Dr. Jeebus’s Avacyn Restored Set Review

By Dr. Jeebus April 27th, 2012, under Magic

Alright guys, it’s been a while since I did a full on set review of every single card, but here you go. There’s also financial analysis of the set and a top 10 list at the end, cause people love money and lists. And lists about money. Oh yeah, and if you somehow found this review and are completely unfamiliar with my work, I use bad words. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

White (41)

Angel of Glory’s Rise 5ww
Creature – Angel Rare
When Angel of Glory’s Rise enters the battlefield, exile all Zombies, then return all Human creature cards from your graveyard to the battlefield.

It’s the perfect foil for all those decks running around based on Zombie Apocalypse! They slap that thing down turn 6 and then BOOM! Turn 7 you turn the tables, with extreme severity. In all seriousness though, the only possible use I can see for this is as a sideboard card for Frites against zombies. Elesh Norn is overall better, but if they have a couple Diregraf Captains out things can get a bit dicey. Even 1 captain can result in quite a bit of life loss, especially combined with Geralf’s Messengers, so the exile is relevant.

Angel of Jubilation 1www
Creature – Angel Rare
Other nonblack creatures you control get +1/+1.
Players can’t pay life or sacrifice creatures to cast spells or activate abilities.

I’m not too big on this card outside of EDH although others disagree. It hoses Birthing Pod, Mortarpod, and off color Dismember Pod, but that’s about it. Four mana for a 3/3 flying Glorious Anthem isn’t awful by any means, but it’s also not as good as Hero of Bladehold. Strong in limited if the triple white isn’t an issue and can stop random things in EDH, but that’s about it.

Angel’s Mercy 2ww
Instant Common
You gain 7 life.

Bad reprint is bad.

Angelic Wall 1w
Creature – Wall Common
Defender, flying

Moderate limited reprint is moderate limited reprint.

Archangel 5ww
Creature – Angel Uncommon
Flying, vigilance

I strongly disapprove of this reprint. Yeah it fits the angel theme and all, but it’s also bad. This thing was a rare (And thank God it’s uncommon now) from the era when Serra Angel was considered too fit to see print. Archangels are supposed to be stronger than other angels. While that’s true with power and toughness…except for all the other angels as big or bigger than it…it’s a much worse card. If the format is slow enough then yeah a 5/5 flying, vigilance is good in limited, but seven mana is an awful lot.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope 5www
Legendary Creature – Angel Mythic Rare
Flying, vigilance
Avacyn, Angel of Hope and other permanents you control are indestructible.

Potentially strong reanimation target, but we won’t know until at least October. Between Vapor Snag and Elesh Norn, there’s no reason to be running this right now. Except in EDH, where my buddy Dan will hit it the first time he uses Mayael every fucking game. And in Kaalia. The ability is irrefutably power, especially in EDH, but there are just better choices for your mana. Unless you have a hardon for angels.

Banishing Stroke 5w
Put target artifact, creature or enchantment on the bottom of its owner’s library.
Miracle {W} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.)

Strong in limited despite the high casting cost. Even not as a miracle, though, this card is good. I imagine it will also see EDH play as another way to tuck generals. As for constructed, I’d rather just run O-Ring.

Builder’s Blessing 3w
Enchantment Uncommon
Untapped creatures you control get +0/+2.

In what fucking world is a functional reprint of Castle necessary? I’m not that upset because it’s not like they wasted a particularly good card name on this, but it won’t see any play so I’ll need to keep all my Bob the Builder jokes to myself.

Call to Serve 1w
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant nonblack creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/+2, has flying, and is an Angel in addition to its other types.

I expect this to slightly less playable than Nimbus Wings was, solely because this set seems to have a lot more flyers than normal. And cause maybe you wanna be W/B. Best case scenario, it’s exactly as good as Nimbus Wings.

Cathars’ Crusade 3ww
Enchantment Rare
Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on each creature you control.

The effect is really strong here. Definitely sealed playable, draft if the format is slower as well. In constructed it MIGHT see play as a 1 or 2 of. Dropping this the turn after Hero of Bladehold gives all your guys +2/+2 once you attack. Dropping this then casting/flashing back Lingering Souls is pretty impressive. I’d prefer it if the Crusade got the counters instead of the guys themselves, but that would also make it way more powerful. I’m sure someone will want this for EDH as well; pretty funny in a token deck.

Cathedral Sanctifier w
Creature – Human Cleric Common
When Cathedral Sanctifier enters the battlefield, you gain 3 life.

There have been plenty of variations of this card. On a vanilla 1/1, I’m not impressed. Maybe stupid decks like Martyr in modern will play it, but I have no idea cause I hate decks like that.

Cloudshift w
Instant Common
Exile target creature you control, then return it to the battlefield under your control.

Flickering doesn’t seem to be nearly as powerful in this limited format as I had hoped. There’s several things that do it, but I don’t recall seeing a ton of ETB effects. It resets undying and repairs soulbound guys, but overall not impressed.

Commander’s Authority 4w
Enchantment – Aura Uncommon
Enchant Creature
Enchanted creature has “At the beginning of your upkeep, put a 1/1 white Human creature token onto the battlefield.”

R&D learned their mistake with Bitterblossom. Unfortunately, they are so afraid of making that mistake again that token generating enchantments must now be unplayable garbage. ?Five mana to give me nothing until my next turn, and even then only if my opponent doesn’t have creature removal and even then only a single 1/1? Sweet!”

Cursebreak 1w
Instant Common
Destroy target enchantment. You gain 2 life.

Nifty Demystify variant. It’s cute, but it’s still Demystify.

Defang 1w
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
Prevent all damage that would be dealt by enchanted creature.

The artwork on this is pretty funny. I think it’s interesting that this costs 2 mana whereas Ghostly Possession, the significantly worse though technically more versatile card, costs 3. Bad pacifism variant that will be forced to be playable by a limited amount of removal.

Defy Death 3ww
Sorcery Uncommon
Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. If it’s an Angel, put two +1/+1 counters on it.

More cards that are cute. I’ve used Rise from the Grave plenty of times in limited so I’m sure this is fine there, especially with the high number of bomb creatures in the set, but at this mana cost and with such a minor bonus effect, I think it’s okay to hit opponents’ graveyards too. Unburial Rites still wins for constructed though. By a lot.

Devout Chaplain 2w
Creature – Human Cleric Uncommon
{T}, Tap two untapped humans you control: Exile target artifact or enchantment.

Another limited only card, but at least this one I like. It’s expensive to use, but I had a lot of success back in Ravnica with Nullmage Shepherd (Who went on to become one of the most hated cards in our casual group thanks to me). This is far more restrictive and may be relegated to sideboards, but having this in your pool will definitely be relevant.

Divine Deflection xw
Instant Rare
Prevent the next X damage that would be dealt to you and/or permanents you control this turn. If damage is prevented this way, Divine Deflection deals that much damage to target creature or player.

Love. This is about the most powerful combat trick you could ever hope for. Used properly, it’s like a Safe Passage that also damages your opponent. Unlikely to see constructed play because of the XW cost (We want things more like Harm’s Way or Refraction Trap), but a complete blowout in limited. Unless you’re a durdle.

Emancipation Angel 1ww
Creature – Angel Uncommon
When Emancipation Angel enters the battlefield, return a permanent you control to its owner’s hand.

Meh. Kor Skyfisher was better. The extra W for an extra +1/+0 isn’t a big deal. You can use it to switch up soulbound guys, but in a format that appears to be a lot slower, running the risk of having to bounce your own land seems bad. Oh yeah, Skyfisher was in a much faster format too, one where 16 lands wasn’t uncommon so you would’ve missed a land drop anyway. Yeah, not a fan.

Entreat the Angels xxwww
Sorcery Mythic Rare
Put X 4/4 white Angel creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
Miracle {X}{W}{W}

Crap mythic is crap. In EDH Decree of Justice is better (uncounterable, cantrip, though only 1/1’s but whatever. In constructed White Sun Zenith is better (more efficient and an instant). In limited this is a Serra Angel without vigilance that flat out dies to bounce or flicker. Though at seven mana you can get two angels, oooh! The miracle cost makes it worth running since you could wind up drawing it turn 5 and getting two 4/4 flyers, but I wouldn’t be super excited about opening this.

Farbog Explorer 2w
Creature – Human Scout Common

Playable limited fodder. Next.

Goldnight Commander 3w
Creature – Human Soldier Uncommon
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, creatures you control get +1/+1 until end of turn.

Decent in limited, though would’ve been better in ISD/DKA when you had a lot more things making tokens. Please don’t run that awful enchantment just because you have this though. I will hurt you. Oh yeah, and it pairs with flickering.

Goldnight Redeemer 4ww
Creature – Angel Uncommon
When Goldnight Redeemer enters the battlefield, you gain 2 life for each other creature you control.

Fucking bomb in limited. If you don’t believe me, you’ve never cast Congregate in limited. You won’t be gaining as much life as Congregate, but Congregate wasn’t a 4/4 flyer either. I’m sure this has mediocre EDH implications as well.

Herald of War 3ww
Creature – Angel Rare
When Herald of War attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
Angel spells and Human spells you cast cost 1 less for each +1/+1 counter on Herald of War.

Garbage. Run it in limited cause it flies and gets bigger, then toss it in your bulk binder.

Holy Justicar 3w
Creature – Human Cleric Uncommon
2{W}, {T}: Tap target creature. If that creature is a Zombie, exile it.

It’s an Undead Slayer that doesn’t belong in your limited sideboard! The cost to tap is really high especially for a four mana 2/1, but we’re about halfway through white and haven’t seen a lot of removal yet. What choice do you have?

Leap of Faith 2w
Instant Common
Target creature gains flying until end of turn. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to that creature this turn.

Cute name. This card also seems to do a whole lot to just say “Rebuke.” Yeah you can Jump a creature and attack, but it’s going to be Rebuke far more often. Also, Mighty Leap is better like 90% of the time. Just sayin.

Midnight Duelist w
Creature – Human Soldier Common
Protection from Vampires

Where was this when I had to deal with fucking Bloodcrazed Neonates and Erdwal Rippers? You’re in the wrong set, asshole. Um, yeah, sideboard against vamps for limited. Did you need me to tell you that? (Unlike the strictly worse Sanctuary Cat, I don’t think this is ever correct in your main deck)

Midvast Protector 3w
Creature – Human Wizard Common
When Midvast Protector enters the battlefield, target creature you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.

This card wants flash in a big way. Making a bomb flying angel unblockable-ish until EOT is nice I suppose, but without flash I just dislike this creature. It turns all your flickers into super awesome tricks, but by itself is kinda meh.

Moonlight Geist 2w
Creature – Spirit Common
3{W}: Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and by Moonlight Geist this turn.

As long as you pretend removal spells don’t exist, this guy works pretty much exactly like Lantern Spirit. I mainly see this as another Niblis of the Mist: French vanilla 2/1 flyer that I don’t particularly like but I’ll play if I have no better options.

Moorland Inquisitor 1w
Creature – Human Soldier Common
2{W}: Moorland Inquisitor gains first strike until end of turn.

Wow, I’m full of analogs to ISD/DKA draft cards! Early game this will play exactly like Darkthicket Wolf. Late game you’ll wish it was Darkthicket Wolf. It’s a bear with a relevant ability though, so it’s playable.

Nearheath Pilgrim 1w
Creature – Human Cleric Uncommon
As long as Nearheath Cleric is paired with another creature, both creatures have lifelink.

I’m not sure which word describes this card more accruately: strong, or annoying. Definitely playable in limited, probably really annoying in limited.

Restoration Angel 3w
Creature – Angel Rare
When Restoration Angel enters the battlefield, you may exile target non-Angel creature you control, then return that creature to the battlefield under your control.

It’s a card I have a lot to say about! This thing is amazing. I’m sure everyone has already told you that, but it’s seriously one of the best cards in the set. In limited it’s a 3/4 flying combat trick that resets Soulbound stuff or untaps creatures for surprise blockers, possibly with their undying reset. But in standard it does all that and more. It makes control’s life a nightmare because they have to choose to either counter this at the end of their turn thus tapping their mana, or they let you start attacking with a 3/4 angel. Also works particularly well with Phyrexian Metamorph which has finally been getting the respect it deserves. Against other creature based decks you can alpha strike, leaving your opponent thinking he’s free to attack. When they swing, you drop the angel, flicker a Metamorph which then copies the angel and flickers something else, and now you have three blockers. That’s best case scenario in terms of combat tricks, but it’s hardly magical Christmas land. Go to FNM on May 4th and get your promo one. The art’s not as cool, but it’s foil alternate art.

Riders of Gavony 2ww
Creature – Human Knight Rare
As Riders of Gavony enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
Human creatures you control have protection from creatures of the chosen type.

Those of you who follow podcasts and/or Twitter may know that one Christine Sprankle, one of my cohosts on Jinxed Idols, got an episode of The Eh Team removed from MTG Cast for using the N word. Needless to say someone so racist would love a card defined by racism. Definitely strong in limited, and seems like it might have constructed applications as well. Spirits, humans, zombies, and giants are about the only relevant creature types right now, in that they’re about the only creatures right now. Unless we see a massive shake up in the meta from Avacyn Restored, this is going to be a card to watch. A 3/3 vigilance for four that makes an entire human deck unblockable seems worth running.

Righteous Blow w
Instant Common
Righteous Blow deals 2 damage to target attacking or blocking creature.

Limited removal. It hurts being both situational and only 2 damage in a slower format with larger creatures, but it’s going to be playable.

Seraph of Dawn 2ww
Creature – Angel Common
Flying, lifelink

As far as four mana common angels go for limited, I’m not sure we could’ve hoped for much better. Not super exciting, but still very playable.

Silverblade Paladin 1ww
Creature – Human Knight Rare
Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
As long as Silverblade Paladin is paired with another creature, both creatures have double strike.

As soon as Mirran Crusader is gone, this guy is going to see a metric shitton of play. Unless Ravnica changes the way we think about Magic. May even see some play beforehand, but it’s hard to imagine soulbound (a sometimes null ability) beating protection from two colours.

Spectral Gateguards 4w
Creature – Spirit Soldier Common
As long as Spectral Gateguards is paired with another creature, both creatures have vigilance.

I expect this to see some limited play and to be annoying as all Hell. Vigilance on a high toughness creature can be annoying enough, but sharing it with another creature is even more annoying. Not something I’d be excited about running I don’t imagine, but certainly useful.

Terminus 4ww
Sorcery Rare
Put all creatures on the bottom of their owners’ libraries.
Miracle {W}

Hallowed Burial! I’m super excited about this card because now I can run two Hallowed Burials in EDH! It’s fine as a board wipe in limited even at six with how slow this format looks to be, and it may be a one or two of in constructed control decks.

Thraben Valiant 1w
Creature – Human Soldier Common

Meh. It’s a bear that refuses to let your opponent race bears.

Voice of the Provinces 4ww
Creature – Angel Common
When Voice of the Provinces enters the battlefield, put a 1/1 white Human creature token onto the battlefield.

A little pricey for this, but it is a common. As a general rule, one card giving you multiple creatures is good. Also works with flicker shenanigans if you have nothing better.

Zealous Strike 1w
Instant Common
Target creature gets +2/+2 and gains first strike until end of turn.

Strictly better Skillful Lunge. Weird seeing cards strictly better and strictly worse than cards from the previous set. Combat tricks win limited events though.

Blue (42)
Alchemist’s Apprentice 1u
Creature – Human Wizard Common
Sacrifice Alchemist’s Apprentice: Draw a card.

Nothing special, but it gives you something to do early that either trades of chumps then cycles. Not a high pick, but your curve will thank you.

Amass the Components 3u
Sorcery Common
Draw three cards, then put a card from your hand on the bottom of your library.

This is way too cool a card name to waste on a near reprint of Sift. Decent midlevel pick.

Arcane Melee 4u
Enchantment Rare
Instant and sorcery spells cost 2 less to cast.

The first time I read this card I loved it, because I missed that it was symmetrical. Even so, it’s still a really strong effect that probably has applications in either Modern storm decks or crazy combo shit I can’t think of off the top of my head. Definitely strong in EDH as well where you’re routinely casting 7-10 mana spells.

Captain of the Mists 2u
Creature – Human Wizard Rare
Whenever another Human enters the battlefield under your control, untap Captain of the Mists.
1{U}, {T}: You may tap or untap target permanent.

