Tag Archives: Magic Origins

Anatomy of a Modern-Playable

 By: Guo Heng

One of the things I am excited about during spoiler season is spotting Modern-playable cards. It pays to be able to identify Modern-playables early on. Take, for example, two recent cards that shook up Modern in a big way: Kolaghan’s Command and Collected Company. Kolaghan’s Command, which saw only a bit Standard action in Mardu builds, was available at under $3 for two whole months. Collected Company was the cornerstone of Standard Green-based Aggro builds but it remained at its release price of $5 for a month-and-a-half before breaching into the double digit price region.

Modern has evolved into an eternal format that rivals Legacy in diversity and depth. Over the last month-and-a half, we saw four major events taking place in four different regions, with four distinct metagames. After nearly four years of existence and a slew of unpopular bannings which in hindsight were wise decisions, Modern has finally become the eternal format that we’ve always wanted. An eternal format where we can always play our favorite decks (unless yours is Birthing Pod), a format diverse enough for most decks to have a shot at taking home the grand prize, a format with a number of tier-one decks large enough to rival the cast of Game of Thrones. And more importantly, an eternal format without card availability issues.

Modern has never been more popular than it is today, which is why evaluating a card’s playability in Modern has become an essential aspect in the MTG finance reviews of new sets. Today’s article is going to discuss a few fundamental characteristics of cards that are able to break it in Modern. Seasoned competitive Modern players would likely be familiar with these points, but players or financiers who do not dabble much in the format may not be. This article is targeted at the latter groups.

Conveniently, there is a rather controversial Magic Origins mythic that was spoiled last week which we could use as a case study to find out what it takes for a card to break it in Modern:

Day's Undoing
From StarCityGames.com’s 23 June spoiler article.

One of the more polarizing Magic Origins card spoiled, reactions ranged from, “They’ve reprinted Timetwister!” to, “It’s Time Reversal 2.0!” More importantly, the majority of the discussion generated by Day’s Undoing centered around its impact in Modern. After all, the last time Wizards reprinted a Power 9 card, it broke the format and fell under the banhammer within a few months.

Does Day’s Undoing has the makings of a Modern-playable card? The questions below will help put things into perspective.

Is Day’s Undoing Competitively Costed?

The answer is an obvious yes for Day’s Undoing, but I chose to open with this question to highlight the first aspect of a card to look at when evaluating a new card’s Modern playability. In the same vein as Legacy, Modern is a highly efficient format and the rule of thumb for a card to see Modern play is that it should cost no more than four mana.

In a format where Remand is the most popular counterspell, Path to Exile the most popular spot removal, and 4/5 creatures cost one or two mana, attempting to resolve a high-casting-cost spell that does not win you the game immediately is just asking to be wrecked. Even at four mana, a spell has to pretty much do everything for it to make the cut in Modern, like Cryptic Command or Siege Rhino.

That does not mean that any cards that cost more than four are unlikely to see Modern action, but cards that cost five mana and above have to fulfill one of the following to have a shot at making it in Modern:

  1. Be a hard-to-answer win condition, like Keranos, God of Lightning  Bolts.
  2. Wins the game most of the time when it enters the board, like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and fits into big mana strategies.
  3. Is a combo piece like Ad Nauseam or a component of a deck  that uses cheat-into-play cards like Through the Breach, Goryo’s Vengeance, or Summoning Trap.

Have you ever wondered why Standard all-star Primeval Titan does not see Modern play outside of decks that runs lands as their win conditions, such as certain Scapeshift variants and Amulet Bloom? Even though Primeval Titan generates insane value upon resolution, tapping six mana for a creature that is vulnerable to both Path to Exile and Remand exposes you to the risk of experiencing a significant tempo drawback.

Day’s Undoing is obviously within the casting cost restriction of Modern, so let’s go on to the next aspect of Day’s Undoing that is much talked about.

Is Day’s Undoing Part of a Two-Card Combo that Wins You the Game Upon Resolution?


