Heir of the Wilds and Snapping Gnarlid at the Two

Heir of the Wilds
Heir of the Wild returns as a two drop that can hit hard, and punch above weight.

Now might be a great time to be Abzan splashing red!

Red gives Abzan some amazing tools, like Crackling Doom (arguably the strongest card in Mardu colors), Kolaghan’s Command, or Radiant Flames out of the sideboard. Matt Carlson won the most recent Star City Games Standard Open with an Abzan deck touching for many strategic red cards.

Abzan Red by Matt Carlson

1 Murderous Cut

3 Abzan Charm
4 Anafenza, the Foremost
2 Crackling Doom
2 Dromoka’s Command
1 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury
1 Kolaghan’s Command
4 Siege Rhino
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor

2 Den Protector
4 Heir of the Wilds
4 Warden of the First Tree

3 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Secure the Wastes
2 Wingmate Roc

2 Bloodstained Mire
2 Canopy Vista
1 Cinder Glade
3 Flooded Strand
2 Forest
1 Plains
2 Shambling Vent
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sunken Hollow
2 Swamp
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

1 Duress
2 Infinite Obliteration
1 Virulent Plague
1 Dromoka’s Command
2 Den Protector
2 Dragonmaster Outcast
2 Radiant Flames
2 Hallowed Moonlight
2 Silkwrap

Matt won with four copies of Heir of the Wilds… and only two copies of Den Protector (main).

The format has gotten to a point where Heir of the Wilds is a more appropriate two drop than, say, Hangarback Walker. Hangarback Walker is a great card — don’t get us wrong — but the current demands of the format can ask to hit harder than a 1/1 card advantage engine for two mana… And Heir of the Wilds is great in particular because it can trade off so effectively against opposing people’s Siege Rhinos (or other key monsters) in combat.

Another two drop that deserves consideration in green aggressive decks is Snapping Gnarlid:


We spoiled Snapping Gnarlid prior to Battle for Zendikar, and generally liked it. However most of our discussion has been about Snapping Gnarlid in landfall linear aggro decks. In his “Temur Black” deck, Josh McClain chose Snapping Gnarlid as his two drop, taking advantage of some thirteen fetchlands.

Temur Black by Josh McClain

3 Murderous Cut
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

3 Stubborn Denial

4 Savage Knuckleblade

4 Rattleclaw Mystic
4 Snapping Gnarlid
4 Woodland Wanderer

2 Crater’s Claws
3 Draconic Roar
1 Fiery Impulse
2 Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker
2 Thunderbreak Regent

4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Mountain
4 Polluted Delta
1 Shivan Reef
1 Swamp
1 Sunken Hollow
1 Cinder Glade
2 Frontier Bivouac
2 Lumbering Falls
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Yavimaya Coast

2 Duress
1 Self-Inflicted Wound
1 Virulent Plague
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dispel
1 Exert Influence
1 Stubborn Denial
2 Fiery Impulse
2 Radiant Flames
2 Roast

It is a little ironic, we think, that the actual Temur Ferocious deck goes with Snapping Gnarlid as the Abzan deck adpots Heir of the Wilds.

In addition to Standard chats about green two drops, Patrick and Michael peruse the recent Modern results and talk a little about the math and matchups of that format.

Listen to “Heir of the Wilds and Snapping Gnarlid at the Two” now:

Direct Download ,

Kozilek, the Great Distortion and the 6th color of Magic

Kozilek, the Great Distortion
Kozilek, the Great Distortion is the first card we’ve seen using “Wastes” mana.

“I told you, if they ever unveiled the sixth color I’d be on the first flight to New York to talk about it in person. You can’t do this kind of thing over the phone.”
-Patrick Chapin

For those of your who have been living under a rock, a new type of basic land has hit the rumor mill: Wastes.


Most of this podcast is our heroes riffing and speculating on the interplay between these two cards — and the cards that will likely come with them.

For its part, Kozilek, the Great Distortion has two heretofore unseen mana symbols in the top-right. Patrick and Michael assume that specific mana from lands like Wastes is required to summon Kozilek.