I really wish I understood why this was rare instead of uncommon like Tideforce Elemental. Hitting all permanents instead of just creatures is nice, but the extra mana to activate makes a big difference. It’s a very high pick as these types of creatures always are, just wish it was uncommon.

Crippling Chill 2u
Instant Common
Tap target creature. It doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.
Draw a card.

Considering how many times I’ve run Twitch in limited (Normally as a 22nd or 23rd card), I’d be an asshole if I didn’t say this was limited playable. Especially in a format that looks like it’s going to be won by bomb creatures attacking, this may wind up going higher than I’d expect.

Deadeye Navigator 4uu
Creature – Spirit Rare
As long as Deadeye Navigator is paired with another creature, both creatures have “1{U}: Exile this creature, then return it to the battlefield under your control.”

What an annoying ability. Thank God damage doesn’t stack anymore! So we’ve basically got a 5/5 that will never die and makes sure something else of yours never dies. And if they try to remove a creature, just flicker this guy, switch soulbond to the targeted creature when it comes back, then flicker that one. This creature will win games, annoy the fuck out of people, and separate good players from bad.

Devastation Tide 3uu
Sorcery Rare
Return all nonland permanents to their owners’ hands.
Miracle 1{U}

Not a huge fan in limited, although there will be decks that will want this for sure. Definitely possible as a card for control decks to gain tempo in constructed, and another Evacation/Innundate for blue EDH players. Oh, and badass art.

Dreadwaters 3u
Sorcery Common
Target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard, where X is the number of lands you control.

Don’t play this card.

Elgaud Shieldmate 3u
Creature – Human Soldier Common
As long as Elgaud Shieldmate is paired with another creature, both creatures have hexproof.

Fuck you, hexproof. No one likes you. This is at least a mid level pick, especially now that we know how fucking annoying hexproof is. Fuck you.

Favourable Winds 1u
Enchantment Uncommon
Creatures you control with flying gets +1/+1.

Show me a constructed deck that would be happy with this card, and I’ll show you a deck that would be happier with Intangible Virtue or Honor of the Pure. If you manage to draft ALL flyers then this is fine for limited, but for the most part it’s a cool card that has no use.

Fettergeist 2u
Creature – Spirit Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Fettergeist unless you pay 1 for each other creature you control.

I feel like this card is really good, but I get fooled by powerful midrange flyers for 2U constantly. I probably just have too many fond memories of Serendib Efreet from the mid ’90s. Any argument I could make about the viability of this card in Standard is destroyed by the existence of Thunderbolt.

Fleeting Distraction u
Instant Common
Target creature gets -1/-0 until end of turn.
Draw a card.

I don’t remember ever running this in Rise of the Eldrazi limited unless I had like 3x Kiln Fiend. Considering that’s not an option here, I can’t imagine myself running this unless I desperately need cards that will cycle for 1 mana.

Galvanic Alchemist 2u
Creature – Human Wizard Common
As long as Galvanist Alchemist is paired with another creature, both creatures have “2{U}: Untap this creature.”

Is there a Tim in this set? I don’t remember seeing one, but if so now you can make him a machine gun. Or for that mana cost I guess a BB gun. Decent enough early game protection that can give your bombs “vigilance” seems decent.

Geist Snatch 2uu
Instant Common
Counter target creature spell. Put a 1/1 blue Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

Summoner’s Bane was such a strong card and a high pick in limited. I think being a 1/1 flyer instead of a 2/2 hurts this card a lot, but then again it’s a common now instead of uncommon. Playable in limited for sure, but not as good as I’d like.

Ghostform 1u
Sorcery Common
Up to two target creatures are unblockable this turn.

I have a feeling that in this format you may want one of these in your deck, but I normally ignore the blue unblockable sorceries unless I have a build that specifically wants it.

Ghostly Flicker 2u
Instant Common
Exile two target artifacts, creatures and/or lands you control, then return those cards to the battlefield under your control.

The effect is super strong, but there don’t seem to be enough ETB/LTB effects to fully take advantage of what should be such an awesome card. Even so, it’s still two surprise blockers, save two chump blockers, save guys after opponent wastes combat tricks, untap special lands, etc etc.

Ghostly Touch 1u
Enchantment – Aura Uncommon
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature had “Whenever this creature attacks, you may tap or untap target permanent.

Kinda hard to say anything nice about this after having Niblis of the Urn. I like this ability, but I want a creature that already has it.

Gryff Vanguard 4u
Creature – Human Knight Common
When Gryff Vanguard enters the battlefield, draw a card.

This is pretty strong, actually. Sure it’s just a Snapping Drake, but you get to cantrip for only one extra mana. Compare that to the perfectly draftable Kavu Climber which costs 2 more for the extra card. I’d be perfectly happy running two of these in a limited deck.

Havengul Skaab 5u
Creature – Zombie Horror Common
Whenever Havengul Skaab attacks, return another creature you control to its owner’s hand.

This is what I expect from big blue commons: garbage. We’ve had it too good for too long with things like Harbor Serpent!

Infinite Reflection 5u
Enchantment – Aura Rare
Enchant Creature
When Infinite Reflection enters the battlefield attached to a creature, each other nontoken creature you control becomes a copy of that creature.
Nontoken creatures you control enter the battlefield as a copy of enchanted creature.

I kinda ripped on this on Jinxed Idols, but I’m not sure it’s bad in limited as a finisher. Having a card that says “5U: All your creatures kick ass” doesn’t seem terrible. Unlike Essence of the Wild it does require that there’s a creature worth copying already in play, but it also affects the things you already had in play beforehand as well which can potentially make this like a blue Overrun. Until the limited format is known, I’d say it’s worth running this at the prerelease if you get it and see how it works. It may be a first pick in limited, but it may also be unplayable shit. More likely it’s somewhere in between, like a 3rd or 4th pick.

Into the Void 3u
Sorcery Uncommon
Return up to two target creatures to their owners’ hands.

This is called Undo at costs 1UU. Oh yeah, and it was fucking broken in limited at 1UU. Expect this to be super good as well. I’m not sure that you’d first pick it, but it’s definitely not going to table…so I’d first pick it and then force blue. I’m also a control freak.

Latch Seeker 1uu
Creature – Spirit Uncommon
Latch Seeker is unblockable.

It’s a nice clock in limited, but really meh in constructed. I keep double checking the artifacts to see if there are swords or cleavers to put on this thing. Man am I spoiled.

Lone Revenant 3uu
Creature – Spirit Rare
Whenever Lone Revenant deals combat damage to a player, if you control no other creatures, look at the top four cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the others on the bottom of your library in any order.

The theory behind this card is that it’s a must-block creature. However, this must-block creature is a 4/4 for five with no evasion, and blocking is only a must if it’s your only creature. Pretty unimpressive as a card draw engine, but a 4/4 hexproof for 5 isn’t exactly bad.

Lunar Mystic 2uu
Creature – Human Wizard Rare
Whenever you cast an instant spell, you may pay 1. If you do, draw a card.

I love this card, and I love the art. Unlikely to be great in limited…or constructed for that mana. But man did my Azami EDH deck just get even more annoying!

Mass Appeal 2u
Sorcery Uncommon
Draw a card for each Human you control.

I present to you this set’s shitty card draw spell based on one of the set’s mechanics. Next!

Mist Raven 2uu
Creature – Bird Common
When Mist Raven enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner’s hand.

Mist Raven: Starring John Cusack. Sorry, I’m tired. Flying Man-o-War is really good. This is another card that probably shouldn’t be a first pick but won’t table so I would take just to force the archetype. This also belongs in your common cube if you have one. I don’t know much about building cubes, but I sure as Hell know that’s true.

Misthollow Griffin 2uu
Creature – Griffin Mythic Rare
You may cast Misthollow Griffin from exile.

This card is impossible to gauge without testing it first. We’ve never had a card you could cast from exile before, so there’s really no baseline of comparison on this one. It combos in Legacy with Food Chain (And I grabbed 4 foil Food Chains cause I think that’s viable) and it has synergy in Standard with Moorland Haunt, but beyond that? No fucking clue. My guess is that it’s a lot like Tarmogoyf – A deceptively powerful card that will result in decks running subpar cards for cute combos with this, but ultimately will be revealed as being strong on its own and just working well with existing cards like the Haunt. Oh, and I’m not saying this is anywhere near Goyf in terms of power of potential value, just in terms of deck construction (When Goyf came out, decks were running Chromatic Star for no reason other than it made Goyf bigger and didn’t cost you a card from your hand. This was later realized to be idioctic). Absolute worst case scenario: Phantom Monster is good in limited.

Nephalia Smuggler u
Creature – Human Rouge Uncommon
3{U},{T}: Exile another target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under your control.

Mistmeadow Witch for 1 instead of 2. More annoying combat/soulbound crap and pretty useful, but I’m not in love with it beyond their being a shortage of worthwhile 1 drops.

Outwit u
Instant Common
Counter target spell that targets a player.

Generic conditional counterspell. Whatever.

Peel from Reality 1u
Instant Common
Return target creature you control and target creature you don’t control to their owners’ hands.

I don’t see this being as strong here as it was in Ravnica when you had much better ETB effects like Galvanic Arc, but it’s still a decent tempo play in limited.

Rotcrown Ghoul 4u
Creature – Zombie Common
When ~ dies, target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.

You’re not going to draft enough mill for this guy to be anything but a bad Hill Giant.

Scrapskin Drake 2u
Creature – Zombie Drake Common
Scrapskin Drake can block only creatures with flying.

I was just thinking how much I wished Cloud Elemental had been a zombie! Good limited card nonetheless.

Second Guess 1u
Instant Uncommon
Counter target spell if it was the second spell cast this turn.

The flavour text of this card “I see where you’re going with that. I don’t like it.” sums up my thoughts on this card perfectly. MAYBE if it cost U instead of 1U it’d have a place in Modern or Legacy, but at 2 mana it’s kind of insultingly bad.

Spectral Prison 1u
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s untap step.
Whenever enchanted creature becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice Spectral Prison.

Ice Cage variant that’s far less playable in this format with the abundance of flicker effects.

Spirit Away 5uu
Enchantment – Aura Rare
Enchant creature
You control enchanted creature.
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 and has flying.

Based on the name, this card should be far more complicated. It should exile the creature and give you a token copy that’s a spirit in addition or something. But that’s just me. Seven mana seems hefty, but I have a feeling that in this format it should go just as high as Mind Control in any other format.

Stern Mentor 3u
Creature – Human Wizard Uncommon
As long as Stern Mentor is paired with another creature, both creatures have “{T}: Target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.”

Okay, I missed this card before evaluating the stupid zombie. This card is what you need to make mill a viable strategy in limited, and it pairs really well with the expensive machine gun soulbond dealy. The ability to mill 4 every turn is pretty huge. This guy and the untap soulbond or the rare that untaps or just a couple of these and mill can happen very quickly. Probably shouldn’t be your main win condition, especially with this guy only being 2/2, but definitely gives you options.

Stolen Goods 3u
Sorcery Rare
Target opponent exiles cards from the top of his or her library until he or she exiles a nonland card. Until end of turn, you may cast that card without paying its mana cost.

This shouldn’t be played anywhere but EDH, but I like it. Cute name too.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage 3uu
Planeswalker – Tamiyo Mythic Rare
+1: Tap target permanent. It doesn’t untap during its controller’s next untap step.
-2: Draw a card for each tapped creature target player controls.
-8: You get an emblem with “You have no maximum hand size” and “Whenever a card is put into your graveyard from anywhere, you may return it to your hand.”

I hate this card. A Soratami planeswalker out of place is really cool, but I hate what she does. Play better card draw spells or play Frost Titan (Until October), but I hate this so much. Just casting Frost Titan will have the same effect that this almost always will, except instead of needing to crazygonuts with her ultimate, they’d just be dead from taking 6 damage a turn. And multiples are awesome, not dead. If you live in magical Christmas land then sure, she does all sorts of zany shit. In the real world, she’s terrible until October, and probably then too. She can be really strong in EDH where you can run Doubling Season and just ultimate the second you cast her, but beyond that meh. Dump these as soon as you get them, cause she’s not retaining her price. Just because she’s blue doesn’t mean she’s JTMS. Cause she’s awful.

Tandem Lookout 2u
Creature – Human Scout Uncommon
Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
As long as Tandem Lookout is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “Whenever this creature deals damage to an opponent, draw a card.”

I think this is really strong, especially because it can either pair with your 2 drop to draw a surprise card immediately, or it pairs with the 1 drop soulbound guy coming up.

Temporal Mastery 5uu
Sorcery Mythic Rare
Take an extra turn after this one. Exile Temporal Mastery.
Miracle 1{U} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.)

This card’s awesome. It exiles itself so it’s impossible to break, but it’s still really strong. You may want to dump these immediately in case Brainstorm, SDT, or others get the axe in Legacy. Worst case scenario you can just pick them back up for the same price you sold them for being the ban announcement, but I expect at least Brainstorm and probably others have finally reached the end of their tenure in Legacy. Oh, and this won’t be banned. They’ll ban the cards that were already potentially a problem, not the card they JUST printed and included a clause on to prevent stupid infinite turn bullshit.

Vanishment 4u
Instant Uncommon
Put target nonland permanent on top of its owner’s library.
Miracle {U}

This card is fine whether it’s the miracle cost or not. Five mana is a little expensive, but being instant and being any nonland permanent, not just creatures, are both huge boons. Probably a pick 3-5.

Wingcrafter u
Creature – Human Wizard Common
Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
As long a Wingbonder is paired with another creature, both creatures have flying.

It’s that guy I was talking about that pairs well with the soulbound Ophidian! Solid limited guy especially as a one drop.

Black (41)
Appetite for Brains b
Sorcery Uncommon
Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a card from it with converted mana cost 4 or greater and exile that card.

It’s decent, but I’m not overly impressed. The exile is relevant right now, with all the reanimation stuff going on, but if I’m playing a turn 1 discard I want to be hitting their turn 1 or 2 play, not their turn 4 or 5 play.

Barter in Blood 2bb
Sorcery Uncommon
Each player sacrifices two creatures.

This card is amazing…as soon as people stop playing Lingering Souls. Frequently will act as full on board wipe in limited though.

Blood Artist 1b
Creature – Vampire Uncommon
Whenever Blood Artist or another creature dies, target player loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

It may be fragile, but we already know how powerful the effect is from Falkenrath Noble. Despite being a two drop it’s not as good since it can never do damage on its own, but still very good.

Bloodflow Connoisseur 2b
Creature – Vampire Common
Sacrifice a creature: Put a +1/+1 counter on Bloodflow Connoisseur.

Cards like these tend to be very strong in limited. Not new, but not fun to play against either.

Bone Splinters b
Sorcery Common
As an additional cost to cast Bone Splinters, sacrifice a creature.
Destroy target creature.

I imagine this will be pretty strong removal in this format as it kills anything, and there’s a lot of really big anythings much removal would miss. Also, the new artwork is amazing.

Butcher Ghoul 1b
Creature – Zombie Common

Hey, it’s Young Wolf! At 1 mana this was fine. At two? Much less so.

Corpse Traders 3b
Creature – Human Rogue Uncommon
2{B}, Sacrifice a creature: Target player reveals his or her hand. You choose a card from it. That player discards that card.

Wow do I hate this. I mean, it gives you an excuse to run the 1/1 undying zombie I guess, but blech. I didn’t even like Cat Burglar in limited, so I don’t see how I’d like one that sacs a guy instead of just tapping. I realize it’s Coercion instead of letting them choose to discard, but still really dislike this guy.

Crypt Creeper 1b
Creature – Zombie Common
Sacrifice Crypt Creeper: Exile target card from a graveyard.

It’s a bear…I mean as close to a bear as black gets in limited…not counting Walking Corpse which had durdles up in arms for some reason. The exile ability doesn’t seem amazing in this format since there’s no flashback, but there’s still some amount of undying so it’s fine.

Dark Imposter 2b
Creature – Vampire Assassin Rare
4{B}{B}: Exile target creature and put a +1/+1 counter on Dark Imposter.
Dark Imposter has all activated abilities of all creature cards exiled with it.

