Rogue Report – A Fireside Chat: Rise of the Eldrazi


Good evening, and welcome to the Rogue Report Fireside Chat on Rise of the Eldrazi. I’m your host, Jon Loucks, and boy do we have some exciting ground to cover – or should I say, Annihilate. Hahahahaha

Before we get started, a quick note on the last show. That was in fact lighter fluid, though Rick the intern is on his way towards a full recovery. I’m sure he would thank you for the get well cards if he had regained consciousness by this show’s taping.

Back to the topic at hand: Rise of the Eldrazi. This set has more giant monsters than you can shake a Scourge pack at. We’ve also seen futuristic levelers that are heating up the forums, along with elegant protective enchantments and spells that pack a one-two punch. What I’m going to do tonight is take you on a walk through the spoiler and give you my thoughts on anything and everything that comes to my mind. Constructed, drafting, backdrafting – it’s all fair game.

Also, I’m going to avoid talking about the huge Eldrazi for today – if you want my thoughts on them check out this article. I will still talk about levelers today, but more specifically than last time.

Well then, let’s get started, shall we?


All is Dust  

Painter’s Servant silliness aside, I really like this card for multiple reasons, but I don’t think it’s particularly threatening in Constructed. Planar Cleansing hasn’t seen any play, but the WWW in its mana cost might have something to do with that. What intrigues me about All is Dust is that it can go into any deck, finally giving black a way to kill enchantments or red a way to kill Kor Firewalker. Now, I’m not saying that’s particularly viable, but I really like that the option is out there now.

Eldrazi Conscription 


This seems better in Limited than any of the actual Eldrazi are. Maybe the format won’t work out that way, but that’s what I’m thinking for now. I can’t wait to put it on a Spawn token.

Skittering Invasion 


I wonder if Eldrazi spawn tokens are going to be any good in Constructed. I would guess that they’re not going to be great, though there could be a card or two that makes them interesting. I wonder if people are going to start playing Earthquake again, though you can’t really put Bloodbraid Elf in the same deck.

Gideon Jura


It’s very hard to tell if this planeswalker is any good because it’s completely different than any we’ve seen before. I mean it. Most planeswalkers are very good against control because of one fact: if they stay on the table long enough you are almost certainly losing that game. Usually it’s because they build up to an ultimate, but then you have cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor who is hard to beat just because of the Brainstorm he casts every turn.

Gideon, however, can kind of be ignored. For a while, at least. Against a control deck he’s no threat if they have a Wall of Denial, or even a Path to Exile. He is basically an awkward 6/6 for five, which isn’t groundbreaking at all. That’s completely new for a planeswalker. He can stay on the board for the whole game and you can win.

Against a deck with creatures, however, he’s much better. That’s kind of odd for a planeswalker. That means in Limited this guy is going to be pretty awesome. In Constructed, look for Gideon to bust open midrange matchups like a champ. For once we might actually have a 3WW spell that’s better than Baneslayer Angel in a creature matchup, only because he’s much harder to kill but probably about as hard to beat. He kills creatures, makes them make horrible attacks, has a million loyalty, and even switches into “win the game mode” once you’re winning. I don’t expect Gideon to be the best card in Constructed, but if his job needs doing (winning creature vs. creature matchups) then he’s probably the best man for the job.

Guard Duty


You’re on Guard Duty! Best name in the set.

Near Death Experience 


The whole “at the beginning of your upkeep” trigger is what turns me off of this fun card. If it just triggered whenever you were at one life then I would be game. I’m sure there are enough pay life spells out there to get to 1 life if you wanted to. Since I can’t put myself to 1 life on the end of turn four then untap and win on turn five by casting the Experience I don’t think I’ll try this one.

Student of Warfare


This is the best leveler I’ve seen so far, but I’m still not falling over myself to play it. I recognize that the card is good, but that’s not a deck I’ve really been attracted to playing. Still, if the deck, white weenie, is good, it will probably have Student of Warfare. But this is just a creature that’s better than other white creatures, it’s not like it gives the deck access to anything it didn’t have before. It’s just better. If it’s better enough to push the deck over the top, I don’t know yet.

Wall of Omens 


Reveillark is the first card thought of when I saw Wall of Omens. There’s no way an Extended Reveillark will ever lose to Zoo now, and it’s much better against Mono-Red, too. Now it’s crafting the deck so that it can actually beat the combo decks consistently that’s the issue. Aggro is a given.

I thought Calcite Snapper was going to put more Oran-Rief, the Vastwood into Jund decks, and now Wall of Omens has me convinced. This wall is likely very good in Standard, but I’m not sure where it goes yet. Obviously it will have to be tried in UW control, and it will likely be great, but that answer doesn’t satisfy me. I feel like Wall of Omens opens up a whole new strategy in Standard that we just need to find. I can’t think of a better way to protect a planeswalker. Still, once Jund has an Oran-Rief, they can still get most of their creatures through the wall. The Jund decks will adjust accordingly, but at least it slows them down.

