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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Jul 07 2015 11:24am
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Having cast my eye over the Magic Origins spoilers I thought I would highlight those that most excite me for the purpose of playing Modern. 

The last time I did this for Dragons of Tarkir I think my assessments were a little off, at least in terms of my Top 5 cards.  I dismissed Kolaghan's Command, which has been one of the most impactful cards out of the set and I identified the power of Collected Company and Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit but didn't rate them nearly high enough.  Meanwhile, Dromoka's Command which I top-rated has not seen a great deal of play - though I still think it is a good card.  So, there's room for improvement.

This actually ended up being a far longer article than I initially thought it would be.  I think that speaks for the strength of the set.  That's not to say it will necessarily have a huge impact on Modern, it just gave me a lot to think about and there was a lot worth talking about in my opinion.  Here are some links to help your through the article:


1). White
2). Blue
3). Black
4). Red
5). Green
6). Multicoloured
7). Artifact
8). My Top 8 Cards of Magic Origins
9). Readers' Poll
10). Deck Ideas
11). Conclusions


I will start by looking at the flip Planeswalkers for each colour that are some of the marquee cards for the set.

Kytheon, Hero of Akros/Gideon, Battle-Forged
Kytheon is the Planeswalker that I am most excited about for Modern.  Dryad Militant has been a decent amount of play in fringe Modern decks but Kytheon seems vastly more powerful than the Militant.  Having your Savannah Lions have the potential to turn into a serious late game threat is pretty awesome and I'm very keen to try out Kytheon in various decks.
Craig Wescoe wrote about putting Gideon into Naya Zoo, WB Tokens and 5-Colour Humans deck which all seemed like interesting homes for Kytheon.

Archangel of Tithes
Archangel of Tithes is an interesting creature.  A sizeable flyer that acts as half a Ghostly Prison on defence and makes your creatures more difficult to block on offence.  If you were to play Archangel in Modern I think it would fit best in either a Death & Taxes or Soul Sisters/Tokens deck.  In general, Modern decks run on a low curve but constraining their mana can be very effective.  The 3/5 flying body is also impressive, being able to defend against Siege Rhino, Tasigur, the Golden Fang and the more common sizes of Tarmogoyf.

I think this card would have been a lot better if it just had the first ability, without the untapped requirement, and not the second ability which makes it less exciting to attack with in my view.  However, working with what we have this card would be awesome in multiples.

Ghostly Prison on a sizeable creature is a very interesting prospect but that is not quite what is on offer here.  Could be very good but not entirely convinced it's impactful enough to justify its cost.

Hallowed Moonlight
This card is really interesting.  It provides the format with a targeted counter against Collected Company and Chord of Calling - which is very interesting given the increased popularity of decks running those cards.  Reanimator strategies aren't huge in Modern but obviously this can also be used against those decks, such as Grishoalbrand and Gifts Ungiven decks using an Unburial Rites package.  The fact it replaces itself is also means that it's never a completely dead card and I can see this being a very good sideboard card for white decks.

Unfortunately it's not as effective against AEther Vial as you have to cast Hallowed Moonlight in response the ability and then they can choose not to put a creature into play, as it is only a may ability.  So you can prevent them dropping that creature a turn but it's not nearly as advantageous.

Relic Seeker
Relic Seeker immediately brings the powerful, and banned in Modern, Stoneforge Mystic.  Mark Rosewater was asked how Stoneforge Mystic could be changed so that it wasn't banned in Modern.  His response in his Modern Mailbag was basically that it should have one ability and not the other.  Either it should be a tutor for equipment or it should circumvent their cost but not both.  I think that is very insightful and is probably how we should look at Relic Seeker.  If it was simply a 2 mana 2/2 that tutored for an Equipment it would be a very good card but not broken.  Unfortunately Relic Seeker falls well below that standard and makes you work pretty hard just for the tutor effect.

Stoneforge Mystic this is not.  Not even close. 

Vryn Wingmare
Vryn Wingmare is a card that to me fits alongside Aven Mindcensor and the recent Hushwing Gryff, the 3-mana 2/1 hate birds if you will.  The primary home for this card in my view would be Death & Taxes, alongisde Thalia, Guardian of Thraben who has the same ability.  Doubling up on increasing the expense of non-creature spells could be very powerful but it's unfortunate that the Wingmare is so vulnerable.  The fact it doesn't have flash isn't really a detriment to its ability, as there isn't really any practical advantage to flashing it into play, but it does make it less versatile that Mindcensor and Gryff.

