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BATTLE BOX REVIEW AND DANGER ROOM UPDATE: M2021

The Spoilers for Core Set M2021 and the Jumpstart Decks are complete which means it’s time for a Battle Box Review and Danger Room Stack update! 

What is Battle Boxing? It’s a community format where players draw from a shared stack of spell cards that does not include any lands. Instead of drawing lands from the deck, each player begins the game with 10 identical lands in exile that can be played one per turn as though they were in hand:

Coastal TowerElfhame SanctuaryShivan OasisUrborg VolcanoSalt MarshIsland (335)Plains (331)Mountain (343)Swamp (339)Forest (347)

Each player (the format can be played 1v1 or multiplayer) draws a six card hand of all spells and will always hit their first ten lands drops in a row (never mana screwed) and never draw additional lands from the dec (never mana flooded). 

The great thing about Battle Box is that it’s always ready to go at the drop of a hat when people want to play Magic. There’s no set up, no muss, and no fuss. Crack open the box and 30 seconds later you and a friend can be playing a really fun game of MTG. 

The Danger Room is my personal Battle Box. In fact, it is the first Battle Box to ever exist! I update and share the changes I make with each new expansion. Keep in mind, my stack is a labor of love that has been ten years in the making so don’t let the massive size discourage you from building your own stack. 

I wrote a primer a while back with a scaled back budget box.

I would say the game play is the same quality, it’s just smaller and more budget friendly, in terms of card choices. 

I don’t view or value Battle Box or Cube building as a dogmatic exercise. I encourage everyone to try out their ideas and put their own personal touches on their stacks. I also love to hear about cards people enjoy, or don’t enjoy, and I use that feedback when I make changes to Danger Room. 

Feeling Dangerous…? Alright, let’s go! 

DANGER ROOM: M2021 

I’ll start with M2021. My impression of M2021 is that it’s a little bit boring and vanilla and features a lot of reprints from the previous era of Modern Magic. 

THANK YOU WOTC!!! IT’S ABOUT TIME!!!

M2021 is the first set since Ravinca 3 that actually looks and feels like what I recognize as a Magic set. It also has a familiar Core Set feel, flavor, and function and accomplishes what Core Sets have traditionally done: add some familiar fan favorites to the mix, helps make some pricey Commander staples more accessible, and adds a few solid role players that have “traditional” MTG feel and flavor. 

A lot of the cards I’ve added in 2019+ (or, or chose to omit) feel like 2019+ cards. They are busy, complicated, and power creepy to the point that they don’t feel like they could have come from any era of Magic design other than 2019 or 2020. I appreciate that 2021 features a lot of new designs that feel like they could have been made five years ago when MTG cards had a more coherent power level. 

Core Set 2021 feels like “pumping the brakes” and I’m happy to finally see that approach utilized in a major release after a year and a half of escalating power creep. 

JUMPSTART THRIVING LANDS

I didn’t see any spells on the Jumpstart Pack Spoiler that I wanted to add to my stack. The series looked to be a lot of reprints and Commander oriented cards. With that said, the Thriving Land cycle may be a huge Battle Box game changer.

I’m going to pick up a couple of sets of these because I think they are exactly what I’ve been waiting for in terms of ideal Danger Room mana. 

Crumbling Necropolis

This ETB tapped dual is too hot!

Salt Marsh

This ETB tapped dual land is too cold! 

This ETB tapped dual land is just right!

I’ve played a lot with both the “Gate” and “Tri-Land” cycle and have been badly wanting something in the middle. Tri Lands were so good at fixing that they made mana development a little too free, but with a lower curve and greater importance on developing one’s board the Dual Lands could feel a little bit punishing (especially when an opening hand badly wanted an enemy colored dual to function best). 

The Thriving Cycle provides that flexibility in spades without making land choices irrelevant. 

I haven’t gotten to play a real game with the Thriving Lands yet, but here’s exactly how I would use them: 

  • I’d use one of each as the five nonbasic land choices but only allow each color to be chosen once total across the entire cycle when deployed. I don’t know how to explain that in a less confusing way other than to say each secondary choice can only be picked once. 

So, if you played Thriving Moor (the Black one) and named Red (to create a BR dual land) none of the other four remaining Thriving Lands can choose Red. While this may seem a little confusing at first, the upside is that it guarantees proper distribution of colors but allows early ETB dual land play access to either enemy or allied combinations. I have a couple of sets of these life counters I could use to represent the secondary, named color but I worry they are a bit clunky and cumbersome. I’m going to see how that feels and if I don’t like it will make some small laminated mana symbols that can be slipped into the sleeves to easily show what has been named (as well as what is still available in exile / reserve). 

My one gripe with the Thriving Lands is “Why don’t these have frames that reflect their primary colors?” I’ll likely modify my playset of Thriving lands to be more easily identifiable and also make laminated symbols to further clarify. 

DANGER ROOM

By BRIAN DEMARS 

ARTIFACTS & COLORLESS (60 CARDS

NO CHANGES 

1 AEther Spellbomb
1 Awakened Amalgam
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Bloodforged Battle-Axe
1 Bonesplitter
1 Chamber Sentry
1 Clockwork Servant
1 Conqueror’s Flail
1 Contagion Clasp
1 Crystal Shard
1 Crystalline Giant
1 Duplicant
1 Endless One
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Epochrasite
1 Etched Oracle
1 Filigree Familiar
1 Flayer Husk
1 Fleetwheel Cruiser
1 Fountain of Renewal
1 Ginger Brute
1 Hangarback Walker
1 It of the Horrid Swarm
1 Kitesail
1 Leonin Bola
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mask of Memory
1 Meteor Golem
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Phyrexian Furnace
1 Sai of the Shinobi
1 Peace Strider
1 Pentavus
1 Perilous Myr
1 Perilous Vault
1 Pierce Strider
1 Power Matrix
1 Pyrite Spellbomb
1 Runechanter’s Pike
1 Scrapheap Scrounger
1 Serrated Arrows
1 Shadow Spear
1 Signal Pest
1 Skyscanner
1 Smuggler’s Copter
1 Soul-Guide Lantern
1 Spellskite
1 Stitcher’s Graft
1 Stonecoil Serpent
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
1 Treasure Keeper
1 Trip Noose
1 Triskelavus
1 Triskelion
1 Voyager Staff
1 Walking Ballista
1 Wretched Gryff

MULTICOLOR (280 Cards) 

3-COLOR SHARDS & WEDGES (30 CARDS)

NO CHANGES

1 Abzan Charm
1 Anafenza, the Foremost
1 Arcades, the Strategist
1 Bant Charm
1 Crackling Doom
1 Darigaaz’s Charm
1 Doran, the Siege Tower
1 Dromar’s Charm
1 Fiery Justice
1 Gwendlyn Di Corci
1 Jund Charm
1 Lightning Angel
1 Mantis Rider
1 Marath, Will of the Wild
1 Mardu Charm
1 Mathas, Fiend Seeker - Foil
1 Punish Ignorance
1 Rhox War Monk
1 Rise/Fall
1 Savage Knuckleblade
1 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
1 Slave of Bolas
1 Sprouting Thrinax
1 Sultai Charm
1 Temur Ascendancy
1 Temur Charm
1 The Mimeoplasm
1 Trial/Error
1 Vadruk, Apex of Thunder
1 Wooly Thoctar

GUILD (2-COLOR) MULTICOLOR SPELLS (250, 25 of Each Combination) 

It’s a Core Set and so there’s not a huge depth of multicolored spells, but with that said I found a couple nice ones I’m happy to add. 

AZORIUS (25 CARDS) 

IN: 

Niambi, Esteemed Speaker

OUT: 

Time Wipe

Niambi is a great fit for my stack. I tried out Deputy of Acquittals but it was just too feeble compared to the other two-drop creatures to include. Here is an instance where Power Creep has taken a design that was cool but bypassed and caught it up to the middle of the pack. Time Wipe on the other hand… I’m happy to get this out of my stack. I’d rather include cards that are overpowered than underpowered when I can’t find a suitable replacement, but Time Wipe will likely not get an encore. 

