white tagged posts

Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review: White

Core sets are always kind of odd when it comes to reviews. Most of the commons and uncommons are awkward at best and intended for drafting or introducing new players to core concepts, while the rares range unplayable to niche. Occasionally you’ll get a card that does something truly unique though and that’s what these reviews are all about.

With over half the set being reprints, the Magic 2013 Casual and Commander Review will only cover brand new cards. And I’m going to comment on every single one of them. I’m really glad they cut down on vanilla creatures. As always, the biggest rule about reviewing sets like these for the kitchen table is that there is never a card that is truly unplayable – just very, very close.

Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Planeswalkers are always interesting in casual but more often then not, they are quickly killed off. But this version of Ajani lands quickly and works in a variety of decks. His first ability, while awkwardly worded, can work well in group hug style decks as he can pump any creature (or none at all).

His second ability is less useful thanks to the sorcery timing requirement, but on the offensive the combination of evasion and double strike makes for a terrifying beast in the air. But the fact that it costs -3 makes me wary. Finally there is the ultimate which evokes his original ultimate nicely. Getting an army with power double your own life just four turns after Ajani resolves can quickly end games. Plus the fact that he essentially starts the game at 5 loyalty means he will be a challenge to kill.

Ajani’s Sunstriker
White Weenie usually doesn’t have enough staying power to control the kitchen table past turn three and Ajani’s Sunstriker doesn’t do enough. The biggest issue is the simple fact that this 2/2 for WW only has one ability – it’s just a worst version of Knight of Meadowgrain. If you’re putting together some weird cat-cleric tribal deck, this could work to lower your curve, but otherwise it falls into the strictly worse pile.

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Arena Review: Planechase 2 Savage Auras

Planechase 2 (2012) Reviews
Chaos Reigns | Night of the Ninja | Primordial Hunger | Savage Auras

The final Planechase 2 deck personally offends me. As someone who has been playing white-green aura decks for the better part of the last 15 years, I have no idea how Wizards thought they could make a white and green aura deck and not include Armadillo Cloak in it! Is it because it doesn’t actually have lifelink? Is that why Wizards? Why don’t you just keep rubbing salt in my wounds!

Savage Auras is a deck that will teach people just how terrible many auras are. With elements of Voltron decks, Savage Auras looks fine on paper but after playing a few games with it, I quickly realized it doesn’t work. Totem Armor helps and Rancor is always awesome, but most of the time you’re still just hoping people won’t immediately exile your cards.

Like the other Planechase 2 decks, Savage Auras includes 8 new planes, 2 phenomena and six brand new cards (five of which are exclusive to this deck).

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Humans ‘R’ Us: A New Magic Deck Idea and Caesar Salad with Cajun Chicken Recipe

Castles and Cooks is proud to welcome back our first guest writer on the site – Bill O’Dell! A long time player of Magic, Bill loves what we’re doing here and offered up a new deck idea along with a corresponding recipe or two! Welcome back! – Jesse the Baker

One of my favourite deck types besides combo is tribal. And while Innistrad wasn’t as tribal happy as say Onslaught, the one shining light besides the angels were the humans. Their light would not be extinguished and unlike the darker magical critters of the night, they can keep multiplying endlessly without needing a host.

OK fine, humans do need a female host – but are we really going to get into a biology lesson now?

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Casual and Commander Multipleplayer Oddities: Uncovered Antiquities

A long time ago, I tasked myself with diving into the depths of Magic: the Gathering’s elaborate history to track down some hidden gems that have been forgotten over the ages. I ventured through some secrets in Alliances and then found some gems hidden in the Dark, but then Innistrad came out… and Dark Ascension. And Avacyn Restored. So the series got put on hold, but now I finally have time again to uncover Antiquities.

The second Magic: the Gathering expansion ever, Antiquities used to be full of expensive cards simply because of their scarcity. But now, card prices have drastically dropped (in most cases) allowing older sets to become much more manageable. This list isn’t about reminding you about what awesome cards are known about in Antiquities like Power Artifact, but about showing what gems have been forgotten about over the last 18 years.

Being a set based around artifacts, it seems only fitting to begin there. Cursed Rack is a unique piece in the Stuffy Doll arsenal. With many decks in Commander abusing cards like Reliquary Tower, it is hard to limit your opponents maximum hand size. Cursed Rack provides a colorless way to do just that when you aren’t able to make use of the Misers or Jin-Gitaxias. If you constantly face off against someone abusing their hand, take it down.

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Avacyn Restored Casual & Commander Review: White

With Avacyn Restored just being released, it seems oddly unanimous that this set is all about casual and Commander players. Much like Rise of the Eldrazi, Avacyn Restored throws the classic block format out of whack, so if you want to learn all about awesome drafting strategies, I would advise going elsewhere. If you want to know which gems in this set will drive your opponents mad in a game of Star or be just the cog you’re looking for in Commander, we’ve got you covered.

Once again, I will be doing this on a card by card basis, and that means I’ll do my best to say something about every card.

Casual and Commander Review: Avacyn Restored
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold, Artifacts & Lands

Angel of Glory’s Rise

The other side of the Zombie Apocalypse coin, Angel of Glory’s Rise is the first gem that will often result in me saying “this goes in Kaalia.” Sadly, none of the really fun stuff like Xenograft or Conspiracy works with her which is a real shame – unless you name Human.

A one-sided Patriarch’s Bidding is deadly (or if you want to get really mean, check out Artificial Evolution to change either part to something else). At the end of the day though, she’s a 4/6 flier for seven, which isn’t the most exciting creature in the game.

Angel of Jubilation

Mana cost aside, this angel is the whole package! She evades, she pumps the rest of your team and she hoses some deck strategies. If Survival of the Fittest/Recurring Nightmare decks are an issue, she stops those. And Birthing Pod. And all Phyrexian mana.

But she’s another Glorious Anthem for your commander decks! Sure, Kaalia and she might not get along perfectly, but that’s not the Angel of Jubilation’s problem.

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Dark Ascension Casual & Commander Review: White

Now that Dark Ascension is fully spoiled, it is time to really look at the cards and try to find out where they work the best. If you’re looking for a captivating analysis of the Standard environment, this isn’t place. But if you want to find out how to make use of almost every card in Dark Ascension at the kitchen table or while editing your Commander deck, look no further! Following my own absurd precedence, I will be starting with white.

Dark Ascension Commander & Casual Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor, Artifact & Land

Archangel’s Light

I don’t know why the first card of every set is often an odd one, but I’ve seen this happen before. There’s no denying that Archangel’s Light is the worst mythic in the set. Yes, this card can simultaneously help you against mill and beat down decks but the casting cost is way too high for it to ever get much use. If this card cost half as much, it might be okay but as it stands… I’m sorry for when you get this in a booster pack.

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Innistrad Multiplayer & Commander Review: White

Whenever a new set comes out, everyone seems to flock to the splashy rares and terrifying mythics, but when you’ve got a set as full of flavor as Innistrad every card is worth looking at! So for the casual and Commander players, here’s a set review of Innistrad starting at the beginning: white!

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Multicolor, Artifact & Lands

Abbey Griffin

Maybe if you’re making some odd griffin themed Commander deck, you could find a place for this winged beast. But for only one more white mana, you get a Serra Angel. This is a depressing way to begin.

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Magic 2012 Multiplayer & Commander Review: White

With a new Magic set just about to be released, it’s time for my multiplayer and commander review! Much like Commander decks, this series will mostly focus on brand new cards. As someone who plays Magic almost exclusively at a table of between two and five other players, it’s always fun to get new toys to play with while shaking up the chaos a bit.

The review will be in alphabetical order so I don’t have to try and rank them all by my favorite or most interesting. Hint: my favorite isn’t War Horse.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Aegis Angel

This card has some genius political design to it. Sure, most of the time you’ll just make one of your other angels indestructible (and she’s fantastic in Heavenly Inferno), but when the table is getting tense is where Aegis Angel shines. The ability to turn a soon-to-be ally’s permanent indestructible is something worth considering.

Worst case, she targets any permanent so if you need a 5/5 flier in a pinch, you can target a land of yours instead of something much more dangerous an opponent controls. Sadly, she’s useless when targeting a Planeswalker. And if you stop controlling her, the target is no longer indestructible.

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Magic the Gathering Commander Review: Political Puppets

Magic: the Gathering Commander Decks Reviews
Counterpunch
| Devour for Power | Heavenly Inferno | Mirror Mastery | Political Puppets

As of the writing of this, if you look at the secondary market values of each of the Commander decks, Political Puppets would be number one. If you look at the decks as a whole, it pains me to say it but I think this deck is the bottom tier. As someone who plays a lot of multiplayer Magic, politics plays a huge role in what people do or don’t do. So when this deck got described, I thought it was going to be awesome.

Make allies early by giving gifts that grant life and knowledge! With Zedruu the Greathearted as your commander, your foes will curse you as your friends grow stronger. Explore your inner puppeteer with a game-twisting masterwork of maniacal manipulation.

Then I played it and quickly realized how easy it is to get overrun by opponents with this deck and that all the political talk in the world isn’t going to stop a horde of demons, dragons and angels from crushing my skull like an overripe grape. So while the deck straight out of the box doesn’t impress me, there are bits and pieces of it that I still adore.

The dragon legend is Numot, the Devastator. Of all the Planar Chaos dragons, he’s the least exciting. Being able to nuke two lands can be useful, especially if they’re controlled by a different player, but in Commander that kind of recursive land destruction is frowned upon. He’s a big dragon, but his ability never does anything cool.

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Magic the Gathering Commander Review: Heavenly Inferno

With Counterpunch and Devour for Power out of the way, I’m finally getting onto a deck that isn’t black and green! Heavenly Inferno is an interesting deck designed around summoning demons, dragons and angels and then beating people to death with them! It sounds good in theory until you realize a few parts of this deck really don’t play well together.

Kaalia of the Vast alone holds the forces of Angels, Dragons, and Demons within the palm of her hand. Watch her toss each bone-crushing creature onto the battlefield with merciless glee while your horrified enemies are sliced, diced, and then deep-fried

Oros, the Avenger is the time-shifted dragon legend who really isn’t that exciting. With the ability to burn non-white creatures, he can work out as being some awesome sweeper but in Commander, you’re playing black and red already so his utility isn’t so great. Plus most boards I play on are covered with things bigger than a toughness of 3.

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