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March 3, 2015

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Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Dragons! And more Dragons!

Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: 5-Color Dragons AND Black/White Warriors

Welcome to another Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir! I’m here today with another deck tech and today we’re talking Dragons folks. Lots and lots of dragons! We’re going 5-color Dragon today and I’m going to talk a little about how I would go about doing that.

5-Colour Dragons by Joey Hoffer

CREATURES: (24)
Silumgar, the Drifting Death
Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
Thunderbreak Regent
Stormbreath Dragon
Sylvan Caryatid
Shaman of the Forgotten Ways
Orator of Ojutai
Surrak, the Hunt Caller
Arashin Sovereign
Atarka, the World Render
Dragonlord Atarka
Dragonlord Dromoka
Dragonlord Kolaghan
Dragonlord Ojutai
Dragonlord Silumgar

PLANESWALKERS: (3)
Sarkhan Unbroken
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

SPELLS: (9)
Foul-Tongue Invocation
Draconic Roar
Sarkhan’s Triumph
Descent of the Dragons
Explosive Vegetation
Crucible of Fire

LAND: (24)
Haven of the Spirit Dragon
Swamp
Plains
Mountain
Island
Forest
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Frontier Bivouac
Sandsteppe Citadel

Instead of talking about cards based on casting cost like I’ve done the previous two days [TEDitor’s Note: 3-days… THANKS A LOT, BEING SICK], I’m going to talk about them in chunks of cards that group together
Mana-Ramp/ Fixing – Here are the cards that will help you get out all of your wonderful Dragons!

Sylvan Caryatid is a creature that will both provide an early answer to any aggressive attacking creatures while also providing any type of mana you would need to help cast your array of Dragons.

Shaman of the Forgotten Ways will help you ramp into any Dragon you want on turn 4, which could be a huge advantage. With the high power of all of the Dragons in play, there is also an outside chance that you can cast its Formidable ability, but mostly you will be using this guy to get out some big Dragons.

Explosive Vegetation is a great way to get all of the mana you need to cast the Dragons you have in your hand. Playing Sylvan Caryatid turn 2, followed by Explosive Vegetation turn 3, will give you 6-7 mana on turn 4, and the ability to cast any Dragon you want.

Haven of the Spirit Dragon will allow you to get the mana fixing you need for your 5-color Dragons deck. The fact that it’s not a Legendary Land helps a lot as well.
Dragon incentive cards – Here are the cards that take advantage of the fact that you have so many Dragon cards in your deck.

Orator of Ojutai will be a huge card early in the game, allowing you to block your opponents creatures giving you time to cast all of your Dragons. Since we have 11 Dragons in the deck, there’s a good chance you will have one in your hand to draw a card.

Surrak, the Hunt Caller plus any Dragon equals automatic Formidable! This will make any Dragon you cast have haste, which can be a huge advantage. A 5/4 for 4-mana doesn’t hurt either.

Sarkhan Unbroken will make Dragons, and potentially allow you to get all of your Dragons in to play! Also it will help with card advantage and mana fixing as well.

Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker… what more can be said other than he turns into a sweet indestructible Dragon, enough said.

Although technically Ugin, the Spirit Dragon isn’t a dragon card, you are able to recur for it with Haven of the Spirit Dragon, which is pretty sweet.

Foul-Tongue Invocation is a card like Orator of Ojutai which benefits from having Dragons in play or in your hand. Being able to make your opponent sacrifice a creature will be a big plus, and if you gain 4 life, you can’t really complain.

Draconic Roar is a great spell to get rid of your opponent’s early creatures and as well get some damage to the face.

Sarkhan’s Triumph is our Dragon tutor allowing you get any one of our 11 Dragons you want based on how the game is playing out. Facing a lot of tokens or a control deck, get Silumgar the Drifting Death. Does your opponent have a big creature dealing you damage, get your Dragonlord Silumgar. Helps you adapt to the game you are playing.

Descent of the Dragons has the chance to put a lot of 4/4 Red Dragons on to the battlefield if you have some mana-ramp creatures or Orator of Ojutai’s in play.

Having a Crucible of Fire in play will make your already huge Dragons into super-duper crazy Dragons! Let there be fire!

The Dragons – There are many dragons to choose from thanks to Dragons of Tarkir, but here are the ones that I’ve chosen for battle.

I chose to put 1 different Dragons in because most of them are Legendary and I also want to be able to search for ones that would help in specific situations in the game, kind of like a Dragon tutor.
Thanks to all for reading all of the Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir, and you will see me again soon on MTGCanada.com!

Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: W/B Warriors

Welcome all to another Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir, and today I’m going to be talking about an existing Standard archetype that will see some welcome additions thanks to the new set. It’s time to talk about B/W Warriors!

BW Joey Warrior Deck

CREATURES: (26)
Arashin Foremost
Bloodsoaked Champion
Blood-Chin Fanatic
Mardu Shadowspear
Battle Brawler
Blood-Chin Rager
Brutal Hordechief
Chief of the Edge
Mardu Woe-Reaper
Daghatar the Adamant
Seeker of the Way

PLANESWALKERS: (3)
Sorin, Solemn Visitor

SPELLS: (8)
Raiders’ Spoils
Rush of Battle
Valorous Stance
Secure the Wastes

LANDS: (23)
Scoured Barrens
Temple of Silence
Caves of Koilos
Plains
Swamp

SIDEBOARD: (15)
Merciless Executioner
Gods Willing
Radiant Purge
Glare of Heresy
Duress
Banishing Light

Let’s start off by talking about the 1-drops

Bloodsoaked Champion will allow you to get in some early damage and also will allow you to have some creatures later in the game with its recursion ability.

Mardu Shadowspear is another quick creature that will get you some early damage and also has the advantage of getting some automatic damage when attacking even if your opponent has some blockers.

