The Kitchen Table #232 – Shadowmoor and Five

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Thursday, May 8th – Hello all, and welcome back to the Kitchen Table, your weekly column dedicated to all things casual. I am your investigator, searching for evidence of good cards in the treasure trove of Shadowmoor…

Hello all, and welcome back to the Kitchen Table, your weekly column dedicated to all things casual. I am your investigator, searching for evidence of good cards in the treasure trove of Shadowmoor. For my Morningtide review, I wrote a mega “all things casual” review, but it bombed. Although cards like Indomitable Ancients proved my point, by being bad for Five Color but fantastic in multiplayer, the overwhelming consent was that the review was too long.

Thus, I present to you a modified version of my previous reviews. Normally, I have done a review of sets with an eye to Five Color. That will not change. However, for the occasional Indomitable Ancients card that really tweaks my multiplayer bone, I will also include those.

A quick aside. Five Color is a special casual format requiring a deck size of at least 250 cards and at least twenty cards in each color. Cards that are gold or hybrid can count in either category, but not both. We use all Vintage legal sets, but due to the quirkiness of the format, we have to maintain our own B&R list, which you can find over here.

I’m not going to mention every card in the set. I’m going back to my roots, and eschewing the vast majority of so-so cards that every set has. Instead, I am going to focus on the ones good for casual players and Five Color. That’s it.

Like last time, I will start with White, and end with Blue, then I will hit the hybrid colors in the order that they appear on the Wizards visual spoiler.

Without further ado, let’s look at some cards.


There are no power cards in White. Instead, you get some nice cards for your toolbox, like Boon Reflection, Mine Excavation and Prison Term.

Boon Reflection — This is great for the multiplayer life-gaining midgets out there. Find a new strategy, folks! The mega-life gain deck gets old. And my False Cures are overplayed. Luckily, there is a foil for you later on, so beware.

Greater Auramancy — This is a tool for the Johnny deckbuilder in all of us. Sterling Grove is better in a deck with pure enchantments, but it requires Green, which may not be in your deck.

Mass Calcify — Highlander decks like the extra Wrath, while multiplayer decks will build around the White love of this spell. Note you swing and miss against an opposing Akroma, which is part of the reason you may want mass removal.

Mine Excavation — This is just another tool for the toolbox. Nothing too special here. Note that you can only conspire once, so you cannot turn the tokens you made off a Decree of Justice into five extra Mine Excavations.

Order of Whiteclay — I’m not sure how the untap symbol will play in multiplayer. It might force people to be more aggressive, goading them to attack in order to get an ability they want. This one can survive a block from a medium sized creature, but there may only be a few windows to actually use him before everyone has a big thick blocker. It may be good.

Prison Term — This is an immediate replacement in any multiplayer deck that runs Arrest or Pacifism and can spend the two White.

Twilight Shepherd — Two types of people will play this at the multiplayer table. Timmies who like angels will throw this into their deck. Also, Johnnies will try to find ways to abuse her comes-into-play ability. Expect to see her, but I’d rather play other White flyers, unless I have a known way to abuse her.


My favorite card of the set is in Green, so yay!

Dramatic Entrance — Prepare to see this. A lot. Instant combined with Green equals casual fun.

Farhaven Elf — Just like Wood Elves, but gets any basics. If that’s something you’ve always wanted, then here you go.

Gleeful Sabotage — In Five Color, you might prefer the faster cards, or the ones like Orim’s Thunder. However, if any conspire card ends up being playable, it’s a Green one, because a lot of decks run cheap Green creatures as mana producers for the early game and can afford this conspire cost. Still, it’s no Hull Breach.

Gloomwidow’s Feast — If you have ever gnashed your teeth at discovering that Wing Snare is a sorcery, now there is an instant one for an extra mana, that may also give you a token creature.

Mana Reflection — This is included because you know that someone will build a deck around this at your kitchen table.

Mossbridge Troll — Was indestructible too long to use as a keyword? This is a fine creature for your multiplayer games, putting the fear of your troll into the hearts of many. It’s not even that expensive, a 5/5 for seven mana that is essentially indestructible (yes, it taps, I get that, and it is still killed by old school Wraths and Terrors, but still).

