New Strategies with M12:
Today we’ll be examining a number of M12 cards that could help bring about new strategies, or at least non-mainstream strategies. Figuring out how to
use all of the new cards, as well as which new cards and new strategies are best positioned in the coming metagame, will take some time. That said,
there are few greater joys in life than brewing for a new format, and the combination of the Jace/Mystic ban and new cards and exciting reprints from
M12 adds three dimensions of change to the format. M12 isn’t the strongest Constructed set we’ve seen lately, but it does have a variety of
role-players and question marks, cards that seem to be filled with promise without a clear map for how best to use them. We don’t want the new cards to
be as easy to figure out as the Titans were every year, so a challenge is much appreciated.
The lists we cover today are going to be far rawer, requiring more tuning. Others may even be better off abandoned, when we discover why they are not
right for the new format. Still, all of them help compile a picture of what’s possible so that we can begin to uncover the questions the metagame is
Once we understand this, we can actually build the deck that answers those exact questions. If we are going to discover something new, explore
uncharted lands, we can’t be afraid of what we might run into. Besides, you can’t brew sixteen new decks and expect each one to be a tournament
powerhouse. If just one in sixteen new strategies is actually good, we are already way ahead of the curve!
While this strategy bears only a passing resemblance to Hall of Famer Alan Comer’s Turbo Xerox deck, it does draw on its use of cantrips to fix the
mana. Comer invented the concept of using (at the time) unthinkably low land counts, relying on a variety of cantrips to fix his mana. The advantage to
this strategy was an inherently higher concentration of spells. One of the classic advantages of aggressive decks is their lower land counts than that
of control decks. Here, we have an aggro-control deck with even fewer lands than most aggro decks. The result is a greater chance of drawing spells in
the mid-game (though we do have some instability at the beginning of the game, as well as a need to spend some of our tempo in the early game
cantripping into our mana).
This is far from the only kind of home that Azure Mage might find, but aggro-control decks do make for a natural fit. Azure Mage is fairly aggressive
as far as blue two-drops go, and the fact he can draw cards with relatively minimal opportunity cost makes him a deceptively strong threat. While this
specific application of Azure Mage is a bit extreme, it’s safe to say that Azure Mage will surely see plenty of play in the months to come.
One of his best uses is that of a sideboard option for decks without small creatures. For instance, a traditional U/B Control deck could sideboard like
It isn’t just control decks that can make use of Azure Mage out of the sideboard, however. Pyromancer Ascension has often used creatures like Kiln
Fiend or Echo Mage to punish players without removal. Azure Mage does a mighty fine Jushi Apprentice imitation, while simultaneously getting in some
hits (which can be quite valuable in a deck full of Bolts and Bursts).
While Jushi Apprentice was the type of card you wanted to play on turn two, threatening to use it turn three, Azure Mage might be more of a turn three
plan. If you have a deck with Spell Pierces or discard, you can Leak/Go for the Throat on turn two, followed by Inquisition or Spell Pierce on turn
three. This protects the Azure Mage and curves into the turn four activation.
Another possible direction, albeit a bit of a long shot, is that of traditional fish:
- 4 Cosi's Trickster
- 4 Coralhelm Commander
- 4 Phantasmal Bear
- 2 Azure Mage
- 2 Phantasmal Dragon
- 4 Lord of the Unreal
This list doesn’t feature Azure Mage heavily, but it does take advantage of the new Illusions from M12. Phantasmal Bear is the most exciting of the
tribe, as it gives blue arguably its most aggressive one-drop of all-time. The “drawback” of the Phantasmal Bear is minimal, since few players will
have ways to kill it that don’t cost at least a card and a mana. The fact that it is not legendary makes it arguably better than Isamaru, Hound of
Konda, though it cannot be equipped (an actual drawback), nor can we cycle our Twisted Images on it.
Lord of the Unreal does not yet have a big tribe, but he is going to be an important one to watch. If Innistrad has a couple playable Illusions, this
guy could get exciting fast, as he is costed slightly more aggressively than Lord of Atlantis (as hexproof is slightly stronger than islandwalk).
Phantasmal Dragon does hit fairly hard and in the air, but it’s unclear whether a 5/5 flier with no drawback is actually good enough. I would like to
try the Dragon, but it is possible that we should just be using Molten-Tail Masticore instead. If we went that route, it gives us further reason to try
Grand Architect as an additional lord, setting up the turn three Masticore.