Mardu Woe-Reaper is another 2-damage one drop that has the added bonus of removing creatures from yours or sometimes more importantly your opponents graveyard to gain some life.

Now let’s see what the deck offers in the 2-drop slot

Battle Brawler is a great 2-drop that most of them when attacking will hit for 3 damage as you will most often have a white creature on board with it as well.

Blood-Chin Rager allows you to be able to get through more of your combat damage making it difficult for your creatures to be blocked. Even if dies after attacking once, it has done its job well.

Chief of the Edge is your Warrior Lord making all of your creatures have higher attack. Combine this will double striking ability of Arashin Foremost and you will be hitting early for lots of damage.

Seeker of the Way is one of the most popular Warriors from Khans of Tarkir, but not thought of most times for Warrior decks. You will have enough Prowess triggers to make this worthwhile.

Valorous Stance acts as your removal against large creatures that your Warriors won’t be able to get through as well as protection against spot removal on your creatures.

Let’s see what this deck has for 3-drops

Arashin Foremost will allow you get in some quicker damage thanks to its ability to give any Warrior double strike. It’s nice that this activates when it enters the battlefield and when it attacks, giving it more value.

Blood-Chin Fanatic is a way to get through some damage if the board stalls or you need to get in those last points of damage after your early aggression. The fact that the activated ability only costs 2 mana means you can activate it multiple times in one turn.

Now let’s look at 4-drops and above in this Warrior deck.

Having Brutal Hordechief out creature out can mean that you are able to finish off your opponent with an alpha strike just by attacking into blockers, or using its ability to get through the needed damage to finish off your opponent.

Daghatar the Adamant will allow you to make your creatures bigger to get through any blocking creatures you might encounter. Also when providing an alpha strike can put counters on whatever doesn’t get blocked.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor allows you to pump all of your creatures for a large attack while gaining lots of life in the meantime. This will help your double strike creatures get in much more damage as well. Great way to get in more damage.

Secure the Wastes will allow you to pull off the Magical Christmas Land of end of turn Secure the Wastes followed by Rush of Battle. This equals, game over folks.

Raiders’ Spoils, like Sorin, Solemn Visitor is another way to pump all of your creatures at once. It also acts as the Black Bident of Thassa, drawing you many extra cards. Paying the life for the cards shouldn’t be a problem with all of the life gain in the deck.

Rush of Battle provides an alpha strike way of winning the game out of nowhere thanks to a ton of extra damage. Even if you don’t finish off your opponent that turn, you are bound to gain lots of life thanks to this spell.

Thanks all for reading another Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir, and come back tomorrow for another daily dose!

Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Mono-Blue Devotion

Hey all, welcome to another edition of the Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir, and today I’m going to be talking about an old Standard favorite that hasn’t seen play in a while, Mono-Blue Devotion! Mono-Blue Devotion was a strong Standard deck when Return to Ravnica block was in place with cards like Nightveil Specter, Jace, Memory Adept and Frostburn Weird.

Welcome to the new Mono-Blue Devotion

The New Mono Blue – Joey Hoffer

CREATURES: (29)
Gudul Lurker
Hypnotic Siren
Master of Waves
Silumgar Sorcerer
Omenspeaker
Stratus Dancer
Shorecrasher Elemental
Thassa, God of the Sea

SPELLS: (8)
Hall of Triumph
Bident of Thassa
Cloudform

LAND: (23)
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
20 Island

SIDEBOARD: (15)
Encase in Ice
Negate
Ordeal of Thassa
Gainsay
Encrust

Let’s start off by talking about the 1-drops.

Gudul Lurker is a creature that you will be able to play on turn 1 and get in some great early damage that they won’t be able to block. If you do happen to get it late game, you’ll be able to play it as a 2/2 unblockable for 4-mana, which isn’t too bad.

Hypnotic Siren is another great one-drop creature that will get you some early damage by being a 1/1 Flyer, but also allow you to be a late-game powerhouse thanks to being able to take control of one of their creatures while making it also have +1/+1 and flying. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx will allow you to play this with bestow earlier than turn 7.

2-drops

Stratus Dancer is a great creature that by itself is a 2/1 Flyer, but has the possibility to be a 3/2 Flyer as well as with its mega-morphing ability can counter an instant or sorcery, which is some good value, and can protect some of your cards.
Omenspeaker is a great early game blocker if needed as well it allows you to fix your draw to get that Thassa, God of the Sea online when you need it.

3-drops

 

Silumgar Sorcerer is a great way to get some great value out of your early game Omenspeaker or Gudul Lurker that you want to upgrade. Having a bonus of adding two to devotion is nice as well.

Shorecrasher Elemental is one of the key cards to the new Mono-Blue Standard Devotion decks. It adds the most to your devotion count, is a pain in the butt to kill, and is an Elemental to boot!

Thassa, God of the Sea is of course what you want to achieve devotion for. Getting this 5/5 Indestructible going will be a key to victory. That being said, it’s two abilities alone, make this a worthwhile card.

Hall of Triumph is a great boost for this deck, allowing all of your creatures to get pumped, especially big for your unblockable or flying creatures. Not to mention all of your Elemental tokens getting a boost as well.
Cloudform is card I really like in this deck for a few reasons. First off, it gets you a hexproof 2/2 Flyer. Secondly, it provides two to devotion. Thirdly, there are 12 megamorph creatures in the deck that will take advantage of the manifest ability.

4-drops

Master of Waves is a key card in this deck as it takes advantage of the devotion that your deck provides. It’s also nice that it pumps up Shorecrasher Elemental as well. It shouldn’t be too hard to consistently get 4 or more Elemental creatures when you cast this.

