Tribal Fun in Modern #6: Elves

elvish visionary art wide

Today we will be looking at the infamous tribe of elves. This deck has a minor combo in it, but here is the list:

[d title=”Elves (Modern)”]

Creatures:
4 Arbor Elf
4 Devoted Druid
3 Elvish Mystic
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Heritage Druid
4 Elvish Visionary
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Elvish Archdruid
2 Ezuri, Renegade Leader
1 Imperious Perfect
1 Elvish Champion
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Regal Force
1 Reclamation Sage

Instants and Sorceries
3 Chord of Calling

Lands
12 Forest
3 Cavern of Souls
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Sideboard
3 Choke
2 Creeping Corrosion
3 Dismember
1 Plow Under
2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Tajaru Preserver
2 Spellskite [/d]

A deck rather similar to this top 16ed at a Grand Prix fairly recently, so I like to think that this is quite a good deck (and it is fairly budget). As always, 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.

Of course the deck is very creature-heavy, running 38 creatures. [c]Arbor Elf[/c], [c]Devoted Druid[/c], [c]Elvish Mystic[/c], [c]Llanowar Elves[/c], and [c]Heritage Druid[/c] all are the mana dorks of the deck. [c]Devoted Druid[/c] is part of a combo I will get to later. These all help accelerate into the bombs.

The [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c]s are great aggressive cards that basically always have vigilance and can help accelerate a lot with [c]Heritage Druid[/c].

The 1-of [c]Reclamation Sage[/c] helps toolbox against annoying artifacts and enchantments and can help game 1 against affinity.

The lords of the deck include [c]Elvish Archdruid[/c], who not only pumps you elves but also generates a lot of mana, [c]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/c], who provides protection and an overrun effect to all of your elves and is the second piece to the combo, [c]Imperious Perfect[/c], who not only pumps all of your elves, but also churns out elves him/her/itself, and a 1-of [c]Elvish Champion[/c] to fetch against anything that runs forests. So the combo, 2 [c]Devoted Druid[/c]s and [c]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/c] and 1 untapped land means that you can not only get infinite overruns, but also infinite mana.

Use that infinite mana to cast some of your big finishers. [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] and [c]Regal Force[/c], who both provide tremendous advantage and [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c] could win you the game on the spot.

The list only has 3 [c]Chord of Calling[/c] because I couldn’t really tell the difference and I really wanted the 19th land.

Speaking of lands, they are pretty basic. The [c]Nyxthos, Shrine to Nyx[/c] can generate a lot of mana most the time and the only reason I run 3 [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] rather than 4 is because [c]Chord of Calling[/c] requires triple green.

The strategy is fairly simple. It is a bit like an aggro deck. Play your mana dorks then very quickly you will be able to dump you whole hand and either beat down with the elves you already have or fetch a finisher via [c]Chord of Calling[/c] well before they’re ready to deal with it.

The deck feels very aggressive. Unlike the aggro decks of today, it feels very old-school. As well, it has a combo feel. It also is a big beatdown deck. To compare it to another deck, it feels like Storm or Affinity. There is one turn where you “go off.”

The matchups for the deck are decent. Generally it can beat Abzan and most control decks (UWx Midrange, Tron, etc.).

It has more 50%/50% match-ups against traditional aggro decks, RDW, Boros Burn, Infect, Scapeshift, and Affinity and probably has about a 40%/60% matchup against Twin, despite little interaction.

The [c]Choke[/c]s are for anything that is blue (Twin, control, etc.), the [c]Creeping Corrosion[/c] is for Affinity, the [c]Dismember[/c]s are for Abzan, Twin, and other creature-heavy decks, the [c]Plow Under[/c] is for Tron and Scapeshift, the [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] is for Abzan and any graveyard-based strategy (Dredgevine, reanimator, etc.), the [c]Tajaru Preserver[/c] comes in against Abzan, Death and Taxes, and basically anything that runs [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c].

Finally, the [c]Spellskite[/c] is for Twin, Burn, and anything else relevant.

Some other spins on the deck include removing the [c]Chord of Calling[/c]s and going for an all creature deck. Some creatures to add include [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c] and [c]Joraga Warcaller[/c] as another lord. As well, [c]Ezuri, Renegade Leader[/c] can be cut to 1 to make room for 4 [c]Chord of Calling[/c]s.

Also, you can change the numbers, finisher package, and play around with some spell-based interaction.