IN:

Watcher of the Spheres

OUT:

Dramatic Rescue

I like 2/2 fliers for 2 in my stack. I typically try to avoid cards that impact mana, but Watcher is so inflexible with regard to the mana advantage it provides that it’s a space I’m willing to explore. I like Dramatic Rescue a lot and have many fond memories of casting it, but with more lower cost creatures and most of the higher cost creatures having ETB triggers a CMC =2 bounce spell isn’t how I want to use a gold slot in my stack. 

1 Absorb
1 Azorius Guildmage
1 Cloudblazer
1 Depose/Deploy
1 Dovin’s Acuity
1 Dovin’s Veto
1 Elite Guardmage
1 Hindering Light
1 Judge’s Familiar
1 Naimbi, Esteemed Speaker
1 Ojutai’s Command
1 Ordered Migration
1 Overrule
1 Reflector Mage
1 Render Silent
1 Senate Guildmage
1 Skycat Soverign
1 Spell Queller
1 Sphinx’s Insight
1 Staggering Insight
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Sygg, River Guide
1 Unsettled Mariner
1 Wall of Denial
1 Watcher of the Spheres

BOROS (25 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES

1 Basandra, the Battle Seraph
1 Boros Challenger
1 Boros Charm
1 Boros Guildmage
1 Boros Reckoner
1 Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder - Foil
1 Deafening Clarion
1 Foundry Champion
1 Goblin Legionnaire
1 Hero of Nyx Born
1 Heroic Reinforcements
1 Honored-Crop Captain
1 Integrity/Intervention
1 Intimidation Bolt
1 Justice Strike
1 Lightning Helix
1 Relentless Raptor
1 Savai Thundermare
1 Sky Terror
1 Skyknight Vanguard
1 Spitemare
1 Thundersong Trumpeter
1 Warleader’s Strike
1 Weapons Trainer

DIMIR (25 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES. 

1 Agony Warp
1 Artis, Oracle of Half Truths
1 Baleful Strix
1 Connive/Concoct
1 Consult the Necrosages
1 Countersquall
1 Devourer of Memory
1 Dimir Doppelganger
1 Dimir Guildmage
1 Dragonlord Silumgar
1 Drown in the Loch
1 Far/Away
1 Hibernation Sliver
1 Hostage Taker
1 Prized Amalgam
1 Psychatog
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Shipwreck Singer
1 Soul Diviner
1 Soul Manipulation
1 Spite/Malice
1 Thought Erasure
1 Thoughtbound Lich
1 Undermine
1 Woodlot Crawler

GOLGARI (25 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES

1 Abrupt Decay
1 Acolyte of Affliction
1 Baloth Null
1 Chevill, Bane of Monsters
1 Consume Strength
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Dreg Mangler
1 Find/Finality
1 Gleancrawler
1 Golgari Guildmage
1 Grismold, the Dread Sower
1 Korozda Guildmage
1 Lotleth Troll
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Obelisk Spider
1 Pernicious Deed
1 Poison-Tip Archer
1 Putrefy
1 Savvy Hunter
1 Slimefoot, the Stowaway
1 Slitherhead
1 Status/Statue
1 Storrev, Devkarin Lich
1 Swarm Guildmage
1 Winding Constrictor

GRUUL (25 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES

1 Assault/Battery
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Branching Bolt
1 Cindervines
1 Collision/Colossus
1 Dragonlair Spider
1 Fanatic of Xenagos
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 Gallia of the Endless Dance
1 Ghor-Clan Rampager
1 Ground Assault
1 Grumgully, the Generous
1 Gruul Spellbreaker
1 Guttural Response
1 Huntmaster of the Fells/Ravager of the Fells
1 Khenra Charioteer
1 Rhythm of the Wild
1 Rubblebelt Rioters
1 Rumbling Slum
1 Savage Twister
1 Tangarth, First Mate
1 Thrash/Threat
1 Vexing Shusher
1 Vithian Renegades
1 Zhur-Taa Goblin

IZZET (25 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES 

1 Beacon Bolt
1 Brutal Expulsion
1 Counterflux
1 Dark’s Duplicate
1 Electrolyze
1 Enigma Drake
1 Etherium-Horn Sorcerer
1 Fire/Ice
1 Hypothesizzle
1 Ionize
1 Izzet Charm
1 Jori En, Rune Diver
1 Lightning Stormkin
1 Mischievous Chimera
1 Prophetic Bolt
1 Ral’s Outburst
1 Razorfin Hunter
1 Spellheart Chimera
1 Sprite Dragon
1 Storm Fleet Sprinter
1 Stormchaser Mage
1 Suffocating Blast
1 Swerve
1 Thoughtflare
1 Turn/Burn

