Welcome back to the final day of our week long Origins set review here on TCGplayer.com. This week we have been celebrating Magic's newest set by delving into it color by color and card by card. This week have already taken a look at four of Magic's five colors and today we will round out the bunch by tackling white. In addition, there are a few lands in Magic Origins that we will also cover. Finally, we will wrap up the week by going over my Top 8 cards for Constructed that are found in Origins.
Before we get to that though, we have some cards to talk about! Each card below will receive three ratings that assess the card for Constructed, Draft, and Sealed. Each rating will be accompanied by a short discussion of the card and reasoning behind the rating. To help make sense of those ratings, we will be referencing the following two scales.
5: Fives are ever-present cards that heavily warp a format or see heavy play across multiple formats. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Deathrite Shaman, and Tarmogoyf are good examples of fives.
4: These cards tend to have support roles across multiple formats or be tier one cards in at least one. Spell Pierce is an example of the former while Thragtusk is an example of the latter. I expect to rate a lot of things as fours that are actually fives and vice versa, but in both cases these are going to be highly desired cards.
3: These are the bread and butter cards of a set, usually doing all of the essential things needed for a format, but doing them at a good rate. Cards like Oblivion Ring, Izzet Charm, or Diregraf Ghoul would be found here.
2: These cards are generally much more restrictive in use and application than a three, but they serve a similar purpose. You will see more sideboard or niche cards like Skullcrack, Heartless Summoning, or Gladecover Scout.
1: These are not going to see much play, but they have an outside chance. These tend to be weak or narrow sideboard options or extremely narrow main deck cards. Most ones will not ever make it into a winning list, but they have potential to do so.
0: These are unplayable in Constructed regardless of context. These tend to be the cards designed to balance Limited, like Grizzly Bears or Siege Mastodon or are narrow with a poor output, like Artificer's Hex.
*Any card that gets an X.5 rating just means I can see it falling to either side of the equation given the right metagame or environment.
The Limited scale used language such as "I draft this over..." but it applies to Sealed in a very similar manner. Essentially, for Sealed you would read it as "I play this over..." instead. So for a five in Sealed, you would play that card in your deck 100% of the time.
5: I will take and play this card over everything. Always. Examples: Umezawa's Jitte, Library of Alexandria.
4.: I will take and play this over everything in its same colors and will heavily consider splashing it or switching colors as a result of drafting this or having it in my pool. Incredibly powerful cards that are more difficult to cast will generally get a four or 4.5. Examples: Fireball, Gideon Jura.
3: I will first pick this and take it over most commons/uncommons in its color. These are generally the baseline best commons in a set for each color, like removal, looters, and efficient creatures. Examples: Lightning Strike, Merfolk Looter.
2: I will draft and play these but do not value them highly. These are the typical fifth through eighth picks that generally are the backbone of decks but do not do anything fancy. Inefficient removal and combat tricks tend to hover in the 2.5 area as well. Examples: Hill Giant, Divine Verdict.
1: I generally do not want to pick these highly or play them in my maindeck. These cards are either bad or very niche and only go in specific strategies. In either case there is a good chance these cards wheel when seen anywhere near the front end of a pack and very little value should be placed on these cards early. Reasonable sideboard cards can be found here, so you should not discount these entirely Examples: Demolish, Merfolk Spy.
0: These are cards that have no value and should not be played in 99.9% of situations. If you take one of these, you had better know what you are getting yourself into. Examples: Progenitus, Sway of the Stars.
Gideon's Lawkeeper was played, but an activation of three times the amount here gives me no hope that this will follow the same fate.
Normally I would give a tapper a higher rating, but the truth is that this little guy is quite expensive to use turn after turn. I think you probably want to run the first copy of this, but upkeep on multiple copies is nearly impossible. The first copy is usually worth having though.
You would much rather just run a true anthem rather than this, with notable exceptions such as Orzhov Pontiff.
This card has a strong face value as Hill Giant with plenty of upside but it also has the ability to sort of be drafted around. Any token production or aggressive deck is going to utilize this a little better than the other random white decks. Keep in mind that this is common, so drafting around it comes with the upside that you will probably have the chance to snag multiples.