A cool card but I'm not sure if it quite makes the cut.

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Jace, Vryn's Prodigy/Jace, Telepath Unbound
Flipping Jace is easy enough as filling your graveyard is easy enough with cards like Thought Scour.  However, a 0/2 Looter though is unimpressive if you can't flip Jace and it's pretty vulnerable.  So is it worth the effort?  Jace, Telepath Unbound has a high starting loyalty which is good but its abilities seem quite lacklustre.  The +1 helps to protect Jace which is positive, the -3 is basically Snapcaster Mage and takes up so much loyalty it seems unlikely you'll get to use it more than once which is where you really start getting value.  The ultimate takes a lot of time to build to and is not nearly as game ending as you would hope.

Day's Undoing
This card is really interesting.  The power of being able to completely restock is awesome but you have to play that off against the fact that this effect is symmetrical and, as you have to immediately end the turn, your opponent will be the first person to take advantage of their new hand.  This card could be very potent in a deck that can quickly empty its hand, like Affinity or Burn.  Picking up a whole new seven in a deck like Affinity could be really potent and that might be where I would look to try this card out.

Analysing other elements of the card.  Getting your opponent to shuffle away their graveyard could be very powerful, particularly with the number of decks using Dredge cards like Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Murderous Cut and Gurmag Angler.  Obviously with seven new cards to work with they could restock their graveyard pretty rapidly but it should at least slow them down a little.

I feel like this card has huge potential - I'll be interested to see if it is actually good enough to meet that potential in Modern.

Displacement Wave
We've seen a number of big blue bounce spells in recent times, from Aetherspouts to Aetherize to Cyclonic Rift.  All of these cards have found their way into a Mono-Blue Tron sideboard at one point or another and Displacement Wave could do the very same.  With the mana production capabilities of the Tron lands Displacement Wave could have a huge impact on the board.  Equally, at very small cost you could wipe the board of tokens or a board of cheap creatures.  The fact that it operates at sorcery speed may hurt a bit but I would be interested to try this out.

Harbinger of the Tides
Merfolk recently won GP Copenhagen.  Could Harbinger of the Tides help improve that deck?  I'm not sure.  The GP winning decklist ran 3 Tidebinder Mage and Harbinger could fill a similar position.  Clearly it would be far better against decks not running Green or Red creatures, however, the fact it can only bounce tapped creatures is somewhat restrictive.  Being able to Flash the Harbinger into play with the help of Vial is very nice, if expensive, as you can bounce away a potential attacker during the attack step and have a surprise blocker to boot.  Harbinger also works as a helpful counter to the Splinter Twin combo, allowing you to bounce their Pestermite/Deceiver Exarch in response to the token creation.

Not sure exactly how much love this card will get in Merfolk but it is certainly another strong option for the deck.

Jace's Sanctum
Jace's Sanctum seems like a crazy card.  It would be ridiculous in a Storm deck, or maybe even a Jeskai Ascendancy list, but unfortunately I think it's just too expensive at four-mana to make that cut.  Great card but unfortunately priced out of the market I reckon.

Sphinx's Tutelage
A very cool mill card.  Unfortunately I don't think it's quite the type of card that the Modern Mill deck is in the market for.  It could be very good in combination with Visions of Beyond, though equally it could just mill six cards which isn't at all impressive.  How good this card is really comes down to how often you get to repeat the mill process by milling two cards of the same colour, which partly comes down to the cards in your opponent's deck and partly comes down to luck (both out of your control).

Back when Judgement was released and I was playing paper Magic I always wanted to build a mill deck with Scalpelexis.  This card reminds me a lot of Scalpelexis which I like.  That said I don't think it's nearly powerful enough for Modern.

Thopter Spy Network
So apparently Blue makes tokens now and this is a very powerful token generator at that.  This card could be amazing in Affinity but at 4-mana, and double blue at that, it probably is too much of a stretch for Affinity.  Token generation plus card draw though seems an extremely powerful combination.  Could be well worth the stretch but Day's Undoing may well overshadow it.

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Liliana, Heretical Healer/Liliana, Defiant Necromancer
As a 3-mana creature Liliana seems reasonably solid and it probably wouldn't be too hard with the Modern card pool to ensure she flipped instantly.  The question is then what we want to do with her planeswalker form.  We already know the +2 can be good from Liliana of the Veil and the other abilities also have a lot of potential but will it be worth all the effort.

She feels like she would fit well into some sort of Aristocrats style deck.  This way you can run sacrifice outlets to make sure she flips and then reanimate your little creatures to protect her - potentially building up to her ultimate.