Hilariously bomby. Yes, the activated ability is expensive, but I liken this guy to Deepfire Elemental. Coldsnap was another format that was light on removal, and that guy was fucking bonkers. And he usually cost more mana to remove stuff, didn’t grow, cost 6 to even get into play, and didn’t leech their abilities. Early game this guy’s a Grey Ogre that can get some tempo advantage, and then as soon as you hit 6 mana this shuts down anything they want to do. Except hexproof. Fuck hexproof. I think others will disagree, but I would first pick this guy in draft. Not sold on him for EDH yet, but I might test him out in my Geth deck to see. I feel like your average black deck has so much amazing removal that he’s not necessary, but you can always steal some asshole Kraj player’s infinite combo or something which is funny.

Demonic Rising 3bb
Enchantment Rare
At the beginning of your end step, if you control exactly one creature, put a 5/5 black Demon creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

Really hard to tell what I think about this without playing the format. It’s huge that this says at the beginning of your end step and not your upkeep, though. That means the turn you cast it (assuming you only have 1 other guy) you already get a 5/5 flyer for 5, which is absolutely fine. If you ever get another token off it that’s just gravy for what you paid, but the question remains: how often will this trigger when cast on turn 5?

Demonic Taskmaster 2b
Creature – Demon Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature other than Demonic Taskmaster.

Seems like a fine beater for a control deck. Four power flying that just doesn’t want you having another creature is fine. Not casting other creatures means you just have more mana to control the game state. The only thing that keeps me from loving this guy is that he trades with Delver which gets in under every counterspell except Mental Misstep.

Demonlord of Ashmouth 2bb
Creature – Demon Rare
When Demonlord of Ashmouth enters the battlefield, exile it unless you sacrifice another creature.

This guy sure is efficient, but that drawback is going to be a bigger pain in the ass than it’s worth in constructed. In limited this guy is probably an enormous bomb cause you should have something to sac on turn 4 to get this guy out and start beating.

Descent into Madness 3bb
Enchantment Mythic Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a despair counter on Descent into Madness, then each player exiles X permanents he or she controls and/or cards from his or her hand, where X is the number of despair counters on Descent into Madness.
The stairs lead down in both directions.

Did anyone say they wanted a fixed version of Smokestack? If so, go fuck yourself for making them waste a mythic slot on this garbage.

Death Wind xb
Instant Common
Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn.

Very high pick limited removal. It fucks shit up.

Dread Slaver 3bb
Creature – Zombie Horror Rare
Whenever a creature dealt damage by Dread Slaver this turn dies, return it to the battlefield under your control. That creature is a black Zombie in addition to its other colors and types.

Did anyone say they wanted a fixed version of The Wretched? Oh, I did? Well yeah, but that was 1997. I’m over it. This is about the best defender you could ask for, but on offense it’s just a 3 power unblockable for 5 which isn’t super impressive. It has EDH applications though, especially because it says NOTHING about combat damage. This guy is just a Basilisk Collar and Thornbite Staff away from making you lose all your friends. Oh, and if you cast the rare green miracle on this guy and steal your opponent’s entire board at the prerelease, John Medina has offered to give you a free foil Cavern of Souls. Just kidding, that asshole’s not giving you shit; it’ll be cool though!

Driver of the Dead 3b
Creature – Vampire Common
When Driver of the Dead dies, return target creature with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.

In theory this is a really strong common for limited (And very reminiscent of soulshift). Sadly, there’s not a whole lot for 2 or less to return.

Essence Harvest 2b
Sorcery Common
Target player loses X life and you gain X life, where X is the highest power amongst creatures you control.

I question how good this card is going to be, but I love the design. The fact that it’s common and not uncommon like most of these cards are indicates that it’s probably not very good, so it’s okay for it to show up a lot.

Evernight Shade 3b
Creature – Shade Uncommon
{B}: Evernight Shade gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

Not sure if this is a first pick, but it’s up there. Shades are really powerful in limited, and an undying shade is pretty phenomenal, even at 4 mana for a 1/1.

Exquisite Blood 4b
Enchantment Rare
Whenever an opponent loses life, you gain that much life.

This card is amazing for EDH. Sure you can play it with Sanguine Bond to flat out win the second anyone takes a damage/loses a life, but then you’re a cunt. I’d play this over Sanguine Bond because it’s less likely to make enemies and has a stronger effect. I wouldn’t play this alongside Sanguine Bond because I’m not that kind of asshole.

Ghoulflesh b
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature.
Enchanted creature gets -1/-1 and is a black Zombie in addition to its other colors and types.

Well…it’s kinda like removal. In a pinch this is fine, but hopefully you can find some other way to kill creatures.

Gloom Surgeon 1b
Creature – Spirit Rare
If combat damage would be dealt to Gloom Surgeon, prevent that damage and exile that many cards from the top of your library.

Very cool design on this guy. Hate it for limited, but possible constructed applications. A 2/1 that can swing every turn without fear is pretty nice, but it loses points by not being a zombie and loses even more for exiling instead of milling. I wouldn’t write it off yet, but I don’t think the feature bodes well for undead sawbones.

Grave Exchange 4bb
Sorcery Common
Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand. Target player sacrifices a creature.

At the low, low cost of only 6 mana to combine a 1 mana spell and a 2 mana spell, this is guaranteed to always make your opponent sacrifice the creature you want dead. I would fist pick this monster of a bomb for days.*
*Editor’s note: If it needs to be explained to you that this is sarcasm, please quit. Life, I mean.

Griselbrand 4bbbb
Legendary Creature – Demon Mythic Rare
Flying, lifelink
Pay 7 life: Draw seven cards.

When I saw Avacyn spoiled, I thought she would be the new reanimate target of choice. Then the next guy this guy escaped from the Helvault. Seriously what the fucking shit is this? I love it and it’s amazing, but wtf? This will probably start seeing serious play come October, but sadly it’s already banned in EDH. I mean, not officially yet, but it’s fucking banned. Yawgmoth’s Bargain is banned, and this guy is just Yawgmoth’s Bargain as your general. Not a fucking chance, you combo playing douchebags. You will play Necropotence in EDH, and you will thank the good lord every day that we even allow that! Oh yeah, then we’ll cast Mind Slaver and play “Stop hitting yourself.”

Harvester of Souls 4bb
Creature-Demon Rare
Whenever another nontoken creature dies, you may draw a card.

Seems really strong for limited, and another awesome EDH card. Turn every mass removal spell into a Decree of Pain!

Homicidal Seclusion 4b
Enchantment Uncommon
As long as you control exactly one creature, that creature gets +3/+1 and has lifelink.

At least it’s not an aura? I dunno, seems like garbage.

Human Frailty b
Instant Uncommon
Destroy target Human creature.

Don’t mind if I do! I know there’s a lot of humans, but without the set in gatherer yet I can’t easily found out how exactly useful this will be. My guess is very, but you can count all the humans yourself.

Hunted Ghoul b
Creature – Zombie Common
Hunted Ghoul can’t block Humans.

Finally Sanctuary Cat’s reign of terror over limited can come to an end! That card was far too powerful, so I’m really happy that the black version has a potentially serious drawback.

Killing Wave xb
Sorcery Rare
For each creature, its controller sacrifices it unless he or she pays X life.

This card is an exercise in beautiful, elegant design that will sadly never accomplish what you want. There is no world in which I would ever want to run this in my deck over Black Sun’s Zenith (Please don’t comment with a million fucking corner cases in which this card is better). Maybe black will run this as a sideboard against token decks in October, but it’s too situational to be a maindeck card.

Maalfeld Twins 5b
Creature – Zombie Uncommon
When Maalfeld Twins dies, put two 2/2 black Zombie creature tokens onto the battlefield.

Six mana is a little steep, but a 4/4 that gives you two 2/2s when it dies is really good and certainly worth the investment. Also, as I’ve mentioned, six mana seems totally reasonable for this limited format.

Marrow Bats 4b
Creature – Bat Skeleton Uncommon
Pay 4 life: Regenerate Marrow Bats.

Fair. A 4 power flyer for 5 isn’t unreasonable, and paying 4 life to kill a creature isn’t unreasonable (Think Slaughter with buyback, which is a fucking BOMB in limited). Sadly this isn’t Slaughter and this isn’t Sengir Vampire, nor is it both in one. There’s no Geistflame so it’s probably correct to run the bats, but I’m not happy about them.

Mental Agony 3b
Sorcery Common
Target player discards two cards and loses 2 life.

Normally I’m against Mind Rot variants except as a 23rd card or if it’s Blightning. In this limited format, however, this card may be as high as a 20th card.

Necrobite 2b
Instant Common
Target creature gains deathtouch until end of turn. Regenerate it

Situational removal! But hey, it’s removal and it can hit anything so take this way over that -1/-1 thing (but take the -X/-X over this).

Polluted Dead 4b
Creature – Zombie Common
When Polluted Dead dies, destroy target land.

With so many 5+ drops being relevant in this format, this guy might actually matter. If you hit him turn 5 and your opponent misses a single land drop, there’s a decent chance you can set them too really far behind…or just get a 3/3 unblockable. Either way.

Predator’s Gambit b
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +2/+1.
If enchanted creature’s controller controls no other creatures, it has intimidate.

Look at your limited pool. Would you run Unholy Strength in your deck? If so, run this. If not, don’t. Totally ignore the conditional ability when choosing and just treat it as a happy bonus if it happens. And if you don’t know whether or not you should be running Unholy Strength? Well…it’d take me way too long to even attempt to answer that question correctly in an already enormous article, so when it doubt, just assume no.

Renegade Demon 3bb
Creature – Demon Common

It’s 1 better than Zombie Goliath! Still not impressed, but playable? Well…technically? You should have so many better cards on the high end of your curve though; not like there’s any shortage of them.

Searchlight Geist 2b
Creature – Spirit Common
3{B}: Searchlight Geist gains deathtouch until end of turn.

Remember all that stuff I said about Moonlight Geist? You can pretty much just copy and paste that here with the exception that white gets better flyers so a 2/1 flyer for 2B is better in black than it is in white.

Soulcage Fiend 1bb
Creature – Demon Common
When Soulcage Ghoul dies, each player loses 3 life.

Aww, what a cute little 3/2 demon! Definitely gives the possibility of an aggressive draft strategy though, as this guy seems more balls to the wall than most of this set.

Treacherous Pit-Dweller bb
Creature – Demon Rare
When Treacherous Pit-Dweller enters the battlefield from a graveyard, target opponent gains control of it.

I will try to be objective with this card, but I have an irrational love of overly cute plays. For starters, don’t play this guy in limited; he’ll kill you. In constructed, however, I think he has a real chance in an aggressive black/blue or black/red deck. There’s a few important things to remember here: 1. There’s no lightning bolt. Your opponent doesn’t have a simple way to kill this. There’s O-Ring, but that negates the drawback anyway. 2. Your opponent gains control of it as a triggered ability. This gives you the option to cast something like Fling or Altar’s Reap after it undies before they get control of it. 3. If you cast it on turn 2 and are splashing blue, on turn 3 you can start cloning it with Metamorphs or Phantasmal Images to keep the pressure on your opponent. If they die, just have them return to the battlefield as a different creature. Hopefully you’ll have a Phyrexian Obliterator by then or your opponent will have something nifty to copy. Also, if you’re going to the blue route (Which I would choose over red) then you get Vapor Snag so when it undies you make them lose a life and just recast it. Fun times!

Triumph of Cruelty 2b
Enchantment Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, target opponent discards a card if you control the creature with the greatest power or tied for the greatest power.


Undead Executioner 3b
Creature – Zombie Common
When Undead Executioner dies, you may have target creature get -2-2 until end of turn.

This card is both really good, and makes me really sad. It’s a near functional reprint of Disease Carriers, except the -2/-2 is a may ability. My favourite part of Urza’s sealed is figuring out how to fuck my opponent over and force them to chain all their rats together and wipe their whole board with a single removal spell. It’s probably better for everyone this way. And again, high limited pick, like 3-4.

Unhallowed Pact 2b
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
When enchanted creature dies, return it to the battlefield under your control.

I suppose this makes a lot more sense being in black than in blue, but I will always love False Demise. Unfortunately, this card is kinda impossible to rate in a vacuum. There are so many intricacies as to if and when you want to be running this in your limited deck that I don’t know where to begin. I think more often than not it will be incorrect to run this though, and it won’t be a high pick anyway so you can always snag one late just in case.

Red (42)
Aggravate 3rr
Instant Uncommon
Aggravate deals 1 damage to each creature target player controls. Each creature dealt damage this way attacks this turn if able.

I wasn’t a fan of this in Shards block (I realize it was also an enchantment so less of a trick and was two colours), but there were always decks that you wanted this against. Sideboard card in limited, but I don’t see any other use. Unless they ban Intangible Virtue. And Honor of the Pure.

Archwing Dragon 2rr
Creature – Dragon Rare
Flying, haste
At the beginning of the end step, return Archwing Dragon to its owner’s hand.

I can’t stop reading the name as Darkwing. Anyway, it’s like Viashino Cutthroat all over again! Or Hell’s Thunder. It’s fine for red aggro probably as a two of, can sneak lots of damage through in limited if you don’t mind not advancing your board position, and, for my money, is simply not as good as Hell’s Thunder. Good, but not amazing.

Banners Raised r
Instant Common
Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

I didn’t see a ton of opportunity for swarming in limited here, so not sure that you’d want to play this ever. Unless I’m totally missing something, in which case…it’s a maybe at best.

Battle Hymn 1r
Instant Common
Add {R} to your mana pool for each creature you control.


Bonfire of the Damned xxr
Sorcery Mythic Rare
Bonfire of the Damned deals X damage to target player and each creature he or she controls.
Miracle {X}{R} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.)

Okay, so it’s an easier to cast Lavalanche the becomes less efficient when X > 2. But if you topdeck this thing late game your opponent just loses. Limited bomb, and decent for EDH since the one enemy you make will need at least a turn to recover.

Burn at the Stake 2rrr
Sorcery Rare
As an additional cost to cast Burn at the Stake, tap any number of untapped creatures you control.

This strikes me a lot like a red Overrun…which is probably what it’s designed to be based on the cost. It’s pretty cool, and seems really strong in limited if you get into a ground stall. Not sure what new RDW decks will look like, but as a one or two of it could give a lot of reach if the builds are correct for it.

Dangerous Wager 1r
Instant Common
Discard your hand, then draw two cards.

I love this as a RDW card, even though I hate RDW. With a low enough card, you can empty your hand of everything except maybe a land and have a way to get more gas, which is one of the things red has a huge issue with. In practice it might not work out that well and you may be happier with Faithless Looting, but especially at instant it seems like it can either provide more gas or help you dig for answers. Also, gives you a means to miracle on your opponent’s turn.

Demolish 3r
Sorcery Common
Destroy target artifact or land.

It’ll never be Pillage :'(

Dual Casting 1r
Enchantment – Aura Rare
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has “{R}, {T}: Copy target instant or sorcery spell you control. You may choose new targets for the copy.”

Strikes me as a very powerful card for EDH and even for limited if you have enough spells worth copying. Sad that red only copies its own spells this block, but this would be pretty insane anti-countermage tech if it copied other people’s spells. Sadly, you can’t draft both this and Lingering Souls.

Falkenrath Exterminator 2r
Creature – Vampire Archer Uncommon
Whenever Falkenrath Exterminator deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.
2{R}: ~ deals damage to target creature equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it.

This guy is absolutely a top limited pick for red. It may be tough to get that first counter on him, but once it has one it gets really good, really fast.

Fervent Cathar 2r
Creature – Human Knight Common
When Fervent Cathar enters the battlefield, target creature can’t block this turn.

Even though it’s smaller, I much prefer the haste (and single red) on this guy to Crossway Vampire. The vampire was frequently playable in limited, so I don’t see why this wouldn’t be okay as well.

Gang of Devils 5r
Creature – Devil Uncommon
When Gang of Devils dies, it deals 3 damage divided as you choose among one, two, or three target creatures and/or players.

Not a fan at 6 mana. It had to cost 6 mana thanks to the precedent of Pitchburn Devils, but especially with the bump to uncommon I think this could stand to be a 4/4.

Guise of Fire r
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets +1/-1 and attacks each turn if able.

Misread this as +1/+1. It’s okay pseudo-removal, but try to draft better cards.

Hanweir Lancer 2r
Creature – Human Knight Common
As long as Hanweir Lancer is paired with another creature, both creatures have first strike.