Bident of Thassa is your main source of card draw for this deck. With most of your creatures having evasion, you will be drawing a lot of cards with this out as well as helping your devotion count.
Thanks all for reading, and I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow for another Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir!

Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Top 10 Uncommons

Today I’m going to be looking into the Top 10 Uncommons that you will be wanting to play when you play your first Dragons of Tarkir draft or prerelease tournament.

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This is my pick, for one of the favorite cards of the set. Not only can you get out an early blocker that will be able to block anything in the first few turns, there is a chance that you will be able to draw a card, which is free value. Even if you don’t get a card out of this, I wouldn’t hesitate to play this 0/4 Flying wall so that you can hold off any early attackers until you can get your bomb creatures out.

silkwrap

Silkwrap is another card that is great in the early part of the game. Similar to its Khans of Tarkir counterpart, Suspension Field, this allows you to exile something off of your opponent’s battlefield. Although there is a limitation to CMC of 3 or under, this shouldn’t stop you from playing this main deck to help in your early game.

Belltoll-Dragon

Despite its 6-casting cost, you can’t deny having a 3/3 and possibly 4/4 Flying, hexproof Dragon is something you want on your side of the board. Being able to have an untargetable creature to get through damage in the air will be too much for most players.

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This is a creature that I think will be seeing a lot of play in blue-devotion decks for months to come. I’ll talk about it more in a deck tech later in the week as well. Having a 2/1 Flash Flyer that will be able to surprise block some creatures is a great plus. Throw in the ability to get some damage through in the air, even better. What about the chance to also counter a player’s Siege Rhino, or Goblin Rabblemaster. Talk about great tempo, counter creature, get a creature, I’m liking it!

This reprint is such a useful removal spell, that’s been upgraded from Common in Avacyn Restored to uncommon In Dragons of Tarkir. Not only can you kill a creature outright, you can also diminish a creature to kill it during combat. The great thing about this card, is that the later you get it, the better it gets.

Although there are a lot of multicolor flying Dragons going around Dragons of Tarkir, Ultimate Price will kill everything else. At 2-mana and instant, it’s a grade-A removal spell that you will want to be playing. The fact that you also only need one black mana to cast it will allow you to splash it in a 3-color deck if you so choose to go that route as well.

Draconic-Roar-Dragons-of-Tarkir

Draconic Roar by itself is a 2-mana splashable removal spell that can do 3-damage to any creature. There have been other spells that have done similar effects in the past such as Searing Blood and Searing Blaze. Searing Blood has the stipulation you must kill the creature you are targeting to get the 3 damage to the player. Searing Blaze has the stipulation that you must have activated Landfall to get the 3 damage on both the creature and the player. Great thing about Draconic Roar is that you are guaranteed in any situation to get the 3-damage you might need to kill a creature and a possible bonus of doing 3 damage to a player if you have a Dragon in hand or on the battlefield.

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Forked Bolt is a card from Rise of Eldrazi that has been seeing some Modern play and Twin Bolt could be seeing some play in Constructed Formats as well. True, it’s too mana compared to the one of Forked Bolt, but the fact that it’s an instant can be an advantage in many circumstances.

Welcome to a format where you will have a lot of high casting cost creatures that you will need a lot of mana to cost. Welcome the ramp spell that will get you there, Explosive Vegetation. This reprint couldn’t come at a better time to get you the mana-fixing and deck thinning you need to cast any Dragon your heart desires.

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Sometimes in mid-to-late game you need a way of pushing through damage when the board state hits a stalemate. This will allow you make your large creatures even larger and give you the trample damage needed to get some damage through. After you’ve smashed through this turn, throw it on something else next turn!
Thanks again all for reading, and we will be back tomorrow with another Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir!

Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Top 10 Commons
Welcome all to another edition of Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir and today I’m going to be talking about the top 10 commons from Dragons of Tarkir that you should be playing in any draft or prerelease event you play in.

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Combat tricks are something you always need to either protect your creatures or give them that added damage to your opponent. Being able to get a second use of a combat trick will allow you to get a lot more damage in for sure.

This powerful reprint is an aura that will allow you to blank any bomb creature your opponent plays (minus those with activated abilities), and allow you to prevent big damage from hitting you or allow to get through your attackers. This is a must play for sure.

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Although Anticipate will not kill your opponent, it will allow you get the cards you need to kill your opponent. Its ability to be cast as an instant allows you to keep up removal and be able to cast it on your opponent’s end step. With the lack of scry in this format, Anticipate will help get through your deck.

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Speaking of cards that will allow you to get through your deck, welcome Zephyr Scribe. This little 2/1 has the ability to cycle through your deck pretty quick. Unlike it’s red counterparts, you are able to draw your card first which is nice. Even nicer is the ability to do it multiple times if you cast a noncreature spell. These types of creatures have always seen lots of play, and I don’t suspect this will change with Zephyr Sprite.

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Exploit is a great mechanic, which I believe is underrated at the moment, and once players get used to how to use it best will become quite strong. Vulturous Aven takes advantage of this mechanic in a strong way. Not only is it a 2/3 Flyer, which is nice, but allows you to draw 2 cards at the cost of two life. So a 2/3 Flyer and 2 cards for 4 mana, yes please! Just remember if you are in a pinch, you can sacrifice itself to draw cards if you need to get out of a jam.

Defeat-Dragons-of-Tarkir-Spoile

Although not at instant speed, this is the type of removal spell that you want to see in your opening hand. This will allow you to trade with any aggressive creatures your opponents control and help you get out your threats without getting too low in life total.

MagmaticChasm

A lot of times in Limited formats, the board can get stalemated with both players having multiple creatures on board. Magmatic Chasm can you let you get through that alpha strike needed to win the game. Throw in some Dash creatures on top of that, and that could lead to victory for your side.