Once on the battlefield, Kozilek, the Great Distortion allows you to “Disrupting Shoal” anything, provided you have the right casting cost of a card to discard. That is a powerful ability (to, among other things, protect Kozilek from removal)… And remember, Kozilek just drew you up to seven cards! Va va va voom!

In addition, Patrick and Michael talk about top Standard decks from the recent Grand Prix.

… And yes, Patrick really did fly to New York.

Check it all out in “Kozilek, the Great Distortion and the 6th color of Magic”

Direct Download

The Painful Truths about Monastery Mentor

Painful Truths
Painful Truths

“Why would you put Shardless Agent in your deck and hope for incredible luck to hit Ancestral Visions when you can just play Painful Truths?”
-Owen Turtenwald

Patrick made a new Esper Control deck in Legacy featuring Painful Truths and four copies of Monastery Mentor!

This episode of Top Level Podcast largely focuses on Patrick’s deck and card choices:

Monastery Mentor
Monastery Mentor

Monastery Mentor is a weird sleeper card… It’s been legal for about a year, but has not yet broken out to the degree that is probably worthy. Patrick talks about the massive amounts of damage that Monastery Mentor is capable of doing in a short period of time.

“Monastery Mentor is not the same as Young Pyromancer” says Patrick. The 1/1 Monk tokens are substantially better than their Young Pyromancer cousins; when given the chance to kill a 1/1 Monk or a Deathrite Shaman, it is often correct to let the Deathrite Shaman live!

Esper Control by Patrick Chapin

2 Cabal Therapy
2 Painful Truths
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
3 Gitaxian Probe
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Ponder
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Spell Pierce

4 Deathrite Shaman

1 Council’s Judgment
4 Monastery Mentor
4 Swords to Plowshares

1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
4 Polluted Delta
4 Flooded Strand
1 Karakas
2 Island
1 Plains
1 Scrubland
1 Swamp
1 Tropical Island
2 Tundra
1 Underground Sea

1 Engineered Explosives
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Painful Truths
1 Surgical Extraction
1 Flusterstorm
1 Vendilion Clique
3 Abrupt Decay
1 Misdirection
1 Notion Thief
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Containment Priest
1 Council’s Judgment

For a huge discussion on this great new Legacy deck (aka basically just Patrick’s Standard Esper deck from last week) check out “The Painful Truths about Monastery Mentor”

Direct Download

Mage-Ring Network Engine

Mage-Ring Network
Mage-Ring Network is a powerful innovation in Esper control decks,
facilitating Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and great flexibility

Patrick made Top 8 of Grand Prix Indianapolis with Esper Control! He played a deck that was informed by his own work for Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar + the recent excellence of Reid Duke.

(much love for Reid Duke in this podcast)

Esper Control by Patrick Chapin

2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

1 Languish
1 Murderous Cut
2 Ultimate Price

2 Anticipate
2 Clash of Wills
4 Dig Through Time
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
2 Negate
1 Horribly Awry
1 Scatter to the Winds

1 Dragonlord Silumgar
3 Ojutai’s Command
1 Silumgar’s Command
2 Utter End

1 Hallowed Moonlight
2 Planar Outburst
1 Surge of Righteousness

1 Bloodstained Mire
4 Flooded Strand
1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
3 Island
2 Mage-Ring Network
1 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
3 Prairie Stream
3 Shambling Vent
3 Sunken Hollow
1 Swamp
1 Windswept Heath

3 Duress
1 Infinite Obliteration
1 Painful Truths
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
2 Dispel
1 Dragonlord Ojutai
1 Dragonlord Silumgar
2 Arashin Cleric
2 Monastery Mentor
1 Surge of Righteousness

“You can’t use your entire sideboard to get your match up to 25%. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
-Patrick Chapin

Our hosts discuss various sideboard strategies for various formats… Everything from Dredge in Legacy to whether or not Arashin Cleric is any good in Mage-Ring Network Esper.

What makes a good card in Standard? What is a better way to go than “trying to look clever”?

How can you find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

When to you sideboard in Monastery Mentor?

The answers to all these questions and more in “Mage-Ring Network Engine”

Direct Download

… Oh, and for everyone asking, the song we use in and out is Innovate by The Gatherin: