Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #103: The Casual Fifth Dawn Review

This was originally 15,000 words, was based on the MTGNews spoiler and was submitted way back before the prerelease, but that was the straw that broke Knut’s back. He put up some of my other articles first, then got so sick of set reviews he begged a rewrite. A shorter rewrite. Much shorter. So I combined and rewrote it, and cut anything already said by others. I’m also looking at the set from a multiplayer / casual standpoint, and I’m skipping anything that is not new and interesting for that format. That keeps it short.

Another set, another set review. This was originally 15,000 words, was based on the MTGNews spoiler and was submitted way back before the prerelease, but that was the straw that broke Knut’s back. He put up some of my other articles first, then got so sick of set reviews he begged a rewrite. A shorter rewrite. Much shorter. So I combined and rewrote it, and cut anything already said by others. I’m also looking at the set from a multiplayer / casual standpoint, and I’m skipping anything that is not new and interesting for that format. That keeps it short.

Krark-Clan Ironworks. Whoa!

Okay – I’m done. Thanks for reading.

Wait, Knut says he can take a bit more, so here goes.

Battered Golem

You can go infinite with this in several ways, including the new Clock of Omens (tap two artifacts, untap target artifact), but they all seem cumbersome and overblown. For example, Soul Foundry imprinting Ornithopter, Clock of Omens, and Battered Golem would allow you to produce an infinite supply of Ornithopters (all but one of which would be tapped.) That still leaves a problem – what, exactly, do you do with an infinite supply of Ornithopters? You still need a kill – and things like another Battered Golem equipped with Viridian Longbow is probably not the answer. Although anything that can untap repeatedly has the potential to create a combo, my first reaction is it won’t work. Battered Golem combos have too many pieces. Battered Golem and Paradise Mantle, (the mana equipment) might be more useful.

Conjurer’s Bauble

A cheap cantrip effect that has its uses. My first thought was to include this in a March of the Machines deck with Remembrance, but that was because I thought that Remembrance put the card into play. With Helm of Awakening, Remembrance, March of the Machines and two Baubles you could draw your deck and get an incredible Storm count, then Brain Freeze everyone out – but that is just too many cards. However, if your deck is already running Helm of Awakening and you need another free cantrip, this might work.

Myr Servitor

This is obviously a combo with Skullclamp, but it is not amazing. To get any benefit, you need to have at least one in your graveyard and one in play. In theory, you could start some sort of chain with Intuition, but there are better Intuition targets. Combos like Goblin Bombardment won’t work, since the return only triggers once during upkeep. Maybe the best use would be an Emperor game, where all three players on the team have Servitors, Intuition and Skullclamps – although having Intuition, Accumulated Knowledge, and Isochron Scepters would be better.

Neurok Stealthsuit

This is a improved version of Alexi’s Cloak, and it fills the same (rather small) niche: protecting creatures from targeted removal. If you have an Ali from Cairo or Platinum Angel, Lightning Greaves is probably better. If you have a host of small creatures worth protecting, mana available and don’t know which will be targeted, this is an answer. Like I said, this is a narrow niche.

Clearwater Goblet

This has the potential to gain a lot of life – especially if you have methods of adding counters, like Power Conduit, Coretapper, or Energy Chamber. However, this is not infinite life, so I question whether devoting resources to this sort of thing is worth it. The infinite life combos are nearly as easy, as are combos that actually win you the game. Non-infinite lifegain is just a glorified Fog effect.

Crucible of Worlds

I see this as proof that the general public should not be allowed to design Magic cards. I expect that a lot of newer players, who keep building decks with atrocious mana curves and too few lands, kept losing to land destruction – even bad land destruction. As a result, they tried to nerf it – and got it wrong. A true land destruction hoser, of course, would be Sacred Ground – or maybe an artifact version of that card.

Crucible will not stop land destruction decks, since those decks (think Ponza) use LD as a means of gaining tempo, not of locking up the game. Crucible won’t help get the tempo back. However, Crucible does enable some annoying decks. The Fastbond / Crucible / Zuran Orb infinite life and infinite mana combo is already widely known. Glacial Chasm and Crucible is an annoying multiplayer combo, making you pretty much immune to damage. My biggest fear, however, is that the combination of Crucible, Exploration and Wasteland will destroy a lot of otherwise interesting Extended decks.

Doubling Cube

This is supposed to be cool , but the only potential use I could see is in an elf deck, or maybe as a means of using Door to Nothingness (an apt name for a bad card.) In an Elf deck it could boost the mana supply enough to make a marginal Kaervek’s Torch lethal, but in any normal combo deck you are producing infinite mana anyway – doubling the amount does nothing.