Red decks continue to get worse. Nice Hellspark Elemental.



I know there’s a difference between this wording and “Enchant creature with power 4 or less,” but it doesn’t seem like a very big one. I see that it gets Eldrazi out of the way of your attack, among other marginal things, but is that relevant enough to make the card more complex? I should bring this up next time I see somebody from Wizards. I’m sure they had their reasons; I’m just curious what they were.

Enclave Cryptologist 

Perhaps the best looter in Limited since Looter il-Kor. A looter that starts on turn two is already good enough, but then it turns into a straight-up draw? Wow. I also like that this set and Zendikar‘s looters have cost a total of three mana, which feels a bit more fair to me. Maybe that wasn’t entirely intentional, but I like the additional investment required.

Lighthouse Chronologist


The situation where this card is potentially good is in some control matchup in a mono-blue deck. Play this on turn two, level up three times on turn three, then four times on turn four. Bam! You probably win. I find that situation to be pretty unlikely, but I like the idea.

Mnemonic Wall


I really hope this card is good enough. Please? I know I’m going to love casting this in Limited. But can I bring this back with Reveillark? Or can I just get back a good spell in Standard? I want this to happen so badly, but I don’t think it will. This is yet another card that makes me wish that Vengeful Rebirth didn’t remove itself from the game.

Sphinx of Magosi


Wow Wizards, you don’t mess around with your six drops anymore. Remember Admonition Angel? A 6/6 flyer for six with tremendous upside. Same thing here, except Admonition Angel seems better in Constructed. It’s seen some play in Mythic, but the Sphinx doesn’t seem nearly as impacting. In Limited it’s still a beating if you can assemble triple blue. Still, the Sphinx and Angel shows a trend towards serious six-drops.

Surrakar Spellblade 


We’ve seen this card before many times. A three-drop that draws cards if it hits your opponent aka Dimir Cutpurse aka Augery Adept. Shadowmage Infiltrator is the only recent one to have success, and that’s because it had good evasion, not to mention three toughness. I don’t expect Surrakar Spellblade to be very good as history is against it, but it also comes with humongous upside. I don’t think that upside is very relevant because you were winning the game when Augery Adept was hitting anyway, but it never happened. But does the upside make the card more fun? Maybe.

Consuming Vapors 


I predict people will like this card for its surface text and pipe dream promise, get frustrated with the results, and dismiss the card entirely. Consuming Vapors certainly requires effort to pull off, but if you put in that effort you will be rewarded.

In Limited, the biggest danger of Vapors is not to get greedy. Every turn that goes by is another chance for your opponent to throw out Spawn fodder. These tokens are literally designed to be sacrificed; their existence means you can’t wait around for the perfect target(s).

Easy scenario: You’re on the play and you cast a three-drop, or maybe a two-drop. Your opponent has some normal three-drop. On turn four, if you have nothing else to do, just cast the Vapors. You’ll knock out the blocker, and have a rebound shield left over to negate their four-drop. This analysis depends on your hand and board of course, but the point is, if you wait for that Conscripted Eldrazi (solo!) you may have lost your window to do anything meaningful at all. And hey, once in a while you will draw it when they have some tripled-aura monstrosity and the card will look 11/10. But since that’s not particularly likely, for this format if you see your shot to do something, you probably want to take it.

In Constructed, this is the quintessential sideboard card. It’s wondrous against Walls and Angels, somewhat weaker against Sprouting Thrinax and Goblin Bushwhacker. Even then, you need to give it a little push; some pre-Vapors Doom Blades will go a long way.

To sum up, while it’s not as overpowering as it looks at first glace, there is a lot of potential. And for those who are willing to work for it, Consuming Vapors might be one of their MVPs.

Inquisition of Kozilek 


I really like Thoughtsmother. It even gets better the older the format is. Thoughtseize might just be straight-up better in Extended, though the Inquisition is a million times better against zoo. I expect this card to be very good.

Conquering Manticore


This is one of those cards that, if submitted for a BOO set, we would change. I think Gavin Verhey made one of these actually, and we made it smaller. Sure, his had haste, but still. I really like this card though, as I love Threaten effects but I hate the card disadvantage. A Threaten on a card that sticks around though? I’m in. I could see this being good in some matchup in Constructed, but that’s going to be a very specific matchup.

Kargan Dragonlord 


I’m not impressed. I know, I know there are a million reasons why the levelers are better than we think they are. Still, I’m just not impressed with this guy.

Surreal Memoir 


Can this card actually be good? You’ve got to construct your deck in such a way that you’re getting back a good spell every time. Lightning Bolt is a good start. Burst Lightning is another good start. What if I then get Surreal Memoir back with Mnemonic Wall? I’m going to try to make this work.

