Saturday, September 23, 2017

Seven Packs of M13

Subsidizing cheap pulls by selling checklands back to the bots.

Seven Packs of M13

Subsidizing cheap pulls by selling checklands back to the bots.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ixalan Set Review

Dinosaurs and Pirates? You are kidding, right? That's just hilarious, and a ton of fun. Let's go!

Ixalan Set Review: White

Ixalan Set Review: Blue

Ixalan Set Review: Black

Ixalan Set Review: Red

Ixalan Set Review: Green

Ixalan Set Review: Multicolored, Artifacts, and Lands

Ixalan Set Review: Double Faced Cards (DFCs)

I think it was Picasso who said 'good artists borrow, great artists steal.' I am truly impressed that Wizards took Angry Chicken out of Hearthstone, and recast it as Raptor Hatchling. Awesome steal!

Ixalan Set Review: Double Faced Cards (DFCs)

I don't like the frame of the land side too much. It reminds me of the World of Warcraft TCG. All of the non-artifact ones are Legendary.

Legion's Landing: It can enter early and adds one creature to your count.
Adanto, the First Fort: The token cost is fair because its repeatable.

Search for Azcanta: There are many ways to end up with seven cards in your graveyard in all formats. This is the requirement for Threshold (seven or more cards in your graveyard).
Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin: Solid deck filtering for non-creature spells.

Arguel's Blood Fast: That is one close to a loss flip condition. It should go well with the Fateful Hour cards from Dark Ascension.
Temple of Aclazotz: After the flip, you can gain a lot of life.... am I missing something? I don't get why I would want to do that to get me to a win.

Vance's Blasting Cannons: It comes in mid-game, yet it should be really good to play. Three spells cast in a turn is doable.
Spitfire Bastion: "or player" means this is really good. It's going to do that every turn. I can also cast a spell that untaps a land. Hope Tender should help ( 1G 1, Tap: Untap target land. 1, Tap, Exert Hope Tender: Untap two target lands. (An exerted creature won't untap during your next untap step.) )

Growing Rites of Itlimoc: Depending on the deck you are playing against, it could be difficult to flip it. Against Black, and maybe Red, definitely. Still, it can be flipped most of the time.
Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun: And if you do flip it, you have Gaea's Cradle, and that's simply amazing.

Conqueror's Galleon: In most circumstances, that is one easy flip. It has a high crew cost, yet it has a big fat butt.
Conqueror's Foothold: It has two different ways to draw a card. That's really good. It can also recover something big out of your graveyard (it costs a lot to do so, it will need to be something big).

Dowsing Dagger: It can come in early, and delays itself by two turns with the tokens unless you have ways to take the tokens out either the turn it comes in or the next turn. The equip cost is fair and the buff is also fair.
Lost Vale: If you flip it, you have Black Lotus in land form. That should be an amazing boost. I wonder how this plays out when I compare it to the Black Lotus for the masses, Gilded Lotus (5 Tap: Add three mana of any one color to your mana pool.) This is hard to setup: you need to spend four mana to equip a creature, then the creature needs to deal damage mid game to your opponent-which means that an unblockable or Trample creature will do the trick best.

Primal Amulet: There are ways to put counters on this without satisfying the casting condition. Even if you don't flip it, and even if it comes a little, it makes all your instants and sorceries cheaper to cast.
Primal Wellspring: I would cast a card draw spell and repeat it. This should be a ton of fun to play.

Thaumatic Compass: It enters early, and in the non-rotating formats there are many ways to get to seven lands fast. You will need to be in Green for this one.
Spires of Orazca: Strong in Standard. In the older formats, there are too many low or no creature decks.

Treasure Map: Unless you untap it with Voltaic Key, it will take three turns to flip. The flip gives you mana that is more versatile than a Black Lotus because you can choose a different color for each Treasure token.
Treasure Cove: Turning Treasure tokens into card draw is really, really good.

Ixalan Set Review: Multicolored, Artifacts, and Lands

This is the bonus round in such a strong set.


