Sealed Revealed II: Card Pool Four

At this point I’m certain we don’t need to explain Sealed Revealed and Craig Stevenson to you. Either you love the balding Scouser and think he’s the cat’s pajamas or you think he’s pure bollocks. Today’s card pool was a particularly difficult one to build and should be a good test for those of you looking to attend Limited PTQs in the coming weeks.

Are you ready to rock?

Are you ready to roll?

Are you ready to take a list of cards and build yourself a deck?

Are you ready to visit the forums and debate the finer points of Sealed Deck strategy?

If not, you’d better get ready real quick. Because let’s face it, it’s all downhill from here.

Last time, we saw a pool with excellent White cards and playable Red, Black and (debatably) Green. Consensus was that the essential frame of the deck was W/B/r or W/R/b, with a little debate over the final pieces.

This pool, however, poses a few different problems. Most of them relate to color.

But enough of my yackin’! What say we lie back and enjoy the show…

Sim Salabim, Sim Salabim, Sim Salabim…

Oh Spirit of Bueller, I summon thee…

Sim Salabim, Sim Salabim…

Send me cards, cards, CAAAAAARDS!!!!!


And Lo, It Came To Pass.


Devoted Retainer

Kami of the Painted Road

Kitsune Blademaster

Kitsune Diviner


Samurai of the Pale Curtain

Terashi’s Cry


Heart of Light

Moonlit Strider

Opal Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo

Terashi’s Grasp

Waxmane Baku


Aura of Dominion

Consuming Vortex

Counsel of the Soratami

Cut the Tethers

Floating-Dream Zubera

Hisoka, Minamo Sensei

Hisoka’s Defiance

Peer Through Depths

Petals of Insight

Student of Elements

Teller of Tales

Wandering Ones

Heed the Mists

Ribbons of the Reikai

Teardrop Kami

Toils of Night and Day

Veil of Secrecy



Gibbering Kami

Gutwrencher Oni

Horobi, Death’s Wail

Midnight Covenant

Rend Spirit

Waking Nightmare

Blessing of Leeches

Call for Blood

2 Horobi’s Whisper

Mark of the Oni

Psychic Spear


Akki Avalanchers

Desperate Ritual

Devouring Rage

Hearth Kami

Kami of Fire’s Roar

Sokenzan Bruiser

Stone Rain

Unnatural Speed

Akki Blizzard-Herder

Cunning Bandit


Goblin Cohort

Ire of Kaminari

Shinka Gatekeeper


Joyous Respite

Jukai Messenger

Kodama’s Reach

Orbweaver Kumo

Order of the Sacred Bell

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Vine Kami

Body of Jukai

Enshrined Memories

Harbringer of Spring

Sakura-Tribe Springcaller

Sosuke’s Summons

Traproot Kami

Vital Surge


Junkyo Bell

Reito Lantern

Sensei’s Divining Top


Seventy-five tap-dancing tuba-blowing cardboard conquistadors, all assembled and ready for battle. So pull out your map of Europe, rally the elite into a battle squadron, and INVADE POLAND!


For what it’s worth, I present my thoughts on the cards. Be warned: all rational and useful information is clouded in a fog of idiotic and ill-conceived humor.

Hey, what did ya expect? I gotta be me!


Let’s see how the color of Craig-Lovin’ has treated me today…

  • One mana gives us Devoted Retainer. I suppose here I should be making an orthodontic joke, but as I’m English I’m unsure what you mad yanks actually define as a retainer, so I’ll leave the stateside comedy to the professionals. One mana, 1/1, bushido… nothing fancy, and very borderline. If you’ve got the Jitte, then he’s playable. Then again, if you’ve got the Jitte a boiled egg is playable.

  • Also for one mana, we have the divine Kitsune Diviner. I’m a big fan of this funky fox, as it holds down the most surprising threats. Of course, he’s fragile, and he won’t win the game on his own (he might if you slap a Mythic Proportions on him)… but he’s a guy who happily takes the fall for the team by sapping up a piece of mid-game removal.

  • Yes folks, the poster-boy samurai is back! Three mana gives us the delicious Kitsune Blademaster. First strike, bushido… is there nothing that this magnificent masterblader can’t do? The best offensive White common by a country mile.