First strike can be really, really difficult to deal with in limited as many people probably learned from Stromkirk Captain. I really like this guy, especially with flicker effects for limited combat tricks.

Havengul Vampire 3r
Creature – Vampire Uncommon
Whenever ~ deals combat damage to a player, put +1/+1 counter on it.
Whenever another creature dies, put a +1/+1 counter on ~.

This may be my favourite of these vampires in the entire block since it can get bigger without hitting the opponent. Creatures like this tend to be underrated at first in limited formats and then people finally appreciate them after losing to them, so early on I bet you can pick these guys up way later than you should be able to.

Heirs of Stromkirk 2rr
Creature – Vampire Common
Whenever Heirs of Stromkirk deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it.

Man, these +1/+1 vampires are all pretty good, or at least decent. This guy is a little slow, but the intimidate is big and he can become a problem very easily.

Hound of Griselbrand 2rr
Creature – Elemental Hound Rare
Double strike

This seems really, really strong in limited. Also, double strike paired with undying is really cool. Sadly, as cool as it is, it still has bulk rare written all over it.

Kessig Malcontents 2r
Creature – Human Warrior Uncommon
When Kessig Malcontents enters the battlefield, it deals damage to target player equal to the number of Humans you control.

Worst case scenario, this is mediocre in limited. This is either a really strong card to splash in humans for standard, or it’s a wicked durdly idea. I can’t figure out which, but it’s definitely worth playtesting. The possibility to cast this guy on turn 3 in constructed and get a 3/1 that deals 4 damage seems pretty strong though.

Kruin Striker 1r
Creature – Human Warrior Common
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, Kruin Striker gets +1/+0 and gains trample until end of turn.

Man, red sure has a lot of cards that want you to be running token decks. Where my red tokens at?

Lightning Mauler 1r
Creature – Human Berserker Uncommon
As long as Lightning Mauler is paired with another creature, both creatures have haste.

This guy is good, and I’m SO glad he didn’t cost 1. He’s unlikely to have haste if you play him correctly, but your next guy (and potentially multiple subsequent ones) will have haste. On the off chance you cast him and another creature in the same turn, that’s just extra good! Perfect card for RDW against control decks. Either speed your clock up, or hold this and another creature back for post Day of Judgment to immediately start putting them back in the danger zone. Fuck, now I need to go watch Archer.

Lightning Prowess 2r
Enchantment – Aura Uncommon
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has haste and {T}: This creature deals 1 damage to target creature or player.”

Fun combo with that rare black demon guy in limited: just ping any creature that would die from combat anyway! Even without silly combos, Tims are always really strong in limited, even if it’s in enchantment form. Oh yeah, and it’s a BB gun with that stupid blue guy!

Mad Prophet 3r
Creature – Human Common
{T}, Discard a card: Draw a card.

Red sure does love haste this set, huh? Guy seems really good: looter that doubles as a 2/2! Oh yeah, and red!

Malicious Intent 1r
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has “{T}: Target creature can’t block this turn”.

I’m sure there will be situations where you want this card in limited, but man do I dislike auras like this.

Malignus 3rr
Creature – Elemental Spirit Mythic Rare
Malignus’s power and toughness are equal to half the highest life total among your opponents, rounded up.
Damage that would be dealt by Malignus cannot be prevented.

Seems like this guy could be really fun for EDH, but beyond that it’s pretty meh. It’s awesome in limited until it hits them, then it just becomes kinda bad. On the plus site, while there have been guys that halve your opponent’s life when they deal damage, they’ve always been tiny and easy to kill. Making this guy’s P/T variable makes a huge difference here.

Raging Poltergeist 4r
Creature – Spirit Common

I like you even less than I like Rotting Fensnake.

Reforge the Soul 3rr
Sorcery Rare
Each player discards his or her hand and draws seven cards.
Miracle 1{R}

You can never have too many Wheels in EDH! Another possible 1-2 of in RDW as well, and undoubtedly other applications I’m missing. Wheel is just good.

Riot Ringleader 2r
Creature – Human Warrior Common
Whenever Riot Ringleader attacks, Human creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

It’s a 3/2 swinging at least, so it’s better than a Grey Ogre. Which for red is pretty good!

Rush of Blood 2r
Instant Uncommon
Target creature gets +X/+0 until end of turn, where X is its power.

This is just a bad Soul’s Fire. Like, really bad. Doesn’t even get trample so I can’t call it a Berserk variant. Lame.

Rite of Ruin 5rr
Sorcery Rare
Choose an order for artifacts, creatures, and lands. Each player sacrifices one permanent of the first type, sacrifices two of the second type, then sacrifices three of the third type.

Such a stupid card. Too slow for limited or constructed, and too stupid for EDH. Unlike Obliterate/Jokulhaups which piss everything off and leave them empty handed, this just pisses everyone off. They still have the means to fight back, so you’re fucked.

Somberwald Vigilante r
Creature – Human Warrior Common
Whenever Somberwald Vigilante becomes blocked by a creature, Somberwald Vigilante deals 1 damage to that creature.

It’s fine, but it’ll never be Ashmouth Hound.

Scalding Devil 1r
Creature – Devil Common
2{R}: Scalding deals 1 damage to target player.

This seems pretty okay. It’s only 1/1, but the ability is repeatable so you’ll always have something to do at least. Not constructed worthy by any means, but a nice mana sink for limited.

Stonewright r
Creature – Human Shaman Uncommon
Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
As long as Stonewright is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “{R}: This creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.”

I think I’d rather just a 1/1 firebreather for R instead of bothering with soulbond. Had to happen I suppose, and it’s fine.

Pillar of Flame r
Sorcery Common
Pillar of Flame deals 2 damage to target creature or player. If a creature dealt damage this way would die this turn, exile it instead.

It’s the new Magma Spray! Good card good. Good for limited, and very important for RDW or any deck with red to take out Geralf’s Messenger and Strangleroot Geist.

Thatcher Revolt 2r
Sorcery Common
Put three 1/1 red Human creature tokens with haste onto the battlefield. Sacrifice those tokens at the beginnig of the next end step.

Hey, it’s all those tokens we wanted! Except they die at the end of turn. Oh. Um…meh? By itself I think this card is the worst Spark Elemental variant ever. It can be good if you jump through enough hoops, but I’m not positive they’re worth it.

Thunderbolt 1r
Instant Common
Chose one – Thunderbolt deals 3 damage to target player; or Thunderbolt deals 4 damage to target creature with flying.

This card is really good. If you didn’t get to try it the first time around, you’re in for a treat! And with Restoration Angel being so strong, this becomes extremely relevant.

Thunderous Wrath 4rr
Instant Uncommon
Thunderous Wrath deals 5 damage to target creature or player.
Miracle {R} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.)

Amazing for its miracle cost, frequently a dead card otherwise (except in limited where that cost is fine, even if it’s overcosted). It will definitely see play, but the question remains “how much?”

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded rr
Planeswalker – Tibalt Mythic Rare
+1: Draw a card, then discard a card at random.
-4: Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded deals damage equal to the number of cards in target player’s hand to that player.
-6: Gain control of all creatures until end of turn. Untap them. They gain haste until end of turn.

Maybe it’s because it’s the first 2 mana planeswalker. Maybe it’s because the card has the word “random” on it. But Tibalt makes me want to play red. It sneaks in under Mana Leak/Negate and can just Sudden Impact the control player once or twice to pretty much own the game. The Insurrection ability is awesome in EDH and limited, though the randomness in limited will hurt a lot more where you can’t build around utilizing your graveyard really. It’s not really the card for a RDW style deck (maybe board against heavy control), but it’s extremely powerful and I’m excited to see what he’s going to offer.

Tyrant of Discord 4rrr
Creature – Elemental Rare
When Tyrant of Discord enters the battlefield, target opponent chooses a permanent he or she controls at random and sacrifices it. If a nonland permanent is sacrificed this way, repeat this process.

This is strictly an EDH card, but it’s hilarious. It’s either a Kindercatch + 1, or it’s a total blowout. Or something in between. No one wants to build around that kind of randomness (except in EDH), and no one wants to play Kindercatch in limited (except when they do…which is more often than I’d expect).

Uncanny Speed 1r
Instant Common
Target creature gets +3/+0 and gains haste until end of turn.

I prefer my combat tricks to give first strike or toughness boosts. Haste is okay, but I’m not particularly sold on this.

Vexing Devil r
Creature – Devil Rare
When Vexing Devil enters the battlefield, any opponent may have it deal 4 damage to him or her. If a player does, sacrifice Vexing Devil.

It’s a Lava Spike that does 4 damage…except when it deals 0. Will probably average like 3.6 damage, which is still better than 3, so yay. Strong card, playable in legacy burn replacing a 3 for 1 (cause 4 is more than 3!) and REALLY strong in modern in conjunction with Ranger of Eos.

Vigilante Justice 3r
Enchantment Uncommon
Whenever a Human enters the battlefield under your control, Vigilante Justice deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

Too slow for constructed, but seems like you can gain some serious advantage from this with a properly constructed draft deck. Or an insanely lucky sealed pool.

Zealous Conscripts 4r
Creature – Human Warrior Rare
When Zealous Conscripts enters the battlefield, untap target permanent and gain control of it until end of turn. It gains haste until end of turn.

This has the power to be a total fucking blowout in limited, stealing their bomb and giving you an extra 3 attack. Stealing any permanent is hugely relevant too, especially in EDH where you can steal someone’s Maze of Ith to swing in, steal their planeswalker to set off its ultimate, or do a bunch of other cool stuff.

Green (41)
Abundant Growth g
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant land
When Abundant Growth enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Enchanted land has “{T}: Add one mana of any colour to your mana pool.”

Very well designed card, but doesn’t seem to be much use for it aside from cycling for 1 mana.

Blessing of Nature 4g
Sorcery Uncommon
Distribute four +1+1 counters among any number of target creatures.
Miracle {G}

Great card for limited as you can distribute them, and really good for its miracle cost. For constructed, I’d rather just use Hunger of the Howl Pack. Easier to trigger the alternate ability, and it’s an instant.

Borderland Ranger 2g
Creature – Human Scout Common
When Borderland Ranger enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.

Good card good. Reprint known commodity.

Bower Passage 1g
Enchantment Uncommon
Creatures you control can’t be blocked by creatures with flying.

For far too long Michael Bower, famous for his portrayal of the character Donkeylips on “Salute Your Shorts,” has gone unappreciated in the gaming industry. Finally there’s a card dedicated just to one of the greatest American actors all time. Sadly, this card is going to receive about as much play as his first rap album.

Champion of Lambholt 1gg
Creature – Human Warrior Rare
Creatures with power less than Champion of Lambholt’s power can’t block creatures you control.
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on Champion of Lambholt.

OMG. I just read this card correctly for the first time ever. I’d written this off because we’ve seen cards with that first ability time and time again. They were always decent, but rare? Bleh. I was so unimpressed that I couldn’t even be bothered to read the entire fucking sentence and really his ability effects ALL creatures you control. This is a huge deal. Definitely can just completely blowout games in limited, and may even have a place in standard. A single equipment or even a pump spell can make your entire team unblockable every turn. That’s nothing to shrug at. Also seems like an auto include in green EDH decks, or at least mono green.

Craterhoof Behemoth 5ggg
Creature – Beast Mythic Rare
When Craterhoof Behemoth enters the battlefield, creatures you control gain trample and get +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of creatures you control.

A 5/5 haste Overrun? Do I really need to tell you what to do with this card?

Descendants’ Path 2g
Enchantment Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, reveal the top card of your library. If it’s a creature card that shares a creature type with a creature you control, you can cast this card without paying its mana cost. Otherwise, put it at the bottom of your library.

This is one of those blatant combo cards that actually has a chance of being important. Not so much in standard, but a really good chance in Modern. Remember: Nest Invader et al are Eldrazi creatures, as are the tokens they make. It may not tier 1, but you’ll need to prepare for it when the set first comes out.

Diregraf Escort g
Creature – Human Cleric Common
As long as ~ is paired with another creature, both creatures have protection from Zombies.

Sideboard card for standard? I dunno. I’m largely unimpressed, especially with the rapid decline in zombies in this set.

Druid’s Familiar 3g
Creature – Bear Uncommon
As long as Druid’s Familiar is paired with another creature, both creatures get +2/+2.

A 4/4 for 4 that makes another creature bigger? Good times.

Druids’ Repository 1gg
Enchantment Rare
Whenever a creature you control attacks, put a charge counter on Druids’ Repository.
Remove a charge counter from Druids’ Repository : Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

If there’s a viable use for this card, I’m not going to be the one to find it for you. I don’t even like this for EDH. I may run this in sealed though just cause it will reduce the chances of you having to listen to me bitch about mana screw on Twitter.

Eaten by Spiders 2g
Instant Uncommon
Destroy target creature with flying and all Equipment attached to that creature.

Awesome name, and a really good card as well! Fuck you, Delver! I’d run it in limited since good players will have flyers. Same reason you maindeck Plummet and Crushing Vines in limited…you have been doing that, right?

Flowering Lumberknot 3g
Creature – Treefolk Common
Flowering Lumberknot can’t attack or block unless it’s paired with a creature with soulbond.

Yuck. 5/5 for 4 isn’t such a huge discount for a green creature that it’s worth that drawback. If you have enough soulbond stuff sure, but otherwise yuck.

Geist Trappers 4g
Creature – Human Warrior Common
As long as ~ is paired with another creature, both creatures have reach.

If you played Somberwald Spider, you should probably play this too. Man, green has some awesome soulbond abilities, the previous card excluded.

Gloomwidow 2g
Creature – Spider Uncommon
Gloomwidow can block only creatures with flying.

Green psuedo-removal, and just a good card. Reprint is known commodity.

Grounded 1g
Enchantment – Aura Common
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature loses flying.

Why would I play this when I can just feed the creature to my spiders?

Howlgeist 5g
Creature – Spirit Wolf Uncommon
Creatures with power less than Howlgeist’s power can’t block it.

SIX MANA? UGH. I know this card is better than I’m going to give it credit for, but it just seems so expensive to me. I know the 5 mana 4/1 undying vampire was sometimes playable, at least in sealed, and he didn’t have the bonus ability, but still. I think it’s really hard to judge power when the tempo of a limited format is going to be so drastically different than the previous format.

Joint Assault g
Instant Common
Target creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn. If it’s paired with a creature, that creature also gets +2/+2 until end of turn.

Another beautifully designed card. I know there’s always a Giant Growth variant with the new mechanic, but this one is particularly good. One mana to potentially two for one your opponent or just four damage for one are both really good options.

Lair Delve 2g
Sorcery Common
Reval the top two cards of your library. Put all creature and land cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

Was Harmonize really so broken that green is reduced to this for its Divination variant? Get this shit out of my face. I mean, the design makes sense and is cute, but this needs to look at three cards, even if for 2GG.

Natural End 2g
Instant Common
Destroy target artifact or enchantment. You gain 3 life.

Naturalize Variant. Neat. No more or less playable in limited than a regular Naturalize, though the bonus for the extra mana is pleasant. That’s right, the card is so innocuous I have to use words like “neat” and “pleasant” to describe it.

Nettle Swine 3g
Creature – Boar Common

Solid limited common. Badass art. NOT named Gentle Boar. (Confused? Listen to Jinxed Idols!)

Nightshade Peddler 1g
Creature – Human Druid Common
Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.)
As long as Nightshade Peddler is paired with another creature, both creatures have deathtouch.

Kinda surprised that a soulbond deathtouch creature can be common. I know he’s just a 1/1, but the potential for every creature someone controls to have deathtouch is beyond irritating. Oh yeah, I think this card is good, obviously.

Pathbreaker Wurm 4gg
Creature – Wurm Common
As long as Pathbreaker Wurm is paired with another creature, both creatures have trample.

I mean…if you WANTED to play Craw Wurm in your limited pool then this is strictly better. I dunno…the format needs to be so much slower than ISD/DKA for this to be good.

Primal Surge 8gg
Sorcery Mythic Rare
Exile the top card of your library. If its a permanent card, you may put it onto the battlefield. If you do, repeat this process.

OMGWTFLOL. Stupidly powerful for a properly designed EDH deck. I’m tempted to design a standard deck that can use this and dump and entire library of Titans into play, but it’d be sooooo bad, especially since you could only have one Primal Surge for it to work properly.

