then our remaining Fireblast to close it out.

Match score: 2-0 | Game score: 4-0

Round Three vs UB Angler Delver

The closest I get to playing against Delver in this event, and he has plenty of counters (it looks like 8x main) and unkillable threats ([c]Gurmag Angler[/c]). This promises to be a tough one unless we can win before he stabilizes.

Game 1: He plays a t1 Delver. We had to mulligan a no-lander and end up with 3x Mountain, [c]Rift Bolt[/c], [c]Searing Blaze[/c], and [c]Fireblast[/c]. We drop a mountain and suspend the bolt. His Delver doesn’t flip, so we only take 1 and he spends his turn and mana on a [c]Preordain[/c] and a [c]Ponder[/c]. We hit him with the bolt and then Searing Blaze him and his Delver for 3. By t5 we’ve only seen one [c]Counterspell[/c] which hit a Curse, and we have him at 9 life with a Fireblast in hand. He gets an Angler to put some pressure on us and we keep drawing lands. He gets another Angler with counter mana up, and we finally rip a Lightning Bolt. He’s at 7, so if we stick both pieces of burn we win, but he counters the Fireblast and since we’re at 2 life with 10 damage coming in next turn, we concede.

Sideboard: IN 4x [c]Flame Rift[/c], 2x [c]Molten Rain[/c] | OUT 4x [c]Curse of the Pierced Heart[/c], 2x [c]Needle Drop[/c]. Curse is too fragile and slow at this point, and Needle Drop works best when you have the curses. Flame Rift can’t be [c]Dispel[/c]led and hits hard, while I have a theory that Molten Rain may help keep him off {B} mana and stop the Anglers.

Game 2: He starts off with two [c]Dismal Backwater[/c], which means he has black mana but is slow versus us in terms of developing the board and keeping up countermana. We hit him with Lightning Bolt, Rift Bolt, Needle Drop, and Flame Rift by t3, so he is at 11 and we’re at 16. He does land a Delver, which he flips on t3 with a [c]Brainstorm[/c] during his upkeep, and then he plays another Delver, leaving just one mana open. We cast Incinerate and Lava Spike on our turn since he only has the one mana up and they get through to take him down to 5 life. We have Lava Spike and another Incinerate still in hand. He flips the other Delver and brings us to 7, and we rip a Shard Volley. We have lethal in hand, but he has countermana up, now, and we can’t cast all three of our spells to push lethal. We pass with mana up and he brings us down to 1 with the Delvers, passing the turn with 4 mana up. EOT we cast [c]Incinerate[/c] which he lets through, but he counters the follow-up Shard Volley. We untap and draw a Chain Lightning, pretty much assuring our victory even if he has another counter since we have 2 castable burn spells. He seems to be out of counters, though, as the first spell goes through for lethal.

Game 3: We keep a beautiful 2-lander with lots of gas, and play a [c]Lava Spike[/c] to get things started. Our opponent gets stuck on one land for awhile and uses it to cast a lot of cantrips and filters to dig for more. We land some [c]Keldon Marauder[/c]s which we even get to hit him with (5 damage for 2 mana is great) and going into t4 our opponent has 9 life and a couple marauders staring at him, and we have 3 mana and 3 cards still in hand: Flame Rift, 2x Incinerate. He plays a Delver to block our Marauder and gets a third land into play. We cast 2x Incinerate on his EOT, which he lets through, going to 3 off the burn and down to 2 from my Marauders during my upkeep. We rip a Rift Bolt and get our Flame Rift countered, so we suspend the bolt. He counters the Rift Bolt, too, so we have to top-deck something. Chain Lightning off the top finishes him off, just as he was starting to stabilize with an Angler on board.

Match score: 3-0 | Game score: 6-1

Round Four vs Affinity

His explosive starts can outrace us and his 4/4s are out of burn range. He has [c]Hydroblast[/c] post-board to shut down some burn, too, so we have to work around that. Otherwise we just try and count to 20 before he does.

Game 1: We’re on the play and keep a nice 2-lander. We start with a Lava Spike, and he just plays a land and passes. We curse him and pass, and he plays another land, a [c]Frogmite[/c], and then passes back. We rip a Searing Blaze and play land 3 to deal 3 to him and remove the Frogmite, since it is one of the only creatures he has that we can blaze and it keeps his affinity count down. He plays a land on his turn and passes again, and we Needle Drop EOT into mountain #4. We play a second Curse and leave up bolt mana, keeping the mountain in our hand in case we draw another Searing Blaze. He casts two [c]Galvanic Blast[/c] on our EOT and a [c]Myr Enforcer[/c] on his turn, but goes to 9 off the curses and then 6 off our bolt. We rip a Needle Drop which we don’t need, but cast it anyway after the Fireblast gets him to 2, drawing into another Fireblast, so we finish him off on our turn rather than letting the Curses do it during his upkeep.

