by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
From the name alone, you may assume that the Magic the Gathering 2015 Core Set “Flames of the Dragon” intro pack was a Dragon deck. Actually, there was a forced artifact theme in Red & Blue in the 2015 Core Set. While one of the Dragons in this deck certainly plays into the artifact theme, they are secondary to the success of this particular deck.
Because the Red/Blue artifact theme was well designed around during this set, "Flames of the Dragon" is of the more solid Intro Packs of Magic 2015. This Intro Pack was released in July 2014 and features two rare dragons: Hoarding Dragon and Siege Dragon. However, this is not exactly a Magic 2015 dragon deck, as we will see from the deck list.
3 Bronze Sable
2 Welkin Tern
1 Rummaging Goblin
3 Aeronaut Tinkerer
2 Krenko’s Enforcer
2 Wall of Frost
3 Scrapyard Mongrel
1 Hoarding Dragon
2 Glacial Crasher
1 Siege Dragon
1 Rogue’s Gloves
1 Sacred Armory
1 Tyrant’s Machine
1 Shrapnel Blast
2 Ensoul Artifact
1 Brawler’s Plate
1 Staff of the Flame Magus
1 Staff of the Mind Magus
2 Lava Axe
1 Darksteel Citadel
This is definitely an artifact-happy deck with the Dragons as curve-topping threats. First, we’ll take a look at the two rare Dragons.
Siege Dragon is a very powerful card, especially in Limited. It costs 5RR to cast for a 5/5 flyer. When it enters the battlefield, it destroys all Walls your opponents control. Then, whenever it attacks, if the defending player controls no Walls, it deals 2 damage to each creature that player controls that doesn’t have flying. While this sounds awfully powerful, he doesn’t have Haste – at least not on his own.
As far as Intro Pack rares go, however, he’s not bad. He’s not really a Constructed playable card, though. He does show up in more than his fair share of Commander decks, though, due to his ability to wipe out a lot of creatures at once.
Hoarding Dragon is a reprint from the Magic 2011 Core Set. It would later be reprinted as an Uncommon in Iconic Masters. When he enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an artifact card, exile it, then shuffle your library. When he dies, you may put that exiled artifact into its owner’s hand. This sounds like a nifty tutoring effect, and a 4/4 flying dragon for 3RR sounds decent enough on top of that.
The trick is to make sure that the Hoarding Dragon actually dies. If he’s removed from the field in any other way, whether he’s returned to the hand, returned to the deck or exiled, that artifact you searched out is gone forever. You have to ensure that he dies.
If you manage to get that exile artifact to your hand, then Hoarding Dragon’s good. Otherwise, he’s just a 4/4 flyer that just cost you an artifact from your deck. Still, like Siege Dragon, he has a good enough effect that he sees a good deal of casual play, especially in the Commander format.
The rest of the creatures are a mix of artifact creatures and some creatures that are helped by the presence of other artifacts. Ornithopter, which we haven’t seen in quite awhile, is a 0-drop 0/2 flyer. Free-to-play creatures are awesome, especially when it’s combined with another card in this deck, but we’ll get to that in the non-creature spells.
There are also 3 copies of Bronze Sable in the deck, a 2/1 artifact creature that costs two colorless mana to cast. While they seem rather vanilla, they are cost effective and give you artifacts that help with the overall theme of the deck.
The next two-drop in the deck is Welkin Tern, which is a 2/1 flyer for 1U that can only block creatures with flying. It’s a fairly standard Core Set common creature. Not much more to say about it other than it’s an early evasive creature. There are two of those in the deck.
Next we have a Rummaging Goblin. He costs 2R to cast for a 1/1 Goblin Rogue, but he has a useful tap ability. It’s what’s often called the “looter” effect, draw a card, then discard a card. There’s a blue card in the set, Research Assistant, that does something similar, but at the cost of 3U per “loot.” Rummaging Goblin is strictly better in that sense, but on a much more fragile body, where the Assistant is a 1/3 for 1U.
Aeronaut Tinkerer is a Magic 2015 card. He costs 2U to cast for a 2/3 that gains flying as long as you control an artifact. Considering that controlling an artifact will not be hard in this deck, he’s a very good card at common. There are 3 copies of him in the deck.
Next, we have two copies of Krenko’s Enforcer. He costs 1RR to cast for a 2/2 with Intimidate, meaning he can only be blocked by red creatures or artifact creatures. While he’s not really on theme, he’s aggressive.
Already, we have a ton of evasive creatures, some with flying, others than can gain flying, and a couple with Intimidate. This is looking like a very solid creature line-up so far! So who will hold the ground?
To help with that, the deck has 2 copies of Wall of Frost. It’s a 0/7 (!) Defender for 1UU and whenever it blocks a creature, that creature can’t untap during its controller’s next untap step. It’s one of the better walls out there.
We then have two copies of a classic artifact creature: Juggernaut, a 5/3 for 4 that must attack every turn. It does have the nifty ability to be able to not be blocked by Walls, which is definitely a “thing” in this Core Set. He has been a great card in the past and even sees play in Vintage, so he’s not to be underestimated!
We then have three copies of Scrapyard Mongrel, another new common card from Magic 2015. He’s a 3/3 for 3R which is sort of mediocre, but as long as you control any artifact, he gains +2/+0 and gains trample. Suddenly, he’s a very aggressive creature.
We round out the creature line-up with 2 copies of Glacial Crasher. It’s a 5/5 Elemental with Trample for 4UU. However, it can’t attack unless there is a Mountain on the battlefield. That should never be a problem with this list, though, since it is a red/blue list, and that Mountain can be on the opponent’s side of the battlefield, as well. It’s not the most exciting big beater in the world, but it’s only a common, so you can only ask so much.
The creature line-up in this Intro Pack is actually fairly strong compared to its counterparts. It only gets better when you see how they synergize with the non-creature spells.
The first non-creature spell is actually an equipment: Rogue’s Gloves, new for Magic 2015. It costs only 2 to cast and 2 to equip. Whenever the creature it’s equipped to deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card. Considering how many flyers there are in this deck and all of the trample that’s in this deck, having this card equipped to one of them could give you some nifty card advantage. I’m a big fan of this uncommon Equipment. Plus, it’s an artifact.
Next, we have another artifact, Sacred Armory, also new to Magic 2015. It costs 2 to cast and gives a target creature “firebreathing” (+1/+0 until end of turn) for the cost of 2 colorless mana per activation. It’s especially good in a Limited context, but in Constructed it’s just a nice way to pump extra mana into dealing a bit more damage. But the fact that it’s an artifact gives it other reasons to be included, too.
Yet another artifact, Tyrant’s Machine costs 2 to cast, and provides a way to tap down opposing creatures for the cost of 4 colorless mana. While it’s not the most cost-effective card, again, it’s an artifact to provide fuel for the theme.
The onslaught of new artifacts continues with the Equipment, Brawler’s Plate. It costs 3 to cast, but 4 to equip. It gives the equipped creature +2/+2 and trample. That seems pretty nifty, even if 4 is a bit pricey for an equip cost. Whatever, it’s an artifact.
To round out the artifacts we have the Staves for red and blue: Staff of the Flame Magus and Staff of the Mind Magus, respectively. These cards allow you to gain 1 life each time a Red or Blue spell is cast, or a Mountain or Island enters play under your control. It’s nice for tempo reasons, but again, they are also artifacts.
The last three cards in the deck are your big finishers: one copy of Shrapnel Blast and two copies of Ensoul Artifact.
Shrapnel Blast is a very strong card. It was powerful back in the days of Mirrodin with its first printing, and saw Standard play during Magic 2015 Standard, too. With so many potential artifacts to sacrifice in this deck, it may be the best spell you have at your disposal. Five damage to a target creature or player is a lot, and well worth the sacrifice in most cases. The sad part is that there is only one copy of this in the Intro Pack. Four copies of this in a better tuned version of this deck would make this archetype quite deadly.
The other card is one of my personal favorite cards in the entire Core Set: Ensoul Artifact. Making an artifact into a creature with base power and toughness 5/5 in addition to everything else that it does is pretty ridiculous. Making a 0/2 Ornithopter into a 5/5 that can still fly for only two mana is pretty ridiculous. It even allows you to make your Equipments and utility artifacts into creatures. It’s another card that I wish there were a full playset of in the deck. This card has a lot of potential to do a lot of silly things.
The other card that Ensoul Artifact happens to be very good with is Darksteel Citadel. It’s been reprinted in a duel deck since its first inclusion in Darksteel (as a common, no less!) but it is now being bumped up to uncommon. (Interestingly enough, the Citadel was reprinted again at common in Modern Masters 2015 soon afterwards!) Darksteel Citadel is an indestructible artifact land. This is relevant because it’s yet another target for your Ensoul Artifact. It may be the best target outside of Ornithopter. There’s only one in the deck, so if you want to take this deck to the next level, there should definitely be a full four copies.
The list is rounded out by 24 basic lands: 12 Mountains and 12 Islands.
As far as Intro Packs go, “Flames of the Dragon” definitely provided one of the better shells around which to build a Standard deck around the time of Magic 2015. The forced red/blue artifact theme in the set is especially interesting. If you were to cut some of the weaker cards in the deck and add in a couple more Ornithopters, max out the Shrapnel Blasts, Ensoul Artifacts, and Darksteel Citadels, you have the start of a fairly decent deck.
As constructed, I’d have to give this deck a B as an intro product. Compared to its other Intro Pack counterparts, it’s a very aggressive list with plenty of evasive creatures and a very strong theme. The only issue is that you have to be extremely picky when to use the best two cards in the deck. Of course, the point is to provide a shell, and there’s a pretty strong one here. It’s definitely in contention for the best of the Magic 2015 Core Set Intro Packs.
Just a couple years later, this would be one of the more expensive Intro Packs to still buy sealed. Why anyone would pay $25 or more for this deck and 2 Magic 2015 booster packs is beyond me. Yes, Ensoul Artifact is a decent uncommon, but that’s really the only money card in the deck! Actually, it was a $1+ uncommon for a time because of how popular this deck was in Standard.
Magic 2015 was a set full of good cards, so two lottery tickets in the form of M15 booster packs was a nice bonus. All in all, I wouldn’t buy this deck sealed. But if you want to build a deck like it, I would definitely recommend the Red/Blue Artifact archetype as a way to go. As for building a Magic 2015 era dragon deck, this is not the place to start.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Let's take a look back at the Magic the Gathering Born of the Gods Event Deck, Underworld Herald! This deck was released in February of 2014. is a mono-black deck, which isn’t a surprise considering how powerful mono-Black devotion decks were at that time in Standard.
While there is only one card with Devotion in the event deck for Born of the Gods, it's full of Bestow creatures. Many creatures in this deck saw Standard play at the time. When the entirety of this deck was legal in Standard, it had some real value rares within it!
Let’s take a look at the Underworld Herald deck list:
1 Agent of the Fates
1 Blood Scrivener
1 Crypt Ghast
1 Desecration Demon
1 Erebos’s Emissary
1 Herald of Torment
3 Mogis’s Marauder
1 Pack Rat
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Spiteful Returned
3 Tormented Hero
2 Xathrid Necromancer
NON-CREATURE SPELLS (10)
2 Bile Blight
3 Doom Blade
1 Fated Return
1 Gift of Orzhova
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price
2 Dark Betrayal
2 Gift of Orzhova
2 Pharika’s Cure
2 Staff of the Death Magus
Considering the time that this deck is from, there are some pretty darn good rares in this deck. Agent of the Fates is a solid little Black Heroic card that has some ways to activate it in this deck. While it never really became popular in Standard, it probably was underused relative to its power level.
Blood Scrivener helps you get a couple of cards if your hand is empty at a minimal cost of 1 life. While it’s not the most exciting card, it’s a creature with upside. Those are usually pretty good, and this one still sees some play in EDH.
Crypt Ghast doubles the production of your black mana. It also has the Extort mechanic on it. This Gatecrash mechanic allows you to pay either a white or black mana any time you cast a spell. If you do, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain that much life. It’s become a staple in many Commander decks and was quite good in its Standard heydey. Crypt Ghast is probably the most valuable rare in the deck today.
Desecration Demon was the best rare in the deck, by far, when this deck was released. It is a monster that proved to be the primary beater in mono-Black Devotion decks. When “Underworld Herald” first released, this card alone took up a good chunk of the deck’s value. While its drawback is significant, forcing your opponent to sacrifice a creature to stop it from attacking is also quite meaningful.
Also, each time your opponent stops it from attacking, it gets bigger, too. As if a 6/6 flyer wasn’t enough, this Demon was often going to be swinging for 8 damage or more in most games. The Demon never really panned out in Modern, because there are enough flyers in the format that can easily chump block it. Somewhat ironically, Desecration Demon was reprinted in Modern Masters 2017, despite seeing almost zero play in the format.
Herald of Torment proved to be a decent Bestow card in Black. It’s a 3/3 flyer on its own and as an Aura, the Herald gives +3/+3 and flying. While you lose 1 life during each of your upkeeps, it’s a small price to pay for that amount of power in the air. While it was never a money card, it was a useful role player in Standard, for sure.