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Lava Axe has always been a staple of Limited decks with its ability to get the burn damage needed to finish off your opponent. Throw in to be able to cast it an instant, more than pays for the fact that you will take 2 damage most of the time you cast it.

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Needless to say in a set full of Dragons, this is a card that you will want to be playing in your main deck, instead of having it in your sideboard. Being able to play this as a combat trick and pump up another blocker with 2 +1/+1 counters from the Bolster 2. Getting a two-for-one with this spell should make it a must play for sure.

Vial-of-Dragonfire-Dragons-of-Tarkir

Colorless damage is quite rare, whether it comes from a spell or from an artifact. This artifact will fit into any deck you want to play and allow you to get in some needed damage to kill or finish off any creature.
Thanks again for reading your Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir and we will be back tomorrow with the Top 10 Uncommons.

March 13th – Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Marked with an X

Welcome to another day of Dragons of Tarkir previews! Today I’m going to be talking about some X spells. Black has always been known for its card draw that causes loss of life. Let’s look at some of them:

Sign In Blood
Read the Bones
Ambition’s Cost
Ancient Craving
Caress of Phyrexia
Cruel Bargain
Harrowing Journey
Infernal Contract
Night’s Whisper
Promise of Power
Sanguimancy

… And there are even more. Most of these draw you within 2-3 cards and lose the same amount of life. Some of them only allow you to draw cards, where others can target you or your opponent. Welcome to another Black card draw from Dragons of Tarkir, Damnable Pact!

damnablepact

Where this card is at disadvantage to cards like Sign in Blood and Read the Bones is that you won’t be able to get the value out of this card on turns 2 or 3 like you would a lot of the cards listed above. However, this card truly becomes a star is when you are able to use it in the mid-to-late game. Once you start having the ability to draw 4 or more cards with one spell, you start to turn the tide of card advantage war in your favour. Another great late game use for this is in its ability to get the last points of damage in on your opponent. I call it the “Black Fireball!”. Drawing an X damage spell late in the game will allow you to do the 6-8 damage you might need to finish your opponent off.

The next X spell preview card from Dragons of Tarkir card I’m going to talk about is one that will allow players to have more cards to choose from each turn, and allow them to save their cards in hand for when they need them. Welcome to Commune with Lava.

communewithlava

The first major difference I see between this and Damnable Pact, is that I’d want to play Commune with Lava as a 4-of compared to a 2-of for Damnable Pact, and here’s why: The ability to play Commune with Lava on your opponent’s turn allows you to have your full mana base to play your extra cards the following turn. Also Commune with Lava is good to play anywhere from where X is 1 and above. Although it would be ideal to get both a land and a spell, just having an extra cards to choose from can be a huge advantage. Just take a look at how well cards like Outpost Siege and Chandra, Pyromaster have been doing. Imagine being able to search for that one card you need to finish off your opponent or spell needed to kill a creature or sweep the board in your next turn. I can see this card going forward being used in a Grixis Control deck to help you find the cards you need.

Which X spell do you believe will have more of an impact? Post bellow and I’ll definitely respond with my thoughts as well. Thanks again for reading, and look forward to seeing you guys all Monday for the final Dragons of Tarkir previews leading up to the big set release on March 27th!

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March 12th – Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: A volley of tournament playables

Welcome all to another day of previews for Dragons of Tarkir. Let’s first start with a reprint of a classic removal spell, Duress.

duress

Ring that little bell Zurgo, ring that bell! With Thoughtseize due to rotate out in October, it’s no surprise that they’ve brought back this very useful one-mana discard spell to replace it. The good news for now, is that decks can now play both for the summer!

Next we will talk about the five Dragon artifact monuments and seen here is the blue/black one, Silumgar Monument.

silumgarmonument

At first glance, these artifacts are very similar to the Keyrunes from Return to Ravnica. A main difference is that in Dragons of Tarkir, all 5 artifact creatures are the same. Each one will produce a 4/4 Flying Dragon. Although we were all hoping to see a 2-drop mana rock, it seems like something they don’t want to make anymore, so that the format doesn’t get too quick [TEDitors note: … ugh.. gimme dem signets…]. These will definitely see play in your upcoming prerelease weekend and future drafts, as there will be much less mana fixing in this format. Look to see many more 2-color decks than 3-color decks that have been seen at the past two Limited formats we’ve had.
Next I’m going to talk about a removal spell that could have a huge impact in today’s Modern metagame, Rending Volley.

rendingvolley

One of the strongest decks as seen by many Pro Tour and Grand Prix winning decklists is Splinter Twin. Although Spinter Twin does offer the ability to win ways other than the infinite combo, that is a large part of the game plan, the fear of it going off anytime starting at turn 4. Rending Volley will be a card that ends that fear. Most of the time red-decks would have to leave up multiple burn spells to be able to kill a Deceiver Exarch, but now Rending Volley does that all by itself and at instant speed. They key that will make this successful is that fact that it can’t be countered by spells or abilities. No more Dispel, Negate or Remand can be used to stop players from trying to break up the combo. Even if Splinter Twin players sideboard out their combo knowing you have this card, Rending Volley still has the ability to kill any creature in their deck.

The last card we will talk about today is a Rare land from Dragons of Tarkir, Haven of the Spirit Dragon.

havenofthespiritdragon

Now here is the land that we were hoping for when we saw Crucible of the Spirit Dragon in Fate Reforged. First off, it’s great that you are just able to tap the land for any color of mana you want to cast all of your Dragons of Tarkir Dragons. Second of all, it can still tap for one colorless mana, making it more than a dead land early in the game. Thirdly, it allows you to get back one of your large Dragons if it’s been killed after you cast it. So not only will you have the mana to cast any Dragon you want, you can than get more value by playing in a second time!