I really like the rebound mechanic the more I look at this set. I might just like the cards that I’ve seen so far, but I think there’s something about the mechanic itself that tickles a part of me deep inside. I’m happy thinking about casting a rebound spell, and I don’t entirely know why. That’s a good mechanic.

Tuktuk the Explorer


I just don’t understand the haste on this creature. Is there some story reason why it exists? Otherwise I just see an extraneous word.

Awakening Zone 


This card does a lot, but I’m not sure it’s good enough. I kind of want to suit these little guys up, with like Trusty Machete or something, but I doubt that’s good enough. You get a lot of value out of this card over time, either in mana or blocking, so I’m tempted to try to make it work. I don’t think it’s quite explosive enough to be a part of the big-mana Eldrazi deck, and it’s a little slow. If there’s a deck for it, though, I want to be there. I see this being very good on turn two off of an Arbor Elf or a Noble Hierarch. Maybe the mono-green Eldrazi Monument deck wants Awakening zone?

P.S. That deck also wants Joraga Treespeaker. I think that guy is insane.

Momentous Fall


I have no idea what to do with this card yet, but I really want to do something. I think the rest of the deck needs to be almost entirely creatures, but I’m not sure which ones. Maybe this is Eldrazi Green’s way of getting card advantage? I see a lot of cards in this set for an angry green creature deck with tons of mana. I’m not sure how the deck is going to pan out, but I hope Momentous Fall is going to be a part of it. If I had to place money on whether or not this card I going to be a top Constructed card, I would bet no, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Speaking of a deck with almost all creatures, Mul Daya Channelers wants to be a part of the team, too. I’ve never wanted to play so many green creatures in my life.

Realms Uncharted 


CAN’T WAIT! This card deserves a whole article, and I’m so happy it exists.

Sarkhan the Mad 


I don’t like this planeswalker. I don’t think it will be any good, at least in Constructed. Like Gideon it’s a planeswalker that you can actually ignore and not lose. Sure they get to Dark Confidant for a while, but it also costs FIVE! Sure, he also messes around with dragons or whatever, the situations where that is game-breaking are probably very few. Unless you’re doing Saproling shenanigans, it’s not like your creatures are going to be THAT upgraded when they turn 5/5. I just don’t see it. Calling unplayable.

Eldrazi Temple 


I can’t believe this card isn’t legendary. I really can’t believe it. Eye of Ugin I hated, but this? I love. It’s pretty easy to say, but if the Eldrazi deck works, this will be why. I want to Realms Uncharted for Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple, but I’m not sure what else to put in that pile yet.

Next, on Fireside Chats

I’ve enjoyed this little talk we’ve had. Please do turn in next time after the set has been released. I’ll probably take you through my experiences at the prerelease and start talking draft strategies. This looks like one of the most fun Limited sets in a while. It’s going to be a refreshing change of pace from the fast and furious landscape of Zendikar. Here’s hoping you get cast some Eldrazi at the prerelease.

Thanks for reading,

Jonathon Loucks
Loucksj at gmail
JonLoucks on Twitter
Zygonn on Magic Online

60 thoughts on “Rogue Report – A Fireside Chat: Rise of the Eldrazi”

  1. It would be nice if you put in at least a LITTLE explanation about why you are “unimpressed” with Kargan Dragonlord.

    Momentus Fall will be one of the top cards in the set, btw. It’s an auto 4-of in Eldrazi Green, IMO.

  2. The Realms Uncharted pile would probably include Natures Spiral and Expedition Map. Maybe Surreal Memoir for kicks. I see Realms being best in a RG Valakut ramp type deck. Hitting a guaranteed Valakut while generating card advantage seems pretty good. I’m very excited about that card and can’t wait to see what you have planned for it.

    Also of note on Conquering Manticore is that it is a big red flier that is not a dragon. It can also steal a Baneslayer Angel, which seems good.

  3. “But can I bring this back with Reveillark? Or can I just get back a good spell in Standard?”

    Not sure what you’re going for here, but yes you can Mnemonic Wall with Reveillark.

    As far as your thoughts on Surrakar Spellblade. I think it has the potential to be a great card in Standard. The problem I see is that most people plan to drop it on Turn3 trying to get him charged as much as possible. No, I see this as a late game way to refill your hand.

  4. I would really like to hear more of your thoughts on Realms Uncharted. I love the card but have yet to be able to think up any constructed worthy plays with it. Feels like you need to run grim discovery with it.

  5. Ok first anyone that doesn’t get sarkhan is crasy what colors is he? Red and Black lets see that sounds like a blightning/red agro deck with lots of trampling 1 toughness creatures you sac at eot anyways why not say um turn them into 5/5 flying monsters you get what 3 5/5 dragons or card advantage? My wife will be killing you fools with her sarkhan’s at the next ptq. it is just what red needed to conquer the wall of omens that will be so rampant and crest that kor firewalker

  6. Momentus Fall will be absolutely bonkers in Limited.

    Kargan Dargonlord is not impressive because he takes too long to reach his next set of bonuses. A lot of the other levelers can level up into their second form the turn after you play them if you’re playing them on curve. You can probably get some use out of them before the opponent feels compelled to shoot them in the head. Not so with the Dragonlord.

    And late game say you’ve got six mana up with nothing better to do (not a good sign in any game I’ve played). You can drop the Dragonlord and quickly level him up into A SMALLER and NON-FIREBREATHING Shivan Dragon. Woohoo! There’s a reason Shivan Dragon isn’t played in Standard. Something about it being outclassed by almost all the other six-drops.

    Despite what I’ve said above, Kargan Dragonlord will still be played (and good) in Limited, but like Jon, I’m not impressed.

  7. So what happens when u just start sacking ur awakening spawn tokens to your own sarkhan and get a bunch of 5/5 dragons??

    Seems ok to me

  8. Realms Uncharted isn’t just a green, cheaper Gifts Ungiven, Adam Clare. LANDS. It only gets lands.

  9. @ Adam Clare: you can only get lands with realms uncharted. seems better in extended to me, and i can’t see how it will be that great in standard. looking forward to an article about it though!

  10. @ Tyler Hess
    Your WIFE will be killing all of us at the next ptq!!!? Well your wife probably does have a better chance than you do but I still doubt she will be killing anyone with that deck. She might kill you for telling her that sarkhan is good!!!

  11. Here’s your Realms pile, Jon:

    Eye of Ugin
    Eldrazi Temple

    Of course, this only works until KotR rotates from Standard.

  12. Ha! Boy am I an idiot. It’s just so much like Gifts I forgot it wasn’t. The art even matches!

    I guess a Petrified Field reprint is not likely in Rise, but that would be pretty cool. It would make Realms function a bit more like how Gifts does in extended.

    @Yo Yo
    You know that RB deck just won a GP, right? It’s certainly a viable choice in standard right now and even though Vol probably cost too much, it’s worth considering. Kelly Reid from Quiet Speculation had an article about Vol as a draw engine in RB Aggro recently and it looked potentially viable.

  13. You guys can read the text of the new Sarkhan to me all you want. I know what the abilities do. I know he upgrades dudes into 5/5s. Gigantiform upgrades your dudes into 8/8s with trample and attacks that turn and it’s nowhere near standard lists right now. Yeah, Sarkhan can keep making you 5/5s, but so can dragonmaster outcast, another card that isn’t seeing play, and Sarkhan even has to kill your own guys to do it. How many 5/5 dragons do you need to win the game? More than one? I would rather just play a good guy in the first place.

    I do like the idea of upgrading your Hellspark Elementals, though. That’s about the only thing that’s interested me. (Well that, and sacrificing Abyssal Persecutor.) Still, the pacing on that play is pretty awful. You can’t do it on turn five, and then Sarkan has to survive to the next turn to nab a hellspark. And for what, a 5/5 dragon? Aww, that’s cute. Maybe if we throw a stick he’ll go catch it! That’s a lot of hoops to jump through for such marginal value. Dragons just aren’t what they used to be.

    But Sarkhan is flexible. He does more than just make dragons – He draws cards! For five mana he draws one card. Then maybe another later. Except then he’s not affecting the board. We’ve seen planeswalkers that can’t defend themselves, and they tend not to be that great. Reminds me of Liliana, and she’s even good against control decks. I can’t tell what situation you want to be in and cast Sarkhan that actually exists.

    I understand that Sarkhan does things. But are they good things? I don’t think so. You may be of the opinion that in combination Sarkhan’s abilities make him playable. I’m of the opinion that it’s not enough.

    Compare him to new Jace. I know, I know, Jace is insane and you might think this is an unfair comparison. Except it’s not, because Jace is legal to play. Jace outclasses Sarkan in soooooo many ways. I recommend you shift all effort away from even thinking about trying to make Sarkan work and instead spend that energy trying to get Jace into your decks.

    That send, as a deckbuilder I highly encourage you to prove me wrong, and look forward to you doing so 🙂

  14. P.S. mtgaaron [Aaron Forsythe] tweeted:
    Domestication had “Enchant creature with power 4 or <“, but no one understood that if its power went over 4 the Aura fell off.

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  16. I very much like consuming vapours in jund. In fact, i think it alongside the vine trellis wall are going to morph it into a pure control deck. That card fixes so many of the decks problems vs. its middling matchups and stops walls.