Pack Rat is a very playable card that can pump out copies of itself by ditching an extra card in hand and paying 2B. Also, the Pack Rats get bigger the more that you have in play. It’s a deceptively simple card with a flavorful concept that proved to be extremely good in Standard. Heck, it’s still played in casual Rat decks everywhere! Pack Rat also continues to see occasional play in the Modern format.
The last rare creatures in the deck are two copies of Xathrid Necromancer. It’s super useful for when your Human creatures die by replacing each of them with 2/2 Zombie tokens. The Necromancer even replaces himself! Really, the only drawback is that the tokens come into play tapped. It’s a shame that this guy hasn’t found a good home in any other format, because he’s really a superb card.
In the non-creature spells, you have Fated Return and Hero’s Downfall as rare cards. Fated Return is a pricey reanimation spell, but it makes the creature coming back indestructible. Still, it’s not so great as a Standard card, but it works well in Commander. On the other hand, Hero’s Downfall is simply excellent removal that you would definitely want more than one of in a deck.
Where's Gray Merchant of Asphodel in the Born of the Gods Event Deck?
The most obvious exclusion in this deck is everyone’s favorite mono-Black Devotion staple, Gray Merchant of Asphodel. That choice actually is not a mistake. The reason for this is that Wizards decided to include a different Devotion-based card in Mogis’s Marauder. Whereas “Gary,” as he’s often called, makes you gain X life and an opponent lose X life where X is your Devotion to Black, the Marauders give X creatures intimidate and haste until end of turn where X is that same number.
To anyone who has witnessed the power of Gray Merchant of Asphodel, it’s understandable why people are confused about that omission. But there’s a good reason for it. Wizards went out of their way to try a new take on a mono-Black deck that didn't involve Devotion. It's an aggressive build, built around Xathrid Necromancer and a bunch of Human creatures. Tormented Hero, Mogis’ Marauder, and Rakdos Shred-Freak are all Humans. Therefore, this makes the Necromancers extremely good and allows you to be extremely aggressive. Spiteful Returned, a Bestow creature from Born of the Gods, is actually decent enough as a creature, as whenever it declares an attack, the defending player loses 2 life. This is a super aggressive deck.
There’s also a pretty good removal package in this event deck with 2 Bile Blight, 3 Doom Blade, 2 Ultimate Price, and 1 Hero’s Downfall.
The sideboard includes more removal, plus 4 copies of Duress for control purposes. The 2 extra copies of Gift of Orzhova to complement the one in the deck could prove useful if you’re playing this deck as is. Cremate is nice for messing up Graveyard-based strategies, but little else (although it draws you a card, as well). The Staff of the Death Magus is kind of a cute addition, as well, rewarding you by playing Swamps and black spells and giving you 1 life for each.
Improving the Born of the Gods Event Deck, In Context
The first obvious thing about this deck is that it’s combining two distinct strategies: an aggressive approach with the Human/Xathrid Necromancer combination, and Bestow. For Devotion purposes, Bestow is extremely useful as a mechanic. Honestly, this deck can work as-is, but it’s not quite strong enough in a serious competitive setting.
First of all, Agent of the Fates is a really nice card, a 3/2 creature with Deathtouch, and there are ways to make it work pretty well with the Bestow abilities in this deck. It’s also a Human, which works with the Necromancer. Blood Scrivener is a bit too situational, and would probably be our first cut. Crypt Ghast is super cool, in that it can double mana, but one copy in an aggressive deck probably doesn’t cut it here.
Desecration Demon is an auto-keep, and a second copy could easily replace the Ghast. Erebos’ Emissary is an interesting little Bestow card, but a third Desecration Demon replaces it easily on the curve. If you’d rather not build around the Demons, two more Necromancers would slot in nicely! The reason for more Necromancers should be obvious: the more Necromancers, the more tokens you acquire!
Herald of Torment is OK, but it’s another slot better occupied by a Necromancer or a Demon. The Marauders might be okay, especially if you’re maxing out the Human potential with Necromancers. Pack Rat is nice, and good in mono-Black devotion in general, but not in this particular build. It’s still super solid if you go a different direction, though. Cacklers are fine one-drops, as are Tormented Heroes, even if the Heroic ability is never relevant. Rakdos Shred-Freak is a bit sub-par on average, but super good with the Necromancer.
For non-creatures, the removal count is fine except for there only being one Hero’s Downfall. Fated Return is too pricey and situational to be worth main-boarding, so that’s an easy swap. Gift of Orzhova isn’t bad, and helps devotion, but another Hero’s Downfall or perhaps a Herald of Torment (which gives you more value) is probably better here instead.
Of course, you could go the more traditional route of mono-black Devotion decks, cutting Shred-Freak for more Pack Rats, cutting the Marauders for Gray Merchant of Asphodels, and cutting the Necromancers for Demons. But I think the mono-Black Humans route is much more interesting, and it’s possible to run 4 Necromancer and 4 Demon in the deck.
Also, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is simply too good not to run in a mono-colored deck. Three copies should do the trick. Here’s the revised Underworld Herald deck list with these upgrades.
3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
4 Desecration Demon
2 Herald of Torment
3 Mogis’s Marauder
3 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Spiteful Returned
4 Tormented Hero
4 Xathrid Necromancer
NON-CREATURE SPELLS (9)
2 Bile Blight
3 Doom Blade
2 Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price
In the end, this is the list I would have gone with at the time. It keeps the Human factor alive, with the Marauders still in, cutting the more fragile and situational creatures with more heavy hitters. The Agent was nice, but it was 1 Human, replaced by two more. I also flip-flopped the count of Tormented Hero and Cackler. There’s still enough Bestow in the deck to make the Tormented Heroes sort of relevant. Of course, if you’re looking to go super-Human and not wanting to spend on the Demons, replace the 4 Demons with 4 Agents of the Fates.
As for the sideboard, I’d cut the Gifts of Orzhova for two more Herald of Torment, if you’re going to keep going to Bestow route. The Staffs are silly, and Pithing Needle could take their place to shut down activated abilities. Cremate is also pretty sub-par and Thoughtseize is strictly better than Duress if you can afford them. Sideboards really depend on your meta, however, so go with whatever works against your meta. Heck, Gild might even have had a place in here.