Anointer of Champions
I can't even imagine what the world has to look like for this to be good in Constructed. Well I can, but it just looks like Limited.
This is one of the most powerful one-drop creatures you can pick up because it has a profound impact on the game for the entirety of it. You might be looking at this and writing it off, but the ability to change combat and make attacks that otherwise would be terrible turns this guy into an all-star. The last time we saw this card was in M11 ( Infantry Veteran) and the card was actually first pickable then due to the speed and combat-centric nature of the format.
Archangel of Tithes
I give this an A on flavor to name match. Windborn Muse is a great card that has some cool interactions, such as stopping Twin from killing you in Modern, but it has gotten a little outdated. This very much brings the muse back to life as a 3/5, which is already so much more impressive than 2/3. While the opponent need not pay as much mana to attack, they also have to pay to block now and your planeswalkers also require tithing, something Windborn Muse couldn't claim. This will probably play a real role against tokens and aggro decks, possibly even in Modern.
The issue with this card all lies in the mana cost. You need to be pretty heavy on the white side to cast this with any sort of reliability. Decks with eight white sources do not have what it takes to be playing this. I would feel comfortable at around ten white sources or more, to be honest. Once in play, this really controls the game as it stretches your opponent's mana thin. They can probably attack, but then they aren't casting spells or blocking.
Auramancer is rather generic in nature but this cycle of creatures has been seeing play for forever from Archivist to Scrivener and Auramancer is no different. If the enchantments seeing play are good, chances are that someone is trying to cast this thing.
You can run this as Grey Ogre, but I strongly caution against it, as that is just a little too far behind power curve for this set. As a Gravedigger for enchantments though, there are plenty of good targets for this. White/black has the heaviest concentration due to its Limited theme, but you can play this elsewhere just fine too.
Aven Battle Priest
Wait, how much mana? Resolute Archangel is rolling over in her grave right now...
It's hard to get excited about this just because it would almost always cost five mana elsewhere, but alas, six is where we stand. This is fine as a late game finisher that helps you recover a little bit, but I could also see never having to play this in all of my best white decks as it is just a little slow.
Enchantment decks have been a lot more controlling in Standard than aggressive, but this is a nice incentive to at least try a more aggressive route. Without flying, I am not even looking here a second time, but with evasion you really only need a couple of enchantments before this thing is firing.
A Wind Drake is hardly a bad Limited creature, so even if you put no work into this, it is going to reward you. In an actual deck with five or more enchantments though, this thing is real scary. Any aura naturally works with this really well and if you managed to find a way to bounce and replay something, be sure to apologize to your opponent afterward.
We have seen this be a player in Standard and Modern as way to deal with hexproof and indestructible creatures. In particular, Bogles hates this card in Modern. While it is restricted by a mana cost of WW, I expect that with Ojutai still being played along with other expensive fatties, this will find a home in plenty of sideboards,
A removal spell that never quite feels amazing but gives you enough value back that you keep playing it. This tends to be more consistent than an Edict as players don't send weak things into combat, but you still don't have perfect control over the outcome. Worth noting is that you can cast this after blocks have happened and combat damage has resolved. At that point, anything that died during combat is in the graveyard but anything that lived is still considered attacking, allowing you to be more specific with this in exchange for letting the attack go through first.
As I have said many times, even when this thing is "turned on" it is still an abysmal rate. Phantom Monster is no longer a big deal in Constructed.
I love beating down in the air in Limited though and this does a fine job, punching above its weight for a few turns on offense almost assures you get in some free damage. This doesn't block particularly well, but you're in the air, so hopefully you aren't wanting to block with this anyway to keep it out of Harm's Way.
Cleric of the Forward Order
The fact that this actually sees itself on the first cast gives me slight hope that perhaps this sees play. By the time you have cast the second copy, you feel pretty good assuming the first stuck around. Then again, this is the ruthless world of Constructed and I am probably being too optimistic here.
This is an interesting one from this cycle as collecting extras really isn't too exciting. Even if I successfully cast three of these while they all are still living, I gain six life? Whoop dee doo! On the other hand, this is a perfectly fine Bear with upside that I don't mind playing simply for that, so whatever.
