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By: Adam_the_Mentat, THE WOTC TOOK MY BABY AWAY
May 17 2013 2:41pm
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Yippi-ky-yay Magic-lover! It's time for another edition o' Boosh's Reviews. A new set is out, and speaking on behalf of the Johnny community, let's evaluate the standouts of the new set for combo purposes.

Disclaimer: Not every card in the set known as Dragon's Maze is represented here. This article is entirely based upon my opinions. I am sure I could have even included more cards in this, but I wanted to only speak about cards that really want you to build decks or combos around them. For example, I really love this card:

Warleader's Helix

It's my favorite card of the new set. Why? It's great utility, but it doesn't particularly scream "Hey Johnny, build a deck around me!" Now Blaze Commando, that's a card that screams build decks around me, and it wants 4 copies of the new Helix alongside it. So this article focuses on cards that really grabbed me, and I may have missed a card or two that deems noteworthy in your opinion. So just keep that in mind.


Ætherling

 This one sparks my interest mostly because of its first ability. It longs to be paired with things like Warstorm Surge, Garruk's Packleader (my favorite idea), Angelic Chorus, Essence Warden, and so forth.

You're also going to want to include, if possible, (Into the Web of War), Concordant Crossroads, Lightning Greaves or something similar to offshoot all the flickering.

One final thought, you can pop Grafted Exoskeleton on it and make it unblockable for Infecty meanness, and if it gets unequipped somehow, you can flicker it out to prevent the having to sacrifice it.

Armed // Dangerous I mostly love this for yet another incarnation of Lure that I can apply to My Stuffy Doll. I like that it's in a set with Emmara Tandris in it so I can cast it on a token and attack with it while all my other damage goes through. You can even cast the Armed part on Emmara and she smacks your opponent for 10 damage.
Awe for the Guilds  This is here because I am such a huge proponent of the fringe Mtg format Rainbow Stairwell, which only uses monocolored cards. As such, this essentially makes all your creatures unblockable one turn if you chose it as your 3 CMC red slot.
Beck // Call

Beck - Flickering Spirit; Something with Momentary Blink cast on it then Flashbacked; Huge token makers like Army of the Damned or a Ajani, Caller of the Pride; Kobolds of Kher Keep + Crimson Kobolds + Cloudstone Curio + any of the Words enchantments + Mana Echoes; Atog, Rites of Initiation, Enduring Renewal, Ornithopter.

Call - Doubling Season; Parallel Lives; Soulcatchers' Aerie + Seaside Haven; Mentor of the Meek; Gravitational Shift; Essence of the Wild; Orchard Warden + Infinite Reflection; Essence Warden and its Ilk; Sigil Captain.

Blaze Commando

As a Johnny who loves Commander, I wish his "Build around me" ability was on a Legend.

This should go into a deck chock full of Lightning HelixGalvanoth, Charmbreaker DevilsWarleader's Helix, Lightning Bolt, Mentor of the Meek, Curse of BloodlettingStaggershock, & Surreal Memoir. I look forward to building such a deck.   

Blood Baron of Vizkopa

This would do well in a Commander deck that's Esper colored. Drop Magister Sphinx and keep your naturally-over-30-life-total thanks to playing Commander from dropping and then this is wicked. Divinity of Pride and Serra Ascendant are in its colors if you wanted a mini theme of having your life higher (Feudkiller's Verdict would also help with this) than your opponent & if you wanted to skip the Esper colored Commander you could go with Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter.

You could also just slowly whittle your opponent down with the Blood Baron itself by making it unblockable with something like Whispersilk Cloak or Cloak of Mists or Dauthi Embrace.

Finally, Blood Tribute! The Kicker-- "tap a vampire" does not target and it's like these two cards were meant to be together. Like they'd hold hands and drive off the cliff together.  

Boros Battleshaper

I always love being able to force a creature to attack so I can block with a Creepy Doll, Stuffy Doll or Mogg Maniac or a Swans of Bryn Argoll with Psychosis Crawler out, or any creature that I've given Deathtouch to. 

You also want out the fun Dueling Grounds/Goblin War Drums or Gruul War Chant combo with this bad boy, which allows your attacking creature to be unblockable and allows you to control your opponent's combat entirely.

This also pairs nicely with Master Warcraft, or Avacyn, Angel of Hope.

Deadbridge Chant

This obviously goes great in a reanimation deck and thus fits nicely in a Teneb, the Harvester Commander deck. 

It enables Threshold pretty easily, and if you are rocking out a Teneb-colored build, would make Hunting Grounds effective right away. Chlorophant, Krosan Beast, Stone-Tongue Basilisk, and Silver Seraph, and any other Threshold cards, love this card. Particularly fun Thresholdiness is Wayward Angel-- this enchantment allows you to recur whatever you sacrifice to it, so you could sacrifice a Viridian Emissary every turn with the Wayward and the recur it with the Chant.

This thing also enables Flashback pretty easily. If one of the ten you drop into your graveyard happens to be a Roar of the Wurm, well that'd be just fine.

Dragonshift

So this is definitely one of my favorite cards in the set, and will be seeing a lot of play. It's like a one-time Day of the Dragons if you Overload it, without the removing of creatures. It screams to be utilized in a deck with cheap or bountiful token makers like Emrakul's Hatcher, Awakening Zone, Avenger of Zendikar, Rise of the Hobgoblins and so forth.

I will be playing Surreal Memoir alongside this.

It'd be hilarious to have out Crucible of Fire that seemingly looked useless next to a field of Eldrazi Spawn, and then Overload this spell. 

Emmara Tandris

Adam S from Wizards previewed this card, and spoke about it terms of Commander capabilities, and then asked readers to submit six cards they'd play alongside it as a Commander. I submitted article feedback and Good News Everyone, they chose my feedback to be part of the follow up article. By all means read that article then meet me back here.

If you read it, you know I recommend Bullwhip, Seedborn Muse, Phantom General, Tempting Licid, True Conviction, and Elvish Harbinger. I also recommend Entangler, Pestilence, Inferno, and Darksteel Plate for Emmara to prevent her death. 

Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch

This obviously is meant to work hand in hand with Unleash, but it also works in any deck that revolves around counters.

It works well with Undying creatures that have died, come back and are maybe ready to go for a second combat thanks to World at War, or something similar.

Cast some sort of mass token maker, like Mycoloth, then cast Titania's Boon ot tap an Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. OR, just cast Avenger of Zendikar, and drop one land.

Have out Gavony Township or Oran-Rief, the Vastwood and activate them to pump your creature(s) and with the Blood Witch out, they's Hastey. 

Gives all Spikes and things that are 0/0 but come in with counters (like Karstoderm) Haste as well.

Feral Animist

 I feel like Feral Animist never got its due during the original Ravnica days. This card loves to have Eldrazi Conscription or Epic Proportions or Might of Oaks slapped on it.

Maybe have out a Heartstone or a Training Grounds out.

Equip Illusionist's Bracers on it also. Maybe Fling it.

Give // Take

Give - is awesome for all your +1/+1 counter needs, like applying them to Phantom Nishoba or Fathom Mage, or some poor creature with Persist that has  -1/-1 counters on it.

Take - is more awesome; Renegade Krasis loves it because you can remove its counters and then let the Evolve ability trigger again to slap counters on all your creatures. You could target a Cytoplast Root-kin with it, after you've used Cauldron of Souls on it for fun and profit.

Gleam of Battle Dolmen Gate; Emmara Tandris; Seedborn Muse, Fathom Mage + Darksteel Plate; Elvish Bard; Avacyn, Angel of Hope; Curse of Stalked Prey; Stuffy Doll; (Konda, Lord or Eiganjo); World at War; Waves of Aggression; Spike Cannibal; Falkenrath Exterminator; lots of other stuff I'm sure.
Gruul War Chant

 Dueling Grounds; Familiar Ground; Bushido, Rampage, Sleep.

Vault of the Archangel.

