World Breaker is Hot; Endbringer is Not

"World Breaker"
World Breaker costs seven mana. Turns out that helps to make it pretty cool.

Let us consider two different (rumored) Eldrazi giants from the upcoming Magic: The Gathering set Oath of the Gatewatch.

One is the aforementioned World Breaker. As a seven drop, World Breaker can trigger the hot new tool Kozilek’s Return…

Kozilek's Return

… And it does all kinds of other stuff at the same time.

World Breaker generates card advantage the turn it comes into play. It is a kind of a Creeping Mold. Imagine, for instance, the advantage you would have playing the first World Breaker in an Eldrazi mirror match! Decks with an excess of lands can find World Breaker after World Breaker (and Eldrazi decks will often have an overabundance of lands in play). And the Reach even means something! Eldrazi players might find themselves beaten up by Mantis Riders or Thunderbreak Regents early on… World Breaker can help defend against those opponents.

On the other end of the spectrum is Endbringer:


Endbringer certainly seems awesome.

“Endbringer is of the school of Clockwork Beast.”

If it lives for several turns you can certainly accumulate a nice amount of card advantage.


Endbringer is a card with no evasion, no inherent protection, and doesn’t generate card advantage the turn it comes into play. Certainly it can generate card advantage over time… But it asks for a lot of room before you can get there.

Worst yet, Endbringer is exactly the size to be killed by Roast 🙁

Michael and Patrick debate the finer points of World Breaker and Endbringer; love on Kozilek’s Return, and speculate generally on Oath of the Gatewatch’s rumored upcoming tools in “World Breaker is Hot; Endbringer is Not”.

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Chandra, Flamecaller Analysis

Chandra, Flamecaller
Chandra, Flamecaller is a rumored new Planeswalker from Oath of the Gatewatch.

“What scenario is this card NOT good?”
-Patrick Chapin

There is already precedent for a six mana Planeswalker with the ability to sweep the board (and stick around) in Elspeth, Sun’s Champion (Patrick even won a Pro Tour using that Planeswalker); Chandra fits that minimum bill.

Let’s look at Chandra’s abilities… Backwards:

[-x] At her absolute worst, Chandra’s [-x] ability is a “Savage Twister” for four damage at 4RR… Which combined with any amount of versatility at least gets her in the conversation. If you have four toughness creatures and can just “Slagstorm” leaving Chandra, Flamecaller on the battlefield that can help create a massive advantage on the board.

[0] Chandra’s “zero” ability is just card advantage. If you have no cards in hand, this [0] gives you a net one card… And if you have any number of cards in hand, the ability becomes extraordinarily powerful. Once you have any number of cards in hand you can start to fuel Delve spells like Murderous Cut, set up creatures like Deathmist Raptor and Den Protector, or enable completely new (or rather, rediscovered) color combinations in Standard.

[+1] Mike initially thought this was the least interesting ability, but Patrick predicts that the “attack for six with haste” ability is the money ability on Chandra, Flamecaller. We were already (probably) happy to play Chandra for her sweep and card advantage abilities… But she can quickly close out a game, too!

Patrick and Michael believe that Chandra, Flamecaller will be an exciting and highly played new Planeswalker via Oath of the Gatewatch… But take a good (and pretty entertaining and analytical) hour to get there.

The cool thing about Chandra is that she is such a powerful card that we will see her both incorporated in existing archetypes and as the centerpiece of all new decks! Find out which in “Chandra, Flamecaller Analysis”.

Top Level Podcast also jams on Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

“This card is bananas. This card is going to rupture my heart.”
-Patrick Chapin

You might be surprised as to what cards Patrick compares this one to…

… Or what weird angle (and what abilities) Mike concentrates on with his initial analysis.

All this and many new deck-inclusion, brewing, and crafting ideas in “Chandra, Flamecaller Analysis”

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Gather the Pack is Underplayed

Gather the Pack
Find out why more decks should play more copies of Gather the Pack

Adam Yurchick won the TCGPlayer $50k Championship with a stock Abzan Aggro deck:

2 Murderous Cut

4 Abzan Charm
4 Anafenza, the Foremost
2 Dromoka’s Command
4 Siege Rhino

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

4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Wingmate Roc
2 Silkwrap

2 Canopy Vista
4 Flooded Strand
2 Forest
2 Llanowar Wastes
2 Plains
4 Shambling Vent
1 Smoldering Marsh
1 Sunken Hollow
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

3 Duress
1 Painful Truths
2 Rising Miasma
3 Self-Inflicted Wound
2 Transgress the Mind
2 Ultimate Price
1 Silkwrap
1 Wingmate Roc

“Let’s talk about Abzan for a change!”

