The Great Henge and Other Great Cards from Throne of Eldraine

The Great Henge

  • 7GG
  • Legendary Artifact
  • This spell costs {X} less to cast, where X is the greatest power among creatures you control.
  • {T}: Add {G}{G}. You gain 2 life.
  • Whenever a nontoken creature enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on it and draw a card.

How Cheap Does The Great Henge Have to Be Before You’re Into It?

This Legendary Artifact is clearly powerful.

It’s reminiscent of top end threats like The Immortal Sun… A big artifact that helps you out with mana and makes your guys bigger and draws you extra cards. But then again, it’s nine — nine — mana at retail cost. Luckily you can get it for less mana… If you do the work.

Mike thinks The Great Henge is “stupid” at four mana.

What if all you did was cast this card on turn three?

If you play Lovestruck Beast on turn three, you will have a five power creature in play already. That discounts The Great Henge from nine mana to four… Which is how much mana you will probably have the next turn!

Boom!

Now go ahead and tap for Good Game and run out something like this… With an extra +1/+1 counter, even!

Barkhide Troll is durable with one +1/+1 counter on it… But two?

The Henge gets really powerful in the middle turns, where you can use its mana production to Ramp, rather than just make a two drop. It’s not out of the question to lay out a 5/5 Questing Beast (or so) the turn The Great Henge hits the battlefield.

So Many Great Cards from Throne of Eldraine

  • We already thought Throne of Eldraine was pushing Adventure creatures… And then we met Brazen Borrower. Wow what a future teammate to Nightpack Ambusher!
  • We finally have the context to talk about Edgewall Inkeeper and Lucky Clover. Will Adventures-linear be a thing?
  • Who would have thought that in a set this big and flashy that a common Island would be the cross-format All-Star? Mystic Sanctuary could be a problem with, like, fetchlands; Crucible of Worlds; Cryptic Command… You know, all the cards Azorius Control decks already want to play in Modern.

Check it all out now!

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So Much Brewing With Throne of Eldraine

Nobody’s Making You Tap Castle Locthwain

Castle Locthwain is a nuanced, powerful, but not obvious new tool.

Castle Lochtwain is already splitting the community.

“It’s not that good,” say some. “You’re just going to take, like, eight damage.”

Well… Did you think maybe you’re supposed to take eight?

The reality is that you don’t have to tap it. It’s relatively low cost to get into your deck, but presents a lot of useful options.

  • If you’re in topdeck mode, Castle Locthwain from Throne of Eldraine is pretty great. You’re only going to take one and you’re going to dig past your opponent.
  • Some strategies — like Death’s Shadow — actually reward you for losing life. You’re welcome.
  • Subtly, this is a way you can generate card advantage — at the end of your opponent’s turn, no less — even if they’ve got Teferi, Time Raveler in play!
  • Whatever Esper! It’s probably just great in black-red decks.

Castle Vantress is an Expensive Way to Do It

Castle Vantress offers an ability we all want… But it kind of costs a ton.

Don’t expect this member of the Throne of Eldraine “castle” cycle to be super popular. “It could be okay to play one” says our beloved Pro Tour Champion, but it’s essentially five mana to not actually draw an extra card.

Probably effective in slow, grinding, matchups; though.

Castle Garenbrig is going to be a four-of

There are totally going to be decks with, like 17 Forests, 4 Castle Garenbrig.

Castle Garenbrig, on the other hand, is a super obvious contributor from Throne of Eldraine. Many decks are just going to play Forests and Castle Garenbrigs (say four copies)… Which will turn Castle Garenbrig into, essentially, a Forest.

… Except you’re going to be able to land Feasting Troll King (and its Food tokens!) a turn early.

This card is essentially an Ancient Tomb with no life loss drawback that also washes mana. Castle Garenbrig just looks great!

Will Castle Ardenvale be the Gem of Throne of Eldraine?

Compare Castle Ardenvale to…
Kjeldoran Outpost.

Castle Ardenvale is more-or-less just better than Kjeldoran Outpost. If you think back to the Outpost’s era, you either had a strategy to beat it… Or you lost to it.

Cards like this one are especially useful because they occupy “land” slots instead of “spell” slots. That means you can save space for other things, and win incidentally with an army of free 1/1 creatures.

Stomp // Bonecrusher Giant will be a cross-format All-Star

Stomp would be close to good enough by itself… But add on the Giant?

Stomp // Bonecrusher Giant is “clearly of the Top 5 cards in the set” according to Patrick.

We agree the card will be highly played in Standard. Michael, for instance, thinks it will immediately Top 8 a Star City Open the first week the card is legal.