Dark Petition
I'm not sure this card is a real contender in Modern but I've seen Sidisi, Undead Vizier get some love in Modern so this could potentially get similar treatment.  Not sure it really gets there though.  Potentially a very potent tutor but 5-mana is very expensive for just a tutor effect, even if it might give you a chance to cast that card immediately.  I think Gifts Ungiven or  Mystical Teachings is a better overall tutor in the type of deck you would want to run this in.

Despoiler of Souls
Another in a long line of Black creatures that can return from the grave, sitting alongside Gravecrawler, Bloodghast and more recently Bloodsoaked Champion.  Despoiler of Souls has a very Ichorid-like feel to it and I think it would very well into the Dredge decks in Modern.

The cost for returning Despoiler of Souls is more hefty than the other cards I mentioned.  Two Black-mana is not too hard to come by but it does make it hard to return multiple copies from your graveyard at the same time.  Also exiling two other creatures from your graveyard is quite a lot to ask even when you dredging hard.  On the positive side though, Despoiler also has more power and can be returned at instant speed.

Erebos's Titan
This card strikes me as being very bizarre.  An indestructible 5/5 is an interesting prospect - though you have to make sure your opponent's board is cleared to maintain the indestructible.  You can also get it back into your hand if a creature leaves your opponent's graveyard (though you do have to discard a card for the privilege), which is one of the most bizarre abilities I've ever seen on a card.  Getting creatures to leave your own graveyard is easy enough but forcing your opponent's to do it is much more complicated.  Unless you are using it as a Reanimator/Dredge hate card (which I'm not sure it does a great job of), you not only have to get creature's into your opponent's graveyard you then have to find a way of removing them.

Not sure there is any clear use for this in Modern but the card is so odd that it seems worth looking at.

Gnarlroot Trapper
An interesting addition to the Elf tribe.  A mana dork, but only for casting Elves, that can also grant Deathtouch but only on offence.  There haven't been many reasons to splash into Black for Modern Elves decks and I'm afraid Gnarlroot Trapper isn't nearly good enough of a reason to do so.  That said his friend, Shaman of the Pack, could be more persuasive (see below in the Multicoloured Section).

Languish competes against Damnation in Modern - which is stiff competition.  Languish is weaker than Damnation generally but its weaknesses can also be strengths.  There are number of powerful playable 5 toughness Black creatures including Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Gurmag Angler and Siege Rhino.  Using Languish alongside this creatures could allow you to subject your opponent to Plague Wind your opponent.  The only real problem with that strategy is that we aren't the only one with access to creatures like Tasigur and sometimes those creatures are precisely the ones you want to clear the board of.  Certainly an interesting new option for the format but unlikely to unsettle Damnation in any deck that wants a Wrath.

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Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh/Chandra, Roaring Flame
Pretty difficult to flip without being able to hit your opponent off an attack and then not greatly exciting once she has flipped.  The best fit for Chandra would be in some kind of Burn deck but those decks are too tight to fit in this kind of card.  If Chandra had haste then she would probably provide a more interesting option but realistically I can't see this being played.

Abbot of Keral Keep
Now here is a very interesting card.  A 2-mana 2/1 with Prowess that pseudo-draws a card when cast.  In the abstract it is not as powerful as Young Pyromancer but it could fit into a Burn deck as a threat that you can play without losing tempo.  I think generally you won't want to drop this on Turn 2, so you have mana to cast the card you exile off the top but depending on your hand you might want to just drop it and attack for some serious damage.  The alternative option is to play it in a more controlling deck where it hopefully acts a bit like a Snapcaster Mage dropping and grabbing you another spell, while giving you a decent body to attack with.  The disadvantage being it has to be played at sorcery speed.

Again this card has stiff competition from the likes of Snapcaster Mage and Young Pyromancer in the types of deck it might be good in.  Burn could be a good home but it depends on whether it can spare the slots.  Not quite sure if it will manage to find a home but this is a really interesting card.

Goblin Piledriver
Goblin Piledriver is a surprising and exciting reprint (from Onslaught) and possibly my favourite Goblin card (though Goblin Sledder puts up tough competition).  I'm glad they went with the original artwork but sad that they didn't keep the flavour text.  Goblins in Modern has always felt a bit underpowered to me - I'm not sure Piledriver will completely solve that but it will certainly go some way to helping.  With a couple of comrades Piledriver can hit for huge damage and Protection from Blue is very relevant for dodging Snapcaster Mage, Deceiver Exarch, Vendilion Clique and various other popular blue creatures in the format.