Rain of Thorns 4gg
Sorcery Uncommon
Choose one or more -Destroy target artifact; or destroy target enchantment; or destroy target land.

Love love love LOVE. Awesome green EDH card.

Revenge of the Hunted 4gg
Sorcery Rare
Until end of turn, target creature gets +6/+6 and gains trample, and all creatures able to block it this turn do so.
Miracle {G} (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.)

Total blowout in limited, probably too inconsistent for constructed as it’s not super impressive at 6 mana there.

Sheltering Word 1g
Instant Common
Target creature you control gains hexproof until end of turn. You gain life equal to that creature’s toughness.

People are ejaculating waaay too hard over this card. It’s a Ranger’s Guile that doesn’t pump and gives you a little life for an extra mana. I’d rather run Ranger’s Guile, and don’t see myself wanting this.

Snare the Skies g
Instant Common
Target creature gets +1/+1 and gains reach until end of turn.

More green pseudo-removal! Can’t even begin to compare to Spidery Grasp, but not awful as an answer to problem flyers.

Somberwald Sage 2g
Creature – Human Druid Rare
{T}: Add three mana of any one color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast creature spells.

In this limited format, this guy seems like he could be really powerful. In any other format, he seems way too slow and fragile for restricted mana ramp.

Soul of the Harvest 4gg
Creature – Elemental Rare
Whenever another nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may draw a card.

Really bomby in limited…unless it dies right away. If it didn’t say nontoken, I’d think this might have a chance at being constructed worthy once Primeval Titan is gone. Not bad for green EDH, but it probably already has enough better options already.

Terrifying Presence 1g
Instant Common
Prevent all damage that would be dealt this turn by creatures other than target creature.

Kind of odd green fog/pseudo-removal. Probably a lot more powerful than I think.

Timberland Guide 1g
Creature – Human Scout Common
When Timberland Guide enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

Not bad. A bear with a little versatility. Worth noting it can be used to put a counter on opposing undying creatures.

Triumph of Ferocity 2g
Enchantment Uncommon
At the beginning of your upkeep, draw a card if you control the creature with the greatest power or tied for the greatest power.

I have absolutely nothing left to say about this card.

Trusted Forcemage 2g
Creature – Human Shaman Common
As long as ~ is paired with another creature, both creatures get +1+1

A 3/3 for 3 that pumps another creature at common? Seems really good.

Ulvenwald Tracker g
Creature – Human Shaman Rare
1{G}, {T}: Target creature you control fights another target creature.

There’s very little I would draft over this guy. Very inexpensive, recursive removal is absurdly powerful. It’s a little conditional, but in green having the bigger creature shouldn’t be too hard.

Vorstclaw 4gg
Creature – Elemental Horror Uncommon

Vorstclaw? More like worstclaw, amirite? It’s strictly better than Kindercatch, but I don’t think that’s enough to sell me on a vanilla 7/7.

Wandering Wolf 1g
Creature – Wolf Common
Creatures with power less than Wandering Wolf’s power can’t block it.

Man, green is all about this pseudo-evasion stuff this set. If you can pair him with the pumping soulbond guys, this is a decent bear for aggressive limited strategies.

Wild Defiance 2g
Enchantment Rare
Whenever a creature you control becomes the target of an instant or sorcery spell, it gets +3/+3 until end of turn.

Oh man, let me start brewing infect decks again. No wait, let me sell these as bulk.

Wildwood Geist 4g
Creature – Spirit Common
Wildwood Geist gets +2/+2 as long as it’s your turn.

At long last the world has given as a jank common that’s better than Hollow Dogs. I can die happy. A 5/5 attacker for 5 is fine, but I hate the drawback.

Wolfir Avenger 1gg
Creature – Wolf Warrior Uncommon
1{G}: Regenerate Wolfir Avenger.

Soooo good! Pseudo-removal in limited, annoying as fuck creature in limited, and most likely constructed playable as well.

Wolfir Silverheart 3gg
Creature – Wolf Warrior Rare
As long as Wolfir Silverheart is paired with another creature, each of those creatures gets +4/+4.

An 8/8 for 5 that pumps another creature? Even if there’s nothing to pair it with, it’s still marginal at lesat. When paired, this thing is such a fucking bomb. Might even say play in midrange decks, though possibly not until October. It’s just straight beats, but it’s also a combined 12/12 on your side for 5 mana. That’s more efficient than Ghoultree!

Yew Spirit 4g
Creature – Treefolk Spirit Uncommon
2{G}{G}: Yew Spirit gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is its power.

Oh, it’s an uncommon Chameleon Colossus. Cute.

Multicolor (3)
Bruna, Light of Alabaster 3wwu
Legendary Creature – Angel Mythic Rare
Flying, vigilance
Whenever Bruna, Light of Alabaster attacks or blocks, you may attach to it any number of Auras on the battlefield and you may put onto the battlefield attached to it any number of Aura cards that could enchant it from your graveyard and/or hand.

This card is amazing and pisses me off. I was really happy with my Hakim Loreweaver EDH deck, and now it’s just completely obsoleted. Fine in limited just as a 5/5 flying vigilance for 6, and such a badass EDH general.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight 4rww
Legendary Creature – Angel Mythic Rare
Flying, first strike
If a source would deal damage to an opponent or a permanent an opponent controls, that source deals double that damage to that player or permanent instead.
If a source would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent half that damage, rounded up.

God damn this thing is powerful. We’ve got essentially a 10/10 flying first strike, not to mention all that other stuff it does. Much more bomby than the previous angel in limited, but slightly less impressive a general.

Sigarda, Host of Herons 2gww
Legendary Creature – Angel Mythic Rare
Flying, hexproof
Spells and abilities your opponents control can’t cause you to sacrifice permanents.

A 5/5 flying HEXPROOF for 5? Toss lifelink on this thing and it rivals or possibly even surpasses Baneslayer. Oh yeah, and not only is it hexproof, it can’t die to edict effects like Liliana or Geth’s Verdict. My least favourite of the three as a general, but easily the most constructed playable.

Artifact (14)
Angel’s Tomb 3
Artifact Uncommon
Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Angel’s Tomb become a 3/3 white Angel artifact creature with flying until end of turn.

Much rather just have Gargoyle Sentry. I’m sure this isn’t terrible, but I really dislike it.

Angelic Armaments 3
Artifact – Equipment Uncommon
Equipped creature gets +2+2, has flying and is a white Angel in addition to its other colors and types.
Equip 4

Hmm…this is probably costed correctly? It’s really expensive to equip, but the bonus is worth it at least in sealed.

Bladed Bracers 1
Artifact – Equipment Common
Equipped creature gets +1/+1.
As long as equipped creature is a Human or Angel, it has vigilance.
Equip 2

Considering like every creature in this set is a human or angel, I’d just assume it’s always vigilance. With that iin mind, this is fine, but it’s no Avacyn’s Collar. Not by a long shot.

Conjurers’s Closet 5
Artifact Rare
At the beginning of your end step, you may exile target creature you control, then return it to the battlefield under your control.

I get that this needed to cost 5 because of stupid combo shit in older formats, but that makes it pretty unplayable in limited as far as I’m concerned…and pretty unplayable in everything else.

Gallows at Willow Hill 3
Artifact Rare
3, {T}, Tap three untapped Humans you control: Destroy target creature. Its controller puts a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

I love the flavour of this card, and it’s repeatable removal! You just better fucking pray you have a way to handle all those flyers.

Haunted Guardian 2
Artifact Creature – Construct Uncommon
Defender, first strike

This card is really cool, but is this format fast enough to make him worth running? I’m guessing it’s a no.

Moonsilver Spear 4
Artifact – Equipment Rare
Equipped creature has first strike.
Whenever equipped creature attacks, put a 4/4 white Angel token with flying onto the battlefield.
Equip 4

This looks like shit to me, but we’ve been spoiled by all those swords. Definitely playable (bomb?) in sealed, and probably in limited as well.

Narstad Scrapper 5
Artifact Creature – Construct Common
2: Narstad Scrapper gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

Dragon Engine, eat your heart out. In a slow format, a card like this can be surprisingly good…like Dragon Engine in Master’s Edition! Then again, that was also good cause the creatures were all tiny. With only 3 toughness, this little scrapper may not fair as well.

Otherworld Atlas 4
Artifact Rare
{T}: Put a charge counter on Otherworld Atlas.
{T}: Each player draws a card for each charge counter on Otherworld Atlas.


Scroll of Avacyn 1
Artifact Common
1, Sacrifice Scroll of Avacyn: Draw a card. If you control an Angel, you gain 5 life.

Meh, cycle and maybe get 5 life. Whatever.

Scroll of Griselbrand 1
Artifact Common
1, Sacrifice Scroll of Griselbrand: Target player discards a card. If you control a Demon, that player loses 3 life.

Far more meh than the previous.

Tormentor’s Trident 2
Artifact – Equipment Uncommon
Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and attacks each turn if able.
Equip 3

This is probably my favourite equipment in the set in terms of power/cost. There’s always the chance one of your guys will just run to his death, but I’d try this equipment out while the format is young.

Vanguard’s Shield 2
Artifact – Equipment Common
Equipped creature gets +0+3 and can block an additional creature.
Equip 3

This is I like way less, though good sideboard against a super aggro deck if someone has one.

Vessel of Endless Rest 3
Artifact Uncommon
When ~ enters the battlefield, put target card in a graveyard on the bottom of its owner’s library.
{T}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

Random EDH replacement for Manalith? Not sure where this is going. If the format is as slow as it looks, this may actually be important to draft as well.

Land (5)
Alchemist’s Refuge
Land Rare
{T}: Add 1 to your mana pool.
{U}{G}, {T}: Until end of turn, you may cast nonland cards as though they had flash.

The card itself is really cool (Better Winding Canyon) and it’s great for EDH, but not sure constructed players want to pay 3 more each turn to make their spells instants.

Cavern of Souls
Land Rare
As Cavern of Souls enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
{T}: Add 1 to your mana pool.
{T}: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast creature spells of the chosen creature type. If this mana is spent on a spell, that spell can’t be countered.

Card is nuts. EDH staple, and likely to play in every other format ever. It doesn’t even ETB tapped, wtf is that?

Desolate Lighthouse
Land Rare
{T}: Add 1 to your mana pool.
1{U}{R}, {T}: Draw a card, then discard a card.

Such a good ability to have on a land. Considering I designed this for the set I made last November (though mine was mono-red), I absolutely approve.

Seraph Sanctuary
Land Common
When Seraph Sanctuary enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
Whenever an Angel enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 1 life.
{T}: add 1 to your mana pool.

Cute. Janky card that will go into a few random EDH decks.

Slayers’ Stronghold
Land Rare
{T}: Add 1 to your mana pool.
{R}{W},{T} : Target creature gains +2/+0, haste and vigilance until the end of turn.

Another really strong ability on a land, and nice and cheap. Can provide extra reach for aggressive R/W decks.

Financial Advice for Avacyn Restored

I’ll start with this because it seems to be all most people care about. I could give you an indepths analysis of which cards I think are going to go up and which are going to fall and which you should hold just in case. However, that is a MASSIVE fucking waste of time on my part and yours. Avacyn Restored, like Innistrad, has the easiest way to make money. You don’t have to memorize a giant list of moves you should be looking to make, it’s one simple instruction.

My advice for Avacyn Restored is to convert EVERYTHING you possibly can into Cavern of Souls. The vast majority of cards either fall or plummet in price the second the release date hits. Much like Snapcaster Mage (A total no-brainer), however, Cavern of Souls is going to retain its value in perpetuity throughout the universe. Turn all your Avacyn Restored cards into Caverns while the price is inflated, then a month after the release trade some Caverns for all the stuff you need back at much less than you traded them away for. Then laugh at all the people who either lost money or profited less than you did by making following a giant, complicated matrix of advice instead of just going for the one common sense move.

Dr. Jeebus’s Top 10 Cards of Avacyn Restored

These cards are in no particular order, and are my top 10 picks for what will see tournament play.
10. Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded – Screw what anyone thinks, I love this guy.
9. Pillar of Flame – With relevant undying creatures existing, this seems like a no brainer.
8. Vexing Devil – Card will make an impact in all formats, with the largest I think being felt in Modern.
7. Cavern of Souls – I seriously hope I don’t have to explain this.
6. Griselbrand – Maybe if we make Yawgmoth’s Bargain cost 8 this time but put it on a creature and make you draw in increments of 7 instead of 1 nothing bad will happen. Right? Right?
5. Sigarda, Host of Herons – This thing is actually pretty damn close in power level to Baneslayer. The loss of lifelink is huge, but the advantage of being almost unkillable is also huge. The only thing that could hold this card back is the green mana symbol.
4. Temporal Mastery – Another cross format card. It’s not going to break anything, but it’s going to be really fucking strong.
3. Silverblade Paladin
2. Misthollow Griffin – Not putting this here to hype the combo in Legacy. I think that’s a real contender, but I think this card is going to see so many applications in the future that we can’t even fathom. We’ve never had a card like this (And I love the design; one simple sentence creates so many options!) so we haven’t figured out everything to do with it yet. Furthermore, like is EXACTLY the type of card that could become even better. Much like Grindstone, a casual favourite that was no big deal, some cards shoot up in value/utility as cards are printed years later. This Griffin has so much potential to be one of those cards it’s unfathomable. Not saying to stockpile these for years because this list isn’t the top 10 best investments or anything, I just think in the long run this guy is going to be huge. As a frame of reference, the last time I jizzed this hard over a card that I loved because of elegant design it was Knight of the Reliquary. The thing sat at $3 for a year, and then suddenly shot up to $20 while in standard and became a staple across formats. I’ve made some big misses before like Bitterblossom and Baneslayer Angel, but anytime I’ve been this in love with the design of a card (Staff of Domination, Tarmogoyf, Vedalken Shackles, and more), they’ve always proven themselves. It’s almost as though I have a strong sense for design or something!
1. Restoration Angel – This thing is unlikely to be worth anything since it’s not mythic and is a foil promo, but it is easily one of the most powerful cards in the set, if not the most powerful. Not sure it has a lot of applications outside of Standard, but it should be a Standard mainstay for the next 18 months.

Final Thoughts

I really like this set. It has a few shit mythics, but in general the quality of the mythics is way up, and the worthwhile rares run so much deeper than Dark Ascension, not like that’s much a compliment. The commons and uncommons strike me as a little shallow in playables, but I’d rather my good cards be rares anyway; makes opening packs worthwhile. There’s also a wide breadth of cards that are either clearly designed just for EDH, or simply awesome in EDH. I’m really happy overall with this set, and based on the presale numbers I’ve seen and the general reaction from the player base, I’d say that the majority agree with me.

Why There No Male Angels in Magic

By Dr. Jeebus April 26th, 2012, under Magic

Okay, so this is going to be a really quick entry, but with all the recent nonsense I have been asked this over and over again by people claiming sexism. They answered this at PAX, and while I’m pretty sure you can find a video of the entire panel online, I’ll save you the time of searching through it for the answer. That also means my answer isn’t going to be as thorough or coherent as when they answered it, but it’s a general idea at least.

Basically, the answer is that while there is art direction and stuff, they don’t want to reign over the artists like dictators (for various, logical reasons). As such, the artists have a certain amount of freedom to create images as they see fit. Historically, most representations of angels have been female (Which always struck me as odd since the only biblical angels I can name are all males). Likewise, most representations of demons have been males. This is also why the majority of cards (outside of Mirage) depict only white people. It’s not because they have to, it’s because that’s what the artists are turning in, and unless there’s a specific reason why a character should have a certain skin tone(Teferi in Time Spiral, being from Mirage and all) then they don’t want to shackle their artists and impose unnecessary rules for them.

If you want a better articulate answer, as I said you can probably find video of the PAX panel. Just wanted to have this written somewhere I can point to since people keep asking me this.

Triumph of Misogyny – Sexism and White Knighting in the Magic Community

By Dr. Jeebus April 23rd, 2012, under Magic, Rants

Christ, how do you even open an entry on a topic like this? Well let’s start with the obvious: sexism is bad, m’kay? I hope that doesn’t need to be stated, but I don’t want anyone to misconstrue a number of the other things I have to say as an endorsement of the virtues of sexism. More obvious things: sexism and gender inequality have existed for a long time. By a long time, I mean thousands of years. All of human history, in fact. Even in the small handful of matriarchal societies that have existed, there was still massive gender inequality.

