Ice-Fang Coatl and More Modern Horizons

Modern Horizons is an upcoming set designed specifically for Modern play. The cards so far look to be — in many cases, at least — not just functional, but flavorful as well. There are throwbacks to older sets and favorite mechanics.

So much so that some of the Modern Horizon cards are g-d keyword-tacular. Ice-Fang Coatl, one of our favorite cards, is a great example of, well… Everything.

Ice-Fang Coatl

Ice-Fang Coatl from Modern Horizons is Awesome

This Snow Snake has two broad things going for it. On the one hand, it is quite reminiscent of Baleful Strix. If you have three other Snow permanents in play, Ice-Fang Coatl is exactly a Baleful Strix once once the battlefield.

It draws a card when it comes down (regardless) and can trade with anything.

Baleful Strix is of course a defining card of the Sultai Legacy deck (forget about Modern)… So presuming you have sufficient Snow, this card is probably overpowered for Modern.

But wait! There’s more!

Ice-Fang Coatl — other Snow permanents or no — has Flash. As long as you are okay with trading in a blue mana for a colorless one, it’s just better than Elvish Visionary; a veteran of the First Place podium.

However when you combine Flash and Deathtouch… The card overall is largely a “cantrip Terminate” that can sometimes attack. Not bad. Not bad at all…

But What About That “Snow” Clause…

Haven’t collected enough Snow lands from the original Ice Age or Coldsnap? Not to worry! Modern Horizons has you covered!

Snow-Covered basic lands are back, with new art to boot!

Check out the Modern Horizons method for getting your Skred on…

Snow-Covered Mountain

Snow-Covered Mountain

But Wait! There’s still more!

Prismatic Vista is the Dual Land of Our Dreams

How about Prismatic Vista from Modern Horizons?

Prismatic Vista
Prismatic Vista

As long as you’re not, say, hunting for a Temple Garden or Godless Shrine, Prismatic Vista is the most flexible fetchland in the history of the Modern format.

Or, put another way, it’s what Evolving Wilds always wished it was!

Subtly, though not itself a Snow permanent, Prismatic Vista can get any basic land. That includes the aforementioned Snow-Covered Mountain (or any relevant Forest- or Island-types you might need to summon your Ice-Fang Coatl.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of Modern Horizons, but would love for you to join us. Give us a listen?

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Karn, the Great Creator Demolishes Modern

Meet Karn, the Great Creator from War of the Spark

Karn, the Great Creator

This week, Michael and Patrick review, among other things, the results from last week’s Modern MOCS.

The most impressive innovation — and there were a boatload of innovations — is around Karn, the Great Creator.

Karn, the Great Creator gets Mycosynth Lattice

BY FAR the most important interaction for Modern is Karn’s [-2 ability]…

[-2]: You may choose an artifact card you own from outside the game or in exile, reveal that card, and put it into your hand.

This ability lets Karn play “toolbox”. You can get all kinds of stuff, from Wurmcoil Engine (a giant, lifelink, monster to attack with), Walking Ballista (a threat, and an answer), or any number of so-called “Silver Bullets”.

But!

It is also a two-card combo.

Remember Mycosynth Lattice?

Mycosynth Lattice

Don’t worry, neither did we. Well, Patrick did because he helped design it way back when he was at WotC.

Mycosynth Lattice works with all three of Karn’s abilities.

Of course, as an artifact that presumably lives in your sideboard… Karn can go fetch it. But once it’s in play?

Because Mycosynth Lattice turns all permanents into artifacts, it becomes a one-two punch with Karn’s static ability.

Activated abilities of artifacts your opponents control can’t be activated.

Lands, too!

Your opponent will not be able to activate their lands — now artifacts — meaning they can’t tap for mana. This is a two-card Armageddon lock combo!

Liquimetal Coating: A Faster Mycosynth Lattice?

Believe it or not, WotC R&D thought Liquimetal Coating “might be a problem” back when it was about to hit Standard play. Liquimetal Coating could quickly enable some of its set’s signature interactions, and certainly turn on the specialized removal of the day.

How about now?

