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Brewer's Minute: Hidden Treasures—Time Spiral


Hey, everyone! It's time for another Brewer's Minute. This week marks the return of our sometimes sub-series Hidden Treasures, where we dig through an old set and talk about some under-the-radar cards that could have a chance to break out if only someone could find the right build. Today, we're discussing Time Spiral, one of the strangest sets in all of Modern. Like usual, I don't actually have deck lists for any of the cards we'll be talking about today, so if you have some ideas about how we can put these cards to use, make sure to let us know in the comments! Maybe with our powers combined, we can come up with some competitive (or at least fun) lists featuring our hidden treasures of Time Spiral

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Discussion

#7: Pull from Eternity

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Pull from Eternity comes in at the bottom of our list because it seems like a tough card to break, although it certainly deserves mention because the effect is so unique. Over the course of Magic's history, the exile zone has traditionally been the zone of no return, but Pull from Eternity allows us to break the rules by putting an exiled card back into our graveyard (where we can flash it back with Snapcaster Mage or return it to our hand with Eternal Witness). The other thing that makes Pull from Eternity exciting is that over the last couple of years, Wizards has started to increasingly rely on cards exiling upon resolution as sort of a safety valve for potentially dangerous effects like extra turn spells or Hazoret's Undying Fury. Being able to cast a Part the Waterveil to take an extra turn, Pull from Eternity Part the Waterveil back to our graveyard, and flash back Part the Waterveil with Snapcaster Mage to take another extra turn (and then maybe even flash back Pull from Eternity to do it again) sounds pretty sweet to me!

#6: Pendelhaven Elder

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Pendelhaven Elder is basically a weird two-mana lord for 1/1 tribal. While it could work in an aggressive build of Elves, which naturally happens to have a lot of 1/1s, it loses a bit of utility once you play a second lord (since your creature are no longer 1/1s). The good news is we have another great source of 1/1s: tokens! Cards like Lingering Souls and Spectral Procession allow us to make a bunch of evasive 1/1s with just one card, and while 1/1 fliers are fine on their own, Pendelhaven Elder turning our Spirits into 2/3s makes them much scarier (while also helping dodge some sweepers like Pyroclasm). While I have no idea what the right build is, it seems that Pendelhaven Elder could have potential in some sort of token deck as an aggressive lord that potentially adds a ton of power and toughness to the battlefield, all for just two mana!

#5: Fortune Thief

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I'm probably overrating Fortune Thief because I love Worship so much, but having a Worship on a stick seems like it could be pretty powerful in the right build. Plus, Fortune Thief being red makes it a great "gotcha" card, since no one expects the red [[Worship]. One plan could be to try to protect our Fortune Thief with cards like Swiftfoot Boots to make some sort of red prison deck, while another could be to just play Fortune Thief as a morph and flip it up with a lethal number of Grapeshot triggers on the stack to steal the win! 

#4: Saffi Eriksdotter

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While I'm not sure how under-the-radar it is, Saffi Eriksdotter come in at number four on our list thanks to its combo potential. The basic idea is simple: if we can get a Saffi Eriksdotter on the battlefield alongside a sacrifice outlet like Viscera Seer and Renegade Rallier, we can keep looping Renegade Rallier and Saffi Eriksdotter by sacrificing one and then the other to return each other from the graveyard. This lets us scry through our entire deck and, if we have something like a Blood Artist on the battlefield, win the game by draining away our opponent's life. Even better, all of our combo pieces are cheap and easy to find with cards like Chord of Calling and Collected Company. Is this combo better than more traditional combos like Kitchen Finks and Melira, Sylvok Outcast or Devoted Druid and Vizier of Remedies? I'm not sure, but any easy-to-assemble, tutorable, game-winning combo is worth keeping in mind in for a format like Modern.

#3: Wheel of Fate

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While a two-mana Wheel of Fortune sounds great, the fact that we have to wait four turns thanks to suspend makes Wheel of Fate problematic; however, there are a couple of potential solutions to the time problem. First, Wizards just printed As Foretold, and while the enchantment got a bunch of hype right away thanks to its ability to cast no-mana-cost suspend cards like Wheel of Fate for free, it has since faded away a bit. The good news is the interaction is still very powerful, and it could take off in Modern if someone could find the right build—perhaps using Wheel of Fate as a way to refill their hand. The other possibility is to build with Wheel of Fate's timing restriction in mind, using the four-turn window to play a bunch of Waste Nots and Megrims to make sure that once Wheel of Fate resolves, it just wins us the game on the spot!

#2: Mangara of Corondor

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Mangara of Corondor might look like a slow Vindicate, but it can actually do a lot more with the help of blink or flicker effects. The way Mangara of Corondor is worded, when we tap it, we put a trigger on the stack that will exile Mangara of Corondor and whatever permanent we targeted. If we can use a Flickerwisp (maybe with the help of Aether Vial) or Restoration Angel to flicker / blink Mangara of Corondor on the stack, our opponent's permanent will still be exiled, while we get to keep our Mangara of Corondor to do it all over again the next turn. Plus, remember: Mangara of Corondor can hit any permanent, including lands, which means we can not just kill annoying creatures like Death's Shadow but planeswalkers like Karn Liberated or even Tron lands! This combination of versatility and repeatability makes Mangara of Corondor a potentially powerful option for a blink / flicker deck in Modern!

#1: Magus of the Candelabra

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Coming in at the top of our list, we have Magus of the Candelabra, which has the potential to be the best mana dork in Modern in the right deck. The trick here is to use lands that produce multiple mana (like Tron lands, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, the Ravnica bounce lands like Dimir Aqueduct) or to turn our lands into lands that make multiple mana (with enchantments like Overgrowth). Then, we can simply tap all of our lands, use some of the mana we have floating to untap all of our lands with Magus of the Candelabra, and tap them all again to make a ton of mana. Take Tron, for example. With just Tron on the battlefield, we can tap three lands to make seven mana, use three of that mana to untap all of our Tron lands with Magus of the Candelabra, and then tap all of our Tron lands again, which means we go from making seven mana with Tron to making a massive 11 mana. In this situation, Magus of the Candelabra is a Birds of Paradise that taps for four mana! While it might take some work to harness the one-drop's power, in the right build, there's little doubt that Magus of the Candelabra can produce more mana than any mana dork in Modern, which brings it in at the top of our list of hidden treasures from Time Spiral!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. What other under-the-radar cards from Time Spiral could have a chance to shine in the right build? How can we make the cards we talked about today work in Modern? Let me know in the comments! As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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