Born Of The Gods Set Review: Part 1

In the first part of his review, Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin starts with all the existing decks in Standard and looks to see what they get from Born of the Gods before #SCGNASH.

A closed mind is the best defense against accidental genius.

Born of the Gods is almost legal, and we’re about to learn a few things. Standard has been in a balanced but boring equilibrium for months now, and the community has been praying for a shakeup in the new set. There has to be some way to escape the unholy trinity of Sphinx’s Revelation / Thoughtseize / Thassa, God of the Sea.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. On the surface, Born of the Gods is not exactly the loudest and most compelling collection of new cards to be added to a format. Thoughtseize, Hero’s Downfall, Detention Sphere, and more all make textboxes less relevant than usual, and there don’t appear to be an overabundance of amazing new cards that will revolutionize what the format is about.

However . . .

However, WotC is not making cards at random. Very much the opposite in fact. Additionally, cards that are good in new ways are often easy to underestimate. After all, it sure is convenient that most of the hype for this set revolves around a Hero of Bladehold remake, an Oracle of Mul-Daya remake, an Echoing Decay remake, a four-mana planeswalker that draws cards, and more dual lands. It’s almost as if people value things they understand!

Thassa and Gray Merchant should remind us of the value of keeping an open mind. It would be so easy for one or two cards in Born of the Gods to be better than it appears on first glance, starting a chain reaction that changes everything. If we go into the new format assuming that Born of the Gods won’t change much, we are far less likely to discover cutting edge technology than if we are open-minded to the possibility that it is out there to be discovered.

Let’s put it this way—if we are looking for new tech, we gotta be open to it. If it does exist, we are more likely to find it, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter since no one gets it.

So with that said, today is the first part of my review of Born of the Gods. As long-time readers are surely aware, I don’t waste time rating cards 1-5 or 1-10. Figuring out how to use them is much more useful.

Today we are going to start with all of the existing decks in Standard and look to see what they get from Born of the Gods. What might updates to each of these decks look like and what are their prospects over the next few months. After we have established the decks to beat, we’ll be back Wednesday with a look at new archetypes made possible by Born of the Gods.

Let’s start with Mono-Black Devotion.

Mono-Black Devotion

Step 1: Take a mental snapshot of this moment.

Right now in this moment Mono-Black Devotion is one of the best—if not the best—decks in the format. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time. However, at some point in the future, it will have not been good for at least a year, and people will forget and will resume jokes bashing Mono-Black.

Step 2: In that moment remember today.

Born of the Gods looks quite friendly to Mono-Black. Here’s a starting point:

Bile Blight is the most important new card for Mono-Black Devotion and one that brings with it is some amount of hope for a better format. It’s a fantastic removal spell that does exactly what we need and more. It kills Nightveil Specter. It owns Pack Rat. It kills Mutavault. It can even clean up Elspeth tokens. If you’re truly blessed, you might even kill a Thassa with it (either two of them or combining it with Drown in Sorrow). Actually, if you’re truly blessed, you’re going to be able to hit two creatures with a single Bile Blight, which is going to be a pretty common occurrence.

At level 0, Bile Blight is just incredible and instantly a maindeck staple. It does do some interesting things though. First of all, it makes Pack Rat (and to a degree Nightveil Specter) worse in the mirror. Pack Rat was already bad against control, so if it becomes bad in the mirror (where it used to be at its best) it may be time to cut down or remove Pack Rat entirely (hence using just two in here).

Tangent, but I’ve seen people talk about cutting Pack Rats because of it not being good in multiples. What? Are you kidding? When you’re on the Pack Rat plan, almost nothing you draw matters at all. Pack Rat is one of the few cards that are always good since it saves you a mana. This is particularly important when we have five mana and want to be able to play two Rats in a turn.

Another thing Bile Blight does is make four-toughness creatures much better. In fact, I’m guessing that it makes four-toughness creatures so much better that we are all going to end up playing fewer Bile Blights than we otherwise would because we need more answers to four-toughness creatures that increase in popularity as a result of Bile Blight’s effectiveness.

I doubt it’s a coincidence that the two most hyped creatures in Born of the Gods have exactly four toughness. Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Courser of Kruphix are the real deal too, so we’re going to have to be able to kill them. Fortunately, we have Hero’s Downfall, Devour Flesh, sideboarded spot removal, and above all else Thoughtseize. I guess that’s a lot, isn’t it?