Admiral Beckett Brass: That is one difficult clause to jump through, but if you do, especially in EDH, you could be taking over some really powerful nonland permanents one a turn. The lord part is good too, but a triple mana constraint really sucks in Standard. It forces you into an expensive and high maintenance manabase.
Belligerent Brontodon: That's a really cool casual card that will likely go nowhere. It is too costly for Standard and too weak for EDH. It needed to have a really strong effect for EDH. Still, there are plenty of fat butt critters out there for a casual EDH deck with this in it.

Call to the Feast: Nice token maker.
Dire Fleet Captain: I wish there was a Pirate token maker. This could get big. "each other" can be a lot more than "each."

Deadeye Plunderers: Wow, that's a surprisingly strong clause (for each artifact). The token-making is way over-costed.
Gishath, Sun's Avatar: Wow, that is so strong! I know EDH is it's home, but I would love to cast this in Standard. Hit for six, dig six cards for Dinosaurs... wow!

Hostage Taker: That seems like a lot of fun. It will anger opponents to no end, though. It's a simple and effective card. It's not even that expensive in Standard.
Marauding Looter: 'Draw a card, discard a card' effect usually found on Blue/Red cards. This card would be a lot more fun with Flashback cards. The Aftermath cards are a reasonable substitute.

Huatli, Warrior Poet: Awesome artwork, exceptional! Does not read like a really strong planeswalker, which is great, because then it will be affordable for us casuals. The +2 is not that great since life gain usually delays the inevitable defeat unless there are strong triggers for the life gain, yet a +2 is way, way better than a +1. I like the 0 ability a lot. A 3/3 token maker is awesome. The -X ability is good to clear the board but is considerably weaker than an ultimate should be.
Raging Swordtooth: That is one awesome Enrage trigger. This is the centerpiece of the casual Dinosaur deck. A ping for 1 is exactly what Enrage needs. Wizards decided to staple the effect on a creature instead of doing it the Hearthstone way having a spell that reads "Deal 1 damage to each creature."

Regisaur Alpha: That's pretty good. You will need to have other Dinosaurs to benefit from the Haste bonus. It's not a game-winning spell, but it's good.
Sky Terror: I would auto-include it in a Dinosaur deck, and it would be a needed flyer in Limited.

Shapers of Nature: Versatile. The 3G counter is a little on the expensive side, but the card draw is just right. I want to play it in Casual Modern, where there are many cards that put counters on creatures, and then use those counters as card draw. Compare with Dimir Guildmage ( [U/B U/B] 3U: Target player draws a card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery. 3B: Target player discards a card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Tishana, Voice of Thunder: Although I really don't like the cards in hand part... actually, it has to be one of the lamest clauses on a card and reminds me mostly of Saviors of Kamigawa, which to date is in contention for one of the worst sets ever, this card is really strong if you set it up right. When it comes in it can draw you a ton, and you can keep all those cards until next turn. In Modern, I would put it in a token deck not necessarily a Merfolk deck. It's the top end of your mana curve in the Standard Merfolk deck. If you don't win the game when this lands in the Standard Merfolk deck, you need to play more Magic. You are in Blue/Green. You should be able to pack your deck with card draw and token makers. Yeah, and it should be a solid Merfolk commander. It's too heavy to impact the early game in commander, yet it lets you keep all the cards you draw. That should be a lot of fun.