Twisted Image and Mental Misstep are not widely maindecked, but I am sure the reader can no doubt surmise what we’re going for here. The Vapor Snags,
on the other hand, may come as a bit of a surprise. The one life may not seem like a lot, but that is one-third of a Lava Spike tacked on for free (no
card and no mana) above the Unsummon. Even if we figure that Unsummon is worth slightly less than a card, the extra damage really does add up in an
aggressive deck and is worth at least a one-third of a card, possibly as much as half a card. I don’t expect blue aggro decks to be all the rage in
Standard, but for those who do want to try them, I suggest giving Vapor Snag a shot.
Cosi’s Trickster is a bit underrated, simply because there are no existing blue aggro strategies. Once we go this route, however, he is actually pretty
solid. Sure, sometimes he is just Merfolk of the Pearl Trident, but an awful lot of people use fetchlands, not to mention Squadron Hawks, Rampant
Growths, and so on. To sweeten the pot just a little, he is a Merfolk, so Coralhelm Commander gives you a little bonus.
The next card on our agenda is one that has such a powerful effect for so cheap that it adds more texture to the format than most single cards can. The
tradeoff, though, is that it requires a lot more work to use it right.
- 1 Phyrexian Rager
- 2 Acidic Slime
- 4 Bloodghast
- 1 Vampire Nighthawk
- 1 Grave Titan
- 1 Liliana's Specter
- 1 Obstinate Baloth
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 1 Skinrender
- 4 Viridian Emissary
- 1 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 1 Entomber Exarch
Smallpox is a fantastically disruptive card, when used right. It is both cheap land destruction, as well as additional discard to complement
Inquisitions and a Birthing Pod curve of Liliana’s Specter into Entomber Exarch. Smallpox works with Bloodghast on numerous levels. Obviously
Bloodghast is an ideal creature to sacrifice to it, but you can actually accelerate yourself by using Smallpox to discard the Bloodghast. Since he pops
straight back into play, it’s as if you didn’t really discard a card, nor did you lose the two mana spent casting Smallpox. Little edges like this are
excellent ways to break the symmetry of the card. It doesn’t take that much to come out ahead, but you do have to get something. Otherwise you
are just spending a card and two-mana more than your opponent.
Another exciting play is the turn two Smallpox on the draw. When your opponent leads with Valakut into Forest + Overgrown Battlement, a turn two
Smallpox is absolutely devastating. They lose a creature, and you don’t, so you made up the card already. They lost the two-mana spent on the
Battlement, so you have paid for the two mana from Smallpox. It is even possible you discarded a Bloodghast, at which point you are way ahead. However,
even if you didn’t, you still hit three of their cards on turn two, leaving them possibly stunted on mana and fairly disrupted.
Viridian Emissary is another exciting creature to sacrifice, combining with Smallpox to make up the lost land. Additionally, both Bloodghast and the
Emissary make excellent Birthing Pod fuel, letting you take over a game that way.
Beast Within gains added utility in a Smallpox deck, since you can still get the creature worth of value from the Smallpox against creatureless
opponents. Additionally, using Beast Within as a Stone Rain on turn three becomes a lot more potent if you follow it up with a Smallpox to both kill
the Beast and keep the land destruction coming.
Garruk Wildspeaker is quite exciting with Smallpox, and it’s possible that we should cut the Birthing Pod package entirely for something a bit more
streamlined. The dream play with Garruk is turn four play him (or turn three if you blocked with an Emissary), untap two land, and Smallpox. If you can
make this play and clear the board, you can start making Beasts every turn for no mana (a great thing to do when both players’ resources have been
Surgical Extraction or some other form of graveyard hate is likely important to Smallpox strategies, as you need to be able to fight Chandra’s Phoenix,
Vengevine, and other Bloodghasts. Additionally, when combined with the discard and Acidic Slimes, you can often disrupt combo decks so greatly they
can’t possibly go off. You have no idea how much I would love to run Gruesome Encore to combat the recursive creatures, but the extra damage just isn’t
worth spending all that mana. We really would need to guarantee we could make someone discard a Titan, with Despise or Distress, to get enough value
out of Gruesome Encore to be worth it.
An interaction to be mindful of is that of Obstinate Baloth and Smallpox. Your Smallpox is controlled by you, so it doesn’t “cheat” the Baloth onto the
battlefield. That said, if someone casts Smallpox against you, Obstinate Baloth is going to freaking wreck them. If we are going to use Smallpox, we
will want to be careful of increased numbers of Obstinate Baloths in sideboards. Given Red’s newfound strength, the Baloth is likely to be on the move
anyway. Conversely, if we find ourselves losing to Smallpox, Obstinate Baloth is a worthwhile sideboard option to keep in mind.
While on the topic of Bloodghast, another new use is to take advantage of his Vampire creature type with Bloodlord of Vaasgoth. While Bloodghast
doesn’t actually get the bonus when he reanimates himself, he is excellent for triggering bloodthirst in the first place (not to mention he will get
the bonus if cast after the Bloodlord).
Bloodlord of Vaasgoth is the new Vampire lord in M12, and he directs the Vampire tribe in a different direction than either Captivating Vampire or
Vampire Nocturnus. The Bloodlord’s bloodthirst ability doesn’t actually buff your creatures immediately, but buffs all those that follow, which
interestingly encourages us to play a style of Vampires that is reminiscent of the original Vampire decks.
As you can see, the use of Bloodlord of Vaasgoth doesn’t force us down the road of playing all Vampires. While it will be sweet to follow up a
Bloodlord with a Vampire Nighthawk, we’re mostly using him as a 6/6 flier for five that doesn’t have Abyssal Persecutor’s baggage. Abyssal Persecutor
often gets relegated to defensive duties, and our Bloodlords may often play the same role. The difference, though, is that the Bloodlord makes each of
our following Gatekeepers, Bloodghasts, and Nighthawks into Dragon-sized threats (to say nothing of the 9/9 Bloodlord next to arrive to the party).
Mire’s Toll has been overlooked in recent months, but is actually quite potent against Valakut (hitting Titan, Trap, or Green Sun’s Zenith), while
being fine against everyone.
The biggest problem I see for a deck like this is its lack of interaction with non-creature, non-land permanents. Pyromancer Ascension, Shrine of
Burning Rage, Tempered Steel, Birthing Pod, and of course, planeswalkers could all be problematic. I am not sure what the right solution is, but we may
actually want to cut five Swamps for four Terramorphic Expanses and a Plains. Yes, Evolving Wilds is still legal and can provide additional sources,
but I like just Terramorphic better. Given Spreading Seas’ popularity, we very well may need to cut a Tectonic Edge or add a 25th land and make it a
second Plains. All this white mana gives us access to Oblivion Ring, of course, which may be just what we need.
Backing up a couple decks, there are some new options for Birthing Pod strategies that are quite exciting. Solemn Simulacrum and Archon of Justice make
for a perfect chain to work our way up to Titans, Wurmcoils, and even Elesh Norn. Basically any Birthing Pod deck is going to want at least Solemn
Simulacrum, and any with white will want at least one Archon. This is far from the only route to go, but here is one possible way:
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 1 Archon of Justice
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 1 Pilgrim's Eye
- 2 Soul's Attendant
- 1 Vengevine
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 Sylvan Ranger
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 3 Leonin Relic-Warder
- 1 Viridian Emissary
- 1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- 1 Suture Priest
- 3 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 3 Blade Splicer
Here, we are using Birthing Pod and Fauna Shaman to set up the infinite life combo of Leonin Relic-Warder, Phyrexian Metamorph, and Soul’s
Attendant/Suture Priest. We have additional pieces of the combo in the sideboard against decks like Valakut where we’ll likely want to race to pull it
off as fast as possible. While the infinite life combo is sweet, it is far from our only game plan. We can just value people out with two-for-ones,
eventually taking over with some of our fatties. The mistake a lot of people make with Birthing Pod decks is putting together random collections of
cards that aren’t actually good when you don’t have Birthing Pod. Even when making a dedicated Birthing Pod deck, we want other game plans. Sixes and a
seven are game plans themselves. Fauna Shaman is a game plan. The life combo is a plan. Other excellent plans include Garruk (new or old), Gideon, or
Turn 1 Birds
Turn 4 Venser, blink the Dignitary, locking out the attack step and protecting Venser
Now, you don’t actually need the Birthing Pod, since you could just be playing U/W and curve turn four Stonehorn into turn five Venser. I only bring up
the Pod combo since we are on the topic, and it is a sweet tutor target (plus I like Venser in these sorts of decks anyway, due to their surplus of 187
creatures, which are the ones with enters-the-battlefield triggers).