Michael and Patrick don’t focus on Abzan for too-too long… There are just too many sweet decks to talk about!

Here are three that Patrick (and especially Michael) really loved from the TCGPlayer Championship and the Standard Open in Denver…

U/G Ramp by Ali Aintrazi

3 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

3 Dig Through Time
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
4 Part the Waterveil

3 Den Protector
3 Explosive Vegetation
2 Gather the Pack
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
3 Nissa’s Pilgrimage
2 Nissa’s Renewal
4 Rattleclaw Mystic
2 Winds of Qal Sisma

1 Blighted Cataract
8 Forest
6 Island
4 Lumbering Falls
3 Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
3 Skyline Cascade

2 Void Winnower
2 Disdainful Stroke
2 Dispel
2 Negate
1 Pearl Lake Ancient
1 Stratus Dancer
3 Jaddi Offshoot
2 Winds of Qal Sisma

“I know for damn sure I want to click on this link.”

Ali played “an Eldrazi deck with no actual Eldrazi” … And boy is this deck sweet! The most interesting card in his deck (or at least the least intuitive) is Gather the Pack. Gather the Pack is most commonly played in decks with high concentrations of creatures; here Ali played it in a deck with only thirteen creatures.

In this deck, Gather the Pack — when it hits — will often get a powerful planeswalker like Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy or Nissa, Vastwood Seer… But even when it wiffs, it helps to set up Dig Through Time or Nissa’s Pilgrimage (due to Spell Mastery).

Esper Tokens by Vikram Kudva

4 Duress
2 Murderous Cut
1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
1 Ruinous Path
1 Ultimate Price

4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
2 Treasure Cruise

2 Dragonlord Ojutai
1 Sorin, Solemn Visitor
1 Utter End

4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Monastery Mentor
4 Seeker of the Way
4 Silkwrap

4 Caves of Koilos
4 Flooded Strand
1 Island
2 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
2 Prairie Stream
4 Shambling Vent
2 Sunken Hollow
2 Swamp

2 Infinite Obliteration
1 Languish
2 Self-Inflicted Wound
1 Ultimate Price
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Dispel
2 Stratus Dancer
1 Mastery of the Unseen
1 Planar Outburst
2 Surge of Righteousness

There are lots of super cool deck lists in this episode, plus the return of the Transformers transformation sound; because, you know, Hasbro cross-branding.

Listen to “Gather the Pack is Underplayed” now:

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Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim & Mike’s New Naya

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim

“This is the type of thing that people are going to mention years from now.
And people will know!
You have a long history of innovative Naya decks… and this is your most recent one yet.
This is going to be… totally… you know?

“People aren’t ready for this. Who is going to have prepared for this?”

-Patrick, on Mike’s new Naya deck

What is Mike’s new deck? Here is is:

Naya Combo

3 Dragonlord Dromoka
4 Dromoka’s Command

4 Become Immense
4 Den Protector
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
4 Scythe Leopard
4 Snapping Gnarlid
4 Warden of the First Tree

3 Temur Battle Rage

2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Valorous Stance

1 Bloodstained Mire
2 Canopy Vista
2 Cinder Glade
1 Evolving Wilds
7 Forest
1 Mountain
3 Plains
4 Windswept Heath
4 Wooded Foothills

1 Dragonlord Dromoka
2 Outpost Siege
4 Rending Volley
3 Roast
1 Temur Battle Rage
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
2 Valorous Stance

“This deck is an abomination. I would not TEST it!”

-Also Patrick, also on Mike’s new Naya deck

If you’ve ever wanted to see a complete dressing down of Mike — in this case by one of his best friends and one of the greatest deck designers of all time — tune into this episode!

In addition to a long chat about Mike’s Naya deck, our intrepid pair talks about new Legend Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim:

Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
Legendary Creature – Kor Cleric

1, Sacrifice another creature: You gain life equal to the sacrificed creature’s toughness.

1WB, Sacrifice another creature: Exile target nonland permanent. Activate this ability only if you have at least 10 life more than your starting life total.

What does Top Level Podcast think about Ayli? find out in “Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim & Mike’s New Naya”

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Further reading:
“My Babykiller, Part 1” by Frank Karsten

“The name comes from an awkward situation where I was confined in a bus together with Brian David-Marshall and Billy Moreno. They were making some ugly jokes regarding killing babies, and since I don’t enjoy the ritual sacrifice of cute little babies, I couldn’t really appreciate those jokes. If you thought that Mike Flores built this deck, you have been misinformed. That has been an elaborate joke. Of course I made the deck myself. It’s even named after me! Okay, irony aside now, my deck is very good and if I were forced to pick a deck for a Standard tournament now, I’d go with KarstenBotBabyKiller.”
-Frank Karsten