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By: gwyned, gwyned
Aug 10 2015 12:00pm
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I. Introduction

Magic Origins, the last of the Core sets for Magic the Gathering, is now in the books. By now, we've seen how this new set will affect Standard, and heard all sorts of analysis on how this new Limited format plays out. But today, I will finish up my analysis of Magic Origins from the perspective of the Standard Pauper player. This set introduces us to three new mechanics, while also bringing back two other mechanics from previous sets that will also now be available to any future set. As always, I will assume you already know exactly how these mechanics work, so if you're not familiar with them, it might be worth taking some time to do that. In Part One, I took a first look at the creatures and spells that make use of these five mechanics. Then, in Part Two, I analyzed all of the reprints at Common. Today, in the final installment of this review, I will review the one Common cycle in the format before turning to the rest of the Commons in the set.

If you've read my previous set reviews, you should be familiar with my methodology. Rather than assigning a particular letter grade, I will instead note each card as a "hit or myth" and discuss why I believe this card will or will not be relevant. My reasoning is simple: unlike in Limited, you will never have an instance where you have to prioritize one card over another in any meaningful way, and thus a letter grade is not that helpful in actual practice. I also make use of a third category - borderline - for those cards that aren't great, but might see some play in the right deck. Let's finish this review out strong!

II. Common Cycle

Magic Origins features a cycle of Common cards that each get better when you have multiples of them. This cycle was actually built around a single reprint - Timberpack Wolf, which I thought was an interesting design choice. Anyway, despite being united in a common theme, these five cards are fairly diverse, so it makes more sense to review them individually, rather than as a cycle.

1. Cleric of the Forward Order is the latest iteration of a White creature that grants some incidental life when it enters the battlefield. In this case though, it's a 2/2 for 1W that grants 2 Life, a strict upgrade from Venerable Monk and its ilk. Not quite as good as Lone Missionary, but a huge upgrade from the surprisingly similar Tireless Missionaries, which cost twice as much for only one extra point of Toughness. And obviously if you manage to get just one more on the battlefield at the same time, the extra life gained is quite significant. Still, the best part about this card is that a 2/2 for 2 in White is practically playable all by itself. It's not amazing, but it will probably see some play.

Verdict: Borderline - I wouldn't advance it forward to the front of the line, but it's worth considering.

2. Faerie Miscreant is decidedly worse. Alone, it's just a 1/1 Flying creature for U, which isn't anywhere close to being good enough to make the cut in Standard Pauper. You have to at least play a second one to get any value out the ability, which in this case is drawing an extra card. But unlike all the others, this doesn't really get better in multiples; no matter how many of these faeries you manage to get on the battlefield, you only draw a single card each time. If the first one drew a card itself, this might find a home in a heavy Blue control archetype. But as this card stands, I don't imagine that this will see much if any play. A 1/1 for 1, even with Flying, simply isn't enough value.

Verdict: Myth - Playing these is almost criminal.

3. Undead Servant appears to be the closest thing we're going to get to Gravedigger at Common. Once more, the first one doesn't actually get any extra benefit, making it merely a 3/2 for 3B, which is pretty marginal. Then, you've got to actually get it into the Graveyard before you get any value from it when the next one enters play. On the other hand, if you manage to draw all four copies and get three of them into the Graveyard, on that last casting you're getting 3 2/2 Zombies, which is about as powerful an effect as you'll ever see at Common. The upside here is amazingly good, but the worst case scenario isn't that great. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if someone comes up with a way to abuse it.

Verdict: Hit - If you can get multiples, this will serve to generate a whole host of valuable dead.

4. Upon seeing Infectious Bloodlust for the first time, one is immediately reminded of Squadron Hawk from Magic 2011, which also allowed you to chain multiple copies of the same card together. Of course, this will be significantly weaker, as it not only is a creature Aura instead of a creature, but it also only activates when the enchanted creature dies, rather than when the enchantment enters the battlefield. Still, this seems like a worthy addition to an aggressive tokens-style deck that has no issues with swinging in each turn and should easily have plenty of targets for the additional copies as they come. It's probably not that great outside of that specific archetype, but still should see some play.

Verdict: Borderline -  Playing these in Mono Red could prove quite infectious!