Sexism in Magic

I'd tap that! hur hur hurMeet Jackie Lee. Jackie is a really cool girl who I’ve known for almost ten years now from playing at the now defunct Your Move Games. She was always very friendly and funny, and even used to let a few of us hang around after YMG closed to do team drafts with her. She also eliminated me from contention in the 2004 GP Boston the round before what would’ve been my win and in. She went on to win her win and in round, and then overslept and didn’t show up for day two. So thanks a fucking lot for eliminating me.

Jackie was a really good player then, and is an even better player now. So good, in fact, that she’s putting up consistently good results at the top levels of competition. However, the world is (theoretically) a lot more connected now than it was back in 2004. Social media and event coverage have exploded to the point where anyone in the world can watch matches at an event, and if anyone says anything untoward the entire fucking world will hear about it on Twitter within five minutes. And so now sexism has been brought into the forefront of everyone’s minds because we’ve seen some pretty brutal examples of it.

On the live stream of some of Jackie’s matches, there were comments being made about her appearance. There were people rooting for her to lose. There were people telling her to get back in the kitchen. Basically, a lot of classless fuckwads saying stupid shit. You know, THE INTERNET. Of course, people had the option of speaking anonymously in the live stream chat, so they chose to do so and to say awful and disgusting things. Also, some of them made some really, really stupid suggestions about what they felt the correct play was in a number of different situations. That has nothing to do with sexism, just further proof that maybe allowing commentary on the live streams is a bad idea, because people are all stupid and have nothing worthwhile to say.

However, here’s something you may not know: none of this is new. I mean literally none of it. Years ago, I think it was 2005, there was an article on Star City Games Premium involving Jackie. The article was allegedly a tournament report by one John Rizzo, but it was really just a pretty creepy monologue about her and how he could stare at her for days. Yeah, fucking creepy. It also almost resulted in an incident involving local player John Rizzo who was a completely different person. The confusion was cleared up very quickly, and many laughs were had by all. Why do I bring this up, you ask? This happened before Twitter. There was a lot less connectivity and dialogue between players. As such, this quickly faded away. There were no articles written about it, no Twitter drama, nothing. Jackie was weirded out a bit and John Rizzo became known as “that creepy pervert,” but that’s pretty much it. I’m not saying that you should ignore all your problems and hope they’ll go away, but the less attention something like this gets the better.

The problem is, now talks of sexism are unavoidable. There are countless articles about it and how detrimental it is to the game we all love. As I said before, however, this isn’t new. Sexism has existed forever. I don’t condone it, but it is indeed a thing. And no poorly written blog post or tweet is going to change that (Yes, I understand the irony in using a blog post to decry them, so don’t bother pointing that out). Sexism also isn’t limited to the gaming community. This is the part that pisses me off the most, because people don’t seem to understand this. Even if you somehow solve the project of gender inequality in gaming…so what? Are you going to crawl into a cave with your EDH decks and half the print run of Deranged Hermits and just pretend that there isn’t still gender inequality and sexism in every other fucking part of society?

Yes, sexism is a problem and will continue to be one for the foreseeable future. No, I do not condone it or take part in it in any nonsatirical way.  But seriously, guys (and gals), it’s okay to go 24 hours without bringing it up. Fucking relax.

Oh, and one other thing: don’t exploit the fact that women are succeeding in Magic. For serious. In an interview Jackie mentioned how some guy’s girlfriend hated when he asked her to watch top 8 coverage until she saw Jackie playing, and now she’s okay with it. That’s not a heartfelt story of female Magic players breaking down barriers. That’s an example of a terrible, terrible boyfriend. Why are you making your girlfriend watch top 8 coverage with you? The notion that she is required to partake in your hobbies as well, against her will, is extraordinarily sexist. When I lived with my ex-girlfriend I never tried to force her to play Magic or watch event coverage, and she never tried to force me to watch America’s Next Top Model. You’re allowed to (and should) have separate hobbies.

White Knighting in Magic

If this looks sexual to you, see a psychiatrist.While sexism is a problem, an even bigger (or at the very least more annoying) problem is the one of white knighting. The white knights out there, and there’s an increasing number of them, will pounce on anything that seems evenly remotely offensive to women. They are severely overcompensating for something and somehow think this will garner them favour with women who, since this is the internet, aren’t going to sleep with them anyway. Their arguments are ridiculous, unwarranted, and downright pathetic. The two classic examples of white knights in the MTG community are Geordie Tait and Chris Lansdell, but a new challenger has thrown his hat in the ring.

You see, the catalyst for this entry was the ridiculous fucking drama started by an extraordinarily ignorant article published on GatheringMagic.com by one Jesse Mason (@killgoldfish) saying that the artwork for Triumph of Ferocity is all sexist and rapey. This article was also heavily defend by the constantly annoying Chris Mascioli (@dieplstks). I will now go through the article and tear it a new asshole, because it is the stupidest pile of shit I have ever read, and Gathering Magic should be ashamed of themselves for publishing it. Here is how he described the art:

“So, what’s happening here, objectively, is . . . the much larger man has his thick veiny arm around the woman whose back is pinned against a rock (looking up at him), and the aforementioned large man has his fist raised to punch the pinned-down-and-choked woman. Also, her hands are on fire . . . or something.”

Yeah, his arm and chest are all veiny and stuff from Liliana cursing him. You know, that thing he’s all pissed off about. And trying to kill her for. Her hands are “on fire….or something” because she’s decided to fight back. I know, right? Women fighting? How inappropriate! Also, you may want to consult a dictionary as to the meaning of the word “objective.” I do not think it means what you think it does.

“And a bit of her upper leg is peeking out from under her dress.”

You can blame either Steve Argyle or the art direction for that, but that’s how Liliana dressed. It just is. If a tiny bit of her thigh offends you, you should go to your local comic store and buy an issue of Tarot or Grimm. You’ll have a whole new crusade to go fight!

“And his leg is between her thighs.”

Oh no! But that’s where her vagina lives! Seriously, what exactly is the complaint here? They’re fighting and he’s got her in a choke hold about to cut her head off. Unless he’s a geist floating in midair, he has to have fucking legs SOMEWHERE. Sorry if the placement bothers you, but what are you suggesting, that Garruk is going to fuck Liliana with his knee? Last time I checked, that doesn’t happen. And no, this is NOT an opportunity for you to invoke Rule 34.

“There is no humorous way to say that the above image, to me, is reminiscent of sexual assault in a really creepy way, nor should anyone assume that anything related to this is hyperbolic for the purpose of writing or comedy.”

Jesse, were you raped by a huge fuckin’ guy? But seriously, what about the above image is sexual? Garruk looks like he’s about to impale Liliana (not in the sexy way), and Liliana looks like she’s going to burn Garruk’s face off if she breaks free. Are you such a dickless nerd that a millimeter of fictional thigh gets you so fucking hard that this artwork needs justification as something sexual? If ANYONE else sees something sexual here, please let me know where. Actually, don’t let me know. If you see this artwork as sexual, let a psychiatrist know, because you have serious fucking problems. Also, as pointed out by Carol Tavares (@robotouef), even if this was sexual it wouldn’t necessarily be derogatory towards women as many women like to be choked.

“That’s why it frustrates me when people give some story-based explanation for a piece of art looking the way it does. Liliana isn’t being portrayed in a sexist way . . . it’s just that her character is (as described by an R&D member) “a bitch.” It’s all right to show Liliana and Garruk in that pose because Liliana wins in the end! So?”

Um…what do you mean “so?” So the entire fucking point of the artwork is to represent the storyline? And this is the perfect example of why the white knights are so fucking impossible to deal with. No one wants a card like this with a picture of Liliana and Garruk having tea together. You wanna pretend that the problem with this card is that it will scare away new players, especially females? How about this art:

Oh, we’re okay with this? This isn’t going to scare away new players? Alright, just thought I’d check. Okay, I’m done ranting about that awful article. Let’s get onto the main point of this section.

Magic has powerful female characters. Some of these characters are good, and some of them, like Liliana (Whose name is an anagram for Villainess), are evil. When you have important female characters, bad things are going to happen to them. There has to be conflict. Liliana curses Garruk. Is that supposed to be a good idea? He’s a giant…man…beast…thing. So Liliana keeps poking at Manbearpig, and he’s not supposed to do anything about it? That’s insane. It’s not misogyny for a story to have conflict. In a game that takes place in a fantasy setting where you are a planeswalker (like Liliana and Garruk!) and the point of the game is to FUCKING MURDER EACH OTHER, I think it’s fair to assume that there is going to be violence amongst the planeswalkers in the stories. You can have all the glib comments and pithy comebacks you want, but even Bond and Trevelyan eventually fought.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

Aye, there’s the rub. What do we do? I mean, I’ve kinda been all over the place here. The solution is pretty simple though: don’t be a dick to someone because of their gender, race, or any other factors beyond their control, and don’t create controversy where there is none. With any luck others will follow suit, but the world isn’t going to hold hands and start singing together overnight, so just chill the fuck out. Oh, and remember: white knighting, as best as I can tell, works on the assumption that women are incapable of defending themselves and so they need you to step up and protect them from every (often nonexistent) slight against them. Isn’t that behaviour a lot more misogynistic that this stupid piece of artwork?

Jon Medina Needs to Be Banned From Tournaments (Not Trolling)

By Dr. Jeebus January 17th, 2012, under Magic

Let me preface this entire discussion by noting the following: It is not my intent for people to harass the DCI or Wizards of the Coast in an attempt to have Jon Medina receive an official ban. While it is likely that Jon is guilty of many, many instances of Tournament Error – Failure to Follow Official Announcements, without being present to have heard the official announcements it is impossible for me to know this with any certainty.

Now onto what I want to talk about…

The Problem

For some time now, trading cards has become a bitter ordeal. Medina’s popularity has create a race of “binder grinders” who do nothing but value trade at tournaments and stores. While these people are beyond annoying to deal with, it’s impossible to avoid them because they’re usually the only people you can find who are looking to trade or who have stuff that you need. Not only that, but if you’re holding a binder (or even if you’re not), they will attack you like heroin addicts looking for a fix. I discussed the similarities between value traders and drug addicts after my trip to GP Providence last year so I won’t go into it again, but it’s pretty brutal to watch. This behaviour has been growing and spreading to the point where I can’t even make a fair offer to a 14 year old who’s been playing Magic for about 3 months without having the little shit try to nickle and dime me.

In the interest of fairness: yes, I trade for value sometimes. I do this when I’m trading something that I don’t particularly want to trade and need to be incentivised, when I’m trading hot cards for cards that, hot or not, I don’t actually need and am just going to have to invest time trying to move, or when I’m trading for something that’s kinda cool but I could take it or leave and need to be incentivised. These make up the vast minority of my trades. The majority of my trades, the ones where I trade cards I don’t need (Any cards I need/may need/want are in separate “no trade” binders) for cards that I do need or want, are done on a “it’s close enough” basis.

Back on topic, this trend in trading is beyond fucking irritating and can be considered harmful in a way, but it’s not grounds for any action. However, a number of months ago, I don’t remember exactly when, Medina was ejected from a tournament for buying cards at a tournament. The impression I got from his Twitter feed was that he felt it was some big joke and there was no reason for him to have been thrown out. We all should have seen the writing on the wall back then.

Shit Just Got Real

While the previous trend of value traders ruining that aspect of the game was bad enough, the line has now been crossed. Actually, the line was crossed the first time Jon offered to buy or sell cards at an event. Jon has now defecated on the line whilst smoking a cigar lit with a Black Lotus and invited the world to join him.

You see Medina was recently fired from Star City Games. On the most recent episode of The Eh Team (Episode #67, Red-Sleeved), Jon described the final article he submitted that was never published. And with good cause. Jon reads part of his article on the air and it described how he is teaching these people not just to be traders, but to be dealers. Except he isn’t teaching them to be dealers. Dealers understand how business works and recognize the value in purchasing a table from the tournament organizer at large events. Medina is teaching these people to be scheming douchebags. He describes how to go about buying and selling cards at tournaments without getting caught and thrown out by the organizer, and this is reprehensible.

As I said before, I can’t say with 100% certainty that Medina is violating any DCI rules. However, any major tournament I have EVER been to has always had an announcement from the organizer stating that only the vendors are allowed to buy and sell cards. By his own admission (I would produce a citation but that man talks way too much for me to find a several month old tweet), he was thrown out of an event for doing this once before. If you listen to him talk about how to get away with it and what behaviour would make an organizer suspicious, it is hard to believe that this is not a man speaking from considerable experience. Medina has decided that he is entitled to do whatever he wants, and that anyone who wants to wave “rules” in front of his face can go fuck themselves.

Why Is This Such a Big Deal?

You may not see this behaviour as a big deal. Maybe you think “Well fuck those greedy vendors, let the little guy have a chance!” You also may have no clue how the business work operates. A single person operating this way at an event with 1600 players may not be a huge deal, but when you have a well known figure in MTG finance instructing his thousands of drones how to also operate in this fashion, it can become a huge problem. Why would anyone buy a table at a large event from the organizer when every inch of table space that isn’t dedicated to sanctioned matches is filled with these fake dealers who are undercutting them? Many premiere organizers are store owners who set up at the events they run as well. As an organizer, why would I bother to go through all the effort of organizing and running an event where my store is making no money and I’m not making any money by selling tables? These people aren’t running tournaments because you’re entitled to them or out of the goodness of their heart. It is a LOT of work to put on a large event, and without adequate compensation, they aren’t going to bother (Or they will drastically cut prize support). Maybe someone else would step in and try, but it wouldn’t take long for them to realize it’s a losing proposition either.

Welcome to America, Bitch

Here in America, a private organization has the right to refuse service or admission to anyone for any reason. This extends to Wizards of the Coast (A publicly traded company is still privately owned; it is not government owned), the DCI, and the individual organizers. This is also why there is no official burden of proof in disqualification investigations or for DCI bannings (A player was banned not too long ago just for accumulating too many gameplay error warnings without ever receiving a DQ). But as I said, this is not a cry for a DCI banning. This is really a warning to all tournament organizers out there.

As organizers, it is our responsibility to keep this shit under control. This behaviour has always existed, but with such a large public figure presumably taking part and irrefutably instructing and encouraging others to take part, it is only going to get worse. Organizers need to take a stand and make an example of Medina. People need to understand that these rules exist for a reason, and they will be enforced. I implore all tournament organizers to ban Jonathan Medina from events that they run. He also seemed to argue on Twitter today that it isn’t violating DCI rules if you’re not in the tournament. I respond to this in two ways: first of all, I have seen judges enroll people who had DCI numbers but were not participating in an event into the event just to officially DQ them. More importantly, while the DCI may not have reign over you if you’re not playing in the tournament, the tournament organizer still does and still gets to throw your ass out on the curb.

It could easily be argued that this behaviour is extremely difficult to catch, but I have to disagree. With the number of staff members most events have, yes it probably is. I think it is well worth the investment for an organization like Star City Games to hire a couple people for events specifically to watch for this, however. Oh, and Jon recommended in his unpublished article that people find a nearby location to conduct their business so check the closest Panera as well. Anytime I see someone try to buy or sell cards in my store, I always make it very clear to them that it is not allowed. If they go outside to conduct their transaction, they will find that the doors have been locked behind them (The majority of our tournament time is while the store is officially closed). If they left their cards inside before the doors were locked, well they can come back during business hours to claim them.

But He’s Such a Nice Guy!

Who the fuck cares? If someone walked into your store and took money out of your register, would you say “but he’s a nice guy!” and just let them walk out? I surely hope not. We all saw how quickly the trading habits of the entire Magic community changed when Jon hit the scene, so you can imagine how quickly this behaviour is going to spread as well. The most effective and fastest solution to this problem is for tournament organizers to unite and collectively ban Jon Medina from their events.

And because I know you all came here expecting me to troll instead of use logic and facts, I’ll leave you with this: Isn’t it funny that LegitMTG is run by a guy who advocates illegitimate business practices and that the “company” website is nothing but a pointer to a sales thread on an trading forum?