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

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.

vendilion clique art

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!

splinter twin art wide

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.

primeval titan art

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.

karn art

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

 

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

Tribal Fun in Modern #4: Merfolk Under the Sea

master of the pearl trident art

Welcome back to Tribal Fun in Modern! This week we have even more of an aggro deck than last week. We are going to be looking at the increasingly popular mono-blue merfolk. Lets look at the list:

[d title=”Merfolk (Modern)”]

Lands
2 Cavern of Souls
4 Mutavault
1 Tectonic Edge
14 Island

Creatures
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
2 Merrow Reejerey
4 Cursecatcher
4 Silvergill Adept
2 Master of Waves
2 Phantasmal Image
1 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
2 Spellskite

Instants and Sorceries
4 Spreading Seas
2 Dismember
3 Vapor Snag
1 Spell Pierce

Artifacts
4 Æther Vial

Sideboard
3 Tidebinder Mage
1 Swan Song
1 Spell pierce
3 Hurkyl’s Recall
2 Mana Leek
2 Stubborn Denial
2 Echoing Truth
1 Relic of Progenitus [/d]

Following tradition, I will go over the card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

Lands

The lands are fairly basic. Since we are mono colored there isn’t much to talk about. As I have said earlier, [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] is great in tribal and really there is no need to be cut. In some very rare situations you may get a hand of [c]Mutavault[/c], [c]Cavern of Souls[/c], and [c]Spreading Seas[/c] but I never got that so it isn’t much of a hindrance.

The [c]Mutavault[/c]s are great because not only do they generate mana, but they become 2/2 merfolk.

The one [c]Tectonic Edge[/c] is for the Tron matchup.

silvergill adept art

Creatures

The [c]Lord of Atlantis[/c] and [c]Master of the Pearl Trident[/c]s are a must have 4-of a piece. Not only do they pump your merfolk but also make them unblockable in tons of games, either because your opponent is playing blue already or because you cast [c]Spreading Seas[/c]. The [c]Merrow Reejerey[/c] on the other hand is not quite as impressive. He is definitely good, but not nearly as good as the other two lords. Sticking with the negatives, he costs three mana, which is high on the curve, and only provides one devotion. One the other hand, he synergizes well with [c]Aether Vial[/c]s and the tap/untap ability is useful, but he is not quite as good as the other lords. Despite this, his effects still warrants his inclusion.

Although some are opposed to him, I find [c]Cursecatcher[/c] is a great card. Not only is he a body, but if he is on the table it basically [c]Time Walk[/c]s your opponent (or at least stops them from playing anything that important for another turn). Even better he can be [c]Aether Vial[/c]ed in and act as a [c]Counterspell[/c] in that situation.

[c]Silvergill Adept[/c] is an automatic four-of. Not only is the extra cost clause easy to fulfill with so many merfolk in the deck, but also it acts as the [c]Mulldrifter[/c] of the deck. Although he may not seem great, pure value makes it so that he definitely needs to be a 4-of.

[c]Master of Waves[/c] is a fairly new inclusion to the deck but he is probably the biggest bomb in the whole deck. Considering that even by just turn 4 you can rack up a lot of devotion, not only will he create a ton of 2/1s, but also he can be a body himself with all of the buffs from lords.

[c]Phantasmal Image[/c] is an amazing and cheap [c]Clone[/c]. He is pretty self-explanatory. Copy an opponent’s best creature, copy your own creature, or [c]Aether Vial[/c] him in to respond to something, he is a cheap [c]Clone[/c].

[c]Kira, Great Glass-Spinner[/c] is a good way to protect your threats. She obviously makes it very hard to remove or even target any of your cards, which is an amazing ability, especially considering that she can be [c]Aether Vial[/c]ed in to respond to something. It is worth noting, of course, that she is not a merfolk.

To finish out our creatures we have 2 [c]Spellskite[/c]s. Of course they are an answer to Twin, but also they help against burn and are great blockers. I think their inclusion is fairly self-explanatory, considering that they are live basically every single matchup, even though they are also not merfolk.

Spells

[c]Spreading Seas[/c] is a staple in this deck. Not only does it help a lot in the Tron matchups and against other greedy decks that need a lot of mana requirements, but it also turns on islandwalk, which many times means that all of our creatures are unblockable (and this likely means you win the game very quickly). On top of all of that, it draws you a card when you play it.

[c]Dismember[/c] is the only removal in the deck. Since the deck is so aggressive, the removal is very light, but this can get the job done.

[c]Vapor Snag[/c] and [c]Spell Pierce[/c] are the control package. [c]Vapor Snag[/c] is a great tempo play and can answer a threat (temporarily). [c]Spell Pierce[/c] is the only counter in this whole mono blue deck, but again it can usually be used as a hard counter or at least a tempo play.

Finally, there is [c]Aether Vial[/c]. It is pretty obvious why this card is so good (and who at R&D put this at uncommon in Darksteel). Not only does this act like lands 22-25, but it allows basically all of the creatures to be flashed in. This is not only a way to be efficient with your mana, but also adds some control elements to the deck as well. Finally, it synergizes very well with [c]Merrow Reejerey[/c], being able to dump out your whole hand very quickly.

