So I’ve been told that a lot of people are finding it hard to grasp some of the flavour behind Magic Origins. I find this quite hard to believe since the cards themselves make the stories so clear. Regardless, I have taken it upon myself to fill in the gaps. We’ll start with Gideon since his story is the simplest:
Kytheon, a young street tough becomes sick of his name and requests a deed poll. After a week or two a letter arrives informing him that he is to be henceforth known as Gideon. However in a mess of Tragic Arrogance, he forgets to update his name on Facebook and loses contact with his friends forever.
Jace has been dating his girlfriend for five years now and decides that it’s finally time to pop the question. Bent on finding her the best ring in the multiverse, he travels to Vryn; the plane where all the engaged planeswalkers go. For years Jace wanders the mage rings, trying to find the perfect one. However he never finds one that fits and wanders the plane for eternity. Heart-breaking.
Liliana gets drunk one evening and decides to kill an angel because she wants her hat.
Chandra is a young girl who goes on holiday to the party island Kaladesh with her boyfriend. They have a great time but can’t go anywhere without her parents’ hidden-camera-thopters spying on them. Later she discovers it’s all part of a show on ITV.
Nissa’s story is of course the most touching. Alone on Zendikar, a young Nissa fears that the world is under threat from a dark presence. Seeking escape she and her friend Mazik travel across Zendikar where they are ambushed by vampires. Calling on a power she didn’t realise she had, Nissa uses the land to turn the monsters away. She discovers that the land itself is in danger and asks that it lead her to the threat. She is taken to face the dark presence which nearly destroys her, however she planeswalks just in time. Now on Lorwyn, Nissa must find her way back home amongst the elves at the Gilt-Leaf Palace and its fierce Daene, Dwynen. Fortunately Dwynen has a Homebase around the corner and after a quick shop they fix Zendikar in no time.
But I’m not here to give a flavour lesson, as insightful as it may have been. I’m here to talk about Modern and what Magic origins will do for it. In this article I will be going over all the White and Blue cards in Magic Origins that could play a role in the format, or have been suggested by others before me. So without further ado let’s get to it!
A 1/1 for 1 is a pretty decent rate as far white one-drops go and three mana is a small price to pay for such a powerful effe- I had you going didn’t I? Don’t ever play this card. If this makes the Top 8 of any Modern event I will eat this article. I will literally find my way into the internet and devour every last trace of it. I can see the headline now: Crazy Magic Player takes a Byte out of Website.
This card is actually Modern Playable. It doesn’t stop the Splinter Twin combo since the last copy of Deceiver Exarch taps it down, but it might still have a place (And it does stop Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Restoration Angel ). Last week I talked about how Zoo struggles to break through board stalls against a mass of creatures. Archangel of Tithes certainly helps here by limiting how the opponent can attack and block. The only trouble is that the deck where this is the biggest concern is Elves; the deck that can make just under one million mana. It is certainly worth testing since my version of the Zoo deck is very light on red cards, and stops the triple white mana cost from being a problem.
Archangel of Tithes probably works best in Hatebears. The deck could play two to four copies as a top end to turn the corner and finish off the opponent, or hold off an attack. Overall I think this card reads like it should be Modern playable, but its failing is that it doesn’t have a deck that can really take advantage of it. Hopefully if more cards are printed to support it, I’ll be able to revisit it, once the Tithes have turned.
Dryad Militant is the only one mana 2/1 in Magic that sees Modern play and that’s because its ability is relevant. Even so, it’s rarely seen. The reason being is that in a format where people are getting killed on turn four and making six mana on turn two, 2/1s for any cost are very anaemic. But Kytheon is one of the better 2/1s I’ve ever come Akros. He can transform into a relevant late game threat. Typically cards like this are left out of Modern (looking at you Figure of Destiny. You too Kargan Dragonlord ) and that’s because they require mana to be spent on them to make them relevant, stifling board development. This feels especially bad when they die after swallowing a lot of time and mana. Kytheon is far more efficient. Once he’s flipped he will rarely be more than a 4/4, but he’s a 4/4 that cost one mana.
