Emrakul, the Promised End and the Beginning of Spoiler Season

Emrakul, the Promised End
Emrakul, the Promised End highlights the beginning of Eldritch Moon spoiler season

Here’s the thing about the new Emrakul… It says “13” in the top-right, but that is a trick! Emrakul is all about being cast for less than 13 mana. So even though you might be able to take advantage of bonuses based on high converted mana costs, you won’t necessarily have to pay the full amount to get Emrakul on the battlefield. Here are some examples:

Sorin, Grim Nemesis can reveal Emrakul to deal a huge thirteen points to the opponent… But when it actually comes time to cast her, Emrakul might cost just seven or so mana (say your graveyard is full of Dead Weight; Transgress the Mind; Anguished Unmaking; Gideon, Ally of Zendikar; Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet; and Evolving Wilds)… That will only make for seven mana!

  • Dead Weight = enchantment
  • Transgress the Mind = sorcery
  • Anguished Unmaking = instant
  • Gideon, Ally of Zendikar = planeswalker
  • Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet = creature
  • Evolving Wilds = land

Patrick and Michael spend a good part of the podcast thinking up cool, goofy, or actually powerful things you can do with Emrakul, the Promised End; for example “Dark Petition up Emrakul, discard her to Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy (or Nahiri the Harbinger), put her back on top of my library with Mortuary Mire, and then reveal her for thirteen with Sorin, Grim Nemesis.

Of course just playing Sorin and Emrakul in the same deck gives you a way to win any game [that you did seven damage] out of nowhere.


Unfortunately (and this will happen with new cards sometimes) Patrick conflates the abilities of Sanctum of Ugin and Conduit of Ruin. Sanctum of Ugin puts a card into your hand, not on top of your library. Sorry! We’ll get ’em next time. Many of the ideas are still worth chewing on, though.

We also discuss new cards Coax from the Blind Eternities and Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. How does Ulrich compare with Standard staple Goblin Dark-Dwellers? You might be surprised at our take.

In a Top Level Podcast first (kinda like this week’s Cleveland Cavaliers first), Patrick and Michael switch gears later on to talk the NBA. Topics include:

  • “The Jon Finkel criteria”
  • How tall is Kevin Durant? How tall does he claim to be?
  • Who are the best five players in 2016?
  • What year would you pick an all-time five from (if not 2016)?
  • You know, and a ton Ton TON of Magic: The Gathering at 1:47 this week!

The NBA, Werewolves, and the Eldrazi aplenty in “Emrakul, the Promised End and the Beginning of Spoiler Season”:

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Mike’s Mini-Deck Doctor

Thrull Surgeon

It’s time for the first Top Level Podcast Deck Doctor episode!

Our Patrons probably already know this, but one of the higher level rewards on our Patreon page is “mini-deck doctor” … So in anticipation for that cool feature coming up — and in the tradition of “Mike’s Do-Nothing Naya Deck” (“That deck actually did everything, not nothing!” -Mike), Patrick unleashes his Innovations on a couple of Mike’s current Standard decks.

Up first: Rakdos Midrange

3 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
4 Goblin Dark-Dwellers

1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Chandra Flamecaller

1 Dark Petition
4 Read the Bones
2 Transgress the Mind
4 Tormenting Voice

4 Fiery Impulse
4 Grasp of Darkness
1 Ultimate Price
3 Ruinous Path
2 Kolaghan’s Command

4 Blighted Fen
4 Drownyard Temple
4 Foreboding Ruins
4 Mountain
4 Smoldering Marsh
6 Swamp

4 Reality Smasher
1 Dark Petition
1 Duress
2 Grip of Desolation
1 Infinite Obliteration
3 Languish
1 Ob Nixilis, Reignited
1 Ruinous Path
1 Virulent Plague

“Have you ever Pyromancers Goggle’d a Kolaghan’s Command?”

