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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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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