Sealed Revealed: Card Pool Ten

Since at this point it’s safe to assume that you know what’s going on in this outstanding series, we figure it’s easier to give you a sample of today’s article as incentive to read: “The Deceiver cycle have very unpleasant names. Cruel, Brutal, Feral, Harsh, Callous. They’re getting such a bad press… Where are the nice Deceivers? The Fluffy Deceiver, the Is-Kind-to-Animals Deceiver, the Generous-to-a-Fault Deceiver? Remember, kids: Deceivers have feelings too. Equal Rights for Deceivers!

My name is Craig, and I’m here to get busy,

Spinning the Sensei’s Top ’til I’m dizzy,

Dropping the bombs with a super-charged whammy,

Prattling on like a Gibbering Kami.

Ruling the red-zone with panache and poise,

Battling down with the Bushido Boys,

Riding away into the Kamigawan Sun,

Writing this crazy rap-sh** for fun.

Here’s the news that’ll make you all sing:

I’m throwing another pool into the ring.

Logging the cards like a level-four Judge,

Typing away with a skeletal drudge.

Prick up your ears and pick up your pens,

Jot down the Dragons, the Flames and the Rends,

Build me a deck, make it supple and sweet,

And we’ll reach the ranks of the Pro-Tour Elite!

Again, we stand on the brink. The wind whips about our ears. With a final cry, we close our eyes… and jump.

Pick up the bottle, and drink deep.


Call to Glory

Candles’ Glow

Eight-and-a-half Tails

Honden of Cleansing Fire

2 Indomitable Will

2 Innocence Kami

Kami of Ancient Law

Kitsune Diviner

Kitsune Riftwalker

Lantern Kami

2 Pious Kitsune

Sensei Golden Tail

2 Silent-Chant Zubera


Eye of Nowhere

Field of Reality

Floating-Dream Zubera

Graceful Adept

Hisoka’s Guard


2 Honden of Seeing Winds

Kami of Twisted Reflection

Lifted by Clouds

Mystic Restraints

Sift Through Sands

Soratami Cloudskater

Soratami Mirror-Mage

2 Soratami Rainshaper

Student of Elements




Bloodthirsty Ogre

Cruel Deceiver

Cursed Ronin

Kami of the Waning Moon

Nezumi Ronin

Night Dealings

Pull Under

Rag Dealer

Rend Flesh

2 Soulless Revival

Wicked Akuba


Akki Avalanchers

Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit

Blood Rites

Brutal Deceiver

Desperate Ritual

2 Ember-Fist Zubera


Glacial Ray

2 Lava Spike


Ore Gorger

Uncontrollable Anger

Unnatural Speed


2 Gale Force

Humble Budoka

Kashi-Tribe Warriors

Kodama’s Reach

Matsu-Tribe Decoy

Moss Kami

2 Orochi Sustainer

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Vine Kami


Tranquil Garden

Look into my eyes… you are getting sleepy… veeery sleepy…

Three… two… one… aaaaaaand…

You’re under.

I am the mighty Mysterio, and you are in my power. Build me a deck, you godless maggots.

A joke:

Q: What’s grey, and if it fell out of a tree and landed on your head it would kill you?

A: A castle.

*a tap drips in a far-off washbasin*

One, two, three, *click*.

You’re back in the room.

Here are my thoughts on the cards in pool ten.


In the forums, I’ve been accused of favoring the White spells if I open a Blademaster. Apparently, if the Blademaster is present, I pile up the collected White chaff and simply throw it into a deck, regardless of the strength in the rest of the pool.

Well, I hate to burst that particular bubble, folks, but… you’re wrong.

I favor the White spells even if I don’t open a Blademaster.

The Blademaster is a fabulous card. If your White pool contains the funky first-strike fox, then it’s always worth a look. But sometimes, the Blademaster is the only fella worth rooting for.

And sometimes, like this time, the White spells are playable without him.

First, let’s look at the guys.