  • Alongside the Blademaster, we have another Samurai stalwart: the Samurai of the Pale Curtain. It’s nice to see such a house-proud pugilist: Apparently, Saviours continues the trend with Samurai of the Vaccuumed Stair-Carpet, Samurai of the Artexed Ceiling and Samurai Who’s Washing the Dishes. Play him, especially if you’re not worried about your own soulshift or graveyard triggers.

  • Three mana also brings us Opal-Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo. This is definitely a wall with attitude. In a heavy White deck, he can be a savage protector. Of course, he’s half the card that Eight and a Half Tails is. Perhaps we should christen him Four and a Quarter Tails. This guy is a deck-dependant bomb. In the right build, he can be stellar, but sometimes hes little more than a hard-to-cast chump. Once he’s down, he becomes the suspicious stain on your bedsheet: ugly, unpleasant and a BUGGER to remove.

  • Three mana sees us slapping down another Limited Bomb: the Waxmane Baku. This wondrous ball o’ wax is the perfect antidote to mid-game stallage, enabling the White guys to swing past big blocking baddies. It can tap multiple targets at once, which is insane with Horobi on the pitch. A definite contender.

  • This pool had a fair few defensive possibilities, and at four mana, Moonlit Strider is one of them. Its ability is passable at best, but the Soulshift option is nifty, especially if fetching a Waxmane Baku or a (sadly missing) Kabuto Moth. I quite like Moonlit Strider, especially as it becomes Moonlit Aragorn halfway through the tournament.

  • Rounding out the White posse, we have the not-completely hideous Kami of the Painted Road. While his ability is a clunker, he has his uses. After all, he’s a finisher of sorts, and can scare opponents into holding back attackers. I’d give him a shot, but I wouldn’t be proud of it. Five mana creatures should FLY, damnit!

As you can see, we have some playable men. Moving on to the support cards…

  • As far as the support spells are concerned… there is one overall standout. Take a bow, Reciprocate. This new-age Swords to Plowshares is exceptionally powerful, as anyone who’s used one to remove a cheeky pinging Kumano will tell you. If you have a Plains in your deck, then play this card.

  • Sadly, the quality support soon begins to dry up, leaving us as parched as a camel chewing sandpaper. Our other one-mana option, Vigilance, is the chocolate teapot of the cardpool: pretty, yet utterly useless.

  • At three mana, we have the Heart of Light. While this can be a situational winner, I feel uncomfortable either giving my opponent a virtually indestructable blocker, or neutralising a threat on my own team. In a defensive-minded deck that needs to survive until the heavy hitters show their ugly fists, then it has a place. I’d still avoid it if possible.

  • Finally, we have the double-headed Terashi themed pair, Terashi’s Cry and Terashi’s Grasp. The Cry taps their guy, while the Grasp… kicks their… asp. Or something. The Cry is probably semi-playable in this pool, especially with Horobi threatening like MJ at a creche. As for the Grasp… is it worth maindecking enchantment removal in this format? Anyone?

The White, as usual, tickles my fancy in a certain way. Sure, there’s nothing obscene here… but there’s a decent skeleton crew of playables from which to build.

And now… boring boring Blue.


Let’s begin proceedings with the now fabled “Is Blue Poo?” test.


We have a Teller of Tales.

Thus, we must take Blue seriously in this pool.

Beginning with the creatures:

  • Blocks throughout time have given us the standard five-mana 3/3 Blue flyer. While Aven Windreader and pals set the bar, Teller of Tales sails right over it. To begin, it has a highly relevant ability, on both offense and defense (or “while attacking and defending,” if you’re English), and it has a fat three-toughness ass. And on top of all that, he’s a consummate racconteur: the tales he tells are fantastic. Without this guy, Blue is little more than a bunch of inbred wimps.

  • Now the Teller conundrum is out of the way, new questions arise. The most important is this: “How can I remove those special stains from my clown costume?” The second most important question is: “Does the Teller have the back-up of a decent posse of fellas?” We have two guys at one mana. The first, Wandering Ones, actually invented the flavor “vanilla.” It’s a waste of a slot.

  • The second, the Teardrop Kami, has uses. They are best served if your pool is rife with Ninja, of course… sadly, we have no such luck here. It combos well with Horobi, but then again, so do the majority of cards in both your hand and the hand of your opponent.