So, after praising [c]Cryptic Command[/c] last week, you may wonder why it isn’t included, not even 1, this week. This is not a mistake. No merfolk decks run [c]Cryptic Command[/c] because it is to slow for the deck and the deck doesn’t need/want its abilities. Some other cards I choose not to include were [c]Cosi’s Trickster[/c] as it only really triggers on fetches, [c]Coralhelm Commander[/c] as I felt it was to slow, and [c]Thassa, God of the Sea[/c] because I couldn’t find room for her (even though her power level is definitely on par) and I didn’t want another non-merfolk creature.

gtyb art

Strategy

The strategy, as I earlier mention, is very aggressive. You want to try to get as much damage in as quickly as possible. Since there is so little of a control element to the deck, it is very easy to play. Generally you are removing, bouncing, or countering the first opposition to try to push as much damage through as possible. Generally I keep my [c]Aether Vial[/c]s at two counters because most of my creatures are at two. I’ll let it go up to three when I really need to.

The deck plays a lot like a red or Boros aggro minus the burn. In general, the burn is replaced with effective burn that allows you to push through extra damage ([c]Spreading Seas[/c], bouncing, countermagic, and removal). If you like a deck like UR Aggro or even just RDW or Boros Aggro, then you will likely like merfolk just as much.

The deck’s matchups are somewhat similar to that of an aggro deck. It does pretty well against most traditional control decks, such as Tron and UW Midrange, has more of a 50%/50% matchup against Abzan (it can really depend on the build), RDW and Boros Aggro, and Infect and generally has poor matchups against Twin, [c]Scapeshift[/c], and other quick combos (it is hard for us to interact with these).

Sideboarding

The [c]Tidebinder Mage[/c]s obviously come in against anything red or green (Abzan, RDW, etc.).

The [c]Swan Song[/c] comes in against Twin, Aggro (haven’t quite decided if this is the right choice yet), Control, and anything else relevant.

The extra [c]Spell Pierce[/c] comes in against Aggro, Tron, Scapeshift, Infect, and other non-aggro matchups where you can afford to slow down.

The [c]Hurkyl’s Recall[/c]s come in against Affinity, obviously.

Again the [c]Mana Leak[/c]s come in against decks where you can usually afford to slow down a bit (Abzan, Control, etc.) and Twin usually.

[c]Stubborn Denial[/c]s come in against aggro, twin, and other racing matchups.

[c]Echoing Truth[/c] is usually a catchall, for Twin, Abzan, Aggro, basically anything to fill up the space of a dead card.

Finally there is [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] for graveyard decks and for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c].

In hindsight I put a lot of spaces for Aggro when I could have filled them up with something more relevant for the even worse matchups, but I can fine-tune the sideboard as I continue to test.

More thoughts

So the big thing I choose not to do with this deck is splash white. A few fetches, shocks, and a playset of [c]Wanderwine Hub[/c] opens up [c]Path to Exile[/c], [c]Harm’s Way[/c], and many sideboard options.

Of course the numbers can be changed too. Even splashing black could be viable. Some specific cards that I decided not to include that could definitely still be good in the deck and in your meta are [c]Thassa, God of the Sea[/c], [c]Coralhelm Commander[/c], and [c]Cosi’s Trickster[/c] (likely in the sideboard). The control and removal packages have some slight wiggle room. I wouldn’t go with more than 11 cards for both removal and control and the deck isn’t a control deck, it is an aggro deck.

There are many sideboard options. As my main resource for sideboards (since I am not very good at it myself) I usually use the compare feature of mtgtop8.com (it is a great website for netdecking and seeing the metagame, most the time at least). That shows you many more options for sideaboards, basically all of which I think are viable, depending on your meta.

There it is, my take on the ever-popular Modern Merfolk deck. If you have any suggestions at all feel free to talk about them in the comments (I do usually respond). Thanks for sticking with me, as today’s article was a little long again, but hopefully interesting.

Thanks!

– Dylan

Tribal Fun in Modern #3: UB Faeries

spellstutter sprite art

Hello, and welcome to another week of Tribal Fun in Modern. This time I am going to be looking at a tribal deck that most of you probably know: Modern Faeries! Although it is a lot less prominent than its blue tribal friend Merfolk, Faeries is an aggressive yet controlling deck that can win games fast. So, here is the list.