Eon Hub

This card seems built to abuse Ice Age era cards – anything with Cumulative Upkeep just got better. Fading cards are also a bit better, but I’m not sure that any are good enough to warrant playing this as well. Eon Hub also has some tiny potential as a sideboard card against Darksteel Reactor decks, but those decks are already dreadful. The problem with cards like this is that many decks, including most beatdown decks, have no upkeep effects, thus making Eon Hub a dead draw. At best, it may find a home in my deck that kills by animating large, overpriced artifacts, like Aladdin’s Lamp and Possessed Portal. When you animate Eon Hub, it beats for five.

Fist of Suns

Interesting, but I’m not sure how useful. This and Channel the Suns would let you cast Darksteel Colossus for four mana. Amusing, but that is no more realistic than many other multi-card combos. Fist of Suns would also let you put extra sunburst counters on some sunburst cards (e.g. five counters on Pentad Prism) but that is also no more than a party trick.

Helm of Kaldra

In the unlikely case that you have all three pieces, you do, indeed, get a large creature that is very difficult to handle. Zowie. If you can get three expensive, Legendary artifacts into play at once, you should be able to do more than get a kind of super Akroma – you should be able to win the game immediately. Actually, Helm of Kaldra might be playable in any fattie deck – even a Craw Wurm is a decent creature when it has first strike, trample and haste. Still, it’s sad that I am a casual play writer and I see no real use for the flagship card of the set.

Okay, two quick combos: first, Altar of Dementia, Ashnod’s Altar, these. Make a dude (Avatar Legend) for one, sacrifice it to Ashnod’s Altar for two mana. Make a second dude, sacrifice it to mill the opponent. Rinse and repeat. Or, use Conspiracy or Artificial Evolution to make chicken tokens, instead of Legends. Then make a lot of 4/4 chickens for one mana each.

Like I said, I see no real use.

Possessed Portal

This is a very powerful effect. If you get it into play, and have a token generator or enough permanents to sacrifice, the opponent better have an answer in hand or they will not have a permanent left when (if) they draw another card. However, the need to sacrifice a permanent at the end of every player’s turn means that things like a single Nuisance Engine will not produce enough tokens. The high casting cost also makes this something more likely to be welded into play than actually cast – and if you have Welders and tokens going, then Mindslaver is still better.

Razormane Masticore

This is not Masticore – and certainly does not have Masticore’s effect on Limited. I judged at the prerelease on Saturday, but got to play in one pod on Sunday. I opened a Razormane and Loxodon Warhammer, and that combo (of course) won games when it appeared. However, this format has a lot of beef, and I faced a lot of creatures tougher than the Razormane. In Saga block drafts, Masticore could kill almost anything that got played, and it regenerated when chumping the rest. Razormane cannot shoot down a four-toughness creature, and with all the Equipment floating around, it is not difficult to build a four-toughness creature – or something that can survive a 5/5 first striker. I’m not saying Razormane isn’t very good – but it isn’t as broken as the original.

Silent Arbiter

The previous versions of this card (e.g. Dueling Grounds) have never been that useful. Making this effect colorless might help – that remains to be seen. This type of card is always nice with Maze of Ith in duels, but it isn’t as amazing in multiplayer. In duels, many decks still kill without creatures (combo), or just one creature (BZ Tog.) It looks like Wizards is pushing this mechanic a little farther, but I’m still not convinced this is enough.


Exponential effects are always very powerful, so this guy can grow very fast if you can untap him. However, he is still a seven-mana creature without evasion or trample, so he is awfully expensive for most uses. What’s worse is that he cannot be brought into play in other ways (e.g. Goblin Welder or Living Death) because he would have no counters. I think he is Limited fodder only – or maybe for casual 5Color decks.

Staff of Domination

Mark Rosewater introduced this as an amazing combo piece with the comment”So? Pretty cool, huh?”

Er – no. It isn’t. If I have infinite mana available, I see only one function on this card that I would be interested in – the card drawing. I could use that to find a real combo piece, like a kill mechanism. Tinker or Fabricate could do the same thing, or Whispers of the Muse, or Read the Runes, or Planar Portal. If I have infinite mana, I don’t want to sit around tapping and untapping creatures, and gaining infinite life does not win the game. I want to mill everyone, or do infinite damage. I want to win.

“Bad! Bad card! No cookie for you!”

Summoner’s Egg

“Look, ma – muh Rukh Egg done hatched a dragon thang!”