  • We’ve glared at Hisoka’s Guard. We’ve fought against Hisoka’s Defiance. Hell, we’ve even mocked Hisoka’s Hairdo. But now, we get to meet the man himself… Hisoka, Minamo Sensei! Mr. Miyagi, take a bow! So, it he any good for Sealed? Personally, I doubt it. Situational countermagic is bad enough when it’s printed on a card: as a spellshaper ability, it’s surely no more than sweaty nuts. Still, nice beard ya got there, fella.

  • Lounging on the two-mana couch, we have two decidedly different options. The first is the eminently playable Floating-Dream Zubera. He blocks, and replaces himself. Of course, it is a mystery to my why this guy doesn’t fly. After all, he’s a FLOATING-Dream Zubera. Maybe Wizards could make “floating” the new keyword mechanic for “can block as though it had flying.” After all, they murdered our beloved walls… “Defender” indeed! [I agree, Defender is utter crap. Like “Wall” wasn’t intuitive enough or something. – Knut, miffed]

  • The other contender is a two-mana muppet. Student of Elements is the typical student: he stays in bed until well after he’s required, and when he odes make an appearance he’s thoroughly useless. Avoid it like you would a burst skunk.

The Blue guys are little more than chumps, aside from the Teller of Tales. No Moonfolk, no Glasskites… there’s not even a River bloody Kaijin.

What of the support cards? Do they make my garden grow?

As you all know by now, the anal shenanigans of the Blue mage leave me stone cold. I find it difficult to muster up enthusiasm for these cards, especially the at the shallow end of the pool. In this analysis, I’ll dwell on the playables, but I’ll be expending no more than five words apiece on the stinkers. In fact, I’ll rattle through the chaff to begin with, just to get it out of my (receding) hair… something I’m sure Ted will understand. [Apparently shaving one’s head bald is enough to get the whole IRC community to make fun of you when they see the first picture. Of course, I expect that sort of thing from our loveable Scouser. – Knut, staying bald for a while, regardless]

The rest, I suppose, have their uses. Let’s put them under the microscope.

  • Most of the spells in this section cost two mana. It’s as though that “two mana” is the benchmark for the color, the industry standard to which all effects adhere. We begin with Veil of Secrecy, granting your creature unblockable and untargetable. It has a very nice splice cost, which can be more of a blessing than a curse. Plus it works well with Ninjas, and cards such as Wicked Akuba or Cursed Ronin. Lovely.

  • Next is Peer Through Depths. It serves a function, but it’s an ultimately bland one. Hey, look at me! I fetch you a card! I suspect that if you’re relying on playing cards of this quality, there will be little of note worth searching for.

  • Hisoka’s Defiance depicts Hisoka being attacked by an angry milkman. That fact alone makes it unplayable. I tend to view this as a sideboard option, brought in to deal with Dragons and Greeds, etc. Having said this, if you’re a fan of countermagic in Limited, you could do worse than this. After all, Willy World and his Wagging Dog always packs his deck with Spirits and Arcane targets.

  • Oh Consuming Vortex, how we love thee so. It’s the staple two-mana Oingy Boingy spell. And I love saying Oingy Boingy. Try it! Let the words roll around your tongue. Oingy Boingy, Oingy Boingy, Oingy Boingy.

  • Counsel of the Soratami is a card that divides opinion. I quite like it, though I admit that casting it on turn 3 can trigger a game-losing loss of tempo. Just save it up for the mid-game, doofus! If I play Blue, I’m happy to see this.

  • Petals of Insight, however, is a draw spell too far for this fire-loving fella. I admit that the effect is strong. The thing is, it takes up too much precious time and resource to greatly benefit. Sure, drawing three cards is neat-o, but if they’re bad cards? Can you really afford the tempo loss of doing it all again next turn? [*Ahem* better late game card than Counsel *Ahem*]

  • Finally, we have the Toils of Night and Day. What exactly are the toils of night and day? Shopping is a toil of day, and grave-robbing is a toil of night… is shopping for grave-robbing paraphernalia considered a toil of night and day? Erm, this card taps thing Or untaps them. Good for surprise blockers, and for alpha striking.

The Blue, the Blue, is it good for you? I’m unsure. After all, we have the big lad Teller, but we don’t have much to back him up…

Maybe a splash, maybe not. Definitely no main-colour biscuits this time.

Onto the Black, Jack.