Back to the Pod deck listed above, we also have M12’s Grand Abolisher in the sideboard. This is a card we’ll be discussing at greater length on Friday
where we discuss powered formats. He is obviously at his best against counterspells, and the counterspells in powered formats are much stronger than
they are in current Standard. Still, he is a worthwhile option for Pod sideboards, since he is a fine draw on his own, and he lets you threaten to turn
Birds of Paradise into Abeyances to force through whatever other threats you want (if you can stick a Pod).
The word on the street is that Innistrad is a graveyard block. Supposedly we know that flashback is making a return, and already we are seeing hints of
what is to come in the form of increased numbers of recursive creatures, discard outlets, and milling. This makes me want to explore the possibility of
a Dredgevine style of deck, similar to that used by Brad Nelson and David Ochoa in the Top 8 of US Nationals last year. Here are some of the cards that
have caught my eye for such a deck:
As you can see, there are far more options than can all fit into one deck, so finding the right build will take some experimenting. To start with, I
wanted to try something as similar as possible to the list Brad and Web used last year.
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 3 Merfolk Looter
- 4 Bloodghast
- 4 Hedron Crab
- 2 Enclave Cryptologist
- 4 Renegade Doppelganger
- 4 Vengevine
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 4 Jace's Archivist
- 1 Vengeful Pharaoh
Jace’s Archivist is a very exciting new option, especially when combined with Renegade Doppelganger to effectively give it “haste.” This is not just
looting; this is actual Windfall every turn. You will not only often increase your hand size, but you can dump all your Bloodghasts and Vengevines at
once, while looking for more. While the Archivist is somewhat fragile, I suspect we aren’t losing many of the games where we activate him.
I can’t be sure what it looks like, but it feels like Jace, Memory Adept can have a deck built around him just because of how fast you can mill
yourself with his ability. Chandra’s Phoenix takes any potential graveyard decks a very different direction, since you need a critical mass of ways to
trigger it to make it worth it. Kuldotha Phoenix obviously requires a lot of artifacts, so putting together a list that uses both is going to be
challenging due to space restrictions.
This list is obviously quite rough, but the idea is to demonstrate a way to think about the self-milling cards combined with the various Phoenixes.
What a dedicated Jace, Memory Adept looks like, I cannot be sure yet. However, it does seem that the natural way to use Jace is in U/B or U/R (so as to
not compete with the five-cost white walkers. The new Jace has been ragged on quite a bit, but I think he will find homes once people figure out how to
use him (and stop asking him to live up to his former glory). Further discussion of Jace, Memory Adept can be found here. I am not sure he is
a $40 card, but he is better than some people are giving him credit for.
Another possible use of Jace, Memory Adept is in conjunction with Visions of Beyond. Visions of Beyond cycles at relatively low cost anyway, but it is
nice that if you drop Jace and immediately mill, you can get an extra card. I say only “an” extra card instead of two extra cards because you are
losing one card by not using Jace’s +1 ability.
Players have always been drawn to the fantasy of Mono-Mill decks, and ever since Sanity Grinding revealed that there is a non-zero chance the deck can
work, this fever has only increased.
Ambitious? For sure, but this might lead us to some other breakthrough. You’ll never know what is possible if you always worry about whether something
is possible before you think about it. It isn’t that relevant here, but it is worth noting that Jace can mill you for one while drawing a card, which
is especially nice with Ponder (or Halimar Depths).
Most likely, Jace will find a true home in a more conservative strategy than this, where he is merely a five-drop that draws a card every turn, isn’t
easily killed in combat, and threatens to win the game in four turns.
Garruk, Primal Hunter is one of my absolute favorite new cards—not just on power, but because of his versatility. There are so many ways to use
him, so many good combos, but he is also a plan in and of himself. Here we are revisiting the much-maligned Stupid Green Deck strategy. The idea is to
use green’s mana advantage and big bodies to gain an advantage on the board. Going long, we can eventually close out the game with Arachnus Spinner and
Avenger of Zendikar, or Garruk himself.
Garruk is just great value, if you can support him, as he has an intrinsic power level rivaled only by Gideon among five-drop planeswalkers. A
breakdown of the card’s abilities and why he is so strong can be found here. Basically, as long
as you don’t lose to someone doing something unfair, Garruk can generally provide a potentially game-winning advantage against fair strategies (like
aggro or control). The basic algorithm of “make a Beast, then draw three” goes a long way towards both putting pressure on someone and helping you dig
into disruption against unfair strategies.