On the flip side, there is sadly no deck that really needs Kytheon. He might be interesting to try out in a green white aggressive shell like Zoo or Hatebears (noticing a pattern?) but what would he replace? Even though he becomes a 4/4 he still starts as a 2/1. Maybe its best that we all calm down before we get too Giddy-on this card.
Why hallow hallow there! What’s this? A tasty new sideboard card! This card does large amounts of work against so many decks and it couldn’t have come at a better time. This stops a Collected Company, and perhaps more relevantly it’s fantastic hate for the Goryo’s Vengeance Reanimator deck.
Bear in mind this is an answer for: Tokens coming into play, creatures being targeted by reanimation spells, persist undying triggers, graveyard triggers from Vengevine and Bloodghast, creatures being put into play from spells like Collected Company, Chord of Calling e.t.c. and replacement effects from Loxodon Smiter and Obstinate Baloth.
This card is relevant in so many matchups and at worst it cycles for two mana. I say it couldn’t have come at a better time because at the moment, the “fair” decks are struggling against “unfair” strategies. I don’t mean to keep going on about Zoo but this is something it direly needed. I expect to see this in multiple sideboards. It will certainly be in mine.
Whatever it’s seeking, I don’t think he’s going to find it. Yes the card looks a lot like Stoneforge Mystic, but Stoneforge Mystic didn’t make you do any work. As soon as it hit the battlefield it had replaced itself and then two mana later there was a Batterskull in play. For this to even be half the card Stoneforge Mystic is it has to connect with the opponent, which is hard for a 2/2. Plus, what’s even being searched up to make it worth it? Whatever it is has to be cast. The only upside is that there’s a 3/3 left over but it’s just not worth the work.
Ok, I’ll be honest. I have no idea if this is good. This is one of those cards that hurts my head just reading it. If there’s a deck for it, I’m really not sure what it looks like. It could be some kind of enchantment themed prison deck that locks out all angles of attack with cards like Suppression Field, Ghostly Prison and Leyline of Sanctity. Eventually Starfield would turn them into creatures and attack for the win, recovering destroyed enchantments along the way. Or it could be like the Legacy deck that plays a million Leylines and Opalescence. What this card has going for it is that it’s very unique. It’s an unexplored angle as far as Modern goes so it’s very possible that there is a deck for this. Hopefully there is, and somebody Nyx ones of my ideas.
While it probably won’t get there, Swift Reckoning certainly earns consideration. One of the problems blue white control decks have is the clash of Path to Exile with their counter spells. It gives the opponent extra mana to pay for Mana Leak or help recast a spell that was Remand-ed. However Swift Reckoning is a two mana potentially-instant speed removal spell that deals with most creatures.
What will keep this out of contention however is the “tapped” condition. What if the creature that needs to die has vigilance or isn’t attacking? Furthermore while it will be instant speed most of the time, it won’t always be. This could mean taking an unnecessary hit from an attacker or tapping low on a critical turn. I think this card is close to playable but I’m Reckoning it has too much working against it.
We all thought this was amazing. We all thought that it hit lands as well and it was insane. In a way I’m glad because mass land destruction isn’t something this format needs. I can’t imagine a situation where this card isn’t just better off being replaced with a wrath effect so I think it’s worth staying away from.
You can’t spell Wingmare without Win. Horse-Thalia is probably one of the more powerful additions to the format. Before this card existed, decks only had access to Thalia. This meant there would only be around three copies in a deck and there could only be one in play at a time. Now that Vryn Wingmare exists not only will there be four more copies of the effect in a deck, but there could be multiple instances of it in play. Any spell heavy deck that has to pay two more mana each time it’s casting something is going to suffer dramatically. In a deck like Hatebears I think the Wingmare is good enough to maindeck up to four copies. I’ve put together a list that I’m thoroughly enjoying:
1 Sigarda, Host of Herons
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Vryn Wingmare
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Archangel of Tithes
4 Leonin Arbiter
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Qasali Pridemage
4 Loxodon Smiter
4 Path to Exile
3 Dromoka's Command
4 Horizon Canopy
4 Razorverge Thicket
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Temple Garden
2 Sigarda, Host of Herons
3 Hallowed Moonlight
2 Scavenging Ooze
2 Fracturing Gust
2 Aven Mindcensor
2 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
I think this card has already been covered extensively but I’ll throw in my piece. Day’s Undoing wants to be in a deck that can empty its hand very quickly and then use it to reload. Since both players draw a fresh seven cards, the person casting it wants to have used more resources beforehand, therefore creating an advantage. This is probably the best use for Day’s Undoing; since it ends the turn after its cast there isn’t much room for anything too broken.