Overall Value of the Born of the Gods Event Deck
In the context of when this deck was released, the Underworld Herald event deck looks really good on the value side of things. At the time buying multiple copies of this deck was not a bad investment, if you planned to flip the cards immediately. Desecration Demon and Hero’s Downfall looked to be Modern-playable, but only Hero’s Downfall has really ever seen any play at all in the format. As good as Xathrid Necromancer was at the time, he’s pretty worthless now, mostly due to there being an extremely common promo version of him available.
When this deck was first released, I gave the Underworld Herald Event Deck a B for play-ability, but an A for value. I really liked the different take on mono-Black, without automatically resorting to Black Devotion. However, what’s killed this deck in the long term is that shortly after this deck’s release, in October 2014, there was a major Standard rotation that gutted the deck. The big value cards from the Return to Ravnica block and Magic 2014 (Desecration Demon and Xathrid Necromancer, plus the Rakdos creatures) were no longer legal in Standard.
In late 2016, you could still find sealed Underworld Herald Event Decks available for a price around $20. Unfortunately,there were only three rares, Crypt Ghast, Hero’s Downfall, and Pack Rat, that continued to hold $2-3 price tags.
From a strictly “bang for your buck” perspective, this isn’t a good deck to buy as sealed product today. This deck is not going to make back your $20, although Crypt Ghast and Pack Rat will likely continue to gain in value as time passes. A Commander reprint of Crypt Ghast has slowed its growth, but Pack Rat remains un-reprinted.
In any case, the Born of the Gods Underworld Herald Event Deck is a fun deck to play. As the upgrades above show, there are several different ways to build from this shell. My recommendation would be to build the deck from scratch, however, since it would be cheaper to do so that way.
by Lyn Lomasi; Co-owner of Brand Shamans & Write W.A.V.E. Media
Pokemon are always showing up in the most interesting places. The other day when we got our vegan bowls at Chipotle, Paras and Mankey decided to show up, too. Apparently, they love Chipotle's non-GMO Southwest-style food just as much as we do. Can you blame them?
by Kai Chang, Crazy About MtG
Take a look at Magic Worlds. It’s 79% white, and it’s 100% male. Why? If Mark Rosewater says that the male-female ratio is 62% to 38%, why is the professional Magic scene so white and male? Why, while Magic is getting more diverse ethnicity-wise and gender-wise, why hasn’t the competitive scene shifted much?
The gaming community leans towards being white and male, so when Magic began, there was a major carryover, resulting in a mainly white male player base. Let’s talk for a second about social pressures. When people have friends that play, they are more likely to invest more time and money in the game, so that leaning has mainly stayed true, with the Magic community still leaning towards white males, though there is definitely a growing number of minority players.
So, though there are no credible statistics, when Magic began, the player base was probably significantly more white and more male than it is now. But why should that count? The best players are basically the players that have spent the most hours playing, with some element of luck. It’s a generalization, but it’s mainly true.
So, if white males have the most friends that play Magic, then they’re more likely to invest the time and money needed to enter the competitive scene, because being better at the game brings them more than it would if you had friends that didn’t play Magic.
I'm hoping that soon as the player base gets more and more diverse, the competitive scene reflects that change.
Magic the Gathering (MTG) Brewing Madness - Midnight Madness (Standard / Casual)
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
In my Magic deck brewing madness, I wanted to brew a deck around a few bulk rares that seem to work well together: Ghirapur Orrery, Midnight Oil and Key to the City. The best way to do this was to build a Madness deck. In the end, Midnight Oil ended up not being a key component to the deck, although it has drawn me enough cards to be useful enough that its drawbacks don't matter.
Having no hand size is fine with Ghirapur Orrery and Asylum Visitor drawing you cards when you're Hellbent (no cards in hand). If you play it right, you can actually create a decent amount of card advantage for yourself.
Before we go any further, let's take a look at the deck list:
4 Falkenrath Gorger
4 Asylum Visitor
4 Furyblade Vampire
2 Bloodhall Priest
Non-Creature Spells (22)
3 Avacyn's Judgment
3 Cathartic Reunion
3 Harnessed Lightning
3 Key to the City
4 Fiery Temper
2 Ghirapur Orrery
2 Midnight Oil
2 Murderous Compulsion
4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Smoldering Marsh
The creatures basically chose themselves for the deck, because we need lots of Madness cards. Falkenrath Gorger is not only a 2/1 with no drawback, but he gives your other Vampires madness. While this seems pointless with Asylum Visitor and Bloodhall Priest both having Madness already, it means that the one Vampire we do have that doesn't have Madness, Furyblade Vampire, gains it. This turns out to be very, very important.
Asylum Visitor is only 1B and she's a 3/1 that can draw you a card when you have no cards in hand. You only have to pay 1 life for this, too. Believe me, she will draw you cards. Considering how aggressive she is helps, too.
Furyblade Vampire is probably the best creature in the deck! She's a 1/2 Vampire creature for 1R. At the beginning of each combat, you get to discard a card to give her +3/+0 until end of turn! That's not a drawback at all, since so many cards in this deck have Madness! Also, having Trample is actually quite relevant as 1/1's don't help anybody much against the Furyblade.
There are only 2 copies of Bloodhall Priest in the deck because running more ended up clogging up my hand in playtesting. Two copies are enough because the true value of the Priest is when you have no cards in hand. A 4/4 for 4 is OK, but her Madness cost is only 3 mana. Then, if she enters the battlefield or attacks when you have no cards in hand, she deals 2 damage to a target creature or player. This effect has won me games by itself. You would think more would be better, but really, you end up just getting a 4/4 for 3 most of the time. While this is good, you're trying to move so fast that sometimes you need another spell instead of her.
The non-creature spells are what really make the deck work! Avacyn's Judgment is decent in the early game picking off 1 or 2 toughness creatures, and late game this can deal 4-6 damage pretty easily with its Madness cost!
Cathartic Reunion both enables Madness and nets you 3 cards. The full four copies were too much. At times, you even end up discarding your third copy, but it's a great card.
Harnessed Lightning isn't a Madness spell, but it's just too good to not play three of. The energy does make a difference, too, as you play more in a game. And it's instant speed removal!
Fiery Temper is one of the best spells in the deck. You're often going to just send the 3 damage to your opponent's face. In this deck, Temper really is just Lightning Bolt.
The last Madness spell in the deck are 2 copies of Murderous Compulsion. I'm thinking these should just be Unlicensed Disintegration. While Compulsion is a Sorcery, if you happen to discard it for Madness, you get to play it at instant speed. However, Unlicensed Disintegration is probably better overall, so I may switch these two spots to that card. As I build a sideboard, I may shift these in there to combat more aggressive decks in which Midnight Oil really doesn't help me.