  • We’ve a number of excellent weenies in this White collection. First, we have the 2/2 for two that is Eight-and-a-Half-Tails. When he gets going, he can protect anything from anything. Strange, then, that he seems to have lost half a tail somewhere. Maybe he was in a fight and got his ninth tail trapped in a Nine-Ring Bo. Good old Half-Eight is a decent early play, as he beats with the big boys… but the late game is where he truly shines.

  • Another 2/2 for two is Kami of Ancient Law, a.k.a. Neil of Cleansing. He’s most acceptable for his cost, and his ability is pure gravy, poured on the Mashed Potato of Truth.

  • Also occupying the two-mana slot is Sensei Golden-Tail. As a 2/1 for two, he’s playable. His ability is a little slow, but can reap benefits in a defensive deck. I presume this is the bloke who owns the Divining Top. I wonder where he keeps it? Somewhere safe, no doubt, out of direct sunlight.

  • The only true weenie card remaining is the 23rd-at-best Lantern Kami. He triggers spirits, and flies, so he’s not completely terrible. The Kitsune Diviner also makes an appearance here, still looking as long-faced as ever. Them foxes need to lighten up, I tell you. And why the Kitsune Diviner needs a fan, I’ll never know. After all, she’s hardly likely to be toasty-hot while wearing such a revealing dress.

  • Two mana, two Silent-Chant Zuberas. If you feel like championing this card, I pray you keep silent. There’s no point making an arse of yourself.

  • Three mana, three creatures. We have the 2/1 pro-Kamigawa Kitsune Riftwalker. He’s nothing special, but his ability may be randomly useful. The remaining three-drop takes up two cards: double Pious Kitsune. Even with Ol’ Half-Eight in the pool, I’ll be leaving these crab-jockeys in the dress-circle.

  • We’ve not yet dealt with the Innocence Kami. In this pool, we have two of the blighters. While five mana for a 2/3 is a little pricey, the ability to tap down essential creatures is paramount. Tap a guy, cast a spell, untap your guy, tap another guy… this Kami can present us with lovin’ spoonfuls of fun.

We’ve no Blademaster. We’ve no Moth. We’re overrun by crap Zebras. Do we play the White cards?


Their weenie ways are hard to resist.

By the way, I’m sick of calling them “weenies.” The name sounds vaguely anatomical. Can’t we think of a more manly name for the Pearly White Troopers? Why not “White Warriors,” or “White Avengers,” or something?

From now on, if I build a White Weenie deck, I’ll be calling the guys involved my “Pale Heroes.” Until I go 0-2, of course. I’m afraid Star City would be unable to print what I’d call them after such a disappointment.

Hell’s Bells! Spells!

  • What’s the story, Call to Glory, yeah! Untippetty-tap, pumpetty-pump, Samurai swelling and yelling, rebelling. This card is situational, specific to an unlikely situation at that. It combos well with Sensei Golden-Tail, as his training makes Samurais out of the most pathetic of creatures. A deck-dependent card… and perhaps not even then.

  • So far, this White pool is full of Weeni-… sorry. *ahem* So far, this White pool is full of ‘Pale Heroes’. Naturally, as your opponents drop fat monster after fat monster, your Pale Heroes are looking more pale by the second. In order to redress the size balance, and give the underdog a fighting chance on the field of combat, we have two copies of the instant-speed pants called Indomitable Will. Want to save your guy from Black removal? Indomitable Won’t. Want to save him from Red removal? Indomitable Will.

  • Apparently, it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. However, when I think of all the decent, aggressive White uncommons I could’ve pulled, such as Nagao or Reciprocate, and I look at the ditchwater-dull Candle’s Glow… I feel a very strong urge to curse the bloody darkness, I can tell you.

  • Rounding off the White, we have the Life-Shrine. Honden of Cleansing Fire coughs up a whopping two life a turn. It’s not an inspiring card, but it’ll do a job and help the tortoise overtake the hare.

No Blademaster, yet I still think the White has promise in this pool. Am I overvaluing the color as a whole?


I think the colors in Magic are very apt.

For instance, we have the color White, traditionally associated with purity and light. Then there’s Red, the staple color of fire and anger and chaos.

Black is the color of the grave, the blanket of the night. Green is the color of fertility, growth, abundance.