This is a cute trick when combined with Recurring Nightmare, Living Death, Obliterate, and so forth, but it isn’t fool-proof. If someone nails the Egg with Swords to Plowshares or Boomerang, your creature is staying out of the game. It is also a pretty expensive egg – for four mana, and possibly more mana to sacrifice it, you are getting a second creature into play. That is not card advantage, and at a fairly high mana cost, so the creature better be worth it. It may have a place in Extended with Cabal Therapy, but Pattern of Rebirth seems better.

Summoning Station

Did you note that the 2/2 Pincher creature is not an artifact? This is not an automatic victory condition with Altar of Dementia or Goblin Bombardment. However it is a combo with Salvaging Station and Chimeric Coils. If you have spent fourteen mana and have all three of these artifacts, and infinite mana for the Coils, you can create infinite 2/2 Pincher creatures. Whatever. Pinching people to death is too bizarre for me.

Vedalken Orrery

Magic should be played during your opponent’s end phase. Now it can. What a waste of a rare slot.

Vedalken Shackles

Of course you can play this in Blue decks, but I would play it in a mono-Black deck with Sorceress Queen. Tap the Queen to make the creature a 0/2, steal it, let the Queen untap. It isn’t amazing, but it is more interesting than playing it in mono-Blue. (I have never liked the steal stuff mechanic, anyway.)

Blasting Station

This is a lot worse than Goblin Bombardment. Play that. This is slightly better in Blue decks where you can steal creatures, but not better than Altar of Dementia. This is a clear example of cards being useless in multiplayer and casual because we have better alternatives. Leave it for Limited, and possibly block.

Etched Oracle

This is one reason I lost at the prerelease (the other was mulliganing twice, then drawing twelve lands and three spells.) This creature is a 4/4 for four, and it almost always draws cards when it dies. My opponent had two. This card should be insane in 5Color beatdown.


At the prerelease, I saw a player cast this. His opponent said”let me read that – for three mana, it must have some good ability!” Wrong. This is nice if you have great Equipment (like a Sword) but it is just a 1/1 for three otherwise. In casual, you could try making this a combo with some strange artifact, like Armageddon Clock or Divine Intervention, but that seems a little pointless even to me.

Gemstone Array

This is a mana storage device, mana sink, and color fixer. At the prerelease, I saw a player with about twenty counters on one of these. (Unfortunately, he had nothing to do with that mana.) This is better than Upwelling (actually anything is better than Upwelling) but I’m still not sure that it is worthwhile outside a specialized combo decks trying to kill with Consume Spirit.

Goblin Cannon

Wizards has reprinted Rocket Launcher, and it is better in nearly every way. This is exactly what a kill card should be – if you have infinite mana, you activate it, then activate it in response again and again, then you win. My only regret is that the artwork isn’t close as good as on the original Rocket Launcher.

Grafted Wargear

No, you cannot put this on an opponent’s creature, then remove it to kill that creature. You have to sacrifice it: if you do not control it, it ain’t gonna die. Moreover, you have to get the Wargear on the creature in the first place, and the only method of doing that is either something like Ray of Command or Threaten (which works better with Altar of Dementia anyway), or Isochron Scepter imprinting Magnetic Theft (and there are better things to imprint.)

Grinding Station

Grinding Station may be the kill for the Soul Foundry imprinting Ornithopter / Clock of Omens / Battering Golem combo. That’s not saying much, but the card has potential. Milling is often a powerful strategy, and this milling engine untaps itself. Grinding Station could also be a kill in Ironworks combo decks. Ironworks, two Myr Retrievers, Grinding Station is a kill, unless they are running Darksteel Colossus, but that just delays the kill a turn or so. I don’t think much of the Ironworks builds posted so far, but I do think better combo decks will appear. Controllish builds running Retrievers look to be the best so far.

Krark-Clan Ironworks

See separate article. Articles. Many, many articles. Mine and others.

Lantern of Insight

In a format where big creatures are playable, enchantment destruction scarce, and Call of the Wild legal, this might have some uses. You would know when to activate the Call. In casual play, this could fit into a mono-Green Elf-driven deck, to replace the Future Sights and other cards that were being played. For those with a preference for more impractical combos, this could be played with Psychogenic Probe. Just add March of the Machines, Shifting Sky, and Verdant Succession to make the Lantern a Green creature, add Soldevi Digger and infinite mana to put the Lanterns back into the library, then force your opponent to shuffle until they die. Death Shuffle: that sounds like the Bataan Death March meets a 70s dance craze – and makes more sense than playing this card.

Lunar Avenger

This is an excellent example of why a review from a multiplayer / casual perspective is going to be harsher than most others. For seven mana, in five colors, you get a decent creature. However, for that much mana, you could also get a Dragon Legend from Invasion, or a Sliver Queen and a spare sliver. Even in 5 color, there are better options. Many better options.