Legion's Initiative  This has Flicker, so I love it, the end.
Profit // Loss  Humility or Godhead of Awe. Cast. Smash.
Master of Cruelties

Donate or Zedruu the Greathearted or Puca's Mischief. Force it to attack with Boros Battleshaper. Don't Block. Cast Near-Death Experience, win.

Equip Quietus Spike and Whispersilk Cloak to go for the jugular.

Melek, Izzet Paragon Future Sight/Magus of the FutureNoxious RevivalOracle of Mul DayaCharmed Pendant | Call of the WildGarruk's Horde | Blaze Commando | (Rikubthe Two Reflections) | Wort, the RaidmotherTalrand, Sky Summoner | Wand of Denial | Darksteel Pendant | Mirri's Guile | SoothsayingSylvan Library | Brainstorm | Surreal Memoir | Mystical Tutor = Fun on the Bun.
Mutant's Prey  I wanted to say that this is specifically awesome if you have out a Vigor or two.
Pontiff of Blight

 I personally feel like we could exploit giving Extort to all our creatures by:

Having a lot of tokens, and having out Cabal Coffers, Crypt Ghast, Nirkana Revenant, Gauntlet of Power, Magus of the Coffers, or Caged Sun in a monoblack deck.

Having a recursion deck with a lot of creatures out on the board, and employing sacrifice/recursion techniques alongside Black Market.

Again with Recursion-- have out the timeless Aluren/Enduring Renewal combo and Phyrexian Altar.

Also this guy's radical difference in toughness vs. power makes me want to include him in a Doran, the Siege Tower Commander deck.

Progenitor Mimic

Very excited about this card, a self-replicating Clone that churns out tokens of what it copied. It loves Paradox Haze.

I want to copy Orchard Warden , because as I've pointed out before, I love exponential life-gain even if it doesn't win me any friends. Another way to exponentially clog up the board would be to copy Mirror-sigil Sergeant and have out a blue permanent, like the aforementioned Paradox Haze.

This can help you break the game with mathematics, again, by having out Opalescence and Doubling Season, and then choosing to "Clone" the Doubling Season-creature.

Why not got for some Rat-tastic funz0rz and use this Mimic to copy Relentless Rats, or Pack Rat; or, for that matter, off the top of my head, Krovikan Mist. It'd also be fun to copy an useful Sliver.

This is my favorite Johnny-combo-potential card of Dragon's Maze.

Ral Zarek

1st ability: Loves Wake Thrasher; Coffin Queen becomes a creature-card-in-graveyard removal tool; Betrayal; Psychic Venom; Pooling Venom; Blight; Fallowsage/Hollowsage; Veteran of the Depths; Stonybrook Schoolmaster; Spirit Shackle; Kudzu with a Darksteel Garrison on your side ready to Fortify whatever land your opponent chooses to put the Kudzu on. The best part is that when you tap your fortified land even though the Kudzu doesn't hose your land, you still get to pick a new target for it; Brink of Disaster; Gideon's Avenger; Mine Layer; Chronic Flooding - fun for Mill folks; My favorite card to pair with this first ability? Lust for War.

2nd ability: You should have no problem figuring out uses for damage. If you need help, always remember Stuffy Doll & Swans of Bryn Argoll.

3rd ability: Krark's Thumb; or the Thumb x 4 (or more thanks to things like Phyrexian Metamorph + Mirror Gallery).

Ready // Willing

Willing - is awesome utility. Loves going alongside a Lure-enabled creature + the rest of your army attacking. Furystoke Giant becomes incredibly interesting when paired with this spell, as does Brawl. It also loves Dolmen Gate and Maddening Imp.

Ready - loves being popped into a Bant colored Merfolk deck, what with all the tapping of Merfolk- untap them all to tap them down for effects again. Having all your creatures Indestructible for a turn is pretty awesome alongside Damnation or Wrath of God type spells. Again, how amazing is this with Brawl or Furystoke Giant or Maddening Imp? Deathtouch and Untapping and Indestructibility and Lifelink all at instant speed? Amazing.

Renegade Krasis

Doubling Season!! Evolve loves it. Have out a few Fathom Mages as well because the love counters. Sage of Fables loves this guy too because you can remove counters from any creature to draw cards.