This card is actually pretty exciting. First Strike helps it to get renown in the first place and then once it is, you have a 3/2 first strike for two mana that anthems your team on offense? That is Wizened Cenn level of lordship right there. Of course, without this getting renowned, it does very little, so having tools to achieve that seems essential.
This is a two-drop that becomes mythic-level uncommon when cast on turn two, but its value does Diminish over time as it becomes less and less likely for it to get renowned. Once it is active though, this ability is quite potent and should control the game until dealt with or until your opponent is dead. Please be heavy white though as this guy is so much worse the later you have to cast him!
I think this is worse than alternatives, even going back to stuff like Keening Apparition. That said, it serves a niche in that it has immediate value and sticks around afterward, so maybe someone finds a use for this.
A card I want in my board but will accept in my main if it comes to that. Enchantments are much rarer when you are not grouping artifacts with them as well. The 1/1 body is what makes this passable, and it is a fine sideboard option.
While this is more narrow than the protection granters, this does essentially give protection from red, so if that is a desired attribute, this will certainly see play. UW Heroic will likely have this as a sideboard card, should that deck make a resurgence.
I am interested to see how this plays out in Limited. The +1/+1 boost is nice and certainly makes this more appealing, but often this will be used to stop removal and stat increase won't matter then. Untapping renowned creatures is a weird bonus clause on here, but I am sure it will come up from time to time.
Ahh, the real Waylay. This card actually seems kind of exciting in some respects. Revel of the Fallen God saw some play and this functions very similarly with the bonus of being a blowout in combat once spell mastery is online. I will have to keep an eye on this and try to find it a home because it intrigues me.
Good luck losing if you cast this with spell mastery. You will probably take out two to three creatures and remember that the indestructible clause works on every creature you have, not just the tokens. Not every deck wants a seven mana spell, but seeing this in your pack should make you question if you don't just wanna switch over and become a deck that does.
Grasp of the Hieromancer
This effect doesn't seem super desired in Constructed, especially when you consider it is on an aura. +1/+1 is also a rather lackluster boost.
Depending on how many enchantment matters cards you have, the value of this can get pretty high as it is one of the few common enchantments that you can theoretically run any number of and be okay. The ability adds ups over time when suited on to a flier or something as well.
This is very much just a hate card, but it is a strong one at that. Stopping reanimation decks, such as Griselbrand in Modern, is where I first went with the card, but it also stops tokens which is huge, and any other way to cheat a creature into play. This even replaces itself, so you can't feel too bad casting it. I expect this to see reasonable amounts of sideboard play in Standard and Modern, maybe even Legacy.
This is a card that is kind of free to maindeck thanks to it both cycling and triggering prowess. If you do maindeck this and catch someone making a token or something, it's the greatest feeling in the world. Still, I think this should be in the sideboards of your better decks, but if your deck is a little weaker, taking the risk on this might be worth it just to potentially get the big power boost this can give you.
This is pretty bad, but it does replace itself and more importantly, it targets, which means it works with a certain black enchantment that punishes your opponent for gaining life. Outside of that, I got nothing.
Another sort of free roll card that works pretty well with prowess itself, although at sorcery speed. If you need a random filler instead of an 18th land, this is the kind of card to go with.
These Infantry ate a little too much and need to nap during Constructed hours.
This Siege Mastodon with a slight twist and that does probably make the card more playable, even with the loss of a toughness. Nothing fancy here, just a top of the curve Workhorse.
Hixus, Prison Warden
This is a really interesting card to think about. While combat is not the most important part of Constructed, it still does happen and having a super Banisher Priest punish you for overcommitting to any one combat is interesting. You need to protect this, as the swing when they get their dudes back is just as big as when the lost them, but I could see this being played, especially if tokens are a thing.
The only real downside to this is that you need to take a hit first, but once you do, getting rid of multiple creatures, or even just one good one, and leaving behind a 4/4 is so big in Limited. You also get to eat a 3/3 or smaller thanks to how this is worded, so keep that in mind.
Knight of the Pilgrim's Road
That is quite the long name for such a lame card. I mean, I will jam these in Limited all day long, but there is no way I am saying that name more than once.
Just a solid three-drop to fill your curve with. You are happy if this gets renowned and fine if it doesn't as the difference is not too great on this particular card.
