SCG Talent Search – Constructed Under Siege!

Thursday, January 27 – Now in the top 6 of the SCG Talent Search, Dan Barrett takes a first look at potential Constructed applications of spoiled Mirrodin Besieged cards – from Block through to Vintage!

Note 1: Based on unofficial card spoilers provided by

Note 2: Apologies to anyone expecting Steven Seagal content based on this article’s title. For the record, I prefer the oft-underrated,
train-based sequel.

Welcome back, guys and girls, to my top 6 #scgsearch article! This time around, I’ll be looking at some of the Mirrodin Besieged cards
you’ll be opening this weekend and how they might be used in various Constructed formats, ranging from Block, all the way back to Vintage (though
mainly Standard).

Yes, there are decklists. Sixteen of them, to be precise. Calm down.

A brief caveat though: this article was completed before the full set was spoiled (at time of completion, 110/155 cards had been spoiled), so if
something obvious spoiled after that is missing, please forgive me.

Likewise, cut me some slack if the decks don’t turn out to be amazing: By Chapin’s Law*, it’s likely that only a few of them will
evolve into anything viable. However, fixing up someone else’s first draft is a skill worth honing and can help improve your own deckbuilding.
Even if many do not fly as presented, they might just contain an interaction or subset of cards that do work, which you’re challenged to give a better

(* = 9/10 initial deck concepts suck and don’t go anywhere useful)

Gotta have some rough with the diamonds, and all that.

Lastly, some lists have four-ofs that should likely be trimmed back to two or three copies — this is mainly such that you draw the new cards a
lot and have plenty of opportunities to test them out.

Now, let’s skip right around the ” sometimes a card is analogous to or replaces an existing card in a current deck; other times it spawns an entirely new archetype…”
fluff and get straight to discussing some sweet new cards and jamming them in decks!

NOTE: Ctrl-F for the following to find decks/discussion of cards relevant to the format(s) you’re interested in: #BLO #STA #EXT #LEG #VIN

Mirran Crusader


Hey kids, do you hate Jund?

*Boos, pieces of paper thrown around*

Do you like winning on turn 4?

*Lukewarm agreement*

Do you like winning on turn 4 by attacking with a huge guy?

*Frenzied cheering*

Turn 1 accelerant, turn 2 Mirran Crusader, turn 3 Elspeth, turn 4 kill you, as your Leeches and Bitterblossom tokens sit there, helpless. Children the
world over are beaming with delight. The Light from Within could be anything but is there as another Elspeth-like effect — it would be Behemoth
Sledge, but that can’t equip Crusader. Other cards to swap in or sideboard would likely be Gaddock Teeg, Linvala, maybe Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers, and
so on. You could also extend the mana base to add blue for Finest Hour, which is obviously bonkers with a double-striking attacker.

Mirran Crusader looks well positioned for Extended, taking on anything in the Jund deck, having protection from all of Faeries’ removal, and
potentially fitting into Naya as a sideboard card; it’s right at home in any white-based creature decks. Just a shame we can’t play him turn 2,
followed by a pair of pump spells turn 3 for an even faster kill — damn you, pro green! *shakes fist*

And in Standard?

(* = definition


Firstly, is this what the forthcoming “Event Decks” will look like? Could well be — a strong theme, playable at FNM level, and
doesn’t feature too many pricey rares/mythics (if you sub out the Baneslayers and drop Hero to a 2- or 3-of, that is — probably now
including four Accorder Paladin).

Secondly, I know what you’re thinking: “Armored Ascension?! Reaaaaallllyyy?” — Yes, really. I know there are potential
removal-in-response blowouts possible, but with the training wheels of protection from

Doom Blade Go for the Throat

black and the power of double strike, flying and +4/+4 seems pretty sick on our new best friend Mirran Crusader, acting as the Elspeth jump and pump
from the previous list. They may well be better as Journey to Nowhere or something else though and should be played very carefully into open mana. This
being said, if it sticks, it should finish the game in your favor.