5. Timberpack Wolf is the one that apparently inspired this enter cycle, and despite being a reprint it seems to fit very well within this cycle. A vanilla 2/2 for 2 in Green is pretty subpar, and even with two of them in play, you're still only getting two 3/3s for your effort. In Theros block alone Green already has several decent to good 2 drop creatures, including Swordwise Centaur, which is arguably more consistent even if its potential is much lower, as well as the excellent Leafcrown Dryad, which doubles as either a cheap 2/2 with Reach or as a potent Aura. Timberpack Wolf might be perfectly acceptable in Limited, where you'll happily play 2/2s for 2 most of the time. But in Standard Pauper, I doubt this will see much play.

Verdict: Myth - If you don't see why this is bad, you can't see the forest for the trees.

III. The Rest of the Commons
A. White

1. When I first saw Akroan Jailer, I was delighted and somewhat surprised that Wizards had reprinted a tapper at Common, especially as a 1/1 for 1. However, as it turns out, this is not a great card. Having to pay 2W each and every time you activate its ability is quite steep, especially compared to cards of the past like Blinding Mage. By the time that you can pay this cost without having it cripple your ability to cast any other spells that turn, being able to tap down a single creature often won't make that much of an impact. If a White based Control archetype emerges, this might be worth considering. But outside of that unlikely scenario, I don't think this will see much if any play.

Verdict: Myth - It's probably best to keep it sealed away inside your virtual binder.

2. Ampryn Tactician is actually a close reprint of Leonin Armorguard, save for the absence of Green in its mana cost. A 3/3 for 2WW isn't terrible, but what makes this card shine is its ability to pump your whole team when it enters the battlefield. In a White or Boros tokens build, this is excellent value, getting the equivalent of the sacrifice cost of Selfless Cathar while actually leaving a very relevant 3/3 body behind. Even outside of these archetypes, boosting all your creatures by +1 / +1 is a pretty decent effect, provided you're on the offensive and have several other creatures already on the board. So while this card isn't amazing, it's actually pretty good, and I suspect it's worth testing out in several different decks.

Verdict: Borderline - A wise tactician will know when this card will be at its best.

3. On first glance, Aven Battle Priest looks quite promising. It's a 3/3 with Flying that also grants some incidental Life gain when it enters the virtual battlefield, all of which is very strong. But of course, the problem is the 5W mana cost. With cards such as Sunspire Griffin still fresh in our memories, paying twice as much mana for a single extra point of Power and 3 Life is just way too expensive. For one mana less, this might at least be worth considering. But as is, you're essentially paying a full extra mana just for the 3 life you gain, which is pretty bad. Even with a secondary ability such as First Strike or Vigilance, I'm still not convinced it would be enough to warrant the 6 mana cost.

Verdict: Myth - The problem this is h'aven is that it's too expensive for battle.

4. Enlightened Ascetic is essentially Erase on a creature, albeit a very meager 1/1. If you're playing an Orzhov build with the ability to return creatures from your Graveyard, this might be a worthy Sideboard card against opponents playing lots of relevant Enchantments. But otherwise, a 1/1 for 1 isn't really enough incentive to make this your Enchantment-hate card of choice with cards such as Revoke Existence or even Ray of Dissolution still in the format. So while I personally am excited to see this type of effect coming back on creatures at Common, the creature in question needs to be a bit more relevant before cards like this start seeing play again in the format.

Verdict: Myth - Enlightenment will not be found by playing this card.

5. Grasp of the Hieromancer is a card that looks bad at first glance but is probably better than it looks. For the same cost as Pacifism, you get to not only tap down one of your opponent's creatures whenever this creature attacks, but you also get a small boost to the enchanted creature's Power and Toughness. The biggest downside, of course, is that you actually have to attack with the creature to activate the effect, giving your opponent a great opportunity to deal with the creature and get a two-for-one even on a trade when both creatures die. But in a Heroic archetype or something similar where you can protect the enchanted creature, this could prove to be quite the game-changer.

Verdict: Borderline - I hope you can grasp how this might be useful.

6. Apparently Wizards got the memo that pure Life gain spells are bad no matter how much Life they restore. Healing Hands only restores 4 Life, but at least it replaces itself. However, don't for a second think that means this card is worth playing. 3 mana is costly for such a mediocre effect, it's not even at Instant speed, and the amount of Life you gain is quite low. It's a shame that Wizards no longer allows card such as these to instead prevent damage to a creature, as that would be the only way that this card or others like it might ever be worth including in your deck. But as is, there is absolutely no scenario where you want to be playing this card. Don't do it.

