Magic Origins Constructed Set Review – White

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Commons & Uncommons

Ratings Scale

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Siege Rhino. Courser of Kruphix. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Stormbreath Dragon. Seeker of the Way.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Chained to the Rocks. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Perilous Vault. Heir of the Wilds.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Naturalize. Savage Knuckleblade. Sandstorm.) 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.)

Archangel of Tithes

Constructed: 3.0

The casting cost rears its ugly head here more than in Limited, but the effect and size are good enough that people will (and should) try this. At the very least, a WW deck that sides this in against other aggro decks sounds good, and given how efficient this is, maindecking it is where I’d start.

Celestial Flare

Constructed: 2.0

This saw niche Constructed play last time it was legal, and I expect it will be no different now. Blue/white control decks are often short on removal spells, and this fills the curve while also answering various large threats.

Cleric of the Forward Order

Constructed: 2.0

Lone Missionary has seen some amount of play, and it’s not inconceivable that a WW deck would side this in against red aggro. Gaining 2 and then gaining 4 is just what the doctor ordered against a deck trying to burn you out, and a 2/2 body is relevant when they are casting cards like Dragon Fodder.

Consul’s Lieutenant

Constructed: 2.5

This looks like the kind of card that WW needs to fill out its roster, and could lead to the deck being good again. It’s not quite Precinct Captain, but it is similar, and punches past a lot of the early plays in the format. It needs some help, but first strike plus Spear of Heliod is a combo, and this follows up a turn-one Kytheon quite well.

Enlightened Ascetic

Constructed: 2.5

I like having access to powerful sideboard cards, and this actually qualifies. Killing an enchantment and leaving a body behind is a Constructed-level ability at this cost, and the prior version of this card (Monk Realist) saw quite a bit of play (though I suspect having good tutor effects played a part too).

Kytheon, Hero of Akros // Gideon, Battle-Forged

Constructed: 3.5

A great 1-drop that flips into a planeswalker that’s good if you are meeting the flip condition is definitely a Constructed-level pairing. There hasn’t been a great white-based aggro deck for a while in Constructed, and hopefully Kytheon helps in getting one there. He attacks for 2 on turn two, is resistant to removal, and can block well if that’s needed. Eventually you can just attack to flip him even if the attack isn’t great otherwise, thanks to his indestructible ability, though that board might not be great even for Gideon.

Gideon does a good job smashing control decks while still helping your creatures block against more aggressive decks. As I alluded to before, if you can flip into Gideon early, that’s usually great for you, as Gideon diversifies your threats while still applying pressure.

Brimaz pairs nicely with this, though you should note that if Brimaz + Kytheon attack as a pair, the token from Brimaz won’t count as an attacker for flipping Kytheon.

That this is legendary is a potential pitfall when it comes to running 4, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was still fine. Kytheon + Gideon can be on the battlefield together, so just make sure you don’t accidentally flip Kytheon and you should be good.

Gideon’s Phalanx

Constructed: 2.0

Casting a bunch of creatures at end of turn in the midrange or control mirror sounds like an interesting plan to me. You can’t play infinite 7-drops, but siding in a Phalanx or two could be very profitable in matchups full of spot removal. Once Elspeth rotates I expect this to get much better, as she does kind of dominate this slot, so this is a good one to keep in mind for later.

Hallowed Moonlight

Constructed: 2.5

I like having this around as a sideboard card. It’s similar to Shadow of Doubt in that it can be maindeckable under the right conditions (taste it, Collected Company), but will most likely end up as a solid board option. Cycling is nice, as you can cash it in if the opponent doesn’t seem like they are going to walk into it, making it more flexible than most board cards. Plus, anything this hoses is some kind of BS, so I have no sympathy for the Goryo’s Vengeances and Show and Tells of the world (though I don’t think this is a good sideboard card against Twin decks. 2-mana cards that don’t answer the combo are not the way).

Hixus, Prison Warden

Constructed: 2.0

It isn’t hard to construct scenarios where Hixus is good, all of which are tempered by the fact that a single removal spell later and all your work is undone. Add that to the fact that you had to take a fair amount of damage in order to get multiple creatures and you have a card that needs a specific metagame to be good. That metagame includes a lot of small-to-medium-sized attackers and few instant-speed removal spells, which is unlikely to be the metagame we live in.

And now time for a mini-rant: I played in the 2-Headed Giant flight of the Origins prerelease on Saturday, along with some of my coworkers. We had two copies of Hixus in our deck, as did Josh Utter-Leyton (who was on a different team). During round 2, Josh found out that Hixus doesn’t actually work in 2HG, as the attacker can just choose to assign the damage to the other player. It doesn’t matter that much, since 2HG rules interactions are pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but it was kind of lame. Not only did both our teams have two, I had to inform our second-round opponents that the Hixus they just cast didn’t get to exile anything (and when our third-round opponent named Hixus with her Alhamarret, I informed her that it wasn’t as good as it looked, and she decided to name something with text instead). I still had fun playing the tournament, but given how prevalent Hixus was as one of the rares that could show up in the seeded pack, and that 2HG is a supported format for the prerelease, it was a down moment that seems like it could have been avoided.