Prismatic Omen — Two mana. Two mana is all it takes. Just two mana can play some of the most broken spells in Magic. Two mana can give you an extra turn. Two mana an give you one of the best aggro creatures of all time (Wild Mongrel). Two mana can counter any spell, period. Two mana can do a lot. Since Sylvan Library, Green has not has a lot of powerful two mana enchantments. Until now. Two mana can make all of your lands tap for any color. Well, it already could, with Joiner Adept, but now it does so much better. Sure, you can get landwalked by the best of them, but it also allows you to play cards like Corrupt and Flow of Ideas (both of which are in the set). You can get to five on your domain cards as well. Five Color just got a great tool, and regular decks got a card you can build around. Without doubt or hesitation, this is my favorite card in the set, in the block, and printed for a while.

Raking Canopy — A three mana enchantment forces away all four toughness flyers and smaller. This is an essential multiplayer tool. Get these and play with them.

Woodfall Primus — This guy likes being played off an instant Dramatic Entrance. I’m just saying.


A little burn supplements some fat creatures. Red is the color of good big creatures in this set.

Cragganwick Cremator — The new Balduvian Horde, with one less toughness and the ability to fling a discarded creature for damage. This is arguably better than the Horde, and thus might tweak a few Timmies. Expect to see this get some use.

Deep-Slumber Titan — For years, I have expounded upon the power of Aether Flash in multiplayer. Well, here’s a card that says, “Play me with Aether Flash and I will show you lovin’.”

Flame Javelin — This cycle was such a disappointment. What color wants to play six colorless mana to drop three 1/1 token creatures as a sorcery? Red can play a dragon for that amount, Black a Sengir, even Green has better things to do. The same is true of Green’s mega Giant Growth. Who wants to pay six mana for that? Flame Javelin is at least understandable. I can see people willing to pay six colorless mana in their deck to get a spell that deals four damage to something. Although most of this cycle is a disappointment, Flame Javelin is alright.

Knollspine Dragon — When I said during my Abeth Edition series that I wanted to see more card drawing in the other colors, this is what I meant. This mechanic should be explored more. That you get it on a seven power flyer for seven mana might be overkill. Note this is a “may” effect.

Wind Swing — This is the perfect sort of controlled chaos theme that I have been crying for. Please give us more of these!


Tutors and creatures and spells! Black again has the tools, with removal and more. There are also a couple of powerful engines here, with the Bargheest and the Bonds both speaking to me.

Beseech the Queen — Along with Flame Javelin, this is the other card in the cycle that is perfectly playable. Getting a tutor in any color is pretty strong, even if you have to pay two more mana than Black does (Diabolic Tutor). This is pretty strong. Too bad the other cards could not be like this. Why couldn’t the Blue one have been “Counter Target Spell” …? That would have been awesome, and I don’t mind a Mono-White deck tapping six mana to counter something, you know? I do like how you gave some card drawing, but it isn’t good card drawing. For paying UUU I should get an effect more powerful than a bigger Impulse. For six mana, I should get something even bigger. As a sorcery to boot. Why not do this? 2/U 2/U 2/U, sorcery, draw three cards. That would have been fine too, because it gives mono-Blue decks a reason to play it, and every color now has a Concentrate or Harmonize, although for six mana. But no, we have to give you an Impulse that digs one card deeper and situationally could net you a second card. Feh.

Hollowhorn Bargheest – Like Knollridge Dragon, this guy is also rocking seven power for seven mana. He also has a strong ability that can play right into the decks of rogue deckbuilders everywhere.

Midnight Banshee — This card reminds me of Harbinger of Night. However, the non-Black clause that this one has can help keep your creatures alive. It’s also powerful and brings some wither pain of its own. This and Darkest Hour are not a combo.

Polluted Bonds — This is a new Ankh of Mishra that is more powerful because it does not affect you, and it also gives you two life. This is nasty, and I expect to see it in multiplayer, but beware playing it. Like other nasty enchantments (such as Bottomless Pit), playing this will make you Public Enemy #1 at the Kitchen Table.