Verdict: Myth - Hands off that card!

7. Heavy Infantry is the much larger version of Leonin Snarecaster, and certainly has the advantage of being a much more relevant creature as a 3/4 as opposed to a 2/1. But you're paying an additional 3 mana for that difference. Most of the time, decks that want to tap down a creature like this are aggressive enough that they're playing a pretty lean and cheap deck in regards to mana cost, which means that 5 mana is just too expensive. Still, it's not like White has a lot of good options in that slot, so this certainly might be worth playing in a more midrange type of build. In the end though, it's just not that exciting, so I wouldn't expect to see very much of this card.

Verdict: Borderline - Definitely not a heavy hitter.

8. Suppression Bonds joins both Pacifism and Oppressive Rays as our third such Aura that locks down creatures in White, and has the added utility of also keeping the enchanted creature from using any activated abilities as well. While most of the time Pacifism will be the card of choice for this role, the presence of cards like Heliod's Pilgrim means that it might be worth playing a deck with lots of different Enchantments to fetch out of your deck and/or return from the Graveyard. How useful this card will ultimately prove will depend on how relevant the ability to suppress activated abilities ends up being. As such, this is more of a narrow answer to specific situations rather than an all-around good card.

Verdict: Borderline - I hate to suppress your excitement, but I wouldn't get too bonded to this card.

B. Blue

1. Artificer's Epiphany is almost an Instant Speed Divination, but does require you to control at least one Artifact. Unfortunately, we have had very few relevant Artifacts in the format as of late, and as of yet I am unsure whether Magic Origins will change that. Still, even without an Artifact, this spell is draw one then "loot," which is still pretty good value for an Instant speed 2U spell. In a deck without Artifacts, Weave Fate will obviously be a better choice for only 1 additional mana, but the upside of being cheaper is certainly enough to make this card worth playing over it even if your chances of actually having the Artifact aren't that high. So while not amazing, this is a card I would expect to see some of moving forward.

Verdict: Borderline - It shouldn't require an epiphany to recognize what decks this would be good in.

2. It's hard to get over the shock of seeing a 1/2 Flying creature for 3U, no matter what additional text Aspiring Aeronaut may have. Once you factor in the 1/1 token, you're still only getting 2 Power and 3 Toughness for 4 mana, albeit split into two  creatures, both of which have fairly meager stats. Unless you're playing an archetype that is getting a ton of value out of these Artifact tokens, this card is generally not good. Worse, Blue doesn't really have any token synergies available to it in the current metagame. Like any creature with a decent 'enters-the-battlefield' ability, this gets better if you have ways of recurring it, but even in such a deck I'm not sure this is really what you want to do being.

Verdict: Myth - I don't aspire to play this card.

3. Deep-Sea Terror may be the most relevant Sea Serpent analog to see print at Common in a long time. In most Blue decks, it should be trivial to get seven cards into your Graveyard by the time you want to attack with this, giving you a very beefy 6/6 in a color that usually has pretty low Power creatures. On the other hand, it does run into the problem that it lacks any form of evasion, and thus isn't too difficult for your opponent simply to chump-block this multiple times. There is also plenty of ways to remove this that aren't concerned with its extra high Toughness. Nonetheless, if you're looking for a big finisher in Blue, you could certainly do much worse than this card.

Verdict: Borderline - I am terrified of seeing this across the table from me.

4. I love seeing creatures with Flash at Common, so I was definitely intrigued with Nivix Barrier. However, it's fairly expensive for what it does, combining a weaker version of Hydrosurge that leaves behind a Kraken Hatchling for what is essentially double-cost for both sides of the card. This is certainly a great way to take the punch out of your opponent's attack, allowing you to unexpectedly block one creature and stripping away most if not all of the Power of another. Usually though you want access to these types of effects pretty quickly against a very aggressive deck, and by the time you have four mana at your disposal, it's probably too late. This is a neat card, but probably not actually that playable.

Verdict: Myth - Its cost of entry is a pretty high barrier.