And Blue?

Blue is the color of sadness and depression.

Blue mages? Keep your angst to yourselves, please. We don’t want to hear your skater-punk mewlings, thankyouverymuchgoodnight.

After examining these Blue cards, I see some strength. Maybe I’m being a little over-eager to big-up the Blue cards here. They’re o-kaaaay… but you can’t polish a turd. Any Blue pool that doesn’t pack the Teller is bound to be a bit of a smeller.

  • The guys in the Blue pool need to take their steroids and get down to the gym. They’re all teesy-weensy-tiny. The two-mana slot is packed with these eight-stone weaklings. Immediately, we can remove Student of Elements from our plans. He came to the exam without revising, I’m afraid. Though one day I’m going to draft a mono-Blue Student of Elements/Lifted by Clouds deck, just to see the expression on my opponent’s face when I start laying 3/3 flyers for one-and-a-Blue.

  • Accompanying the Student back to the slums, we have Hisoka’s Guard. He’s next to useless, and his costume is patently absurd. How can you do effective guard-work while wearing what amounts to a starched cardboard tent? I pity the poor sap who does his ironing.

  • The other Blue two-drops are much more promising. We have the card-advantage-on-legs of the Floating-Dream Zubera, and a Soratami Cloudskater, a.k.a. Skyfolk Looter. Both are playable, but neither will win you the game.

  • At three mana, there’s the Graceful Adept. Judging by her ridiculous stance, I’d hardly call her “graceful.” She looks like she’s cocked a leg and let one go. With her in play, however… you have no maximum hand size! Imagine the gigantic smacks you can lay down if your hand was the size of Mount Rushmore! Our survey said… Uh-uh.

  • Kami of Twisted Reflection is a much more palatable proposition. A three-mana bounce-spell with a warm body to boot. Even if parts of that body float about like little fleshy butterflies.

  • The three-drop slot is completed by a double-dose of Soratami Rainshaper. A 2/1 flyer for three mana is perfectly acceptable, and the ability to protect a guy from targeted removal is just like Grandma’s knickers: functional, durable and not to be sniffed at.

  • The top-end of the Blue spectrum is a measly four mana, in the shape of the Soratami Mirror-Mage. His ability is slightly overcosted, but he can cause havoc when backed with cheap evasive guys. Not as strong as the other Soratami, but there’s a runt in every litter.

No, no, no. I said runt.

There are some nice mid-range flyers in the Blue pool. However, the absence of the Teller is more than telling. I think that the early-game for Blue will be a fine one, but overall, the power-level isn’t quite sufficient.

Of course, there’s more to Blue that pesky flyers: Blue support spells are a fine commodity to plunder. Traditionally, they come in three flavors: Counterspells, Card-Drawing, and Tricks

  • Counterspells: I don’t like countermagic in Limited. Actually, I don’t like countermagic in Constructed either. Countermagic in real life, however… now that’d be cool. Tap two mana, counter target David Blaine. This pool contains two counterspells. While Thoughtbind is situational (and as such a tad too limited for my exacting palate), Hinder is an as-good-as hard-counter for three mana. In a heavy Blue build, I’d probably chance it if there were little strength in depth.

  • Card Drawing: We have double Honden of Blue Card-Drawing Goodness. While two copies is excessive, I think one may make it to a final build that involves Blue in any capacity. Honden of Seeing Winds… how exactly can you “see” wind? The only wind I’ve ever “seen” was expelled from the rear of a spread-eagled cabaret artiste known as “Mr Methane,” whose wondrous finale involved coating his flatulent bum-hole with talcum powder before letting rip with the 1812 Overture…(the worrying thing is… that’s actually true).

  • Tricks: Well, here we have Mystic Restraints… but the rest are strictly filler. Eye of Nowhere is going nowhere, Field of Reality is living in Fantasyland, and Lifted by Clouds is poo-nuggets.

Blue prances and dances, I suppose. But it hardly romances me. There’s some decent flyers, some pleasant card-drawing… coupled with the right colors and cards, it may be viable.



I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… “I was vacuuming in the nude, doctor.”