Phyrexian Crusader


Unlike its Mirran-aligned enemy, Phyrexian Crusader can be targeted with pump spells (or other green spells, how’s about that
Gigantiform?), and only having to deal ten poison makes such a combination pretty attractive. Being immune to Doom Blade and burn/white-based removal
doesn’t hurt either. Something like the following may be viable in the upcoming Standard and would be ideal for a newer (or budget) player, as
right now, it’s pretty cheap to put together (~$140, not including commons/uncommons, here on SCG), and a linear strategy such as this is often
what they find most attractive, starting out:

Naturally this is easily ported to Block or can be made mono-black (using Vampire’s Bite / Tainted Strike as the pump spells of choice). You
could also try going B/u (Distortion Strike, counters, better mana) or substituting the pump spells for equipment — Darksteel Axe and Adventuring
Gear. It’s not clear whether Phyrexian Crusader will be seen outside of dedicated infect decks — I’d guess not for the time being,
except perhaps as a sideboard trump to ground-based W/R Weenie decks from black-based control decks.

Inkmoth Nexus


An infect manland (note: retrospectively added to infect mana base above), particularly one with evasion, increases the viability of such a strategy in
Standard or Block. Not having to overcommit to the board and risk getting X-for-1’d by a sweeper to continue applying pressure is key: obvious
four-of there. Outside of dedicated poison decks? Mike Flores, who spoiled the card, thinks so, but I’m not so sure — it
could end up giving your control deck an awkward mixture of regular and poison damage (I’m assuming you’re playing Celestial Colonnade or
Creeping Tar Pit as well, even without other creatures — a stretch given the number of quality finishers available). So, until a named pro posts
a tournament finish using it as Mike suggests, I think it will stay confined to pure infect decks.

Sword of Feast and Famine


You know how I said earlier that Mirran Crusader basically has “pro Jund deck” and leaves Bitterblossom tokens standing idly by? Well, now
any other Extended deck can give its creatures the same protection! For that reason, it’s definitely worth packing a copy or two in your
sideboard if those decks are problematic for you. The Hypnotic Specter ability is… fine, but the real juice is the “untap all your lands”
when the equipped creature connects with an opponent — how much better than a 2/2 Wolf is that?! This effectively makes the play and equip free
if you’re guaranteed to get through and allows you to do neat things with manlands (particularly the unblockable Creeping Tar Pit) or lets
counterspell/burn decks keep mana up on their opponent’s turn. In Standard, this effectively has “pro Poison deck” and will be a useful
sideboard card for those of you not packing Mirran Crusader.

Hero of Bladehold


(See above for its use in Standard white Knights)

After a quick rules check on Twitter (cheers for preventing me from looking stupid, @ahalavais!), I was
dismayed to learn the Hero doesn’t trigger a Windbrisk Heights singlehandedly in Extended. However, it certainly partners well with a
horde of Spectral Procession tokens on the attack or any other swarm aggro strategy — it fights Ajani Goldmane and Elspeth, Knight-Errant for the
white four-drop slot, but being able to create tokens itself (good for sacrificing to Eldrazi Monument) and having a body could be advantageous.

This list is based on that suggested by Frank Lepore, but in the current Extended meta,
it probably wants Zealous Persecutions somewhere. Or, with the extra token creation offered by Hero, we may wish to skip the black entirely and get
more stable mana with a mono-white version, also allowing us to use Honor of the Pure guilt free:

This may end up being an awkward halfway point between B/W Tokens and WW; I don’t know. They might never enter the battlefield untapped, but I
couldn’t resist a couple of Rustic Clachans with loads of untapped sources already and the potential combat trick/rebuy on Kitchen Finks. The
Mirrorweave doesn’t have any amazing targets in your deck (i.e. lords, unless you play pre-combat copying Hero), but your opponent may have a
blowout target, and it’s a fun spell when it does work. Elspeth Tirel is certainly worth considering if you go higher-end, looking to finish
games less quickly. Sideboard would likely include Ranger of Eos, Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender (and/or Kor Firewalker), Mirran Crusader and/or Stillmoon
Cavalier, Day of Judgment. Of course, you could always add blue for counterspells and have access to something like Meddling Mage in the sideboard, or
add red and become something a bit more Boat Brew-y.

This deck inspired partly by @smi77y‘s G/W Tokens is your classic G/W midrange-y deck for people who like G/W midrange-y decks.
Squadron Hawk seems like it will be ace here, providing fuel for Fauna Shaman, returning Vengevines for 2WW, and giving numerous bodies for
Hero’s pump or Garruk’s Overrun. The Squadron Hawk/Vengevine combo gives it a vague similarity to the CawVine deck Brian Kibler played just this
last weekend at GP Atlanta, which could be a another good home for the Hero the rest of this Extended PTQ season.

Signal Pest


Being both an artifact and providing a pump effect that works well with numerous tokens, Signal Pest seems an excellent fit for a Kuldotha Red deck,
working double-duty there. How about the dream opening of: T1 Signal Pest, Memnite, T2 Mox Opal, sac to Kuldotha Rebirth, Goblin Bushwhacker, attack
for sixteen?

Goblin Wardriver also appears here — I’m not sure if it will make the Legacy (#LEG) Goblins deck, but I’ll certainly try one out as a
Goblin Matron target and see what happens for a bit — it certainly plays well with Mogg War Marshal, Siege-Gang Commander, or a Warren Weirding
used on one of your own guys. The sideboard for the above would probably include some more burn (Arc Trail perhaps against Boros/Vampires) and Mark of
Mutiny + Tunnel Ignus against the Primeval Titan decks. It could also try Hero of Oxid Ridge, a card that is potentially useful for Boros sideboards
against non-control opponents (there, Koth is better). It does die to virtually every removal spell in the format though…

Note that as the above few lists show, Battle Cry as a mechanic encourages the use of more numerous but smaller and cheaper creatures/tokens.
As such, expect that sweepers will become more valuable (Pyroclasm, Consume the Meek, etc.) where such cards are played.

Ichor Wellspring


Outside of maybe Furnace Celebration + sac outlet shenanigans (which doesn’t seem likely to happen), this doesn’t seem particularly
exciting in Standard. However in Extended, this will be an amazing addition to Time Sieve decks — drawing two cards per combo turn cycle rather
than the one given by Prophetic Prism, Kaleidostone, or Elsewhere Flask. Gavin Verhey has promised to report back on this archetype shortly, but in the
meantime, I’d try using four Ichor Wellsprings, some Spheres of the Suns, and maybe one or two Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas in something like his
lists from this article. On that front, Tezzeret
2.0 may not be as good as his earlier printing for finding and getting into play that last crucial artifact to “go off,” but he does
importantly give a way to end the game in a reasonably prompt manner when you do. Having time to find food/drink/smoke at the end of rounds is nice.

Back to Ichor Wellspring — In Legacy… what about comboing it with Krark-Clan Ironworks?



It’s not Firespout, but unconditional three to all creatures, the ability to cascade into it, and the option to deal damage to players with it
makes it potentially playable in Extended (Jund, or Mono-Red most likely). I think it’ll hit bigger in Standard though, where Pyroclasm is the
closest alternative. Savvy Boros players have been advising to always keep a fetchland up in case of Pyroclasm from e.g. Valakut — sorry, guys
and girls, that won’t cut it anymore. The extra point of damage on Slagstorm allows it to kill Steppe Lynxes or Plated Geopedes that have seen a
landfall trigger that turn or any other small critters for that matter — potentially making battle cry strategies weak if the card is
well-adopted. The player damage option also decreases the number of times when the card would be a dead draw, potentially being the last few points to
finish your opponent — it’s a definite upgrade from Pyroclasm for Valakut (As such: I’ve swapped what were Pyroclasms for Slagstorms
in the Valakut list below).

Green Sun’s Zenith


In Standard, this will be great in Elves and can act as Primeval Titans 5-8 for Eldrazi Green or maybe a Valakut deck:

With access to more Overgrown Battlements as ramp and early defense via Green Sun’s Zenith, we can trim a few ramp spells and a Pyroclasm to make
room for them. The ability to tutor for a second Battlement on turn 3 increases the chance of landing a turn 4 Primeval Titan, a quick route to
victory. Otherwise, the list is pretty much stock, based on Jason Tikijian’s recent twelfth
place finish at SCG Open: San Jose. A more teched-out version might include a couple of singleton creature targets in the main to tutor for with GSZ:
Oracle of Mul Daya and Joraga Treespeaker as ramp, and a Terastodon against planeswalkers, Leyline of Sanctity from U/W, or lands in the mirror.

In Legacy, Green Sun’s Zenith could potentially act as a replacement for Survival of the Fittest, in decks that didn’t overly abuse the
“discard a creature card” part of the tutoring — although if that’s what you’re after, you can always get a Fauna Shaman
with it for an extra G. In a deck like Elves, where you may only need to tutor for one missing piece (perhaps a Heritage Druid or another Nettle
Sentinel), it could on occasion even be better than Survival, not having to pitch a creature or play a two-mana enchantment first and could be better
than Summoner’s Pact if you’re not 100% to win the game that turn.

Here’s a list based heavily on the one Josh Utter-Leyton played at Worlds 2010:

The Dryad Arbors turn GSZ into a one-mana Rampant Growth, and the Terastodon is a tutorable answer to problem permanents (Moat, etc.) in case
you’ve got mana and GSZ but can’t dig to a Primal Command. It could also be a cheaper, though more limited, permanent-removal creature
(Viridian Shaman) or perhaps the Progenitus from the sideboard for another win-con.

Master’s Call


A pair of instant-speed 3/3s sounds like a good deal for 2W, right? Well, it may not be as powerful as the Extended version, but how about Tempered
Steel in Block?

This list maximizes on token production, but adding some more Etched Champions, and maybe Glint Hawk Idol (making it more like Michael Jacob pre-MBS list), could be better. Block will become a more
relevant format now the second set has been released, although it’s already played a fair amount on Magic Online. Sadly, outside of it featuring at PT
Nagoya, Block is pretty much irrelevant in paper, not having a GP or PTQ season.

As well as being playable in any deck containing Tempered Steel, Master’s Call also gives another token producer in white, which could help a U/W
Polymorph deck in Extended — particularly as this one is an instant. You can imagine making no play on turn 3, your opponent tapping out for
something, then casting EOT Master’s Call before untap, T4 Polymorph into Emrakul — and this from a deck he thought was U/W Control!

Thrun, the Last Troll


Elf player (turn 3 on play): Thrun dun dun… da da da da Thrun! (to intro of Lil Jon’s ” Get Low“)

Control player: Oh please. Mana…

Elf player: It can’t be count…

Control player *snaps back*: Oh fine, whatever. *huffs*

Elf player: Uhh… okay, pass.

Control player: Untap, upkeep, draw… *flicks cards around in hand* Journey to Nowhere.

Elf player: Sure, exile my Arbor Elf?

Control player: No, Thrun.

Elf Player: But it can’t be…

Control player: God! What kind of d-bag noob plays green cards anyway?! Idiot!

Elf player: Judge!

Current control decks are pretty threatened by this guy, not having any good answers to it in current builds. If you’re going to play control,
make sure you do keep Thrun in mind, or you’ll be dying four damage at a time quite a lot. More if they equip it with some kind of Sword.

That being said, there are a lot of answers out there, if you think about it (@thepchapin on Twitter:
If you can’t list 60 answers in Standard to Thrune [sic], you aren’t thinking outside the box“). How’s
about starting such a list?

  • Etc.

Of course, that doesn’t mean these are all good answers…

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas


In Standard, the ability to both Impulse for artifacts and turn an artifact into a 5/5 creature once a turn for four mana is very attractive and will
lead to a rise in the number of artifact-based decks. This is not to mention his ultimate, which is just awesome. But, how many artifacts do we need to
run in a deck with the new Tezz? Well, 24 in the deck should give you a choice between two each time you +1 him — however Patrick Chapin already beat me to with more detailed
statistics for his preview card, so
let’s just repurpose his chart — thanks Pat!