Magmatic Insight
Magmatic Insight is an interesting card.  Being able to pitch an excess land for two more cards is good.  It's card parity rather than card advantage but will dig you a lot deeper.  Could be very powerful in a Storm or Jeskai Ascendancy style deck but has to contend with Faithless Looting.  You could run it in Burn as a way of pitching excess lands but I don't think it really fits.

Molten Vortex
Molten Vortex is an interesting card.  Seismic Assault has seen some play in Life from the Loam based decks.  Molten Vortex has a far cheaper and less constraining mana-cost but requires mana to activate, which is an interesting trade off.  Not being able to pitch your lands for free is a significant advantage, though perhaps worthwhile for the reduced initial investment.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Mama and Papa Nalaar do quite a nice Siege-Gang Commander impression and in some ways are a lot better than the Commander.  The fact that the two 1/1 tokens have flying is certainly an advantage and the fact that you can throw any artifact using their ability, not just the Thopters, is pretty sweet.  Could fit nicely in a more casual Affinity deck but just two expensive to make the cut there I'm afraid.

Thopter Engineer
Another potential inclusion in an Affinity.  Giving all your other creatures haste and adding a hasty 1/1 flyer to the board is pretty good.  Haste is particularly nice on a creature like Steel Overseer, allowing you to get +1/+1 counters out of it straight off the bat.  I think competition for the three-drop slot in Affinity is a bit too stiff for Thopter Engineer but it provides a nice budget alternative to cards like Master of Etherium and Etched Champion.

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Nissa, Vastwood Seer/Nissa, Sage Animist
Getting to seven lands in Modern is generally a big ask unless you are actively ramping.  There aren't many competitive decks that do much traditional land ramp aside from Scapeshift.  Nissa could fit in Scapeshift but once you have hit seven lands you are really looking to finish your opponent with Scapeshift rather than worrying about flipping Nissa.  I guess once flipped Nissa can dig you deeper to find Scapeshift but overall I doubt Nissa is worth that effort.

Animist's Awakening
This card is really interesting.  It has the potential to be extremely powerful if you can generate enough mana to search deep enough and the Spell Mastery part is really the icing on the cake.  This card's natural home seems to be in Amulet of Vigor decks, as finding a few Ravnica Duals and untapping them can generate you a lot of extra mana (which is basically the deck's MO).  I'm not really an expert on Amulet decks as I haven't really played the deck so I'm not sure whether it will actually make the cut but it definitely has potential.

I'm not sure whether Scapeshift decks would necessarily want this card.  I think as they tend to be more Combo/Control style decks they probably aren't looking to tap out on their own turn too often, which kind of rules out Animist's Awakening.

I think the real question is how much mana do you need to put in to get a good result and how quickly can you generate that mana.  Casting Awakening for X=2 is likely to be pretty underwhelming but for values higher than that you could be getting some serious value.  I think you will need to be committed to a broader ramp strategy to get the best value out of this card, otherwise I think it ends up being too expensive.

Dwynen, Gilt-Leaf Daen
Another Elf Lord but at 4-mana it's expensive and doesn't drop into play off a Collected Company.  It also just generally doesn't do anything that the Modern Elf deck wants to be doing.  Elves are already spoilt for choice in the Lord department with Elvish Champion and Imperious Perfect not even making a lot of the current lists, both of which I think are far better fits for the deck.

Evolutionary Leap
Stylised after Survival of the Fittest this card isn't nearly on the power level of its predecessor but there are ways to abuse it, particularly in Modern.  You can combine Evolutionary Leap with creatures like Bloodghast, Gravecrawler and Kitchen Finks to allow you to further stock up your hand with creatures.
Potentially quite a good card but not as easy to abuse as Survival of the Fittest or Birthing Pod, nor as powerful as you aren't tutoring just getting whatever you happen to find.  A nice build around card though.

Gather the Pack
Green has had some nice ways of gaining card advantage, primarily I'm thinking of Collected Company, and this is an excellent addition to that.  Looking for your best creature in your Top 5 cards is decent but with Spell Mastery this has the potential to be insane.  To look at it from a Blue perspective it's draw 2 cards for 2 mana but it actually can be far better than that as it actually the two best creatures while looking at your top five cards.

The card also helps build itself up as it drops any unpicked cards into the graveyard.  This not only drives you towards achieving Spell Mastery but can also be very profitable if you build your deck to exploit it.  Perhaps we are dropping Lingering Souls into the yard, perhaps our follow up play is a Tarmogoyf which will grow off the cards we dumped.