5. Separatist Voidmage is one of the better Blue creatures in the set, harkening back to the days of Aether Adept but costing an additional mana (but without the double-Blue mana symbols). While a vanilla 2/2 isn't really what you're look for, the ability to return any creature to its owner's hand is typically pretty strong, and particularly so in a format where we've got quite a bit of Aura-based removal spells. Still, right now Aven Surveyor is probably a stronger version of this card, since despite the one extra mana it not only has Evasion but also has the ability to instead boost itself to a 3/3. But in a tempo-based Blue or Izzet build, the fact that this is cheaper might actually make it better for that deck.

Verdict: Borderline - A thin margin separates this from being quite strong.

C. Black

1. Deadbridge Shaman is the new Black Cat, giving you an impressive boost of 2 Power for only a single additional mana. Unlike Black Cat, this can actually attack for significant damage, and the loss of a card certainly incentivizes your opponent not to block. On the other hand, unlike Black Cat this card allows your opponent to select which card he or she wants to discard, so if they've drawn an extra Land, the penalty for blocking this is much less. Still, 3 Power means that this card will more than likely trade with whatever blocks it, giving you a built-in two-for-one. This should slot in very nicely into Dimir and MonoBlack control builds, and is worth consideration in almost any decklist with access to Black.

Verdict: Hit - Having a built-in two-for-one means this is never a dead card.

2. Eyeblight Assassin was spoiled fairly early on, and it definitely was a good indicator of the complexity level we would see in the set at Common. While there are certainly some matchups where the -1 / -1 effect won't have a good target from your opponent, much of the time this should be able to kill something, even if it's just a token. You can also wait to play this until after combat, using the effect to deal a final point of damage to a weakened creature. And as a 2/2 for 2B, anything you manage to kill makes this worth at least one and a half cards, which is great value. Like the previous card, this seems like it should easily warrant a spot in Control based Black lists, and should be considered in almost any Black deck.

Verdict: Hit - This will certainly be a blight on all the tokens running around.

3. Fetid Imp doesn't look all that great, but you could certainly do worse. A 1/2 with Flying for 1B is fair but not typically something that would see play in the format. The Deathtouch goes a long way towards making this more relevant, but it does require you to hold up that one Black mana in order to activate it. Most of the time, your opponent won't really want to trade one of their flyers for such a wimpy creature, so this card should be able to get into the red zone more often than not. In a pinch, it can also trade with just about anything. This card definitely is at its best in a more Control archetype, where you're more concerned about inevitability rather than raw damage.

Verdict: Borderline - It might be a bit fetid, but it's certainly not a stinker.

4. Infernal Scarring is an odd Aura. Enchantments that don't pump Toughness are generally bad even in Limited, let alone Standard Pauper, and so that doesn't give you much incentive to play this card. On the other hand, this spell at least replaces itself when the creature dies, and with the boost in Power, it's likely to trade with most other creatures in combat, essentially allowing you to break even on casting the Aura. It certainly is strange, however, that it seems to push you towards killing your own creature.  In a pinch, you could even cycle this by casting it on one of your opponent's creatures before killing it. But at its best, this card just doesn't do enough. And when it's bad, it is really bad.

Verdict: Myth - This is some infernal trick to make you lose more games.

5. Nightsnare is an interesting variant on Mind Rot, giving you some added choice for the extra colorless mana. Once you've taken a look at your opponent's hand, you should have a good idea whether or not you need to remove a particular card or whether you would be content simply letting them discard two. Generally speaking, if your opponent isn't mana short and has multiple Lands in hand, you'll be better off choosing what he or she discards; otherwise, getting the two-for-one is probably the better choice. While this is certainly expensive, and does nothing to affect the board on a critical turn, the advantage of seeing your opponent's hand and getting to make the choice keeps this in the realm of playability.

Verdict: Borderline - In the right scenario, this could certainly help snare you a win.

6. It's always good to see high Power creatures with Flying in Black, but Rabid Bloodsucker is not the most promising of cards. For 4B, you would expect to get at least a 3/3 with Flying without any drawback. Instead, this card not only punishes you by losing life but also leaves you with one Toughness smaller than you would expect. Almost any other Flying creature that sees play will be able to trade off with this, even one that costs less mana. Had this cost one mana less, this card might have been worth considering. Or even better, swap out the loss of life for a small "drain" effect instead, similar to Bloodhunter Bat, and you'd have something worth considering. But as is, I don't expect this will see any play.