  17. @ YO-YO
    the last ptq my wife played in she took 14th it’s really good for someone who hates constructed but if you don’t believe me i believe Adam Claire should be able to verify that she did get that high in Vegas. So like i said she’ll be stomping you.

  18. Tyler Hess:
    14th in a PTQ is not that impressive.
    I´d even claim that winning a PTQ isn´t that impressive.
    Sure, some areas have harder competition then others but I know people who are at best mediocre to avarage players that made it to the Tour.

    That doesn´t matter much though. The important thing is Sarkhan is terrible.

    1. If you could remove loyalty at instant speed then maybe (and it´s a big maybe) he could be ok.

    He cost 5 mana = if you want to abuse him with hast creatures that dies EOT you will need atleast 7 mana and unless your opponent is tapped out they can still mess up your dragon production and even at 5 mana he´s at the top of the curve for such a deck.

    The only way he could possibly be somewhat good if you run him in a deck with a VERY low curve. Useing his 0 ability to turn him into a card advantadge engine (kind of BR necro that used necropotence to draw lots of extra burnspells that didn´t needed a million mana to work and thereby autoloose to Stasis) Obv such an engine would be alot worse then Necro but atleast that way you know you are geting something out of him even if is only a very expensive cycling card). Trying to make lots of big angry dragons are just a good way to remove loyalty for nothing.

  19. Stream of consciousness + observations we all made within 20 seconds of reading the cards = Total jank article. Most of the observations were extremely vague as well, e.g. “card X does thing Y, I think it might fit into some sort of deck! Perhaps we could use it for what it was obviously designed for?” OMG RLY?

    Try adding some insight next time and see what happens.

  20. I too thought the new sarkan was bad.
    But then I thought of jund.
    Drop sarkan, sac thrinax or token, next turn play broodmate and shoot 13 to the head.
    Sounds legal too me…

  21. @ AndiR; When i first read Sarkhan that was the very first thing i thought of. 13 to the dome on turn 6(5 w/ rampant) is more then likely game. That being said, if you’re running Jund, do you really want this guy in your deck? Does he make Jund any better than it already is? Or is he just a cute win condition for a deck that doesn’t need it?

  22. The reason why TukTuk has haste is bec. you want him to die ASAP, so you could get the 5/5 golem. Sure, his 1 power will be ignored, unless you Machete him up, and then your opponent will surely Smother him out of annoyance.

  23. Realms uncharted isn’t good at all in standard. Your opponent gives you the worst of the 2 lands, and there aren’t enough lands with unique effects to actually get 4 lands you want. In a best case scenario, you search up 2 eldrazi lands, a manland, and some fetchland… your opponent gives you the fetch and a manland. I mean, okay, you payed 3 mana, and got basically a manland and a blank. It’s not like it’s actually worth tutoring for a manland or else decks would just play more already, jund only uses 4-6. The only way to even abuse this card is with knight of the reliquary(already insane) and grim discovery(still terrible). This card is the lotus cobra of the set… a card that looks cool or seems like a good card, but in reality has no good applications.

  24. @artz; his having haste is all flavor. The character was incredibly stupid and brash.

    and if you equip him up w/ a machete, im not gonna burn removal to give you a 5/5 that can then be equipped. The best way to “flip” him is to sit back and block

  25. Realms uncharted has potental with green Explore mana ramp decks. Grab up 4 forests to clear the deck out and explore them into play. Then toss out Wolfbriar’s. Not the greatest deck I’ve seen around but good fun for FNM.

    Why play Sarkan in R/B aggro when you already have Sign in Blood for card draw or even better Ad Nauseum in the 5 slot? Against what matchup will you want a 5/5 dragon that can’t swing until turn 6? Sadly any planeswalker with red in the cost (other than Ajani) is gonna suck seems to be the case.

  26. And edit. Didn’t read Realms closely. It’s 4 different so yeah it’s terrible, but at least it’s an instant! Here I was hoping for another Brainstorm / Clear the Land combo type thing to happen in standard again. =/

  27. @ EuroRunne
    I don’t think Sarkhan is win more cause of its versitalitiy.
    13 to the dome is just one thing he can do.
    i might think of running him over SGC, but I’m not sure if he really is better.
    He might be better against controll…
    But even think about this Options means that he can’t be this bad!

  28. “I just don't understand the haste on this creature. Is there some story reason why it exists? Otherwise I just see an extraneous word.”

    The aforementioned flavor reasons aside, having a 5/5 for three mana seems alright, especially when it only costs one colored mana. Woolly Thoctar is pretty good a 5/4 for three differently-colored mana.

    Of course, there’s always the option of your opponent going “Um, I’ll just take one. My turn?” and then all your genius plans have gone awry, but whatevs.5/5 for three! Crazy town!