Knight of the White Orchid

Constructed: 3.0

KotWO (OK, that’s a horrible acronym, and I shall never use it again) was a solid role-player back in Shards of Alara Standard and I expect it to see a good amount of play again. It’s a very powerful card if it triggers, and seems good in everything from WW to various midrange or control decks that play heavy white. This is even good enough to incentivize the creation of more decks that can run it, like UW control. Remember that sideboarding this out (or not sideboarding it in) while you are on the play is legitimate, and the presence of this card could even make you want to draw in control mirrors.

Kytheon’s Irregulars

Constructed: 2.0

It’s irregular for a 4-drop that doesn’t interact favorably with removal to see Constructed play, but if there is a creature-based matchup that’s light on removal these could shine. I don’t know how often WW mirror-breakers are needed, but this could be one.

Relic Seeker

Constructed: 2.0

The second coming of Stoneforge Mystic this is not, but it is a 2/2 that grows to a 3/3 and draws you a card when you hit them. It doesn’t take many playable pieces of equipment before Relic Seeker becomes a real threat, and I could see this being another one of the 2-drops that white midrange or aggro decks consider. It’s possible that Modern is a better fit, because there are some great equipment cards to grab, though Modern is a format with a higher barrier to entry in general.

In Standard, you can grab Ghostfire Blade, Godsend, Haunted Plate Mail, none of which quite get there, but keep an eye on this one. Batterskull did get printed after Stoneforge Mystic, just saying…

Sigil of the Empty Throne

Constructed: 2.5

I don’t know what exactly is going on with this and Starfield of Nyx, but something probably is. A deck full of enchantments has a brief period of time to enjoy constellation, so if Sigil is going to be good, its time is now. Having to untap with a 5-drop that doesn’t affect the board is a tough sell, but the payoff is here. I’m also giving a nudge to both this and Starfield based on the premise that Herald of the Pantheon and Eidolon of Blossoms support such a deck, because all those interactions seem solid.

Starfield of Nyx

Constructed: 2.5

If you have a reliable way of filling your bin with enchantments, this does draw you a card and play it for free every turn, which is certainly a powerful ability. Again, this requires you to pass the turn without doing anything after tapping five mana, but this does more with less work than Sigil does (though I wouldn’t be surprised if they were good in the same deck). Also, I look forward to the rules interactions caused by the second ability.

Swift Reckoning

Constructed: 3.0

I really like the idea of this in a blue/white deck that has a lot of cheap spells. It soon becomes a Doom Blade, and even early it can kill a creature that hit you. It’s unfortunate that Stormbreath still dodges it, but that’s a problem that will be rotating soon enough.

Tragic Arrogance

Constructed: 2.5

This effect is too powerful for this card not to see play. It kills everything but their worst creature (and technically planeswalker, though facing down multiple planeswalkers is pretty rough anyway), and can even punish random artifact/enchantment decks. It’s cataclysmic for decks that go wide, and casting this with just a Siege Rhino in play against a board of four creatures sounds amazing. Drawing multiples is bad enough that I’d want to play 1-2, potentially with 1 more in the sideboard.

Vryn Wingmare

Constructed: 3.0

I don’t know which annoying tax decks will want this, but some number (if not all) certainly will. I’m of course talking about the various Modern/Legacy/Vintage decks that cast all these white creatures that stop players from having fun, mostly by making spells cost more and libraries unable to be searched. This is another effect that’s perfect in those decks, and comes on a flier to boot. Costing 3 does make this the top of the curve rather than an automatic 4-of, but getting a new lock piece is still momentous for the decks that want it. This is also a solid way to delay sweepers in a Standard WW deck, though Drown in Sorrow is still quite punishing. I could see this as a sideboard card against control decks, and there are some draws that this just annihilates.

Top 5 White Cards

5. Knight of the White Orchid
4. Vryn Wingmare
3. Swift Reckoning
2. Archangel of Tithes
1. Kytheon, Hero of Akros

Origins is incredibly deep for Constructed, so we are going back to top 5. A lot of these cards are poised to take over once Theros rotates, but plenty of them are going to be very good now too. I’m excited by the Constructed possibilities of the set, and look forward to seeing it in action. White may actually have a WW deck again, which is a transperent attempt to curry favor with the powerful Pat Cox/Craig Wescoe lobby, and even past WW there are a lot of powerful white cards for all sorts of decks.


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