Thanks again all for reading, and look forward to seeing you tomorrow for more Dragons of Tarkir previews!

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March 11th – Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Deck Tech – Defender Assault

Welcome all to another day of Dragons of Tarkir previews! Today I’m going to do a quick Deck Tech on a new deck brought to light by the brand new card Assault Formation!

assaultformation

We all remember how much of a beast that Doran, the Siege Tower was in Standard back in the day, and this new enchantment has the possibility to do the same. Before we talk about a new deck that can take advantage of Assault Formation, let’s first analyze the card.

First off, it’s only two mana. This will allow you to get this out early enough to start doing damage with even some of your one-drop creatures.

“Each creature you control assigns combat damage equal to its toughness rather than its power.”

So, just in case you aren’t sure how this works, just say I have a 0/5 creature (TEDitor’s Note: or sheep…) that attacks or blocks during combat. Anytime it deals damage to an opponent or an opponent’s creature it will be doing 5 damage instead of it’s normal 0 damage. One of the key’s of this ability compared to Doran, the Siege Tower’s ability is that it only affects creatures you control. It won’t turn your opponent’s Courser of Kruphix into a 4-power creature.

“G: Target creature with defender can attack this turn as though it didn’t have defender.”

Although there are some high-toughness creatures without Defender, this ability will allow you to attack with all of your usually dormant creatures. There are definitely some good targets for this ability, which we will see a bit later in the deck.

“2G: Creatures you control get +0/+1 until end of turn.”

Not only with this add extra protection to all of your creatures, it also more importantly adds more combat damage to each of your creatures, allowing them to do more and survive more combat than usual.

Now let’s take a look at a possible Standard deck that could take advantage of all that Assault Formation has to offer.

Defender Assault – Joey Deck

Creatures: (24)
Sylvan Caryatid
Hornet Nest
Mnemonic Wall
Wall of Essence
Wall of Frost
Wall of Mulch
Orator of Ojutai
Lagona-Band Trailblazer
Prognostic Sphinx
Nyx-Fleece Ram
Dragonlord Dromoka
Ojutai, Soul of Winter

Planeswalkers: (2)
Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Spells: (7)
Collected Company
Valorous Stance
Ojutai’s Command
Artful Maneuver

Enchantments: (4)
Assault Formation

Lands: (24)
Windswept Heath
Flooded Strand
Temple of Plenty
Temple of Enlightenment
Yavimaya Coast
Forest
Plains
Island

Sideboard: (15)
Wall of Essence
Valorous Stance
Negate
Griffin Dreamfinder
Surge of Righteousness
Glare of Heresy
Hornet Nest
End Hostilities
Wall of Frost

This deck will definitely not have any shortage of creatures to defend with all of your creatures having at least 3 toughness and some as high as 7 toughness. Not only will this make your creatures harder to kill they will survive more combat phases and hopefully with Assault Formation, get more damage in!

The point of this deck is of course to utilize Assault Formation by getting high toughness creatures into play in the form of Walls or other creatures like Lagonna-Band Trailblazer, which could attack for 4 on turn 2 if you play if first turn followed by an Assault Formation.

Even if you don’t get the enchantment early, you will have plenty of defence to hold off your opponent’s creatures until you get one or you get your other win conditions such as Dragonlord Dromoka or Kiora, the Crashing Wave. Creatures like Nyx-Fleece Ram will provide early defense and life gain as well as being able to hit for 5-damage later on.

Ojutai’s Command will be great in the mid-to-late game in getting back a Defender that you’ve lost in combat or sacrificed for cards through Wall of Mulch.

That is all for today, look forward to seeing what comes out tomorrow when we talk about more Dragons of Tarkir previews!

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Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Ojutai Broken?

Welcome all to another day of Dragons of Tarkir previews! As more and more of the cards are being revealed for the new set, we are getting a greater picture of what to expect in the new Limited Format (Dragons and more dragons) and what changes can be coming up for Constructed Play.

Let’s first talk about a new card that could be seeing some play in some Control decks in the near future, Ojutai Exemplars!

ojutaiexemplars

What I like about Ojutai Exemplars is that it can be used as both a defensive and offensive card. Its three abilities can be triggered regardless of whether you are using the creature in combat or not. Just the threat of having the ability to tap down their creature at any time is a powerful tool. Spells that are used in Heroic decks can also be used to put Ojutai Exemplars on the attack. How about using Defiant Strike to give him +1/+0, tap your opponent’s creature, draw a card, then be able to attack for 5. There are many possibilities to make this a powerful creature in the coming Standard format.

Next, I’m going to be talking about the talk of the town at PAX East this past weekend, the new Planeswalker Sarkhan Unbroken! Let’s take a look at this beauty right now!

sarkhanunbroken

My first thought when I saw this card was, “Yes, I want to build 5-color Dragons with this!” Although this is most player’s first thought, going all in for Dragons is not necessary to make this card playable. Yes it has a game ending ultimate, if you are using the right deck, but let’s look at its other two abilities.

+1: “Draw a card, then add one mana of any color to your mana pool.”

There are few Planeswalkers, not named Jace, that have the ability to draw a card with no drawback, and with a plus to your loyalty counters no less. Not only do you the card draw, you also get an ability that might as well read, “Draw a card, and if it’s non-land, cast for one less mana this turn.” Card advantage is huge, and this will go a long way in winning the long game in any match.

-2: “Put a 4/4 red Dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield.”

The most powerful of Planeswalkers over the years, have always had an ability to defend themselves. Liliana of the Veil’s ability to force you to sacrifice a creature, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon’s -X board wipe, or Sorin, Solemn Visitor‘s ability to make a 2/2 Vampire. Being able to make multiple 4/4 flyers will not only help protect Sarkhan Unbroken, but also will give you that reach to finish off your opponent as well.