On top of that, though, Patrick thinks the card will see play in not only Modern but Legacy and even Vintage! In Legacy, they already play all kinds of terrible red three drops, and this one has a removal spell tacked on. The needs in Vintage are quite specific, and this card does multiple things reasonably well.

There is too much Throne of Eldraine in this podcast to summarize here

  • The Magic Mirror…
  • Fae of Wishes…
  • Black Lance Paragon…

… Really, more brewing than you can even fit in The Cauldron of Eternity.

You’ll just have to listen to the podcast:

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Rosethorn Halberd from Throne of Eldraine

Rosethorn Halberd is our exclusive preview card from Throne of Eldraine

Rosethorn Halberd: It’s Like an Unholy Strength for G

Unholy Strength was a playable card in multiple Constructed formats past. Giving a single creature +2/+1 for B was solid in certain Suicide Black builds…

Now we have essentially the effect at G!

It’s important to remember Rosethorn Halberd is kind of an Unholy Strength with upside. The free equip makes the card very comparable to that age-old creature enchantment, but the fact that you can move it if you have five mana (or continue to reap value in a long game) is all on the bonus.

Rosethorn Halberd… Plus Shimmer Dragon?

Shimmer Dragon is a new card from Throne of Eldraine that has Mike’s creative juices flowing. It’s reminiscent of Mahamoti Djinn… But has multiple abilities that come online if you have artifacts in play.

In a sense, Rosethorn Halberd is just a cheap artifact. You can drop it before you play Shimmer Dragon. If you have enough [cheap] artifacts, you might be able to start Shimmer Dragon off with hexproof!

Further, the tapped-ness (or not) of Rosethorn Halberd is irrelevant. Ergo, you can use it to help draw cards if you have another artifact!

It also plays both ways! If you have Shimmer Dragon first, you can just play Rosethorn Halberd, get the free equip, and end up with an even bigger Dragon. At the same time… Everything else still applies. You just get a quicker clock.

Rosethorn Halberd is Reminiscent of Rancor

Though Rosethorn Halberd is very reminiscent of Unholy Strength, there is a lot of Rancor to it, as well. Unlike Unholy Strength, Rancor has some grind and long game to it… Just like this artifact that doesn’t go anywhere if its creature teammate dies.

Rosethorn Halberd even has a little upside relative to Rancor! If you were to cast Rancor and the opponent removed the target creature in response, Rancor would go to the graveyard. If your intended creature is destroyed before Rosethorn Halberd can buff it, you get to keep Rosethorn Halberd. The next equip might be painful… but you won’t lose the card.

There are lots of tricky things you can do with this card, from receiving the ministrations of an Animating Faerie (Bring to Life), to buffing the same Faerie in another order!

But Patrick thinks its best contribution will be in green aggressive decks.

Let me introduce you to Barkhide Troll or Wildborn Preserver.

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Wildborn Preserver in Simic Flash

Wildborn Preserver

Wildborn Preserver is a home run!

On its face, Wildborn Preserver “isn’t too far off” …

A 2/2 Flash creature for 1G isn’t the greatest on its face… But it’s still pretty good. This card can come down on turn two to mug the opponent’s Healer’s Hawk.

Boom! Simian Grunts card advantage!

Of course it is a great compliment to — and just another fast drop for — the Simic Flash deck. You can play mostly on the opponent’s end step, leaving up mana for permission, or creatures like this one, obviously.

Given its Flash and low cost, this card is a great two mana teammate to Brineborn Cutthroat. Interestingly enough, it almost doesn’t matter which you play first: They buff each other!

Wildborn Preserver has great synergy with Nightpack Ambusher

Playing a fast Wildborn Preserver [whether or not you mug the opponent’s one drop] is potentially good on its own. But the card gets ca-razy once you add centerpiece Nightpack Ambusher to the mix.

Nightpack Ambusher is a creature itself (giving you the opportunity to buff the Preserver). But more importantly, it spits out more and more Wolf creature tokens in future turns. Importantly for specifically this card, it just matters that you make creatures… It doesn’t care if they’re Elves, Wolves, tokens, or anything else specifically.

Therefore you can make a 2/2 (really 3/3) Wolf creature token and tap a little mana to buff the Wildborn Preserver. You can always leave up 1UU for your permission spell… Or not, if you don’t think the opponent will have a play. It won’t take long for your 2/2 to grow up into a 10/10.

Wildborn Preserver isn’t the only great creature, or green creature we talk about this week…

Michael and Patrick are initially split on Questing Beast.

They are not, however, split on the unmitigated beatdown that will be Feasting Troll King. Wow is that card great.

Both play offense-defense, and both are aggressively costed. Not a bad time to be a green creature…

More in the podcast:

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Garruk, Cursed Huntsman and Our First Looks at Throne of Eldraine

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman looks to be “the big card” of the new set.