This fills the gap between Iron Maiden and Torture Chamber. I’m not impressed with the card itself, but the artwork is cool, especially in foil.

Beacon of Unrest

If your multiplayer group likes creatures over combo, this is worth playing. If worse comes to worst, and your opponents have nothing in their graveyards, it is just an overcosted Zombify. It isn’t Living Death, but it isn’t Air Bladder either.

Bringer of the Black Dawn

I’m guessing this gets restricted in 5Color pretty quickly, but in any other format this is not the best ability to use turn after turn. Vampiric Tutor is useful for getting a single card to complete a combo. At best, I could see using this Bringer’s ability a couple times – probably to get more Bringers (that is the only playable use I have found so far.) Interesting, but not exciting. For this kind of mana, I either want a true Tutor or a better creature.

Desecration Elemental

This is one fat creature, with one serious drawback. In a deck with Rule of Law or Arcane Labs, plus some form of token generator, it is going to be tough to stop. Alternatively, this could be a finisher in a deck with a lot of Discard – wreck their hand, drop a couple creatures to soak up the sacrifices and hope they topdeck land. It may work in Constructed (especially in the sideboard), will work in casual play (got Sengir Autocrats?) and is absolute garbage in multiplayer, since each opponent will probably manage a spell or two. How many creatures can you sacrifice?

Endless Whispers

Wizards may have thought they were creating another”wacky” card for casual play. I don’t think so. I hate cards like this. I see this card being played in creatureless Black control decks – along with cards like Innocent Blood and Edicts. It might be interesting in block – Barter in Blood gets a bit better when this is out, if you have no creatures – or if your only creature is Grid Monitor. Giving your opponent a Grid Monitor may really shut down a creature-based deck – provided you don’t die to the Monitor yourself. Of course, if you have a second Monitor, it can block your opponent’s Monitor all day – or until you can kill the opponent with Consume Spirit.

Endless Whispers may have been an answer to Skullclamp – would you have wanted to Clamp your creatures for two cards if your opponent gets the creatures? We’ll never know.

On the flip side, Ravenous Baloth gets weird when Endless Whispers is in play. In a multiplayer game, two players could keep trading the Baloth until each hit some huge life total. If that happened, though, I might question whether those players were really”opponents.”

Moriok Rigger

Large multiplayer game. Lots of artifacts in play. I cast this, then I cast Shatterstorm. Of course, some opponent will respond with Lightning Bolt targeting the Rigger, but that’s life. For all you less casual players – I don’t see this in Ravager, except sideboard in the mirror. For one thing, it is not an artifact, so it hurts affinity.

Plunge into Darkness

This is a great card. The creature you want to be sacrificing is Academy Rector, but it will also work nicely as a combat trick, or in response to Wrath of God, after you have damage on the stack, or before your Phyrexian Negator takes damage. If you can pay one additional Black, this is at least a cantrip. It shines in multiplayer decks running Grave Pact, and could even be a method of starting a Last Laugh chain (remember, I’m a multiplayer and casual guy.) The possibilities are nearly endless – which means that I won’t open any of these cards, ever. I’ll have to buy mine.

Ebon Drake

I had one in my deck at the prerelease. To show just how bad a player I am, I got a Loxodon Warhammer on this thing and still lost the damage race.

Relentless Rats

For variety, if I can get twenty-four, I would play combo Rats. The Rats, plus Goblin Bombardment, plus Verdant Succession, plus Shifting Sky to make Rats Green. Throw in some tutors and something mana fixers, and that would be the deck. Plus one Vindicate to kill off things like Meddling Mage (naming Relentless Rats) or Ivory Mask.

Quick question: in Extended, against the Rats deck, what card do you name with Cabal Therapy?

All Suns’ Dawn

I am having a hard time deciding when I wouldn’t rather have Regrowth, the new Regrowth 2/1 dude, or Restock. This is only useful in five color decks, running a lot of colored cards that you want back in hand. Land cyclers, maybe – cycle, build lands, get them back. You could try this in five color Survival, if you refused to play Squee as the fetcher – but then why this over Living Death? It is hard to imagine why I would want five cards, all different colors and all which I had gotten into my graveyard, back in my hand. In 5Color this is worth it to fetch Contract from Below, but not elsewhere.

Beacon of Creation

This is going to be even more insane than Waiting in the Weeds. Except with bugs, not cats.

Yes, I know exactly how insane Waiting in the Weeds is.

This just doesn’t have that big an impact in Constructed. In the mid-game, a half dozen bugs are not going to break the game wide open. This is worse than Squirrel Nest in every situation except when you are about to be decked. Some of the Beacons are nice – but not this one.