This one is much more of a wildcard. Converting life into cards wasn’t exactly an area of weakness for black decks, but it’s possible that this one lines up well enough to fill a niche. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to get a surge of cards all at once, but I wouldn’t be surprised if how uncontrollable it is proves too big a liability. Sometimes we can’t afford to Necro for six, you know?

Drown in Sorrow is another new addition from Born of the Gods that does exactly what it advertises. Is adding scry 1 to Infest good? Yeah, I mean, that is sort of the difference between Dissolve and Cancel. Basically, if you are in the market for a sweeper against fast aggro, now black has a decent one. Of course, this is yet another way in which big toughness creatures are rewarded. It all adds up to make R/G look a little more appealing than it otherwise would be.

One other sideboard card I want to try is Gild. A four-mana sorcery that exiles a creature with minor upside isn’t exactly that which my heart as always yearned for; however, it does include one very big advantage in that it can slay Gods.

Turning off Thassa isn’t the most difficult task in the world for a black deck, but the new Gods are often good even while asleep. A black deck doesn’t exactly what it takes to fight through a Xenagos, God of Revels.

Four mana for a sorcery-speed answer to a five-mana card that has an impact the turn it’s played is hardly breathtaking efficiency. Besides, we already have four Thoughtseize and four Lifebane Zombies. Still, I wouldn’t mind a ninth answer, so I figure maybe we give it a shot. It also kills Polukranos, World Eater; Stormbreath Dragon; and Ghor-Clan Rampager.

Pharika’s Cure is a sideboard card that is probably going to see less play as a result of Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow. This is good for straight burn decks, but red aggro is going to be really hurt by both of these cards.

Duress isn’t in Born of the Gods, but if Born of the Gods pushes Standard even further down this road, it isn’t out of the question to maindeck it. Yeah, it’s not great against Mono-Blue Devotion (which often has just seven targets). But even there you’re going to get a card out of it more often than not, and you can board it out. We even have enough card draw that we can make it up if we miss.

In fact, discard is looking so good I wouldn’t mind trying to use the new B/R Temple to support a return of the Rak:

Rakdos’s Return is the primary reason to splash red and when combined with Thoughtseizes and Duresses gives us a killer plan against non-aggressive decks. The aggro decks? We just drop tons of removal and draw some extra cards. Mizzium Mortars even gives us added outs to Blood Baron of Vizkopa!

Rakdos Keyrune is a dubious inclusion since we’re already glutted at three. It’s an investment that looks to pay Rakdos decks large returns, but it also can make for a respectable turn 5 play, letting us play two cards in one turn.

Outlook for black decks? It looks good.

Mono-Blue Devotion

Mono-Blue Devotion didn’t gain quite as much as black did, netting more problems than support cards. First, a list and talk about what they did gain.

It’s hard to crack a list as synergistic as Mono-Blue, and only Thassa’s Rebuff immediately finds a home in my opinion. Even Thassa’s Rebuff is not a for-sure inclusion, but a two-mana counterspell really is much better than a three-mana one in a deck as tempo-oriented as Mono-Blue Devotion. The first counterspell or two in a list can have a big impact, but given how bad counterspells are against Thoughtseize and Supreme Verdict, maybe we’re supposed to start with one Rebuff, one Rapid, and one Cyclonic Rift for even more variety.

What else might we consider for Mono-Blue?

Vortex Elemental is a fine Limited card, but I just don’t see it in Standard. It doesn’t do damage, making it a glorified removal spell and a particularly unreliable one at that. Yeah, you might go nuts with Nykthos and make eleven mana, letting you build a two-for-one, but this isn’t even in the zip code of enticing to me.

Mindreaver is a two-drop with the right number of blue symbols. That’s basically the end of what it has going for it though. Its body is smaller than other options. Its counterspell only works when you heroic it, which we will never do. It has some minor milling, which is irrelevant to us.

Fated Infatuation?

It’s a sweet card, particularly since it’s one of the few token cards that has mana symbols to add to devotion. This fact alone (well, that and the rate) give Fated Infatuation an outside shot of making it in Mono-Blue. The wombo-combo is of course copying your Master of Waves in the middle of combat for the full-on blowouts. The biggest risk of Fated Infatuation? If they removal spell your guy in response, you get nothing. You lose. Good day, sir.

Anything else? Anything at all?

Well, a non-zero number of people already splashed white in their Thassa decks, so it technically counts as an update to existing decks to discuss Ephara, God of the Polis and Temple of Enlightenment in U/W Devotion.