Elspeth is back… Just in Garruk’s body

A few years back, months before we knew the word “Abzan” (and fell in love with Siege Rhino) Patrick won Pro Tour Journey Into Nyx with Elspeth, Sun’s Champion.

Like Garruk, Cursed Huntsman, Elspeth had three abilities: One made token creatures to attack or defend; the “minus” could destroy a creature or some creatures with value; and her third ability gave a buff to all her friends.

Both Planeswalkers cost six mana.

Heck of an act to follow… But with these abilities? Garruk looks to be up to the task.

[0]: Create two 2/2 black and green Wolf creature tokens with “When this creature dies, put a loyalty counter on each Garruk you control.”

This sure is an interesting [0] ability!

Unlike most Planeswalkers Garruk, Cursed Huntsman can’t add loyalty naturally. Outside of a proliferate synergy or Ajani piggyback, Garruk will rely on his Wolf sidekicks to gain loyalty.

What should the opponent do when Garruk makes two Wolves? Attacking into them will put Garruk in position for the [-6] immediately! They’re tough to block, if you’re going to respect that eventuality, as well.

Not for nothing: If other Garruk Planeswalkers are legal in the format, Garruk, Cursed Huntsman will be able to make them that much better.

[-3]: Destroy target creature. Draw a card.

This second ability is just awesome.

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman can come down; whack the opponent’s best creature, and leave a two loyalty Planeswalker. This is essentially a three-for-one!

[-6]: You get an emblem with “Creatures you control get +3/+3 and have trample.”

This emblem is basically a persistent Overrun. Imagine Garruk lives. All your future Wolves will be 5/5 trample creatures!

In the alternative, you should have access to 6+ mana. Surely you can do something interesting with that (and your hot new emblem).

Throne of Eldraine is hot and hilarious already! We go over all the new mechanics, and many other cards in this week’s podcast. Give us a listen now!

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Marauding Raptor is Probably the Best Card in Your Deck

Marauding Raptor

Marauding Raptor is probably the best card in your deck.

We’ll get to that in a second; but how about some other hits from the upcoming M20?

Brought Back from Core Set 2020 Has Some Awesome implications for Modern

Brought Back

How about with fetchlands?

  1. Start with, say an Arid Mesa.
  2. Follow up with, I dunno, a Windswept Heath.
  3. Then crack them both! You can go and get basic Plains or some kind of Sacred Foundry action… Whatever. Cast Brought Back!

You’ll have four lands in play on turn two. Four!

While this is kind of color-bending-ly good, Patrick points out that it essentially costs three mana because you forego your first turn mana tap to set it up turn two.

How about good old Mulldrifter?

You know how you can cast Mulldrifter for five mana, get a 2/2 flying creature, and draw two cards?

In our hypothetical you play your fifth land (and crack it); then evoke Mulldrifter for three mana. You draw two cards and put your flying fish in the graveyard. Now cast Brought Back.

… You’ll not only get the 2/2 body back, but the land you played and cracked. The outcome on this sequence is two additional drawn cards (and a free Ramp) over the five-drop cast.

Colossus Hammer Will Create an All-New Archetype

Check out Colossus Hammer:

Colossus Hammer

This card is super cheap… But has a prohibitive equip cost. However, if you just neutralize that equip cost, you can give a creature +10/+10!

Here is Patrick’s proposed sequence:

  1. Kor Duelist (1/1 double strike for W)
  2. Sigarda’s Aid (W) + Colossus Hammer!

You’ll pay a total of three mana for a double striking 11/11 creature… Lethal (in most cases) on turn two.

Big game, right? Big and quick.

But sure… How About When Marauding Raptor is the Best Card in Your Deck?

This creature is quite impressive.

The obvious follow-up is Ripjaw Raptor. You can play it for three (perfect curve out from your two drop), buff your Ripjaw Raptor, and draw a card! Rawr.

But Raptor Hatchling is also great.

Raptor Hatchling is already a great card for defensive decks in Standard. In With Marauding Raptor, though? For only R — one mana — you get +4/+0 to your Marauding Raptor and a 3/3 Dinosaur! Being able to cast multiple Raptor Hatchlings [specifically] in one turn will provide enormous amounts of power.

We’ll just skip the Polyraptor “combo” for now.

Tons more in the cast. Give it a listen?

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Cards We’d Actually Want to Play from Core Set 2020

Wow! Core Set 2020 (M20) spoilers sure have been hitting rapid fire! It seems like just a few weeks ago that we were talking Modern Horizons… And it barely feels like the concrete has hardened on War of the Spark Standard.

But M20 is here, and while there are a ton of “interesting” cards (we’re looking at you, Atemsis, All-Seeing), there are more than a few that we want to jam into our decks and brew with. Following are a handful of these future Staples and combo pieces.