I like this card a lot.  I think it fits well into Dredge but could end up in a variety of different decks.  The difficult part is going to be balancing the number of creatures against the number of spells to profit best from this card.

Honored Hierarch
Hierarch harkens to Modern staple Noble Hierarch, which in itself makes it interesting.  Unfortunately, Honored Hierarch is not nearly as strong as his Noble colleague.  If you hit your opponent with Hierarch you get a 2/2 with vigilance that can tap for any colour of mana which is pretty powerful.  There are a couple of problems with this.  The first is that you actually have to be able to hit your opponent with the Hierarch - which can be a problem with its weenie 1/1 frame.  The second problem is that if you want your Hierarch to be a mana producer even if you play it Turn 1 and attack unblocked on Turn 2 you still won't be making any mana with it until Turn 3.

A cool card but unfortunately much too slow - especially for Modern.

Managorger Hydra
This card really makes me want to make some sort of Miracle-Grow deck in Modern.  We could play the Hydra alongside Quirion Dryad or perhaps Young Pyromancer or Monastery Mentor.  Probably a bit too fragile for Modern play but in the right deck and unanswered this could do huge amounts of damage.

Sylvan Messenger
Sylvan Messenger is a tasty reprint that dates back to Apocalypse (before Modern legality). It's a great way to restock your hand with Elves while continuing to add presence to your board.  The timing of the Messenger's arrival is slightly awkward though.  On the positive side, Elves is seeing a big resurgence in Modern and is quite a popular deck.  On the negative side, the reason for that resurgence is the recent printing of Collected Company which fills almost exactly the same spot in the deck and probably does a better job at it too.  Looking at the top six at instant speed and dropping two Elves into play just seems a lot better than looking at the top four and putting any Elves into your hand.  Can the two cards coexist?  You could play Messenger and Collected Company but you risk some awkward draws - also they don't have any synergy with each other sadly.

A really nice reprint but sadly I think Collected Company outstrips it and will probably take its slot in any Modern Elf deck.  If you can find room you could run it alongside Collected Company but I don't know how viable that is.

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Bounding Krasis
Another in a long line of potential Splinter Twin combo creatures.  I would say that Bounding Krasis is certainly the most exciting since Deceiver Exarch.  As a 3-mana 3/3 with Flash and the ability to tap and untap a creature Krasis is a very solid creature in itself before you get to the combo possibilities.  Being a Simic creation we would have to looking at Temur Twin but that is far from a new idea with splashing green for Tarmogoyf being a popular option for adding a bit more aggression into Twin builds.

Krasis lacks the evasiveness of Pestermite but has extra power and toughness to deal with that.  It lacks the toughness of Deceiver Exarch, making it more susceptible to Lightning Bolt, but is a far better attacking threat.  The other important difference between Krasis and its competitors is that it can only tap or untap creatures and not just any permanent.  This is significant as sometimes you want to use Exarch or Pestermite or tap or untap a land.

I think Bounding Krasis is a card with a lot of potential but I don't know that it necessarily better than either Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite, though it could be depending on situation and how you build your deck.  Very much worthy of consideration but I'm not sure it will turn the tide away from Grixis Twin as the preferred splash.

Shaman of the Pack
Earlier I said that Modern Elves didn't have much of a reason to splash into Black but this card could put up a more persuasive argument.   Collected Company Elf decks have become increasingly popular in the format and the Shaman could fit very nicely into that deck.  A 3/2 body for 3 mana is a decent rate and the ability has the potential to drain pretty huge sums off your opponent's life total.  Also, at 3-mana it synergises perfectly with Collected Company.  Imagine hitting two Shaman of the Pack off an end-of-turn Collected Company - at worst your opponent loses 4 life and you've added a couple of 3/2s to your board, at best your opponent is instantly dead.  Chord of Calling could also tutor out a Shaman at instant speed for a sudden shock to your opponent's life total.

I think this card is very interesting in the Elf deck, though I am aware that slots for 3-mana Elves in that deck are at a premium with Elvish Archdruid and Ezuri, Renegade Leader being fundamental parts of the deck.

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Chief of the Foundry
Another Lord for the Affinity deck.  Unfortunately it pails in comparison to Master of Etherium who is the same cost and is generally a much bigger creature.  You could run the two cards in concert but Etched Champion might have something to say about the Chief trying to steal his spot.