  29. Momentous Fall is awesome. First it’s an instant, which allows you to gain cards on your opponent’s turn. I heard that’s good. It also allows you to cast it in response to a removal spell. Oh, you’re using a Path to Exile on my Baneslayer Angel? That’s cute. I think instead I’ll gain 5 life and draw 5 cards, and your Path is effectively countered.

    Second, sacrificing the creature is part of the cost to play the spell, which ensures that your opponent can’t kill your creature and render your spell useless.

    Soul’s Majesty in Alara block was a limited bomb as long as you played it carefully, but if your creature was removed then you were on the losing end of a 2-for-1 instead of the winning end of a 5-for-1. That won’t happen with Momentous Fall.

    Turn 1: Arbor Elves or some other mana dork
    Turn 2: Leatherback Baloth
    Turn 3: Momentous Fall

    Seems pretty ridiculous to me.

  30. I always get a good chuckle out of everyone defending their opinions on cards we haven’t even played with.

  31. Not sure how much you’ve played Jace, TMS, but I’ve found myself scrying more than Brainstorming. Also, here are my top 5 from the known cards of RotE

    1) Wall of Omens
    2) Gideon Jura
    3) Vengevine
    4) Inquisition of Kozilek
    5) Consume the Meek

    There’s not much else to say about Wall of Omens, but it will redefine deck construction.

    Gideon Jura is absolutely a must have. The card can swing a losing game into a rapid pumping of the fist. Probably more than most cards in standard.

    Vengevine is just awesome. He’s the next Chameleon Colossus +1.

    Inquisition. There are a lot of cards that this doesn’t nab, but the most important cards he does are all mostly in type one. Grabbing Dark Confidant, Dispel, Oath, Trinisphere, and the list could go on and on. Grab a playset. This will see more play than Duress in standard.

    Consume the Meek is exactly what Black needed to survive. It didn’t need Damnation or Mutilate, it needed a way to deal with manlands and your opponents attack/end step. This should be picked up as fast.

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  33. I think one of the most obvious applications for Realms Uncharted is in a GWb Junk deck. Basically, you are able to maximize your Realms by using both KoTR (I hear instant-speed pump + card advantage is good) and Grim Discovery (Get whatever land you want, plus a dude that died early). Something like this:

    4 Student of Warfare
    4 Knight of the Reliquary
    3 Ranger of Eos
    4 Vengevine
    4 Noble Hierarch
    2 Stoneforge Mystic
    3 Baneslayer Angel

    3 Realms Uncharted
    2 Grim Discovery
    1 Elspeth, Knight Errant
    4 Maelstrom Pulse
    1 Baslisk Collar
    1 Sigil of Distinction

    3 Stirring Wildwood
    2 Tectonic Edge
    1 Sejiri Steppe
    2 Sunpetal Grove
    4 Verdant Catacombs
    4 Marsh Flats
    1 Swamp
    3 Plains
    4 Forest

    Obviously this is just a rough draft off the top of my head. It’s possible that it wants Wall of Omens, or Gideon Jura or something. Still, the point is that it can abuse Realms Uncharted very well with both KotR and Grim Discovery. What I like about this approach is that this deck is just packed so freaking full of card advantage (Vengevine, Ranger, Mystic, Realms, Grim Discovery) that it should be able to keep up a consistently pressuring offense well into the late game.


  34. p.s.

    a good realms package for that deck above seems like tectonic edge + stirring wildwood + verdant catacombs + marsh flats.

    This lets you stock your graveyard with useful lands (tec edge and wildwood) to fetch later with Grim Discovery, plus it lets you get basic forests and plains to feed to your KotR (essentially tutoring for the other tec edge or wildwood if you want).

  35. cgr [Robert Henson]

    Haha, Jon, it seemed like you also might have been wanting to do something with Vengeful Rebirth and high-cost Eldrazi? I really want to make a mono-green deck work… I think there’s enough stuff from Zendikar block for it to be fun (and perhaps competitive). Anyway, fun article, and it was nice meeting you at the PTQ Saturday.

  36. I predict Realms to be an utter wash. Being able to grab only lands is crippling. With Gifts, you could build piles that let you do utterly terrible things no matter what. The limitations on this, plus the small card pool of Standard lead me to believe this won’t see any real use unless they reprint Crucible, Loam, or something similar.

    Sarkhan: I looked at him and saw a Broodmate variant. From that perspective, he’s not necessarily so bad. He lands on turn 5 instead of 6. He’s BR instead of BRG. His dragons are bigger than Broodmate. In a format full of walls, turning your Thrinax tokens or Bloodbraids into evasive fatties is nice. Assuming you go Dragonx3 then draw, you end with 1 more fattie and cantrip. Is all that worth being a terrible topdeck and incremental? Maybe. Just saying I wouldn’t dismiss him offhandedly.

  37. I’m pretty amped about the green cards personally, at least the ones we all know about. But just a quick point on All Is Dust, that card is fantastic for any color, not just red and will see more play than Planar Cleansing (which you’re right, the WWW makes it a bitch to cast.)

