The Evolution of Fires of Invention

Fires of Invention is a rule-breaking card that’s already re-writing its own rules!

Fires of Invention – Week Two

We looked at a Jeskai Planeswalker deck last week that used the Fae of Wishes / Fires of Invention engine last week. Mike thought the combo was cool… But might be more funny than good.

One week in, and the combo is playing alongside Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and Field of the Dead!

One of the key differences given the shift in archetype is that the Golos version wants to keep playing its lands. Previously, a deck that topped up on five or six mana might not have an incentive to play additional lands. After all… It’s not using lands to cast any spells. That would allow a Jeskai Planeswlker deck to use excess lands to bounce Fae of Wishes for more and more uses of front-side Adventure, Granted.

Fae of Wishes gives you a dump for mana you’re not otherwise using, as well as something to do with excess lands.

But in a Field of the Dead deck, you actually want to keep playing lands! That’s how you get more and more 2/2 Zombie tokens (especially in the mirror match or pseudo-mirror).

Check Out this Cool Fires of Invention Play Pattern…

All the Golos / Field of the Dead Ramp decks are capable of big and powerful plays. But there’s big… And then there’s Big. What about this? [With Fires of Invention already on the battlefield]:

  1. Play Granted for 0 mana. Go and get Planar Cleansing.
  2. Fire off Planar Cleansing. You’ve now spent nine mana worth of cards but haven’t actually tapped any lands. You’ve also just destroyed your own Fires of Invention.
  3. Hard-cast Hydroid Krasis! This is a great use of lands you weren’t otherwise going to tap and you simultaneously unlocked your ability to cast more than two cards in one turn. If you’re really lucky, your giant Hydroid Krasis might have just given you another copy of Fires of Invention. At the very least, you have the biggest — if not only — creature in play and probably a whole new hand.

Limitations and Opportunities of the Fires of Invention Sideboard

The joke about Fae of Wishes / Fires of Invention setsups is that, while they can access a great many options to win Game One… They tend not to be able to sideboard very much. The deck that finished second at last weekend’s Open, for instance, had fourteen distinct sideboard cards… Most of which stayed in the sideboard in between games. Sure, you might want to shave a Deafening Clarion or three… But most of the time? You don’t sideboard much with this archetype.

Another subtle area of opportunity for the archetype is that much of the sideboard is constructed as if you already had both Fae of Wishes and Fires of Invention already in play. So… Tons of sweepers. Tons of cards that are difficult if not impossible to cast the old fashioned way.

Patrick in particular believes that the deck might get a little better if it had access to more cards that assumed Fae of Wishes, but not necessarily the powerful red enchantment.

The Best of the Rest…

This week’s podcasts includes but is not limited to…

  • Other Golos decks
  • Fun tricks with Kenrith, the Returned King
  • Teferi or Oko?
  • Infinite aggro

… And, honestly? Quite a bit more. What are you waiting for?

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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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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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