Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Memory Jar

Memory Jar

Do you remember a time when you hand a full hand? This card remembers. This card us considered one of the best in Magic and I think it's pretty obvious to see why. It's massive amounts of instant-speed card advantage for you on a stick! Let's say you're late into a game and you've only got a couple cards in hand that aren't exactly that useful right now. Break this open and you've got seven brand new cards that you can use this turn whereas your opponent only gets to look sad at all the non-Instant cards she's about to lose. Some of the other "combos" that people toss around: Megrim/Liliana's CaressUnderworld DreamsLibrary of Leng, and Geth's Grimoire. All in all, a stellar card.

Pros: Draw seven at instant speed, massive card advantage if used on your turn
Cons: Seals your current hand (if it exists) in exile, must discard hand at end of turn
Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, 29 April 2014



Not many creatures are safe from this card and it's hilarious. I don't mean to say that most creatures will die from this; I mean to say that most creatures will take damage from this because this is usually how the turn devolves:

P1: I cast Brawl, then my Krosan Warchief punches your Timber Wolves
P2: Well, since they're going to die anyway, my Timber Wolves bite your Anceint Hyrda
P1: Well then, my Ancient Hyrda will just have to dine on your Whimwader
And so on and so forth...

It probably won't cause a boardwipe, but almost everything will probably walk away with a black eye at least. I like the fact that it's Instant-speed, meaning you can use it during combat and basically give your blockers Double Strike (which is probably its intended use). The only issue is that it pretty much requires a lot of big creatures to pull off a one-sided boardwipe. Still, it's a neat little way to find out who your friends are in a multiplayer game.

Pros: Basically gives blockers Double Strike
Cons: Little creatures probably won't survive, requires tapping
Rating: 3/5

Monday, 28 April 2014

Basal Thrull

Basal Thrull

Not a bad little card. It's either a chump blocker that gives you mana for that Terror in your hand or it sticks around for a turn to accelerate you by 2 mana for that Crypt Angel you're going to draw on turn 3. It's basically just mana storage, which can be very useful for slamming big drops early game. The only problem I really have with it is that it has to tap, meaning it has to stay alive for a turn, otherwise you'll lose your investment. Still, pretty good for 2 black.

Pros: Early mana storage
Cons: Has to tap, usable only once
Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, 25 April 2014

Master of the Feast

Master of the Feast


This card will be a "thing" in Standard. With mono-black already being a deck type, this will fit in perfectly the turn before Desecration Demon and it will help that deck win that much faster. Even if mono-black wasn't a thing, I'd still call this card pretty good. It's a 5/5 for 3 with a downside, but no one gets to take advantage of that downside until your next turn, meaning that if you can give it Haste (perhaps with a Whip of Erebos?), you get to basically chuck a Lava Axe at your opponent's face for 3. However, if the game drags on for a while, it can come back to bite you as your opponents will get a ton of card advantage off of this. It'll be really good in 1-on-1s, since you only have 1 opponent to worry about, but in multiplayer it may not fare so well. Like I said, this will be a thing in the current Standard meta and it might make an appearance in other competitive formats (maybe Modern, definitely in Nekusar, the Mindrazer decks). Great card for Standard right now, maybe not so great once it rotates out.

Pros: 3 mana for a 5/5 flyer
Cons: Gives opponents extra draws
Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Urza's Eyewear

Glasses of UrzaSunglasses of Urza
Urza's Contact Lenses

I didn't think Urza had problems seeing, but I guess when you start working as a clockmaker's apprentice (look it up), your eyes start to go a little bit.

Glasses of Urza
It's no Peek, but for 1 mana, it can glean you a lot of useful information, especially after a tutor. With the exception of Seer's Vision or Telepathy-type effects (which give everyone at the table the information), this is the only unconditional, repeatable way to look at an opponent's hand. Not bad for 1 mana.

Pros: Repeatable hand spying
Cons: Only targets one player, needs to be repeatedly activated
Rating: 4/5

Sunglasses of Urza
Kind of a worse Celestial Dawn if you ask me (and if you don't, why are you here?). It's 3 mana for a limited amount of colour fixing. It's useful in a Boros deck, but most other decks running red/white have better options.

Pros: Micro Celestial Dawn
Cons: Only changes white to red
Replacement: Chromatic Lantern
Rating: 1/5

Urza's Contact Lenses
It's free Telepathy and that's pretty awesome. Also, combos with Lodestone Myr.