  38. Realms is great for mana FIXING guys. Mana FIXING. If there is a four color, five color deck viable in standard, it’s because of realms uncharted. I know what your thinking, the opponent will just know what colors you need and choose you to discard those. Won’t be true if you grab four tri-land or two manlands and two tri-lands. Also, since when is 2G draw two lands BAD?

    As to Sarkhon Vohl, I think he’s playable in the right deck. He is obviously not your normal planeswalker. I think he goes in a b/r deck sideboard looking to overcome control. As pointed out earlier any kind of creature to be sacced turn five + turn six dragon = 10 damage to the face. That is some SERIOUS reach for a burn deck. I’d also like to point out that Hellkite Charger on turn six following a turn five Sarkhon + dragon token is 20 damage on turn six. So if a control player burned his removal on your early beats you can just crush them if they tap out.

    I think the most underrated thing about Sarkhon is that nobody will want to attack him. He is going to kill himself after all, why waste the damage? That means you are going to get the maximum value out of a planeswalker. It’s hard to argue that that is bad.

  39. Sarkhan changling deck, woops, they are all dragons and get +3/+3 from that little 2 mana enchantment you played on turn 2. So, that’s what….

    – Changeling Berserker
    – Fire-Belly Changeling
    – Mirror Entity
    – Taurean Mauler

    With the right land fetch, all of this goes down on turn 4 for likely over 10 damage in one hit…

    But even so, there are dragons that cost less than 5 now… the direct damage option is likely the one you’re betting on to end the game, and the second option just helps you get there…

  40. Sarkhan looks cool as a draw engine for a low-CC BR aggro mix, but Ad Nauseum looks cooler.

  41. Throwing my 2 cents into the great Sarkhan debate, I can see him in a Grixis control deck packed with lots of Walls (future Dragon fodder), lots of Burn (Earthquake, Bolt, Blaze, etc.), lots of Discard (Sedraxis Specter, Blightning, Inquisition, etc.), and perhaps a counterspell or two. In that sort of shell, I think his multiple abilities would come in handy. Every spell except himself costs 3 or less, walls stunt opponents fast offense and are fuel for his dragon making, and after you burn one Sarkhan out, drop a second and ultimate for the win. This is the kind of deck that will love Sarkhan and I cant wait to see it happen. Anyone want to trade me a Sarkhan???

  42. Anyone else not impressed by Green gifts? The decks that want this sort of thing probably already want, or have gifts ungiven or even intuition. KotR tricks aside, what can be done with this card?

  43. You are all making the mistake of comparing Realms Uncharted to Gifts Ungiven. It’s a totally different card, and would fill a totally different metagame niche. It’s not a powerful tutor to enable broken combos, it’s just a good mana fixer/card advantage engine that happens to interact extremely well with KotR and Grim Discovery. I don’t think it will be totally broken or anything, but I do think it has a defnite role to play in the upcoming Standard metagame.

  44. DR Jester – Junk with Grim Discovery is all I can think about anymore.

    CGR [robert] – Nice meeting you too! You’re my hero for playing KCI.

    Chatter – pssshhht whatever. I don’t want to trust you, you can’t make me! You’re so washed up anymore it doesn’t matter.

    Mementous Fall – the problem with this card is that it’s pretty awkward. It costs four mana, so your opponent is going to want to just kill your guys on their turn without giving you a chance to untap. It’s going to be hard to sac a Leatherback Baloth for that reason. Also, to get much advantage on Momentous Fall you’re going to have to sac something that was already a significant investment. Don’t get me wrong, I do really like this card, but I’m worried that it’s just a little too awkward to be playable.

    Uncharted Realms – Do people not like 2-for-ones anymore? (Jethro and DRjester you hear me.) This is the easiest two-for-one out there! I like making my land drops, a lot, and this card gets you there. This card helps green fight blightning a lot by being an easy source of card advantage. You can’t compare this card to Gifts Ungiven really. Gifts was usually a set-up card, where you gifted for four cards that would set you up to win the game in around two turns, either through some combo or by essentially locking up the game with a good silver-ish bullet. Some decks did just use it to grab good cards (Alexander I’m looking at you) but those tend to be the exception. Uncharted Realms is not gifts ungiven. It’s not going to set you up to win the game. Instead it’s going to gain you tremendous value by making sure you hit your land drops and maybe even fixing your mana along the way. Also, thinning FOUR lands out of your deck isn’t at all inconsiquential. I think this card will be very good. I think the biggest mark against this card will be that it probably fits best in some midrange monstrocity, and I’ve been told those decks are bad on principle.