Puppeteer Clique — Swing with that Akroma, then remove it from the game to prevent further swinging. Even if you get a hit in with something smaller, this card served its purpose. It is also a 3/2 flyer for five mana and has persist, so it can trigger twice. As a result, this is a strong card.

Rite of Consumption — Just four words sum up this review, and note it for all of your toolbox needs. Better. Than. Fling. (Usually).


A few tools are here as well, but Blue offers two cards that have a power level that I am forced to consider significant. River Kelpie and Savor the Moment each have some serious potential.

Counterbore — I know some people will look at this and say “Finally, a Counterspell and Cranial Extraction combo!” However, I look at this as a Quash with one more mana and more utility as a result. This card ain’t bad, especially in multiplayer where you may likely be going up against at least one deck with a critical spell that this can counter.

Cursecatcher — My new one-drop for Frozen Fish decks, replacing Manta Riders.

Ghastly Discovery — Not bad as a conspire card, but unplayable otherwise.

Knacksaw Clique — There are ways, such as Portent and Elemental Augury, you can know what is on your opponent’s library. Why not nip for a point of damage in the air, and then steal it? Decent in multiplayer.

Puca’s Mischief — This is not bad at all. It’s a “may” effect, so use it when you can. There are lots of times when you’d be happy to switch for something cheaper or the same cost. I’d switch a Wall of Air for a Wellwisher against an Elf deck, for example. Good in multiplayer.

River Kelpie — This card feels abusable. I’m just putting all of you Johnnies on alert.

Savor the Moment — I love this card, period. It’s not as abusive as a Time Walk, but it’s good. It draws you a card, gives you a second upkeep and a second attack step. Yes, you don’t get to untap, but that does not always matter. Suppose I have one counter left on my Deep-Sea Kraken, and I want to pull off the last one and swing. Suppose I just played a creature, and I want to get a chance to swing next turn. Suppose I have an Epic spell resolved. There’s a lot here.


I believe that they pushed a lot of the powerful cards here. There are not a lot of power cards in the previous section but boy, there are here! The hybrid casting costs are easier to play in Five Color, making them a sight for sore eyes. A lot of these cards have increased playability as a result, especially if they have Green in them.

Augury Adept — Better than some other options. The draw combined with the life gain can be a real boon in the early game. Its lack of evasive qualities disappoints. If it has been a merfolk, then you could have tossed it with Lord of Atlantis.

Enchanted Evening — Great name. This is another engine of power for you Johnnies.

Godhead of Awe — While not bad, this underwhelms me a bit. I don’t know why, because it should play very well in multiplayer. Still, it doesn’t suit me for some reason, but forget my intuition, because logic says this is very, very good. Run some in a deck.

Mistmeadow Witch — This is a card that is fond to my heart. I can abuse it with many comes-into-play abilities, so I love it. It’s too bad that the activation cost is mot hybrid mana either, which hurts the hybrid-ness of the card.

Repel Intruders — I love splashable countermagic, such as Vex, Arcane Denial and so forth. This is splashable countermagic, so I should like it, only it is splashable in the same way that existing counters like Remove Soul and Exclude are splashable. Thus, this brings nothing new to the table for me.

Turn to Mist — Note this for your toolbox because I expect you might want to come back to it later.

Dream Salvage — This is cheap, an instant, and has some value to me. In the early game, you can use this as a cheap cantrip, because at the multiplayer table there’s always someone mana screwed and discarding. You’ll regularly find it hitting for one or two at times, but then there is the occasional post-Wheel of Fortune type effect that will draw you a ton of cards. I think the mileage this has will change based on your table’s metagame.

Inkfathom Infiltrator — A 2/1 for two mana that can’t be blocked? With a hybrid mana cost? This is pretty strong, and I expect to see it get some play in aggro Five Color decks that are often looking at vulnerable Blue two drops and needing a bit more. The inability to block won’t matter to these players.