ORZHOV (25 CARDS) 

IN:

Indulging Patrician

OUT:

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos - Extended Art

I like Indulging Patrican so much I tweeted about it. I think it’s a great addition to a Battle Box because it’s a nice defensively minded card that falls into the rare space of isn’t bonkers and doesn’t suck. It replaces Kunoros, which I thought was a fine statball card that didn’t add much interesting gameplay. Typically it was a three drop that died to a cheap removal spell, but when it didn’t it had an unsavory ability of really trumping the high density of 2/2 creatures by playing offense and defense for value at the same time. 

1 Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
1 Batwing Brume
1 Blind Hunter
1 Castigate
1 Consecrate/Consume
1 Corpse Knight
1 Death Grasp
1 Despark
1 Drana’s Emissary
1 General’s Enforcer
1 Ghost Council of Orzhova
1 Grasping Thrull
1 Grind/Dust
1 Imperious Oligarch
1 Indulging Patrician
1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
1 Karlov of the Ghost Council
1 Kaya’s Guile
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Mortify
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Restoration Gearsmith
1 Sin Collector
1 Tymna the Weaver - Foil
1 Zealous Persecution

RAKDOS (25 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES

1 Anathemancer
1 Bituminous Blast
1 Blazing Specter
1 Blightning
1 Claim/Fame
1 Carnival/Carnage
1 Cut/Ribbons
1 Dreadbore
1 Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch
1 Fireblade Artist
1 Footlight Fiend
1 Hellhole Rats
1 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Labyrinth Raptor
1 Lightning Skelemental
1 Mayhem Devil
1 Munitions Expert
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Olivia, Mobilized for War
1 Rakdos Cackler
1 Swift Warkite
1 Terminate
1 Tyamet, the Murder King
1 Unlicensed Disintegration
1 Planar Void

SELESNYA (25 CARDS) 

No Changes

1 Advent of the Wurm
1 Anurid Brushopper
1 Armadillo Cloak
1 Bronzehide Lion
1 Call of the Conclave
1 Dauntless Escort
1 Dromoka’s Command
1 Dryad Militant
1 Elderwood Scion
1 Enlisted Wurm
1 Good-Fortune Unicorn
1 Hautli’s Raptor
1 Ironroot Warlord
1 Kitchen Finks
1 Knight of Autumn
1 Loxodon Hierarch
1 Loxodon Smiter
1 Mystic Enforcer
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Renegade Rallier
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Selesnya Guildmage
1 Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy
1 Voice of Resurgence
1 Watchwolf

SIMIC (25 CARDS)

NO CHANGES

Will WOTC ever print a Simic Card that is playable in Battle Box ever again? 

1 AEther Mutation
1 Applied Biomancy
1 Bounding Krasis
1 Ethereal Ambush
1 Gaea’s Skyfolk
1 Horizon Chimera
1 Ice-Fang Coatl
1 Icefeather Aven
1 Jhessian Infiltrator
1 Jungle Barrier
1 Merfolk Skydiver
1 Mystic Genesis
1 Mystic Snake
1 Plaxcaster Frogling
1 River Hoopoe
1 Rogue Refiner
1 Shapers of Nature
1 Shardless Agent
1 Sharktocrab
1 Simic Charm
1 Skyrider Elf
1 Thrasios, Triton Hero - Foil
1 Trygon Predator
1 Void Grafter
1 Zameck Guildmage

MONO-COLOR SPELLS (500 CARDS) 

WHITE (100 CARDS) 