[d title=”Modern Faeries”]

Lands
3 Creeping Tar Pit
3 Darkslick Shores
4 Mutavault
4 Polluted Delta
4 Island
2 River of Tears
3 Watery Grave
1 Tectonic Edge

Creatures
3 Mistbind Clique
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Vendilion Clique
3 Snapcaster Mage
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Instants and Sorceries
4 Cryptic Command
4 Mana Leak
2 Spell Snare
2 Dismember
1 Go for the Throat
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Thoughtseize

Enchantments
4 Bitterblossom

Planeswalkers
1 Liliana of the Veil

Sideboard
1 Batterskull
2 Damnation
2 Disfigure
3 Spellskite
2 Sower of Temptation
2 Engineered Explosives
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Scion of Oona
1 Relic of Progenitus [/d]

So the deck looks like a fairly typical Modern Faeries list. Keeping with my style, I am going to give you the run-down on card choices (including what I didn’t run and why), strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

Card Choices

The card choices are fairly typical. The manlands are great at any point in the game. They help the aggression of the deck and generate mana. The color requirements aren’t that intense, so the hindrance isn’t that big. The fetches, shocks, and islands are for the fixing package and [c]River of Tears[/c] and [c]Darkslick Shores[/c] are in the same boat. They are very good in the early game (mostly when we need them) and still fine in the late game.

[c]Bitterblossom[/c] should need no explanation, but if you need it then here you go. It is just SO good. Alone it will win you the game by turn 8. Once it is down, you can play a very controlling matchup since it generates attackers and blockers, with flying. The life loss will almost never be a problem (maybe in the mirror) since you will be finishing off the game relatively quickly.

3 of [c]Mistbind Clique[/c] may be a bit of a strange inclusion, but not only is it a sizable body for a very decent amount of mana, but the champion ability isn’t really even a drawback. Worst case scenario you champion a [c]Bitterblossom[/c] token, best case you can champion a [c]Spellstutter Sprite[/c] and get another counter. To seal the deal, it has flash and can allow you to [c]Time Walk[/c] your opponent and mess up their combat all in one turn. It is a bit high on the curve, and they are tricky to play with, but I only included 3 because you don’t necessarily want to see it in your opening hand due to its high cost.

And now onto one of the other very important cards of the deck, [c]Spellstutter Sprite[/c]. Again, it is great in just about every situation. Worst case scenario it acts as a chump blocker, many times it is a [c]Spell Snare[/c] and a lot of the time it is a [c]Counterspell[/c] plus a 1/1 flyer.

The [c]Vendillion Clique[/c]s are a staple in Modern. Minimum, you get a 3/1 flash flyer. And it only gets better. You can target yourself and loot a card or you can [c]Thoughtseize[/c] your opponent.

I should need no justification for [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c]. He is just so good. Snap back anything from a counterspell to hand disruption to removal all on a 2/1 flash body. It is an auto-include and the only reason that there aren’t 4-of is because of space and instant/sorcery count.

[c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c] might seem like a strange inclusion, but I am trying him out in the deck (as are a lot of people). He has become an instant staple and he can really close out games fast, gaining you quick control of the game. He is like the 4th [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] and I feel that his inclusion inclusion is fully justified by his power level, even though he isn’t a faerie.

Again I shouldn’t need justify the inclusion of [c]Cryptic Command[/c]. The most common mode is counter draw, but the other two modes are always relevant. Even though it is four mana (and {1UUU}, which shouldn’t be a problem) it still provides control and tempo, all in one card (not to mention 6 mana and a [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c]).

The [c]Mana Leak[/c]s and [c]Spell Snare[/c]s are the rest of the control/counterspell package. The [c]Dismember[/c]s and the [c]Go for the Throat[/c] are the removal in the deck. The [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c]s and [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s are the disruption package. It is very helpful to not only see an opponent’s hand, but also taking away their best card in hand. For the time being, I have a 2/2 split for the two.

And finally, we have [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]. This Modern staple may be the strangest of all, but with the removal package fairly light, the sac ability can help a lot and well, the first ability never hurts. She is just another annoyance and target that the opponent has to deal with and you can always play her when you have nothing else to do. I didn’t run [c]Sower of Temptation[/c] because for 4 mana, although it is another flash faerie body, its effect usually isn’t that potent. Maybe you will snag a [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and sometimes it helps against Twin (that is the dream at least) but it just doesn’t pay out in the end.

You would think with removal constantly in Modern and burn more prevalent than ever, at least 1 [c]Scion of Oona[/c] would be present mainboard, but I found that it was fine sitting in the sideboard. Unlike most control decks, aggro isn’t as much of a problem for us and generally the aggro deck doesn’t point burn at our creatures. As well, it is a small 1/1 body and the +1/+1 isn’t usually that relevant (maybe it boosts the [c]Bitterblossom[/c] tokens). There are countless other cards that I am not running. The particular choices for my control and removal packages are both metagame calls and I can discuss further my choices in the comments.