One of the most-discussed aspect of Day’s Undoing is that you get a pretty good impression of Timetwister in Modern by coupling it with one of Quicken, Leyline of Anticipation, or Vedalken Orrery, but does it make Day’s Undoing good enough to be played in Modern? There are two questions to ask to determine if an interaction is powerful enough to work in Modern:

  1. Is it a two-card combo that wins you the game upon resolution?
  2. If the the interaction requires more than two cards, are the individual components powerful cards independently?

Most of the tier-one combos in Modern are two-card combos that win you the game upon resolution. Splinter Twin plus Pestermite. Ad Nauseam plus Angel’s Grace. Goryo’s Vengeance plus Griselbrand. There are plenty of other cool two-card combos, like Grand Architect plus Pili-Pala, but what what good is infinite mana if it does not win you the game?

The Kitchen Finks/Murderous Redcap plus Melira, Sylvok Outcast/Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit plus Viscera Seer interaction is the only tier-one Modern combo that requires more than two cards, and it only works in the format because most of the pieces are Modern-playable cards by themselves or have multiple interactions with other cards in the deck. Kitchen Finks is one of the best value three-drop in Modern, and Viscera Seer serves as a sac outlet that allows for plays like permanently exiling a creature with Fiend Hunter or turning Voice of Resurgence into a huge elemental in response to Path to Exile. Seer also helps sift through the deck to find combo pieces you may still be missing.

While Day’s Undoing paired with any of the three cards mentioned above gives you a Modern Timetwister, that interaction does not win you the game. Even worse, Quicken, Vedalken Orrery, and Leyline of Anticipation are cards that would not see play in Modern on their own merits.

Does it Really Fit into an Existing Archetype?

Collected Company by Franz Vohwinkel.
Collected Company by Franz Vohwinkel.

Collected Company was the card that Elves needed to ascend into tier-one playability. Kolaghan’s Command significantly bolsters Grixis decks as a highly flexible card that is useful in all situations, in the same vein as Cryptic Command. Treasure Cruise gave Blue-Red Delver an efficient way to refill its gas to out-grind the midrange Rock decks.

Players much better than me put forth compelling arguments for Day’s Undoing as a means for aggro decks to refuel their hands, but I am not entirely convinced. While I don’t agree with their perspective on Day’s Undoing, I would highly recommend reading their points to come to a conclusion yourself.

Hyper-aggressive decks (like Affinity or Burn) that are able to empty their hands pretty fast theoretically reap more value out of Day’s Undoing’s symmetrical draw effect. While your opponents may lose more cards from their pre-Undoing hands, the fact that they too get a fresh seven means that they will get to reload their arsenal of answers for your threats.

As an aggro deck, I don’t think you would want run out a Day’s Undoing against the majority of the top decks in today’s metagame. You wouldn’t want Jund, Junk, or Grixis to draw more removal after you’ve teased out the ones in their opening hand and subsequent draws. The fact that Day’s Undoing ends your turn as part of its resolution means that your opponent gets to decimate your board with his or her newly drawn hand first. You don’t want opposing creature-heavy decks like Abzan Company, Merfolk, or Elves to draw more creatures or lords to bolster their sides of the board. And you certainly do not want it against Twin decks: imagine them casting a Pestermite in response to your Day’s Undoing, untapping, and then going off. Not good.

The same applies to arguments about using Day’s Undoing in combo decks. You would be refueling your opponent’s counterspells and hand disruption.

Furthermore, the fact that Day’s Undoing costs three may render it too prohibitive to be included in Burn. Treasure Cruise and Deathrite Shaman were adopted by Burn as they both can be cast for just one mana, and Atarka’s Command is only two.


I think Day’s Undoing is unlikely to see Modern play. It is not part of a two-card “oops, I win” combo, it does not seem to fit into any existing archetype, and it is very unlikely to spawn a whole new archetype as it is not an engine card.

