Oath of Chandra and Five Friends

Oath of Chandra
Oath of Chandra is a potential Role Player from Oath of the Gatewatch

In this episode of Top Level Podcast, Mike (Resident Genius Michael J. Flores) and Patrick (Pro Tour Champion and Pro Tour Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin) shake up the usual format… Mike asks Patrick about some new cards from the new set and Patrick tells him what he thinks!

Hmmm… Well, maybe that’s not so much of a divergence from our usual show; but we think you’ll like it 🙂

Oath of Chandra is one of the centerpiece cards in this podcast.

Arguably the weakest of the Oath of the Gatewatch namesakes, Oath of Chandra still has some interesting applications as a Constructed playable spell; possibly as a Role Player; possibly (as Mike suggests) as a sideboard card a la Volcanic Hammer in Patrick’s Regional Championships Korlash deck from close to a decade ago.

Oath of Chandra is kind of a more restrictive Volcanic Hammer on its face. Like Volcanic Hammer, it can deal three damage to a creature for two mana… But unlike Volcanic Hammer, it can’t (immediately) be pointed straight at the opponent’s dome.


Oath of Chandra has additional text:

At the beginning of each end step, if a planeswalker entered the battlefield under your control this turn, Oath of Chandra deals 2 damage to each opponent.

Because of this, if you get even one Planeswalker trigger, Oath of Chandra moves from a kind of bad (but possibly still applicable) Volcanic Hammer to Searing Blood range. Like Searing Blood this card will now deal five damage over one creature and one player for two mana, making it pretty good on rate. If you get any additional triggers from Oath of Chandra (i.e. from any future Planeswalker triggers) the rate payback on that two mana only gets better and better.

Like the other Oaths we’ve discussed, Oath of Chandra is a Legendary Enchantment, so a second copy hitting the battlefield will put one into the graveyard. But that may or may not be a strict disadvantage given a pretty cool interaction Patrick points out in this podcast.

What is it?

You’ll have to listen to “Oath of Chandra and Five Friends” to find out!

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Oath of Nissa Bonus Episode!

Sure, we had the opportunity to introduce the Magic community to Warping Wail yesterday…

… But Top Level Podcast is still Still STILL here for our regularly-scheduled Thursday episode!

Oath of Nissa
What do you think about Oath of Nissa?

Oath of Nissa is at least “two different cards” … It incorporates both a card selection ability and a longer-term mana fixing one.

Most of the value of Oath of Nissa is bound in the first ability:

“When Oath of Nissa enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal a creature, land, or planeswalker card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.”

First and foremost, this is a card that will affect deck design and mulligan decisions. Playing with Oath of Nissa may impact how many lands you play in your deck; certainly it will increase your chances of hitting your second land when you keep a one-land hand featuring Oath of Nissa.

Note: Oath of Nissa actually digs you four cards deep for purposes of drawing a second land. Not only do you get to look at the top three cards of your library (where you are a favorite to see a land), your actual next draw is the fourth card (not the first, which you’ve already seen), dramatically increasing your chances.

When you just put Oath of Nissa in your Abzan deck, you are just going to draw so many more Siege Rhinos and Den Protectors! And because Oath of Nissa is a Legendary Enchantment (meaning if you play a second one, one of them will go to the graveyard) it makes it easier to re-buy with Den Protector!

The second ability on Oath of Nissa isn’t as important as the card-replacing first… But it can still be relevant.

“You may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast planeswalker spells.”

Oath of Nissa can help your green deck hit the WW on Gideon more quickly and consistently, or make Sarkhan, Unbroken more palatable.

Tons of chats on Oath of Nissa, the idea of playing as many as eight Nissa planeswalkers, and a wee bit about Oath of Jace at the end; all in our “Oath of Nissa Bonus Episode!”

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Warping Wail is Our Exclusive Preview

Warping Wail
Warping Wail is Top Level Podcast’s exclusive preview from Oath of the Gatewatch

“Great Whale was a warping [whale]… When done right.”
-Patrick Chapin

Warping Wail is an exciting card that will be sure to find play in Standard and larger formats.

As a card with three, disparate, and slightly more-expensive-than-expected abilities, Warping Wail seems like a generalist; that is, it seems like a card that you play for its versatility more than any of its particular abilities.


Warping Wail is a bit of a surgeon, not just a generalist.

Imagine a Modern (or Legacy) Merfolk deck with both Cavern of Souls and Mutavault (lands that are effective in-theme in a tribal deck but generally tap for colorless mana)… Warping Wail would be a great card in a Merfolk deck! Because it is colorless it is (duh) not blue… Most or all of the creatures in a Merfolk deck, however, are blue.

How is a mostly- or mono-blue deck supposed to handle a Goblin Piledriver?

All of a sudden Warping Wail starts looking really interesting, right?

Goblin Piledriver has only one power (before it starts having lots and lots of power), so the not-blue (colorless) Warping Wail can target it. You might not want to play Warping Wail just for the “Exile target creature with power or toughness 1 or less” ability, but in the context of a card that does two other interesting things, your generalist just became a Goblin Piledriver-assassinating surgeon!

Resident Genius Michael J. Flores and Pro Tour Champion Patrick Chapin spend this entire podcast spit balling other relevant uses for Warping Wail, from sniping mana accelerators to taking out premium-haste-threat-to-be Eldrazi Obligator… And there are two other abilities!

Learn about them all in “Warping Wail is Our Exclusive Preview”

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Patrick’s Magic: The Gathering Books

Michael’s Magic: The Gathering Books

Jori En, Ruin Diver & Spacial Contortion

Up first – Jori En, Ruin Diver:

Jori En, Ruin Diver

Jori En, Ruin Diver has got to be one of the top cards in Oath of the Gatewatch!

Jori En, Ruin Diver will likely be played in a number of different kinds of decks:

  • It can be splashed in a Red Deck, giving card advantage fuel to a color that doesn’t often have it.
  • It can be played in bigger format Merfolk decks (e.g. Modern), giving the little blue men legitimate reason to splash for Lightning Bolt
  • It might be one of the cards that brings Grixis back to Standard in a legitimate way. Blue and red have got some good trigger cards… But one mana for Duress, Murderous Cut, or even Tasigur, the Golden Fang are all hot.

Did we say “Tasigur, the Golden Fang”? We did! Jori En, Ruin Diver can in a way be stronger on “four” mana that Bloodbraid Elf. It is similar in size but when combined with Delve, can break some rules of expectation.

Jori En, Ruin Diver’s most common play pattern will be on four mana, leaving up a mana for cards like Wild Slash or possibly Dispel to protect the Merfolk Wizard post-resolution. That means that this 2/3 can get paid off the turn it hits the battlefield (unlike a similarly-costed Scroll Thief or Ophidian). Once you’ve untapped, Jori En, Ruin Diver can net card advantage on both your turn and your opponent’s turn!

The theme of Oath of the Gatewatch almost seems like “paying players off for choosing cheap spells” … One and two mana spells tend to give players the highest returns but they really do with Jori En, Ruin Diver and the various members of the Surge squad.

Jori En, Ruin Diver doesn’t have built-in protection (no Hexproof or whatever)… But it is chock full of resilience, at least for its cost.

  • Speaking of the cost, at three mana, Jori En, Ruin Diver dives right past Disdainful Stroke. (Disdainful Stroke is likely to increase in popularity due to the power of the Eldrazi in this set and block)
  • Because it is gold, Jori En, Ruin Diver ignores Ultimate Price
  • And because it has three toughness, it is too big for a Wild Slash (or the front half of Kozilek’s Return)!

While Jori En, Ruin Diver isn’t quite Geist of the St. Traft, it is pretty tough for a tiny ‘Tome.

On deck – Spacial Contortion:

Spacial Contortion

“Spacial Contortion is basically Nameless Inversion for Eldrazi.”
-Patrick Chapin

Spacial Contortion is even better and more important than it looks!

(and it looks pretty good)

Mike thought Spacial Contortion would be mostly be a card for green decks, but everything from Mage-Ring Network to Haven of the Spirit Dragon can make it a tool for U/W!

Here’s the crazy thing: Because of Wastes being a basic land, Evolving Wilds, Explosive Vegetation, and the like can let you Thaw for your Spacial Contortion setup land! This might be a card that re-writes some of the rules of mana balance and deck design.

Jori En, Ruin Diver; Spacial Contortion; and tons more from Oath of the Gatewatch in this week’s episode!

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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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