Fully Altered Simpsons EDH Deck – Introduction

By Dr. Jeebus January 14th, 2012, under Magic

As many of you may have seen me mention on Twitter (over, and over, and over again), my girlfriend, Julie (@jwlz85), has offered to make me a fully altered EDH deck. That is 100 cards all with new artwork. It was a very sweet offer and one that I couldn’t turn down, although I have turned this into much more of an enormous fucking project than it necessarily had to be.

The Idea

Julie came to me with the idea of fully altering a deck. She was going to just alter her Rafiq deck in its current incarnation unless I wanted one of mine altered. This gave me an unnecessarily complicated idea: I had just picked up a spare Mimeoplasm (I want to keep my set of Commander theme decks intact) and was intending to start building a deck that very night. Instead of trying to find a theme to fit one of my existing decks, I could unleash my inner Johnny and design a deck specifically to be altered. I decided to go with a Simpsons theme because I’m a huge fan of the show, it has a seemingly unending cast of characters to fill all sorts of different roles in the deck, and by nature of being animated it would be much less complicated to do en mas.

The Format

This was a really tough one for me. The art was going to be completely changed, which meant some of the words had to remain on the card for it to be recognizable as what it is. This left me with three options: I could leave all the words, I could have the cards be done as full art and leave the name, casting cost, and power/toughness (where applicable), or I could change the card names and the leave the casting cost, rules text, and p/t the same. It was a really tough decision, but I decided that I was going to change the names on the cards. A lot of the cards I really could’ve gone either way with, but it was important to me for some of the cards to have different names and it seemed it would look better if they all had new names instead of a few (although there are 3 cards which kept their original name, because they were already perfect). Julie also offered to alter the flavour text on the cards (Because the project wasn’t big enough), so there’ll be that as well.

The basic land was another tough decision. While the options were the same, the rules text is unnecessary (and pretty much non-existent), so I decided to go full art on these (leaving the card frame). This turned out to create a big challenge because while there is more space on the card to paint, screenshots are much closer to the normal art box size than the full frame size. Finding exactly what I want and cropping it properly has proven to be a bigger problem than I thought, and is still a work in process.

Card Selection

Because the Simpsons’ cast of characters is so big, I could not dedicated a card to everyone I wanted to. I kinda knew going in this was going to be the case. Because of the nature of the theme, this deck was going to have a much higher count of creatures than I normally run in an EDH deck. My first step in designing the list was to think of the most appropriate cards I could for each of the characters I wanted. This proved harder than others for some cards, and also resulted in a lot of subpar cards. I was fine with subpar though as long as the deck was fun to play. And subpar or not, playing Zodiac Rabbit in EDH is awesome.

After making the list, I tested the deck. It was not fun. However, I could tell it very much had the potential to be, I just stalled on land every game do to having just built the deck and not shuffling properly. Even so, I made a realization: some of the cards were far too cute. Sure, Xanthic Statue is the best possible card for the Lard Lad donuts mascot, but when I’m supposed to have some enormous monstrosity in my deck like that thing, it’s pretty heartbreaking to cast Tooth and Nail and pull two creatures combining to a whopping 3/4. That decision was also largely because of how far behind I was from missing land drops, but I was lacking any real power. I’m really sad to see the Xanthic Statue go, but that card is shit anyway so whatever. The deck is now tuned to a point where it is fun to play and has the potential to win, even if it’s not as powerful as it could be.

The Alteration Process

I have absolutely nothing to say about this, because I’m not the one doing it. However, Julie will be writing some guest blogs to chronicle her progress and share some previews with you, as well as probably talking about altering in general. Then again, I’ve given her no guidelines as to what she needs to write about, so she may just write about stuffed animals and butterflies as that’s all girls ever seem to care about anyway. However, I would like to share at least one preview with you guys because I’m really pumped about this project. It may only be a basic land, but it’s still awesome. The artwork stars Eddie, Lou, and Homer Simpson as “Max Power”. Enjoy!
Gp swab Beckley, he likes it!

The Hierarchy of Magic Players: Casual to Competitive

By Dr. Jeebus January 6th, 2012, under Magic

Since the dawn of time it would seem, there has been an argument over who is more important to the game of Magic: casual or competitive players. These debates never go anywhere, not like anyone is going to “solve” anything anyway. However, a common thread in all of these arguments is that people can’t seem to agree on what makes a player casual and what makes a player competitive. Two categories simply isn’t enough, as there’s a lot of middle ground. To try to help future discussions, I’d like to identify the hierarchy of players based on their level of competitive nature.

Yertle the Durdle

While empirical data on the matter would be hard to find if it even exists outside of some heavily guarded vault deep within Wizards R&D, this group most likely makes up an overwhelming majority of players. Like, severely overwhelming. No, bigger than that. Look, we’re talking krakens and dreadnoughts for earings.

Yertle is as casual as they come. An important thing to remember here is that being casual has nothing to do with how much time you spend playing, talking about, or reading about Magic. Yertle is the player who plays Magic strictly because it’s a fun game. He enjoys the game and enjoys having fun with his friends, but he has absolutely zero interest in putting up with hardcore Spike neckbeards that you find at tournaments. Level of experience has nothing to do with this either. I good friend of mine is the epitome of Yertle. He has been playing about as long as I have, which at this point is nearly 17 years. Since he has roommates that also play Magic, he can play as often as every day of the week for multiple hours a day. He may even venture away from the kitchen table for prerelease, launch parties, and weekly drafts at a store, but you’re unlikely to see him at any constructed events. Yertle owns cards from all different sets, and he doesn’t want you imposing restrictions on which cards he can and can’t use. It’s very unlikely you can drag Yertle to a limited PTQ, and if you try there better be promises of booze and strippers to follow. A Yertle will exclusively be Johnny or Timmy. The one caveat is that Yertle may also be a total fucking prick in which case he’s a Spike who refuses to venture into the realm of organized play because he wants to prove he’s the best, so long as he can do it without putting himself in a situation where he might fail. Yertle’s collection ranges from meager to respectable, but is rarely impressive. He values cards by how useful they are to him rather than their market value, so he consistently takes it up the ass from Medina with a smile.

Contributions to the game: These are the unseen masses that more competitive players aren’t even aware exist. This is a fact that is completely mind boggling to me because this is where everyone starts. Nobody plays their first game of Magic at a PTQ. Brian Kibler wasn’t conceived, born, and raised on the pro tour (although I’ve received numerous reports that his bastard children may have been). How the more competitive players that acknowledge nothing in the world beyond their own lives seem to forget that at one point they were playing Magic exclusively with their close friends and the rest of the Magic community had no idea they exist is inconceivable, but it seems to be the reason all these arguments exist in the first place. Yertle’s contribution to the game is his wallet. He is the main reason this game still exists after twenty years. Yertle keeps Wizards in business by buying packs. Lots of packs. Maybe he doesn’t buy boxes at a time (however Yertle can and will buy a booster box or two whenever a new set is released), but he has no problem running next door to Target every single day on his lunch break to buy a couple booster packs. He keeps brick and mortar stores in business both by buying sealed product from them, and by shelling out money for singles that would never in a million years see play in a serious tournament.

Average Joe the Average Joe

This is the second large group of players. Naturally, the more competitive the player profile, the less players will fit that profile. If you’re reading this, chances are this is where you fall. That’s right, loyal reader, you’re only one step away from a durdle. Joe likes both the fun side of Magic and the competitive side. You can find him playing in weekly tournaments at your LGS, and he probably has a weekly EDH game as well. Joe will frequent local PTQs and GPs, but won’t necessarily be at every one (Note that “local” can vary greatly depending on where you live. In the Boston area “local” would be about an hour drive, but for players in remote locations in may be a three or four hour drive). Joe may even be willing to travel long distances a few times a year to attend events like GPs or GenCon, but normally requires a compelling reason such as visiting a city he’s always wanted to or meeting specific members of the community that he knows will be at the event. Joe can be any combination of the player psychographies. He is also likely to have a very impressive collection of cards. Joe is even capable of experiencing some measure of success such as winning the occasional PTQ or state championship, however if he wins a PTQ he’ll be lucky to break .500 on the pro tour.

Contributions to the game: While the mass of Yertles combine to spend by far the most money by their sheer volume, Joe may be the most important person to the game. Joe loves Magic and the Magic community, and he has no problem investing his time and money to enjoy it. They help brick and mortar stores and online stores with purchases of boxes and singles, including high end singles. The majority of high end Magic cards are owned by Joes, as many have no qualms with pimping out their EDH or constructed decks. They’re also the player most likely to playsets of everything you could ever need for a given format, just in case they or one of their friends ever wants to use it. Joe also hosts podcasts, provides free content on websites, and is active on internet forums and Twitter. He has a voice, and he wants to share it however he can. This category is also home to nearly the entire judge community.

Wesley the Wannabe

Wesley is what people often refer to as “grinders” these days. Wesley will travel all over the country and possibly even the world to play in as many events as possible in the hopes that the variance inherent to Magic will eventually work in his favour. He might have an EDH deck or two that he’ll occasionally play to blow off steam, but in general he has very little interest in anything beyond testing for events and trying to win events. Wesley has likely already experienced a small measure of success in competitive play, but the fact that he’s still grinding PTQs every single weekend shows that he’s probably just not going to get anywhere in his goal of being a pro Magic player. He is also the player most likely to give a obsess about Planeswalker Points. Wesley is convinced that he is a Spike, regardless of what his psychographical profile looks like. While it is possible that Wesley has a decent collection of cards, his constant travel expenses will normally require him to borrow cards from friends rather than buying his own.

Contributions to the game: Despite what he will tell you, Wesley contributes very little. His funds are mostly reserved for travel leaving little to be spent on Magic beyond tournament entry. He may host a podcast, but it is not nearly as entertaining as Joe’s. Wesley also provides a combination of free articles and premium articles for websites, but they are less entertaining than Joe’s and less informative than the final players in our hierarchy. He is the most likely to write articles about how everyone sucks at Magic and articles claiming credit for previous known or ridiculously obvious ideas. You can find Wesley on Twitter sucking the dick of any pro player they can find in the hopes of finding out their super secret tech or just garnering favour with the people they wish they were. For anyone interested in running a store, these people are the surliest douchebags you will ever have to deal with, so beware.

Marty the Mainstay

I can’t be sure, but in my experience this is by far the rarest of the player profiles. You recognize Marty’s name. You may not know a lot about him, but you swear you’ve seen his name on Pro Tour results before. He isn’t a top level pro player, but qualifying for the Pro Tour is no great shakes for this guy. He plays almost exclusively competitive events, but will show up at FNM to test out a new deck. The only time Marty will play outside of sanctioned events is when serious testing for sanctioned events; he has no interest in casual variants. Marty is willing to travel for pro level events even if he only qualifies on rating and must fund the trip himself, but he is unlikely to travel for qualifying events as they aren’t really necessary. Marty enjoys playing the game, but he is absolutely a Spike at heart. He owns very few cards, frequently selling his current deck to buy a new deck.

Contributions to the game: Marty doesn’t spend a lot on the game, but he’s still more helpful than Wesley. Why? Well, as previously stated Wesley is a surly douchebag whereas Marty tends to be very pleasant. Why wouldn’t he be? He may not be the absolute best in the world at the game, but he knows he’s top tier. More importantly, however, Marty helps your LGS restock. He may only come in a few times a year, normally just before rotation or just before a major event he needs cards for, but when he does come in he has a big stack of cards that your store would very much like to own. Marty also understands how money works and is unlikely to give you shit over your offer on those cards. He writes articles that you probably need to pay to read, but there’s a lot of good information to be found. You can also hear Marty podcasting, though he’s more likely to show up as a guest after a particularly good performance than to host his own show. Marty has a Twitter account, but he probably don’t post a whole lot.

Petey the Pro

These are the guys that won’t come on my show. They’re the pro players. The household names. They are Spikes, and they play to win. They probably have a single EDH deck that they own and may occasionally play to promote their image and try to earn street cred, but they care about playing at the pro level and nothing else. FNM is slumming it. Playing in qualifiers is unnecessary. Petey is entitled, and you enable him. Petey probably doesn’t even own cards because he has a sponsor, and because players will gladly lend him anything he needs just to say “He won using my Underground Sea!” He is willing to travel all over the world to play the game, but only if someone else is bankrolling it.

Contributions to the game: Petey’s contributions are a large point of contention, because they’re hard to quantify. Directly, they provide virtually nothing to stores or to Wizards. Indirectly, their fame creates a level of interest in competitive play that is impossible to accurately measure. One thing is for sure, however: whatever the importance of Petey’s contribution to the game, it’s but a fraction of what he thinks it is. Petey writes premium articles, and they range from unreadable garbage that makes people want to cancel their SCG premium subscriptions to the most important Magic articles you’ll ever read. Petey does guest spots on podcasts, but he is frequently boorish and uninteresting.

Alex Bertoncini the Mike Long

This is a very special segment of players. They don’t care about being the best as long as you think they’re the best. They’re the cheating assholes that put all of organized play under strict scrutiny by the community.

Contributions to the game: Funny stories and player base animosity.

While I don’t suspect these names will ever catch on, I hope these different player profiles help people accurately describe what they mean in their discussions of casual vs competitive players, because the difference isn’t nearly as black and white as many people would lead you to believe.

My 30-Day Design Challenge: Create an Entire Set

By Dr. Jeebus November 30th, 2011, under Magic

Note: If you don’t care at all what I have to say, there are links at the bottom of this post to my set. You can view the whole set at once, or view it by rarity or colour.

The Challenge

As many of you know, November is National Novel Writing Month. I decided that like Memorial Day, Christmas, or any other special occasion that originally had some sort of meaning, I would twist the celebration to my own purposes. I later found out that there was an offshoot of this called National Game Design Month, but my project doesn’t actually fit well into either category so whatever. My goal was to create an entire set of 229 cards (plus 20 basic land to make it 249), and, time permitting, try to work on the rest of the block.

As it turned out, time was the bottleneck of this project. Thirty days is more than enough time to get a workable draft of a set together to send to development, which was my goal. However, I have a full time job and a part time life, so being able to dedicate the amount of time necessarily to this project proved rather difficult. Were my attention not forced to be divided by so many different things, I’m sure I could have finished this portion of the design in about ten days.

The Design Process

The design process was pretty awesome. I did a design skeleton for the set to start, which took about two hours. Much of that time was spent compulsively making sure I had the proper quantities of each rarity, colour, and card type. From there, obviously I went to designing the cards. Originally I tried to just go in order: CW01, CW02, CW03, etc. That proved to be a fairly restrictive and counterproductive idea, as my mind would either wander from being too pigeonholed, or while brainstorming ideas for one card I would think of ideas that belonged elsewhere in the set. It’s a seemingly small and fairly obvious lesson, but it’s still something I feel was important to experience.

As for designing the cards, obviously it was a ton of fun. If I didn’t think it would be, I would never have attempting something like this. Finding creative uses for my new keyword was a large part of the fun, and it resulted in a couple cycles of cards as well. Cycles are something that players seem to love and I think they’re a great design tool. Interestingly enough, I only came into the set with one cycle in mind, but I wound up with a few of them. A blue common for limited resulted in a cycle of cards that not only seem fun for limited, but helped tie the flavour of the set together. A passing thought to push the power level on a creature resulted in a cycle of legendary creatures, which in turn resulted in a cycle of artifacts I’ll mention later.

Now obvious I realize that this set isn’t being rushed to the printers after two years of development, but I still found this to be a great exercise, a ton of fun, and hopefully something the community enjoys enough to orchestrate drafts of.

What’s In a Name?

Overall, I’m happy with the design of the set. There’s some limited fodder that I’m not entirely sure about, and there are a few cards that I am fully aware are really pushing the power level (But hey, that’s development’s problem!). When all is said and done though, I am proud of the rules text of the 229 cards. I should note now that not all 229 cards are new. As with any set, I chose to reprint some cards to fill necessary roles in limited. I could have made functional reprints, but there was no compelling reason to do it. I also accidentally designed an equipment that had already existed in Darksteel but that I had long since forgotten about. To my credit, I did come up with the exact same casting cost, equip cost, and commonality on my own. So I guess that leaves the question of what am I not happy about? The answer: card names.

I did my best, I really did. Or at least, I did the best job I possibly could given I only had three nights remaining to name almost every card in the set. Some of the names I’m really happy with, some of them are a bit generic, and some are probably just terrible. I freely admit that I find card names to be the hardest part of design, and I absolutely suck at proper names. In fact, while I did finally name the plane Adican, I don’t even know what the name of the set is. I named the other two sets in the block (the next set is Inquisition!), but I can’t find the perfect word for this one.