Day’s Undoing is currently available for preorder between $17 to $20. My call would be to stay far, far away from it and sell or trade off any copies you open at the prerelease right away. I think Day’s Undoing will soon join its buddies Time Reversal and Temporal Mastery as cards that tried so hard to be a Power 9, but failed miserably.

The only upside about Day’s Undoing is that the card solidified Jonas De Ro as one of my new favorite Magic artists.

Do share your thoughts on this card and its breakdown in the comments section below or catch me on Twitter at @thguoheng.


UNLOCKED PROTRADER: Elves, Merfolk, and Goblins (Oh My!)

Has anyone even tested Goblins in Modern? The speculation is so rampant on a strategy that has yet to prove itself. Maybe people are forgetting there’s no Goblin Lackey, Goblin Matron, Goblin Ringleader, Goblin Warchief, Gempalm Incinerator, or Rishadan Port.

That’s a lot of gaps to overcome. Yet this still happened:


We are in the midst of rampant speculation on Legion Loyalist, Warren Instigator, and the catalyst itself, Goblin Piledriver. With prices this inflated, the risk of buying into these targets is at its highest. Being the steadfast risk intolerant speculator, perhaps I can propose some alternate targets – still potentially relevant to a Goblins Modern strategy – with a much more attractive risk/reward equation.

Goblins: Not the Only Tribe in Town

Goblins are an unproven strategy in Modern. This is certain. What’s equally certain is that Elves and Merfolk are proven strategies in Modern. Both decks won a Modern Grand Prix very recently.

I proffer this idea for your consideration: why not buy into some of the cards in those decks instead? Some of the critical pieces of these decks have barely moved! So while Warren Instigator, a card I’ve never seen cast in my life, goes from $10 to $17, you could be buying into something like Silvergill Adept near its 2014-2015 low!


Silvergill Adept is critical to the Merfolk strategy in Legacy and Modern. I hear getting a Merfolk in play while also drawing more Merfolk is a pretty sound strategy [Editor’s note: Best card in the deck, not close]. And there’s no way this card should be under $3 when Nettle Sentinel – a common from the same block – is around the same price.

If you’d prefer throwing your money into Mythic Rares, you could also consider Master of Waves. It’s about to leave Standard, but I suspect nearly 0% of its value is driven by Standard play anyway. This key Merfolk card can be found for under $4. I’d much rather have my money in these than, say, Goblin Rabblemaster – a rare about to rotate that does have value driven by Standard play.

Fish not your thing? You could pick up a couple of critical Elves pieces instead. Most of the best Elves targets have already spiked, but I could see Elvish Archdruid moving higher. It’s been printed a million times, but it’ll always have some demand keeping the price above bulk. And the further away we get from the latest printing, the more value it’ll become.


If you want to trade into something newer, you could always pick up Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. The card may dip slightly at rotation, but this land is powerful and should maintain value going forward. You will likely need to be patient with this one, since I’m sure a ton have been opened. Still, you could find far worse places to park money.

Goblins, Merfolk and Elves (Oh, My!)

The rise in popularity of tribal strategies has generated newfound opportunities in Modern speculation. Most Elves cards have already seen significant appreciation. Merfolk cards haven’t moved as much, but they should bounce nicely off recent lows. And of course we’ve all seen the rampant Goblins speculation this past week on news of a Goblin Piledriver reprint.

Rather than tossing the dice and gambling on one of these strategies, wouldn’t it be nice to find something relevant across all three? In an ideal world, you could acquire key cards that play an important role in all Tribal decks. This way no matter which strategy rose to the top, you’d have exposure to important cards.

I did a quick comparison between Knocinski’s winning Merfolk build and Malone’s Elves build to start. I’m immediately disappointed. I counted exactly one card in common: a singleton Cavern of Souls played in Elves.

As an aside, Cavern of Souls is positioned to continue hitting new all-time highs given its relevance in Modern and Legacy.


While my profits were still decent, I will be first to admit I made a mistake selling this one. This is definitely a case where my perpetual bearishness in Modern narrowed my perspective too much. This land will only go higher until it is reprinted. The current $50 price tag is likely to stick.