I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… “The measure of Black lies in the removal.”

So what have we got in our pocketses?

Puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullll… UNDER!

Rennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd… FLESH!

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… FOUL!

We’re spoilt here, I’ll admit it. Three powerful removal cards. Let’s hope the creatures are deep enough to make Black a mainstay of the final build.

Other than the three removal spells, we’ve a pair of playable Soulless Revivals. These are great in a creature-light build, but they’re also strong in any Limited deck which packs both Swamps and creatures. They’re a little sub-par if you’re not playing Black, however.

I really want the Black guys to be playable. I’ve even got my fingers crossed as I type, which can’t be good for my tendons.

  • At one mana, my heart begins to sink. Bloody Rag Dealer. Where the hell was this card when flashback was all the rage, eh? Sat at home watching re-runs of Quincy, I’ll bet.

  • Thankfully, two-mana ups the ante. Here we have the Cruel Deceiver, a 2/1 that’s playable without his giant-killing ability. At his side, there’s the Wicked Akuba. While he requires a heavy commitment to Black, I think he’s more than worth it if the pool dictates.

  • The three-mana slot is also as fit as a butcher’s dog. Usually, this vital spot is anaemic. This Black pool sees a possible three contenders. The first, and possibly best, it the Nezumi Ronin. While a 4/2 blocker is nice enough, it’s the vanilla 3/1 for three that makes the grade. Anything else is icing.

  • Another 3/1 for three, the Bloodthirsty Ogre, is a fine addition to the beatdown slumber-party. His ability is slow, but may be relevant at some stage. Or at least it would be if we had any demons in the pool.

  • The third guy on the three-slot bill is the much-maligned Kami of the Waning Moon. While he’s hardly Mr. Beatstick, I think he compliments our Black guys in fine fashion, especially Wicked Akuba and…

  • …Cursed Ronnie. This Bushido blade-toting bog-snorkeller is nice enough in a heavy Black build. If he can receive the benefits of evasion, he’ll end the game on his own.

So that’s the Black. Good removal, decent mid-range guys, a few utility spells. I think Black will feature heavily in my final reckoning.


In Kamigawa, it seems that the quality of Red is up and down like a bride’s nightie. One pool, we’re flashing Dragons and Burn and Pingers Oh My! The next pool, and it’s haste spells and flip-a-coins and watered-down goblins.

This pool, however, has potential

  • Upon checking the Red spells for probable contenders, I spotted a card called Glacial Ray. Two damage for two mana… it’s overcosted. I’d rather play Shock.

  • Uncontrollable Anger is a card I am in two minds over. Okay, so it pumps your chumps and makes you an attacking threat. But the text on the card may as well say “enchanted creature gets +2+2 and cannot block.” Nice if you’re beating down, but awful if you aren’t.

  • Blood Rites is a slow, but immensely powerful card. In a sense, it turns all your guys into Bushido 2 for a cost of two mana a time. I makes an excellent finisher, and don’t get me started on the Zebra Connection.

The other Red support cards cough up the following:

  • Unnatural Speed? There’s no need.

  • Desperate Ritual? Don’t make it habitual.

  • Lava Spike? On your bike!

  • At six mana, we have Mindblaze. I may be tempted to board this card in, as eight damage is one hell of a swing. But sometimes, this card is a six-mana-do-nothing spell. Proceed with caution.

  • By the way, I was joking about the Glacial Ray. Just play the thing.

Thus far, the Red has given us three playable spells. However, two are double-Red, and one needs a strong Red presence to be truly effective. The guys are the thing, wherein we’ll catch the conscience of the King.

  • One mana: Akki Avalanchers. One word: scrotum.

  • Two mana, two Ember-Fist Zubera. While not as strong as their Blue cousins, these Zebras are more tan playable. And they combo well with Blood Rites.

  • Three mana, Brutal Deceiver. The Deceiver cycle have very unpleasant names. Cruel, Brutal, Feral, Harsh, Callous. They’re getting such a bad press… Where are the nice Deceivers? The Fluffy Deceiver, the Is-Kind-to-Animals Deceiver, the Generous-to-a-Fault Deceiver? Remember, kids: Deceivers have feelings too. Equal Rights for Deceivers!