NO CHANGES

1 Adamant Will
1 Adanto Vanguard
1 Adorned Pouncer
1 Ajani’s Pridemate
1 Akroma’s Vengeance
1 Alseid of Life’s Bounty
1 Ancestral Blade
1 Angel of Finality
1 Apostle of Purifying Light
1 Apostle’s Blessing
1 Austere Command
1 Azorius Herald
1 Belfry Spirit
1 Blade Splicer
1 Brightling
1 Cavalry Drillmaster
1 Cleansing Nova
1 Cloudgoat Ranger
1 Collective Effort
1 Council’s Judgement
1 Dauntless Bodyguard
1 Dawn Charm
1 Day of Judgment
1 Dragon Hunter
1 End Hostilities
1 Ephemerate
1 Exalted Angel
1 Faerie Guidemother/Gift of the Fae
1 Felidar Guardian
1 Final Judgment
1 Flickerwisp
1 Fumigate
1 Giant Killer/Chop Down
1 Giver of Runes
1 Glorious Anthem
1 Glory-Bound Initiate
1 Goldmeadow Harrier
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Healer’s Hawk
1 Healing Grace
1 Hidden Dragonslayer
1 History of Benalia
1 Imperial Aerosaur
1 Imposing Sovereign
1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
1 Karmic Guide
1 Kirtar’s Wrath
1 Kinjalli’s Sunwing
1 Knight of Glory
1 Knight of Grace
1 Lingering Souls
1 Lone Missionary
1 Mardu Woe-Reaper
1 Martyr of Dusk
1 Ministrant of Obligation
1 Mother of Runes
1 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Reciprocate
1 Remorseful Cleric
1 Restoration Angel
1 Righteous Cause
1 Righteous Confluence
1 Rout
1 Sacred Cat
1 Savannah Lions
1 Scout’s Warning
1 Seeker of the Way
1 Selfless Squire
1 Selfless Spirit
1 Settle Beyond Reality
1 Shrieking Grotesque
1 Silverflame Adept
1 Skymarcher Aspirant
1 Snubhorn Sentry
1 Soldier of the Pantheon
1 Soulfire Grandmaster
1 Soul’s Attendant
1 Spear of Heliod
1 Spectral Lynx
1 Splendor Mare
1 Stalking Leonin
1 Standard Bearer
1 Sunlance
1 Sunscape Battlemage
1 Sunscourge Champion
1 Suture Priest
1 Swallow Whole
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Taranika, Akroan Veteren
1 Temple Acolyte
1 Terminus
1 The Wanderer
1 Thraban Inspector
1 Trueheart Duelist
1 Valorous Stance
1 Venerated Loxodon
1 Wall of Omens
1 War Priest of Thune
1 Wing Shards
1 Wrath of God

BLUE (100 CARDS) 

IN:

Shacklegeist

OUT:

Sleep of the Dead

I already mentioned I like 2/2 fliers for two and this is a solid one. There are enough Spirits “floating around” in my stack to use it’s tap ability a fair amount of the time. Sleep of the Dead was a fine card, but there’s so much good removal available that conditional removal typically feels like drawing a worse variant. If you’re wondering why Swift Response didn’t make the cut in White, it’s for precisely that reason. I’d rather use slots that do something “well” than just spam redundant removal. 

1 Ancestral Vision
1 Angler Drake
1 Archaeomancer
1 Augur of Bolas
1 Azure Mage
1 Bazaar Trademage
1 Blue Elemental Blast
1 Bonded Fetch
1 Censorship
1 Cephalid Sage
1 Cerulean Drake
1 Champion of Wits
1 Chart a Course
1 Circular Logic
1 Cloudkin Seer
1 Complicate
1 Concentrate
1 Control Magic
1 Counterspell
1 Delver of Secrets/Insectile Aberration
1 Disallow
1 Dismiss
1 Dispel
1 Dive Down
1 Envelop
1 Essence Scatter
1 Evasive Action
1 Exclude
1 Faerie Duelist
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Flashfreeze
1 Force Spike
1 Horribly Awry
1 Hydroblast
1 Hypnotic Siren
1 Hypnotic Sprite/Mesmeric Glare
1 Jace’s Phantasm
1 Jilt
1 Jolting Merfolk
1 Looter il-Kor
1 Lu Xun, Scholar General
1 Mana Leak
1 Man-o’-War
1 Meddle
1 Merfolk Looter
1 Merfolk Trickster
1 Miscalculation
1 Mulldrifter
1 Mystic Archaeologist
1 Nadir Kraken
1 Negate
1 Neutralizing Blast
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Plaxmanta
1 Persuasion
1 Power Sink
1 Preemptive Strike
1 Probe
1 Pteramander
1 Queen of Ice/Rage of Winter - Showcase
1 Remand
1 Remove Soul
1 Repulse
1 Riddlemaster Sphinx - Planeswalker Deck Exclusive
1 Sakashima’s Student
1 Sea Dasher Octopus
1 Secrets of the Golden City
1 Serendib Efreet
1 Shacklegeist
1 Siren Storm-tamer
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Spectral Sailor
1 Spell Pierce
1 Spell Snare
1 Spellstutter Sprite
1 Starlit Mantle
1 Stormscape Apprentice
1 Stratus Danger
1 Summoner’s Bane
1 Sun Ce, Young Conquerer
1 Supreme Will
1 Syncopate
1 Talrand’s Invocation
1 Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive
1 Threads of Disloyalty
1 Twisted Image
1 Twisted Reflection
1 Unsubstantiate
1 Unsummon
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter
1 Warkite Marauder
1 Watcher of Tomorrow
1 Whirler Rogue
1 Willbender
1 Wall of Wonder
1 Zephid’s Embrace