In previous articles, I made up silly songs when pulling double-duty in bomb commons. I’d hate to disappoint you this time. Well, no more than usual. So without further ado, here is the Horobi’s Whisper Song!

I’ve pulled 2 Horobi’s Whisper!

They shall make my deck feel crisper!

I hope that my lands don’t miss-beh-

-hayve and leave me mana-screwed!

Woohoo! That was rubbish!

Still, I tried.

The Black cards…

  • As I mentioned, double Horobi’s Whisper. Obviously good. This pool sees both Horobi and Horobi’s Whisper. Hopefully, the next set will have “Horobi’s Cat,” or maybe even “Horobi’s Cousin Who Gets On His Nerves By Borrowing His DVDs And Returning Them With Huge Scratches Across The Playing Surface And The Center Tag For Holding The Disk In Place All Mangled And Broken.” Or something.

  • To back this up, we have a Rend Spirit. The debate still rages over the relative merits of the Rend Spirit against the Rend Flesh. Suffice to say, it’s a close run contest. Yet the most useful in any real-life situation will undoubtedly be the other one. Play them anyway, they’re peachy!

  • Sadly, the depth of Black removal now becomes diluted as the rest of the contenders merrily piss into the pool. For starters, there’s the one-for-two Call For Blood. Sorry, but it’s too costly for its effect. Unless you’re a vampire ordering takeout, then Calling for Blood is a bad move.

  • Unlike our good friend Glacial Ray, Mark of the Oni is not such a well-liked guy. I’m not surprised at that, to be fair. After all, he lives in a cave and leers at the passing ladies. Surely the phrase “if you control no demons” is enough information for you to pass this particular skill-test?

  • Moving onto the discard potion of the pool… we have the Waking Nightmare. I am coming to appreciate discard in Limited, especially the slower format of Sealed. And the Nightmare is the best of the block. After all, it’s arcane, and that’s actually important. Especially with the two Horobi’s Whisper still dancing a jig at the top of the page.

  • Two Black mana gives us the opportunity to Distress our opponent. While it has its uses, I see it as more of a board card against high-mana bombs such as dragons and Meloku, etc. Of course, I can see the benefit of playing it main… I’d rather have a better option in my pool, though.

  • Finally, we have the Psychic Spear. I dislike it, yet a forum fella sang its praises. What do people think? Come discuss it in the forums.

  • But wait! Black has still more goodies up its sleeve! Three mana gets us a Blessing of Leeches, allowing instant-speed repeat regeneration free of charge. I like this card, but I appear to be in a minority. Well, boo yah to you! I’ll play it regardless. Seriously though… is it terrible? Why?

  • Finally, stood in the kitchen at this particular party, we have the Midnight Covenant. No no no no absolutely not.

Black has given us excellent removal. In fact there are spells emerging from all areas. The million-dollar question is… do we have a decent Black bloke support squad?

  • Three creatures? Three bloody creatures? What the Deuce is all that about?! Ah well, at least they’re good guys to have around. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that a 4/4 flyer for 4 is acceptable whatever the drawback may be. Horobi, Horobi, Horobi… He’s a house, and no mistake. Sure, he’s a fragile as a glass egg made of cotton candy… but his “drawback” is a double-edged weapon, and we can take advantage of the situation with a fistful of targeting effects. As we will be playing Black, on the strength of the removal alone, then Horobi will probably find a spot.

  • Four mana also gives us the 2/2 flying stalwart Gibbering Kami. He’s the meat in a Black sandwich, the flake in a Black ice-cream, the Black pudding in the Full English Breakfast of Kamigawa block. Flying, 2/2, four mana… it does exactly what it says on the tin.

  • Finally, we have the beefiest of the Three Amigos, this pool’s Porthos: Gutwrencher Oni. I don’t card how badly I miss the discarded cards, a 5/4 trampler on turn 5 will win games on its own. He looks a little upset in his picture, though. Maybe he’s irritated by the stench of the onions that are strung around his neck.

Three men… *sigh* All we need is a baby, and we’re set.

Of course, the removal is key in this color. Where Black figures in the final reckoning remains to be seen.

I am the law. It’s time to Judge d’Red. (Hahahahaha! Zing!)


I like Red cards. They’re special to me. They burn things, and they’re crazy little f**kers with madcap schemes. When I play this game, I pray for Red goodness.

How do they fare in this pool?


It’s raining men! Halleluya!