Pros: Free Telepathy
Cons: Illegal in every format
Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Rishadan Port Redux

Rishadan Port

It's been over two years since I first started this site with a look at this card. Since then, I think I've matured a bit as a Magic player, learning more about the different metas and seeing the hidden potential of some cards. I now understand why Cephalid Illusionist can be really scary and why cards like Dawnglow Infusion aren't that spectacular. And I can definitely say that my opinion on this card has definitely changed as well. This card didn't deserve the 3/5 rating that I gave it. It deserves less! 

There are much better ways to deal with Maze of Ith (which is what many people have told me that "this is the solution to"). Ghost Quarter and Raze can deal with it in exchange for one of your own lands. Sea's Claim can deal with it permanently by turning it into an Island and Tidal Warrior can deal with it repeatedly on your turns (kind of like this card, but without the mana cost). I no longer think that Icy Manipulator or Early Frost are good replacements for this since they are either too slow or they are just temporary. Still, there exist many other replacements for this card that don't cost $120 (the average price of this at time of writing).

Pros: Taps down a land
Cons: Costs mana for use
Replacements: Ghost Quarter, Raze, Sea's Claim, Tidal Warrior
Rating: 2/5

Coastal Hornclaw

Coastal Hornclaw

What the... I don't even... Why?! I don't think that I need to explain why this card is so bad. So, I'm just going to list some other 3/3s for 5 that are much better than this:

Pros: Creature
Cons: Requires a land sack to fly, 3/3 for 5
Rating: 0/5

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Fleshpulper GIant

Fleshpulper Giant

This card is really bad. It's a weaker Strangling Soot with a Bonebreaker Giant attached to it. It just doesn't do enough for 7. I'd much rather run something like Dakmor Lancer since it's cheaper and more versatile. It's just not that impressive of a card.

Pros: Kills a little creature
Cons: 4/4 for 7, only kills a tiny creature
Rating: 0.5/5

Monday, 21 April 2014

Sworn Defender

Sworn Defender

It's like a Sentinel with bite! This card is pretty cool because it won't die to things without Deathtouch, Wither, Infect, or Double Strike but it kind of sucks at the same time because it won't kill the other creature. However, it can stop creatures with Trample dead in their tracks. But, it doesn't help that you have to have a mana open to activate the ability. It's a real middle-of-the-road type of card in my opinion. It's a great blocker, but not a great attacker.

Pros: Can survive most combats, immune to trample
Cons: Can't kill much, mana required to activate
Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Special: Eggs!

Darkwater EggMossfire Egg
Shadowblood EggSkycloud Egg
Sungrass Egg

These cards are pretty awesome since they are basically free card draw. They filter two mana into two different colours (which is pretty rare in and of itself) and they replace themselves at the same time. The best part? You can run all of these in the same deck! Since all the activation/cast costs involved are colourless, you can use the mana from one to activate another, creating a chain of cracking and drawing. Finally, these cards have some of my favourite flavour text in the entire game (Watnik is a boss). I don't actually have any complaints about these cards. They're pretty great for what they do. I don't know why they get so much hatred. It's 3 mana for 2 mana and a card at instant-speed. There's not much that can duplicate that.

Pros: Instant-speed card draw, dual mana filtration
Cons: Requires two mana to sack, single use
Rating: 4.5/5



I put both arts here because this is a good example of why I liked the idea of multiple arts for each card: it tells a story. Sure, it's a short story of "guy stands in front of some arrows" and "guy dead due to standing in front of some arrows", but it adds just a little bit more flavour to the cards.

Anyway, if this card didn't cost 3, it would be a lot better. It's basically a one-sided Fog with an additional cost of sacrificing a creature. There are creatures like Stuffy Doll and Spitemare that can make this card have a lot of value, but there are many more that would just make it a one-sided Fog. If it cost WW, it would be an amazing card. Still, it's basically a cheaper Endure, which isn't that bad of a card.

Pros: Essentially a cheaper Endure
Cons: Requires a creature to be sacrificed
Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, 18 April 2014

Erhnam Djinn

Erhnam Djinn

One of the iconic cards from Judgment, this card is not as bad as it seems. If you target a 1/1 with the ability, you're getting a 4/5 for 4 with a very small downside. If you target a creature with Defender (that's not a wall), you're getting a 4/5 for 4 with no downside (same goes for if there are only creatures with Shroud/Hexproof on the field or if you control no Forests). However, getting a 4/5 for 4 in green isn't that spectacular, especially if it doesn't have any evasion. I'd much prefer something like Stampeding Serow in my "big green creature with a downside" slot. Not a bad creature, just not great.