Doctor Patrick’s Notes:

  • There are no sweepers; which seems terrible in the current Standard metagame
  • With main-deck Dark Petition, the deck should have at least one Languish
  • Another good main deck sweeper is Kozilek’s Return (especially if Saito’s U/R Flying deck is popular)
  • Three copies of Ruinous Path is too low… You’d play five if you could (and B/W decks do!)
  • Eight colorless lands is not super realistic; the deck either has to find a way to play more colorless lands (possibly with an Evolving Wilds package) or far, far fewer
  • The advantage of going two colors is great mana — twelve sources of red and only fourteen sources of black do not make this deck a favorite for Grasp of Darkness or third-turn Ruinous Path
  • Playing more colored lands will likely make Reality Smasher impossible to sideboard consistently… “colorless is a color”

Deck 2: Selesnya Ramp

3 Secure the Wastes

3 Oath of Nissa
4 Ruin in their Wake
3 Nissa’s Pilgrimage
3 Explosive Vegetation

3 Dromoka’s Command

1 Season’s Past

4 Sylvan Advocate
2 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
4 Tireless Tracker
4 Ulvenwald Hydra
1 World Breaker
1 Dragonlord Dromoka

1 Drownyard Temple
4 Evolving Wilds
9 Forest
4 Fortified Village
1 Wastes
1 Plains
1 Mirrorpool
3 Westvale Abbey

1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
1 Secure the Wastes
3 World Breaker
1 Dragonlord Dromoka
4 Reality Smasher
1 Seasons Past
3 Clip Wings
1 Dromoka’s Command

“I think ‘Selesnya Ramp’ is a weird way to describe your Tokens deck.”

Doctor Patrick’s Notes:

  • Ulvenwald Hydra is a weird top of the curve… You’re not really ramping to anything bigger
  • This deck does make bigger Tireless Trackers than anyone else
  • Cut Drownyard Temple! … Nobody runs out of land for World Breaker
  • This deck has almost no removal, isn’t fast, has no permission or discard, isn’t the biggest, and doesn’t draw the most cards

There you have it! Our first Deck Doctor episode! To learn how to get your ideas featured in a future Deck Doctor, check out our Patreon page.

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Probably Playing Karakas

Double topics this week… We start on Standard, but then uncover why Patrick is probably playing Karakas in Legacy.

G/W had another big week (especially with Number One Seth Manfield taking down Grand Prix Costa Rica) but the coolest new technology appeared in the hands of Tom “the Boss” Ross:

R/W Humans by Tom Ross

2 Anointer of Champions
2 Consul’s Lieutenant
4 Dragon Hunter
4 Expedition Envoy
4 Knight of the White Orchid
4 Thalia’s Lieutenant
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Town Gossipmonger
3 Kytheon, Hero of Akros

4 Always Watching
3 Gryff’s Boon
4 Declaration in Stone

14 Plains
4 Battlefield Forge

3 Hanweir Militia Captain
4 Reckless Bushwhacker
1 Gryff’s Boon
1 Silkwrap
2 Stasis Snare
4 Needle Spires

To the surprise of no one, Tom Ross hit #SCGATL with “eighteen Plains” … or rather, fourteen Plains and four copies of Battlefield Forge. Those Battlefield Forges do act as (painful) Plains main deck, but don’t have much immediate reason to tap for red.

After sideboarding, Tom brings in four copies of Needle Spires. This is nothing new… The post-sideboard version of R/W Humans wants to go up to twenty-two lands as it increases costs. Battlefield Forge and Needle Spires get along well, of course, with one powering up the other.

But why go up to twenty-two lands to begin with? So many of these white Humans decks side in Gideon (which is much more expensive than anything in Tom’s main)… But Tom didn’t play Gideon at all!

If you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. The B/W Control deck has plenty of cards like Ruinous Path and Anguished Unmaking to handle Gideon; Tom figured out to attack the format at a different angle. Instead of Gideon he brought in an actual red card, Reckless Bushwhacker.

Basically, Tom comes in swinging as hard as possible to begin with. Bam bam bam one drops et cetera. The opponent is expected to hit a sweeper…

And then Tom waits.

And waits.

And waits as he fills his hand.

After sufficient resource repair, Tom can send up a massive turn based on dropping all the power in his hand and finishing with Reckless Bushwhacker. Probably for lethal.

