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November 24, 2016

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Next Level: Top 10 cards to be thankful for

Hello and welcome to this week’s version of Next Level Analysis. Each week we take a deeper look into the latest decks and the cards performing best in them. Each week the goal is to pick up a new strategy or idea that can help you take your game to the next level either at your local card shop or at a large tournament. Two weeks ago, we looked into the snow packed action of Skred and how ironic, I look outside my window and all I see is a Snow-Covered Plains. This can only mean one thing we are getting closer and closer to the holiday season. For many people the holidays have evolved from a time of friends, family and being thankful for the good things in our lives, to something that would be represented by the Rakdos Guild of Ravnica. People are more worried about saving $5 on a gift than the meaning behind the gift.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good savings but, I think we should take a break from the Rush of Adrenaline we get from bargain shopping and instead look into something we all are thankful for here at MTGCanada…. Magic the Gathering. This week I am going to count down the top ten cards I am thankful for. Now there are a lot of great cards out there so I am going to limit the selection to cards that have been released after 8th Edition. Also, I am going to limit the list to just creatures this time, sorry Chandra, Torch of Defiance, but you will have to take the back burner for a week. With the limits set in place, lets dive right into the countdown with number ten.

#10 Tarmogoyf

Now many people would argue that the poster child of every Modern Masters set so far should be higher up on the list. Yes, the card is very good. I even play the card myself in multiple formats. Still, when I think of my favorite plays in my magic career, Tarmogoyf is not in many of these plays. Yes, he is a big beater but that is pretty much all he is. Still, I am never going to be upset when I cascade into a Tarmogoyf off a Shardless Agent.

#9 Restoration Angel

This card brings me back to one of my favourite decks. For those of you who do not know me, I am a combo player, Rest In Peace Splinter Twin. After the banning of Splinter Twin, I refused to let the combo die and quickly switched over to the America Control route with Restoration Angel and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. I later would try many variants of the deck including some with Eldritch Evolution and even Nahiri, the Harbinger. No matter what I did, or the success I had, it was not Splinter Twin and because of this reason Restoration Angel does not fall higher on my list.

#8 Voice of Resurgence

Next on the list we have another value creature that saw play with all of the previous cards mentioned on the list along with Chord of Calling. Voice of Resurgence does some amazing things by creating one token if not more during its time on the field, unless it happens to find the opponents Path to Exile. Plus, when your opponent plays the dreaded blue colour of magic you might just find even more value when playing Voice of Resurgence.

#7 Emrakul, The Aeons Torn

As a combo player, I love cheating Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play. Whether it be with a Through the Breach or a Show and Tell your opponent will always be in awe of this flying spaghetti monster. Some players were upset with the announcement that Emrakul, the Aeons Torn was going to be the RPTQ promo this year however I am very excited about this. I personally love the new art and plan on picking up a playset for myself as I continue to cheat it into play time and time again.

#6 Monastery Swiftspear

For the players who like to be done rounds quickly at a large tournament, this card is perfect. Paired with Lightning Bolt and other burn spells we can put a very fast clock on our opponent. At one mana Monastery Swiftspear will continue to see play in both Modern and Legacy as long as the card is legal in the respective format.

#5 Delver of Secrets

Now how could a little 1/1 make it this high on our top ten list? Oh yeah, Delver of Secrets may just be the most terrifying one drop in magic no matter what format you are playing. Eventually this little 1/1 will turn into a 3/2 flyer. Delver of Secrets quickly took over every format even becoming a staple in vintage. Sometimes the best gifts come in small packages.

#4 Dark Confidant

Good Ol’Bob. Card advantage is huge when playing the game and that is exactly what Dark Confidant gives us throughout the game. I cannot count the times that I have cast Dark Confidant on turn two and heard a sigh from my opponent. This is what Magic the Gathering is all about right, making your opponent miserable? Push come to shove, this card always replaces itself, you either draw an extra card or get rid of a spell from your opponent’s hand.

#3 Grim Flayer

Ever since this card was spoiled in Eldritch Moon I started to test it in various builds. I have even started playing it as a four of in Modern Jund and Abzan builds. It just works so well with many of the other cards in both Modern and Standard. Paired with a Dark Confidant you can make sure you don’t take unnecessary damage and avoid drawing too many lands. Not to mention in a deck that already runs Tarmogoyf a 4/4 Trampler with an ability is pretty good. Give this card some more time and it may even make its way higher up on my list.

#2 Snapcaster Mage

Snap-Bolt. This is the only explanation needed for this card, however I guess I will elaborate. Snapcaster Mage quickly earned a place in the heart of control players by allowing us to cast a spell from our graveyard and giving us a body to either attack or block. Snapcaster Mage has been a powerhouse in every format; Standard, Modern, Legacy and even Vintage. The card is very good, however there still is one card I do hold more near and dear to my heart…..

#1 Deathrite Shaman

Lastly, we come to the card I was most thankful for, Deathrite Shaman, emphasis on most. We had a good run while it lasted but I guess a one mana mini Plansewalker is just too good for modern. Being able to consistently put Liliana of the Veil into play on turn two made Jund a very scary matchup for others. We can hope that one day we may be able to play this powerhouse again in modern, although it is highly unlikely. Until then it will continue to be an all-star in Legacy.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and all of the other great ones that can be found on MTG Canada. Until next time, best of luck in taking your game to the next level. I also would love to hear from you whether it be feedback on my article, or your own top 10 favourite creature lists. You can send any questions or feedback to and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Also, I hope everyone finds the perfect gift this holiday season, but don’t forget the meaning behind the gift.