Both Affinity and Burn sound like good homes for it. Affinity particularly when it’s emptying its hand as early as turn two. Day’s Undoing helps it reload afterwards and keep up the pressure. It can even help recover after a back-breaking hate card like Creeping Corrosion. Not only that, but sometimes the opponent will draw a seven card hand that’s too awkward to do anything with.
I don’t like it as much in Burn because tapping three mana means taking a turn off. This means slowing down the kill considerably. That might ultimately be this card’s Undoing. I don’t love it in Burn but it’s such a powerful effect it warrants testing. Even if it doesn’t find a place there I expect it to start showing up in Affinity lists at the very least.
This card could possibly be a way for blue to sideboard against the Bogles deck but that seems so loose I’m not even sure why I mentioned it. Everyone Wave bye bye! Let’s leave Dis-place! (Don’t lie, I know you laughed at that.)
Currently, most Merfolk lists maindeck up to four copies of Tidebinder Mage. Most creatures it would want to target are either red or green anyway, but occasionally it’s just a 2/2 for two. Harbinger can target any creature as long as it's tapped. Even if the opponent doesn’t have any creatures in their deck, Harbinger of the Tides still has the option to be cast with flash. These two things coupled together make this versatile enough that it could replace Tidebinder Mage.
Also worth considering is this card’s ability to disrupt Splinter Twin. If the opponent goes to attach a Splinter Twin to their Deceiver Exarch, flashing this in and bouncing the Exarch makes the Twin fizzle. When Splinter Twin is such a popular deck, and Merfolk doesn’t have much else to disrupt it, this could be huge.
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Merfolk Looter has never seen Modern play. However Jace is a lot more than a Merfolk Looter. Similar to Kytheon; cards like this have existed before, and they aren’t playable because they aren’t quite powerful enough. Merfolk Looter is going to be underwhelming in most Modern decks, but if that Merfolk Looter turns into a reusable Snapcaster Mage then suddenly it sounds a lot more appealing.
Jace can flip as early as turn three without much effort. If Jace is being cast on turn two then it only takes two spells and two fetchlands to transform him. In a deck like Grixis Delver this is easily doable, especially when that deck plays Thought Scour. Jace’s inclusion makes a lot of sense here because he synergises so well. The draw and discard effect helps fuel the graveyard for delve cards, and the flashback ability on the planeswalker side helps with the grindy/value game plan the deck has. Even in Grixis Twin he helps dig through the deck for combo pieces.
I think some Grixis deck will be the best home for Jace since it squeezes all the value it can out of him. Of course it all depends on whether or not there’s a card he can replace. If there’s nothing he can improve on, it may not be worth including him.
The strength of this card is the “dream scenario”. In a Splinter Twin mirror, flashing this in, stealing a Splinter Twin and being able to make a copy every time a particularly scary spell is cast is devastating. Meddler is obviously comparable to Spellskite since they’re going to do similar things, but Spellskite should still come out on top. Meddler can give the opponent a shock (Whereas Spellskite’s the one shocking you. Get it? Because you have to pay 2 life? No? Even for me that was bad) but it’s only ever stealing one spell. Spellskite is so good because it can steal everything a Bogles deck or an Infect deck can cast. Not to mention it costs less mana and it’s colourless. Even though it’s a nice idea, I think Spellskite is better at putting the peddle to the Meddle.
Well that’s going to do it for the first part of this article but check back soon and I’ll do my best to cover the rest of the relevant cards from Magic Origins. Until then hopefully I’ve left some fun or interesting things to play around with in this article, and if I haven’t driven you off with all my terrible puns then I’ll see you next time!