Artifacts in deck

Average no. seen




























It’s very difficult to tune a control deck to an evolving metagame at a time such as right after a new set release, but I think Tezzeret 2.0 may
give rise to a new form of control deck, that being:

U/B Proliferate Control — Standard

4 Wall of Tanglecord

4 Everflowing Chalice

2 Voltaic Key

4 Sphere of the Suns

4 Contagion Clasp

2 Doom Blade

2 Go for the Throat

1 Lux Cannon

1 Forge[/author]“]Titan [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]

3 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

3 Jace the Mind Sculptor

2 Wurmcoil Engine

1 Myr Battlesphere

4 Darkslick Shores

4 Drowned Catacomb

4 Creeping Tar Pit

4 Tectonic Edge

1 Misty Rainforest

1 Verdant Catacombs

2 Swamp

4 Island

The deck has 25 artifacts for Tezzeret to play with, and eight two-mana artifact accelerants should ensure a turn 3 planeswalker in many games —
I definitely rate Sphere of the Suns highly, even without the ability to recharge it, and will surely be looking for a foil copy for my C/U cube. The
deck aims to win by building an advantage by proliferating planeswalkers to their ultimates, accelerating use of Forge[/author]“]Titan [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] and Lux Cannon, or just by
making an army of 5/5s.

It may want Trinket Mage plus a Brittle Effigy somewhere, and if any more decent single-mana artifacts appear in the deck (particularly one with a
proliferate ability), it would surely be built around this package.

The Walls of Tanglecord may look odd at first, but as with Extended Faeries vs. Great Sable Stag and as touched on above, the Wall is a great answer to
Thrun, who is sure to be a headache for control decks in the upcoming Standard. It’s good against many of the things Tumble Magnet (it’s
likely replacement) would be also.

The absence of Preordain is notable, mainly a result of wanting to keep the artifact count around 24 — however, Jace and Tezzeret offer a lot of
card selection once in play, though you could shave some numbers to fit Preordains in if you must. The sideboard likely features some more early
removal (Disfigure, Smother) for aggro decks and Spell Pierce and Mana Leaks against control.

However, with the abundant mana-fixing available in Standard, Tezzeret costing only a single black, with us already definitely running four Spheres of
the Suns (potentially some Prophetic Prisms too), and the excellent proliferate material offered by white (Luminarch Ascension, Venser, the Sojourner),
it may be better to play an Esper-based version or even just splash for the Tezzeret.

We can also use Tezzeret in a more aggressive fashion — why not have him make poisonous 5/5s?

Here we use cheap artifact infect creatures and Tezzeret to create creatures that kill if they connect twice. However it does mean running cards like
Vector Asp, which are… not exactly Constructed all-stars, shall we say. The sideboarding options for this deck will likely be along the same lines as
the above, and both can readily be transferred to Block. Of course, it may very well be the case that a critical mass of artifact infect creatures
means Tempered Steel should be played instead of/in addition to Tezzeret, as a pump effect. And again, we could easily play white in addition if
necessary (e.g. for Venser’s unblockable -1).

Creeping Corrosion


“Suck it, Tezzeret + Tempered Steel decks!”

(They’ll want to be aware of and have counterspells/discard for this.)

(Also: It’s less of a blowout, but Into the Core exists.)

Steel Sabotage


Annul sees some play in Vintage maindecks and sideboards, mainly countering artifacts for U (though let’s
not forget Oath of Druids, Fastbond, or hard-cast Leylines for the enchantment option) — so a similar card is surely worth a look, right? While
Steel Sabotage can’t counter the occasionally seen enchantments, it Annuls any artifacts just fine and gives you the additional option to bounce
an opponent’s Tinkered-in Myr Battlesphere or pick up and replay one of your Moxen for two free storm. As such, I think Steel Sabotage will see
some Vintage play, and I’d expect foil and foreign copies to be worth a couple bucks.

On the opposite end of the scale, despite also having a single mana cost, Crush just doesn’t compare favorably to Ancient Grudge, Shattering
Spree, or Nature’s Claim, so won’t be lighting up Vintage tables anytime soon.