Strategy

The strategy is a bit like any control deck. Of course skills like what and what not to counter have to be learned through experience and really can’t be explained in one paragraph. I would almost always play a [c]Bitterblossom[/c] over any counterspell. Once you have a [c]Bitterblossom[/c] out you can really just sit back and keep mana open for all of the instants and flash creatures in your deck.

As well, what to take with an Inquisition or [c]Thoughtseize[/c] is an acquired skill and heavily depends on the hand, deck, and board state but I will never hesitate to play them if I have nothing else to do that turn. Of course there are the obvious things such as activating manlands and [c]Tectonic Edge[/c] and the synergy between [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c] and delve, using Liliana efficiently (you only have 1 so use her well), and using removal effectively.

The hardest strategy unique to the deck is that of [c]Mistbind Clique[/c]. Many times it will be as simple as upkeep, champion a [c]Bitterblossom[/c] token, time walk you, then that’s the whole deal, or even just the same thing only during combat, or maybe just end of the opponent’s turn for the extra 4/4 flying body. In other scenarios, it is not that simple. Many times you have to pick between creatures on the battlefield, which enter the battlefield trigger is the best in the situation (even if that effect may not come at instant speed). Although the 4 mana is a bit steep, two of these guys in your hand can really help. This opens up for championing a [c]Spellstutter Sprite[/c] then playing your second [c]Mistbind Clique[/c] and getting another counter or the same with a [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c].

The play style is a bit like a UWX control deck, but all of your spells are on a stick. Although this might mean that you give up a bit of control over the game for a bit of board power, this makes a very potent combination of speed and control, and as I said earlier, once you get that [c]Bitterblossom[/c] out you can really just sit back on those tokens and play reactively, while still getting power on the board. I would say that anyone would like this deck (control or aggro players) but aggro player definitely won’t get the expected speed and turn three kills (and the strategy is way over their heads).

Match-Ups and Sideboarding

The matchups are similar to that of a UWX midrange deck, with a better matchup against aggro. I’ll quickly go through each of the archtypes and talk about the matchups.

Faeries have a decent matchup against Abzan. It is close to 50%/50%. You generally have answers for most of their big threats and creatures for things that leak through, so, this can leave you in a very attrition-based matchups, and since neither of the decks have a particularly good latter game (except for Abzan decks that run [c]Gavony Township[/c]). This can leave both decks on the topdeck.

Again the deck can float against a Boros Burn or RDW, but it still struggles to stabilize. In this matchup the 1 damage from [c]Bitterblossom[/c] can really hurt here. Affinity is like aggro, it can be difficult, but it is possibly with a decent hand. The hand disruption can really help with this matchup.

Tron is an interesting matchup. It’s probably 40% wins / 60% loses. The deck runs 1 [c]Tectonic Edge[/c], so if you draw that then it can really help. As well, countering their relevant fetch spells or their relevant threats, depending on their hand (again the disruption really helps here).

Twin is another fairly 50%/50% matchup. Of course there is luck on their part, will they get the combo. But also, your counterspells can really help to keep them off their combo for enough time to let you swing in for the win. Their burn is fairly irrelevant against our creatures once we get them down.

So now to the sideboard. The general space fillers to get rid of dead cards are [c]Scion of Oona[/c], [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c], and [c]Engineered Explosives[/c]. Of course some of these are bad in some matchups but all three of these cards are potent against nearly all decks.

The [c]Batterskull[/c] comes in a decent amount too, in mirrors and other control matchups and usually against most aggro decks. As well it can come in against Zoo.

[c]Damnation[/c]s are for matchups like Abzan that are very creature heavy. I’ve even tried boarding it in against aggro decks. As well it can come in against Zoo.

[c]Disfigure[/c]s come in against Twin for [c]Pestermites[/c] and against Aggro and Zoo and basically any deck that cares about 2/2s or even 3/3s.

[c]Spellskite[/c]s come in against Twin and Aggro (for the blocking) and anything else where you need to be on more of the defensive.

[c]Sower of Temptation[/c] comes in against a lot of decks that rely on creatures (Abzan, Tron, Affinity, even Zoo) and really helps against Twin.

[c]Tectonic Edge[/c] comes in against color-greedy decks and Tron.

The [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c] is for the graveyard hate. As always I had some trouble with the sideboard (I don’t get enough post-board competitive games in a week).

Your spin on the deck

This article is getting exceedingly long, so I will quickly run over the variations of the deck. You can change both the removal, disruption, and control package for whatever you feel is the best of these cards. Cuts include [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c], [c]Mistbind Clique[/c] (probably only 1), [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c], [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] (if he really isn’t working out for you) and [c]Bitterblossom[/c] (only cut 1 at most).