The last preview card I’ll talk about today is part of a cycle of uncommons, where you can either get a not so bad spell for its cost, or an amazing spell if you reveal a Dragon card from your hand while casting it. Let’s take a look at: Silumgar’s Scorn

silumgarsscorn

Hello 2-mana counterspell. Even if you don’t have a Dragon at the time you cast it, early on, a Force Spike can do the trick as well. I can see this in a Blue/Black or even Esper Control deck, where you are playing either of the new Silumgar Dragons as possible Dragons to reveal to be able to counter the spell altogether. The greatest part of this counterspell is that its ability to counter any spell, and not just non-creature spells, like Negate, or Stubborn Denial. I look forward to seeing this card in the months to come.

That’s all for today, we will see you back again tomorrow for more Dragons of Tarkir previews leading up to the set’s big release on March 27th!

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March 8th – Daily Dose of Dragons of Tarkir: Plus More!

Welcome all to another day Dragons of Tarkir previews, but before we get into some new cards let’s talk about some of the other big news from PAX EAST this past weekend!

We got some good news when it comes to Modern Masters 2015, when they announced that Tarmogoyf is going to be reprinted. This will make a lot of Modern players happy and hopefully get some more of this card in circulation for more to play. The next bomb announced was Karn Liberated. TRON players rejoice as they will be able to get this nice gem in their Modern Masters 2015 packs.

Onto the next big news, which was some information about how the planeswalkers story will be told during Magic Origins later this summer. It was shown in the following wonderful new card:

lili

That’s right Innistrad fans, Double-Faced cards are back! Each of the 5 main story arc Planeswalkers will be getting a Double-Faced card to show their origins story. I won’t go into the strategy for this card today, but will say that this is an excellent way that they’ve chosen to show the storyline. Double-Faced Cards are something that they would never have put in a Core set before, so this shows that Magic Origins will be much more in tune with a major expansion when it comes to card strength and difficulty.

The last major news was the return back to a familiar plane for next fall’s set release.

801c092b5b2b7728f8bb355f1ef5a79e

Many players rejoiced when hearing that Magic would be returning to one of its favorites planes. There is already lots of speculation on what this set could bring, including Fetch reprints, return of the Eldrazi, and for some the most important, Full-Art lands! Looking forward to this storyline coming October 2nd!

Now let’s turn our attention to some of the new preview cards for Dragons of Tarkir. Let’s start with a great reprint in Ultimate Price.

ultimateprice

This is a solid 2-mana removal spell that will fill in the gap nicely when Bile Blight, and Hero’s Downfall rotate out of Standard come October. Although it doesn’t hit any of the multitude of Dragons in the new set, it is a must play in any Limited Format for sure.
Next is a card that could bring back an old Standard deck archetype back from the grave for one last kick at the can, in Shorecrasher Elemental.

shorecrasherelemental

A lot of players are comparing this to Aetherling, and there are a lot of similarities, but also a lot of differences as well. Where Aetherling would be played in lots of control decks, Shorecrasher Elemental will see play in some mono-blue devotion builds. Playing Shorecrasher Elemental followed by Master of Waves, will not only product 4 tokens, but your Shorecrasher Elemental will get bigger, because of course it’s an Elemental! So if you get a chance, start picking up all of your mono-blue devotion pieces in the coming weeks.

The last preview card for today is a little gem that will be a Limited Bomb to counter all of the huge dragons flying around everywhere. Welcome Brian Kibler’s worst nightmare in Hidden Dragonslayer.

hiddendragonslayer

What a Megamorphin’ Dragonslayer! Being able to morph this on the board early on and than hold onto it until your opponent casts their Dragon bomb (which they all will by the way, there are about 20 dragons or more in the set), will help save you from certain Dragon death. Even using this in the late game, you will have 6 mana to immediately morph and megamorph it in the same turn. Want to go an aggro approach? 2/1 Lifelink for 2-mana isn’t too bad either.
Thanks again for reading, and look forward to seeing you all tomorrow for some more Dragons of Tarkir preview action!

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March 6th: I Anticipate a Touch of Dash Coming Our Way

Welcome, welcome to another day of Dragons of Tarkir previews! Today I’m going to start off talking about a returning mechanic from Fate Reforged, Dash. There have been some new Red Dash cards previewed and let’s look at two of them right now:

lightningbeserker zurgobellstriker

First off, look at little old Zurgo ringing his bell, definitely not a helmsmasher for sure, but he will do, he will do indeed. Both of these one-mana red creatures have their advantage for mono-red aggro, and I’m going to be happy to be playing both of them in my deck.

Let’s look at which one we would prefer to have early, mid, and late game. In your opening hand, of the two, you are definitely looking to get Zurgo Bellstriker. The 2/2 body early will get in a few hits for sure, which is what you are looking to get out of your one-drop creatures. There is no reason to dash either of them in the early game, so I give the early-game edge to Zurgo Berserker.

In the mid-game, say turn 4 or 5, playing Zurgo Bellstriker without Dash will give you a 2/2 creatures that won’t be able to block larger creatures and will probably be overpowered on the board at this point. There is the ability to get in for 2 haste damage which can be a surprise to your opponent, but once known they will be prepared for it after the first time you dash it. Lightning Berserker with Dash in the mid-game, could possibly hit for 4 to 5 damage, but will leave you with no mana for other spells that turn, and no permanent on the battlefield. Playing it without Dash is pretty good if you leave your mana up, as it could provide a large power blocker if needed, and the ability to cast any spells if needed. Due to its ability to get in a larger amount of haste damage, I give the edge mid-game to Lightning Berserker.
In the late-game, Zurgo Bellstriker is no different than it is mid-game. Still provides 2 damage, and still can’t block large creatures. Lightning Berserker however, has the ability to get a larger amount of damage in thanks to its firebreathing ability, which can lead to a late game kill off the top of your deck. I give the late-game edge to Lightning Beserker.