BLACK (100) CARDS

IN:

Malefic Scythe

OUT:

Coffin Queen

Malefic Scythe eats up a black slot (which are hard to come by with so many great options!) but it also adds an artifact type card to the stack which is awesome. It’s a great fit for a Battle Box. I’m sad to cut Coffin Queen because I love the card, but ultimately it’s not very interesting and typically not very good with tempo and beatdown playing a more significant role. It’s really just a card that you want left in hand at the end of a game where both players run out of cards and that type of game is less likely to occur. 

As far as late game bombs go, I do recommend Queen. I like that while powerful and impactful, she dies to literally everything including pingers. I’ve found I don’t really need cards that are typically only good for endgame and the space is better used on more flexible spells. 

1 Agonizing Nightmare
1 Aphemia, the Cacophony
1 Bane of the Living
1 Bastion of Remembrance
1 Big Game Hunter
1 Bloodsoaked Champion
1 Bone Shredder
1 Butcher Ghoul
1 Cast Down
1 Chainer’s Edict
1 Changing Outcast
1 Collective Brutality
1 Dakmor Lancer
1 Damnation
1 Dance of the Dead
1 Dark Banishing
1 Dark Hatching
1 Despise
1 Diregraf Ghoul
1 Dismember
1 Distress
1 Divest
1 Doom Blade
1 Doomfall
1 Drana, Liberator of Malakir
1 Dread Wanderer
1 Duress
1 Dusk Legion Zealot
1 Endling
1 Entomber Exarch
1 Eternal Taskmaster
1 Fatal Push
1 Flesh Carver
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Gnarled Scarhide
1 Go for the Throat
1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1 Gravecrawler
1 Grim Dancer
1 Gutterbones
1 Heartless Act
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Keening Banshee
1 Knight of Infamy
1 Knight of Malice
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star
1 Lampid of Death’s Vigil
1 Last Gasp
1 Lay Bare the Heart
1 Lifebane Zombies
1 Liliana’s Specter
1 Malefic Scythe
1 Memory Leak
1 Mire Triton
1 Moment of Craving
1 Murderous Betrayal
1 Murderous Cut
1 Murderous Rider/Swift End
1 Mythos of Nethori
1 Nekrataal
1 Never/Return
1 Night’s Whisper
1 Noxious Gearhulk
1 Oathsworn Vampire
1 Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty
1 Ophiomancer
1 Order of Midnight/Alter Fate
1 Orzhov Enforcer
1 Ostracize
1 Phyrexian Gargantua
1 Phyrexian Rager
1 Putrid Goblin
1 Ravenous Chupacabra
1 Rend Flesh
1 Ritual of the Machine
1 Serpent Assassin
1 Shriekmaw
1 Silumgar Assassin
1 Skeletal Vampire
1 Skinrender
1 Sling-Gang Lieutenant
1 Smiting Helix
1 Sudden Death
1 Sultai Emissary
1 The Eldest Reborn
1 Thoughtseize
1 Tragic Slip
1 Transgress the Mind
1 Trespasser’s Curse
1 Tymaret, Chosen from Death
1 Ultimate Price
1 Unburial Rites
1 Undying Evil
1 Unearth
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Vampire Sovereign
1 Vendetta
1 Vraska’s Contempt
1 Walk the Plank
1 Withered Wretch

RED (100 CARDS) 

IN:

Soul Sear

OUT:

Fight with Fire

Easy switch. I tolerated the Kicker on Fight With Fire because I really like what it provides when cast the “fair” way. Adding Instant speed and counterplay to Indestructible are nice. 