  • We start small, with the Goblin Cohort. I quite like this spunky little monkey. After all, he’s a 2/2 blocker. In Sealed, however, he’s available for attacks about 1 turn in 3, so it’s best to have a low curve in order to maximize his early efficiency. I must say I’m a little put off by the way he holds his bone, but maybe that’s just me.

  • The other one-drop goblin, the Akki Avalanchers, is a “meh” card. He has a use in quick decks, but there are almost infinite cards I’d rather run in his place. He helps his Cohort buddies, I suppose. Leave him in the gene pool.

  • We round off the one-drop blokes with the mighty Frostling. He trades with 2/2 spods, and is often soulshifted hither and thither for multitasking duties. Mogg Fanatic is still playable, and there’s no thought required in this choice.

  • Upping the ante to two precious mana, we’ll dispense with the Akki Blizzard Herder immediately. He’s poor in this format, and he has a ludicrous nose, perhaps the most ludicrous nose on any Magic card. In fact, I challenge you to find me a more ludicrous nose in Magic Art. Go on. I dare ya.

  • Two mana, two power. Hearth Kami. Now this is more like it! Aggressive, with a utility ability (utilibility), he’s a maindeck superstar. Don’t cross the road without him.

  • Climbing further up the mana staircase, we have the tale of two three-mana guys. The first, Cunning Bandit, may as well be a three-mana Duress. After all, his main purpose is drawing removal out of your opponent’s grasp. The Cunning Bandit, if left unhindered, will control the board single-handed. And when flipped, he attacks for five! He’s debatably the strongest of the new flip-guy flock, with his White counterpart running him a close second.

  • However, three mana can also reveal a bit of a clunker. Shinka Gatekeeper, the Jackal Pup all grown up, isn’t terrible… however, it’s hardly a good dog. The drawback will jump up and bite your bits when you least need it. Still, three mana, three power… in an aggressive, removal-filled deck, he’ll do fine.

  • This block seems rife with 2/1 and 2/2 guys. Therefore, a playable 2/3 is not to be ignored. When his ability allows you to negate your opponent’s best blocker… fantastic. Say hello, Kami of Fire’s Roar! At first, I was not sold on the strength of this flame-licked meddler. Nowadays, he’s one of two (or three) creatures that are mainstays in the color.

  • Sokenzan Bruiser? Mountainwalk? Sideboard, mate. Now, if there was a similarly-priced guy with swampwalk in this block, he’d make my maindeck each and every time.

We have some nice boys in this pool, that’s for sure. The thing is, they’re rather strung out. We lack the Houndmaster, the Frostwielder and the Brutal Deceiver. Without them… it feels as if we’re forcing something that just isn’t quite up to the task.

“But what of the removal,” I hear your weep. “won’t someone tell us about the sodding remoooooooval.

Well, if you put it like that…

… … … there isn’t any.

So that’s that.

Oh, sorry, I missed one

Stone Rain. You can remove a land.

Sure, there’s the situational Ire of Kaminari, but I feel uncomfortable playing a card that might do absolutely jack-squat. And let’s face it, they should’ve named the card “Revenge of the Deep-Fried Squid Parts.”

What else have we got on the Red back-burner?

  • Unnatural Speed is unnaturally poor.

  • Desperate Ritual is strictly for the desperate.

  • Devouring Rage is the only one worth mentioning, and even then it falls foul of spot removal many more times that it should. It can outright win, but it can outright lose, too. Be careful when playing this card. It can ruin your game and give you a nasty paper-cut.

The Red guys had me thinking for a second… but then the lack of quality Red support soon put paid to that peculiar state of mind. Which was rather refreshing, as I usually find that thinking is a mug’s game. I tend to leave the thinking to the philosophers.

And talking of Philosophers, we now move onto chlorophyll-osophy. The Green cards!

(Hehehe, “chlorophyll-osophy!” I rule!) [Well, that’s one perspective. – Knut]


So what do we have in the glorious garden of Green? As usual, I’ll kick off with the Green grunts:

  • Green blokes who cost one mana should only ever do one thing: produce more mana. That’s what Green is for, for Pete’s sake! Therefore, Jukai Messenger needs to take this message… it’s a strong message, consisting of a single finger. The Jukai are definitely missing an “n”.

