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Magic Origins Spoilers - Limited Review for June 22


I am extremely excited for Magic Origins and glad that the official spoilers have finally begun. I'll be reviewing these new spoilers from the standpoint of how well I expect them to perform in Limited. Of course we can't rate the cards accurately without knowing the entire set, but we can evaluate the cards in an "average" limited format. In addition to the spoilers for June 22, I've included cards that were spoiled previously and not reviewed in my last article. 

You can find all the latest spoilers on the Magic Origins page. Please note that if I haven't yet reviewed a card, it's probably because the official English spoiler for it has not been released yet.

Grading Scale

A: This card will often be the best card in one's deck. I'd consider splashing it where possible. (Citadel Siege, Dragonlord Atarka)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Abzan Beastmaster, Death Wind)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Soul Summons, Screamreach Brawler)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Abzan Advantage, Blessed Reincarnation)
F: This card will have little or no impact on the game if I draw it or is strictly sideboard-material. If I cast this card, please stage an intervention for me. (Crucible of the Spirit Dragon, Keeper of the Lens)

White

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C-

Now that Protection is no longer an evergreen keyword, this is probably the new standard for types of white spells that protect a creature. I'd keep this card in my sideboard unless I had a few Renowned creatures in my deck to be able to occasionally ambush attackers. See Knight of the Pilgrim's Road below for an example of a creature with Renowned.

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Hixus, Prison Warden is a very variable card. While he has the potential to remove any number of your opponent's creatures for the rest of the game, you're required to take a fair amount of damage to do so. Additionally, it is difficult to risk him in combat for as long as he has creatures "jailed" since letting those creatures come back can swing the balance of the game back in your opponent's favor. He does have the upside of permanently killing tokens and being able to simply block one of the smaller creatures ambushed on the turn he's cast.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

I prefer a creature like Frontier Mastodon for letting me be in control of whether or not my creature gets a counter. The only way it's happening with this creature is if your opponent lets you. A two toughness creature is quite easy to just block.

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

This is probably the closest Wizards will come to creating a 1-mana Planeswalker for a very long time, but I think they hit it out of the park with this one. Savannah Lions is a fine card to begin with in Limited, and Gideon doesn't stop there. He's relatively easy to transform and he can safely attack in either form due to his ability to become Indestructible. Once he becomes a Planeswalker, his +2 ability can be used to pick off small creatures by making them attack into your larger ones, and his +1 ability gives you a super-blocker until your next turn.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B+

Even if we see no other synergy with this card in the set outside of Renown, it really won't matter. As an Air Elemental with upside, it's going to be in first pick territory regardless. A sufficient density of cards utilizing +1/+1 counters could bump this to an A in the right deck.

Blue

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

A 5/5 flyer that doesn't die unless your opponent has two removal spells is a pretty resilient threat. The issue lies with the seven mana cost. By the time this resolves, your opponent is probably already relying on the top of their deck so the Meddling Mage effect may not be as impactful as it might seem.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C-

Scry is evergreen now; they could have given us Condescend. Exile is used in every set; they could have given us Syncopate. Anything other than a strictly worse counterspell at a higher rarity would have been welcome. As it is, we'll take it, but we won't even pretend to be happy about it. I'd keep this in my sideboard in Limited until an opponent shows me a reason to play it.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

This card is Frost Breath when Spell mastery is triggered. Since this is a card you want to be casting late in the game, the threshold of two spells in the graveyard shouldn't be too hard to achieve. While this card is subpar if you have to fire it off before you can get the extra turn's worth of effect, it does help build toward your other Spell mastery cards in your deck.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

F+

If you cast this on turn 3 on the play (best case scenario), and activate it on turns 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, your opponent should be out of cards on the draw step of their 10th turn. I'm not sure about you, but the idea of spending 33 mana and not affecting the board for about 4-6 turns of the game for the payoff of winning about a turn later than the average game of Limited lasts doesn't appeal to me at all. I could see a mill deck being possible, maybe with cards such as Hydrolash and Runed Servitor being featured, but it would definitely require more than just this card to pull off. If the format ends up being slow and has Mind Sculpt as a Common (as it was in Magic 2015), this card will definitely be bumped up in rating.

Black

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A-

A 6 mana 6/6 flyer is just going to be good enough by itself every time. While drawing one card for one life is a deal you'll generally take, not being able to stop the bleed is definitely a concern. Letting all your opponent's creatures essentially Trample for 1 damage can be costly if you're at a low life total when you cast this. Facing down a Blazing Hellhound would be especially scary with Kothoped on the table.

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A-

Conditional board wipes have a lot more variance than standard Damnation effects. This is because the difference between leaving one or two of your creatures alive or one or two of your opponent's is massive. Luckily if you're the one who drafts this card, you're also the one who gets to decide when to cast it. Whether for catching up from a quick start or trying to combo with 5+ toughness creatures, I expect Languish to be extremely powerful.