Detention Sphere’s utility in a devotion deck is obvious, and Temple of Enlightenment makes it much more realistic. There’s a very real limit to how many tapped lands we can play, but they sure are better than Plains. I wouldn’t mind a single Godless Shrine to help cast Judge’s Familiar, Nightveil Specter, and the white cards, but it might have to be in place of the Nykthos since it really sucks to miss our two-drop on 2.

Ephara is one of the most important Born of the Gods cards to understand because it’s one of the few that has reasonable chances of being a game changer. It offers a very powerful effect that is hard to understand. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to look back a month from now and be like, “Oh yeah, of course Ephara is the stone nuts. Everybody knows that.”

The Gods are much more difficult to evaluate than most cards because their power is along an axis that has been only rarely explored. Yet they are also extremely contextual, with their power level largely a function of the support they receive (for instance, think about how much better Thassa is because Master of Waves exists).

Ephara offers a couple elements to a blue devotion deck. To start with, it’s a very durable threat that can’t be Hero’s Downfalled. Mono-Blue doesn’t really want to slow the game down enough to fully appreciate all these cards, but Ephara can also bash one’s dome for half a dozen.

The biggest problem with Ephara in Thassa decks is the level of competition for that four spot. Jace, Architect of Thought and Bident of Thassa are some pretty serious cards to cut, so we better be getting some serious benefits.

You might have to twist the mana slightly, but I wonder if Supreme Verdict is a sideboard option.

My best guess is that Ephara will not break into the standard build of Mono-Blue Devotion but that other Ephara decks will emerge (which we will conveniently be discussing Wednesday). More than anything I think the prospect of adding seven tapped lands is just too brutal and ruins too much of what is right with the deck.

U/W/x Control

Finally, we come to the third pillar of the big three and in recent weeks perhaps the biggest of them. U/W/x Control is the legacy created by the Azorius guild being hands-down stronger than any of the other nine. Sphinx’s Revelation, Supreme Verdict, Detention Sphere, and Azorius Charm means U/W really does get everything. You even get to play with two of the three best planeswalkers.

If nothing else, U/W/x Control decks gain one critically important new card:

I remember when Hallowed Fountain was first printed in Dissension. There were already very strong reasons to play U/W; all the deck needed was the mana to support it. Fast forward to today and U/W/x is already a major deck, but it could always stand to have its mana base improved.

Here’s a starting point for U/W/x Control based on Tomoharu Saito’s deck with a black splash in the sideboard with which Alexander Hayne won Grand Prix Vancouver:

Fated Retribution is a major new card that needs to be worked with. On one hand, it’s a very powerful sweeper that gives us added protection against haste creatures and planeswalkers without messing up our Detention Spheres. On the other hand, it costs a boatload, and for that kind of mana we have some really good cards to choose from.

The Temples are totally fantastic, but they do call into question the reliability of Syncopate as an early counter. It’s tempting to add black removal to the maindeck, but if we did, we’d have to add more black sources.

Is it crazy to play the full twelve Temples? Maybe, but maybe not. People used to think it was crazy to play eight in Esper until Wafo-Tapa made Top 8 of Pro Tour Theros with an Esper build doing exactly that. Yeah, a lot of our lands are going to come into play tapped, but so what? We’re racing through our deck looking for cards like Supreme Verdict that can catch us back up singlehandedly, and this much scrying means we’re going to win more topdeck wars than not.

Born of the Gods features another two-mana counterspell we could consider if we were just hellbent on it. Nullify is a more versatile Essence Scatter, but we already didn’t play Essence Scatter so it needs to be a bit better to interest us.

The upside? You can counter Auras, meaning unlike Essence Scatter Nullify works against Dragon Mantle, Domestication, and the backside of a Boon Satyr.

The downside? Nullify is actually quite difficult to cast on turn 2, not working with our Plains or Mutavaults. Frankly, even if Nullify cost just 1U like Essence Scatter, the upside is so minor that it would not be enough to get us onboard. Now, if it could counter any enchantment, maybe we’d be interested. Maybe.

Fortunately, Born of the Gods is not without answers to enchantments. Curiously, both Revoke Existence and Unravel the Aether appear, meaning there are plenty of good Disenchants to go around (and meaning that Thassa is likely going to be hit harder than most). U/W/x is always on the hunt for a playable two-drop, and I wonder if Revoke Existence might actually be maindeckable.