Speaking of Midnight Oil, there are only two copies of this strange, but often useful Enchantment. In some matchups, Midnight Oil is great, as you can draw extra cards and play around its drawback of having no hand size. Also, it's ruled that if you play a second copy while one is on the board, you get to set your hand size to the second copy, which is very helpful. Plus, even with no hour counters on them, you still get to draw cards!
But wait, there is another drawback! Whenever you discard a card, you lose 1 life. This is kind of bad, but it can be fine if you're going to win the game anyway. But you can see why we only want 2 copies. You also don't want to be drawing all these cards, because you can actually kill yourself with these triggers (although it only happened to me once).
Also, extra copies of Midnight Oil can be dead in your hand and cost you the game by not being another spell that you need instead. Being four mana means that you won't always want or need to cast it. The good news is, that you actually don't mind discarding to hand size if you have the mana to cast your Madness spells. Also, there are some other synergies with other cards as you'll see in a moment.
Ghirapur Orrery is a really good card that pops up in Vintage Stax on Magic Online. While its a symmetrical effect that can benefit both players by dropping extra lands, it benefits you more to speed up your land drops just so you can get them out of your hand. Then, when you're out of cards, you get to draw three cards. Yes, your opponent gets this boon as well, but you're usually moving quickly enough that they just die anyway.
Do keep in mind that you want the Orrery trigger to activate instead of your Asylum Visitor's, if that's the case. Again, you only want two of these, because they are 4 drops in an aggressive deck. Plus, you don't really need more.
Then there's Key to the City. This card a great Madness enabler and a great way to consistently push through 3 or 4 damage that can't be blocked. Also, whenever it becomes untapped, it can draw you a card. If you stack your triggers correctly, you get 4 cards off of Orrery and the Key instead of just three. This card is really good, and you really don't mind having multiples. A fourth copy may end up coming in out of the sideboard. It's a good card in other decks, but in a Madness deck it's particularly powerful.
Final Thoughts on the Midnight Madness Deck
This deck seems pretty solid, but it hasn't been played against the Top 8 decks just yet. It really needs a sideboard, and as I said, Unlicensed Disintegration would definitely be in there. A fourth copy of Key to the City should be in there , too. Midnight Oil seems like it's a good card in the deck, but I wonder if it's even completely necessary to the deck's success. I'm not entirely sure just what to add otherwise and am very open to suggestions.
If anyone wants to give this deck a spin and finds that the list needs to be adjusted (the addition of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, perhaps?), please let me know what you've found! This deck is cool and while I'm not sure it's Tier 1, I think it's good enough for a Friday Night Magic run.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Ever wonder how some Magic the Gathering cards have significant price tags despite seeing no competitive play? Welcome to Kitchen Table Magic, where anything goes and a card only has to be good in a vacuum to see play. But there are cards that tend to actually be legitimately good that just never got the love they may have deserved. These are the Kitchen Table Magic all-stars.
Common Types of Kitchen Table Magic All-Stars
Legendary Creatures - Beyond simply being potential Commanders, Legends usually have powerful effects that entice you to build around them. Those that benefit from being outside of a singleton and color restricted format like Commander flourish in casual one-on-one and multiplayer environments. There are more examples than we can possibly list.
Mill - Because running your opponent out of cards is dirty and fun... Glimpse the Unthinkable is a great example of this. It sees some random Modern play, but that's not where most of the demand comes from. The same is true for cards like Archive Trap and Hedron Crab.
Multiplayer All-Stars - Cards that have effects that affect each opponent can scale up big time in multiplayer. These can become serious all-star candidates.
Planeswalkers - Because they are usually very powerful cards, especially in a more casual metagame, planeswalkers always have value. Classic planeswalkers such as Chandra, Jace, Garruk, and Liliana and their various incarnations tend to be worth more in the long run.
Tribal - Cards in popular creature types tend to be all stars in the tribal decks that want them. The most popular tribes are Angels, Demons, Elves, Goblins, and Slivers, but there are many others that warrant attention.
How Do We Identify Casual Magic All-Stars?
The criteria for a Kitchen Table Magic All-Star card becoming a great investment include:
So, what are the signs of identifying casual Magic all-stars before the often “invisible” demand causes the price to inevitably climb?
One thing to watch is the foil multiplier. This is simply taking the average price of a card’s foil printing and dividing it by the non-foil price. If you see a card that has a high multiplier, this is usually a sign that the players that want this card want the shiniest version. This usually means it
is a key part of some strategy somewhere.
But many times, the foils of casual cards are less than twice the regular price. What does this mean?
Let’s take a good example of a casual all-star with plenty of room to grow: Chasm Skulker from Magic 2015.
As of this writing, Chasm Skulker is around $3-4 and around $6-8 for the foil version. Not long ago it was much closer to $2 and $4, respectively. Outside of some rogue decks, it’s never seen significant competitive play. It did, however, get reprinted in Commander 2016. Still, it's holding a fair price tag, especially the foil.
The effect? You can get this guy pretty big each time you draw a card. And when it dies? You get a ton of tokens with islandwalk. There isn’t another card quite like this. It sees a decent amount of play in Commander, but isn’t any kind of a format staple.
So yeah, the Skulker is good in Commander where drawing cards and manipulating +1/+1 counters is fairly easily done. But the price tag is a function of people buying multiple copies at a time for a 60-card deck. It’s not hard to run 4 copies of this guy. And because the Skulker is from such a recent set, there are plenty of copies still out there. He’s more of a “fun” card that isn’t the heart of a strategy, but more of a complimentary piece. Many casual Magic all-stars are like these.
We’ll identify more cards like this in the future. It’s not so much about making money in identifying these, it’s about saving money if they suddenly become really good in the future.
Any Kitchen Table Magic all-stars that you have your eye on or have collected to play in your own decks?
Magic the Gathering - U/W Tallowisp Spirits & Auras Deck Tech (Modern / Casual)
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
At one time in late 2016, Tallowisp from Betrayers of Kamigawa was getting a lot of attention. At first glance, this Spirit's effect seems cool. As we dig deeper, we'll see it's actually a pretty cool card. With Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon introducing some powerful Spirits to Magic: the Gathering, this card is definitely worth a look.
Basically, whenever you play a Spirit (or Arcane) spell, Tallowisp allows you search your deck for an Aura card and add it to your hand. So, does Tallowisp trigger itself? Sadly, the wording of its ability doesn't allow it to count itself when it enters the battlefield. This is because it already has to be on the board for its ability to take effect. However, Tallowisp has a 1/3 body, which is solid for 2 mana. The 3 toughness is relevant in Modern, which is a format with plenty of 2 power creatures.
