by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
When compared to his predecessor in the original Zendikar, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is easier to cast with a potentially much more devastating ability. He only costs 4 mana to the Bloodchief of Ghet’s 7 mana casting cost, meaning he gets into play much sooner. Also, the Bloodchief has a tap ability, which while good, it doesn’t beat the Traitor’s ability. The Traitor of Ghet causes any opponent’s non-token creature that dies to be exiled and you get a 2/2 Zombie token out of it. Also, you can pay 2B and sacrifice a Vampire or Zombie, except himself, to put 2 +1/+1 counters on Kalitas. He even has lifelink!
In Standard, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet proved himself to be a major competitor, making him a $20-25 card in mid-April 2016. He’s pretty good in Modern, too! Because of this, his price tag put him a bit out of reach for some Commander players for some time. When he left Standard, however, his price dropped closer to $12, allowing for more people, especially EDH players, to fit him into their collections.
There are so many good mono-Black Commanders already. But Kalitas not only can get you an army of Zombie tokens while shutting off any graveyard-based strategies. He can also make himself bigger, meaning he could potentially take out players on his own.
So, why hasn’t Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet become more of a player in EDH where it seems like he would be very powerful? Part of the problem is that he prevents any decks that work at all out of the graveyard to function, while still being able to use your own graveyard. Basically, he can draw hate very quickly. As a member of the 99, he’s still quite useful, but again he draws a lot of hate.
Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet is definitely one of the more powerful Legendary creatures from recent sets. The pieces are there for him to lead formidable decks, and perhaps a bit too formidable for your everyday Commander group to want to deal with on a regular basis.
EDHREC has a good sampling of decks with Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet as the Commander. You can check out their Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet page to get an idea of what sorts of EDH decks people build around him.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
At its peak, Kozilek’s Return was a $25 card. But after not seeing the play many people had expected it to see in Eldrazi decks, Kozilek’s Return’s price has been on a steady downward trend. With its rotation in October 2017, its market price is around $4. However, it may not go much lower than that, due to seeing Modern and Legacy play.
The Legacy play makes sense. It’s a one-of in Legacy Sneak Attack sideboards, since it is technically possible to cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and take advantage of Kozilek’s Return’s second effect. But most of the time this is a Pyroclasm for one more mana that also happens to be colorless - meaning it dodges things like protection from red or protection from colored spells, which can be relevant at times. We’ve also seen a side-boarded copy of Kozilek’s Return in the occasional Miracle Control or OmniTell deck.
The Modern play is a bit more confusing. Primarily, Kozilek’s Return has been seen in Grixis Death’s Shadow Aggro decks. Again, it’s basically a colorless Pyroclasm for one more mana, as there is no Eldrazi to cast in that deck. But, yet again, being colorless helps against certain creatures, such as Burrenton Forge-Tender, which sees some sideboard play.
As a one-of in Modern and Legacy sideboards, and only barely any Standard play towards the end of its Standard life, it’s hard to see this card going much lower in price. This is definitely a good card in certain Eldrazi decks to help clear the way for the Titans such as Ulamog and Emrakul. Its exile ability is certainly decent, too. Of course, the main thing helping it keep its value is that it’s a mythic rare. Plus, being an Eldrazi-themed card, its price is propped up a bit, as well.
Towards the end of its Standard life, Kozilek's Return often listed for $5, but no one paid more than $4. As Oath of the Gatewatch stock was liquidated around October 2017, it was $2.50 or less. In 2018, it was barely selling for $1, despite a much higher median price. But it's worth holding onto if you already have copies. There is a chance that this card gets adopted by more Modern and Legacy decks in the future.
by Phoenix Desertsong, Old School Duelist
Is Sea Gate Wreckage a Currently Undervalued Competitive Staple in Modern and EDH / Commander?
Sea Gate Wreckage from Oath of the Gatewatch is a colorless land with an ability that quickly proved itself useful in Standard. Eldrazi decks in Standard would play a copy (or even two) of Sea Gate Wreckage on occasion. As it was only a one-of in most decks, there wasn’t massive demand for this card. Would Sea Gate Wreckage find play in other formats, such as Modern and EDH?
Sea Gate Wreckage in Modern Affinity
Some Affinity and many Eldrazi decks in Modern (especially Eldrazi Tron) have included a single copy of Sea Gate Wreckage. Those decks have plenty of sources of pure colorless mana to activate the 2C “draw a card” ability.
Because you have to have an empty hand to use Sea Gate Wreckage’s ability, it doesn’t seem so good. But Affinity, in particular, likes to play out its hand quickly. Eldrazi decks like to cast as much as they can quickly as possible, as well. It’s possible that Wreckage remains a staple one-of in these decks going forward. Having more than one copy can become inconvenient, as it can be a do-nothing card in some games. But pretty much any deck that has the ability to produce considerable amounts of colorless mana can use it. The value of drawing a card with an empty hand is pretty high.
Sea Gate Wreckage in EDH
In EDH / Commander, most decks don’t like to operate with an empty hand. Still, many decks have taken a look at Sea Gate Wreckage. In particular, Kozilek, the Great Distortion is the Commander that plays Wreckage with the most regularity. Other colorless Commanders like Karn, Silver Golem have also tried this card. There’s so much colorless mana flying around EDH that Sea Gate Wreckage will eventually find itself fitting into a lot more decks.
This card has shown up in many Top 8 lists already in both Standard and Modern. There’s a strong possibility that Sea Gate Wreckage will actually become a staple in the long-run. Top-deck wars are a real thing. 3 mana for an effect that could be the difference between playing something and nothing in a turn is well worth it.
Sea Gate Wreckage has never had a high price, especially in nonfoil. It has long been found in bulk rare bins. Still, Sea Gate Wreckage in foil have reached $4 before. This is definitely a card to keep around in your collection. It has an effect that's definitely useful and been proven to be effective at a high level.
by Richard Rowell, Gaming Successfully Staff
Sphinx of the Final Word is a mythic rare from Oath of the Gatewatch. While its been a relatively good success in Commander, only a few decks in Standard have given the seven mana flyer a shot. However, this is a solid creature. So when I saw them available on MTGOTickets bots for 0.25 tix ($0.25) a piece, I had to pick up four copies.
Recently, the Sphinx has seen sideboard play in a Green & Blue Crush of Tentacles deck. When a card is usually relegated to the sideboard, this isn't usually a good thing for its value. But there are several reasons to be optimistic about this Sphinx. Yes, it costs seven mana, but it can't be countered and also has hexproof, meaning your opponent's spells can't touch it. Also, the major draw to this card is that your instant and sorcery spells can't be countered as long as Sphinx of the Final Word is on the battlefield under your control. Seems like a pretty strong control deck finisher, doesn't it?