Vona, Butcher of Magan: There are many ways to get a ton of life, and it even uses some of the not-so-expensive cards in Magic. I would gain a ton of life, and untap it more, using cards like Djeru's Resolve W Untap target creature. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to it this turn. Cycling 2 (2, Discard this card: Draw a card.) In Legacy, you can do it multiple times and with one card using Jandor's Saddlebags (2 Artifact 3, Tap: Untap target creature.) In Modern, you can use Magewright's Stone (2 Artifact 1, Tap: Untap target creature that has an activated ability with Tap in its cost.)
Vraska, Relic Seeker: High cost planeswalkers (actually, most planeswalkers) don't make it in Modern. Let's assume this one is aimed at Standard only. In Standard, it should be awesome. It has a +2 ability, and that means it gets closer to its ultimate twice as fast when compared to having a +1 ability. And the +2 creatures a token, what's not to like about that? The -3 destroys something, and that's great. It's not as good as the original Vraska's -3, which destroyed a nonland permanent-especailly one of your opponent's planeswalkers, but it's good enough. The ultimate wins the game under most circumstances, and that is what an ultimate should do.


Cobbled Wings: Go-to make-a-flyer, mostly in Limited, but maybe I want to get those Dinosaurs flying.
Elaborate Firecannon: It looks like as long as you have cards you can discard and four mana a pop, you can do this multiple times during your upkeep. My deck will need to have some graveyard matters cards and lots of card draw. That places me in Blue/Black. It untaps itself. That's huge.

Hierophant's Chalice: Meant for Limited.
Gilded Sentinel: Meant for Limited. Seems like an odd creature in this set. A Golem?

Pillar of Origins: It should help three and four color tribal decks with splash color(s).
Pirate's Cutlass: Zero equip cost for Pirates on the battlefield? I will take four for that deck.

Prying Blade: It would have been amazing as a rare that gave the creature some means of evasion. By itself, the buff is too small to matter. The token-making part is great, though. Meant for Limited.
Sorcerous Spyglass: This card should have been in Standard for the past miserable year. It's a must have in all sideboards right now.

Sentinel Totem: A strong variant of Nihil Spellbomb (1 Artifact Tap, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard. When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay Black. If you do, draw a card.)
Vanquisher's Banner: It comes in a little too late, yet both bonuses are really good, especially the card-draw one.

Dusk Legion Dreadnought: It's a seven drop with Vigilance. That's all right, and it has evasion because when it is not crewed, it is not a creature. I like it in Limited more than in Standard.
Sleek Schooner: It's a four drop minor beatstick. It should be good in Limited and Standard.

Fell Flagship: I buffs Pirates a little just by being on the field. The crew cost is steep for how little it hits for. If you can get it to hit face, the discard is great, but mid-game hitting for three is not guaranteed to work.
Shadowed Caravel: I like this one. It is perfect for the casual explore deck. It should get three or four tokens before I crew it. It can enter really early; I like that a lot.


The buddy lands are great casual dual lands. This set has the allied color ones. I already have them from the core sets. If you don't, this is a great opportunity to get them.

Unclaimed Territory: Solid splash support in tribal.
Unknown Shores: Meant for Limited color splashing.

Field of Ruin: Needed land destruction to keep greedy manabases in check.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ixalan Set Review: Green

Let's take a look at all those Timmy Dinosaurs.

Ancient Brontodon: A Vanilla beatstick for my Timmy heart.
Blinding Fog: Great board wipe prevention if you remember to leave mana open for it.

Atzocan Archer: A great way to take out any 1/1, 2/1 or 3/1 creatures before combat.
Blossom Dryad: Remnant of the battlecruiser sets. Compare with an early battlecruiser equivalent, Voyaging Satyr (1G 1/2 Tap: Untap target land.)

Carnage Tyrant: Beautiful. THE Dinosaur. One more card I want to add to my Legacy/Vintage 'can't be countered' deck.
Commune with Dinosaurs: Incredible filter. It's limited to Dinosaurs. The more general card is Commune with Nature, which does the same thing minus the specific creature limitation.

Colossal Dreadmaw: Meant for Limited.
Crash the Ramparts: Limited battle trick.

Crushing Canopy: Similar to Crushing Vines but with 'enchantment' being 'artifact' in the older card. Meant for Limited.
Deeproot Captain: That IS great! In a low creature deck, this can get many counters added. It doesn't just belong in a Merfolk deck.