  • Also at a lowly one mana, the Traproot Kami is a little more debatable. In a Green mirror, this guy is usually gargantuan, perhaps a 0/8 (that blocks flyers) for one mana. He has his uses. Just don’t blame me if you start drawing a lot of your matches.

  • Two mana brings us the land-grabbing Sakura-Tribe Elder. If you don’t already know that this card is great, then you’re beyond help. Go play Guess Who with the speccy kids.

  • After hurdling the three-mana slot, as Green is notoriously good at, we have the four-mana Order of the Sacred Bell. The Order of the Sacred Bell is a simple one to follow: Acolytes need only strip to the waist and worship the Hulk. A good, if rather boring, card.

  • Sakura-Tribe Springcaller is one of the weird “I get free mana” cards. Therefore, it’s probably terrible. I think that a Springcaller should have the ability “tap: put a 1/1 spring token into play. This token is bouncy, and can block as though it had flying. Oingy Boingy!” [What’s that I hear? Is that the forums screaming in frustration or just a pack of wild dogs outside my window? I guess we’ll know momentarily. – Knut, who notes that the four-butt on the Springcaller is rather obnoxious]

  • Five mana, Heartbeat of Spring. Hehehe! Oingy Boingy! Oingy Boingy! This is a terrible card. Oingy Boingy!

  • Now, we must board the Mana Rocket and hit the heady heights… six mana, seven mana, eight mana and more! Six gives us an Orbweaver Kumo, a rancid turd of a card that needs much more bang for its buck. I’m maybe bring it in against others running Green, as it can forestwalk to victory. Other than that? Hideous.

  • Seven Mana… Vine Kami! I’m sorry, but anything that costs more than a dragon should be better than a dragon. This guy isn’t fit to trim a dragon’s bumfluff with a pair of little scissors.

  • Up high in the mana clouds, we have the nine-mana Body of Jukai. Eight power… Trample… Soulshift infinity… … still absolute toss. Avoid this like the plague.

The Green Gods in this particular pool hardly leap out at me brandishing the Wet Kipper of Success. I’ve seen more impressive Green men after drinking half a bottle of Jack Daniels, thank you very much.

I suppose we should round off the colored chaff with a cursory glance at the Green support. My, how very tedious.

  • Sosuke’s Summons is a card with potential. If your deck is packed like a snake-charmer’s posing pouch, then this card is the python’s pecker. And I love the artwork! Three mana, summon Disco Snakes!

  • Kodama’s Reach. Yes, this is good. It fetches you mana, and ramps up to your good stuff with only a marginal impact on tempo. And it’s arcane to boot. You all know this already, so quit mucking about.

  • For “x and a g,”, we have Enshrined Memories. What do you folk think about this card? At first glance, I dislike it. However, I was wary of Commune with Nature at first, and that proved its worth pretty quickly. Is this another gem, or is it merely a bag of charcoal briquettes from your local garage forecourt?

  • To round off the Green craziness, we have two life-gaining smeg-wallet cards: Vital Surge and Joyous Respite. I suggest you play them. No, really, I do! Play them, and gain that life! Go on, gain it! Gain it again! And again! And again! Oingy Boingy!

That’ll do for Green. It’s weak, and we all know it.

The end is in sight, my fine forum fairies!

Moving swiftly on…



Four artifacts.

It’s like Mirrodin all over again.

Here’s my low-down:

  • Junkyo Bell: To be frank, I’ve seen more desirable things in the contents of my cat’s litter tray. And believe me, Corky produces an inordinate amount of… substance… for such a small beast.

  • Reito Lantern: Has some Constructed uses, or at least it will when Scrabbling Claws bites the big one. As for Limited? I’d rather jack.

  • Sensei’s Divining Top: Ah, the mighty Top. This card, like Pamela Anderson, has both fans and knockers. I sit firmly in the “play it” aisle, while others more talented than I sit squarely on the “bin it” plinth. I say go for it. Be yourself, and hang the consequences!

  • Shuriken: The ninja weapon of choice. In a pool with a few ninjas, then this is golden. In a pool with no ninjas, it’s merely serviceable. In a pool with no ninjas and decent removal, such as this pool, it’s nothing special.


I see no land. Do you?

If you do, I recommend you consult an optician.

*inhales deeply on post-construction cigarette*

So how was it for you?

Did the seven-five-select go all the way?

Did you toil night and day, consumed in a vortex of creativity… or was it simply a waking nightmare?