Knight of the White Orchid
Another long name, but this one rolls off the tongue better and is worth the effort. We have seen this in Standard before and it was quite the role player. While decks would generally not intentionally go on the draw, this would allow them to stay at parity when they were forced to. If White Weenie or Monowhite Devotion are any sort of thing, expect to see this there.
This is pretty difficult to cast early, but if you do it can be a huge jump in mana and board presence. Having first strike makes this a reasonable defensive creature even going into the late game. You are also much more likely to go on the draw in Limited, especially Sealed, which is nice.
So many knights! While this is quite the force in Limited, in Constructed it is a five mana aura that does not win the game, so we're done here.
Don't be fooled by what look like weak stat buffs on this. It turns out that +2/+2 and Vigilance is a big improvement and allows you to win races with ease. Add a 2/2 vigilant knight to the mix and we get value even when removal is involved, which helps ease our mind quite a bit. This card was unbelievable in Return to Ravnica, for reference.
Kytheon, Hero of Akros / Gideon, Battle-Forged
Gideon's biggest strength is that is has a strong creature form side. Kytheon actually has quite the difficult flip condition, as it is very possible to have him out for three or four turns and be unable to flip him. Luckily, a 2/1 for one mana with a way to protect itself is more than fine on its own, so even with a tough trigger to achieve, Kytheon does just fine. Once you do manage to flip it though, Gideon still continues to do work. You have access to all three abilities out of the gate, which is good, and all three of those abilities provide quite a bit. Gideon can protect itself, it can protect you, or it can go to town as a 4/4, all of which will come up at different times. The lack of a true ultimate might have you thinking less of Gideon, but he's doing just fine, I promise.
A 2/1 for one is not as impressive in Limited, but is still going to do work when cast early. More importantly, the three creature attack is much easier to pull off here as long as you are willing to dump three mana in Kytheon to keep him alive through combat. At that point, you have a flipped walker that is going to start throwing around indestructible everywhere. Did I mention this was Limited?
The ability to tap creatures at will is an interesting one for Constructed, especially at that mana cost. This creature itself is not too impressive as a 4/3 that might see light as a 5/4 eventually, but the ability to control the board for four to six mana seems playable. I must admit that I am not sure where, as this is a little more expensive than most aggro decks are willing to go, but this might find an irregular home.
This can completely take over a game of Limited if you have the white mana to back it up. It is a little greedy to assume you are monowhite, so chances are good that you can only activate this once to twice a turn, but it still does work then, shaping combat and being a decent sized body while all of that happens.
Ah, the global pump spell. We see one of these in most core sets and they tend to be too low power level for Constructed. As a sorcery, I think this one falls under the same fate.
Your aggressive decks, especially those rocking prowess, are going to love this while other decks will struggle to find places to cast this. You really need to go wide with this to really take advantage of it. Luckily for Limited purposes, missing out on the spell mastery is not a big deal here as it is a small bonus. It will definitely come up, but unlike some cards, the power mostly lies in the base spell here.
I had to think about whether UW Heroic would consider a card like this and ultimately I concluded that two mana with a rather anemic output is just not up to par with what they want.
This is one of those tricks that even catches veterans sometimes as granting flying is not something you see at instant speed all too much. Hard to not find a use for this as it functions just like most combat tricks while also turning on your renowned very easily, which is nice. Another combo with Jhessian Thief too.
I believe I gave this the same rating back in Innistrad because the card seems like it can do some real thing. Throw this on a Ball Lightning, for example, and you have a pretty sweet little combo ahead of you. Might not see play, but a boy can dream, can't he? (Note that this means I am dreaming about Murder Investigations...creepy.)
This is a hard card to use properly, but it can be quite powerful with a little thought put into it. Think about pairing this with Nantuko Husk for example and you can very easily get to a place where you are one-shotting people. If used in the fairest way possible, this is fine, but very cuttable.
Patron of the Valiant
Five mana is a lofty price tag for this stacked on top of the fact that you need to meet the +1/+1 counter condition before it actually works. I can appreciate the synergy with Abzan, but not at this rate.
If you get a few +1/+1 counters out of this thanks to renown or something, great, but at the end of the day, you have Air Elemental in your deck and that is a hard thing to complain about. No need to draft around this, but keep synergies in mind when they are free to pick up.