Let’s move on to a card I believe will be seeing a lot of play in both Standard and Modern going forward, Anticipate.

anticipate

Currently in Standard, blue decks have been able to get some mid and late game card draw with Treasure Cruise, and Dig Through Time, but have been lacking in early game card draw. Well that has been fixed with Anticipate!
How does this compare with all of the current card-drawing in Modern (that’s not banned at least), let’s compare to some of the 1-mana draw spells currently being played in Modern.

Serum Visions – Serum visions allows you to set your deck up for the next turn or two, but is a blind card draw. Anticipate is able to choose from best from the top 3 cards, but you won’t know what you’ll be drawing the next turn. The ability though to play Anticipate at the end of your opponent’s turn allows you to play this past turn 1 and hold up the necessary mana for Remand or Mana Leak.

Sleight of Hand – Sleight of Hand allows you to look at the top 2 cards instead of 3 like Anticipate. Its ability to cast it on turn 1 like Serum Visions is an advantage, but in mid-to late game, due to the ability to keep up counter mana, I want to have an Anticipate.
So what’s available now definitely allows you to have early-game fixers for your deck, but mid-to-late game (turn 2 and on) I believe Anticipate would be what you want to have in your hand.
Looking forward to more previews tomorrow? So am I! See you than!

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MARCH 5th:
Welcome to Day 3 of previews for Dragons of Tarkir! Today I’m going to talk about some of the new cards that will really help one of my favorite Standard deck archetypes going forward, Jeskai Aggro!

Jeskai has always been about having some aggressive creatures, mixed with tons of burn spells to finish your opponent off. Let’s have a look at what Jeskai Aggro could look like after the release of Dragons of Tarkir.

Jeskai Dragon – Joey Hoffer

Creatures: (14)
Goblin Rabblemaster
Mantis Rider
Soulfire Grand Master
Stormbreath Dragon
Thunderbreak Regent

Planeswalkers: (4)
Narset Transcendent
Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker

Lands: (25)
Island
Mountain
Plains
Battlefield Forge
Flooded Strand
Mystic Monastery
Shivan Reef
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Triumph

Spells: (17)
Dig Through Time
Jeskai Charm
Ojutai’s Command
Lightning Strike
Magma Jet
Stoke the Flames
Valorous Stance

Sideboard (15)
Ojutai’s Command
Disdainful Stroke
Negate
Valorous Stance
Anger of the Gods
End Hostilities
Glare of Heresy
Radiant Purge

Yesterday, we talked about the potential of Ojutai’s Command, today let’s focus two more of the new cards from Dragons of Tarkir, and how they can be used to help the deck. Take a look at the sweet new planeswalker, Narset Transcendent:

narsettranscendent

What a beauty of a card! So many things jump out at me, but let’s break them down one at a time:

” +1: Look at the top card of your library. If it’s a noncreature, nonland card, you may reveal it and put it into your hand”

A lot of you might remember another planeswalker, not too long ago from Gatecrash, called Domri Rade, who had a very similar ability to Narset Transcendent, but was for creatures. One of the things that Jeskai decks have been lacking in the past is card advantage, but with the ability to draw a free card more than a third of the time, this will help you draw those extra burn spells or finishing creatures to get you over the top playing Jeskiai. They key to remember is that you can get any noncreature, nonland card, which includes your other planeswalker Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker as well.

“When you cast your next instant or sorcery spell from your hand this turn, it gains rebound”

The power that his ability has with the already powerful spell line-up in this deck, allows you to finish an opponent off quickly. Imagine getting 8-damage in with a Stoke the Flames, or getting 4 cards from Dig Through Time. Like gaining 4 life and drawing a card with Ojutai’s Command, how about gaining 8 life and drawing two cards, yes please. Being able to either double your burn or double your card advantage will give you the advantage over most decks in the mid-to-late game where Jeskai has had some trouble in the past getting through it’s last points of damage.

“You get an emblem with “Your opponents cant cast noncreature spells”

Needless to say, ultimates on planeswalkers are meant to be game crushing, and this is no different. The ability to make anywhere from 25 to 50% of your opponent’s deck unplayable, will make it hard for any opponent to recover from that.

Planeswalkers often benefit from the ability to protect themselves, from Liliana of the Veil’s sacrifice a creature ability to Kiora’s Fog ability. Although Narset Transcendent doesn’t specifically have an ability to that level, where is does shine is that, in most circumstances it will end the first turn you have it in play with 7 loyalty counters. That can survive a lot of hits, and a lot of burn to get rid of this planeswalker.

The last card, I’ll talk about today is one of the new Dragons previewed:

thunderbreakregent1

We ask for a Dragon cheaper than 5-mana, and they deliver. A 4/4 Flyer for 4-mana is quite powerful by itself, but what it guarantees in most cases, is that even if they do have a removal spell for it, they are at least taking 3 points of damage, which is still a nice consolation. In the mid-to-late game this will help you get those last points of damage needed to finish off your opponent.
Join us again tomorrow, for some more Dragons of Tarkir previews!

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MARCH 4th – I Command You To Exploit

So another day of previews for Dragons of Tarkir is upon us, but before we talk about some of the cards spoiled on Tuesday, let’s talk about the #1 selling pre-order card at WizardTower.com and other online sites:

sidisiundeadvizier

Now a 4/6 with Deathtouch for 5-mana is nice enough, but let’s check out the new mechanic from Dragons of Tarkir, Exploit.

“Exploit (When this creature enters the battlefiled, you may sacrifice a creature.)”