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

A-

Liliana is great but has some definite drawbacks. Her odd transform condition can be exploited by an opponent quite easily. If they simply kill one of your other creatures on their turn, they get to attack her Planeswalker form before you've even had a chance to activate her; you do get a Zombie to help with blocking, but it's not unthinkable that they could attack around it and kill her without you ever getting the chance to activate her. Additionally, although her 3-mana 2/3 lifelink stats are great, you rarely want to risk her in combat since her death prevents her from being transformed. Once you do manage to get her to Planeswalker status, she is quite imposing and is able to get to five loyalty right away.

Red

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B+

This effect is extremely strong. In fact, with a bit of work, it can become as good as Duneblast. Having deathtouch creatures, high power creatures, high toughness creatures, or any reasonable board state at all should let you find a way to get value from this spell. The biggest danger is your creature getting killed in response, so be careful casting this if you think your opponent could have a removal spell in hand. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

While Constructed players may find the lack of the "or player" clause to be a dealbreaker, we Limited folk can't afford to be so picky when it comes to removal. Even if permanently stuck dealing two damage, this would still be a good spell; the possibility for three damage later in the game is a nice added bonus.

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

Call it Beetleback Chief, call it Siege-Gang Commander, call it whatever you want: this Legendary pair is great. Getting two evasive creatures that can be recycled into Shocks is exactly what a red deck would love to be doing with its 4-drop slot. While this card wouldn't incentivize me sufficiently to play something like a Jayemdae Tome, it would make me more interested in marginal cards like Runed Servitor and Meteorite.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Costing one red mana more than Heat Ray, this spell isn't particularly efficient at any given cost. Its power lies in its versatility and in scaling well as the game goes longer. By the time you really want to be casting this spell, Spell mastery should be relatively easy to trigger. That added bonus is enough to take this card from mediocre to very powerful. 

Green

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Combined with the confirmed reprint of Cruel Revival, this hints pretty heavily at a Tribal component in the set. Based on the cards spoiled so far, this cycle will probably be completed with Humans for White, Merfolk for Blue, and Goblins for Red. We have yet to see whether this cycle will actually be completed and if there will be sufficient payoff cards for each tribe to make decks based around them good.

As for the card itself, Aerie Bowmasters was a fine card in Dragons of Tarkir and the Elf synergy definitely has the potential to be much more powerful than the Megamorph option.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

D

Divination is a C in most sets, but this card takes a lot more work in order to turn it into card advantage. If you play this card early, you're taking off a turn when you could be establishing a board advantage. If you play it late, you probably don't have many creature cards left in hand to trigger it. Additionally, Green appears to have an Elf focus in this set, and Elves are generally known for being small and unable to trigger this enchantment.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Nissa is one of the hardest Planeswalkers to transform and is one of the least exciting in either form. Her main role is being a Borderland Ranger with late-game upside. If your opponent lets Nissa survive that long, she can draw you cards or make a 4/4 Elemental (not really the most exciting thing you could be doing on turn 7). If you manage to transform her and protect her for 4 turns, she'll draw you a total of four cards before killing your opponent with an army of animated lands.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

While a 4/4 is relatively easy to block or double block; promoting it to a 6/6 is a big upgrade that will ensure your opponent keeps something back to block it. This is the type of creature that makes me happy to play combat tricks since saving this in combat is essentially equivalent to saving a 6/6. By the way, do you think these Rhinos are related to the Goblins from Hordeling Outburst?

Multi-colored

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Having a multi-colored card at uncommon is huge news! In the last six core sets combined (Magic 2010 through Magic 2015), there have been only three multicolored cards and they were each Mythic Rare! As the last of the core sets, Magic Origins is definitely looking to change things up.

Sacrificing a creature for one lousy damage sounds horrible until you've experienced this repeatable ability firsthand. It turns out that it lets you easily kill your opponent whenever your total number of creatures is higher than your opponent's life total. It also makes combat math very difficult for your opponent since it lets you scrap your tiny 1/1's and 2/1's to finish off your opponent's larger creatures. With a number of decent token makers, this gets that much better.

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

The card itself is a house. It attacks as a 5/4 the turn after you play it if you make your fifth land drop. Its downside is being in two colors making it a significant commitment to take early in a draft, but I will definitely try splashing this card if sufficient mana fixing is available. Hopefully this card is indicative of a cycle of ten cards like it, one for each plane being visited in the set.

Conclusion

It's hard to believe that only one day in the official spoiler week is over, but we already know almost a third of the cards in the set. I'm really pleased by what I've seen so far. Please join me for more spoilers and more Limited reviews each weekday this week and next. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.



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