Verdict: Myth - I hate to say it, but this just sucks.

7. Reave Soul is hardly the return of Doom Blade, but it's probably as close as we'll come in this new era of design. While it is unfortunate that this is only at Sorcery speed, the fact of the matter is that few Commons have more than 3 Power, meaning this will be relevant against the majority of creatures in the format. Good, cheap removal is hard to come by outside of Red, so this effect should be welcome in most Black-based decks, particularly more midrange or aggressive decks that can't afford to wait for more unconditional but expensive spells like Flesh to Dust. So while I don't expect this to be an all-star, it is still one of the better removal spells in Black, and as such should see play.

Verdict: Borderline - This is a solid way to steal a march on your opponent.

8. Shambling Ghoul is surprisingly efficient for Black, as a 2/3 for 2 is excellent value even if it does enter the battlefield tapped. In fact, unless you need an early blocker, this drawback isn't that painful, since the creature will still be able to attack at its earliest opportunity. Of course, this card is still just a vanilla 2/3, which while relevant early on, generally wouldn't be considered good enough to see much play. As such, I don't expect this would find a home outside of a pretty aggressive Black or Rakdos style deck, or perhaps one that is looking to trade off creatures early to fuel a dedicated Delve build. So while it's great to see Black get such an efficient creature, ultimately this probably won't have a big impact.

Verdict: Borderline - Somehow this stumbles on the path to greatness.

9. How good would a one-drop creature have to be in order to make it a relevant card in the format? Thornbow Archer is a 1/2 for 1 that pings your opponent if he or she doesn't have an Elf in play. But even with the extra point of Toughness and the slight extra damage, this still isn't a good card. Granted, if you're playing a hyper aggressive build that only wants to reduce your opponent's Life total as quickly as possible, this might actually be worth considering. But generally speaking, one-drops just don't pack enough value to be worth a whole card, and drawing one anytime outside of your opening hand is practically a mulligan. So while I like the flavor and design, this is not a card that you should be playing.

Verdict: Myth - This doesn't hit the target.

10. Touch of Moonglove has quite a bit of text for a card that basically is just a simple combat trick. It is very similar to Coat with Venom from Dragons of Tarkir, but trades the two points of Toughness for dealing two extra points of damage to your opponent. Generally speaking then, this card at best enables the targeted creature to trade with whatever it is in combat with, meaning that you're taking on a one-for-two against you for the slight upside of 2 extra damage. While there certainly are scenarios where you might be willing to cash in an otherwise irrelevant creature, playing a card that loses you card advantage most of the time is not how you win most matches of Magic.

Verdict: Myth - Don't touch this even with kid (or moon) gloves.

D. Red

1. Ghirapur Gearcrafter is essentially Sandsteppe Outcast reborn in Red, which has proven to be quite good in White or Boros token builds. While I am uncertain whether those archetypes are looking for another full playset of this type of card, on the whole the Gearcrafter should be quite good. Additionally, it gives Red token builds another option, one that is particularly welcome thanks to its built-in evasion. This might also earn a spot in some form of an Izzet tempo build, especially if that deck can take advantage of Artifact synergies and/or recursion tricks. Overall, while not particularly powerful, there is enough potential value from this card that I expect it will see play in a few different decks.

Verdict: Borderline - It won't always be good, but you craft lots of scenarios where it will be.

2. Prickleboar is an oddity in that it is an expensive Red card that really is at its best in an aggressive deck. Clearly a 3/3 for 4R is a bad deal no matter how you look at it; conversely, a 5/3 First Strike for 5 is a much better deal, albeit one that is still fairly vulnerable to lots of different kinds of removal. While this is too expensive for any RDW style deck, and probably not defensive enough for a Control archetype, it might slot in fairly effectively in a more midrange Gruul deck that combines big fatties with mana acceleration and combat tricks. Unfortunately, that style of deck has not proven very popular or effective, so that doesn't make me optimistic about this card seeing much play.

Verdict: Borderline - While it prickles my fancy, I doubt it's really that good.