Despite the common “tribal” theme, it would appear these three decks all have completely different building blocks. Outside of Cavern of Souls, I see no overlapping card. Does that mean we should give up? Absolutely not – it’s all about speculation!

For example, couldn’t Aether Vial be relevant in at least two of the three tribal strategies? Elves may not want the artifact for now, but I could certainly see Goblins following the Merfolk approach to flash out instant-speed lords.


I really like the card’s price chart as well, from a technical standpoint. I see some healthy growth in both retail and buy list pricing. More importantly the buy/sell spread has narrowed in recent weeks – a likely sign of further price appreciation on the horizon. While speculating on a $30 uncommon is a tough pill to swallow, I’d still support grabbing a few copies. Feel free to grab the Modern Masters version if you feel better paying $30 for a rare instead.

Perhaps a safer target is a critical land that is near an all-time price low: Mutavault.


While this land isn’t so hot in Elves, I could see Goblins picking it up. And even if Merfolk is the only deck that runs Mutavault, it’s still an automatic 4-of in every Merfolk build. This is a card I’m willing to throw cash into; it can readily spike to $20 during next year’s Modern season or possibly earlier, if the Modern metagame leads the right way.

Perhaps I’m being naïve here. I’m focusing heavily on cards that these three tribal decks would want to play. But if I want to place bets on all three at once, perhaps I should be seeking out cards that beat all three of these strategies. I believe Anger of the Gods is already a viable sideboard card in Modern. A one-sided wrath for three mana is probably decent against all three tribal strategies. Be careful with Standard rotation – we may see a small dip before the card stabilizes higher. Perhaps trading for unwanted copies is the best play here.


If you’re looking for a more permanent fix, you could try Night of Souls’ Betrayal. It doesn’t kill as many creatures as Anger, but sticking two copies could really wreak havoc on tribal decks. The card has spiked recently but buy lists haven’t chased nearly as much. I’d watch that spread closely – the opportunity to pick up this sideboard card may close faster than you think.

Lastly, there’s my favorite sideboard tech: Engineered Explosives. This artifact seems well-positioned in a tribal-heavy metagame. Played right, you can set yourself up for a solid 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 play. This card is destined to go higher, and I don’t expect to see a reprint in 2015 or 2016.


Modern Not Your Thing?

Most of you know by now I’m not as excited about Modern as the rest of the player base. Even though I’m trying to flip Modern specs, I really prefer to sink my funds into safer investments. I still believe most Modern staples will pull back in price in a month or two, so I’ll be content to largely sit on the sidelines until then.

My quest to move profits into older cards is not a solo one, it seems. Did you notice some other really interesting price moves from last week? I’m talking about this:


And this:


These charts are extremely attractive from an investor’s point of view. Barring a minor hiccup on Library of Alexandria last year, we’re seeing monotonically increasing prices over time. I’m not sure if Mishra’s Workshop’s price tag will stick above $1000, as reflected in mtgstocks.com’s most recent Interests page. But the card will certainly maintain its upward momentum in the years to come. I’d pay close attention to that buy-list curve, in blue, on these charts. They will reflect how eager dealers are to pay higher prices for these old-school cards. Library of Alexandria is even playable in Old School MTG, perhaps catalyzing some upward price movement.

If I had to recommend picking one of these valuable Arabian Nights cards, I’d recommend Bazaar of Baghdad.


The card is a 4-of in Dredge, a powerful Vintage deck with an important defining characteristic: no Power! Once you have your 4 Bazaars, you’re most of the way toward building a viable Vintage deck. Even if you never plan on playing Vintage, you have to admit the artwork on the card is one of the sweetest in the game. I’ve been eyeing this for almost a year now, and I’m only seeing upward movement on prices.

Wrapping It Up

The theme of last week: tribal Modern decks and high end Arabian Nights cards. These are on opposite ends of the risk/reward spectrum. On the one side, we have rampant Modern speculation based on unproven deck strategies (Goblins). On the other side, we have measurable price growth in classic cards on the reserved list.