Deathgorge Scavenger: Unless the lifegain triggers some other 'when you gain life this happens' it is useless, and the +1/+1 is until end of turn. Reads like a junk rare.
Deeproot Warrior: Meant for Limited.

Drover of the Mighty: That's pretty good. It's no Bird of Paradise, yet it will play well in a Dinosaur deck.
Emperor's Vanguard: Cool artwork. I so want to make an explore deck. It comes in a little late, but that won't hurt in such a dedicated deck.

Emergent Growth: Battlecruiser addition to the "Growth" family. Giant Growth (1 mana, +3/+3) Monstrous Growth and Titanic Growth (2 mana, +4/+4). This one has the added text for 'must be blocked.'
Grazing Whiptail: Meant for Limited.

Ixalli's Diviner: I really have no way of knowing how all these explore cards will work out outside of Limited. They could flop, or they could be really fun, or, they could be surprisingly useful.
Jade Guardian: It reads like a Limited card, but tribal is difficult to pull off there. It does have Hexproof. I am sure I would add this card to a Standard Constructed Merfolk deck.

Ixalli's Keeper: Another in the series of low costing creatures with some gigantic mana ability. I don't expect any of these to be in the 'got to play it' category outside of Limited.
Jungle Delver: I hope I can make better use of my mana and don't have to throw it at this guy at the rate of four mana for a +1/+1 counter. That seems to be a very inefficient use of mana.

Kumena's Speaker: Solid one drop for the Standard Merfolk deck.
New Horizons: Another battlecruiser multiple effect overcosted card. It would be a lot better to have a one drop that does the mana part (Utopia Sprawl Enchant Forest As Utopia Sprawl enters the battlefield, choose a color. Whenever enchanted Forest is tapped for mana, its controller adds one mana of the chosen color to his or her mana pool (in addition to the mana the land produces).)

Merfolk Branchwalker: That reads versatile and like an auto-include in the Standard Merfolk deck.
Old-Growth Dryads: Interesting. You could wind up enabling your opponent's mana base more than you want to.

Pounce: In the family of Prey Upon and Savage Punch. It's well-costed.
Ravenous Daggertooth: Meant for Limited.

Ranging Raptors: That is one awesome Enrage effect. You filter your deck and you get a basic land card.
Ripjaw Raptor: 'draw a card' for Enrage, now we are in business. This is an awesome card... so awesome. Buff it, and ping it multiple times.

River Heralds' Boon: Solid in Limited.
Shapers' Sanctuary: That is one strong deterrent. I want to play it. It could be pesky enough that it will force opponents to remove it as soon as it comes in.

Savage Stomp: This is one sweet Enrage trigger for the Dinosaur deck.
Slice in Twain: Reprint from Scars of Mirrodin. Drawing a card is almost always great.

Snapping Sailback: The Enrage bonus is small. Let's see how many times it is possible to trigger Enrage on this one.
Thundering Spineback: Not that efficient. The lord ability on a seven drop is kind of useless, and six mana for a 3/3 is not that great either.

Spike-Tailed Ceratops: Meant for Limited.
Tishana's Wayfinder: When is the explore bonus worth the downgrade in P/T? Early game, getting lands is really good and you are filtering them out of your deck. Late game, you don't want to be getting lands. It looks like a graveyard matters deck will benefit from many of these explore cards.

Verdant Rebirth: A great way to recover something special that is about to be removed. It says 'draw a card,' and I better remember that.
Vineshaper Mystic: A helper Merfolk. I am sure it will be useful in standard. It allows you to decide how your Merfolk get buffed.

Verdant Sun's Avatar: I don't see the point of all the lifegain that could come out of this. Maybe there is an EDH deck that benefits from it.
Waker of the Wilds: It's a risky card with potentially high payoff. Once you have six or seven mana, you can be turning a land into a 4/4 or a 5/5, but if you lose it in battle, you are out of a land.

Wildgrowth Walker: I don't get where the life gain is going, but the counters, I get the counters. It comes in really early in the explore deck. I wonder how big it will get on average?