Well Mycosynth Lattice costs six. You might not have the mana to immediately go Karn into Lattice into Armageddon combo. Liquimetal Coating isn’t a full-on Armageddon, but it can certainly play Stone Rain machine gun.

Liquimetal Coating

Liquimetal Coating can turn the opponent’s lands — one at a time — into artifacts. Then we can combine with Karn’s last as-yet-unmentioned (in this blog post) ability:

[+1]: Until your next turn, up to one target noncreature artifact becomes an artifact creature with power and toughness each equal to its converted mana cost.

Land: You are now an artifact!
Artifact [Land]: You are now a 0/0 Artifact Creature!
See ya!

Conclusion? Karn, the Great Creator has already upended Modern. Both Patrick and Michael are excited to brew with this card in other decks than green-based Ramp. Colorless, it can go into many other strategies.

And poor Affinity… Karn doesn’t even need to spend loyalty to mess that once-storied strategy up.

Plus!

Give it a listen:

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Is Narset, Parter of Veils the Best Card in Standard?


Is Narset, Parter of Veils the best card in Standard?

… Probably not.

But we might be able to have a fun discussion around the topic!

Mike advocates for Teferi, Time Raveler as the best card in Standard, and Patrick largely counter-points with Narset… But he has a few points.

Narset, Parter of Veils in the Red Deck Metagame

Narset looks fantastic against many blue decks. In and against [other] blue decks, that is. You’ll see some cutting Chemister’s Insight to make room for Narset. Narset both fills in Chemister’s Insight’s old job and makes life difficult for other folks trying to draw two cards at the end of your turn!

But where this card might really shine is Mono-Red!

The consensus among War of the Spark red mages is to play Risk Factor. The first big event featured three Red Decks in the Top 4. Wow. Yowza! All of them played three Risk Factors, whether in the main deck or sideboard.

Surely those Risk Factors will be in against a blue control opponent, as soon as they can make their way into the deck.

But look at Narset’s static ability:

Each opponent can’t draw more than one card each turn.

That means that when the opponent casts Risk Factor, you can decline to take four damage… But they will not get all that much value. Certainly they will not be peeling three cards.

Another Red Deck casualty of Narset is B/R midrange. Generally featuring Rix Maadi Reveler (which is a superior two-card combo with Risk Factor generally), this deck is even more vulnerable to Narset. Why?

You can’t even filter one card with Rix Maadi Rewveler if it’s on your own turn!

Narset, Parter of Veils as a Card Advantage Engine

We know this card has some built-in card advantage just by virtue of messing up other people’s card drawing plans. But no one would play it if not for the powerful [-2] ability.

−2: Look at the top four cards of your library. You may reveal a noncreature, nonland card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

As a three mana Planeswalker, there are many implementations that make sense proactively. In the Simic Nexus deck alone, there are at least two amazing four mana spells — Tamiyo, Collector of Tales and Wilderness Reclamation — that can complete a vicious three-four punch.

This ability is generally stronger than drawing a card in the abstract. Even when you spend it twice, leaving Narset depleted, you will generally still have a powerful, disruptive, asset.

The Best of the Rest

Everything from the ins and outs of the new-look Red Decks with Chandra, Fire Artisan to how to build a Niv-Mizzet, Reborn control deck!

Check it out here:

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God-Eternal Kefnet is the Most Underrated Card in War of the Spark

Where do you play God-Eternal Kefnet?

Mike starts out with the idea of replacing cards like Crackling Drake or Niv-Mizzet, Parun in control decks. Or, if you want to get really out there… At 4/5, God-Eternal Kefnet is actually a bigger body (and arguably more durable) than a Rekindling Phoenix.

But he’s just not thinking big enough.

Patrick’s answer? EVERYWHERE!

Play it in Dimir. Play it in Grixis Play it especially in Jeskai!

So tell me about God-Eternal Kefnet in Jeskai Control?

This Legendary Zombie God is good in all kinds of places, but has an especial synergy with the sweepers in the Jeskai deck.

It’s got a nice front for a four mana control creature, and more than three toughness… That makes it stick to Deafening Clarion like peanut butter to sandwich bread. The good God-Eternal can live through the Clarion… And also net some nice lifelink attacking through… Presumably nothing.