Inkfathom Witch — This is a great card to play around with at a large multiplayer game. Turning all of Player A’s attackers into 4/1s if they are unblocked can deal a lot of damage to Player B. Play with Caltrops for real fun.

Memory Plunder — Although this is a good card, and it is an instant, Sins of the Past might be better for decks that would have a problem with the mana cost on this one.

Oona, Queen of the Fae — I have found that milling opponents in a multiplayer game is often a bad idea unless you beat them. Otherwise, you may give them a lot of fodder like Dread Return, incarnations, dredge, Ashen Ghouls, and more.

Sygg, River Cutthroat — This guy is close to making my Essential list. Somebody is always taking three damage at the multiplayer game. When Bob attacks Susie for four with his Serra Angel, you draw a card. Sounds like a win-win to me. Then, this guy is a 1/3 for two mana, which makes him great on defense, and that’s what you want at the multiplayer table — solid defense. This makes him even better.

Demigod of Revenge — Flying and haste give this guy a nice bonus, and the ability to bring others with him is strong if you can pull it off. This feels like one of the better Five Mana Hybrid guys.

Din of the Fireherd — I would not play this unless you are playing strong Black, then it’s pretty good. Please note it only hits one opponent, so you cannot run the table with this. It will smash that player, however. Do not run this in a Red-heavy deck. Play this once, force someone to sac five lands or so, and you will get targeted and killed by the remaining players at the table. Don’t mess with my mana, or I will come after you to the exclusion of anyone else.

Everlasting Torment — I hinted at this card above. Forsaken Wastes was a card used long ago to prevent players from gaining life, but it was weak because it was an enchant world and caused everyone to lose life. Everlasting Torment has arrived, and not only does it prevent life gain, but it stops damage prevention as well. All damage is wither too. This is a great combo. End life gain at your table now.

Fulminator Mage — This is strong enough to get some experimentation in Five Color decks with an aggro bent. It’s very solid there, since a lot of non-basics get play. I like how Wizards says they pulled out Stone Rain so they could print a three mana Red LD spell in an expansion. This must be it, only it doesn’t hit basics. So they must not want two Red LD spells in the environment to have a three cost. Okay, fair enough. Only they reprinted Rain of Tears and this is hybrid. That means there are two three-mana LD spells, only in Black, not Red. Crazy. Perhaps they’ll print a Stone Rain variant soon, but unless they do, taking out Stone Rain will look really bad in retrospect, with their reasoning highly flawed.

Kulrath Knight — He’s not bad, and in multiplayer he can lock down a few creatures while swinging in the air. Put a counter on Akroma and she is not getting involved in combat.

Murderous Redcap — Hey, I like this creature a lot, and I suspect it might get some play in Standard. Five Color has better creatures, like FTK. I might run this guy in a few of my decks for you folks. He’s better than the Corrupt Eunuchs that I had in the common slot of Abeth Edition.

Poison the Well — And then we also gave Black a four mana LD spell too…

Spiteful Visions — The Underworld Dreams plus Howling Mine combo of this card will appeal to many, and I’d expect to see decks posting this soon.

Firespout — I like this card, because you can set it to Hurricane, or Earthquake, or Savage Twister, as you have need.

Fossil Find — This is the first card that lets you reorder your graveyard, and I wonder at this. Wizards said, for years, that they stopped printing Order Matters cards for the graveyard because it was too complex, and now they print a card that tells you that order matters. This is a good way to reorganize your graveyard to get more use out of your Krovikan Horrors, Death Sparks, Ashen Ghouls, and so forth. I like it too much. I suspect it has the reorder ability so you can take your graveyard, shuffle it, and select a card at random, but perhaps it is a hope of things to come.

Guttural Response — You have to admit that this is a perfectly good card for your toolbox. This is also not bad in many Five Color metagames as a more playable but limited Red Elemental Blast.

Manamorphose — This is basically a spell version of the artifacts that people like to play such as Chromatic Star. Is it better? Well, for Storm it is…

Rosheen Meanderer — As a 4/4 for four mana with a very cheap cost, this is a great card, and then it is also a serious mana accelerant for your Fireballs or Ivy Elementals. I am fond of this card. I’m not sure how essential it is, but I like it.