I am going to be a bit aggressive with this rating partially because Stoneforge Mystic has wounded us all. A 2/2 that turns into a 3/3 is mediocre rate, but it's passable considering that SFM was a 1/2. Triggering the tutor aspect of this is not the easiest thing to do, but if you are actively trying to make it work, you should be able to find a way. From there we lose the cheat ability, but do have a 3/3 in play, so it isn't the worst. This could easily see no play or a decent amount and a lot of that depends on the equipment available for it to grab.
A bear that you really want to get through. Obviously you should value this much less if you don't have equipment or only have weak equipment, but if you have any of the uncommons from this set, you are probably happy to have an additional way to find it.
Sentinel of the Eternal Watch
Another six mana card, which is ultimately the nail in the coffin for this one as a card that is intended to be good against aggro needs to be cheaper or have a more profound impact.
This is an expensive card I can get behind as it takes over a game pretty quickly. A 4/6 vigilance is not a small creature and because this gets to lock down your opponent's biggest guy, combat should be that much easier. This is six mana, but it feels pretty bomby for an uncommon.
Sigil of the Empty Throne
This card has already found a home in Legacy as one of the options for win conditions in enchantress so it isn't hard to imagine a Standard where this is good. There are so many strong enchantments floating around from Theros block that this could easily be built around right out of the gates. You don't need many 4/4 angels to win a game of Magic, after all.
Draft: 0+0.5 per enchantment
Sealed: 0+0.5 per enchantment
If you are able to make a single angel off of this, it was probably worth including, as a five mana 4/4 flier is pretty good, as we just saw. If you get two angels off of this, it begins to move into bomb territory. I would set the minimum number of other enchantments at about five, but this creeps in power level from there. At 10 enchantments, this will likely be the best card in your deck.
Once again we run the test of asking if a three mana 2/4 flier with no quest needed would be playable and the answer to that is definitely no.
An easy creature to get renowned thanks to its built in evasion. You are relatively happy with a 1/3 flier, although you do expect for this to get bigger at some point. Once it turns into Azure Drake though, you have quite the common on your hands (or wings).
Starfield of Nyx
One of my favorite cards in the set. When all is said and done, this could prove to be the most powerful card in Standard and deserve a higher rating as a result, but I think there are enough checks in the format to have this be a really interesting and potentially strong deck, without it being public enemy number one. Both of these effects would be playable on their own at different costs so combining them into one card for only five mana, seems very strong to me.
Draft: -1+ 0.5 for each enchantment you have
Sealed: -1+ 0.5 for each enchantment you have
(Yes those are negative starting numbers)
The equation is a little off this time as you probably need an extra enchantment in your deck before you consider this over other things like Sigil of the Empty Throne. Keep in mind that the second ability only works when you have five enchantments out. Granted, this card can be fine just returning stuff every turn, so it's not like you need 12 enchantments in your deck before you start playing this, but you also want to make sure you're not playing with a do-nothing.
This is mostly a bad Oblivion Ring, but even a bad Oblivion Ring is arguably playable. This does have the benefit of not bringing the card back into play when it dies, meaning comes into play abilities and stuff don't trigger, which can be useful. In general though, expect this to see just a little play when Banishing Light leaves the format.
There is more enchantment hate than normal in this set, so this is not the safest removal in the world, but considering that it answers just about everything that might be problematic, I think we will still be first picking this often.
I actually think this card is pretty sweet and should see quite a bit of play assuming decks can reliably hit the spell mastery. Even without it though, this feels marginally playable. On a side note though, what is with this art? Where is the Reckoning at in this picture? Where is the swift? Wait, is this card actually a creature? Color me confused...
Only hitting tapped creatures does limit this quite a bit in terms of what you can kill. Generally a bomb is going to get a hit in on you or a utility creature is going to go on not caring. Of course, with spell mastery, you can avoid taking the hit which does increase the value of this quite a bit, although it isn't necessary for this to be useful. Also, seriously, this art...
This is a bear with upside whose upside is not upside enough to be Constructed upside. In other words, this isn't good enough.