It’s also great with the new Boros sweeper Solar Blaze. Why? Simply because it has higher toughness than power! The new Wave of Reckoning variant simply lets this God-Eternal live to fight another day (or later the same turn, depending).

That can’t be all, can it?

Not by a long shot!

The most important piece of “secret tech” around God-Eternal Kefnet is that it works on both players’ turns. That’s right! You can draw extra on your turn “naturally” but really get some nice extra card advantage with Opt, or Chemister’s Insight on the opponent’s turn.

Don’t sleep on this card: It’s a Top Five for Standard according to Patrick.

Also The Wanderer play patterns for Modern

Per usual there is a LOT going on in this week’s podcast. It’s like an hour and a half actually. But we just wanted to shout out new and nameless Planeswalker “The Wanderer”.

The Wanderer is going to bedevil players primarily in Standard… But its Modern applications are really exciting, too.

  • It’s hell on Burn – Turns off all their direct damage spells, turns off Eidolon of the Great Revel, etc.
  • Valakut decks – Not only does it turn off the Molten Pinnacle… You get a free shot at straight up killing Primeval Titan!
  • If you’re really greedy you can bounce and replay the thing to get even more removal action… But that’s probably not necessary

Check out “God-Eternal Kefnet is the Most Underrated Card in War of the Spark” now!

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Your Top 8 War of the Spark Questions… Answered!

So many questions. Like… What do decks even look like in this brave new world of War of the Spark [Standard]? Pro Tour Champion (and Hall of Famer) + the lovable Michael J. Flores discuss the Top 8.

  1. Is Planewide Celebration just a Draw 16?
  2. How good is Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark?
  3. “Is Flux Channeler just Monastery Mentor?”
  4. Is Narset’s Reversal the sweetest thing ever against Nexus of Fate?
  5. How many copies of The Elderspell will each of us have in our first Nicol Bolas, Dragon God decks?
  6. How do we feel about Knight of Autumn for our Selesnya card with Niv-Mizzet, Reborn?
  7. What is green bringing to the table that white doesn’t already have?
  8. Will Mike have the ONLY Army?

Let’s go!

Is Planewide Celebration just a Draw 16?

Planewide Celebration

Planewide Celebration
5GG
Sorcery
Choose four. You may choose the same mode more than once.

  • Create a 2/2 Citizen creature token that’s all colors.
  • Return a permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
  • Proliferate.
  • Gain 4 life.

It might not look like a “draw sixteen” on its face; but choosing to gain four life four times is a heck of a combo with Lich’s Mastery.

Lich’s Mastery may be getting even more of a bump with War of the Spark, as Bond of Flourishing makes of a bananas redundancy to Revitalize that might just.. Revitalize the archetype. Abzan Mastery anyone?

How good is Narset, Parter of Veils from War of the Spark?

Narset, Parter of Veils

Pretty good.

Narset’s card drawing ability might be stronger [on a three mana Planeswalker] than Jace Beleren; plus she puts tremendous pressure on opponents who want to cast things like Chemister’s Insight or other card draw.

Not for nothing, but she also punishes the poor manascrewed opponent looking to cycle out of a weak hand [albeit maybe not in the current Standard].

Completely unwitting splash damage victim? The beatdown player running Rix Maadi Reveler. Sorry 🙁

“Is Flux Channeler just Monastery Mentor?”

Flux Channeler

Michael certainly doesn’t think so.

His general argument is something like this:

  • It doesn’t get big itself.
  • It doesn’t make material; though it does make existing material bigger.

Patrick thinks this card might have a home, regardless.

Is Narset’s Reversal the sweetest thing ever against Nexus of Fate?

Narset's Reversal

The new Fork + Remand certainly looks sweet, and sweet for this purpose. But…

Not if they already have 14 lands in play.
Not if they already have a Wilderness Reclamation.

But otherwise? Pretty sweet.

How many copies of The Elderspell will each of us have in our first Nicol Bolas, Dragon God decks?

Patrick: One
MichaelJ: Three

How do we feel about Knight of Autumn for our Selesnya card with Niv-Mizzet, Reborn?