Sideboard: IN 3x [c]Smash to Smithereens[/c] | OUT 3x [c]Needle Drop[/c]. Affinity is why we have Smash, though it does work against [c]Spire Golem[/c]s and Kitty decks, too. Needle Drop is easy to take out since its impact is so small. I debate bringing in Martyr, but it’s such a horrible top-deck that we keep things simple instead.

Game 2: Our opponent mulls to 4 while we keep another one-lander on the draw. We rip a land straight off and bolt him to get things going. We have Fireblast, Smash, Incinerate, Searing Blaze, and Curse in our hand. After a mull to 4 I wait to see if he is stuck on mana, since then I could smash his lands, but he appears to have plenty of mana and no gas. We go with the Curse on t2 instead and he starts playing lots of artifacts that don’t impact the board and a [c]Thoughtcast[/c] to draw some cards. He puts a [c]Frogmite[/c] down t4 and I consider Smashing it, but drop my land next turn instead and hit it with Searing Blaze. He [c]Hydroblast[/c]s the Blaze, though, so we Chain Lightning him and bring him down to 8 after the next Curse ping. He gets to hit us for 2 with the Frogmite but doesn’t do much else, so on our turn we Smash the frog and bolt him, and he goes to 1 off curse during his upkeep. He knows he either needs to draw a way to win or destroy the curse and he doesn’t do either, so our opponent concedes. We still had [c]Fireblast[/c] and [c]Keldon Marauder[/c]s in hand, so it was going to go badly for him no matter what.

Match score: 4-0 | Game score: 8-1

Wrap-up and videos

We got some good matchups for the list, avoiding U Delver and WW Tokens entirely, but we still faced off against some strong lists. Burn shines because it is so consistent. Both UB Angler and BorosKitty can do very well against Burn, but they are also more likely to stumble. Affinity just beats itself from time to time, something we’re happy to take advantage of. And MBC does far worse, generally, when it doesn’t have any creatures to blow up. Yeah, he brought in discard spells, but they didn’t make too big a difference in the end.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think of this kind of event report. Here are the videos!

 

Commander Corner: Scion of the Ur-Dragon

Welcome back,

So what does it mean to be a dragon in the context of Magic? Should a dragon just smash and burn everything into the ground? Should they do their best to teach their wisdom to other beings? Should they try to dominate the multiverse? Or should they do anything at all? The concept of what a dragon is can be a little vague. Each legendary dragon in Magic tends to carve its own path, leave its own mark.

[c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] spends his time teaching his wisdom to his followers, while [c]Dragonlord Atarka[/c] tends to just smash and eat everything in sight. The battle between the sinister [c]Nicol Bolas[/c] and [c]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/c] has been raging over a long period of time. Each dragon follows its own path, yet they all contain the same blood. The blood of the Ur-Dragon.

The Ur-Dragon is not a creature though, it is a concept. It is the pinnacle, the paragon of what it means to be a dragon. This concept is what [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] is. He is a manifestation of what it means to be a dragon. His blood courses through every dragons’ veins. He literally is every dragon in existence. The blood of the Ur-Dragon lives on in every dragon that has come and gone and every dragon that has yet come into being.

[c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] is an interesting and flavorful design. The concept of the Ur-Dragon is shown very well with his ability. He allows you to search your library for any dragon and put it into your graveyard, then he becomes that dragon for the turn. This allows us to find the right dragon for the job, an ability that is extremely powerful and can easily swing the game in your favor. Outside of our commander, our deck is stuffed to the brim with powerful dragons that can crush our opponent in a quick fashion. As long as our mana is set up properly, we can crush almost anybody. Lets take a look at what the blood of the Ur-Dragon can give us.

ct252_ur-dragon

The blood of the Ur-Dragon lives on…

[d title= “Scion of the Ur-Dragon (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Scion of the Ur-Dragon

Lands

1 Ancient Ziggurat

1 Azorius Guildgate

1 Blood Crypt

1 Bloodstained Mire

1 Boros Guildgate

1 Breeding Pool

1 Cavern of Souls

1 City of Brass

1 Command Tower

1 Crucible of the Spirit Dragon

1 Dimir Guildgate

1 Flooded Strand

1 Forbidden Orchard

1 Godless Shrine

1 Golgari Guildgate

1 Grand Coliseum

1 Gruul Guildgate

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon [/d]

[d]

Lands Cont.