Hangarback Walker
This card is very cool but on balance is probably too expensive to fit in Affinity.  The reason I like this card is that it gives you something to work with if the opponent wipes your board and also it can combine very effectively with Arcbound Ravager.  Ravager could either be used to put more +1/+1 counters on the Walker using its Modular ability when it dies or can sacrifice the Walker for profit if you would rather have the tokens it produces, with the tokens also being artifacts if you're just looking to feed your Ravager.

The problem is that it is 2 mana to make a mere 1/1 and 4 mana to make just a 2/2.  Yes you can grow the Walker but that means you are not attacking, which is something Affinity wants to be doing pretty much all the time.

Helm of the Gods
Helm of the Gods is a very cheap equipment and potentially hugely powerful.  On first glance it seems like a great fit for the Bogles deckEthereal Armor is one of the best auras in the Bogles deck and being able to play Ethereal Armors 5-8 is a very tempting prospect.   The main problem with Helm of the Gods is that it isn't an enchantment.  This means that on its own, unlike Ethereal Armor or Cranial Plating as another example, it does absolutely nothing - equipped creature gets +0/+0 - without you adding more enchantments to the field.  Playing Helm of the Gods also won't trigger Kor Spiritdancer or allow it to get its +2/+2 bonus for attaching auras to it.  The upside of it not being an enchantment/aura, on the flipside, is that you can move it onto another creature if you like or if your Hexproof creature dies you still have the Helm on the battlefield.  That said I think these upsides should not be overstated - Bogles is a very all-in deck and if your opponent kills your Voltron then you are probably in very bad shape and Helm won't help you much if all your auras just hit the bin. 

I can see Bogles running 1 or 2 copies of Helm of the Gods but I don't think it's an auto-include and I don't think you would want as many as 4.  That said I would be wrong and the power of having another Ethereal Armor type effect could just be insanely powerful.  That's how I feel about it anyway.

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I'm not sure whether Magic Origins will have big impact on Modern but it certainly has a good number of interesting cards in it that I would like to try out.  Certainly this was much more exciting that I was expecting for a Core Set.

My Top 8 cards from Magic Origins for Modern are:

  1. Day's Undoing
    I'm taking a punt on this one.  I really don't know how good it will be in practice but based on pure power level it seems like the card that could make the most impact.
  2. Goblin Piledriver
    Piledriver seems like a solid bet to make an impact on the format.  I'm sure it will make Goblins more competitive in Modern and I look forward to giving it a try in the format.
  3. Kytheon, Hero of Akros/Gideon, Battle-Forged
    Kytheon seems like a solid replacement for Dryad Militant in any deck that was already playing it and just in general is very powerful.  I am interested to see how this guy plays in Modern and just how good it can be.
  4. Gather the Pack
    A really powerful card advantage spell for Green.  It has Collected Company to contend with these days but at its best this card is insane and half the cost.
  5. Shaman of the Pack
    Could be a very solid addition to the Collected Company Elves decks - though I don't know that they will necessarily find room for the Shaman.
  6. Abbot of Keral Keep
    This guy seems like he has a lot of potential.  The fact he doesn't quite draw you a card though may be too harsh a mark against him.
  7. Despoiler of Souls
    This could be a very powerful addition to Dredge decks.
  8. Animist's Awakening
    Could be very powerful, particularly in an Amulet of Vigor style deck or other ramp decks but not sure if the variable nature of the card is too much for it to see play.

What do you think of my list?  Let me know in the comments.

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Reader participation is always nice but I've found over my time writing it can be difficult.  I thought I would try a reader poll which I hope you will take part in so we can decide PureMTGO's favourite Magic Origins card.  If you're not a fan of my choices then please click other and write in your choice.

What is your favourite Magic Origins card?
Please Specify:
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Here's some rough and ready decklist ideas based on the cards in Magic Origins.

Decklist by olaw
4 Goblin Piledriver
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Goblin Guide
4 Goblin Chieftain
4 Foundry Street Denizen
28 cards

Other Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Dragon Fodder
4 Goblin Grenade
12 cards
20 Mountain
20 cards
Goblin Piledriver

First up I have Goblins list.  This is a fairly standard list but I like the way Goblin Piledriver interacts with Legion Loyalist and with just generally having more ways to generate Goblins, such as Dragon Fodder.  This could probably use some tweaking and I don't know if we need as many as 20 lands with our curve but seems like a good base to work from.