These haven't been worth much in paper Magic, either, and being a mythic rare from Oath of the Gatewatch, it's hard to say where the future value of this card ends up. In paper Magic, they're worth picking up at least a copy just because of their usefulness in a lot of Commander decks. But card values aren't really driven by Commander nearly as much on Magic Online. So why the pickup?
Mythic rares are usually worth a lot more than 0.25 tix a piece. Sure, some of the truly garbage ones can settle around 0.10 or so. But as this is a set that will continue to be redeemed on Magic Online for some time, due to the number of very strong cards in it, people will need to continue to buy copies of the Sphinx in order to complete their sets. Also, if this card sees any play at all in the future, it could easily reach 1 ticket per copy, or more, considering that this is a mythic rare. People tend to hold onto the mythics that they draft online, so there aren't quite as many copies out there as you might think. Also, Commander players do exist online, so there is going to always be some demand for this card.
I'm only sitting on a play set of the Sphinx for speculation purposes, but I would definitely recommend picking up a copy or two in case this card does end up seeing some more play. It's hit 0.8 tix or so before, and could well do so again. Really, the worst case scenario on this card is that I only get about half of my event ticket back, being that it's a mythic rare from a currently Standard legal set. I'm happy to sit on these until a price spike happens, and being a playable mythic rare from a set that's only rarely drafted anymore, I'm happy to sit and wait.
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by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
When it was first released, Mirrorpool was greatly sought after. It hasn’t seen tons of play competitively, though. Commander players have started to play with it, though, mostly in Eldrazi Tribal decks led by Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Other Eldrazi Commanders making use of Mirrorpool are Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Mirrorpool is also seeing play in the hottest new Commander from Shadows Over Innistrad, The Gitrog Monster! However, according to EDHREC, it’s not at the rate you would expect.
In Eldrazi Commander decks, you get to copy your more powerful Eldrazi or other colorless creatures for 5 mana at the cost of having to sacrifice Mirrorpool. This is usually well worth it. Copying Wurmcoil Engine or Myr Battlesphere feels pretty good, as does Blightsteel Colossus. Endbringer and Deceiver of Form are a couple other Eldrazi worth copying with Mirrorpool’s creature-copying effect.
As far as copying an instant or sorcery for 3 mana, there aren’t a ton of options. Copying Titan’s Presence to exile two creatures instead of one is pretty good, though. Skittering Invasion is the other good one to copy, making another 5 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn tokens. That seems worth it. Scour from Existence is another excellent one, allowing you to exile two permanents for 10 mana and a land. That doesn’t actually sound excellent, but it depends on how much you need to exile that second permanent. You’re still actually not down a card either way.
The Gitrog Monster is a deck all about lands. Not only are there plenty of good creatures, instants, and sorceries in that deck to copy, but when you sacrifice it with the “Hypno Toad” on the battlefield, you get to draw a card. Not only that, Gitrog Monster decks have plenty of ways to get back lands, such as Crucible of Worlds and Life from the Loam.
Honestly, it doesn’t seem like Mirrorpool sees nearly enough play considering what it’s capable of doing. Being a colorless only land, it seems like it’s being overlooked more than it should be.
by Richard Rowell, Gaming Successfully Staff
One of my favorite things to do in the world is pick through Magic the Gathering bulk. Strangely enough, you can actually make quite a bit of money by just knowing what commons and uncommons that lie in shoeboxes or on draft tables unwanted that store buylists do want. I actually came to learn this a few years ago when my local game store in Abington, MA, Battleground Games and Hobbies, started publishing their buylist online.
The incredible thing that I learned is that stores actually pay for commons and uncommons you’d never expect, not just ones in top decks. Being local, I could just place a sell order and bring it into the store rather than ship it. They are a great buylist and they pay a penny for a lot of cards most lists won’t even bother to include. Are they the best out there? It all depends on the day, but they pay well for what they actually need. I’m also not local anymore, but I definitely still recommend them as they can beat the prices of some major buylists.
When I’m picking the bulk, I love it when I can fill out my orders with a few extra dollars from cards I’d be packing into $5/per thousand bulk boxes otherwise. Half a cent vs a penny does actually add up if the store actually needs it. The reason I bring up Battleground is because this is how I know what cards I should be looking at. Tools like MTGPrice that give you the best buylist price for certain cards are useful, too. But using a local buylist that you don’t actually have to ship to can give you the actual cash value of the cardboard you have in your possession. An easy to use local buylist is the best. If you don’t have one, this is the one I would use to see what’s worth picking out.
There’s another method that I like to use, watching PucaTrade. It’s totally worth signing up for a free account for this info even if you never send a card! Seeing how many copies are traded per day tell you how “liquid” a card is, meaning somebody will want it at some point soon. Liquid cards are the best because someone actually wants to play them or have an easy way to trade them.
Without further ado, these are the cards I’m picking from my bulk to sort out for buylisting or PucaTrade orders.
Allied Reinforcements (Uncommon)
Token generators are definitely popular cards, and Allies are a very popular casual archetype. Making two 2/2 Ally tokens is pretty good for 4 mana. But it’s at sorcery speed, so a lot of people who only play competitive Standard, Modern, or the like will overlook this card after they have drafted it at Friday Night Magic. But this is wanted by casual Ally players because it sets off Rally triggers and other Ally triggers twice. That’s good value for 4 mana, even if a bit slow for Standard. This also trades once or twice a day on PucaTrade, another factor I use in knowing what cards people are looking for.
Baloth Null (Uncommon)
While EDHREC doesn’t reflect this, I feel like there are a lot of Commander players that want this Zombie Beast. Yeah, he’s 6 mana to cast, but Black and Green are the right colors to abuse this guy’s ability. He has a 4 / 5 body and he can put two creatures back into your hand. Commanders like Meren of Clan Nel Toth (greatest C15 Commander by the way) can bring this guy back for free. There are some other Commander decks that have ways to consistent abuse this ability, too. There is a real demand for this card. In the right build, I would play it, too. Like Allied Reinforcements this trades at least once a day on PucaTrade.
Baloth Pup (Uncommon)
I’m definitely a fan of Baloth Pup. He’s a 3/1 for 1G, so he’s already an aggressive creature. If he happens to have a +1/+1 counter on him, he gains trample. Magic has plenty of cards to enable this being a 4/2 with Trample for 2 mana as soon as you cast him. I don’t see him being a competitive sleeper or anything but there are plenty of casual players out there that obviously see the potential like I do.