3. Conversely, Subterranean Scout seems tailor built for an aggressive Red deck. A 2/1 for 1R is a perfectly serviceable 2-drop in such a deck, and the fact that it enables you to crash is with another 2 Power creature the turn it comes into play is a pretty decent effect. It also combos well with spells that grant a major boost to a creature's Power, since if your opponent is tapped out you can wait until after the creature is made unblockable and then pump it up to deal massive damage to your opponent. However, outside of that archetype, this isn't really a card that is generally that good, since unless you can get great value when it comes into play, you're just getting a meager 2/1 for 2.

Verdict: Borderline - This certainly will allow you to bury your opponent under a horde of cheap attackers.

4. Volcanic Rambler does something you almost never see at Common anymore: a repeatable mana-sink that can actually turn into a win-condition. It's already a Red Craw Wurm that is even easier to cast, and while such a card isn't generally played in Standard Pauper, it's still a decent threat. But if you can play and protect this card in a Control build, you should be able to activate its ability multiple times over the course of a turn to finish off your opponent within a relatively short period of time. Of course, most of the time it makes a lot more sense simply to smash in with it instead, but this does give you some surprising utility to what is otherwise a fairly straightforward card.

Verdict: Borderline - Don't mistake my rambling for a verdict that card is actually great.

E. Green

1. Speaking of things you rarely see at Common, Aerial Volley is costed like a Lightning Bolt that only targets creatures with Flying, and even allows you to distribute the damage among three such creatures. This is a perfect answer for White-based token strategies, since the presence of both Triplicate Spirits and Sandsteppe Outcast means that deck generally has plenty of 1 Toughness flyers; furthermore, it also takes out Thopter Tokens. Of course, when it comes to dealing with individual cards, Plummet is probably better, since you will sometimes run into Flying creatures with more than 3 Toughness, and those are generally the ones that are toughest to deal with.

Verdict: Borderline - It's great potential in the air, but somewhat of a situational answer.

2. Caustic Caterpillar is somewhat similar to Enlightened Ascetic, but with one major difference. Rather than having to target an Enchantment when it comes into play, this card can activate its ability at Instant Speed for the same cost and effect as Naturalize. As such, you can use it to chump block or get in for a few points of damage early on before actually using its sacrifice ability, and even when you draw it late, you're still just paying one extra Green mana in the worst case to get rid of your opponent's Artifact or Enchantment. Most of the time then, this will take up the slot normally held by Naturalize, and it should be quite good in that role, even if it does usually start out in the Sideboard.

Verdict: Borderline - I don't think it's caustic to call this playable but not exciting.

3. Hitchclaw Recluse is a virtual reprint of Rib Cage Spider all the way from Prophecy, and appears to be our Giant Spider variant of the format. Unfortunately, I would much rather pay the one extra mana for the extra point of Power you get with the Giant Spider, as a "french vanilla" 1/4 just isn't that relevant most of the time. As is, this is just a Green Horned Turtle with Reach, and would need a relevant secondary ability to be considered playable. It's a shame this isn't instead a cousin of Deadly Recluse, since adding Deathtouch to this card would go a long way. Even with all of the Flying tokens that exist in the metagame, there just isn't enough value here to make the cut.

Verdict: Myth - You can take this back to where it was hiding.

4. Speaking of Giant Spider, Mantle of Webs seems designed to let you build your own for about half the cost, since enchanting even a 1/1 with this card would give you the exact same stats. I generally evaluate creature Auras on whether or not they boost Toughness, and the 3 point boost this gives is certainly relevant. On the other hand, if what you're really looking for is a way to deal with Flying creatures, once again Plummet is probably your card of choice. While this card makes a sweet combo with Whirlwind Adept, outside of that interaction I can't come up with much in the way of effective use for this card. So as with the case with Auras, you'll be better off most of the time if you just don't play them.

Verdict: Myth - Don't get caught playing this card.

5. Vine Snare is our Fog variant for the format, and this time it's specifically built to allow Green's massive fatties to still deal damage. This is a pretty narrow effect, and if you're looking for a conditional Fog tailor-built for Green, Hunter's Ambush is also an Instant for 2G that is much easier to set up. And while that card might be worth a few Sideboard slots, Vine Snare is decidedly worse in that most of the time in Standard Pauper you simply don't have access to creatures with 5 or more Power. And in those rare cases where your opponent is beating you down with such a monster, this card is worse than Fog since it won't even be able to give you that slight reprieve against the damage.