    All is Dust – I have to admit I wasn’t thinking about it in terms of the eldrazi land. I think that land makes this card a lot better, and the deck doesn’t even need to run other Eldrazi spells. I’m still not sold it will be all that great – I would currently bet it’s not going to see tier 1 play this standard PTQ season – but I wouldn’t be completely suprised if it did. The card certainly does a job.

    Vick – 🙁 At least I’m on your official list of dudes. That’s got to count for something, right?

  45. I feel like people are misunderstanding Realms Uncharted. They say something like “it might have combo potential in some deeper format, but for standard its terrible because there aren’t enough good lands worth fetching.”

    That’s silly. It’s a 2G instant way to draw 2 cards, and you get to thin your deck in the process. People say the deck thinning effect of fetchlands is statistically marginal. They are correct, if you only fetch once. But if you’re running a deck with fetches, and you Realms Uncharted into, say, Tectonic Edge, Misty Rainforest, Evolving Wilds, what have you done? You’ve drawn two cards, you’ve thinned your deck of four lands, and have gotten either one or two fetches to thin one more each. A fetch is statistically insignificant. Six fetches in one effect is huge. Not to mention unlocking synergies within your deck, like, I dunno, Knight of the Reliquary? As well as guaranteeing landfall effects.
    And it’s an instant.
    And that’s not even considering the combo potential.
    Plus the card also fits perfectly into counter-top builds everywhere. It’s a shuffle effect, a 3cmc, and enables any number of additional shuffle effects. With Crucible of Worlds out, you’re fetching four lands, and guaranteeing your wasteland lock.
    In Agro-Loam you fetch the most intricate half of your engine.

    The possibilities of this card are enormous, and even without utilizing niche synergies, the card stands alone as an amazing resource. It’s instant speed card advantage in green for chris’ sake, and at a cmc that jives with older formats.

  46. To add to the Sarkhan debate, let’s not forget about Sarkhan Vol- five 4/4 dragons on turn six (turn five if you’re ramping) Then drop Sarkhan, the Mad, and you’ve got 20 damage to the head on turn 6 or 7. I think with the ramping put in place to cast Eldrazi, dragons may be a viable experiment.

  47. This is why I’m seriously considering not playing Standard for a bit & only playing EDH. Some of these cards are awesome…as long as no one else is doing anything.

    Momentous Fall is a great card. I like that WotC is giving Green something to do outside of playing creatures or getting lands (to cast more creatures, right?).

    All Is Dust is sexy cool. I like it in ways that are questionably legal in some states. It’s still just a sweeper, though, so I give it yawn/5 for not doing interesting things.

    Sarkhan the Mad seems interesting, and I want him to see some play. The fact that he can’t gain loyalty, while thematic, I guess, is a major limiting factor in that regard. I will say that I can’t wait to get the other Sarkhan’s ultimate off, cast New Sarkhan, and hit someone for 20. (Maybe I’ll pick up a copy for my Kresh deck, because that’s probably never happening in a tournament.)

    @gumOnShoe – The enchantment you’re thinking of costs 3R, sir. If you’re casting it on turn 2, couldn’t you have just cast something, I don’t know, good instead?

  48. @Marshall C: I don’t think people were having a hard time winning if they made five dragons with Sarkhan Vol already. Also, you could always just drop a second Sarkhan Vol and give your dragons haste, but that play was never happening in constructed. Dragons don’t need to hit any harder than they already do to be better.

  49. @Chaos_noise

    “And edit. Didn't read Realms closely. It's 4 different so yeah it's terrible, but at least it's an instant! Here I was hoping for another Brainstorm / Clear the Land combo type thing to happen in standard again. =/”

    What about pulling a Verdant Catacombs, Misty Rainforrest, Oran-Rief, the Vastwood, Khalni Garden, or any other combo that green has to offer to “clear the way” for the Wolfbrairs, etc.

  50. If you’re trying to color fix, Harrow is faster, since it gets the lands direcly into play for use immediately, doesn’t use up your drop for the turn, and inherently triggers Landfall twice. It also plays very nicely with Khalni Heart Exploration if you want very high amounts of ramp. Reclaim does indeed smooth out building your mana and colors. It just doesn’t do it as well as another cards already printed.

    That said, given the nature of ROE, fast ramp sounds amazing. If your opponent can resolve one of the mythic Eldrazi, you are in a very bad place. Before they even resolve, the cast-triggered abilities can be backbreaking. And once they swing (good luck removing Emrakul or Ulamog), it’s practically game. Unless you have Preserver, you’re probably losing at least a land or two, or some spawn tokens instead. Either way, you just gave up some mana production, making it even harder for you to establish parity.

  51. Like a few others mentioned, green looks really exciting from this set.

    Also, I may not pull it off in a Standard game, but casting Distortion Strike on your Surrakar Spellblade looks to be game-breaking, barring removal. I’ll definitely first-pick the Spellblade in a draft just to try to make that work…

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