Tallowisp is already a decent card on its own, and it calls for decks to be built around it. With U/W Spirits already a decent deck in Modern, it seems fair to see how a Modern Spirits deck built around Tallowisp and efficient Auras would work out.
There have been some successful deck brews in the past built around Tallowisp. One that caught lots attention was a Modern Bant Tallowisp Shoal deck that utilizes Shining Shoal and Unflinching Courage. As cool as it sounded, it wasn't really the flavor I was going for with our deck.
We wanted to keep the deck in two colors and make it purely tribal. At first, a deck which featured Geist of Saint Traft as the main creature. But as we look over the newer Spirit creatures, we'll see that we can take this U/W Spirits deck in a much different direction.
U/W Tallowisp Spirits & Auras (Modern & Casual)
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
3 Selfless Spirit
2 Spell Queller
3 Drogskol Captain
Non-Creature Spells (28)
2 Ethereal Armor
4 Path to Exile
3 Hyena Umbra
3 Azorius Charm
2 Steel of the Godhead
1 Angelic Destiny
4 Flooded Strand
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Prairie Stream
Some Quick Thoughts on the Deck
While Geist of Saint Traft is great, running four copies in the deck makes it feel too one-dimensional. Yes, the Geist is hexproof, making him easy to load up with Auras. Also, the 4/4 Angel that you get when the Geist swings is nice. But building around him makes the deck very dependent on him, and therefore somewhat inconsistent. So, let's spread the Spirit love around!
Mausoleum Wanderer is really, really good. It's good against Burn and Control, especially when it grows to 2/2 or 3/3. As a consistent one-drop it can mess up quite a few decks. Heck, against Tron it can stop Ancient Stirrings! It's so versatile in the Modern format, and while people who have already played Spirits in the format know this, it's not really well-known JUST how good this guy is!
Rattlechains is sweet. Not only does he make you able to cast Spirits at instant speed (oh hi, instant speed Wanderer!) but when he comes into play, you can make a target Spirit hexproof. This is super important against all of the removal in the format.
Everyone knows how good Selfless Spirit is. Making your dudes indestructible is just really, really good.
Notice how all these Spirits so far have flying? That's awesome, because even though 1 or 2 points of damage doesn't seem relevant, it all adds up!
Tallowisp is the card that inspired this deck list in the first place. There were four copies in the list initially, but 3 turned out to be fine. The 4th copy was often redundant during playtesting. The tutor ability is extremely relevant and it was activated in every game in which I played this deck. Also, being a 1/3 means it walls 2 power creatures all day! Also, it's actually pretty good to suit up with the Auras, as I found.
Spell Queller was just too good to not include. Not only is he a quasi-counterspell, but a 2/3 flyer is awesome. I only needed two copies at first, but I may adjust this number later.
One inclusion that you probably wouldn't expect is Drogskol Captain. The cool thing about him is he pumps your other Spirits by +1/+1 and gives them hexproof. He doesn't give this to himself, but if you get two Captains on board, this deck becomes EXTREMELY hard to deal with. With everyone in this deck except Tallowisp able to fly, it's pretty awesome.
So what do we seek out with Tallowisp? There are two copies of Ethereal Armor and three of Hyena Umbra. The first strike is important in many cases and Ethereal Armor just gets better and better with each Enchantment you cast. The Umbra has totem armor, which gives your guys an extra protection against removal.
Steel of the Godhead is a two-of and it's the second-best equipment in the deck. While white creatures only get the lifelink, blue creatures are unable to be blocked. White and blue creatures get both abilities and an additional +1/+1 for each color. It's pretty awesome.
The last Aura is Angelic Destiny. While this is not a card you'd typically expect to see in Modern, it is relevant. Getting +4/+4 and flying is good enough, but you get first strike, too!
To protect our gameplan, we have Path to Exile to deal with problem creatures. There are 3 copies of Remand to keep up our tempo, too. I like these better than Mana Leak in this deck, as the extra card really helps. There are also 3 copies of Azorius Charm. I chose the Charm because of its versatility. It can draw you a card, give your creatures lifelink, or bounce a creature to the top of an opponent's deck. The lifelink really does matter, too, especially against burn and aggro.
The mana base is extremely simple. Prairie Stream is extremely good, believe it or not. You can even fetch it with Flooded Strand and the deck plays enough basic lands that it comes in untapped. I may adjust the mana base later on, but it seems pretty solid as symmetrical as it already is. Mystic Gate, the white/blue filter land, actually would probably be a good inclusion, but who wants to spend money on those?
This isn't a final version. It doesn't even have a sideboard! But it's already worked extremely well in playtesting. It would be worth tossing in copy or two of Threads of Disloyalty, which can steal creatures with converted mana cost 2 or less, into a sideboard. It's a nice target for Tallowisp to fetch. It probably also doesn't hurt to throw in a copy or two of Geist of Saint Traft. An Aura-based deck doesn't feel complete without him, although it seems to function well despite that.
While I'm not sure how it will hold up against the top 8 decks, it has a chance to win some games. For now, I'd say it's a purely casual deck. But it has the pieces to be a very, very strong Spirit deck. If you decide to play "real" U/W Spirits in Modern, this is a great starting point.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Aetherspouts is a very interesting Blue card in Magic the Gathering's Magic 2015 Core Set. It was an extremely strong Limited card that even saw some Standard sideboard play for awhile. That was because of the crazy aggro decks in the format before Innistrad block rotated out of Standard. Yes, it costs 3UU. Still, it's an instant spell that is clearly a better version of Aetherize.
For those that don't know, Aetherize is an Instant from Gatecrash for 3U that returns all attacking creatures to their owner's hand. But Aetherspouts is a somewhat better card because it returns attacking creatures to the deck for only one more mana. That's much more devastating for an opponent to deal with if it's a lot of creatures that are being returned.
Aetherspouts even makes your opponent decide which creatures go on top and which creatures go on the bottom of the deck. So, instead of simply giving your opponent their creatures back to their hand, you deprive them of all those creatures, making them have to draw them again. Then, they have to choose whether they want to draw those creatures again sooner or later. Plus, if any of them were token creatures, they are gone forever. Ouch.
In Standard, Aetherspouts gave Blue decks a nightmare for aggro decks to deal with in their arsenals. It did see some Standard sideboard play at the very least, as the perfect counter to ultra-aggressive decks. Five mana was just too much for Modern, though. So, since rotating out of Standard hasn't been seen competitively. However, in Commander, Aetherspouts has become a staple in many Blue decks, so this card still definitely has a home.