Vigilance is not the most relevant ability on a bear, so if you fail to get this renowned, that keyword won't be doing much in the way of exciting you when you draw this on turn six or seven. On curve this is strong enough though that you are basically always going to play it and just hope to see it in your opening hand.
I have definitely tried playing with this in Constructed before (when we had Eldrazi Conscription in the format) and even then, with all sorts of powerful auras, five mana just proved to be far too clunky as your tutor engine.
There is no minimum number of auras you need to consider this although having at least one is recommended. The truth is, if my one aura is a bomb rare, I am thrilled to have this in my deck, even if most of the time I want a few different auras to provide some versatility when I cast this. I think in an ideal world you want about three auras to capitalize on how strong this card can be, but have fun regardless. Just look at that majestic art!
Cataclysm is a pretty iconic white card that this alludes to, but most of the degenerate play patterns with this are eliminated by it not hitting lands. Once you have it only affect nonland permanents, this can find a home but isn't just Armageddon, which we have moved away from quite a bit by this point in Magic design. Control could use this against midrange decks with multiple walkers, but I don't expect it to be ever present like End Hostilities is.
You can set this up a bit, almost easier than true Wrath effects as you get to have a guy survive. Because you choose which creature survives, this is often going to be just as strong as Wrath against your opponent while giving you a loophole to get out of it. The other card types will matter on occasion, but normally one enchantment/artifact/planeswalker is going to be the norm and not the exception.
Valor in Akros
So on the one hand, this does nothing by itself, but on the other hand, it isn't difficult to imagine a world where you are dumping out creatures at such a rate that this ends the game. Casting Hordeling Outburst is +3/+3, for example. If those tokens happen to have haste, well then... It'll be interesting to see if this gets adopted or not.
Just giving your creatures +1/+1 every turn is probably good enough to consider first picking this. Because you have more control over the situation than that and can set up some big turns, this feels like a bomb uncommon. Of course, some amount of the time you will draw this and few other creatures, but Homicidal Seclusion was not a bad card because you sometimes drew it while you had four creatures in play.
This should be a popular hate card in many formats, including but not limited to Modern. Thalia is very strong and that is a card you can't have two copies of in play. This flies, which keeps it relevant longer and drawing two of these stacks in a meaningful way that can just lock your opponent out. In Standard, this is likely a sideboard card, but might see some play in heavy creature decks, such as GW for example.
This is mostly strong as just a 2/1 flier for three mana, but if you can turn its ability into something, good on you. The effect is much more symmetrical in Limited though.
Doing the renown check, this almost passes the bar as a 4/4 lifelink in Constructed, but I think it still needs a little something else. Blood Baron was the last playable creature I can think of to match the above description and it had protection from two different colors with even another bonus!
One of the stronger renown cards as you are pretty happy to play with this in either form. Obviously the goal is to get this to 4/4 status eventually, but it is not as though Hill Giant with lifelink is a bad card. Once this does become a 4/4, it dominates a board with ease. Vampire Outcasts was a beating in Limited.
It turns out sometimes you just need a cheap blocker. We have seen random creatures of this size pick up a little play and this has a chance to do the same. Nyx-Fleece Ram is my favorite defensive specialist right now, but I could give the Ox a shot.
You really should not play this as it just does not provide the value to be worth a card most of the time. Boarding this in against aggressive decks is arguably fine, but even then, often a 2/2 for two is going to provide more value than this is.
The Painlands (Battlefield Forge, Caves of Koilos, Llanowar Wastes, Shivan Reef. Yavimaya Coast)
Painlands look at lot worse these days when we have so many sweet lands with cool uses and cool upsides running around. For example the Temples, while entering play tapped, technically do come with a drawback, the act of scrying is so big that people are generally happy to top deck these. Painlands do not elicit the same response, but they are a good way for aggro decks in particular to enjoy good mana during the early turns without slowing them down. I expect most decks will run between two and five painlands, but we can see an increase in that once Temples rotate out.
These are directly valuable if you need fixing for these colors and not very valuable otherwise. There is no real rating to give these as they are 100% context dependent and provide no real anything without a desire to fix your mana for these specific colors. If you are these two colors though, you should play these 100% of the time, in my opinion.