You can put an extra land, mainboard [c]Scion of Oona[/c]s (as I discussed earlier, depends on your meta), mainboard [c]Sower of Temptation[/c]s, and swords (I would try [c]Sword of Feast and Famine[/c] first).

So, sorry that this week is so long. Hopefully you made it through.

Again, leave any thoughts/suggestions in the comments.

Have a great day!

Dylan

Tribal Fun in Modern #2: Zombie Apocalypse

zombie apocolypse art

Hello again! Time for another installment of tribal fun in Modern! This week we are going to look at Zombies in Modern. So, without further ado, here is this list:

[d title=”Zombie Apocalypse (Modern)”]

Creatures
4 Cemetery Reaper
3 Death Baron
3 Grave Titan
4 Lord of the Undead
2 Vengeful Pharaoh
4 Geralf’s Messenger
4 Gravecrawler

Instants and Sorceries
4 Dismember
4 Thoughtseize

Enchantments
2 Zombie Infestation
2 Endless Ranks of the Dead

Lands
4 Cavern of Souls
3 Tectonic Edge
15 Swamp
2 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard
3 Liliana of the Veil
3 Hero’s Downfall
2 Infest
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
3 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Spellskite
1 Massacre Wurm [/d]

The deck runs quite well and I have found that the sideboard seems to work better than I ever thought it would have. Again, I am going to run down the card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

The cards intend to provide a quick early game, crunching in a few points, then rounding out the midgame and pumping all of your zombies and playing a [c]Grave Titan[/c] then winning. The lords are [c]Cemetery Reaper[/c], the [c]Imperious Prefect[/c] of the deck, [c]Death Baron[/c], an amazing way to let you take the upper hand, and [c]Lord of the Undead[/c], a great source of card advantage.

The early game mostly consists of [c]Gravecrawler[/c]s, [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s to keep your opponents off of whatever is good in their hand, [c]Zombie Infestation[/c]s, [c]Cemetery Reaper[/c]s, and [c]Death Baron[/c]s. All of these are early threats that can be quickly deployed and by turn three you can get a lord down and start to crunch in for significant amounts of damage.

The finishers in the deck include [c]Grave Titan[/c], [c]Vengeful Pharaoh[/c], and [c]Endless Ranks of the Death[/c]. [c]Grave Titan[/c] and [c]Endless Ranks of the Dead[/c] will easily take the game over if left unchecked (and [c]Endless Ranks of the Dead[/c] is rather hard to deal with). [c]Vengeful Pharaoh[/c] is just a huge body that is even more of a pain to deal with once he is in the graveyard.

The playset of [c]Dismember[/c] is the removal for the deck.

The land base is simply some Swamps, two [c]Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth[/c] for the [c]Tectonic Edge[/c]s and the [c]Cavern of Souls[/c], a playset of [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] because they NEVER hurt in tribal against control, and three [c]Tectonic Edge[/c]s just for the land destruction.

zombie horde art

The strategy is somewhat like any other Junk or Midrange decks. Depending on your hand and whether you are on the draw or the play, the deck will generally lead with either a [c]Thoughtseize[/c] or [c]Gravecrawler[/c] into a [c]Zombie Infestation[/c] then into one of the many three drop cards in the deck. After some beatdown in the midgame, you can play one of the finishers to take over the game.

The [c]Dismember[/c]s can deal with threats but the [c]Death Baron[/c]s can really help with keeping creature threats off, especially considering all of the recursion. The [c]Endless Ranks of the Dead[/c] can just sit there and let you win. [c]Zombie Infestation[/c], although it may not seem that potent in this deck, can just allow you to pitch irrelevant cards to it to churn out zombies every turn. The deck is quite easy to pilot. Probably the hardest thing is to pick which card to take from [c]Thoughtseize[/c].

The playstyle is a bit like a slow-paced Dredgevine. The deck uses the graveyard, but it does not heavily rely on it. Graveyard hate won’t really hurt you that much. As well, the deck is fairly midrangy, with some early game aggro. The deck also has an 8-Rack feel, considering that it is mono black. As well, the deck obviously has a lot of synergy, considering that it is tribal and all. The playstyle is quite unique.

zombie infestation art

With some tweaking I feel that this deck can really be competitive. At its current state it is not quite fully polished and finished off. There are still some minor changes that could be made (I need a few more games for testing). The deck squeaked out a few wins against Abzan, generally could hold up against aggressive decks like Boros Burn, RDW and Infect, but generally has poor matchups against some combo decks (Scapeshift especially, but Twin is quite the match too) and can sometimes just run out of steam against some control/UWX midrange builds (I feel like this could be one of the tweaks by adding something like [c]Damnable Pact[/c] for the card draw) and Tron, who usually beats us to the win.