IN:

HEARTHFIRE IMMOLATOR 

OUT:

Robber of the Rich

Robber of the Rich was a curve concession where I picked the best two drop creature available to me (and just so happened to snag one in a draft!), but I think Hearthfire immolator is a much more flexible and useful two drop creature option since it doubles as removal and can grow its stats via prowess to attack into bigger blockers. 

1 Abbot of Keral Keep
1 Abrade
1 Anax, Hardened by the Forge
1 Norwood Ranger
1 Arc Lightning
1 Arc Trail
1 Beetleback Chief
1 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp
1 Brimstone Volley
1 Brute Force
1 Burst Lightning
1 Carbonize
1 Chain Lightning
1 Chandra’s Outrage
1 Charging Monstrosaur
1 Collective Defiance
1 Corrupt Eunuchs
1 Crimson Mukwader
1 Crystal Slipper
1 Cunning Sparkmage
1 Deem Worthy
1 Demanding Dragon
1 Desolation Giant
1 Dismissive Pyromancer
1 Dire Fleet Daredevil
1 Disintegrate
1 Dualcaster Mage
1 Earthshaker Khenra
1 Electrickery
1 Electrostatic Field
1 Faithless Looting
1 Falkenrath Gorger
1 Feldon of the Third Path
1 Fire Ambush
1 Fire Imp
1 Fire Prophecy
1 Firebolt
1 Flame Slash
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Forked Bolt
1 Frenzied Fugue
1 Frontier Warmonger
1 Ghitu Chronicler
1 Ghitu Lavarunner
1 Glint-Horn Buccaneer
1 Goblin Churgen
1 Goblin Cratermaker
1 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
1 Goblin Trailblazer
1 Grim Lavamancer
1 Hearthfire Immolator
1 Hordeling Outburst
1 Hungry Flames
1 Incendiary Flow
1 Incinerate
1 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
1 Kird Ape
1 Lava Coil
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Lightning Mauler
1 Lightning Strike
1 Merchant of the Vale/Haggle
1 Mindclaw Shaman
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Monastery Swiftspear
1 Opportunistic Dragon
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Pia Nalaar
1 Pillar of Flame
1 Punishing Fire
1 Pyroblast
1 Raking Claws
1 Rampaging Ferocidon
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Resounding Thunder
1 Roast
1 Seal of Fire
1 Searing Spear
1 Seasoned Pyromancer
1 Shock
1 Shower of Coals
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Skewer the Critics
1 Slagstorm
1 Smoldering Werewolf/Erupting Dreadwolf
1 Soul Sear
1 Soul-Scour Mage
1 Squealing Devils
1 Starstorm
1 Thrill of Possibility
1 Thunderbreak Regent
1 Thunderscape Battlemage
1 Tribal Flames
1 Veteren Brawlers
1 Viashino Pyromancer
1 Volcanic Hammer
1 Vulshok Sorcerer
1 Wild Slash
1 Young Pyromancer
1 Zurgo Bellstriker

GREEN (100 CARDS) 

IN:

Sporeweb Weaver

OUT:

Jungleborn Pioneer

I have a lot of respect for CMC = 3 creatures with four toughness and find they create a lot of interesting early game scenarios since they block down most two drops and don’t die to cheap red removal. I also happen to love Tribal Spiders! I’m inclined to think its a more useful defensive minded green card than Jungleborn Pioneer. 

