Thursday, 25 September 2014

MTG: 12 Intriguing Cards from Khans of Tarkir

(Let's get this out of the way now...)

Khans of Tarkir, the newest expansion for Magic: The Gathering, will be out Friday. After attending last weekend's prerelease (and somehow winning it!), and looking over all of the spoilers, there are a handful of cards, like in any set, that I am most intrigued by.

As you can see, this list have quite an Abzan bent (the White, Green, and Black clan). The Abzan clan fits my grindy Orzhov style, and playing this style of deck requires an amazing amount of decision making.

Why didn't I Play JESkai? Despite the awesome name, the White-Blue-Red style of deck has never suited me all that well. Jeskai decks can tend to be a bit more fragile, and require a good amount of trickery. I prefer decks that have some good amount of defense and protection, while allowing me to slowly grind away for long-term advantage.

12. Jeskai Ascendancy

The Old Combo Jes would be all over this card. Here is an easy two-card combo that generates infinite tokens.

This card is amazingly and deceptively powerful, even without the combo potential. The problem is that, again, I rarely play the American colour scheme.

11. Utter End

Sure it's just a one-for-one removal spell, but the Orzhov mage in me will want about 30 of these for my various Black/White decks. Instant speed exiling is always potent, especially if you can hit those pesky planeswalkers.

I'd also like somebody to alter one and put a cow on it. Moo!

10. Bear's Companion

Any creature that comes with other creatures is worth considering, especially when it's a 4/4 bear! My Riku EDH deck will definitely want this pair. It's not easy to play, being 3 colours, but it is a very powerful uncommon.

9. Altar of the Brood

This artifact is deceptively powerful, turning any land drop into a Mill-1 for all opponents. Combine this with fetchlands and token makers, and you can very easily mill your opponent a bunch of times with little effort.

I don't plan to play this in my mill deck, so much as I'd put it in a Mimeoplasm deck where I want my opponents to have NomNoms for my pets. 

8. The Abzan Lords

OK, this is technically three cards, but they all fill the same type of role in the casual Abzan deck I'll be building. After playing them at the pre-release, I can appreciate how well they work together.

This trio basically function as 'lords', as they grant your team certain abilities, providing you meet the requirements. They also grow themselves, giving you a good way to use extra mana. Think of them as harder-to-use slivers :)

7. Bloodsoaked Champion

How can a guy with a shield in each hand not bloody be able to block? o.O

This was another card I had in my pre-release pool, and it is one of the better 1-drop creatures ever printed.

Besides the fact it's an efficient, aggressive, creature, it will just keep coming back again and again and... again.

Read the ability carefully, and you realize you can bring back the Champion the same turn he attacks and dies a traumatic death.

6. Sultai Flayer

Not such Roose Bolton have we seen such a dreadful flayer!

This was played against me at the pre-release, and it gave my opponent about 12+ life each game. Besides the four life you will gain when it dies, your other fatties turn into life-nourishing snacks when they hit the bin.

5. Sultai Charm

For casual play, I think this is the best charm of them all. The flexibility to handle most troublesome permanent is all that you can ask for in a card, and you will likely always have a target for this. Any BUG/Sultai deck ought to easily have a spot for this, and I can see it replacing other removal spells that I have in those decks.

4. Abzan Ascendancy

It's hard not to like this enchantment, as it can grow your existing team. For Abzan, turning on the lords (not in *that* way, pervs!) is key to victory, and this allows you to do it without tapping them to use the Outlast ability.

This card also provides some removal and wrath protection, giving you a nice ghost once the original creatures bite the dust. If you overextend, or get wrathed out, it is nice to not be left empty-handed.

3. Duneblast

He who controls the spice controls the board!

This was my pre-release MVP, despite the heavy mana cost. Yeah, I don't normally play 7-mana wraths, but this one is damn well worth it! This limited format was quite slow and allowed for big spells to be played.

Being able to clear the board of pesky rodents, and then swing in with your best creature? That is such a good feeling. It can often suck to wipe the board when you have a creature you don't really want to have die, so why not have your cake and eat it to?

In multi-player, there is an added political aspect to this card, as it may be somebody else's creature that you let live. Yes, I'd like you to attack Jace, the Wallet Sculptor, for me next turn!

2. Siege Rhino

Another bloody Abzan card, I know :)

Still, how could you not like the value on this Rhino? A 4/5 trampler that also does three damage to each opponent? Oh, I also get three life? Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

I don't understand the flavour of this card, but that won't stop me from using and abusing it (Don't call PETA on me, thanks) in my Junk Reanimator build. Blinking and reanimating this creature just feels so dirty.

1. Villainous Wealth

I'll finish with the card that made me squee like a little girl at a One Direction concert when it was first spoiled.

Remember Genesis Wave?

Introducing ... NEMESIS WAVE!

My playgroup buddies know how much I love to 'borrow' their stuff! There are so many cool cards that I never get to play, so this is my chance to do so.

While the mana investment will be quite high, being able to borrow a big pile of your opponents deck gets Greedy Jes all shuttering with excitement. A Genesis Wave on your opponents deck is boom or bust, but it will likely always be fun ... for me, at least ;)


So, while I'm mostly looking at the Abzan cards in this set, there are many other cool cards that could find their way into existing decks. The Abzan is the one clan I'll be building around, while most of the other cool cards will just find their way into my existing decks.

What cards from this set excite you?