Pros: Big creature
Cons: Forces you to give out forestwalk, no evasion
Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 16 April 2014



Stats-wise, this card is absolute garbage, but the stats don't really matter for this card. I think this is a brilliant card design. It doesn't deal damage, meaning that it dodges saves like Fog and Pay No Heed and since it doesn't have power, cards like Meishin, the Mind Cage don't really affect this card. It also has variable power that can come into play in the late-game. I can see this card easily being a 4/4 or 5/4 the turn it comes out, which is pretty good for a creature with Fear. This card is not without its flaws however, mainly stemming from the lack of power on it. Because it has no power, blocking it isn't an issue, especially with tokens (if they're in the right colour). The other issue is that because it doesn't deal damage, any card that requires damage to be dealt (like Coastal Piracy or Curse of Stalked Prey) won't trigger off this card. Still, it's a creature that has the potential to cause a large loss of life and it's hard to block, so it's not a bad option to run.

Pros: Potential for large amounts of life loss
Cons: Doesn't deal damage, no power
Rating: 4/5

Monday, 14 April 2014

Death or Glory

Death or Glory

This can be a really great finisher if you're losing. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it only really works if you have more than a couple big threats in your graveyard, which probably means you're losing. If you have only an Angel of Serenity and a Reya Dawnbringer in your yard, you'd be better off casting Resurrection since you're only getting one back anyway. Increase the number of threats from 2 to say, 8 and suddenly this card gets some added value. You'll be getting multiple creatures back to the field even though you have to exile the others. The exile is kind of mitigated if you have no way to get the cards back anyway though and if you're losing, the exile zone is pretty much the same as the graveyard, right? This card does take some talent and timing to use properly, but if you can pull it off, it's can be a reversal-in-a-can.

Pros: Mass resurrection
Cons: Only brings back some of your creatures, exiles your creatures, requires fairly large yard for maximum value
Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Bone Flute

Bone Flute

This card itself is not that remarkable, but I saw the flavour text, and thought I had to look at it today. For those who don't know (I'm going to assume that's mostly everyone), Lord Ursnell was a lord in Terisiare (a northern continent on Dominara). Because of all the screwing-over-of-the-local-population caused by Urza and Mishra's little spat over a Thran powerstone, Terisiare was pretty much reduced to ash and a lot of little battle scarred the land. The Battle of Pitdown was one of those battles and Lord Ursnell died, and not much outside of his skeleton was left. When it was returned to Lady Ursnell, I guess she decided to try her hand at instrument making (much more of the story was focused on Jodah).

As for this card, it's not bad. Kind of like a Cumber Stone with a toggle switch that costs mana. Not great, but not horrendous.

Pros: Cumber Stone with a toggle switch
Cons: Costs mana, just -1/-0, mass -1/-0
Rating: 1.5/5

Note: I remember when you needed side material to understand flavour text. Those were the days. *shakes walking stick at young children on the lawn*

Death's Approach

Death's Approach

I have an issue with enchantments that will probably kill their targets as soon as they are attached. Why not just make them straight-up kill spells? I understand the occasional need to reduce a creature's power, but I think cards like Meishin, the Mind Cage are better since it's going to stay around longer. It may sound weird to complain about this type of thing since you're basically getting the same value as a kill spell (a card for a card), but these types of cards tend to have one of three fatal flaws: they often have really weak definitions of "X", they don't really do much, or they are overcosted for what they do. Kagemaro's Clutch makes "X" equal the number of cards in your hand, Ghoulflesh is kind of pointless, and Screams from Within costs triple what it should. I get the idea of weakening creatures, but you're just masking the problem instead of dealing with it permanently. You can put a pot under a dripping pipe or you can buy some plumber's tape.

Anyway, on to this card. It falls into the "Flaw A" category: "X" is very weak. It can only really be powerful in the late-game, but if you've gotten to the late-gate and your opponent has enough creatures in their graveyard to make this worthwhile, you've either: won the game or you've exhausted a few, better kill spells in order to get those creatures in that yard. Despite all this complaining, I'm not about to call this a terrible card; I'm just going to say that there are better cards. This will kill most small, utility creatures fairly early and it could kill a larger creature before it kills you while giving you the option to weaken it beforehand. My main issue is this: why try and mask the problem of a big creature by weakening it with this instead of just killing it with something like Murder

Pros: Can kill sometimes, weakens at minimum
Cons: Requires creatures in opponent's graveyard
Rating: 2/5

Friday, 11 April 2014

Samite Alchemist

Samite Alchemist

Yeah... There's a good reason Homelands is considered one of the worst sets in the history of Magic and this is a prime example of why that is. First, this is a 0/2 for 4. There are only 2 0/2s that are worth paying 4+: Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Vedalken Archmage. This thing is nowhere near either of those cards. Second, preventing damage is sort of okay, but paying for it makes it less than okay. Hallowed Healer and Master Healer are examples of better creatures who can prevent damage (not the best, just better than this). Finally, it frosts the creature it protects. Why would you ever want that for your own creature?! You get to pay 2 mana for the privilege to not use that creature the next turn. Yay...? So yeah, there's nothing nice to say about this card at all.