Phyrexian Revoker, Leonin Relic-Warder


You will of course remember Tom Baker’s legendary 36 Bears deck from Worlds in Rome,
shattering the Vintage metagame, and redefining what it means to swing for two. Well, here’s an update — the creature types may not be
“Bear,” but they are all two-power guys for two, or cost 1G:

While I wouldn’t actually suggest playing the above decklist (‘sup, Chalice on two!), it does illustrate just how hard Wizards have been pushing
two-cost creatures with decent effects for the last few sets (in addition to one-mana sorceries and instants). Cards such as these two additions,
Qasali Pridemage, and Lotus Cobra are brilliantly designed, such that they are playable in a wide variety of formats. I think both of these can, and
will, be played in Eternal as well as Standard: “Revoke Jace” is a delightful addition to the Magic phrasebook across formats (though note
it can’t name lands, e.g. Bazaar of Baghdad, Wasteland — but can name mana abilities e.g. Llanowar Elves), and Relic-Warder might fit into
a Meandeck Beats style
of deck in Vintage, hiding an opponent’s artifact mana or lock pieces.

(For more on MBS cards in Eternal formats, see Andy Probasco article

from earlier this week.)

Treasure Mage


There’s already a decent mono-blue artifacts deck with Grand Architect in Block, and this seems like a great addition — tapping for mana
with the Architect out, and searching up a Wurmcoil Engine or Myr Battlesphere when it comes into play? Sweet deal! Here’s a list based
on a recent 3-1 Daily performance from PajclinCZ:

Being able to tutor up a Steel Hellkite makes including a singleton in the main worthwhile, able to remove a swarm of tokens or just fly over and
breathe fire for the win. I’m not sure when it would be useful, but the addition of Treasure Mage would also allow us to have a singleton
Blightsteel Colossus in the sideboard — if somehow Wurmcoil and Battlesphere aren’t winning enough already!

In Standard, Treasure Mage could be worth trying in U/W or U/B Control decks as a 2- or 3-of, allowing you to fetch up singleton finishers or
pseudo-wraths in Wurmcoil Engine, Myr Battlesphere, Steel Hellkite, and Contagion Engine.

Ardent Recruit


He might potentially be a 3/3 for W, but Wild Nacatl he ain’t. Not being an artifact himself makes the metalcraft condition so much harder to fulfill
by the time he’ll be attacking on turn 2 and walks you right into a 4-for-1 Slagstorm when you do get it online (the artifacts are likely to be
creatures, as this isn’t likely going in a control deck). Sure, he can be fetched up with a Ranger of Eos (but notably not the cheaper Trinket
Mage) in Extended; however in that, and almost all other cases, I’ll bet you’d rather have Glint Hawk/Court Homunculus/etc. Will volunteer
my neck for the later-proven-wrong chopping board on this one and say he’s bad and won’t see Constructed play.

Contested Warzone

( Contested Warzone: Land, Whenever you are dealt combat damage by a creature, that creature’s controller gains control of ~, T: Add 1 to your
mana pool, 1,T: Attacking creatures get +1/+0 until end of turn )


An interesting possibility for the token swarm decks; I don’t think you want to play four of them, owing to its changing hands if you’re
dealt damage back. I can definitely see one or two in a deck (probably in a spell slot) for a lethal turn 6 along the lines of “Ajani Goldmane,
-1, play Contested Warzone, attack, activate Warzone, win.”

Blightsteel Colossus


I don’t think this deck is going to be Tier One or anything (it rolls over to Jace’s -1 or a well-timed kill spell), but you need be aware
of its existence, such that you don’t get beaten by it at FNM on turn 5 and go nuts because someone other than a PTQ ringer defeated you.
That’s just bad form.

Trinket Mage for Accorder’s Shield/Master’s Call/activated Inkmoth Nexus + Shape Anew = Blightsteel Colossus, potentially on turn 4. Remove
their blocker with Oust/Journey, win. Kind of like Polymorph used to be in Standard, only not as good. If you’ve not fetched up the Shield, you
have a 1-in-3 chance of whiffing, so this package may not be necessary. Bing Luke (prolepsis9) has suggested Precursor Golem could be
used instead (as a three-of), though it’s slower — Shape Anew for three Blightsteel Colossuses? Don’t mind if I do!