  • Frostwielder fills the four-hole, dressed in her bandage-gown and pinging slippers. She treads the path laid down by legends such as Spikeshot and Sparksmith, even the mighty Tim Himself… Sadly, she’s a shadow of her tremendous legacy. Playable, of course – all pingers are – but nothing to write an operetta about.

  • Ore Gorger destroys a non-basic land when the spirit/arcane trigger kicks in. He’s a 3/1 for five. Let’s face it: the guy’s awful.

  • Finally, we have the uber-powerful Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit. His ability is off the map. In fact, it’s so far off the map, it’s living under the sea with bottom-feeding flatfish who’ve never even heard of Captain Birdseye. However, Ben-Ben is a 1/1 for four mana. Ah, what the hell: I’ll take him!


I suppose we’d better do a quick recap, for the C3s and C4s.

White, while lacking a certain beatdown spark, is packed with efficient creatures with tasty abilities.

Blue, though lacking the true top-end common bombs, has a nice mid-range game of tricksy fliers and card advantage.

Black is packed with decent removal and efficient guys.

Red has some bombs, a lot of removal and some nice synergies in its own arena.

Now we get to Green. In particular, the Green Gentlemen.

  • Starting at two mana, we have a glut of decent creatures. The standout is the Sakura-Tribe Elder, the genuine Rampant Growth on spindly legs. He bocks, and thins, and solves mana problems. With four arms, he must get through a metric shedload of deodorant.

  • Also at two mana, our twin Orochi Sustainers help turn our mana-pool into a mana-jacuzzi. Acceleration is always welcome, and these Elf Myrs are no exception.

  • Rounding out the two-drop spot is the dung-worshipping Humble Budoka. His untargetable nature is a blessing and a curse. And frankly, I find it hard that such a muscle-bound bloke could be humble. His honed physique makes him resemble a condom full of walnuts. If I were that strong, I wouldn’t be humble. I’d spend my days battering people.

  • The three-drop stage sees the return of the frankly foppish Matsu-Tribe Decoy. While his ability is effective, it works better with combat tricks and pump effects. I’d probably still run him, but I’d flag his deficiencies with the Union.

  • Kashi-Tribe Warriors, a 2/4 for five mana, are so underwhelming that I’m actually falling asleep as… I… …ty/pe thjis wksa as.h….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • For six mana, we can bring down a 5/5 trampler. The Moss Kami is a solid card, and easily splashable. I’d happily run him in any Green deck, and maybe decks with a very little Forest component. Even so, we all know that there’s only one card that is fit to wear the mossy crown: The mighty Mossdog.

  • Seven mana… I’m so far up the mana-mountain, my nose is bleeding. For seven mana, the spell had better be a good ‘un… *reads card*… A 4/4? That doesn’t even trample? Is this some kind of joke? Vine Kami is not good.

So there we have the Green Machine. And frankly, it needs a little oil. There are some nice cogs in the machine, I admit… but it’ll break down as soon as we plug it in.

We may as well mention the three Green support cards. After all, you want to get your money’s worth.

  • Kodama’s Reach. Land is grand, on the board or in your hand. Expand your grand resources as planned and then strike up the band… erm… in a bucket of sand… gland… *ahem*… … … Taxi for Stevenson! *screeches away*

  • Gale Force! It’s either a board card, or the new Jean-Claude Van Damme film.

So the Green in this pool isn’t a hill o’ beans. Ah well, at least it means we can discount it.

Or can we?

After all, there’s some great mana-fixing and acceleration in there…

Onto the brown-stroke-silver card contingent.







This is a pool devoid of metaphorical robots.


Just the one: a Tranquil Garden. I don’t really like these slow, tempo-sapping “dual” lands, but sometimes a build comes by that begs for a mana-fixer, however poor it may be.

Time will tell on this one.

I don’t know about you, but I’m lost. Not lost in a bad way, mind: more ‘lost-in-a-candy-factory’ lost.

Where to go? What to do?