Just look at the big three:

Mono-Black Devotion – Underworld Connections; Erebos, God of the Dead
Mono-Blue Devotion – Thassa, God of the Sea; Bident of Thassa (possibly Ephara, Detention Sphere)
U/W/x Control – Detention Sphere

There are a pretty reasonable number of artifacts and enchantments floating around, so maybe it’s not actually that crazy to think that we can find a good use for it against most people.

Here’s another direction to go with U/W Control, this time forsaking the black splash:

This build uses Divination to make up for the lack of scry lands but also just to fuel Fated Retribution. The Elixir of Immortality game plan actually works fantastic with Fated Retribution, rewarding us for playing a total do-nothing game plan that never taps out.

Encroaching Wastes is an oft-forgotten card that offers only minor rewards but might be close to free given how good straight U/W’s mana is now that it has twelve dual lands.

What does red offer? Mizzium Mortars is a respectable two-drop removal spell, though we are a lot more vulnerable to Mutavault without as many Last Breaths.

Anger of the Gods stacks with Supreme Verdict to give us serious points against fast aggro, particularly against Xathrid Necromancer (where Anger of Gods is literally the best card in the format).

Counterflux gives us a valuable trump in the mirror, ensuring we can win whatever battle is most important.

Is this enough? After all, that is a lot more lands coming into play tapped or Shocking us. My guess? Probably not, but it’s worth trying. I could also see a barely U/W/R build that mostly just uses red for Counterflux:

Here we use a mana base that resembles Alexander Hayne’s U/W splashing black deck. We can get away with so few red sources because we don’t actually need to hit the red mana on curve at all. Of all the U/W/R concepts I’ve seen, this one seems like it has the greatest chance of being good enough, though I still hate what it does to our mana base.

Ok, we’ve got U/W, Esper, and U/W/R. We might as well include a Bant list to finish the cycle:

The radical move in this list is (mostly) escaping the temptation to play Sylvan Caryatid. With no green cards that cost less than three, we can actually get away with some Mutavaults and a healthy number of basics. Instead of focusing on green’s two-drops, we’re using it for Kiora, the Crashing Wave and Urban Evolution.

This gives us way stronger card draw than most U/W decks, not to mention ramping us into Fated Retribution faster than anyone else. We might even be able to get away with a third given how much better it is in this list.

Kiora is not the format-warping planeswalker Jace is, but she’s quite good against slow opponents. It’s a shame that Retribution will kill our own Kiora if we aren’t careful, but she dies a lot anyway. And if she lives, we usually don’t need to Retribution. Retribution is even an instant so we can let them kill our Kiora, play more stuff, and then end step sweep them.

One other expensive ramp card I considered for this list is Peregrine, which is at a tough spot on the curve but does get us where we want to be. I don’t think it’s quite good enough for this list, but if we were playing an Elvish Mystic / Sylvan Caryatid ramp deck that just wanted to consistently hit six on turn 4, it would be a fine option.

While we’re on the topic of Bant decks, here’s an update to Reid Duke and Ben Seck’s Prophet Bant style of ramp deck:

Courser of Kruphix doesn’t just “draw” us lands since every land you draw from the top is one less land you have to draw next turn (and instead gives you a random card the next card down).

Ephara is a sweet option but competing with tons of other great options for four-mana cards to build an advantage. Should it just be Kiora?

Interesting. So the big three all gain some new tricks but also pick up some weaknesses:

What does the rest of the format look like? StarCityGames.com reported the results of eleven tournaments last weekend, the last weekend of the format. This is the breakdown of decks to Top 8 (not weighted by finish):


That U/W/x, Mono-Black Devotion, and Mono-Blue Devotion are the top three is no surprise, but the most interesting feature of this table is evidence to suggest that popular wisdom about the big three is wrong and that there is actually a big four.

G/R Monsters

G/R Monsters has been around since before PT Theros but was mostly pushed aside by the popularity of U/W/x decks, which have traditionally been quite good against it. Born of the Gods shines very brightly on this archetype, making the most likely metagame “shakeup” an increase in the strength and popularity of G/R. It clearly already has the tools, but once you add Xenagos, God of Revels and Courser of Kruphix, it might have the power it needs.

I started in almost the exact same spot as Brian Kibler, and after reading his thoughts here, I’m even closer.

Xenagos, God of Revels is the most exciting of the new Gods, as he is effectively a large indestructible haste creature that sort of does double damage in future turns (by not only adding power to an attack but giving another creature haste). We don’t even have to wake him up very often since his passive ability is worth it all by itself.