On PucaTrade, only about 6 copies are traded per week, but that’s still almost 1 / day.
Birthing Hulk (Uncommon)
I’m not excited about this 7-mana Eldrazi, but apparently casual players like him. I see this guy on a lot of buylists, oddly enough. He does bring two Scion tokens with his 5/4 body. You can also regenerate him for 1C (1 and 1 true colorless mana). He’s good in Limited, definitely. But a bit underwhelming to me. They’re also only traded about 5 copies per week on PucaTrade.
Bonds of Mortality (Uncommon)
A lot of people compare this enchantment to a worse version of Glaring Spotlight without the ability to sacrifice it and make all your creatures unblockable until end of turn. But honestly, paying a single Green mana to make creatures lose hexproof and indestructible really is worth it. Not to mention, you essentially pay 1G to draw a card. And if you happen to “blink” it somehow, make it re-enter the battlefield, you draw another card. It’s a bit odd to do in Green, but it’s possible. Still, this enchantment is better than some people think and I can see why some casual players want it around. Indestructible is a BIG DEAL in casual play. Kudos to those who play this, kill their opponent’s indestructible behemoth, and top-deck for the win.
This card is actually fairly popular on PucaTrade: almost a playset traded per day!
Devour in Flames (Uncommon)
To a lot of Magic Players, this is a worse version of Roast. But 2R to deal 5 damage to a creature or planeswalker is actually not that bad. Oh, but you have to return a land to your hand, right? Well, Landfall is yet another popular casual mechanic, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s good in Limited and being able to hit a planeswalker is actually not that bad. That can kill most planeswalkers out right. And planeswalkers rule casual play. On PucaTrade, 2 copies change hands per day.
Immolating Glare (Uncommon)
If this looks a lot like Kill Shot from Khans of Tarkir for one less mana, you’d be correct. Celestial Flare is usually more playable in Standard, since it forces a player to sacrifice and doesn’t actually target a creature. But this lets you target something big and do away with it. It is, actually, borderline Standard playable. So why not have these around? It’s also the Oath of the Gatewatch full art Uncommon promo, so people are definitely aware of this card. At least 5 copies are traded on average per day on PucaTrade. So I want to collect these in playsets!
Cards I’m Holding Onto
Reckless Bushwhacker and Reflector Mage are obvious pulls. Bushwhacker is playable in Modern and Reflector Mage could easily become a Standard staple also playable in Modern. So I’m not buylisting these, just holding onto them for awhile. Same with the common Slip Through Space, which is played in Modern Infect.
I also pull Expedite and Grasp of Darkness because I know people always want copies of these cards. They’re competitively playable, so I don’t mind just having them on hand. I’m also rather fond of Wall of Resurgence. Getting a 3/3 creature land with haste and a 0/6 defender for 2W seems awfully valuable to me.
While there may be individual buylists that pay more for certain cards, I use Battleground as a benchmark for what I’m going to keep from the bulk I acquire. I suggest you do this exercise with your favorite buylist or lists. I’d also find out what your local store always needs when it comes to commons or uncommons. You’d be surprised how quickly extra pennies add up. Your local store may not buy the cards I listed above, but they are very likely looking for others. It’s a fun exercise, and those pennies of store credit can turn into the last card or two you need for a deck very quickly.
Oath of the Gatewatch "Concerted Effort" Intro Pack Deck Review - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
The "Concerted Effort" intro pack from Oath of the Gatewatch is another take on Allies, this time in White & Green. Is it better than the Red & White approach of the "Desperate Stand" deck?
Gladehart Cavalry is the cover card of this intro pack. They cost a whopping 5GG - a total of seven mana. But when the Cavalry arrive, they offer quite a bit of Support. With Support 6, the Cavalry distributes a +1/+1 counter on each of up to six other target creatures. While this is pretty useful, it's important to recognize that you actually need the six other creatures to take full advantage of this ability.
The other cool thing about the Cavalry is that you get a second benefit, as well. Whenever you have a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it die, you gain 2 life. While this is purely incidental lifegain, you never know when you'll need those extra 2 points of life to keep you in the game.
Onto the rest of the deck!
2 Cliffside Lookout
2 Expedition Envoy
2 Kitesail Scout
1 Oran-Rief Invoker
2 Kor Castigator
2 Makindi Aeronaut
2 Kor Sky Climber
2 Shadow Glider
2 Joraga Auxiliary
1 Veteran Warleader
1 Saddleback Lagac
2 Relief Captain
1 Steppe Glider
2 Expedition Raptor
1 Angel of Renewal
1 Gladehart Cavalry
2 Shoulder to Shoulder
1 Allied Reinforcements
2 Lead by Example
1 Immolating Glare
1 Mighty Leap
1 Iona's Blessing
2 Isolation Zone
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Tranquil Expanse
The other rare creature in the deck is Veteran Warleader. The Warleader has been decent enough in his time in Standard so far. The more Allies you play, the stronger and tougher the Warleader gets. With this deck leading up to the Cavalry charging the way, the Warleader's abilities are pretty congruent with this deck's strategy. In the late game, gaining trample is a big deal, whereas first strike and vigilance are useful abilities at any point in the game.
Whereas the Red/White "Desperate Stand" deck focuses on the Cohort mechanic, this deck focuses on the Support mechanic introduced by Gladehart Cavalry.
Joraga Auxillary is one of the Support creatures in the deck. She's 2/3 for 1GW, with an ability that costs 4GW for Support 2. While it's a useful ability, that's a lot of mana for giving out two +1/+1 counters. Saddleback Lagac is a 3/1 for 3G, but his Support 2 ability comes as an enter the battlefield trigger. Relief Captain at 2WW has a 3/2 body, and an enter the battlefield ability of Support 3. It's perhaps the most efficient of the Support creatures. There's also Expedition Raptor with Support 2, but he's a 2/2 flyer for 3WW - not exactly the most efficient creature.
In addition to the support creatures, there's two copies of Shoulder to Shoulder, a 2W sorcery with Support 2 that also draws you a card. The instant Lead by Example is 1G and also has Support 2 but doesn't draw you a card. Having Instant speed is really good to have as it can be a combat trick.
Support is on the slower side as a Mechanic and really requires you to consistently have two or three other creatures on the board to take full advantage of regularly. But whereas Cohort requires you to consistently tap two creatures for a generally underwhelming effect, Support adds power and toughness fairly quickly, even if it doing so often takes up entire turns at times.