Again I’m not great with sideboards, especially in mono black. I considered splashing, but I felt in the end the life loss in lands and some other factors didn’t make it strong enough. The Lilianas are for general use. They come in against most decks.

[c]Hero’s Downfall[/c] helps to support our removal package (this is a flex spot). I usually bring these in against Abzan and Infect and anything with annoying creatures.

[c]Infest[/c] tries to stop affinity and most aggro decks. I’ll bring these in against Boros Burn, RDW, Infect, Zoo, and UR Aggro.

[c]Grafdigger’s Cage[/c] is for anything that uses the graveyard (Dredgevine, Reanimator, Living End). [c]Spellskite[/c] is for the Twin matchup and the Infect matchup.

[c]Black Sun’s Zenith[/c] is for this too, and other uses, like aggro and affinity decks. Generally I’ll bring it in against anything but control.

Finally [c]Massacre Wurm[/c] helps in a lot of slower matchups (mostly control).

endless ranks of the dead art

Starting with the sideboard, basically anything can be changed. It is a fairly mediocre sideboard and really just a starting point. Mainboard, almost all creatures can be cut to 3 of (I try to keep the early aggression at 4 of) and the finishers can be cut to 2 if the deck becomes more controlly.

[c]Thoughtseize[/c] can be lowered if you don’t need the disruption.

[c]Zombie Infestation[/c] and [c]Tectonic Edge[/c] can be cut if you don’t want to discard and/or you don’t want/need the land destruction.

If he isn’t working out for you, [c]Vengeful Pharaoh[/c] can be cut.

Some good additions include [c]Army of the Damned[/c], [c]Damnable Pact[/c] for the control-heavy metas, and splashing either blue for cantrips and [c]Grimgin, Corpse-Born[/c] and some control or green for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], [c]Lotleth Troll[/c], and [c]Abrupt Decay[/c]. More removal could also be added to the deck.

There are lots of other edits in terms of number changes that can be made to the deck, most of which can be found through a simple gatherer search, but those are my starting suggestions.

Leave some comments and let me know what you think!

Have a nice day,
Dylan

Tribal Fun in Modern, Ep. 1: A Deadly Touch

lorescale coatl

Hello everyone, this is my first time writing for MagicGatheringStrat so to you I present my new series, Tribal Fun in Modern!

My name is Dylan Siegler and I have been playing since right around Kamigawa block and started to play competitively around Scars of Mirrodin. So, now that you know a bit about me, let’s jump right in.

The first tribe we are going to talk about today are the long forgotten snakes. Even though snakes have only truly been supported once in the Kamigawa block, this snake deck still has quite a deadly touch.

[d title=”Tribal Snakes (Modern)”]

Lands
4 Breeding Pool
4 Cavern of Souls
3 Forest
4 Hinterland Harbor
2 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood

Creatures
3 Coiling Oracle
3 Hooded Hydra
4 Lorescale Coatl
2 Lotus Cobra
3 Mystic Snake
2 Ohran Viper
1 Orochi Eggwatcher
2 Patagia Viper
2 Wasteland Viper
2 Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
3 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro
1 Kashi-Tribe Elite

Instant and Sorceries
2 Snakeform
3 Voidslime
2 Sosuke’s Summons

Artifacts
2 Coat of Arms

Sideboard
2 Mold Adder
2 Cobra Trap
1 Winds of Qal Sisma
1 Hooded Hydra
2 Coat of Arms
4 Naturalize
2 Chalice of the Void
1 Adaptive Automaton [/d]

So, now that you’ve seen the list, let’s look at the card choices, strategy, play style, matchup and sideboarding guide, and some different versions of the deck.

I am just going to go down the list, looking at each of the different types of cards and talking about their importance. Keep in mind also that all of the creatures are snakes, so I won’t even mention that.

[c]Coiling Oracle[/c] is in a world of its own, provide card advantage, ramp, and a 1/1 body.

As well, [c]Lotus Cobra[/c] fits in as a ramper, providing up to two triggers when fetches are played and cracked.

The control package includes [c]Voidslime[/c] and [c]Mystic Snake[/c], which can both serve as counterspells when really needed and the Mystic Snake is a flash 2/2 body too.

The one true finisher of the deck is [c]Hooded Hydra[/c]. Cast it as a morph turn three then flip him face up or just hardcast him, he is a big body and with any lord on the battlefield he has sudo indestructible.

As well, [c]Lorescale Coatl[/c] can get huge if you cast him early, so in most cases he can act as a finisher too.

[c]Ohran Viper[/c], [c]Wasteland Viper[/c], and [c]Snakeform[/c] are the removal in the deck. The deck lacks much non-creature removal, but the deathtouch on those snakes can get rid of most creatures (and [c]Ohran Viper[/c] can give card advantage when needed).