Go for the Throat


Is this the end of @Doom_Blade_Guy? Yes and no. In many situations, it’ll be better than the
trusty Blade — able to kill a Grave Titan, say (or your own Abyssal Persecutor — expect that card to see more play), but there should still
be artifacts we want to get rid of in Standard. As such, I think a split between the two will be likely (more GFTT than DB) with the balance addressed
post-sideboard, depending on whether you’re facing an artifact/black/neither deck.

In Extended, this seems like a dream for Faeries, killing virtually everything, and at a much easier mana cost than the sometimes-played Grasp of
Darkness. It allows Vampires to play removal that won’t be dead in the mirror and will slot in pretty much anywhere else Doom Blade or Smother
has, in any format. Accordingly, what would originally have been purely Doom Blade slots in the lists in this article are a DB/GFTT split.

P.S. Cube-worthy.

P.P.S. I wonder how long it will be before someone literally “goes for the throat” when casting this? (Please don’t though;
strangling your opponent is not cool.)

Black Sun’s Zenith


While not quite Damnation or Mutilate, it’s a sweeper in black; it kills Thrun (and likely the rest of your opponent’s team) for six, and cares not
about any Eldrazi Monuments that may be in play. Using -1/-1 counters also adds the possibility of casting a small BSZ and then proliferating —
It probably could fit in the U/B Control deck above, but I’ve not added it. Obviously it’s best if you’re not planning on playing
many/any creatures of your own — say you’re winning just with manlands and Jace, or you play it the turn before a big finisher (Grave
Titan, Wurmcoil Engine). At seven mana, you’d probably rather have All Is Dust, but the ability to cast it with X=2 against a fast aggro deck is

As with every playable new black card, it will undoubtedly lead to dedicated New-Rocks-and-leather-trousers-wearing fans proclaiming the return of:

Of course, this is much better with blue for chiefly Creeping Tar Pit and Jace (Phyrexian Rager on Mimic Vat is not the world’s greatest card
draw, though cheaper/nostalgic), but you just can’t argue with die-hard MBC fans. A better reason to stay just black: lack of pocket money for

BONUS #1 — MBS Cards for Commander (EDH):

If you play the increasingly popular Commander format, you will likely want to look out for the following cards (in foil), as they’re at worst
“worth trying,” at best “format staple,” for your 100-card decks:

  • ALL FIVE of the Zenith cycle

BONUS #2 — “Help a reader!”

“… If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if Dan Barrett can stir them into action, maybe you can ask… The SCG Forum Posters

*explosions and a jeep flipping over onto its roof*

The following is a new little feature I’d like to try that, if well received, could become a regular part of any future column I may have. In
“help a reader!” I’ll pose a problem/question to you, submitted by a fellow reader, and then we can all offer and discuss suggestions
in the forums. A sure-fire hit for all you altruists out there!

So: Here’s a Legacy (#LEG) deck sent to me by Amanda (@sagegnosis), asking for suggestions for

To the hardened Legacy connoisseur with a full set of duals and format staples, this deck might not be anything like finished, but for someone new to
the format or working within a limited budget, it’s a starting point and has a strong theme. I imagine your first suggestion, as mine would have been,
is to turn it into something like this Eva Green deck.

However, here we encounter some additional constraints — $150 (max) budget, and a desire to beat the few aggro decks (particularly: Zoo, Goblins,
and Merfolk) in her combo-heavy meta with sideboard cards. So, what do you suggest given these constraints? Chime in on the forums, and email/tweet me
if you have a problem/question of your own for a future edition of “help a reader!”

That’s all for me for this time around; hopefully I’ve provided some inspiration on how these exciting new cards might be used and helped
you decide what cards to trade for at the Prerelease. As always, if you liked what you read today and want to see more of me in the future, say so with
your vote below!

I hope you all have a great Prerelease weekend — I’ll be at the London regional Prerelease, which promises to be the biggest the UK has
ever seen: Come on down, and be sure to say hi!

Dan Barrett

on Twitter

danskate [at] gmail [dot] com