Waking him up really isn’t that hard though. Imagine the following:

Turn 1: Elvish Mystic
Turn 2: Domri Rade
Turn 3: Polukranos, World Eater
Turn 4: Xenagos, God of Revels

That’s an absolutely brutal start, often chunking half your opponent’s health on turn 4. Even if they Supreme Verdict, your next fatty could be lethal. If they try to block, Xenagos is another big attacker to deal with.

Courser of Kruphix may not be the most beatdown three-drop on the block, but when a format is so heavily about attrition as Standard looks like it might be, a few extra cards can go a long way. Additionally, we hit so hard with our fatties that we’d generally rather have a 2/4 than a 4/2 to defend ourselves early. When we kill opponents, it’s often going to be by a much larger amount than is necessary.

Why are Xenagos and Courser good? The short and unhelpful answer is mana efficiency.

The medium-length answer is:

Xenagos is a hasty threat that is hard for black and U/W/x decks to deal with. Yes, Lifebane Zombie is a real pain, maybe too big a pain, but if you can stick a Xenagos, the impact he has on the game is tremendous and immediate.

Courser of Kruphix charges you relatively little for the ability, and drawing just a single card from it puts you ahead on mana efficiency compared to most cards in Magic. Compare it to Borderland Ranger, which has frequently been a successful card. A 2/4 is leagues better than a 2/2, and the possibility of drawing more than one card is commonplace. It even combos with Domri Rade and Temple of Abandon!

The long answer can be found in last week’s article here, which provides an in-depth look at both cards.

Unravel the Aether means we can kill Thassa if we want, and unlike Revoke Existence, it actually does so at instant speed. The thing is that B/R decks aren’t really trying to be reactive, and we don’t have a whole bunch of card draw to make it work. The Unravels here are replacing Destructive Revelrys, but those were primarily for UW/x in order to hit Detention Sphere and Pithing Needle. Losing the two extra points of direct damage is kind of a big deal. Do we even want Unravel the Aether against blue? It does nothing to help us against Master of Waves.

Another sideboard option we might want is Fated Conflagration. The red Hero’s Downfall, it could give us an edge in the fatty/planeswalker mirror. The triple red in its cost is a serious risk, however, perhaps too great of one. Additionally, four mana is a pretty serious amount of mana. We could have cast something awesome for that kind of mana. No one wants to kill a Domri Rade for four mana (though at least we get to scry 2 to make up for the extra mana we spent). Finally, it doesn’t synergize with our planeswalkers or God, which is the same bar every noncreature card has to overcome but a high one nonetheless.

One last Born of the Gods card that might make waves in G/R is Fanatic of Xenagos. One of the best of the tribute cards, the Fanatic is a quality card because so little hinges on the opponent’s decision. Basically, the card is a 4/4 trampler for three with the downside that they can stick you with a 4/4 haste creature that shrinks to 3/3 next turn.

While we once had a little bit of a weakness at the three spot, now we have an embarrassment of riches. Courser of Kruphix and Fanatic of Xenagos really are at opposite ends of the philosophical spectrum, and which way we go is going to have a big impact on the rest of our deck. Burning-Tree Emissary, Boon Satyr, and an overall lower curve are all ideas that come to mind.

Of course, we could also just slide the Fanatic into a red aggro deck alongside Ghor-Clan Rampager:

I don’t love the mana, but the Fanatic looks pretty awesome in here. Searing Blood is a particularly interesting puzzle since the card’s power level is high but sure is unreliable. If only the three damage were a sure thing and not predicated on killing the creature!

Other Born of the Gods cards to consider include:

  • Bolt of Keranos – If we just want to play 24 burn spells or perhaps some goofy scry combo deck.
  • Flame-Wreathed Phoenix – A respectable four-drop, though it’s unclear how many four-drops we need if we have Ghor-Clan Rampager. Hell, I could imagine playing more green mana and actually just rocking straight-up Polukranos. He’s way better than the other four-drops.
  • Oracle of Bones – Yeah, I mean, we can consider this guy, but I’m not even close to wanting him. He’s a 3/1 haste creature that sometimes saves us a mana. His two modes are too different from each other, and if we built a deck to make his 3/1 version good, we would just start getting a 5/3 haste. That would be okay but nowhere near worth what it would take. Probably.

Mono-Red Aggro

On the subject of red aggro, here’s a Mono-Red Aggro update:

It’s possible that the reason to play such a deck is because you believe Searing Blood will be that good. Otherwise, why are we going to the trouble? It wasn’t tier 1 before, and it didn’t really gain much beyond the Searing Blood, right? Or is it just that we’re supposed to bring Burning Earth back?