Niv-Mizzdet, Reborn

  1. Boros: Deafening Clairon. Down.
  2. Orzhov: Mortify or Oath of Kaya. Sounds great.
  3. Golgari: Death Sprout? Might actually help us cast this thing!
  4. Selesnya: Knight of Autumn? Okay maybe we just skip Selesnya?
  5. Gruul: Um, we have to be able to do better than Knight of Autumn, right?

Okay, okay. Maybe we don’t have to draw ten cards. Or even nine. Eight is a nice number too, isn’t it?

For further discussion: Modern

Wait until you hear Patrick’s suggestion for Simic!

What is green bringing to the table that white doesn’t already have?

Ahem. How about the ability to exile exactly one card?

Return to Nature

Take that, Disenchant.

Will Mike have the ONLY Army?

Mike will not have the only Army. He might be stuck as the only one with an 11/11 Army being brickwalled by a 2/2 Army, though.

Patrick argues that Amass is actually a drawback, not a feature. His argument is that you’d rather have three 1/1 creatures for three mana (like a Hordeling Outburst) than a single 3/3 for three mana… But then again he is talking to the only person (aka Gnarled Mass fan) on earth where this might be a dense argument.

Hot take: Is Lazotep Reaver better than Dreadhorde Invasion?

Woah.

Shots fired, am I right? It’s “Amass Nekrataal” versus “Amass Man-o’-War” (or “plus” in Mike’s universe) and more, so much more, in the cast itself:

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Oath of Kaya is Pretty Horrible

Oath of Kaya

Oath of Kaya is Pretty Horrible… For anyone who wants to play fair Magic

In this episode, Mike reveals his favorite card from War of the Spark

It’s Commence the Endgame!

Commence the Endgame

Here’s his thinking: Commence the Endgame is a hefty six mana, yes; but it does everything he ever wanted. It draws “only” two cards. But instead of the other two cards he might get from, say, a Dragonlord’s Prerogative, the rest translates into a kind of Maro. This, of course, feeds into his new pet mechanic: Amass.

Patrick is a little less impressed. “It’s just another card draw spell that makes a dude,” says the Hall of Famer.

“I don’t know if it’s the best card; but it’s my favorite.”
-MichaelJ

Everything You Could Ever Want to Know About Oath of Kaya from War of the Spark

  • Don’t love Commence the Endgame? Mike posits Oath of Kaya might be the actual best card in the set.
  • It’s like a slow Lightning Helix. Throwback to fourteen years ago: Mike wrote the original preview for Lightning Helix on the Mother Ship!
  • But it’s not just a slow Lightning Helix. This card is a massive disincentive to anyone wanting to play fair Magic at all. Remember all those shiny Viashino Pyromancers WotC gave away to MTG Arena players a few months back? They’ll never see the light of the stage or the ning of a strike again. Not with this around.
  • “Well if they never trigger the second ability it’s just worse than a Lightning Helix.” -Patrick

God-Eternal Oketra is… Very Difficult to Kill

God-Eternal Oketra

It’s not actually unkillable. It is, in fact, very difficult to kill.

God-Eternal Oketra is also an amazing card advantage engine! “People have built their entire deck design around much worse value than ‘cast any creature'” in the past.

This card seems tailor made for G/W. It prevents you from being punished for drawing a late game Llanowar Elves. In fact, you’ll get a nice five-damage-for-one-mana return on one of those!

Additionally, cards like Growth-Chamber Guardian will be extra useful as they can help ensure a steady stream of triggering creatures. Just a great card.

Our intrepid duo talk more and more great cards! War of the Spark just keeps giving them to us! We have no idea what Standard will look like in a couple of weeks; but it’s going to be… Different for sure.

Check out our new episode in full:

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The Most Exciting Feather, the Redeemed Combos

Feather, the Redeemed

Feather, the Redeemed requires little-to-no actual redemption.

Normally when someone tells you they have a 3/4 flyer for three mana you ask them how much damage you are expected to accept in return. This one actually gives you an insane card advantage engine in exchange for being charged negative-one mana in creature casting cost.