Dark Ascension Event Deck: Gleeful Flames Review - Magic the Gathering Deck Reviews
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
The Gleeful Flames Event Deck for Dark Ascension is a Mono-Red deck built around lots of direct damage. Let's look at both the deck on its own, as well as what is useful to take away from the deck for use in the future.
4 Forge Devil
4 Goblin Arsonist
4 Goblin Fireslinger
4 Goblin Gaveleer
3 Torch Fiend
Non-Creature Spells (28)
4 Brimstone Volley
1 Curse of Stalked Prey
2 Faithless Looting
4 Goblin Grenade
3 Infiltration Lens
3 Haunted Fengraf
2 Inkmoth Nexus
The creature line-up in this deck is very simple. They're all small creatures that can do more damage than their initial mana cost may suggest. Forge Devil is good for taking out your opponent's smaller creatures, but at the cost of 1 damage to you. Goblin Arsonist is a bit better card, as it deals 1 damage to either a target creature or player when it dies (giving it great synergy with Goblin Grenade!)
Goblin Fireslinger has a tap ability to deal one damage to a target player, an okay ability, but nothing special; however, it is also a Goblin, so it's good with Grenade. Goblin Gaveleer is a little 1/1 with trample that gains +2/+0 for each equipment attached to it. Torch Fiend is a nice 2/1 that can sacrifice itself for artifact removal. Hellrider is the boss monster of the deck, a very good rare from Dark Ascension that not only is a 3/3 with haste, but it also causes 1 damage to your opponent each time one of your creatures declares an attack, making all of your little Goblins much more dangerous.
For the non-creature spells, you have a full line-up of Artillerize. With it, you sacrifice a creature and deal 5 damage to a target player or creature. When your little Goblins outlive their usefulness, this card really comes in handy. Brimstone Volley is a 3 drop burn spell that can deal 5 damage with its morbid ability. This makes it combo very well with Artillerize, cards like Torch Fiend that can sacrifice themselves for an effect, and of course, Goblin Grenade.
Curse of Stalked Prey is one of the more underrated curse cards which allows your Goblins to gain +1/+1 counters each time they deal combat damage to the enchanted player. Faithless Looting allows you to draw a couple of cards and discard two cards that aren't currently useful to you, and it also has flashback, meaning you could easily discard the second copy of Looting if you draw it and use it again later.
Goblin Grenade may be the best card in the deck, allowing you to for one mana and the sacrifice of a little Goblin to do 5 damage to anything. Infiltration Lens is an interesting little equipment that draws you two cards any time an attacking creature becomes blocked. It's cheap to play and has a cheap equip cost, making Goblin Gaveleer more of a threat and allowing for easy cheap card draw to keep you ahead of your opponent in card advantage.
For the mana base, you have 3 Haunted Fengraf to start. Fengraf is interesting in that it can get creatures back to your hand from the graveyard by sacrificing it and paying 3. The only time that this would seem necessary, however, is if your Hellrider is destroyed and it's the only creature in your graveyard. That mana would be better spent elsewhere, it seems. However, the 2 Inkmoth Nexus are an interesting inclusion. They don't seem to fit into the general theme of the deck, but replacing two copies of the Fengraf for 2 more Nexus could make for an onslaught of flying infect creatures. It's a curious choice for this deck, though.
The sideboard is pretty darn good, though.
2 Act of Treason
4 Arc Trail
2 Gut Shot
3 Into the Core
3 Torpor Orb
Honestly, I think the Arc Trails are better suited for the main deck and Gut Shot may be, as well. Into the Core is nice artifact removal. The one copy of Dismember may help you take out that one big threat and the two Act of Treason can help you swing for game. Torpor Orb is a great inclusion, as well, as it helps you shut down pesky enter the battlefield effects.
My main issue with this event deck, besides the fact that it is a nice cheap budget version of Red Deck Wins is that there are cards in it like Inkmoth Nexus that don't fit the theme of the deck. I'm not a big fan of Torch Fiend and Forge Devil, either, as it seems to me that the direct damage spells are what will win you the game in the end.
Having two copies of Hellrider and a couple of Arc Trails in the main deck seem like a better strategy. Overall, though, the deck is pretty balanced. I just think it needs to be played more aggressively than the main deck would suggest. The Torch Fiends seem better in the sideboard. Torch Fiend is decent only because it's a one-drop (it makes you wish Raging Goblin were still in Standard!)
Overall, when this deck was first released, it was well worth your $20 investment if you wanted to play it in Standard before Return to Ravnica dropped in October 2012 and more than half of the deck was no longer playable in Standard. Heck, it was good to have a Goblin deck to play casually.
But really, it was always nice for the 2 copies of Inkmoth Nexus, which are $25 a piece as of November 2016. So if you spent $20 back in the day for these, you did well for yourself. Today, Gleeful Flames decks can be found online for roughly $60.
Here's what's still playable in Modern and elsewhere, with their rough market value as of 11/1/2016:
2 Inkmoth Nexus - ~$24 each
3 Torpor Orb - ~$2.50 each
1 Dismember - ~$2
4 Goblin Grenade (M12) - ~$1.75 each
2 Faithless Looting - ~$0.50 each
2 Gut Shot - ~$0.25 each
Even today, these decks are still worth purchasing just for those few cards. Even though the rest of the deck is pretty much bulk, Gleeful Flames has stood the test of time for value, that's for sure!
As a deck, however, today it's really much better to scrap it for spare parts, although it's still a fun little deck for casual play.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Aetherflux Reservoir is one of the coolest Magic cards in the Kaladesh set. Not only does it allow you to pay 50 life to deal 50 damage to a target creature or player, but it can gain you a lot of life during the course of the game. In Kaladesh Standard, one deck found a way to take full advantage of this life gain while also giving you a powerful win condition. This deck is White/Blue (W/U) Reservoir, at one time the best Aetherflux Reservoir deck in Standard.
Here's the deck list:
4 Thraben Inspector
2 Pilgrim's Eye
3 Reflector Mage
3 Torrential Gearhulk
3 Essence Flux
4 Engulf the Shore
2 Glimmer of Genius
3 Aetherflux Reservoir
4 Port Town
4 Prairie Stream
2 Stasis Snare
4 Niblis of Frost
2 Summary Dismissal
2 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
Buy this deck on TCGPlayer
This deck is all about making value plays. Thraben Inspector was one of the best creatures in Standard for a reason. Not only is the Inspector a 1/2 for just one mana, but you get a Clue token in addition. This gives the deck early card advantage. Two copies of Pilgrim's Eye allow you to search out one of the many basic lands in the deck and soon you'll see why there are 13 basic Islands.