1 Izzet Guildgate

1 Mana Confluence

1 Maze’s End

1 Orzhov Guildgate

1 Overgrown Tomb

1 Polluted Delta

1 Rakdos Guildgate

1 Reflecting Pool

1 Rupture Spire

1 Sacred Foundry

1 Selesnya Guildgate

1 Simic Guildgate

1 Steam Vents

1 Stomping Ground

1 Temple Garden

1 Watery Grave

1 Windswept Heath

1 Wooded Foothills [/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Alloy Myr

1 Atarka, World Render

1 Balefire Dragon

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Bladewing the Risen

1 Broodmate Dragon

1 Courser of Kruphix

1 Dragonlord Atarka

1 Dragonlord Dromoka

1 Dragonlord Ojutai

1 Dragonlord Silumgar

1 Dragonlord’s Servant

1 Dragonspeaker Shaman

1 Dromoka, the Eternal

1 Gatecreeper Vine

1 Hellkite Overlord

1 Joiner Adept [/d]

[d]

Creatures Cont.

1 Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund

1 Keiga, the Tide Star

1 Kokusho, the Evening Star

1 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury

1 Lotus Cobra

1 Nicol Bolas

1 Ojutai, Soul of Winter

1 Oracle of Mul Daya

1 Ryusei, the Falling Star

1 Scourge of Valkas

1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death

1 Somberwald Sage

1 Steel Hellkite

1 Sylvan Caryatid

1 Thunderbreak Regent

1 Utvara Hellkite

1 Weathered Wayfarer

1 Yosei, the Morning Star

Instants

1 Dismember

1 Lightning Bolt

1 Murderous Cut

1 Path to Exile

1 Sarkhan’s Triumph

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Wear // Tear

1 Worldly Tutor [/d]

[d]

Sorceries

1 Crux of Fate

1 Farseek

1 Mizzium Mortars

1 Patriarch’s Bidding

1 Reap and Sow

1 Spoils of Victory

1 Tempt with Discovery

1 Tooth and Nail

1 Unburial Rites

Enchantments

1 Crucible of Fire

Artifacts

1 Chromatic Lantern

1 Coalition Relic

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Golgari Signet

1 Gruul Signet

1 Manalith

1 Sol Ring

Planeswalkers

1 Sarkhan Unbroken [/d]

Cost: MTGO = 201.28 TIX | Paper = $584.98

Its hard to go wrong with this many dragons. After the first few turns, we can start pumping out threat after threat until our opponent has been crushed under our might. We also have a small amount of reanimation with [c]Unburial Rites[/c] and [c]Patriarch’s Bidding[/c] to fully take advantage of our commander, and also give us a fail safe just in case if the board is wiped clean.

To win, you just have to smash face. Its that simple. Stick a threat and turn it sideways. Doesn’t get much more simple than that. What makes this a little more challenging is finding the right dragon for the job. Many of our dragons do different things. For example, if we need to go wide, we have [c]Utvara Hellkite[/c] which creates tons of dragons for us. If we need to simply go big, we have [c]Hellkite Overlord[/c] or [c]Atarka, World Render[/c] to close the game out right away. We can gain some card advantage with [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] or simply make our opponent discard their entire hand with [c]Nicol Bolas[/c]. Each dragon has a role to play and helps us attack our opponents from a different angle, all leading to our opponents demise.

[c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] helps tie everything together by being every dragon in the deck. Whatever the situation calls for, our commander will get the job done. If he is getting targeted by removal, we can turn him into [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] to protect him if need be. The only thing that we can’t protect our creatures from is a board sweep. Even so, we have [c]Patriarch’s Bidding[/c] to turn things around after a [c]Wrath of God[/c]. Whatever we need, [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] will become it. Unless if what we need isn’t a dragon. He can’t do that.

The same issues with any five color deck comes into play here, which is the mana base. We have heavy mana requirements so we need to prioritize our mana first and foremost. If we don’t have our mana base set up properly, we won’t be able to cast any of our sweet dragon spells. To help that, we have shocklands, fetchlands, guildgates, and five color lands to help us cast our spells. On top of that, we have mana fixers with signets, and mana rocks that can help fix our colors for us, as well as [c]Joiner Adept[/c] and [c]Chromatic Lantern[/c] to turn all of our lands into [c]Command Tower[/c]s essentially. If we can get our mana base working, it will be hard for our opponents to stop us.

This deck has been a ton of fun to test out over the past couple of weeks. It has been crushing opponents left and right, but not being an oppressive force. Its just a fun deck. If you like dragons, something tells me you already have a [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] deck of your own. If your looking for a new tribal deck to take for a spin, I can easily recommend this one to you. It is a bit pricey if you want to buy the real cards instead of on MTGO.

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions of what you want to see in a future article, please let me know in the comments below. Next week, we need a lot of dice. See you soon, my friends.

– Steven Gulsby