The rest of the deck is made up of generally uninteresting other Ally creatures: Expedition Envoy being the best of them. Isolation Zone is the other interesting Oath of the Gatewatch card in the deck. It costs 2WW to cast, and it can exile a target creature or enchantment an opponent controls until the Enchantment leaves the battlefield. It's Stasis Snare without Flash and for one more mana that can also hits enchantments. It's not the most efficient card in the world, but it gets the job done.
Improving the Deck
Support is an interesting mechanic, and in a Limited environment (draft and sealed deck) could be pretty good to build around. But from a Constructed standpoint, it's a bit underwhelming. The best direction to go with this Green/White Allies archetype is to run something similar to this Green/White Allies deck that actually placed second at a Wyoming States tournament. It's fueled by Collected Company to accelerate getting more Allies into play. That list, which includes Kor Bladewhirl and Lantern Scout, is probably the direction you would want to go when upgrading the creature line-up.
Green/White Allies is definitely a playable deck, but the creatures with Support are generally not good enough to be played competitively. Also, while Gladehart Cavalry is a solid card in a vacuum - and is pretty good for Elf decks in Commander - it's a bit too high on the curve and offers too inconsistent a benefit to be a "boss" monster. Ally decks should focus on creatures lower on the mana curve. If you want to splash Red, you can even include Reckless Bushwhacker, who gives all your creatures haste and +1/+0 if you've cast at least one other spell already that turn. There's also Firemantle Mage who has the Rally trigger to give all of your creatures Haste whenever another Ally enters the battlefield.
If you want to play Allies, this isn't necessarily the strongest deck to start with. In comparison with the other Intro Pack, it probably holds up fine. But besides Expedition Envoy, Kor Castigator, and Veteran Warleader, there isn't much to build off of out of the box if you're looking to beef this deck up.
Magic the Gathering (MTG) - Oath of the Gatewatch "Surge of Resistance" Intro Pack Deck Review
The "Surge of Resistance" intro pack is a Red/Blue deck featuring the evergreen Prowess mechanic and introduces the Surge mechanic from Oath of the Gatewatch. Surge is an alternate casting cost for a number of cards in the set which becomes usable once you've cast at least one spell in the turn. Spells with Surge also often have secondary abilities which add additional value to the reduced cost.
Tyrant of Valakut is a perfect example of this mechanic. He usually costs 5RR to cast for nothing more than a 5/4 flyer. But if you are able to cast him for his Surge cost of 3RR, he also deals 3 damage to a target creature or player. He becomes fairly playable.
But the deck has some other goodies, as well.
3 Lavastep Raider
3 Umara Entangler
2 Stormchaser Mage
2 Reckless Bushwhacker
3 Goblin Freerunner
2 Cloud Manta
1 Cyclone Sire
2 Jwar Isle Avenger
1 Windrider Patrol
1 Tyrant of Valakut
Non-Creature Spells (15)
1 Boulder Salvo
1 Ugin's Insight
1 Roiling Waters
1 Rolling Thunder
1 Grip of the Roil
2 Comparative Analysis
2 Containment Membrane
2 Pyromancer's Assault
1 Blighted Gorge
1 Evolving Wilds
Before getting on to the Surge cards, we should take a look at the other rare in the deck, Ugin's Insight. At first, this looks like an odd inclusion. But with the Surge costs available on many of the creatures in this deck, you'll get to scry for much more earlier on in the game than you ordinarily would.
For example, the Tyrant has a converted mana cost of 7, but you can cast him for 5. This means Ugin's Insight Scrys for 7. Being able to have more of a choose over the 3 cards you draw is pretty useful. It's an interaction that's not clear on the surface, but it's a pretty decent one.
The Surge Cards!
Goblin Freerunner doesn't look all too exciting as a 3/2 for 3R, even with Menace (can't be blocked except by two or more creatures). But with a Surge cost of 1R, this becomes an above-average creature. You can't ask much more from a common rarity creature.
Reckless Bushwhacker is reminiscent of Goblin Bushwhacker from the original Zendikar set. In fact, he's almost the same card. On his own, he's just a 2/1 with Haste for 2R. But if you play him for his Surge cost of 1R, he also gives all other creatures you control haste and +1/+0. The original Bushwhacker was probably better, but this is still a pretty good card. Also, being an Ally makes him very useful for that archetype, as well. (Note: Goblin Freerunner is also an Ally, but that's not relevant in this particular deck).
The other creature with Surge in the deck is Jwar Isle Avenger, a 3/3 flyer for 4U. However, his Surge cost is 2U, making him an efficient, if not exciting, evasive creature.
Boulder Salvo looks pretty inefficient as a 4R burn spell that deals 4 damage to only creatures. But with its surge cost of 1R, it becomes quite useful. and in fact, even above average.
Grip of the Roil is an okay card as a 2U instant that taps down a creature until the end of your opponent's next turn and draws you a card. It's significantly better, though, for its surge cost of 1U. Comparative Analysis is likewise somewhat mediocre as a 3U instant to draw target player two cards, but at 2U for its Surge cost, it becomes an Instant speed Divination. It's not exciting, but it's a lot more playable.
Containment Membrane is an Enchantment that for 2U is fairly meh. This aura keeps a creature from being unable to untap during its controller's untap step. What makes this one playable is that it has a Surge cost of only a single Blue mana. It suddenly looks fairly good.
While none of these non-creature Surge spells are super exciting, they become slightly more efficient versions of effects that have existed on previous cards. In the Two-Headed Giant format they were originally created for (a format where 4 players play in teams of 2), these are actually really good spells. In an ordinary two-player game of Magic, they still serve as fairly useful cards in a deck that wants to cast multiple spells in a turn.
There's another benefit to playing Surge spells. This deck features two copies of the Enchantment, Pyromancer's Assault. Each time you cast your second spell each turn, it deals 2 damage to target creature or player. It's not limited to Surge spells, either. While it's not the most efficient enchantment in the world, if both copies in the deck are on the field at the same time, a 4 damage clock is very quick.
Other Notable Cards
Probably the best card in the deck, and certainly most valuable, is Stormchaser Mage. Even in a set full of good uncommons such as Oath of the Gatewatch, this Mage is the best creature with Prowess printed to that point that isn't a Rare (Abbot of Keral Keep) or a Mythic Rare (Monastery Mentor). Flying and haste on a 1/3 two mana creature is good enough, but for each noncreature spell you cast in a turn, he gains +1/+1. Most times, he's going to be at least a 2/4, if not a 3/5.