I find this new mechanic to be very flavourful when it comes to the colour pie, and fits perfectly into black. There has never been a shortage of black Magic cards from previous sets that have asked you to sacrifice your own creatures to further its own purpose, and this just fits in nicely. Now what about Sidisi, Undead Vizier specifically could make it a good fit for today’s standard environment. Let’s take a look at how this can fit nicely into this Sultai Reanimator deck.

Magic Deck

Creatures: (26)
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Hornet Queen
Reclamation Sage
Satyr Wayfinder
Soul of Innistrad
Sylvan Caryatid
Courser of Kruphix
Doomwake Giant
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Silumgar, the Drifting Death
Pharika, God of Affliction

Lands: (22)
Forest
Island
Swamp
Evolving Wilds
Llanowar Wastes
Mana Confluence
Opulent Palace
Polluted Delta
Temple of Malady
Temple of Mystery
Yavimaya Coast
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Spells: (12)
Murderous Cut
Sultai Charm
Whip of Erebos
Thoughtseize

Sideboard: (15)
Reclamation Sage
Bile Blight
Disdainful Stroke
Hero’s Downfall
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Drown in Sorrow

Sidisi 2.0 would allow you to sacrifice a lot of its early game creatures that might be overpowered in the mid-to late game, like Satyr Wayfinder and Sylvan Caryatid, and allow you to not only put a 4/6 deathtouch body onto the field, but also search your deck for some finishers. Getting Hornet Queen, Silumgar, the Drifting Death, or even the new Dragonlord Silumgar (see below) to gain card advantage can turn things in your favour in a hurry.

Now, let’s move on to one of the new spoilers of the day, and my favourite card in the set to date, Shaman of Forgotten Ways. Check out the new green Mythic from Dragons of Tarkir:

shamanofforgottenways

Wow, what a potential powerhouse. This would be the card that I am hoping to open in any draft or sealed event for sure. This will allow you to play not only cards specific to your colours, but allow you to branch out to play all of the powerful creatures that you happen open. The key to this card, is in its ability to “Add two mana in any combination of colours to your mana pool.”, and not just two of the same color. This will allow you to cast a lot of the powerful multicolor creatures that are available including Siege Rhino, and all of the new Dragons, just to name a few.

Imagine playing turn one, Elvish Mystic, followed by turn two Shaman of the Forgotten Ways, into turn three, whatever you would like! Having 6 creature mana at your disposal on turn 3 is quite amazing, and also having the colour fixing needed cast what you want! Yes, you obviously won’t get this perfect hand every time, but we can dream can’t we.

Last, but definitely not least in today’s previews is the one of the rares from the new Command cycle in Dragons of Tarkir, Ojutai’s Command:

ojutaiscommand

Each of the Dragon’s from Fate Reforged are back and each will have their own powerful Command spell to boot. Everyone liked the charms from Khans of Tarkir, well bump that up a notch, and you get the Command cycle. Not only do you get two abilities for the price of one at instant speed, but with 6 possible ways to play this card, there is some versatility that will see this card in both control and aggressive Jeskai lists as well. I would recommend picking these Command cycle rares up as soon as you can, as they will be seeing a lot of play.

Well that’s all for today, I’ll see you again tomorrow with some more Dragons of Tarkir previews!

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MARCH 3rd – PREVIEWS BEGIN

So, Day 1 of previews is upon us, and it’s clear WotC really wants Dragons-tribal to succeed. This is already true in casual formats such as Commander, but never has it been true in the more competitive formats. While you will see the odd Dragon in standard, from Khans block it’s mostly Silumgar, the Drifting Death making it’s way into Sultai and Blue/Black Control lists and even then, mostly out of the sideboard.

This is mostly because 5-mana plus Dragons, despite their abilities, are too slow for Standard. Will this change in Dragons of Tarkir? We will have to see.

What they have added in Day 1 of previews is something to go in addition to Silumgar, the Drifting Death –

dragonlordsilumgar

Wow, now this is a powerful ability. Picture stealing your opponent’s Siege Rhino against Abzan, or taking someone’s Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. It would have been nice to have hexproof instead of deathtouch, but its 5 toughness does help it from being killed.
Also, in Day 1 previews they teased a card with the potential to be quite powerful if they do release some lower-costed Dragons.

dragontempest

Its first ability gives all of the Fate Reforged Dragons “When a Dragon Attacks” abilities to become effective immediately. The question is – do you really want to play this on turn 2, and wait 2-3 more turns depending on ramp to play a 5-mana plus Dragon? Will the 1 damage and haste be worth the card? Time will tell on this one, and what they decide to print when it comes to cheaper costing Dragons.

One returning mechanic that I’m truly excited to see back is Rebound. Check it out here on Profound Journey.

profoundjourney

Rebound is an amazing mechanic from back in the Rise of Eldrazi days that allows you to re-cast for free the same spell during your next upkeep. Profound Journey just wants you to bring out an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon with it. It would have been nice if this were in Sultai colors, but I’m sure there will be some uses for it going forward. Getting two permanents from your graveyard for 7 mana isn’t too bad at all.

The last card I’ll talk about today is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers new mechanic “Megamorph” as seen here on Stratus Dancer.

MMPR_Dinozord_Megazord

…errrrr…

stratusdancer

I believe that Megamorph will be a huge factor when it comes to limited, where Morph, Manifest, and now Megamorph can allow 5-color morph to be even more of a powerhouse.

There is still a lot of new cards to come for Dragons of Tarkir, and questions to be answered. Will we see cheap Dragons? What 10-11 lands will we see in this last expansion of the block? Will we see filter lands, or could we even see the other 5 fetchlands appear?

Check back each day during preview season and we will talk about all of the wonders of the new set in all of it’s glory! Let me know in the comments if there is a particular card or topic that you want me to discuss during preview season. See you tomorrow!