R/G Devotion

The more attractive red deck in the old format was devotion to red, but sadly it gains almost nothing.

Now, if you are willing to give up Chained to the Rocks, Boros Charm, and Assemble the Legion, you can slide Xenagos, God of Revels right in there. This doesn’t sound half bad because the damage he provides is much appreciated here and devotion to red is quite capable of waking him up early and often.

G/R Devotion

One last devotion deck showed up in more than trivial numbers last season: devotion to green. One of its biggest gains is also Xenagos, God of Revels, though the old style of devotion to green is not optimized to take advantage of it. Still, it’s much better than Nylea, so here’s an update:

Courser of Kruphix plays very nicely with what this deck is trying to do, and if this deck climbs, it’s likely on Courser’s back.

Beyond Xenagos and Courser, the only other options that really jump out are Unravel the Aether as a sideboard card and Swordwise Centaur if you want to revisit the mono-green beatdown style of devotion that was gaining some traction pre-Dublin.

B/G Midrange

Continuing the theme of adding Courser of Kruphix to existing fringe decks, next up we have B/G Midrange:

Yeah, not really a lot to see here, but if you’re into this kind of thing, Courser of Kruphix helps the cause. The bad news: you have neither a scry land nor a Domri Rade to help him out.

Ok, one last green deck for the day, and this one doesn’t even feature Courser of Kruphix!

W/x Aggro

W/G Aggro gains a huge upgrade in the form of Brimaz, King of Oreskos. The card is slightly overhyped as a result of people not having many other cards in the set to hype, but it’s still a fine card. For an in-depth analysis of the card, you can turn here.

Like so many other decks, W/G Aggro gains a card that’s good in it (Brimaz) and a card that’s good against it (Bile Blight). I doubt this is enough to propel the archetype into tier 1, but if it makes it, it’s more likely due to the rest of the field changing into something more hospitable to W/G (for instance, if Thassa dies off).

Brimaz has lots of possible homes besides W/G however. Here’s the most basic approach:

Spirit of the Labyrinth is playable but not exactly exciting the way it is in powered formats. It hits for three and makes Sphinx’s Revelation a little more awkward, so it’s got that going for it. Generally speaking, it’s just another dummy in a deck full of them.

More commonly, people will cut a few creatures for a light splash. Both Orzhov Charm and Boros Charm are respectable options, and only Pat Cox knows for sure which to start with:

Yeah, black also gives you discard and Necromancer and red gives you Mizzium Mortars and Burning Earth, but this isn’t really different than last season. It’s important to note that both Mizzium Mortars and Doom Blade improve in a world of Brimaz.

One possible sleeper card that I would try in these various white aggro decks is Acolyte’s Reward. It’s easy to underestimate combat tricks in Constructed, but this one has a little bit of a Shining Shoal thing going on. The ability to dome people out of nowhere is a very different angle then white decks usually have. It sucks that Thoughtseize means people can play around it and control doesn’t really damage your stuff, but if the format involves more midrange or aggro action, this card could be a surprise hit.

B/R/W Midrange

This brings us to our last deck of the day. B/R/W Midrange never really lived up to the hype, largely because of its sketchy mana base. Fortunately for it, it gains Temple of Malice, which sort of helps (if you don’t mind the slowness).

Temple of Malice helps a little, but really the question is whether the important changes to the format (Brimaz, Bile Blight, Drown in Sorrow, Searing Blood, Courser of Kruphix, Kiora, Xenagos, and Ephara) make the world a better place for B/R/W. The format slowing down spells better chances for B/R/W since its mana base isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders.

Why is B/R/W’s mana worse than Esper’s? To begin with, its spells are harder to cast. Cards like Boros Reckoner, Obzedat, and overloaded Mizzium Mortars all add up. Additionally, Detention Sphere, Supreme Verdict, and Sphinx’s Revelation all play catchup better than anything we have access to.

This doesn’t mean B/R/W is out of the question. In fact, I really like the look of Rakdos’s Return in the next couple of weeks. More likely the key to making B/R/W work is killing one of our sacred cows in order to facilitate a change in core design.

Ok, I’m out for today. See you on Wednesday when we get down to the dirty business of brewing brand-new decks with Born of the Gods. What cards do you want to make sure are discussed then? What did I miss today?

See you Wednesday!

Patrick Chapin
“The Innovator”

Next Level Deckbuilding