Arachnus Spinner is an exciting new green finisher that actually manages to pull off the nearly impossible and look playable despite costing six in the
same set as Titans. Primeval Titan getting basics just isn’t that exciting, and the Arachnus Spinner does have a pretty big body and inherent card
advantage (since you can tap him immediately). It is probably not worth it, but it might be nice to play one other Spider, like a Blightwidow or
something. I am not sure how often you’d need to make two Webs immediately, but it could be a cool option if you could justify the other Spider.
It is definitely amusing that Arachnus Spinner effectively trumps the Deceiver-Twin combo (since the Web stops activated abilities). When they try to
play a Deceiver Exarch, they will surely tap your Spider, to which you can respond by shooting a Web. The Web itself actually is a very reasonable
card. The presence of Overgrown Battlement, Vampire Nighthawk, Hero of Bladehold, and Grim Lavamancer means plenty of targets across the board. Green
really doesn’t get creature removal this good, normally, so putting Dismember, Arachnus Web, Beast Within, and Acidic Slime (for artifact creatures)
together in the format gives mono-green a surprisingly controlling game.
Dungrove Elder obviously combines well with Garruk, Primal Hunter, ensuring you draw the maximum number of cards, but he is also just a fine card in
his own right (if you happen to be pretty close to mono-Forest). He grows larger than Thrun quickly and comes out a turn earlier. I’m not sure what
the future of this card is, but if anyone knows, I suspect it is Jamie Wakefield.
Another card I am excited to use, but does not yet have a clear home, is Chandra, the Firebrand. While it is probable that she’ll merely be one of
several walkers used in some sort of U/W/R Super-Friends deck, there are more extreme possibilities.
As you can see, we really try to take advantage of Chandra’s ability to copy spells with this build. We can use our burn to buy ourselves some time,
then set up the combo of Molten Psyche + Chandra to deal a massive amount of damage at once. Molten Psyche can also be combined with Runeflare Trap or
Reverberate to deal a massive amount of damage (often aided by Temple Bell). Tezzeret’s Gambit is particularly cute with Chandra, since you don’t
actually lose any loyalty and only have to pay the life once. Here we also see Chandra’s Phoenix make an appearance as a sideboard option against U/B
Control, playing a similar role to that of Vengevine.
The main things Chandra has going for her are a casting cost that makes her very splashable, a passable plus and ultimate ability, and the very
exciting -2 ability. It is this -2 ability that is most likely what we want to build around to realize her full potential, since it is the most unique
of her abilities by far. One great approach to using Reverberate-type effects is to look for sorceries and instants that require an additional cost,
since when you copy it, you won’t have to pay twice. Goblin Grenade is one such option that immediately comes to mind, especially since it is so cheap
you can actually just drop Chandra on turn five and immediately use the -2 ability to set up a ten-point Goblin Grenade.
- 4 Goblin Chieftain
- 4 Goblin Bushwhacker
- 4 Goblin Guide
- 4 Warren Instigator
- 3 Ember Hauler
- 4 Spikeshot Elder
- 4 Goblin Wardriver
As you can see, I am not really feeling Goblin Arsonist, but he is another possibility if we are in the market for even more one-drops (especially
since he combos nicely with Goblin Grenade). Goblin Fireslinger is another option with the right tribe, but his ability doesn’t really mesh with the
power-enhancing strategy we are employing above. He is probably better suited to a RDW style of deck as we discussed Monday, if we are looking to just
curve out with a one-drop, followed by two more one-drops.
Overrun is a card we discussed Monday, but I did want to provide another list that goes in a different direction than the Mono-Green version. The
strategy is very straightforward, but mise list, amirite?
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Birds of Paradise
- 4 Emeria Angel
- 4 Lotus Cobra
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 4 Hero of Bladehold
- 4 Blade Splicer
- 3 Jade Mage
Jade Mage is certainly fun with Eldrazi Monument, but it has a lot of work to do to prove that it is actually better than the Nest Invader that we
could be playing instead. Overrun itself is kind of an exciting card in a world with a lot of combo, since it is basically the fastest and best way to
end a game against an opponent who hasn’t been disrupting you, for a green creature deck. If your opponent hasn’t been killing your guys, Overrun is
generally going to deal more damage than they have life points left, even as early as turn four or five. Lotus Cobra and Joraga Treespeaker help ensure
you can actually pay for it.
In a similar vein to the Overrun strategy, Allies has gained a new tool, though it is dangerously verging on “Win-More.”