Tattermunge Maniac — This is the best one drop ever printed for Five Color Aggro. It is better than Savannah Lions and Isamaru, because those colors are often minimized. It is better than Jackal Pup or Jungle Lion, because it can be played by either color. You can play it with Green or Red, which are often highlighted colors in aggro. Any Five Color Aggro Player that does not immediately put four of these in their deck is either does not have them, or is stupid.

Vexing Shusher — This is a good card for multiplayer where you can be sure that someone has brought a counter deck. You can use this when someone plays a counter on your spells, so you can keep your mana open and wait. You do not have to use it immediately. Just keep one Red/Green mana open, that’s it. And this is a Grizzly Bear to boot. Between this, the Maniac and the Guttural Response, it seems like there is some serious control hate going on.

Fracturing Gust — This is a virtual reprint of the old Purify but with hybrid mana and a bonus life boon to you. If you are the sort to thing that Purify is good, then you will like this as well. The life is particularly good, because it gives you a nice cushion.

Oracle of Nectars — This is not a good card, but people will be playing it. Be prepared to kill them if necessary. (Kill the player, not the crappy creature).

Safewright Quest — Unlike Lay of the Land, this will not get you a Plains, Swamp or Mountain. However, it can get you a dual land, so note this for your toolbox.

Wheel of Sun and Moon — This is one of the better names they’ve had in a while. Sort of like Keeper of the Nine Gales. As a card, it also has value in Johnny engines. I’m sure you’ll find a few ways to play this.


There are a few cards here to take a gander at.

Cauldron of Souls — Keep your creatures alive through a Wrath of God. Play it with a Wrath or against a Wrath. A few weeks ago, The Ferrett wrote on the Wizards homepage about how the Angel would end Wraths. Nope. This ends Wraths. You can play it in any deck, unlike the three-White-mana Twilight Shepherd. Sure, the Twilight Shepherd returns them to your hand, but then you have to replay them. You don’t have the -1/-1 counter on your creatures, so a second Wrath can still work. You can play them together if you want. However, I’ll take this over the angel.

Illuminated Folio — It is often tough to use cards that draw you cards, because they require too much mana. You are playing your cards, so you don’t have time for the Jayemdae Tome activations. This card just takes one mana once you are up and running, smooth and steady. Very nice.

Painter’s Servant — Note that this affects opposing cards as well. If this doesn’t tweak your inner Johnny, I don’t know what will.

Trip Noose — It’s a distant fourth to Icy Manipulator, Puppet Strings, and Ring of Gix, but it’s not bad.


Graven Cairns, et al. — These will not have much value with the Five Color players, but more special land never hurts.

New Essentials

These are cards I have earmarked as new Essential cards for multiplayer. They will likely be added to the Essential List I keep. (The Essentials is a 250 card highlander deck using Five Color rules to demonstrate the format and multiplayer and highlander all at once.)

Knollspine Dragon — Very strong, powerful, seven power for seven mana, plus a great CIP ability.

Prismatic Omen — Very powerful, sort all of your color issues.

Raking Canopy — As far as enchantments go, this is the reverse Moat for all but the most powerful of flyers.

Beseech the Queen — Tutors are powerful, and this is very castable. The cards you want to get are usually pretty cheap, like Swords to Plowshares, Skullclamp and so forth.

Cauldron of Souls — Stops all Wraths from killing your creatures for a turn.

Abeth Edition

There are some cards here I am considering for Abeth Edition. I really like the common hosers, but obviously, I’d move them to uncommon. Card’s like Inquisitor’s Snare can do something in Limited, and do a bit more against enemies. I think these are good, because they show the color hatred well while not being dead for Limited. The one I am concerned with it the Green one — Gloomwidow’s Feast. Making a 1/2 token with an ability may not be the best way to demonstrate the making of tokens. However, if I could fit it in, then I open a space, since it would replace both Roots of Life and Wing Snare.

With that, I come to the close of another article. Next week I will create some decks for you using the latest cards, before I head into an article discussing countermagic.

Until later…

Abe Sargent