Some of our initial Ideas on How to Break (or at least exploit) Feather, the Redeemed:

  • Modern: Aurelia’s Fury – Remember this card? It’s like a Fireball and an Abeyance fell in love, got married, and had an instant speed baby. Conveniently, Aurelia’s Fury is already in R/W! At four mana you can ping Feather, ping your opponent for one, and lock them out. Until they can break up this combo, the opponent will be unable to cast non-creature spells on their turn. Because you ping Feather, you get this one back; because you ping the opponent, the clock gets one faster while ruining their plans.
  • Modern: Lightning Helix – Nice job having four toughness, Feather! At four mana you can just hit Feather on your turn AND on the opponent’s turn to gain six per turn cycle. Obviously at its most effective against an opponent who is unable to deal the fourth point but also is trying to kill you with damage.
  • Standard: Defiant Strike – An Opt machine!
  • Standard: Reckless Rage – Perhaps the most exciting showcase of what Feather can do, Reckless Rage from Rivals of Ixalan gives you a “Slaughter with buyback” for one mana per cycle.

Sweepers and Other Topics

As you might suspect, we go over several topics from War of the Spark. But one of the more interesting ones is around all the sweepers available. Here are some cool takeaways:

  • Time Wipe – You can cast this even if you don’t have any creatures. No surprise there. But what if the opponent doesn’t have any? Time Wipe to bounce your own Augur of Bolas is… Not horrible. A five mana Boomerang is way better than a dead card.
  • Solar Blaze – Is it good at all? It’s certainly good with Aurelia… Only Deafening Clarion is better. “Closer to Ritual of Soot than Kaya’s Wrath.” -Patrick

Give it a listen:

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Chandra, Fire Artisan has a Hell of a Static Ability

Chandra, Fire Artisan

Chandra, Fire Artisan from War of the Spark

The newest take on Chandra starts off with a very different kind of ability for a Planeswalker… A non-loyalty one!

It’s important to note that it doesn’t matter who removes the counters from Chandra — you or your opponent — or how they are removed. You can take them off with that [-7], or by operating a Heart of Kiran in some format. Or, in the most obvious scenario, you tick Chandra up from four loyalty to five; the opponent attacks her to death… And gets five to the face for his trouble.

But let’s talk about that [-7] for a second, shall we? In addition to a Wheel of Fortune like effect (that doesn’t force you to discard your hand!) Chandra will give the opponent a zinger for seven. That’s kind of like an Ultimate itself, isn’t it?

This new Chandra is going to be an important tool in the new Standard. It’s probably easier to work with than Experimental Frenzy, for instance. A Red Deck is far less likely to “get stuck” than under Frenzy, because Chandra lets you keep playing cards normally, on top of her [+1]. And when you go [-7] to try to finish the game? A Red Deck can both appreciate dealing seven to the opponent’s face and have a low enough set of casting costs to actually take advantage of the Ultimate’s time limitation.

Verdict: This card is going to be awesome in Standard!

War of the Spark: The Best of the Rest

Chandra is actually the last card we talked about this episode, more or less. Check out some other War of the Spark discussions:

  • Niv-Mizzet Reborn – A hell of a Mulldrifter! “Somehow a Tidings with selection that has a 6/6 flyer attached”
  • Angrath’s Rampage – Mike was originally lukewarm until he realized this card kills Bogles and Geist of St. Traft. “Modern, here we come!”
  • Dreadhorde Invation – Patrick thinks one of Mike’s favorite cards so far is only pretty good. Just remember that a 1/1 ground creature (or +1/+1 counter) is much worse than a whole new 1/1 flyer.
  • Bolas’s Citadel – How much would you pay for an Experimental Frenzy that would not shut down your ability to use your hand?

All these, and tons more!

You’ll have to give Chandra, Fire Artisan (and pals) a listen to find out more:

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Storrev, Devkarin Lich is our Exclusive War of the Spark Preview

WotC asked us to introduce you to:
Storrev, Devkarin Lich

Storrev, Devkarin Lich is Close on the Body

“There was a time when a four casting cost 5/5 cost you a life a turn and everyone was signing up for that.”

Storrev is “only” 5/4 Trample… But on the other hand it doesn’t cost you a life per turn. Furthermore, being Legendary is actually an upside in a world where Cast Down is one of the most common removal cards.