[c]Orochi Eggwatcher[/c], [c]Patagia Viper[/c], and [c]Sosuke’s Summons[/c] all generate 1/1 snake tokens. While the Eggwatcher is a big slower, it does the job. As well, [c]Patagia Viper[/c] acts a flying body. I have found in my testing that [c]Sosuke’s Summons[/c] provides so many snake tokens throughout the game that it could practically finish off the game on its own (granted they don’t have a [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c]). It comes back to hand so many times that it just provides so much value.

sosuke art

Finally, there are the lords. [c]Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro[/c], [c]Sosuke, Son of Seshiro[/c], [c]Kashi-Tribe Elite[/c] and [c]Coat of Arms[/c] are the lords of the deck. Sachi and Sosuke both provide that little boost in power or toughness and each have abilities of their own that can be helpful, whether it is ramp or deathtouch. [c]Kashi-Tribe Elite[/c] does do a good job at protecting the lords mostly and the tap down ability is useful, I have found that he is much weaker than I wanted him to be.

Then finally, there is [c]Coat of Arms[/c]. If you drop this thing, you will win. With all of the tokens and just the sheer amount of snakes, this can easily give all of your dudes +5/+5 or even +10/+10 and you will win if you resolve this at with any board state at all.

Lastly, there are the lands. All of the fetches, checks, and shocks are standard and [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] makes all of our creatures uncounterable and [c]Oran-Rief, the Vastwood[/c] can just help getting Hooded Hydras bigger or tokens and it is little of a hinderance that it enters the battlefield tapped.

I’ve found that [c]Sosuke’s Summons[/c] and [c]Coat of Arms[/c] are really just the all-stars off the deck when played turns 3 and 5, respectively. The [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] really hoses control and regardless fixes mana.

This deck runs a lot like a creature-heavy W/U Midrange deck and even a bit more like a control light faeries. Drop down all of your creatures as fast as possible, flood the board, make sure to keep mana open for a counterspell, and that is about it. Generally the deck can explode around turns three to four and continue to have gas from there on out.

Of course make sure to remember those Sosuke’s Summons triggers and don’t wait to play something just to get the Oran-Rief bonus. The deck can’t wait that long with little one and two-drops. One last thing to remember is that the deck runs 6 couterspells so, although it has a control package, the deck does not run like a control deck, so don’t go around countering everything.

The play style is a bit like faeries, so if you like faeries but want more of the green side of things, then that is what this deck is all about. Although it doesn’t have nearly as much control as faeries and not as much power in the air, the tribal synergies run deep and the creatures get big fast. So, if you like faeries (or even legacy elves) then the play style of this deck is quite similar and may appeal to you.

sachi art

The matchups and side boarding are as follows

In my testing I have found this deck has a good matchup with Abzan, Affinity, Mono-U Tron, and Twin (although this was probably luck) and has fairly 50%/50% matchups against RG Tron, Merfolk, Zoo, and Boros Burn and generally will lose against Storm and infect.

The sideboard consists of cards for most matchups ([c]Mold Adder[/c], [c]Hooded Hydra[/c]) some for attrition-based matchups ([c]Coat of Arms[/c], [c]Adaptive Automation[/c]), some against aggro and storm ([c]Chalice of the Void[/c], [c]Adaptive Automation[/c], [c]Winds of Qal Sisma[/c]) and a play set of [c]Naturalize[/c] for the affinity matchup.

The [c]Winds of Qal Sisma[/c], the [c]Adaptive Automation[/c], and the [c]Cobra Trap[/c] can all potentially be flex spots if you need to change the sideboard depending on your meta.

Your own spin on the deck

There are many directions that you can take with this deck from taking it in a much stronger control deck to a stronger tribal theme with more lords. You could cut blue entirely from the deck.

I haven’t really found a way to make the deck much more aggressive than it already is. I even found that a splash of black for [c]Dismember[/c], [c]Thoughtseize[/c], and some black snakes can help the deck in some way. The weakest cards I have found are [c]Snakeform[/c] (but this spot would have to be filled in with another removal spell) and [c]Patagia Viper[/c] (this should probably either be replaced with another flyer or removal).

There are lots of snakes I didn’t include in the deck, but these can easily be slotted in. You can change up the mix of Sosuke, Kashi, and [c]Kashi-Tribe Elite[/c] in the deck, depending on your preference (and other numbers). Finally, in control-heavy metas [c]Cavern of Souls[/c] works really well. This part is all up to you. There are a lot of directions to take this deck in.

So, if you have any suggestions for the deck or anything else feel free to leave a comment below.