While my affinity is always to err closer to the conservative side of the spectrum, I see many opportunities in between. You don’t have to chase Warren Instigator higher to make money on the latest trends. There are far better plays – especially at this point, where prices have already jumped so high. Aether Vial, Nykthos, Cavern of Souls, and Mutavault are all well-positioned no matter which tribal deck earns the top spot of future Modern events. If you really despise all three strategies, maybe now’s the time to pick up your Engineered Explosives.

Targets like these are far safer than cards that have already spiked solely based on speculation. They have plenty of upside potential, with minimal downside risk at this point. These are my kind of pick-ups, and I’d encourage you to move some of your newfound profits into these cards as well. Give it a year, and you’ll likely be looking at more sizable gains. Plus you’ll have the upside of preserving your capital in case one of the tribal strategies becomes a major flop. It’s the best scenario for investing, and it’s why I’m moving my resources accordingly.

Sig’s Quick Hits

  • Some tribal-specific lands have moved a ton lately. Wanderwine Hub has jumped all the way to $11.99 at Star City Games. The major retailer has no copies in stock. If I was going to spend $12, I’d rather pick up a Mutavault anyway.
  • Gilt-Leaf Palace is the Elf equivalent to Wanderwine Hub. The only difference is Knocinski’s Merfolk build actually runs Wanderwine Hub, while Malone’s Elves list did not use Gilt-Leaf Palace. Despite this critical fact, Star City Games is still completely sold out of the palace, though their price tag hasn’t corrected the latest spike: it’s only $3.99…for now.
  • I wasn’t exaggerating when I mentioned how popular Engineered Explosives is right now. These tribal themes are only going to make the artifact more powerful. Perhaps that’s why Star City Games is completely sold out of all non-foil copies of the card, with a $17.99 price tag. These will retail for $20 very soon.

Magic Origins: A First Look

Magic Origins spoilers have slowly been trickling out from the Mothership and beyond, so let’s take a look at some of the previews we’ve been given so far and what it could mean for Standard and other formats.



The planeswalkers of the set have been spoiled and it’s the first time we’ve seen walkers that start as legendary creatures and transform into planeswalkers when a condition is met for them to trigger their “spark”.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.23.34 PM

Kytheon / Gideon

Wow, this has got to be the most insane Savannah Lions variant the Magic community has received yet! So this is what a one mana planeswalker looks like (well, sort of). We’ve all wondered how Wizards would be able to print a planeswalker at one mana as a balanced card and I think we have our answer here.

Of course, the only downside to Kytheon is his legendary status. Only being able to have one Savannah Lions out on the field at a time is a bummer in white weenie decks but the great thing here is that he dies pretty easily, so the odds of you having one stuck in your hand for a long time are almost zero. A similar case study here is Isamaru, Hound of Konda. Even though it is also a legendary creature, in Kamigawa Standard he was still played as three to four copies per aggro deck even with the legendary drawback. This makes me think that the legendary status will matter but not as much as as legendary creatures that cost three or more mana. But wait, I haven’t even discussed the indestructibility! For three mana, having a way to ensure that Kytheon becomes Gideon is super important for such a fragile 2/1 body. You could also just sit on him if you need a blocker, making him indestructible and chumping non-tramplers all day. So basically, the card is nothing but upside as long as you don’t get another one or two of them stuck in your opening hand or within your opening draws.

The Gideon counterpart is also pretty awesome. Gideon Jura was certainly played in Rise of Eldrazi standard, and Kytheon offers us a Jura-mini just for attacking and beating face. Unfortunately, this Gideon doesn’t kill creatures (let’s be real, for one mana that would just be way too powerful to -2 to kill a creature) but it can boost its loyalty very quickly and mess with your opponent’s combat. Think of the +2 as an opposite Frenzied Goblin. Instead of being unable to block, the creature is forced to attack Gideon, removing it from attacking your face and thus “removing it from combat” and being able to block when your next combat phase comes along. The +1 also affects combat quite nicely, by having an attacker become indestructible or untapping an already tapped attacker and having an indestructible blocker for next turn.