Use Take (from above), Scarscale Ritual, Bioshift, or Fate Transfer to ensure your Evolve ability keeps firing.

Pair it with Ooze Flux and Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. Take off your counter(s) from the Krasis, and make an ooze or two. Now use the Vastwood, and when you can Evolve the Krasis againit pumps the ooze. Repeat as much as you like.

Have Master Biomancer out, creatures come out with a higher power than the Krasis so it ensure the Evolve effect, then use something like Ooze Flux or Korozda Gorgon to remove the counters so you roll with the combo every turn.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

Combine with Impatience, Mondronen Shaman, Predatory Advantage, Spellshock.

Since he's gotta attack every turn, and he has the potential to fling six damage to an opponent's dome, a perfect card to play with this guy is Basilisk Collar. Lifelink for all that damage being dealt plus Deathtouch for all those potential blockers. Loxodon Warhammer also works, as does Spirit Loop, Vampiric Link and all other manner of Lifelink-granting cards. Darksteel Plate also wants to be slapped onto this guy so he survives every combat-- or maybe Dolmen Gate would serve you better.

 

Savageborn Hydra

So again, the new Ravnica sets really love original Ravnica: City of Guilds' Doubling Season. By paying 2 mana, you get two counters if the Season is out, and it doubles the original amount you get for paying X. 

This guy also loves Rosheen Meanderer, and if you happen to ever build a Rosheen Commander deck this guy should go in it. I'm also a fan of obscure Tribal decks, and it's always fun to have another Hydra to play around with.

If you are rocking a three color build, then he wants to be BFFLs with Master Biomancer. He is in desperate need of a Rancor or a Loxodon Warhammer, to get full effectiveness out of him.

Finally, equip him with Illusionist's Bracers, so you get two tokens for the price of one activation, even without a Doubling Season. With both out? Money. 

Showstopper

This is fun in an Undying or Persist deck. Perhaps the Persistent Un-Death deck listed here

I know this is a long shot, but if you cast Stuffy Doll and choose your opponent as the player, if you Donate it to them, they can't change the player you originally chose, so you could theoretically use some sort of Enduring Renewal/Aluren combo to ping the crap out of it.

I really wish this said "to target creature or player," but then this would be a rare and cost more, CMC-wise.

Sin Collector

Mistmeadow Witch, Flicker, Momentary Blink, Cloudshift, Unsummon, Sunken Hope, Species Gorger.

Bounce, Flicker, Rinse, Repeat.

Species Gorger

 Sin CollectorMan-o'-WarReveillark, and other EtB trigger-filled creatures or "leaves the battlefield" trigger-creatures.

Otherwise, use the Species Gorger to target itself and keep casting a 6/6 for five mana to get 6 for five from Warstorm Surge, or 6 life from Angelic Chorus or Trostani, Selesnya's Voice.

The Gorger also loves Stormfront Riders and Azorius Æthermage.

You could always put him in a Tribal Beast deck, alongside Door of Destinies.

Tajic, Blade of the Legion

My first thought was Tajic, Konda, Lord of Eiganjo, and Angelic Overseer running beatdowns every turn. The three Indestructibles would love to be attacking on a field that had True Conviction present. Angelic Overseer really is money alongside this guy, since he's human. If you want to really use the Battalion route but don't want to load up with Indestructible creatures, use Dolmen Gate to offset the two other creatures that always need to attack with Tajic.

Tajic really needs some Vigilance. Oathsworn Giant, Mobilization or (Serra' Blessing) does the trick nicely. Oathsworn and the Mobilization are also soldier if you want to rock some Tribal. So many cards affect soldiers in Magic, and this guy is a really awesome soldier who screams to fight alongside Daru Warchief, Field Marshal, Coat of Arms-- the usual suspects. Since he'd be attacking a lot to utilize Batallion, if you were rocking Tribal, please pop in Shared Animosity. If we wanted to include green in our build, since Battalion requires a lot of attacking, why not throw in Beastmaster Ascension?

Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts

Teysa is screaming for, begging for, dying for-- Concerted Effort. Mmmmm. Free Vigilance and Protection from Creatures for all your creatures-- especially if she is your Commander.

She's white and black, and her second ability tells me she wants to go in a Life-gain deck, so you can just let creatures hit you and hit you and your own planeswalkery self becomes a murder machine and Spirit token makin' machine.

Maddening Imp wants in on this chicanery, or perhaps Instigator. Make ALL THE CREATURES attack, and murderize them all. While we are at it, let's throw Darien, King of Kjeldor in the deck-- that way every time a creature hits you for damage, we get some Soldiers, a Spirit, and board advantage. Lastly, include Moonlit Wake, since creatures are dying and maintaining a semidecent life total is crucial.

Trostani's Summoner

More Flicker and Bounce and Duplication fodder. I also REALLY want to Imprint him on a Soul Foundry so every turn I get a Summoner token, who spits out other tokens.

Then we put out Parallel Lives.

Immediately follow it up with a Bestial Menace so it looks like you vomited various tokens all over your battlefield with your mighty potent planeswalker hork abilities.

A really fun card interaction is Concerted Effort; even without bounce or flicker or duplication, your knight has vigilance, and your rhino has trample so now all four creatures (the three tokens and the summoner) have trample and vigilance.

Vorel of the Hull Clade

This guy is solid awesome for a lot of decks. My only complaint is the artifact/creature/land restriction. Since he has that restriction I can't really abuse him to up my Quest counters. Unless I put out Opalescence!!

Creatures: Myojin of Night's Reach and the other Myojins: more Divinity counters, more ultimates unleashed; Savageborn Hydra as talked about earlier; Spirit Shackle your opponent's creature; Hankyu, even though it itself is an artifact, actually gives the equipped creatue the aim counter granting ability, and thus Vorel comes in handy; Serrated Arrows; Triskelavus/Pentavus/Tetravus/Triskelion (Don't you feel like these guys should be various evolution of the same Pokemon?); Musician; Fathom Mage (DELICIOUS); Mycoloth; Savage Firecat; Faithful Squire and any other creature that requires Ki counters, and tons of other cards. Also, creatures with Time counters.

Artifacts: Banshee's Blade; Umezawa's Jitte; Ventifact Bottle; Gemstone Array; anything with Sunburst; basically anything with Charge counters; Tangle Wire.

Lands: Obsidian Fireheart; Gemstone Mine; Vivid Crag and the other Vivid lands.

Zhur-Taa Druid

Umbral Mantle + Training Grounds or Heartstone. Infinite loop = Opponents are all deadz0rz. Pemmin's Aura & Mycosynth Lattice does the same mean combo.

How else can we abuse this guy? Let me know in the Comments section. 


In conclusion, I gotta say that once again, the new set has a lot of Johnny potential for Commander and Classic/Legacy players. There are quite a few cards I plan on getting playsets of, and there's a lot of potential Commanders in this set. Once I have some solid decks built around some of these glorious cards I'll throw up a Budget Builds or Deckbox of Tricks article to showcase them.

I hope you enjoyed my review and found it useful, please load the comments section with other combos you've found with these cards!

Until we meet again dear readers!

~Boosh
Atomicboosh on the MTGO client; adam_the_mentat on PureMTGO.com 

3 Comments

We do not tolerate the spam, by JXClaytor at Sun, 05/19/2013 - 13:02
JXClaytor's picture

We do not tolerate the spam, I've been talking with jam about other options for comment settings without going full blown facebook because of the resistance that some have to it. I do my best to delete the spam, but some days my son is hanging out with me and I am not in front of the computer as often.

and by JXClaytor at Sun, 05/19/2013 - 13:06
JXClaytor's picture

I realize that I deleted your comment to report the spam to mollom. Sorry. :/

do not worry sir! by Adam_the_Mentat at Sun, 05/19/2013 - 14:58
Adam_the_Mentat's picture

Now that the original spam si gone my comment is pointless. Also time with your son is way more important than, well, anything, says the father of a one year old. Kudos for whatever vigilance you can muster despite needing a personal life to combat the ne'erdo'ells.