When you combine him with one-mana creatures with Dash such as Zurgo Bellstriker and Lightning Berserker, you can deal a lot of damage in a hurry, His best partner in Standard was his Prowess buddy, Monastery Swiftspear. While the Swiftspear has continue to see significant play in Modern, Stormchaser Mage sadly has not, even despite all of the support Wizards have received from the Dominaria set.
The other notable card in the deck is Expedite, a one-mana Red common that gives a target creature haste and draws you a card. It's very similar to a card from years back in Shadowmoor called Crimson Wisps. The only difference is that this instant doesn't make the creature red, which is usually not that relevant. It's a card you'll want to have a full four copies of in the deck when you look to upgrade it.
Upgrading the Deck
As Intro Packs go, "Surge of Resistance" is pretty easy to upgrade. There are a lot of unexciting creatures in the deck that can be easily replace. Jori En, Ruin Diver is a good creature candidate to replace the rather inefficient Pyromancer's Assault enchantments.
While she doesn't deal damage when you cast your second spell each turn, you get to draw a card instead. In a surge deck, not running out of spells to cast is extremely important. As she's a Legendary, you don't really want to run more than 2 or 3 copies since you can only control one at a time.
Monastery Swiftspear is probably the next best card to add to the deck. If you plan to play the deck in Modern, though, she's played in Modern and even Legacy.
Having Haste herself, she's the perfect complement to Stormchaser Mage and any cards with Surge. She also has Prowess, benefiting from the same spells you cast to boost the Mage.
Speaking of Prowess, Abbot of Keral Keep is a creature from Magic Origins. The Abbot is actually perfect for a Surge strategy, too. While he lacks Haste, he makes up for it by exiling the top card of your library when he enters the battlefield. You have the choice to cast this cast that turn - or risk losing it forever.
But, with a deck with alternate Surge casting costs, you'll more often than not be able to cast what you reveal with the Abbot. Be sure to wait to drop your land if you can before casting the Abbot, so you don't just permanently exile a land. This is essentially like drawing a card and fuels the Surge strategy immensely. The Prowess is relevant, too.
You'll also want to replace the inconsistent Boulder Salvo, expensive to cast Rolling Waters and Anticipates with Fiery Impulse from Magic Origins, or a comparable Burn spell. While there's nothing wrong with Anticipate, you don't really need a card selection spell with Jori En and Abbot lurking about. Also, adding two more copies of Expedite to the existing two will make the presence of Comparative Analysis unnecessary, too.
We are cutting a lot of Blue spells, but this is okay since we're adding Jori En and a couple more copies of the Stormchaser Mage. In the long run, it evens out.
If you don't want to invest in the Monastery Swiftspears and Abbot of Keral Keeps, you can alternative choose to play Lightning Berserker and Zurgo Bellstriker instead. These creatures have Dash, which allows you to cast a creature, usually for a lower mana cost, give it haste but return it to your hand at the end of the turn. Dash actually works quite well with Surge, as having to recast them can greatly benefit you.
Which line of play is better in the long-run? What Abbot can reveal can be more inconsistent. Also, the Prowess of the other two can make them more consistently powerful. But both ways can work. Also, having to recast creatures turn after turn can preclude you from playing other spells in addition. But some combination of all these can work if you can't get play-sets of Swiftspear or Abbot altogether at once.
Being a Red/Blue deck, you can't go wrong with Wandering Fumarole. While an investment of 4 mana (2UR) sounds like a lot for a 1/4 man land, you can instantly change this guy into a 4/1 if your opponent is wide open. Best of all, if your opponent then casts a burn spell or other spell that would kill it, you can instantly switch it back to a 1/4, which may not be enough to do away with it then. The ability to fix for your Red and Blue mana alone makes it worth playing, in addition to the "pain land" Shivan Reef.
As a starting place for an aggressive Red/Blue deck that highlights the benefits of the Surge mechanic, "Surge of Resistance" does a fairly good job.
Oath of the Gatewatch "Vicious Cycle" Intro Pack Deck Review - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
The "Vicious Cycle" Intro Pack for Oath of the Gatewatch is a Black/Green deck featuring the Eldrazi Dread Defiler. The Defiler is a 7 mana creature (6B) with above average stats (6 power, 8 toughness) and a powerful ability. For 3C (3 generic, 1 colorless), you exile a creature card from your graveyard and target opponent loses life equal to the exiled card's power. With the high power of creatures available in this deck, it's a powerful ability that can finish a game in a hurry.
As you may suspect from this deck's "boss" creature, this deck interacts a lot of the time with the graveyard. And with such a powerful ability, you'll want some big creatures in the graveyard to fuel the Defiler.
2 Carrier Thrall
2 Loam Larva
2 Rot Shambler
2 Stalking Drone
1 Essence Depleter
1 Voracious Null
2 Netcaster Spider
1 Null Caller
1 Broodhunter Wurm
1 Smothering Abomination
2 Seed Guardian
1 Kozilek's Pathfinder
1 Brood Monitor
1 Baloth Null
1 Dread Defiler
Non-Creature Spells (12)
2 Bone Splinters
2 Oblivion Strike
1 Vines of the Recluse
1 Altar's Reap
2 Corpse Churn
1 Grasp of Darkness
2 Natural Connection
1 Pulse of Murasa
1 Blighted Woodland
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Fertile Thicket
For those already familiar with Battle for Zendikar, you'll be familiar with Smothering Abomination. This 4/3 flyer for 2BB has appeared in a number of competitive decks early on in its life already. While you have to sacrifice a creature at the beginning of each of your upkeeps, you get to draw a card whenever you sacrifice a creature.
With the number of Eldrazi Scions you'll be sacrificing in this deck, this should net you more than a few extra cards. He can always sacrifice himself to draw a card if you have nothing else you want to sacrifice. Plus, he's 4 power so he's a good target for Dread Defiler's ability.
One of the more interesting Oath of the Gatewatch cards in the deck is Essence Depleter. Being a 2/3 for 2B isn't bad for an uncommon creature. But it's the ability for 1C is what makes this particularly could. For a minimal investment of only 2 mana, you can drain your opponent for 1 life (gain 1, opponent loses 1).
It's a great way to sink in mana you otherwise might not be using, but needing to have those pure colorless sources can prove to be tricky with the deck as currently constructed.
Another notable uncommon from Oath of the Gatewatch is Seed Guardian. When he dies, he replaces himself with an X/X Green elemental creature token, where X is the number of creature cards in your graveyard. This obviously gets better as the game goes along.