Decklist by olaw
4 Viscera Seer
4 Plagued Rusalka
4 Death Cultist
4 Cartel Aristocrat
4 Mortician Beetle
4 Grim Haruspex
3 Signal Pest
4 Blood Artist
4 Liliana, Heretical Healer
35 cards

Other Spells
4 Immortal Servitude
4 cards
2 Godless Shrine
4 Marsh Flats
12 Swamp
1 Plains
2 Crypt of Agadeem
21 cards
Immortal Servitude

This a rough idea of what the Aristocrats style deck I talked about for Liliana could look like.  We have a ton of sacrifice outlets to ensure we can immediately flip Liliana and then start reanimating or building to her ultimate.
This list is heavily-based on High_T's Heirloom deck that I've seen has had a lot of success in the Heirloom PREs.  I haven't played the deck myself so I'm not sure of its weaknesses or if this is quite the right design but it seemed like a nice home for Liliana.

Hardened Affinity
Decklist by olaw
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Arcbound Worker
4 Steel Overseer
4 Signal Pest
3 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Hangarback Walker
2 Master of Etherium
29 cards

Other Spells
4 Hardened Scales
4 Springleaf Drum
2 Day's Undoing
4 Mox Opal
14 cards
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Inkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Glimmervoid
1 Island
17 cards
Hardened Scales

In my Becoming A Modern Man article covering Affinity, Rerepete suggested an Affinity decklist using Hardened Scales alongside Steel Overseer and Arcbound Ravager.  Hangarback Walker makes that idea even more exciting so this is a quick decklist I have put together.

Decklist by olaw
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
3 Phantasmal Image
4 Leonin Arbiter
4 Blade Splicer
3 Phyrexian Metamorph
4 Archangel of Tithes
4 Vryn Wingmare
3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
29 cards

Other Spells
4 Path to Exile
4 Thorn of Amethyst
8 cards
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Seachrome Coast
1 Eiganjo Castle
4 Ghost Quarter
10 Plains
23 cards
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

This deck is extremely rough but it's based on hatebears and is designed to exploit Archangel of Tithes and Vryn Wingmare.  I thought one of the big advantages of those cards is that you can actually play them in multiples, so I thought splashing for Phantasmal Image as a cheap Archangel or Wingmare copy could be very good.  I then realised we could up our restrictions on casting non-creature spells further using Thorn of Amethyst - which then led me to Phyrexian Metamorph which can copy one of my creature or become another Thorn of Amethyst.  The deck probably needs more answers and perhaps less Clone effects. 

There are some other card ideas that crossed my mind but it is the beginning of a deck idea:

  • Trinisphere to complement Thalia and Wingmare in making spells increasing card to play.
  • Eidolon of Rhetoric to slow our opponent's progress further.
  • Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir would a really nice way to lock down our opponents.  Not only are their spells taxed but they now have to cast everything at sorcery speed.  I think the mana cost is too much of an ask though, particularly with the triple blue mana required.
  • Wall of Omens is a good Clone target and digs us deeper, while defending us if the opposing deck is creature heavy.  It can't attack for Kytheon - but maybe Kytheon doesn't belong in this deck.

This is a difficult deck to design as if you are going all in on taxing your opponent you need to be more committed to creatures and can't run as many non-creature spells.  However, you also need answers to creatures in case your opponent isn't a spell heavy deck.

These are just some very rough ideas using the Magic Origins cards but if you have any cool deck ideas please let me know.  I'd be very happy to hear from you.

I think Magic Origins looks like a very exciting set and a nice send off for the Core Set.  I found a lot to talk about and look forward to the set coming out Online.  I might actually get to take part in a paper prerelease if I find the time which would be good fun too.  I have started another article with a bit of a retrospective of the Core Set's impact on Modern which will hopefully be out soon.

That's all I have for this article!  If you enjoyed this please check out my other articles and particularly my Becoming A Modern Man series.  I'll be sure to review the results of the poll in my next article.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)


Nice analysis of the new by jay85 at Tue, 07/07/2015 - 20:48
jay85's picture

Nice analysis of the new cards. At the time of me writing this Piledriver and Kytheon are tied. I think either way, both those cards are going to see a tremendous amount of play in Modern. I can't wait to see the war between Elves and Goblins, too.
Keep up the solid work, olaw.

Thanks Jay. Yeah, so far by olaw at Thu, 07/09/2015 - 07:30
olaw's picture

Thanks Jay.

Yeah, so far Kytheon and Piledriver seem to be battling it out for the top spot. I agree that they are both likely to see a lot of play.

The tribal decks have seen a bit of a boost from Magic Origins, it'll be interesting to see where they stand once people have had a chance to experiment with the new cards.