I mentioned a cycle earlier though, and it resulted from my difficulty with names. I had the cycle of legendary creatures I mentioned, as well as a single multicolour mythic that was designed specifically for EDH. While having trouble naming a rare artifact that was designed for EDH, I decided to name it after the EDH legend. Because why not. At that point I noticed that five of my other rare artifacts actually could be named after the other legends. This was completely unintentional, but the artifacts just happened to line up with abilities most common in the five separate colours. This was, without a doubt, the best moment of naming the cards.

I’m Not Sure That’s My Job

There’s one part of the cards that is largely missing. This was because of time constraints, and I’m not even sure it’s design’s job. You’ll notice, however, that most of the cards are missing flavour text. This is a big deal to me simply because having flavour text (and some better card names) are key to bringing the flavour of the set together. I wish I had more time so I could have taken at least an attempt at this, but self-imposed deadlines exist for a reason.

“How is That Different From Fading/Vanishing?”

This is the question I was asked most when I previewed cards from my set. I bring back the keyword “affinity”, but I also have a new keyword: instability. Instability works as such:

Instability X (At the beginning of your upkeep, put an instability counter on this. Then, if there are X or more instability counters on it, sacrifice it.)

Yes, it looks like fading or vanishing except that the counters go up. Technically, it is. However, by virtue of the counters increasing instead of decreasing, it opens up a huge array of abilities and flavour. It will become more obvious what I mean when you take a look at the cards, but for the most part the more unstable something becomes the more powerful it is. It’s no longer just a countdown to death anymore! I mean, yeah it’s that too and there are some vanilla guys for whom that’s all it is, but other cards make use of these instability counters as well, and I think by simply inverting the countdown to a “count up”, it opened up a lot of design space. That, or my head is up my ass. Either way.

Oh yeah, and you’ll also note that there are no cards with instability in white. There’s not as much story to the set as there should be without the flavour text (I mean in my mind it’s all there, but you can’t see inside my head), so in short the plane of Adican is reveling in its excess and chaos, but Althalos, the Righteous wants to restore the plan to a place of law, order, and piety. And he doesn’t care what it takes to accomplish that goal.

Where’s the Damn Spoiler, Already?

You don’t wanna hear my story? Fine, fuck you. Here are some links. There’s the whole list of course, but you can also view specific rarities if you don’t want to look at what you might consider “random limited garbage”. If you so choose, you may also view the cards by colour. You racist.

I hope you enjoy looking at the set, and by all means leave me feedback here, via e-mail, or on Twitter. I would love to know what everyone thinks of all my hard work. A special thanks also goes out to Robby (@mtgcolorpie) for taking a look once I had finished and making a few notes. I didn’t agree with all of them, but it’s amazing how helpful a second pair of eyes can be. Anyway, thanks for viewing!

*Remember: This was all designed by me in a single month. That means the only development process was me theorycrafting, so I realize there might be balance issues for limited or that some of the cards with which I tried to push the power level may have gone a little too far. Not saying I don’t want criticism, just keep that in mind. Oh, and there’s no expansion symbol cause I couldn’t figure out the damned utility in MSE.

Note: These pages were generated by Magic Set Editor. If you don’t like the layout, blame them, not me!
Full Set
Multicolour, Artifacts, and Lands

Free Shit’s Good Except Babies and Diseases…and SCG Judge Rewards

By Dr. Jeebus November 29th, 2011, under Magic, Rants

For years I have been quoted as saying that “free shit’s good except babies and diseases.” Despite what some people may think based on my derision towards the Star City Games judge rewards program, I still believe this to be true. So why such vitriol towards the program? Well let’s look at the facts. Note that I will be looking at this strictly from the standpoint of the floor judge. Results as head judge will vary, but there’s only one of them and lots of floor judges.

These Rewards Aren’t Free

What’s this? The judge rewards aren’t free? But you’re getting something for nothing, aren’t you? You are receiving some sort of benefit that was not there before, yes. However, it’s not being handed to you; you still have to earn it. The rewards only go to judges who are working long days for them, at not until a judge has worked 15 events. That means you have to work at least eight weekends for them in order to get these rewards. That means you put in considerable time and effort to earn that $25 store credit, applicable only to the most overpriced MTG store this side of Crazy Bob’s Assrape Emporium.

“But Jeebus, it’s still free! People were doing that work before and didn’t get it, that means it’s a free bonus!” Um, no it’s not, dumbass. It’s called a raise that you earned by being a loyal employee (or in this case more of a contract worker than an employee, but regardless). When you get a raise for working hard at your job do you throw your hands up in the air and yell “Free money!” for all your friends and coworkers to hear? No, because your time and hard work aren’t free and you have earned that compensation. If you got a considerable raise it’s not unrealistic that you might take your wife, girlfriend, or, far more likely for the MTG community, your neckbeard cohorts out for dinner or drinks to celebrate your extra 20% income. It is unrealistic, however, to think that you would drop to your knees and start gobbling the cock of the CEO then posting it on the internet so the world can see your love of the company’s generosity. Unless that’s how you got the raise in the first place.

Judge Rewards Aren’t a New Idea

Rewarding judges for their hard work beyond their regular compensation is a great idea. In fact, it’s such a good idea that WotC already started doing it years ago. However, when SCG starts doing it, “Oh my God! This is the greatest idea ever! Amazing!” Ironically, of all the comments I’ve seen about how brilliant this novel idea is, only one of those comments came from an actual judge. I think this speaks to the fact that players have no fucking idea what being a judge is like if they think this a big deal, but either way it’s already old hat. Oh yeah, and Wizards does it better too: and I’ll take a foil Xiahou Dun every major Wotc event over a $25 store credit every 15 major Star City events any day. Fun fact: that foil Xiahou Dun comes packaged with 13-19 other judge foils as well.

It’s Not Free, it’s a Raise. It’s Not a Raise, it’s an Insult

So we already covered that this isn’t free because you’re working for it and have to earn it. Well, it’s not even so much a raise as it is an insult. Here are the facts about judge compensation as provided to me by level 2 DCI judge Jeph Foster* (@rhythmik) who is also a really cool guy all around and has hooked me up with judge foils on multiple occasions.
*Note: The opinions and analysis in this article are not necessarily shared by Jeph. He merely provided empirical data.

  • The average Star City Games Open event lasts 12-14 hours. We’ll split the difference and call it 13.
  • Compensation per event is $150 cash or $180 store credit.
  • Judges are offered a $20 stipend for lunch.
  • When SCG stopped giving out foil promos to judges at events, compensation was raised, but they discontinued room compensation.
  • SCG does not offer travel compensation (And didn’t back when they had room compensation either)

Math time! If we figure 13 hours for the average event, judges are making $11.54 per hour. The lunch stipend is not included in this because you can’t pocket the cash, it’s just a “free” meal. I say “free” because I’m pretty sure it’s a legal obligation based on the structure of the work day and not an act of generosity, but I don’t have time to double check. In order to earn a $25 store credit, you must do this 15 times. That’s 195 hours. Which is a raise of 12.8 cents per hour. Which is a 0.01% raise. Which is a fucking insult. Oh yeah, and it’s not even a cash raise. If you want to convert it to cash, you have to buy singles from SCG’s ridiculously overpriced inventory and then sell it. So for $25 I can get, say, an Elspeth Tirel. I can then either sell it below retail cause I’m not a store or sell it at retail on ebay and lose money to fees. Currently I could expect to actually get maybe $15-16 for that in my pocket. So now we’re look at a 0.0067% raise.

I Thought Everyone Cared About EV?

What’s the EV on being a judge at these events? If you work both events, you get $300 per weekend, for two 13 hour days. Minus travel expenses. Minus room expenses. So what does that make the EV on an event if you have to fly to it, $0 or less to work your ass off? I’d rather give a dude a hand job in an alley and get the $25 cash then have to dedicate 8 weekends to that. Good thing those expenses aren’t legally relevant too, because these are slave wages that people who travel to judge are making. “So just don’t travel, Jeebus! Quit being a bitch!” Fine, I won’t travel. I’ll just judge the events in Boston (Sure I could drive to New York easily, but that’s a lot of gas and I’d have to pay for a hotel overnight) and bust my ass for two extremely long days to make $300. I mean, there’s no EV on these events if I actually have to travel, so I’ll just earn my rewards here in the greatest city in America.

Wait, how many open weekends are in each city per year, two? I’m just eight years away from getting that Elspeth for only 140% of what it’s worth!

Thank You, Star City

Thank you for showing your judges how much you care by creating this program. Thank you for making the points retroactive and publishing the lisst so we can see that almost none of the judges have actually earned anything after a full year of opens. Thank you giving me absolutely no reason to travel around the country working for you to earn this pittance. But most importantly, thank you for showing us all that, like most “financial experts”, Jon Medina can be bought. His orgasmic response to this program which he’s clearly smart enough to know is insulting and meaningless is proof that he has sold his soul and (theoretically) good name to laud the greatness of whatever worthless tripe comes out of SCG. What happened to you, man? You used to be cool.

At this point I can only assume that Star City Games is run by an evil sorceress, and the only way to disrupt her hypnotic spell on the rest of the Magic community is to bake the hall in the candle of her brain…whatever that means.

Preparing for States

By Dr. Jeebus October 4th, 2011, under Magic

So I’m trying to get a control deck together for states, because I love me some control. This is a rough sketch so far. Mana base will certainly need tweaking, otherwise I’m happy with everything except the lack of card draw (It’s been decided that Ponder is no good for control). Think Twice would be good if I could find room. The only thing I feel I could even argue against being necessary is the Dismember, so maybe those should be Think Twice instead. Otherwise, the general premise is that states is always very, very aggro heavy, and this should be able to shut that down. Feel free to discuss on here or with me on Twitter.

4x Mana Leak
4x Timely Reinforcements
4x Dissipate
4x Day of Judgment
4x Dismember

4x Snapcaster Mage
4x Oblivion Ring
2x Sword of Feast and Famine
1x Batterskull
1x Consecrated Sphixn
4x Mayor of Avabruck

1x Moorland Haunt
4x Hinterland Harbor
4x Seachrome Coast
4x Glacial Fortress
2x Razorverge Thicket
1x Forest
4x Islands
4x Plains

Dr. Jeebus on Dating and Magic

By Dr. Jeebus September 27th, 2011, under General, Magic

For weeks now, Twitter and Magic sites have been all about dating instead of Magic. Geordie Tait and Darwin Kastle tried their hardest to get you laid, but everyone is still talking about dating instead of new Magic tech, so clearly they have failed. And so it falls on me. But fear not, faithful reader, because the doctor is in. So grab your latest PTQ brew, your sports coat, and, of course, plenty of condoms: you’re about to be up to your waist in hot Magic player snatch.

The Introduction

A good first impression can have her panties wet before you’ve finished resolving mulligans (Which will also help you win, as though you were gonna lose to a girl anyway), so you have to bring your A game. Everyone knows that no girl ever has decided on her own to play Magic. They simply lack the intellect and drive to, and that’s okay. It’s obvious that the female opponent sitting across from you was taught to play by a past or current boyfriend. However, you need to operate under the assumption that she is single. Any reference you make to her potentially having a boyfriend is going to make her think that you’re not interested. As such, instead of following your instinct and asking “Are you here with your boyfriend?”, instead you should try asking her “So, are you here with your son?”

This introduction serves a couple purposes. First, by telling her that you could see her as a mother it shows that you find her to be mature and sophisticated, things that all women like. Also, by showing her that you’d be sexually attracted to someone who was old enough to have a Magic playing child it says to her “I may have this creepy beard, but I’m not ACTUALLY a pedophile.”

Everything I Need to Know About Dating a Magic Player I Learned from Master Thief

As the flavour text for Master Thief says, “Possession is ten-tenths of the law.” Darwin started to hint at this, but he said it was a “moral gray area.” Know what? That’s loser talk. Magic players should only date other Magic players, because Magic is an all consuming hobby and the only thing either of you should have time for aside from sex and MAYBE a real job. And Hot Pockets. Lots and lots of Hot Pockets. It’s a well known fact, however, that all female Magic players are dating someone, so you’re going to need to steal someone’s girlfriend. If you can’t be comfortable with that then you don’t deserve to have a girlfriend.

How do you go about stealing someone’s girlfriend? Well you’ve already got their juices flowing with your introduction, so you’re well on your way. During the course of your match with your future fuck toy, you should be sure to flirt using lots of graphic, sexually explicit comments. It’s also important to maintain eye contact with her at all times. Never break eye contact for even a second. Showing this sort of interest will not only make her more comfortable with you, it will let he know that you’re interested in the things she has to say and will be a great listener when she comes home from the beauty parlor and wants to tell you all the gossip she heard.

Except For the Stuff I Learned From Mike Long

It’s okay to cheat, even if everyone is staring right at you while you do it. You’ve won over one girl, and she’s graduated from playing in tournaments to following you around as a cheerleader. Does this mean you shouldn’t steal another guy’s girlfriend right in front of her? Absolutely not! I mean, you already did it with her, so she should’ve known this would happen. Besides, this will only make your first girlfriend even more attracted to you. After all, if other girls are willing to spread their legs for you then you must be pretty damn hot. Having a girlfriend with you will also make it even easier to attract more girls because girls are all catty bitches who have no desires in life besides being artists, photographers, and being hotter than every other girl they meet.

Be Excellent. OR ELSE.

Now that you’ve won over a whole squad of cheerleaders to follow you around at tournaments, it’s time to keep them happy. As has been mentioned, a good way is to take them out to an nice restaurant or for drinks after you win a big event. This will make them equate their happiness with your winning, because once a girl is in a relationship her happiness should revolve solely around you anyway. But how do you remain excellent?

A good way to remain excellent is to beat your girlfriend when you perform poorly in a tournament. She’s already associated you winning tournaments with being happy and celebrating, so it’s time to make her associate you losing tournaments with physical pain. Not only will she cheer extra hard for you at events, she may even be willing to flash your opponent or give them a hand job to distract them while you draw extra cards. This increased desire to see her man win also means you’ll have not only a relationship partner, but a playtesting partner who is available for you 24/7. She can’t afford to see you lose, so if that means replacing foreplay with a few quick practice games and replacing pillow talk with discussing your new brew, then so be it.

It’s also good to note that beating your girlfriend is a good way to next level your competition. All those guys that had been trying to steal her from you at previous events will now find her scars and black eyes to be unsightly, and they will move on to fight over other girls. Suckers.

It’s The Little Things That Count

We’ve covered a lot of the important things already, but I figured I’d throw out a few extra pieces of advice just in case you still are having trouble with the ladies:

  • Be condescending – Girls like confidence in guys. Being condescending to them is a good way to show your confidence in yourself as well as showing them that they have found a truly superior mate.

  • Be the alpha male – Much like in the wild, if someone tries to encroach on your territory you are well within your rights to kill them. Seeing her man take down a challenger will make a woman bend over and present herself immediately. Just remember, you MUST kill them with your bare hands to demonstrate your superiority. If you use a weapon then you’re just some scary murderer she won’t want to date anymore.
  • Dress to unimpress – If you show up to a Grand Prix wearing a tuxedo and try to win a girl over, she’ll think you’re trying too hard. Instead, I recommend sleeping in your clothes from the day before and showing up to the tournament without showering. She’ll instantly be interested in any guy that comes up to talk to her that is so disinterested in how he looks; clearly he must not need to even try to get a girl into bed!
  • Whip it out – Much like a newborn’s instinct to latch onto a nipple for feeding, all girls have the natural instinct to just start sucking any hard cock that is put in front of their face. This may not get her to be your girlfriend, but it will attract the attention of all the other girls in the room who will be wondering “Why was she lucky enough to get this cock, and what do I have to do to get his attention instead?” WARNING: If you are well endowed, make sure that when she gags it isn’t your cards she throws up on.
  • Entrapment – If you start to fear that your girlfriend is going to succumb to the woos of another Magic player, put a baby in her. You may need to poke holes in your condoms or replace her birth control pills with sugar candy, but once you do she’ll never be able to undo it. Unless she’s some sort of sinner.

You are now equipped with all the knowledge you need to go forth into the Magic tournament scene and find some PYT to bring home with you. Go forth into the world and spread your seed!