While this is not great in Constructed, it provides a lot of the utility that fetchlands do, but at a worse rate. This means that decks who want more fetches can have them and monocolor decks can avoid taking damage. That said, as long as fetches are around, Evolving Wilds will see a decline in total play.
I am one of those people who think you should be playing Evolving Wilds in most decks. Monocolored decks are an exception here, but even most two-color decks should consider it. Extremely aggressive decks might not be able to afford a land entering play tapped, but they can afford to not cast their spells even less.
Foundry of the Consuls
Generally speaking, lands that do things, even at bad rates like this, have a chance at seeing some play. We are so used to our lands giving us mana and that's it, but converting a mana source into a pair of 1/1 fliers is actually pretty cool. I would much rather have that than my eighth or ninth mana, for example. This seems like it could work in the artifact deck, although it is a tad expensive there, so we shall see.
I am a big fan of this in Limited where I think I will often run this, even as an 18th land, over weaker spells. It would take a very aggressive deck with heavy mana requirements for me to cut this as a pair of fliers just brings so much to the table in Limited. Once you factor in artifact synergies, this card looks even better. I won't draft this over everything, but I think I will play it in 95% of situations.
I have a pretty big respect for any storage land as I know just how powerful that kind of effect can be, especially for control This has the drawback of only producing colorless mana, but because it isn't competing with anything other than the dragon storage land, it makes sense that if you want this effect, getting only colorless mana probably won't stop you.
There are not many decks where I windmill slam this, as only a few cards can really take advantage of what's going on here. My five mana cards don't really benefit from this as even in an ideal world, I am saving one turn on casting them but spending two mana on turn two and three to gain that privilege. Once I have an X spell or two, or just some expensive bomb, this begins looking much more attractive to me.
Ahh, a fitting end to the set review! I have actually played with this land in a Grand Prix before as a way to make my Nighthowlers push through for damage. I expect that if this sees play in the future, it will be in a very similar context.
This is a card that can just win games out of nowhere and needs to be respected for that power. Some games will never see this activated as one player is too far ahead or the mana is never available, but in any close game or board stall scenario, this shows up and performs like the real MVP.
8. Calculated Dismissal
7. Demonic Pact
6. Exquisite Firecraft
5. Goblin Piledriver
4. Kytheon, Hero of Akros / Gideon, Battle-Forged
3. Harbinger of the Tides
2. Nissa, Vastwood Seer / Nissa, Sage Animist
Honorable Mentions: Starfield of Nyx, painlands, Sylvan Messenger, Abbot of Keral Keep
I actually found my Top 8 list rather difficult to do this time around. There are a lot of cool cards in Origins, but many of them fall in this weird power level space that is very similar to each other. Harbinger of the Tides and Goblin Piledriver feel like they both have a profound impact on the format, assuming the decks they go in want to cooperate. But if goblins doesn't quite manifest, or merfolk/monoblue devotion, perhaps these cards fly under the radar until they some more support is printed. Modern existing does help the fate of many of these cards though, as I can see plenty of uses in that format.
While I love cards like Demonic Pact and think they will be very fun to build with for some time, it just makes sense that a powerful utility card like a sweeper will have the biggest impact on Standard. Black has not had a good sweeper since Mutilate and that card was strong, even if it was not as popular as it could have been. This doesn't ask you to make big deckbuilding concessions though, so it should be much more heavily played.
Exquisite Firecraft and Calculated Dismissal make the list as cards that will see a lot of play just because they fit into so many decks. If you want a good rate Counterspell or burn spell, guess what?
As a whole, Magic Origins is one of my favorite core sets (if you can call it that) ever. I love the flavor and the build-around designs that the set has to offer while still appearing to have a healthy and diverse Limited format. White managed to pick up as many cool build-arounds as the other colors and every kind of deck lover should have some new toys to spice up old decks or create brand new ones.
I am looking forward to the next three months of Magic more than most as I expect a big clashing of deck archetypes all over the place. So many decks got so much better with this set that it will be really interesting to see where they all land. And once that happens, Battle for Zendikar will be in spoiler season and we shall do it all over again!
But for now, we wrap up our review and send you off to brew with the new set! Well, at least that's what I plan on doing. Until next time, thanks for reading!