The primary issue with this deck is that outside of the deck's numerous sacrifice outlets, the only other way to directly put cards into your graveyard to fuel the Defiler and Seed Guardian is Corpse Churn. This 1B instant puts the top three cards of your deck into the graveyard and even gives you the option to return a creature card from your graveyard. The cool part about this is that you get to return a creature that was put there by this card's effect, too. So there's no worry about accidentally throwing away your Dread Defiler, since you can get him back with this.
One of the quickest ways to upgrade this deck is to introduce the very useful enchantment From Beyond. Not only does this get you a free 1/1 Scion token every turn that you can sacrifice for more mana, but you can sacrifice From Beyond to search out one of your Eldrazi, such as Dread Defiler.
To fuel the graveyard, it's probably good to have another copy of Smothering Abomination. You'll also want some top end threats such as Oblivion Sower or World Breaker to make the Defiler's ability more threatening.
These two Eldrazi are pretty menacing The Sower is a big presence and can steal opponent's lands, too. World Breaker helps to exile one of your opponent's more important cards while being a 5/7 with reach.
There are 4 copies of Wastes, the colorless Basic land, already in the deck. But you'll probably want at least a few more. Also, a couple more copies of Blighted Woodland provide a stable source of pure colorless mana that can give you additional mana ramp in the late game. Also, Grasp of Darkness is solid removal that you can easily add a few more copies of to the deck.
"Vicious Cycle" does provide a useful base from which to launch a Green/Black Eldrazi deck, but it may not be the most consistent at winning with the Defiler. The deck depends on you being able to cast your bigger creatures before your opponent has any way of dealing with them. Eldrazi Ramp has already proven to be a playable deck, especially when you add creatures such as Wasteland Strangler and Blight Herder to the mix.
Adding White allows you to exile creatures with Silkwrap and Stasis Snare and fuel the Stranglers and Blight Herders. Also, White gives you access to Eldrazi Displacer which has an infinite combo with Brood Monitor and Zulaport Cutthroat to drain your opponents to death.
There are plenty of different directions you can go with this deck, but honestly the best top end finisher you can choose is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. As a starting place for a Green/Black Eldrazi deck, it's solid enough, offering a good balance of useful creatures, mana ramp, creature recursion and removal. But there's plenty of room for improvement.
Oath of the Gatewatch "Desperate Stand" Intro Pack Deck Review - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
The "Desperate Stand" Intro Pack for Oath of the Gatewatch is a White & Black Ally-themed deck. Led by Munda's Vanguard, the deck focuses on the synergies between the various Allies. It's also an introduction to the Cohort mechanic, as seen on the Vanguard, fellow rare creature, Drana's Chosen, and a few others. It involves tapping both itself and another untapped Ally you control to gain an ability.
In the case of Munda's Vanguard, by tapping itself and another untapped Ally you control, you get to put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control. That's quite a power boost if you happen to have a lot of creatures on the board when you use it. While a 3/3 for 4W isn't too exciting as a "boss" monster that doesn't immediately affect the board, he does give a counter to himself when his ability is used. He's functional, if not exciting.
This deck does lack the overall "bang for your buck" that the Twisted Reality deck has, due to having 10 copies of the new Colorless Basic Land Wastes contained within it. But as an introduction to some of the new Ally cards in Oath of the Gatewatch, it seems to do the job.
Here's the Deck list..
1 Cliffside Lookout
2 Expedition Envoy
2 Kor Castigator
2 Ondu War Cleric
2 Serene Steward
2 Kalastria Healer
2 Kor Scythemaster
2 Vampire Envoy
1 Drana's Emissary
2 Spawnbinder Mage
1 Drana's Chosen
2 Zulaport Chainmage
1 Cliffhaven Vampire
2 Kor Entanglers
1 Munda's Vanguard
1 Malakir Soothsayer
Non Creature Spells (9)
2 Allied Reinforcements
1 Dutiful Return
1 Dazzling Reflection
2 Gideon's Reproach
2 Tar Snare
1 Smite the Monstrous
1 Blighted Fen
1 Evolving Wilds
Drana's Chosen is the other rare card in the deck. The ability to put a 2/2 Zombie token into play is pretty good. While it seems a lot to tap both the Chosen and another creature, you can always choose to tap a creature that still has summoning sickness to fulfill that requirement. It's not a bad ability, as an extra creature every turn is fine.
The other Cohort abilities are not overwhelmingly powerful, but do offer incremental advantages over time. Ondu War Cleric's Cohort ability grants you 2 life - which on its own is rather mediocre, but it does interact well with the life-gain & drain subtheme in this deck that we'll get to in a little bit. Spawnbinder Mage's Cohort ability lets you tap down a target creature, useful in making sure your opponent doesn't stone-wall your attacks. She is a bit under-powered, though, as a 2/4 for 3W (4 mana).
Zulaport Chainmage is a 4/2 for 3B, which is relatively aggressive, plus he has a Cohort ability to make an opponent lose 2 life. The best of the non-rare Cohort cards, though, is probably Malakir Soothsayer. Her Cohort ability makes you lose 1 life but also draws you a card. Card advantage is always welcome and her 4/4 body on a 5-mana (4B) creature is solid.
Cliffhaven Vampire is a key part of the life-gain & drain sub-theme in the deck. Along with several creatures from Battle for Zendikar, including Kalastria Healer and Drana's Emissary, you're looking to keep your life total high while whittling away at your opponent's total. Being a 2/4 flyer isn't irrelevant, either.
There are a number of other ways to gain life in the deck, such as Vampire Envoy, which gains you 1 life whenever he is tapped. Serene Steward also benefits you whenever you gain life, by allowing you to place a +1/+1 counter on a target creature for a single White mana. Unfortunately, the most obvious way to consistently gain life, creatures with lifelink, isn't included in the deck.
The first obvious improvement that this deck could use is a few copies of Lantern Scout, who has the Rally ability to give all of your creatures lifelink until end of turn. Understandably, this would be a third rare in the deck, which is why it wasn't included in the first place. But this makes the deck a lot more consistent, for sure.
The "man land" Shambling Vent is a white/black dual land that can become a 2/3 creature with Lifelink until end of turn for 1WB. It's already a very popular land that's proven in competitive play, so having a playset will both fix your mana and give you another source of lifelink. Also, when they become creatures, they benefit from any abilities that affect creatures. You'll want to activate the Vent before using Munda's Vanguard's ability, since the +1/+1 counter put on a land remains there even after it reverts back to just being a land.
If you're looking for another inexpensive way to fix your mana, Scoured Barrens is a common land that comes into play tapped, but gains you a life in the process. Ordinarily this incidental life-gain isn't worth playing these lands competitively, but in a deck that wants to consistently gain life, these are fine to draw in the late game. Ally Encampment is good to fix mana for casting your Allies, and in the late game you can even sacrifice it to get back an important Ally back to your hand from the graveyard.
Cohort seems like a decent ability for Limited play, but in Constructed, it seems a bit underwhelming. Allied Reinforcements is a nice way to get two 2/2 Ally tokens in a hurry, but it may be a bit slow, and you're not really playing many Rally abilities in here at present.
The best direction to go if you want to mold this into a competitive deck is to go more in the direction of Mardu Allies, by adding Red. But if you want to keep the spirit of this deck, you could focus on making the deck more aggressive by adding Drana, Liberator of Malakir and Hero of Goma Fada - whose Rally trigger makes your creatures indestructible. Obviously the very best card you can add to this deck is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, a planeswalker so useful he sees play even outside of Ally decks.
If you're looking to try out Allies, this isn't a bad place to start. Cohort is an interesting ability, but it doesn't measure up to the usefulness of the Rally triggers from Battle for Zendikar. Adding Planar Outburst as a board-wipe and Ruinous Path & Stasis Snare as targeted removal could make this a solid enough deck. Black/White allies may be a fair deck in the future.
Oath of the Gatewatch is a fascinating set full of playable cards. While it may not have the most exciting selection of commons for play outside of draft tables, there are 7 commons in particular that stand out from the rest. Definitely watch for these commons and be sure to hold onto at least a playset of them.
#7 Dazzling Reflection
It’s pretty obvious why Dazzling Reflection was created. This instant is meant to not only prevent a major hit from a big creature, but it gains you a bunch of life, too. Sure, an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger will still make you exile the top 20 cards of your deck. But you’ll gain 10 life in the process and prevent any damage from the attack. While this probably won’t be much more than a sideboard card, it can even be used on one of your own creatures to gain you some extra life.
One place it could definitely show up is in Modern. It’s the perfect counter to those decks that look to pump up a single Infect creature for a one-turn kill - as long as they don’t play something like Vines of Vastwood to prevent that creature from being targeted. It’s also good to counter the big Eldrazi decks in Modern, buying you an extra turn or two. Whether it will actually be played or not remains to be seen, and that’s why it makes our list.
#6 Seer’s Lantern
As colorless mana rocks go, Seer’s Lantern isn’t a bad one. Being able to Scry 1 for 2 mana and a tap can be especially useful in Commander. It’s not yet clear if we’ll see the Lantern in any Standard Control lists. But a 3-mana colorless mana rock is playable in the right situation, and many pros consider Scry like drawing half of a card. It will definitely get into a good deal of Commander decks, but whether it’s competitively Constructed playable remains to be seen.
#5 Slip Through Space
Slip Through Space foils were quick sellers as soon as the set was released. It’s thought that it could be pretty useful in Modern Infect decks. Making a creature unable to be blocked for a single mana is pretty good, but drawing a card out of it, too, is essential. That one more card you draw could be a pump spell like a Become Immense.
It also is a Devoid spell, meaning protection from colors doesn’t affect it. Why does this matter? Say you play Apostle’s Blessing and need to give your creature protection from blue. You can still target it with Slip Through Space. This is probably going to be pretty good in Pauper, too, the extremely popular all-common format on Magic Online that is picking up steam in paper recently. The question is if the card draw is worth playing it over Artful Dodge (which can be flashed back for only one Blue) or Distortion Strike (which has Rebound and can be used on your next turn, as well). But it’s fine in Modern Infect.
Can-trips are usually pretty good cards. This looks like a winner.
#4 Natural State
Natural State is very similar to Nature’s Claim, a popular artifact & enchantment removal spell in Modern, and even Legacy and Vintage. The major drawback to Nature’s Claim is that you have to give that destroyed artifact or enchantment’s controller 4 life. Natural State doesn’t have that drawback, but it can only destroy artifacts and enchantments with converted mana cost 3 or less. Fortunately, most of the targets in Modern, Legacy, and Vintage are 3 or less. In many matchups, this card is actually slightly better. Foils hit $3 very quickly, so obviously there’s real demand already. WIth Splinter Twin gone in Modern, the only thing that this doesn’t hit is the 4-mana Leylines (specifically Leyline of Punishment, Leyline of Sanctity, and Leyline of the Void.) This should be one of the best commons from the set and foils of it will always make your pack money back.
#3 Crumbling Vestige
While not the most exciting land on the surface, Crumbling Vestige is probably the only land in Magic that comes into play tapped, and yet still gives you a mana. Not only that, the mana can be of any color. Sure it’s no Tendo Ice Bridge or Vivid Land, which allow you to spend that mana whenever you decide to get it. But at common, this is pretty powerful. It’s a colorless mana source that helps you color fix at any point in the game. You can’t ask much more from a common land.
Or can you?
#2 Holdout Settlement
If this land reminds you of Springleaf Drum, that’s because it does exactly the same thing! However, it also taps for colorless mana and only costs you a land-drop. Holdout Settlement is probably the biggest winner as far as Pauper in this set. How much better is it than Springleaf Drum? First of all, you don’t have to pay a mana to cast it. Then it also provides you with a colorless mana, which could, yes, be used to cast the Drum.
Will this replace Springleaf Drum in Modern Affinity? It’s pretty doubtful. That’s mostly because having the one-mana artifact on the board is best in that deck for a variety of reasons. But there are Pauper decks that could probably use a copy or two in their mana bases. Where this card will definitely see a lot of play in is Commander. With the new mana rules, there are corner cases where being able to get a mana of any color outside of your Commander’s colors will actually matter. It’s also yet another useful land for colorless Commander decks such as those led by Oath of the Gatewatch’s Kozilek, the Great Distortion.
Yes, Wastes is a Basic Land, but it is the most important common card in the set, hands down. This makes colorless Commander decks a lot more playable, and being able to fetch it up with anything that seeks out basic land makes it playable in pretty much every format. It remains to be seen if Wastes and colorless casting requirements will be included in future sets. If that turns out to be the case, which is very likely, then Wastes will be the one card that everyone will want to hoard. Why make such a major change to the rules of mana unless they planned to use it going forward?
Any other commons you’re excited about in the set that we haven’t covered? Let us know!
Oath of the Gatewatch "Twisted Reality" Intro Pack Review - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
The Twisted Reality Intro Pack for Oath of the Gatewatch features Deepfathom Skulker as the cover card, leading a mono-Blue Eldrazi deck. This deck is the perfect introduction to the new colorless casting cost requirements. As its "boss" creature, the Skulker can make one of your creatures unable to be blocked for only 3 generic mana and 1 colorless. What is that diamond symbol mean exactly? Read on to find out.