Three copies of Reflector Mage allow you to stay ahead on tempo by messing with your opponent's creatures. Cloudblazer is an awesome value creature that both gains you life and draws you cards. Lastly, there are three Torrential Gearhulks to recycle your spells at instant speed, while also providing big bodies to close out the game if the Reservoir plan is taking too long.
Essence Flux is a great way to "blink" your creatures and recycle their effects. It's better if you use it on a Spirit. While there aren't any Spirits in the main deck, there are 4 copies of Niblis of Frost in the sideboard. Anticipate filters your draws so that you're drawing cards you need rather than cards that you don't.
Unsubstantiate is a poor man's Remand, by bouncing your opponent's spells, essentially countering them but sending them back to their hand instead. It's the poor man's version since the classic Modern card also draws you a card. But one thing that it does that Remand doesn't is bounce creatures, including your own. This will come in handy later. Glimmer of Genius gives you Scry 2 and draw 2 cards, and the energy doesn't matter in this deck.
The most important noncreature spell in this deck is the 4 copies of Engulf the Shore. The reason it's so good is that you don't mind returning your own creatures to hand, since they are have enter the battlefield abilities that you want to reuse anyway. This is why you need so many basic Islands, although Prairie Stream counts as an Island, too.
The gameplan is relatively straightforward. Make sure that you're always playing a turn or more ahead of your opponent.Once you have Reservoir on the board, try to cast as many spells as you can each turn. Keep in mind that you gain life when you cast spells on your opponent's turn, as well. It's all about maximizing how many spells you cast while also keeping in mind how ahead you are on tempo. It takes a bit of skill to play this deck, but the results are worth it, as decks like this can win a tournament.
The sideboard gives you Dispels, Negates, and Summary Dismissals for control matchups. Niblis of Frost gives you an aggressive flyer if you need it. Not only is it a Spirit that can tap down an opponent's creatures for a turn, but it also has Prowess. These are very good against aggro decks that will try to race your Aetherflux Reservoir.
Stasis Snare helps you deal with big threats at instant speed. In Standard at the time, these included threats such as Emrakul and Ulamog. The two copies of Jace, Unraveler of Secrets give you an additional draw engine while also letting you bounce opponent's creatures. Jace's ultimate is pretty sweet, too, automatically countering the first spell your opponent casts every turn.
This is a great deck that could be built relatively on the inexpensive side. The most expensive cards of this deck are the Aetherflux Reservoirs, Torrential Gearhulks, Port Towns, and Prairie Streams. It was a good Standard deck that wouldn't break the bank. If you like taking old Standard decks out for a spin, this is a good one to try.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Predator Ooze never quite got the love that many Magic the Gathering players expected it to get. He's a three-drop with three green mana symbols, which is quite an investment in a single color. But during his time in Standard, many decks played dual lands and Birds of Paradise. Still, to get him out on a consistent basis, Mono-Green seemed to be the perfect deck for Predator Ooze.
Predator Ooze isn't particularly exciting on the surface. He's only a 1/1. However, he is indestructible. The only way to permanently deal with him is to exile him or force him to be sacrificed. Also, when he declares an attack, he immediately gains a +1/+1 counter. Then, when a creature dealt damage by him dies, the Ooze gets yet ANOTHER +1/+1 counter.
In May 2012, I said that Predator Ooze was a sleeper card. I saw him becoming very relevant when Scars of Mirrodin block rotated out of Standard. I suggested to pick up your copies on the cheap before he became a mono-green menace. This was excellent advice. His price nearly doubled when Return to Ravnica debuted and doubled again shortly before the release of Gatecrash. This was due to Gatecrash's awesome Evolve mechanic that interplayed beautifully with Predator Ooze's counters. Predator Ooze's price topped out around $5 for a bit.
Unfortunately, Predator Ooze never found a permanent home in any dominant deck in Standard. Mono-Green Aggro was a fairly competitive deck and he found his way into some lists. But he mostly acted as a way to counter other aggressive decks out of the sideboard. Unfortunately, the Ooze didn't get to enjoy a Standard environment with Theros devotion in play. Dark Ascension bowed out of Standard on that set's release. Had he been around in a Standard with Devotion, Predator Ooze would've probably become a $10 card much like Nightveil Specter would later.
Predator Ooze in Modern Decks?
The good news for Predator Ooze is that despite not living up to the pre-Gatecrash hype, people continued to brew with him in Modern decks. Some early versions of the Tooth and Nail decks in Modern utilized a copy or two of him. Some Mono-Green Devotion lists would try him here and there too. Really, though, the best home he found was in Commander where +1/+1 counters are extremely abusable.
It seems like in most sets now Wizards is adding +1/+1 counter support. The enchantment Hardened Scales would seem to be his best friend, giving him an additional counter every time his abilities trigger. Unfortunately for him, Managorger Hydra got printed and took that three-drop slot in the deck. Despite being awesome for devotion, the Ooze got outclassed by the Managorger's ability to not only grow faster but also have trample as well. So Commander is the only real home that he's found. All of this has kept his price tag above $2 however. He's no bulk rare.
What's held him back in Modern is not only the prevalence of Path to Exile, but also the presence of Dismember who doesn't care about indestructible as long as the Ooze is 5/5 or less. Liliana of the Veil's sacrifice ability is also relevant but in the type of deck that Ooze is played in, it's doubtful that he's your only creature on the board. Still, when two of the premier removal options in the format can deal with him as easily as almost anything else, you're going to go with the creature that can get a lot bigger, which is the Managorger Hydra.
Going forward, Predator Ooze is probably only a Commander card. It's hard to say if another deck in Modern will actually ever need him. Although, Predator Ooze could figure into a Hardened Scales deck at some point. Down the line, he'll probably get reprinted and his value will shrink substantially. Until then, Predator Ooze is a Magic card that still has some value.
Keep up with the latest Magic the Gathering and other gaming articles by subscribing below:
Lyn Lomasi is founder and owner of the Brand Shamans Content Community. Services include ordained soul therapy and healing ministry, business success coaching, business success services, handcrafted healing jewelry, ethereal and anointing oils, altar and spiritual supplies and services, handcrafted healing beauty products, and more!
Lyn is your brand healing, soul healing, marketing & content superhero to the rescue! While rescuing civilians from boring business practices and energy vampires, this awesomely crazy family conquers evil and creates change.
They live among tigers, dragons, mermaids, unicorns, and other fantastic energies, teaching others to claim their own power and do the same.
By supporting us, you support a dedicated parent, healer, and minority small business that donates to several causes. Profits from our all-inclusive store, Intent-sive Nature support these causes and our beautiful family!
HIRE OR SHOP WITH LYN | CONTACT LYN