Further in the Standard section…

  • Updates to Saito’s flying deck
  • Why would you ever want to play Invocation of St. Traft?
  • How to exploit a metagame where there are two fewer removal cards per deck?
  • How to increase the mana consistency of U/R Eldrazi

We then switch gears to do a little Legacy brewing for this week’s upcoming Grand Prix.

Will Patrick play a deck with Jace, the Mind Sculptor or one with Cavern of Souls? One thing is sure: His deck will be able to return a legendary creature to its owners hand!

Listen to “Probably Playing Karakas” to find out:

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Izzet Time to Go Rogue?


G/W Tokens was once again the deck of the weekend, winning not one but two Grand Prix tournaments on opposite sides of the Atlantic on the same day! But… Izzet time to to rogue?

We are so wealthy with awesome new builds and ideas that both Patrick and Michael loved a Shivan Reef deck best… and they weren’t even the same list.

But before we get to those let’s take a moment to tip our hats to Hall of Famer Raph Levy with his umpteenth Grand Prix title and a hell of a G/W Tokens list:

G/W (Red!) Tokens by Raphael Levy

4 Archangel Avacyn
4 Hangarback Walker
2 Lambholt Pacifist
4 Sylvan Advocate

2 Chandra, Flamecaller
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

4 Dromoka’s Command
1 Evolutionary Leap
4 Oath of Nissa
2 Stasis Snare

4 Canopy Vista
7 Forest
4 Fortified Village
7 Plains
3 Westvale Abbey

1 Angelic Purge
2 Clip Wings
1 Declaration in Stone
3 Den Protector
1 Evolutionary Leap
2 Hallowed Moonlight
2 Planar Outburst
1 Silkwrap
2 Tragic Arrogance

That’s right! Green-white… Red? And that pair of Chandras can be cast only via Oath of Nissa. Boom.

So how about those Izzet decks? Patrick’s pick:

U/R Ulamog by Matthew Hunt

3 Drowner of Hope
3 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

2 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

2 Anticipate
1 Brutal Expulsion
4 Clash of Wills
1 Confirm Suspicions
1 Epiphany at the Drownyard
4 Hedron Archive
2 Kozilek’s Return
4 Spatial Contortion
4 Void Shatter

4 Highland Lake
5 Island
4 Mage-Ring Network
4 Shivan Reef
4 Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
2 Spawning Bed
4 Wandering Fumarole

1 Drowner of Hope
2 Fevered Visions
2 Fiery Impulse
2 Kozilek’s Return
2 Negate
3 Reality Smasher
1 Roast
1 Ruin Processor
1 Warping Wail

Patrick details many cool acceleration and Eldrazi Scions interactions in Hunt’s deck. This is a deck that is chock full of technology!

Like… Why does a deck that can tap for red play Spacial Contortion instead of Fiery Impulse or Draconic Roar? How cool is a deck that taps “out” for Hedron Archive… And then Warping Wails your incoming Infinite Obliteration? Boom boom.

Here’s MichaelJ’s favorite Izzet deck of the week:

Izzet Flying by Tomoharu Saito

4 Dimensional Infiltrator
4 Goldnight Castigator
4 Rattlechains
4 Stratus Dancer

4 Clash of Wills
4 Exquisite Firecraft
4 Fevered Visions
4 Fiery Impulse
4 Spell Shrivel

7 Island
9 Mountain
4 Shivan Reef
4 Wandering Fumarole

4 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
4 Negate
4 Roast
3 Seismic Rupture

“Seismic Rupture hits non-flyers. Then Goblin Dark-Dwellers gets Seismic Rupture back.”


Take a look at that for a second. Saito basically has twelve copies of Welkin Tern. Sure Rattlechains can hook up Rattlechains once in a Blue Moon and there are a couple of Shivan Reefs for Dimensional Infiltrator… But a lot of the time, that Stratus Dancer is going to hit the table face up.

Between Fevered Visions and Exotic Firecraft Saito has good reach; and between Fevered Visions and Goldnight Castigator he has outstanding planeswalker defense. This deck is the hottest; and the coolest!

What do you guys think? Which is the best Shivan Reef deck? And Izzet time to go rogue? Find out!

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