The Red, the Black, the Blue, the White… they all look very nice indeed. Hell, even the Green looks slightly inviting, and you all know how much I’ve been avoiding that color.

I’m afraid to say that this card-pool has led me to do something rash.

I haven’t actually built a deck.

I’ve built two decks.

In a PTQ, I might be tempted to run with either. Maybe both, in the course of a match. I think they’re both pretty solid.

Which, if any, would you run with? Would you run with both, or is that just being silly?

Deck the First

White (11):

Kitsune Diviner

Lantern Kami

Eight-and-a-half Tails

Kami of Ancient Law

Sensei Golden-Tail

Kitsune Riftwalker

2 Innocence Kami

2 Indomitable Will

Honden of Cleansing Fire

Blue (9):

Floating-Dream Zubera

Soratami Cloudskater

Kami of Twisted Reflection

2 Soratami Rainshaper

Soratami Mirror-Mage


Honden of Seeing Winds

Mystic Restraints

Black (3):

Rend Flesh

Pull Under

Soulless Revival

Land (17):

7 Plains

7 Island

3 Swamp

Creatures: 14

1cc = 2

2cc = 5

3cc = 4

4cc = 1

5cc = 2

6cc = 0

7cc = 0

8cc = 0

And the other?

Deck the Second:

Red (8):

2 Ember-Fist Zubera

Brutal Deceiver

Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit


Blood Rites

Glacial Ray

Uncontrollable Anger

Black (11):

Wicked Akuba

Cruel Deceiver

Kami of the Waning Moon

Nezumi Ronin

Bloodthirsty Ogre

Cursed Ronin


Rend Flesh

Pull Under

2 Soulless Revival

Blue (3):

2 Soratami Rainshaper

Honden of Seeing Winds

Land (18):

7 Mountain

8 Swamp

3 Island

Creatures: 13

1cc = 0

2cc = 4

3cc = 6

4cc = 3

5cc = 0

6cc = 0

7cc = 0

8cc = 0

Or maybe there’s another deck in there, somewhere. If you can find one, pop onto the forums.

Overall, I think the R/B/u gets the nod from me. It’s jam-packed with delicious removal. That said, the splash isn’t too hot. The U/W/b has a much more consistent build.

Is there a “stronger” deck out of the two I’ve listed? Or do the two decks compliment different styles of play? Are they both strong? Or do they both suck ass?

Things I like about the R/B/u deck:

Things I dislike:

  • Again, I’m splashing for creatures. They’re nice enough, and they fill a vital evasion hole, but they’re not exactly bootylicious.

  • A lot of the guys are weedy. The removal is nice, and the Honden should help me draw key cards… but I’m relying on beefing an unblockable Akuba or Cursed Ronnie for a decent win.

  • No matter how strong his ability, Ben-Ben is still a 1/1 for four mana.

Things I like about the U/W/b build:

  • The curve is wonderful, the splash is consistent, the evasion is delicious, the tricks and flicks are powerful… I’m in love.

  • Weenies plus Indomitable Will spells quick beats indeed.

  • There’s a fair chance of double shrine action.

Things I dislike:

  • On turn 3, having access to double White for Riftwalker or double Blue for Kami of Twisted Reflection may sometimes pose a problem.

  • The mana requirements for key cards, heavy in double-color needs, are guaranteed to cause problems over a day of tournament play.

  • There are key cards missing from a U/W base build, such as Teller of Tales and Cage of Hands.

So there we have it. A little different, and difficult, today… but the card pool is deep, which is never a bad thing.

I tried several color combinations in this pool, finding that the pairings above led to the most consistent builds while retaining a decent power-base.

At a PTQ, this pool of cards would please me. Until I built my deck, of course. Then I’d show it to my team-mates, and they’d tell me what colors and cards I should be playing. As we’ve seen, this pool presents multiple choices and paths to glory. I’d hope to make top eight with this pool whatever cards I finally fling.

Two decks for the price of one…

Hey, at least I’m value for money.

Until the next pile…

Thanks for listening.

Craig Stevenson

Scouseboy on MTGO

[email protected]