All in all, Kytheon / Gideon is a very solid card and I expect it to see a ton of Standard play, especially in the fall when aggro decks will tend to gravitate towards the Top 8 of tournaments.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.23.44 PM


The text here is hard to make out on the right, so here is the Telepath Unbound text:

+1: Up to one target creature gets -2/-0 until your next turn.

-3: You may cast target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard this turn. If that card would be put into your graveyard this turn, exile it instead.

-9: You get an emblem with “Whenever you cast a spell, target opponent puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard”.

Loyalty 5


Jace certainly feels like he has potential for Standard as well. Merfolk Looter has been well received in Standard environments throughout the years and a Looter with upside is very appealing. My current thinking is that he will slot into the Sidisi-Whip deck quite nicely, and will continue to support Sidisi, Brood Tyrant after Theros block rotates from Standard.

After filling up your graveyard, Jace can then create a mini Yawgmoth’s Will situation that gives one of your instant or sorcery cards flashback until end of turn. Even the ultimate ability is kind of cool, since it allows you to put a fairly fast clock on your opponent since all of your spells will also have Tome Scour spliced onto them.

All in all, this Jace doesn’t excite me in quite the way that Kytheon / Gideon did, but the control and Sidisi players among us will have a cool new toy to play with soon.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.23.52 PM


I’m a huge fan of Liliana in eternal formats. I’m thinking that the new wave of Collected Company decks in Modern might try experimenting with her since they have so many ways of sacrificing creatures for value. Unfortunately, with the banning of Birthing Pod there are fewer ways to sacrifice your own creatures within the deck, but I think there are enough tools in a format like Modern to really push Liliana to the next level.

In terms of Standard, I’m not sure what type of sacrifice outlets we’re going to be getting in the future but currently the ones that exist are meh at best. She has weak stats for the mana cost and can be removed very easily before being able to be transformed into her ‘walker form. I think people will try to make her work in Standard decks but I’m not sure if the support exists to really get your mana’s worth.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.24.01 PM


*Sigh*, why is Chandra always so bad? Red players never get a break. Remember Tibalt? Chandra isn’t that bad, but she is still pretty boring and lackluster compared to the other ‘walkers seen so far.

You have to do soo much work to transform her. However, one interesting trick is that you can attack with her to deal two damage, then cast a red spell during your second main phase to untap her and then tap her for the third damage in order to transform her into a ‘walker. So, sometimes you will only need one spell to transform her rather than two.

The planeswalker side is fine. +1 for two face damage is pretty nice, -2 for two creature damage is alright, and the ultimate ability if you get it off is certainly devastating. However, I’m just not sure that this Chandra has what it takes to see Standard play. She seems even more frail to me than Liliana, and I think that Liliana is going to have a hard time seeing Standard play currently. I think she would have been much better with Haste, however I didn’t do any of the play testing with the card to know if that would be too good or not.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.24.09 PM


The text here is hard to make out on the right, so here is the Sage Animist text:

+1: Reveal the top card of your library. If it’s a land card, put it onto the battlefield. Otherwise, put it into your hand.

-2: Put a legendary 4/4 green Elemental creature token named Ashaya, the Awoken World onto the battlefield.

-7: Untap up to six target lands. They become 6/6 Elemental creatures. They’re still lands.

Loyalty 3

Creature Nissa is definitely underwhelming. A strictly worse Civic Wayfinder, Nissa doesn’t have much going for her ability-wise. Hey, at least she’s better than Chandra right!?

Seriously though, she has some pretty nice late game potential that makes up for underwhelming creature version. Casting her later in the game and activating the planeswalker transformation right away will be the most optimal play. Once Nissa becomes a planeswalker, it’s all upside from there. Her abilities are all very good. +1 to draw a card / drop a land, -2 to create a creature to protect herself (which can be activated right away), and then finally having a game ending -7 if the opportunity presents itself is a nice touch.