Thanks for the shout-out. I by Rerepete at Wed, 07/08/2015 - 17:22
Rerepete's picture

Thanks for the shout-out. I like walker, but I see it as, at max, a 3 of. In a void, I can't imagine it being cast on T2 (Steel Overseer or Arcbound Ravager) or T3 (Master of Etherium, or Hardened Scales (if not out yet) and a 2 drop, or even Day's Undoing). T4 is usually kill turn.

You're probably right. I by olaw at Thu, 07/09/2015 - 07:27
olaw's picture

You're probably right. I just like the idea of combining Walker with Hardened Scales but it may still be a bit too slow.

Fun to see your thoughts on by Procrastination at Wed, 07/08/2015 - 20:13
Procrastination's picture

Fun to see your thoughts on the new set.

Kytheon - I'm not sure if Kytheon is a complete replacement to Dryad Militant. Militant's ability has strong potential in the developing meta - slows down the casting of Delve cards (the beaters and BI), inhibiting Snapcaster, splash damage on decks like UR Storm. Kytheon might be ok when ramming fair creature decks against each other, but he gets outclassed quickly against most beaters, 3 mana is pricey, and that trigger could be a struggle to attain. It'll take testing to be sure, but I'm not as excited as others.

Right now, I'd say Days Undoing or the Harbinger of Tides will be the easy upfront winners. My dark horses are Tainted Remedy (a casual all star), Evolutionary Leap and Dark Petition.

- Gio

Thank for the comment Gio. I by olaw at Thu, 07/09/2015 - 07:26
olaw's picture

Thank for the comment Gio.

I was perhaps a little harsh on the Militant as its ability is far from irrelevant but I've generally found it less impactful than I would like. I think the power level of Kytheon exceeds that of the Militant considerably and it is a far better late game drop if you are then in a position to flip it. I agree that it probably isn't the easiest to flip and that realistically you aren't going to sit with three mana up to protect your Kytheon most of the time. However, the reason that I compared it to Dryad Militant is that if you are in the market for a one-mana 2/1 anyway, Kytheon seem like a natural upgrade as it has such a big upside if you flip it. Whether it is strong enough to find a home beyond that I also remain skeptical without testing.

Day's Undoing does seem like the most powerful card in the set at least in the absract, but I would also like to test it. Harbinger possibly warranted a place on my list. I'm yet to be entirely convinced but I didn't like Tidebinder Mage when it was printed and that has done very well. Certainly should make an impact in Merfolk.

Evolutionary Leap is a card I actually like quite a lot the more I've thought about it. Definitely want to build some decks around it and see what can be achieved.

4x Caverns of Souls is a by Bazaar of Baghdad at Thu, 07/09/2015 - 11:51
Bazaar of Baghdad's picture

4x Caverns of Souls is a no-brainer for that particular Goblins list (the only downside is needing a first-turn Bolt with no other lands or having two Caverns, no other lands, and Dragon Fodder or War Marshall upkeep - these pale in comparison to uncounterability). To Mutavault or not to Mutavault - that is the question. Even if it means upping the land count slightly or taking up sideboard realty, I think the answer is probably yes, at least to a couple. Then again, the control matchups might already be favorable. Caverns also helps get Earwig Squad for the sideboard to help fight combo decks (Auntie's Hovel can also give untapped R/B mana).

Still maybe better is fetches and Stomping Ground for Atarka's Command which is an all-star for the deck, and Destructive Revelry and Tin-Street Hooligan from the sideboard. Alternatively, Foundry gives access to Path and Helix.

Sideboard Potentials: Molten Rain, Earwig Squad, Searing Blaze (but probably not with Caverns/Mutavault), Sulfur Elemental, Skullcrack, graveyard hate (2x Grafdigger's Cage best as also good against Elves?), Flame Slash or Titan's strength to beat up Goyfs, and a single Goblin King when mountainwalk is relevant.

Excellent comment, thanks. I by olaw at Thu, 07/09/2015 - 12:10
olaw's picture

Excellent comment, thanks.

I was thinking the same thing with the manabase but I decided to just go simple. Cavern seems great against the control decks and making sure your Goblin Piledriver doesn't get countered on the way down is pretty big - though there are some minor downsides as you have mentioned. Mutavault is also a card that seems like a great fit but may cause some mana awkwardness. I like Mutavault but not sure how many we want unless we increase the size of the manabase.

Earwig Squad is pretty cool sideboard tech - never tried that one out.

Atarka's Command could be very good with Goblins. I've yet to have a chance to play with the card but certainly seems like a solid choice.

Nice sideboard options too!