- 4 Kabira Evangel
- 4 Kazandu Blademaster
- 4 Oran-Rief Survivalist
- 2 Akoum Battlesinger
- 4 Hada Freeblade
- 4 Harabaz Druid
- 4 Talus Paladin
Turn 1 Hada Freeblade
Turn 2 Kazandu Blademaster (attack for 2)
Turn 3 Harabaz Druid (attack for 6)
Turn 4 Doubling Chant (attack for 12, plus you now have over 20 power on the battlefield)
You may not always come out so aggressively, but the longer you wait to Chant, the stronger the Chant becomes. In addition to the Doubling Chant
haymaker, we also have Volt Charge and Tezzeret’s Gambit to add additional counters to most of our guys. Ajani Goldmane means everyone gets more
counters (including Ajani!).
Our final list for today is a bit of an unorthodox combo deck that rides the line between combo and Mono-Black Control, of all things.
Tezzeret’s Gambit isn’t just Sign in Blood 5-8, helping you find your “combo”; it also provides potent acceleration when combined with Everflowing
Chalice. A nice benefit of Sorin’s Vengeance is that the extra life you gain from the first one can let you Sign in Blood and Tezzeret’s Gambit that
much harder to try to force through a second one. The true “combo” however is Sorin Markov (drain a guy) followed by using his second ability on the
following turn just before playing his Vengeance to end the game from anywhere.
While we do a passable Mono-Black Control imitation, our combo kill gives us a natural solution to troublesome permanents that we would normally not be
able to beat. Our game plan is going to be quite different depending on our opponent’s strategy. Against aggressive decks, we want to be the control
deck. We try to trade with their stuff as much as possible and ramp up into our sixes and sevens.
Against combo decks, we want to be the beatdown. Sure, we disrupt them when possible, but we want to try to combo off as fast as possible (generally we
should be able to goldfish around turn six, thanks to our accelerants).
Against control, we want to be the combo deck! We just draw cards and sculpt our hand, gaining edges from our surplus of good card draw. Bottlenecking
our opponents on mana is key, as well as playing around Mana Leak and Spell Pierce. As long as we don’t die to a Jace Beleren, we shouldn’t be that
afraid of going long against a blue deck, especially since most people play so few counterspells. If we suspect our opponent has Oblivion Ring or Into
the Roil, we very well may want to use Sorin’s second ability the turn we play him.
Solemn Simulacrum (as well as Sorin’s Thirst) was discussed at length Monday, but suffice to say, whenever we are interested in ramping, we have to
consider him as an option. He would also help us add a color with very minimal effort. Adding blue or red is easy because of the abundance of good
duals (plus adding one Island or Mountain), but we could also pick up white (O-Ring?) or green (Beast Within?) with a package of fetchlands.
Because so many of the cards in M12 are reprints, the set is not going to have all that big an impact on powered formats compared to many other sets.
This means that the discussion Friday on powered formats will only take part of the review, giving us time to examine other new strategies that may not
be viable today but are particularly interesting come this fall and the rotation. There are just so many new cards to work with; there is no way to
discuss them all today.
For instance, I am quite interested in working with Crown of Empires and the less exciting (but necessary) Throne of Empires and Scepter of Empires,
but I do not yet have anything significantly different from Flores’s list found here. His
analysis is spot on, and if we are going to try to take advantage of this built-in combo, Tezzeret is the likely shell. The reason to go to the trouble
is to “ultimate” Crown of Empires and totally take over a game. These artifacts are quite mana-intensive, so the surplus of artifact mana that goes
along with Tezzeret (as well as Tezz’s ability to search up the combo) is a natural fit. I would like to see Ponders make their way in, though. You can
probably squeeze a couple fetches, and Tezzeret provides pseudo-shuffling himself. Once we can actually reset the top of our library, Ponder is a good
way to help assemble the Combo of Empires.
Join me Friday, when we complete our tour of M12. Eternal formats, cards to watch post-rotation, and cards that I really just enjoy. Skinshifter,
Timely Reinforcements, Hunter’s Insight, Primordial Hydra, and more! See you then!
Top 12 Brand New M12 Cards!
12. Visions of Beyond
11. Arachnus Spinner
10. Dungrove Elder
9. Vengeful Pharaoh
8. Azure Mage
7. Angelic Destiny
6. Jace, Memory Adept
5. Jace’s Archivist
4. Grand Abolisher
3. Chandra, the Firebrand
2. Chandra’s Phoenix
1. Garruk, Primal Hunter