Keeping everything in mind, I do think Nissa will see Standard play since green midrange decks will be able to pretty consistently transform her since they ramp up to seven lands pretty quickly and her creature form is fine as a 2/2 blocker that gets you your next land drop.


Other Spoilers

Besides planeswalkers, we’ve gotten some other spoilers that I’d like to go over quickly here.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.24.19 PM

Avaricious Dragon seems cool and all since we just received a set that gave us “dragons matter” cards. However, I don’t think it is quite as good as it seems at first glance. A 4/4 flyer for 2RR has already been filled by Thunderbreak Regent nicely and I’m not sure if the decks that play Thunderbreak Regent want this card. I’m thinking that if this card sees play at all, it is going to be as the top of the curve in Red Deck Wins. In other words, it could certainly see play in Atarka Red as the finisher of choice once you’ve exhausted your hand of all the cheap one and two mana spells.

The unfortunate thing about the dragon is that it makes you discard your entire hand right away, since it triggers during your end step. So, I guess you have to be playing a super greedy deck as the card’s name implies. Not that burn is greedy or anything, but you could certainly make it greedier by including one or two of these bad boys in your list.

Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.24.26 PM

Ravaging Blaze itself isn’t that exciting to me, but the Spell Mastery ability is. See, Wizards has taken the direction of Magic much further towards creature based dominance rather than spell dominance. Now, they have created an effect that rewards you for playing instants and sorceries! I’m sure they’ve nerfed this ability in some way to make sure that it won’t be abused in Standard or other eternal formats, but it’s good to know that Wizards is also keeping mind that they need good instants and sorceries in order to keep the game fresh for players. Creature based dominance is fine, but when spells keep costing more and more mana for the same effect over the years it certainly gets annoying. Hopefully, we’ll get some exciting Spell Mastery cards that might even shake things up in eternal formats.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.24.34 PM

Dwynen (I keep saying Dy-wen in my head) is actually pretty good. An elf lord with reach, an extra ability, and a huge butt? I think this card will see play somewhere along the lines in a Constructed format, and even if it doesn’t this card will be casual gold for years to come. Lord effects are very popular among casual players, and Dwynen provides that effect on a legendary creature which is also nice for the Commander players among us. I honestly don’t think this card will ever be bulk since the lord effect and life gain ability are two things that casuals love. Plus, reach and an additional point of toughness just because? That’s just icing on the cake.
Screen Shot 2015-06-20 at 7.24.49 PM

Really, Chandra’s parents needed a card? I’m not sure what role they play in her story or even the overall story of Magic as a whole, however I’m glad that they printed this card because it’s actually very unique for a red card.

I like the direction Wizards is taking red with creating Human Artificers like this card and Feldon. Though their has been a smattering of red artificers in the past, Daretti and company have reintroduced the red artificer creature subtype in a big way. This card is also breaking some color pie boundaries. A red card that generates 1/1 flying tokens when it enters the battlefield? That’s pretty sweet and definitely seems Standard playable to me.

However, the best part is that you can shock creatures and players with artifacts justs like Siege-Gang Commander does with goblins. So not only are you getting 1/1 flying Thopters with this card, but if it lives then it can start shocking things by sacrificing artifacts. That seems pretty powerful to me.

However, I guess the ultimate question is – is it good enough for Standard? I don’t really see this card being played in eternal formats, and maybe my own love for Siege-Gang Commander is making me think this card is much better than it actually is.


Wrapping Up

All the cards I’ve discussed today shouldn’t be preordered – I don’t think any of them are powerful enough to sustain their current preorder prices. However, they definitely offer a nice glimpse into what the future of Standard might look like. All of the planeswalkers seem playable, even Chandra if enough good red spell support is provided, so we’ll just have to wait and see what other support they are given (if any) once the rest of the spoilers are revealed.

What do you guys think? Did I miss the mark on some of my evaluations or do you also see some of the same connections and trends that I’ve noticed?