Once again it’s that time of the year: Preview Season!
New Magic cards to use as puzzle pieces to fit in the missing holes in our brains. There’s something so satisfying about imagining how the new cards interact—whatever that means.
New release season is always a great time for the easy flow of ideas as new cards combo with old cards and nothing is yet stigmatized as “unplayable.”
It’s a time of pure joy to be a Magic player and this season seems especially good so far with a highly pushed new set in Fate Reforged.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite cards and exciting potential brew-arounds.
I’m not sure what it says about me that I want to invite someone to play a game with me, and combo off by taking all the turns. Kind of a bizarre sociopath thing to do honestly, but for whatever reason a lot of us are drawn to the hilarity of: “My Turn Again.”
I still think Narset as hexproof finisher for a Jeskai control deck is the most competitive way to use her in Standard, but to hell with “competitive,” we need to take extra turns.
It wouldn’t be overkill.
It would be exactly what we need.
Standard My Turn Again
I think this would be a really fun deck and I would be excited to sideboard juke in Generator Servant.
Generator Servant is vulnerable to removal in the main, but could give a terrific speed boost to Narset after the opponent boards out their “useless” removal. It’s extremely likely that this will be the first new Standard deck I try once I get my hands on the cards.
Dark Deal is a pretty interesting card to think about. It feels underpowered but it provides a unique effect to Modern which has some fun combos.
My thinking is to combine either Burning Inquiry or Dark Deal:
With Waste Not or Spirit of the Labyrinth.
The idea being to nuke hands and take advantage of Waste Not.
The Dark Deal/Spirit of the Labyrinth combo has enough drawbacks to question, but the idea of a Waste Not engine topped off with Empty the Pits is an approach I’ve been wanting to do.
Here’s a sketch:
I don’t have any decks in mind for Monastery Mentor, only the commentary that this card is absurd. One extra mana on Young Pyromancer for prowess and PROWESS TOKENS.
The power level potential for this card is off the charts in a variety of strategies—Standard Heroic or Modern tokens with disruption for instance.
I’m interested in the fact that this is another crazy pushed Jeskai 3-drop in Standard. There are so many options already: Mantis Rider, Goblin Rabblemaster, Hordeling Outburst, Jeskai Ascendancy to name a few. We can’t play all those on curve so it will be interesting to see how Jeskai decks differentiate themselves in their 3-drops.
I expect this card will do some nice work in mainstream tournament decks.
Alesha, Who Smiles At Death
Alesha, Who Dies to Lightning Strike has the potential to be an amazing engine. The base stats of a 3/2 first strike for 3 are great. It holds its own in combat against most things that cost 3 or less.
Beyond the aggressive costing of the creature is the aggressive costing of the ability. Look at that. TWO MANA to return a 7-drop Hornet Queen! This thing is crazy!
I think a prime way to exploit this would be in a Standard Jund ramp or reanimator list. The mana would be a bit worse than clan mana but it could be pretty solid. Here’s a start:
This feels like a competitive alternative to Sidisi Whip. There’s room for refinement, so if this deck doesn’t pick up by itself in Standard it’s a likely early season candidate for me to work on.
Soulflayer is the most exciting delve creature ever printed. So far we’ve had Tombstalker to go with as a big flyer and Hooting Mandrills as an undercosted ground pounder. These vanilla creatures have been no match for Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time and I’ve been waiting for some pushed delve creatures to compete.
Soulflayer is something of another flavor. This isn’t a vanilla creature or a value delve—it’s clearly a combo piece!
The question is how to best abuse it and the answer may take some time. There are potent combos available, but how to make the best Soulflayer deck?
What an absurd turn 2 it would be to attack with a 4/4 double strike haste lifelink flying etc. etc. Hexproof is an important ability, and Geist of Saint Traft could fit in nicely as an alternate plan.
Unburial Rites is likely a nice option to go with an ambitious 4-color mana base. I’m excited to continue working on this one more in depth.
The new manifest mechanic is a real headscratcher. Kind of like morph but way more random and has some fun potential for abuse.
Ideally we hide away some undercosted fatty and flip it up to circumvent an enters-the-battlefield drawback. Lots of people are talking about Phyrexian Dreadnought with Brainstorm in Legacy but it remains to be seen how to use this thing in Modern or Standard.
In Standard, maybe the coolest thing we could flip up is Hooded Hydra.
One card, 5 mana paid in two installments for a 5/5 flying hexproof that opens up five 1/1s when it dies? That’s a pretty good deal if we can pull it off and the two cards aren’t terrible on their own.
For topdeck manipulation we have Temple of Mystery, Courser of Kruphix, and Jace, the Living Guildpact. I think there are enough support cards here to make a deck of functional cards that produce some nifty combos.
Otherwise, when in doubt play it as a 3-drop before Master of Waves. Time will tell for this card’s best uses.
Brewing with Fate Reforged
Fate Reforged so far looks like a highly pushed set with tons of powerful format-changing cards. This short list of potential cards and combos is the short list… I haven’t yet seen everything and there are some crazy ones I have seen but haven’t mentioned in this article.
Which of these cards or decks do you like? Do you have a crazy brew-around favorite I haven’t mentioned here? I would love to hear in the comments.