Verdict: Myth - This card is a trap that you'd best avoid.

6. Every set seems to include a Green Fight card now, and unfortunately they are generally worse than the original Fight card Prey Upon. In this case, you're paying 3G just to get a +2 / +2 boost, and it's still just at Sorcery speed. In fact, I would argue that any of the other Fight cards in Standard Pauper right now are superior to this card, but especially Savage Punch, since it costs half as much provided that you have a creature with at least 4 Power. Other than Time to Feed, none of these Fight cards will rotate with Standard in the fall, so even after rotation there still won't be any reason to play this card. I suppose we didn't really need another such card in the format, but this is still pretty disappointing.

Verdict: Myth - If your instincts are not to play this card, you should heed them.

F. Artifacts

1. We don't get much in the way of Artifacts at Common, so it's always interesting to see what actually makes it into print. Alchemist's Vial is pretty mediocre, giving you a one-time chance to keep a creature from attacking or blocking, but at least it replaces itself when it enters the battlefield. But unless your building around some sort of major Artifact synergy, such a weak effect certainly isn't worth a slot in your deck. Even in a hyper aggressive deck that normally can make use of cards that keep your opponent's creatures from blocking, you generally have much more relevant things to do with 2 mana. All that is to say that this card is bad, and as such you shouldn't be playing it in your deck.

Verdict: Myth - If this is the best this alchemist can do, I think you should fire him.

2. Bonded Construct certainly pushes the boundary of what could be considered a one-drop Artifact creature, giving you a surprisingly relevant 2/1 with the downside that it requires another creature to attack alongside it if it's going to get into the red zone. In a hyper aggressive build that plays out a lot of creatures quickly, this might actually be worth a slot, if for no other reason than you get 2 Power worth of damage and can probably still drop another creature that same turn. It can even block in a pinch, trading with most other low drops, which is pretty good for a card that only costs one mana. But outside of a hyper aggressive archetype, this generally isn't a card you want to include in your deck.

Verdict: Myth - You can construct ways that this could be good, but don't get too attached to them.

3. Guardian Automaton is a perfectly serviceable Hill Giant without any color restrictions, and even gives you an additional 3 Life when it dies. But that still isn't much better than a vanilla creature, and much of the time that incidental Life won't come early enough to make a big difference. Like most Artifact creatures at Common, you probably won't play this unless other cards in your deck strongly reward you for playing Artifacts. Given how few of those cards are in the format, that isn't really a viable option right now, and as such there are simply better cards you could be playing for four mana. Which just goes to show that outside of sets with a pronounced Artifact theme, most Common Artifacts will always be mediocre.

Verdict: Myth - I automatically come up with ways this might be serviceable, but I need to guard against them.

4. Veteran's Sidearm is the first Equipment card we've had at Common in quite some time that actually boosts both Power and Toughness, albeit only for a single point apiece. But it's cheap to play, and even cheaper to Equip, both of which are important when it comes to determining the relevance of any piece of Equipment. However, it remains to be seen whether +1 / +1 does enough to make this worth including in your deck. I suspect that it might be good in a tokens strategy, where it allows you to turn any token into a much more viable threat. You definitely want a high creature count if you're going to get enough value out of this. More time and testing will definitely be needed before I can render judgment on this one.

Verdict: Borderline - Even as a veteran of the format, I'm not sure about this one.

IV. Conclusion

I can't believe it, but that's officially the end of my Standard Pauper review of Magic Origins. I have no idea why this was such a tough set for me to evaluate, but I'm relieved to finally bring it to a close. In closing, let me remind you that you can check out all of my previous articles here on PureMTGO by clicking here. I also publish over on my blog on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and encourage you to keep up with all my projects there. You can get a sneak peek at any of my videos before they go live here at over on Simply search for "gwyned42," select one of my videocasts, and click the Subscribe button. You can keep up with everything I'm doing on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow. Finally, I am the host of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, which is a weekly PRE featuring a Swiss tournament in the Standard Pauper format, with prizes awarded for the Top 8 finishers thanks to the sponsorship of MTGOTraders. As always, if you've never checked out MPDC, I encourage you to browse over to for all the information and then come join us at 2:00pm EST / 6:00pm GMT in the /join MPDC room.