Khans of Tarkir Constructed Review – Wrap-up

Looking for the Limited Reviews? You can find all 6 here.
Abzan and White Constructed Review
Jeskai and Blue Constructed Review
Sultai and Black Constructed
Mardu and Red Constructed
Temur and Green Constructed

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind SculptorTarmogoyfSnapcaster MageJudge’s Familar)
4.0: Format staple. (Sphinx’s RevelationSupreme VerdictThoughtseizePack Rat)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Geist of Saint TraftNightveil Specter)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Underworld ConnectionsThassa, God of the Sea)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Rapid HybridizationDivination)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. Naturalize. (Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.)
1.0: It has seen play once. One with Nothing. (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Constructed: 3.0

Planeswalkers are among the hardest cards to evaluate, though as we get more of them we end up having better tools with which to do so. Sorin protects himself, which is a big plus, and making Vampires is the permanent advantage you are looking for out of a 4-drop planeswalker. His +1 ability is also very powerful if you already have a solid board, and it protects you (and Sorin) even on the opponent’s turn. That’s a pretty bizarre timing, but I guess it is in the interest of trying new things. Sorin seems like a solid planeswalker, and is easy enough to cast and use that he will likely see decent play. He doesn’t need a particularly focused deck to be good, but he also doesn’t impact the board quite as drastically as all the haste ‘walkers like Nissa, Sarkhan, and Xenagos.

Altar of the Brood

Constructed: 2.0

This is a zero-mana way to win the game if you have a way to put infinite permanents into play (or the same permanent infinite times). That isn’t usually the deal-breaker for a combo deck, but this still may see play as a win condition given how cheap it is.

Briber’s Purse

Constructed: 2.0

Any 0-cost artifact has potential in some kind of deck, and the fact that Briber’s Purse has actual functionality on top of that is just a bonus. It’s very much a combo card, but it might be one worth pursuing.

Cranial Archive

Constructed: 2.0

As a way to hate graveyard decks at low cost, this isn’t bad. It’s not an Elixir of Immortality, but I’m more than fine with that being the case, as winning via Elixir is not really what most people are looking for (the Andrew Cuneo’s of the world aside).

Ghostfire Blade

Constructed: 2.0

While I wouldn’t go tossing out those Cranial Platings just yet, it isn’t 0% that this sees some play in Modern Affinity. It’s cheap, powerful, and can make your guys brawl, so if you have 1-2 slots it could be worth trying. I don’t buy there being a morph deck in Standard, so this will likely have to hope it makes it in Modern (which is the opposite of most cards). I guess an Ensoul Artifact deck with a bunch of Ornithopters might want this, but even then it doesn’t sound like the best thing you can be doing in this format.


Constructed: 3.0

These are going to be very good in Standard, and I’m glad to have them around. Good mana makes formats more enjoyable, and tri-lands make three-color decks as consistent as two-color decks, with the main drawback being tapped lands, not a lack of fixing. These also compete with Temples, which is both interesting and good, as it means decks will have the fixing they need but also have relevant choices to make.


Constructed: 5.0

Fetchlands are in the top 1% of Magic cards as a whole, so it’s no surprise that they are going to have a huge impact on every format where they weren’t already legal. For Standard, it means we now get to choose how we want our mana: painful or tapped. Most decks will have a mix of both, with fetchlands showing up basically any time both colors are played enough that basics are worth it. For Modern, they make a few different color combinations better, and actually reduce the damage taken by decks that now get to search for the appropriate basics. For Vintage and Legacy, they make Polluted Delta and Flooded Strand more affordable, which is never a bad thing. I can’t say I’m looking forward to more shuffling, but if that’s the price of good mana, I’m willing to pay it.

Top 10 Constructed Cards in Khans

10.) Tri-lands
9.) Wingmate Roc
8.) Mardu Charm
7.) Savage Knuckleblade
6.) Dig Through Time
5.) Siege Rhino
4.) Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
3.) Abzan Charm
2.) Murderous Cut
1.) Fetchlands

Besides the obvious inclusion of fetchlands, Khans has a lot of powerful cards. I’ve decided to upgrade Murderous Cut and Dig Through Time a bit, mainly because they may impact older formats. Delve is the most powerful mechanic in the set, though it’s so obviously dangerous that I’m sure the numbers on the cards are all very thoroughly vetted. Most of the cards here promote proactive play, which I think is a reflection of what this Standard format may end up looking like. The best defense is a good offense, and even the removal spells in the format promote having a board presence more than trying to sit back and deal with every threat.

Khans has been a lot of fun to play with so far, both in Limited and Constructed, and I’m very optimistic about what this year holds. Hopefully my optimism is as accurate as my set reviews, or something like that…



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