Point being, this Legendary Zombie Elf Wizard is close on the stats… Not close enough without its abilities maybe, but…

You’re Really Going to Want Storrev for the Hit Trigger, Though

Storrev is essentially a 5/4 trampling Ophidian.

For a card of this type — which often come out at 1/3 for three or even four mana in the case of Thieving Magpie — Storrev has outstanding power and toughness.

But that’s not all!

Trample is really meaningful here!

The opponent can’t just throw chump blockers or small token creatures in front of Storrev in order to prevent the card advantage trigger. Hand in hand, the ability to attack opposing Planeswalkers (and not just opponents themselves) makes Storrev a highly flexible attacker and source of card advantage.

What Might You Want to Get with Storrev, Devkarin Lich?

Storrev is fine as an attrition / grinding tool. Or as the realization of the old Jamie Wakefield “it’s the last fatty that kills you” theory. Storrev can clean up after you’ve traded a bunch and that’s great.

However, you can also do some aiming with this card. Here are some ideas (that, admittedly, transcend just Standard).

  • Sakura-Tribe Elder – You can play the Rampant Growth-like Staple Snake to get Storrev out on turn three… And then get it back with your first attack!
  • Cycling creatures – One of Storrev’s strengths is the ability to “aim” its card drawing, rather than just drawing whatever is on top of your deck. But if you want that kind of ability, creatures with cycling or landcycling work great. Engine!
  • Plaguecrafter – Sacrifice this to itself and you can clear a path for your Legendary Zombie Elf Wizard… And have fuel to clear a path again next turn.
  • Explore creatures – Merfolk Branchwalker and Jadelight Ranger can put random creatures into your graveyard… Right where Storrev can get them back for value!
  • Planeswalkers – Especially some of the new War of the Spark ones that only have “minus” abilities. Reload!

We’ll be back tomorrow!

But first, give our Free Preview Podcast a listen:

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The Rise of Gruul Aggro

It’s not just that Gruul Aggro won Grand Prix Kyoto last week… There have been several different types of Gruul decks popping up (and performing) in Standard.

Tell me about Gruul Guildgate in Gruul Aggro?

Gruul Guildgate

Gruul Guildgate is not usually the kind of thing you want to see in an aggressive deck. It comes into play tapped, so can be curve-contrary… Best on turn one, Gruul Guildgate is a non-bo with the aggressive one drops we often see in Red Decks.

That said, Gruul Guildgate is an important source of green for the red-heavy version. It’s not so much that you need green for creatures; Unclaimed Territory set to “Warrior” can cast all of Goblin Chainwhirler (red), Growth-Chamber Guardian, or Kraul Harpooner.

Part of what makes Gruul is the availability of wild cards like Cindervines for the sideboard; and you need good old fashioned green mana for that. Sorry, Wilderness Reclamation.

Rhythm of the Wild in Gruul Aggro

Rhythm of the Wild

Another way to run Gruul is a Riot-themed version with Rhythm of the Wild or Domri, Chaos Bringer. Yoshihiko Tokuyama finished third in Kyoto with a Dinosaur deck that started many of its monsters sideways.

Domri, Chaos Bringer is great as a one-of. It not only adds a dimension to a creature deck, it gives the Gruul Dinosaurs resilience against sweepers. Plus, the fact that both your bodies on Regisaur Alpha can come down swinging is a meaningful dimension. Multiple sources of Riot (say both Domri and Rhythm of the Wild) are not really diminishing returns. Why not choose the +1/+1 and haste?

Not for nothing: But Kraul Harpooner is already one of the strongest two drops in Standard. The fact that some kind of a haste engine can level this card up so much — especially against control — broadens the impact of that already-awesome card.

Cheating with Status // Statue

Most Gruul builds can’t cast Statue at all.

But Status?

Try adding that card to a Goblin Chainwhirler or Skarrgan Hellkite. You can give your creature deathtouch to splatter two (or all) of the opponent’s creatures in one sweet sweep.

See what happens when you give me deathtouch.

You won’t believe what Mike’s favorite deck of the week was.

We’ll give you a hint: It was a Rhythm of the Wild deck. And not a Gruul Aggro. Really!

Find out more:

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