Here’s what I built.

May Aten have mercy upon my soul…

White (9):

Kitsune Diviner

Devoted Retainer

Samurai of the Pale Curtain

Opal Eye, Konda’s Yojimbo

Waxmane Baku

Kitsune Blademaster

Moonlit Strider

Kami of the Painted Road


Blue (5):

Floating-Dream Zubera

Teller of Tales

Consuming Vortex

Veil of Secrecy

Toils of Night and Day

Black (7):

Horobi, Death’s Wail

Gibbering Kami

Gutwrencher Oni

Rend Spirit

2 Horobi’s Whisper

Waking Nightmare

Artifact (1)

Sensei’s Divining Top

Land (18)

7 Plains

6 Swamp

5 Island

Creatures: 13

0cc = 0

1cc = CC SS

2cc = CC SS


4cc = CCC

5cc = CCC

6cc = 0

7cc = 0

8cc = 0

Ooooooh, there’s something not right about that lot, I’m certain. But as with anything, especially math, there are pluses and minuses to consider.

The Good Stuff

  • Lemme see… there’s plenty of removal, that’s for sure.

  • We also have many routes to victory. We’ve got flyers, and tappers, and strong monsters, and tempo, and search… there’s a lot of integrated options in this build.

  • Basically, we have one copy of Horobi, and twenty-one other cards that interact with him in a positive way. Therefore, if we see Horobi, there’ll be carnage.

  • The Blue splash, while heavy, seems highly playable. Sure, there’s a double-Blue-mana Teller of Tales, but we’ve gotta play the good stuff… right?

  • There are plenty of spiritcraft triggers in this pool. We’ve a shedload of spirits, and an attic full of arcane spells. Splice shall be nice.

The Bad Stuff

  • The mana base, and double-colored costings, are appalling. They burn my brain, Ma! Please make the bad noises stop! I mean, Teller, Samurai, Opal-eye and Horobi? What the deuce is all that about? I ask you!

  • Without Horobi, some of the blue cards seem a little weak. While the Teller (double-color mana!) and the Zubera will always be a use, the others have varying degrees of positive application. Sure, Vortex and Veil are nice, but Toils ain’t a jammy dodger in Sealed.

  • Thirteen guys? Is this enough? After all, there’s no Soulless Revival or Soulshift action here… I feel a little light on muscle.

  • I’m giving up some quality Red spells in this pool. I miss the Cunning Bandit especially, but there are other lovely lads to pine for.

  • Some of the White guys seem a little sub-optimal. Kami of the Painted Road, Devoted Retainer and Moonlit Strider in particular. Still, what can you expect from them dangerous Ranger-types?

  • The curve for creatures is too flat. I’d prefer some more two-drops, as the tempo of the format is increasing as I type. In fact, by the end of the series, I’ll be surprised if any pro games last past turn 2.

  • I know, I know… I shoulda played Red instead of White. Bite me.

Overall, I think I’ve made a half-decent fist of a bizarre pool of cards. But again there’s a gremlin chewing at my brain, nibble nibble nibble. I feel like I’m learning each time I crack a stack: after all, I’m not afraid of discard any more, and (this pool aside) I seem to be coming up with manageable splashes and fewer glaring errors.

But this pool sees my doubt, like a codger on Viagra, spring eternal.

I think my build is too reliant on its bomb-cards, such as Horobi or the Teller. Sure, games that go Turn 3 Blademaster, Turn 4 Gibbering Kami, Turn 5 Gutwrencher will be difficult to lose, but games that go Turn 2 Devoted Retainer, Turn 3 Kitsune Diviner, Turn 4 Floating-Dream Zubera will be equally difficult to win.

I’m placing my fate in the lap of the Luck-Lords. And with a manabase as shaky as Michael J. Fox’s autograph, that’s hardly a wise move.

Ah, balls to it. There’s always tomorrow…

Until the next pile…

Thanks for listening.

Craig Stevenson

[email protected]

Scouseboy on MTGO

This weekend, I attend my first PTQ for PT: London… and boy, I want to qualify for that one. I’ll note down my card pool and write a report when I’m done. It should be a nice change of pace for the series, and it will be a real-life testament to any progress I may have made. In any event, it’ll give us food for thought in the forums.

Wish me luck, folks… I’m going in.

Oingy Boingy!