IN:

OUT:

Mitotic Slime

The hardest part about cutting Mitotic Slime is that I have the full art version AND all of the tokens! With that said, the card is just so CLUNKY and never does anything. If I had more sacrifice synergies built into my stack it would be a lot cooler. Garruk’s Harbinger has a lot of stats and there’s a chance I’ll cut it, but it looks like it’s under $2 and I had already decided Slime’s time was up. If you’re looking at Garruk’s Harbinger and thinking “nope.” I think Truffle Snout is also a nice Battle Box card.

1 Ana Battlemage
1 Arasta, of the Endless Web
1 Arborback Stomper
1 Autumn’s Veil
1 Basking Rootwalla
1 Berserk
1 Blastoderm
1 Blossoming Defense
1 Briarhorn
1 Brindle Shoat
1 Call of the Herd
1 Caller of the Claw
1 Carven Caryatid
1 Chainweb Aracnir
1 Deathgorge Scavenger
1 Deathmist Raptor
1 Deep Forest Hermit
1 Den Protector
1 Dryad Sophisticate
1 Earl of Squirrel
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Eternal Witness
1 Excavator Mole
1 Experiment One
1 Flinthoof Boar
1 Gaea’s Might
1 Garruk’s Harbinger
1 Giant Growth
1 Gnarlwood Dryad
1 Gnaw to the Bone
1 Granger Guildmage
1 Great Sable Stag
1 Harmonize
1 Hedge Troll
1 Heir of the Wilds
1 Hexdrinker
1 Hunger of the Howlpack
1 Indrik Stomp Howler
1 Infuse with the Elements
1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Kavu Titan
1 Kessig Prolwer
1 Kraul Harpooner
1 Loaming Shaman
1 Lynx
1 Might of Alara
1 Mire Boa
1 Mistcutter Hydra
1 Moment’s Peace
1 Mother Bear
1 Mouth/Feed
1 Narnam Renegade
1 Noose Constrictor
1 Obstinate Baloth
1 Ohran Viper
1 Oviya Pashirir, Sage Lifecrafter
1 Patagia Viper
1 Pelakka Wurm
1 Phantom Centaur
1 Predator’s Strike
1 Qasali Slingers
1 Quirion Sentinel
1 Rancor
1 Ranger’s Guile
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Regrowth
1 Resilient Khnera
1 Ridgescale Tusker
1 Ripjaw Raptor
1 River Boa
1 Runic Armasaur
1 Saproling Migration
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Shifting Ceratops
1 Skyshroud Elite
1 Skyshroud War Beast
1 Spider Spawning
1 Sporeweb Weaver
1 Stingfling Spider
1 Sunblade Elf
1 Thorn Lieutenant
1 Thornscape Apprentice
1 Thornscape Battlemage
1 Thragtusk
1 Thrashing Brontodon
1 Untamed Kavu
1 Veil of Summer
1 Vengevine
1 Vines of Vastwood
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Wasteland Viper
1 Weather the Storm
1 Wolfir Avenger
1 Weatherseed Elf
1 Wild Mongrel
1 Wild Nacatl
1 Wildsize
1 Withstand Death
1 Young Wolf
1 Zodiac Rooster

WRAP UP

Overall, I really like M2021. I know some people will probably complain that it’s not as powerful as the sets from the past two years, but it’s refreshing to see things dialed back a little bit. 

Many of the most exciting cards are reprints which will be added to the Standard and Pioneer metagames and these types of cards are already in my stack from previous releases. I also think this set looks like it’s going to be extremely fun to draft. So, while the Battle Box haul is on the smaller side I also think it’s going to contribute a lot of value in a lot of other places in Magic as well. 

MY TOP 8 PICKS

  1. Watcher of the Spheres
  2. Soul Sear
  3. Hearthfire Immolator
  4. Shacklegeist
  5. Sporeweb Weaver
  6. Malefic Scythe
  7. Indulging Parician 
  8. Niambi, Esteemed Speaker

But, the biggest and most significant addition will likely be the Thriving Land Cycle from the Jumpstart series! I’m really excited to try these out. I believe they will help alleviate some of the awkward mana issues and add a whole other layer of meaningful choices to game play, which I’m always a fan of. 

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section, or you can hit me up on Twitter @briandemars1. I’d love to get input from fellow Battle Boxers about which cards you’re excited to add that I may have overlooked, as well as weigh in on some of my “risky picks.” 

Discussion

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