Pros: It's a creature
Cons: Pay-to-save, frosts saved creature, 0/2 for 4
Rating: 0/5 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Static Orb

Static Orb

There are very few cards that will result in everyone at the table hating you the minute it hits the table and this card is definitely near the top of the list. People often say that Winter Orb is more annoying because you only get to untap a single lands, but at least Winter Orb allows you to untap your nonland permanents. This card doesn't allow you to untap more than 2 permanents period. Decks that run things like Seedborn Muse are going to be the decks that get the most out of this card, but those decks can be vulnerable to removal of their key cards that give them an advantage. All you need is two mana to kill that Seedborn Muse with a Doom Blade. It's a big double-edged sword, but if it's built around, this can be a powerful card.

Pros: Locks down permanents
Cons: Locks down all permanents (even yours)
Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spark Mage

Spark Mage

Two-for-one deals are pretty awesome, and this card is a pretty cheap deal. When this card swings, your opponent is given a choice: lose a 1 toughness creature or lose a 1 toughness creature and take a damage. Usually, they'll choose the trade, but if you can somehow make this thing unblockable, tougher, or somehow less desirable to block, it becomes pretty good. On its own, it is not much more than a weaker Chaos Charm, but given the right support, this card has some potential.

Pros: Two-for-one deal if it hits
Cons: Weak, requires support
Rating: 2/5

Island of Wak-Wak

Island of Wak-Wak

How lame does your island have to be named after a fruit? Cuba would be viewed a lot differently if it was called "Island of Grapefruit". Anyway, on to this card: it's not very good. If it could target any creature, it would be slightly better, but it would be pretty good if it tapped for a mana as well (but then it would be a better Maze of Ith). I think this is just too underwhelming. This would make it much more playable:

Island of Wak-Wak
T: Add 1 to your mana pool.
1, T: Prevent all damage dealt by target creature this turn. Island of Wak-Wak doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.

Pros: Repeatable quasi-Chain of Silence
Cons: Only targets flying creatures, doesn't tap for mana
Rating: 2/5

Note: Using wiki-fu, I found that a Wakwak is a Filipino vampire. Why wasn't the Island of Wak-Wak an island of vampires?!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Elite Archers

Elite Archers

The effect for this card is pretty good, but the cost and rarity isn't that great. I know I don't really talk about the rarity of cards all that much, but sometimes it does effect how I see a card. 

For example, in a Zendikar block draft, you could be passed a pack of Worldwake with a Razor Boomerang in it or one with a Cunning Sparkmage. Assuming that you haven't really decided what you're going for yet, which one are you more likely to choose? Now I realize that not all cards can be made to have the same power level (not every planeswalker is going to be Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded) but there should be some consistency in rarity levels. The fact that WotC designs cards mainly for Limited environments such as drafts or sealed events isn't something that should be ignored, but it's also not something that should be used as an excuse either. Having a Burning Oil on a stick is pretty good in a Limited environment, but is it really as powerful as  Back to BasicsCitanul FluteGaea's CradleMorphling, or even Shivan Gorge? Not for 6 mana on a 3/3 creature. 

It's definitely not the worst example of "why in Urborg is this a rare?!", but it's just not stellar enough to warrant its rank. Not a terrible card, just not a good rare.

Pros: Repeatable Burning Oil
Cons: Costs 6, only a 3/3
Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Site Update: Comments

Hey everyone, just a quick update about comments. I've relaxed my requirement to require a Blogger account to comment on my posts. I'd like to hear whatever feedback people have about my posts, both positive and negative.

And, if you feel the need to be a dink on the internet because you literally have nothing better to do than attack someone on the internet anonymously because they have a different opinion than you, well, I guess I can't stop you.

Soulgorger Orgg

Soulgorger Orgg

Before I get going, I just want to say this: "Orgg" is a legal creature type. That is awesome.

I've really tried to make this card work in my mind, but I don't think losing all but 1 life is worth a 6/6 trampler for 5. I'm well aware of cards like Near-Death Experience and Worship, but I think it's still too much of a gamble to place it all on a slightly-cheaper-than-normal creature. If this had haste, I could definitely see this appeal in this card as a finisher in a speedy red deck. But, as it is, it needs a lot of support to make it worthwhile. I'm not saying there's no way to use it; I'm saying that it's a huge risk to use it.

Pros: 6/6 trampler for 5
Cons: Massive risk in using it
Rating: 2/5