Also in the deck is the very useful creature, Endless One, who has an X casting cost. The more mana that you pump into him, the bigger he gets, meaning he only gets better as the game goes along.
Let's take a look at the deck list and see how effective this intro pack's game plan really is.
1 Endless One
1 Prophet of Distortion
2 Salvage Drone
3 Blinding Drone
3 Mist Intruder
1 Tide Drifter
3 Cultivator Drone
2 Eldrazi Skyspawner
1 Ruination Guide
2 Gravity Negator
2 Murk Strider
1 Thought Harvester
2 Kozilek's Channeler
2 Walker of the Wastes
1 Deepfathom Skulker
1 Kozilek's Pathfinder
1 Bane of Bala Ged
2 Spatial Contortion
1 Titan's Presence
1 Adverse Conditions
1 Scour from Existence
1 Blighted Cataract
1 Evolving Wilds
Having 10 copies of what is Magic's 6th basic land is really where most of the value is in the deck. Wastes is a colorless basic land that allows you to cast and use the abilities of creatures that require purely colorless mana. That is what the diamond symbol means: pure colorless mana.
This is the major rule change that came with Oath of the Gatewatch: generic mana and colorless mana are no longer the same thing. You can still use any color mana to pay for generic costs (those without a diamond). But Wastes and other colorless mana producers are the only way to pay for these "diamond" costs.
This deck runs 29 creatures and none is better suited to this deck than Walker of the Wastes. Since you have 10 in the deck, this 5 mana trampling Eldrazi can become an extremely powerful threat in the late game. With other big threats like Bane of Bala Ged and the Deepfathom Skulker, not only can you hit for major damage, but draw cards in the process.
The creatures range from the one mana Prophet of Distortion (who can draw you a card for 3 and a colorless) up to Kozilek's Pathfinder (a 5/5 that has an ability to prevent a creature from blocking it that turn.) In between, the creatures have various useful abilities, most of which require the colorless mana from Wastes and other sources such as Eldrazi Scion tokens and Kozilek's Channeler
There are very few non-creature spells in the deck. Two copies of Spatial Contortion double as a pump spell for your larger creature and a removal spell for your opponent's smaller creatures. Titan's Presence is an excellent removal spell in this deck since every one of your creatures is either colorless or has Devoid (which makes it colorless.) Adverse Conditions stops two of your opponent's creatures for a turn, giving you a chance for a final strike. Scour from Existence is 7 mana, but it can exile any permanent, which is quite useful.
This deck is a pretty good start for an Eldrazi ramp deck. There are a couple of directions you could go with it. You could focus on staying Mono-Blue, or add in Green and/or Black to diversify what you can play in the deck.
The most obvious potential additions to the deck would be Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Kozilek is particularly good in this deck, since the colorless mana abounds in this deck. The new Kozilek refills your hand, so timing is critical when you play him. Having menace (making it unable to be blocked by only one creature) is obviously good at making him a top-end threat. Additionally, being able to counter spells by discarding cards with converted mana cost X helps make the deck a lot more resilient.
You can also max out with four copies of Endless One to make the deck more aggressive. By adding black you can use Wasteland Strangler to deal with opponent's creatures, further improving your board presence.
Reality Smasher is an upgrade over Walker of the Wastes. While it doesn't gain power from Wastes, it has Trample and Haste. It's also very tricky to remove due to the fact your opponent must discard a card to resolve a spell that targets it.
But the best card of all for this deck is Matter Reshaper. It's only 3 mana (2C) and when it dies, you reveal the top card of your library. If it's a permanent with a converted mana cost of 3 or less (including lands) you put it directly onto the battlefield. It could even be another Matter Reshaper. If not, you still add that card to your hand. A creature that always replaces itself with another card is super strong!
Thought-Knot Seer is another creature you could consider. It allows you to steal the best nonland card from your opponent's hand and exiles it. Once the Seer leaves the battlefield, target opponent gets to draw a card. Notably, in multiplayer games, you can choose a different opponent from the one you originally targeted. In any case, it's a strong card if you want to go more of a control route with the deck.
Overall, this is one of the better Intro Packs released in recent memory. The 10 Wastes alone account for a good chunk of the deck's value, not to mention you get the two packs of Oath of the Gatewatch along with it. Of all the Oath of the Gatewatch Intro Packs, this would be my pick of the five.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Endbringer is a fascinating Eldrazi from Oath of the Gatewatch. A 5/5 for 5C (5 generic, 1 colorless) doesn't seem all too exciting, but the fact that it untaps during each other player's untap step is pretty cool. Plus, he has 3 rather decent tap abilities. The first one deals 1 damage to target creature or player, the second stops a target creature from attacking or blocking that turn, and the third ability allows you to draw a card.
This might be borderline playable in Standard. But it's playable in Legacy Eldrazi Stompy decks and has seen play in Eldrazi Tron decks in Modern. However, Endbringer's best home is likely in Commander.
Producing true colorless mana is rarely an issue in Commander and the abilities are powerful enough that they can fit into a Commander deck fairly easily.Many Commander players were excited about this card when it was first spoiled. But many competitive EDH players were not.
This card seems like a staple for Commander, though, doesn't it? Colorless card draw, in particular, is especially useful. Tap your Sol Ring or other colorless mana rock and tap this guy, free card! Best of all, while colorless mana is required to cast him and use two out of three of the abilities, it's such a small cost and pretty much any Commander deck can use him. In a four-player game, you're often going to be drawing 1-3 extra cards before it's your turn again. The colorless requirement does balance it out a bit, but this guy is pure card advantage. At the very least, he can ping, which is not nothing.
The great thing about Endbringer is that his abilities can fit into another deck. It's all about just finding a slot for him. Early on, Animar, Soul of Elements (who can cast him for a single Colorless mana on many occasions) and Kruphix, God of Horizons are the two Commanders were mentioned as solid homes for this rare Eldrazi. Really, though, he can go just about anywhere.
While some Animar and Kruphix lists indeed play him, he hasn't become widely adopted by those Commanders. For the most part, he has only found consistent homes in Eldrazi Tribal decks, such as Kozilek, the Great Distortion, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Emrakul, the Promised One, and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth.
Could he ever become a new staple in the format? Even as a 6 mana creature, that seems possible. Like many of his colorless Eldrazi buddies from Oath of the Gatewatch, this guy should make himself known in the format for quite some time.
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