Corpse Knight from Core Set 2020 May Revitalize an Archetype

Corpse Knight

The Skinny: This card is great types. Zombie and Knight are both relevant text in Standard. Might Corpse Knight help bring back B/W Knights alongside Knight of Grace, Knight of Malice, or History of Benalia?

Maybe.

But this creature gets even more interesting when you treat it not just as a synergistic two-drop… But a Fireball!

What about Corpse Knight into March of the Multitudes? What if you have two copies of Corpse Knight in play?

Not bad, huh? We’re just getting started on the creature-combo Fireballs.

Pair Dread Presence from Core Set 2020 with Scapeshift for an instant kill

Dread Presence

“Necro!”
-Patrick

Yes, yes. Dread Presence has a little Necropotence to it; a little Phyrexian Arena, more like. And it has a little Sorin’s Thirst.

You can play Dread Presence as a five drop and turn it into either a cantrip or a Nekrataal of sorts. I guess that would be fine… But it might also be wasting the potential of this card.

How about you play Dread Presence with seven lands in play? Drop the eighth for two, and then Scapeshift the lot of them for another sixteen.

Can you manage two more points?

The only thing “bad” about this combo is that you’re playing a Hill Giant. Yes, yes. You’re playing a 3/3 creature for four mana.

It doesn’t take much to make Chandra’s Regulator from Core Set 2020 worth playing

Chandra's Regulator

First and foremost, this card is priced to move. It’s cheap to drop, and will usually get down before you play your first Chandra Planeswalker. Assuming you tap out for her, you’re not gong to get any Chandra’s Regulator benefit initially… But this artifact’s effect will put you way ahead after only one or two double-ups.

Can you imagine making RRRR for 1? How about double emblems?

The other ability on Chandra’s Regulator is also eminently relevant, and might help to produce an all-new Mono-Red archetype. Stay tuned.

As a matter of fact, just listen up now!

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Everything Great About Wrenn and Six

Meet Wrenn and Six from Modern Horizons:

Wrenn and Six

Wrenn and Six has three Planeswalker loyalty abilities. Two of them are pretty great.

Remembering for a moment that this is one of only two two mana Planeswalkers ever printed… Imagine going first.

  • [-1]: Wrenn and Six deals 1 damage to any target

Your opponent might have opened on Noble Hierarch, Birds of Paradise, Arcbound Worker, or any number of commonly played one mana, one toughness, creatures. Wrenn and Six comes down and can immediately punish the opponent.

You kill their guy and keep a Planeswalker with two loyalty!

Rakdos Spectacle cards like Skewer the Critics and Light Up the Stage have found fast homes in Modern. Not for nothing: Wrenn and Six and its [-1] ability are a great way to set up Spectacles.

But that’s not what this card is about…

  • [+1]: Return up to one target land card from your graveyard to your hand.

The [+1] ability on this card is one of the closest approximations of the mythical “personal Howling Mine” ever attempted. All you need is a single Wooded Foothills!

You break that Wooded Foothills (or whatever fetchland) in the first two turns to help cast Wrenn and Six and the party almost starts itself. Wrenn and Six almost implies that you never miss a land drop the rest of the game (or at least as long as your Planeswalker doesn’t leave play). Of course there are other applications…

Ayula’s Influence from Modern Horizons

Ayula’s Influence

This enchantment is very exciting!

Somewhere between a Zombie Infestation and a Bearscape, this enchantment is screaming its synergy with Life From the Loam. But! You don’t always have your Life From the Loam. You can slum it with the [+1] ability from Wrenn and Six just fine.

That said, Patrick suggests a combination with Beck // Call.

Beck // Call from Dragon’s Maze makes for a super cool — and super powerful — combination with Ayula’s Influence. Just cast the “Beck” side with Ayula’s Influence already in play. You can make 2/2 Bears — and draw cards! — pretty steadily.

At any point, if you draw (and discard) a Dakmoor Salvage… You should be able to draw your entire deck. Dakmoor Salvage is a land, so you can discard it to Ayula’s Influence. You make a Bear token and, as a result of Beck, can draw a card. Now just dredge Dakmor Salvage and start the loop all over again!

What Kind of Foolishness Can Echo of Eons Bring?

Get Ready for Echo of Eons
  • Lion’s Eye Diamond – There is all kind of material with this potential combo. But the simplest? Just discard Echo of Eons to your Lion’s Eye Diamond and then use the UUU you just made to flash it back.
  • Narset, Parter of Veils – “Seems like abuse” according to Mike. You draw seven, your opponent just discards his hand? Welcome to the new Modern.

More, much more, Modern Horizons right here:

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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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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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