Bringer of the Green Dawn

For a few less mana, I could have Verdant Force and at least twice as many tokens. The Red Bringer is great, the Blue very good, the Black and Green less so. The White one depends entirely on what artifacts you are playing with. I understand the symmetry idea, but the Green creature should have been a bit bigger, or had a more useful ability.

Joiner Adept

Although this may be a method of getting a variety of colors without running non-basics (because you fear Wasteland, or Price of Progress, or are running Back to Basics, I guess) this is a very fragile creature. I’m not sure I would be happy relying on an x/1 to keep a handful of cards from being uncastable.

Rite of Passage

This could replace Bravado in my Saber Ants / pingers deck, and two of these plus Triskelion is pretty good. It might also work well in a Pestilence or Last Laugh deck. Your creatures will survive – you just need to make sure you survive. However, if you drop some creatures (with at least two toughness) early, then this, then Pestilence, your creatures could get very large and most blocking creatures would be dead. Try this with zero casting cost creatures like Ornithopter and Phyrexian Walker – they get huge with multiple counters. Thrashing Wumpus would work as a Pestilence alternative, but not Crypt Rats – they will kill themselves before the counters get added.

Eternal Witness

I got one in my prize packs. It is going directly into my Survival deck – and copies will go into each Living Wish sideboard. If Rock remains playable, I expect to see it there to reuse Vampiric Tutor, Pernicious Deed, and to recover Skullclamp if you have to Deed it away. I like the card, although only playtesting will reveal whether it is just too slow to see Constructed play.

Ouphe Vandals

On the one hand, this is a pretty good ability. On the other hand, it is a narrow answer to problems like Skullclamp. In that respect, it is similar to Teferi’s Response: very powerful, but it may still not be playable. Even in multiplayer, it only really stops Nev’s Disk, not cards like Masticore (they just regenerate) or Platinum Angel (no activated ability.) Oxidize is almost always better, unless I need to Survival or Living Wish for this effect.

Mana Geyser

In larger multiplayer games, this could be nuts in the late game, if everyone else is tapped out. You could try something like Evacuation, to bounce all creatures and get everyone to tap mana to recast them, then cast combos like Repercussion / Earthquake, or Insurrection, or Dingus Egg / Pillage / Radiate, or whatever. It seems very situational – in a five player game on turn ten, I would estimate that your opponents would have about twenty-four land in play, and maybe half of that would be tapped. You will net about seven mana, maybe more. That’s pretty good, but not amazing.

Outside of multiplayer, of course, this card is complete garbage. It should have been an uncommon, just so we won’t see so many, but I guess something has to be a fifteenth pick.

Rain of Rust

In multiplayer, this card could actually be playable, if the entwine cost weren’t so amazingly high. Given that, however, just play Pillage, even in Burning Wish sideboards. In Block, given the potential combos based around Ironworks going off turn 2, this is so completely unplayable. It’s beyond slow – this thing gets passed by glaciers and loses races with plate tectonics.

Bringer of the Red Dawn

In casual and multiplayer games, this should always find a friend for a turn, and, if not, it kills in a couple turns. This is really good in casual 5Color decks, and solid in most casual games. It is too slow in constructed unless you can reanimate it, or unless 5 color decks can control combo. It might find a home in the Tooth and Nail mirror, but there are better cards.

Cosmic Larva

A mono-Red control deck won the block PT. This card, combined with Lightning Greaves, or even by itself, could be an incredible finisher in that deck. A 7/6 creature is extremely hard to deal with. (I’m stating the obvious here, but I do see this being quite playable in block and T2 – and maybe in Extended Sligh as well. However, mono-Red may not be as dominant in the new block: mono-Red control beat Skullclamp, and Skullclamp beat control. With Skullclamp gone, mono-Red control’s main reason for existing is undermined.)

In casual, you just need a method of giving it haste, then you can do stuff like putting it in a Soul Foundry, or playing it in a deck with Planar Birth to return your lands to play.

Reversal of Fortune

You may think this is a bad card, but just try this. Cast Reversal of Fortune, and copy the Bribery you find in their hand. Now, technically, you are playing it from their hand. You argue that this makes you the target opponent, so you can search your own library for Phage, and put her into control under your opponent’s control so they lose the game. (Of course, you will probably lose this argument, since this is wrong – you are casting the spell, so you can’t search your library, and if you could, you would control Phage and you would lose…)

Or you can cast Reversal and find Pyrokinesis in the opponent’s hand, and use the alternative casting cost to remove some really good Red card in their hand from the game. Except that you don’t pay the mana cost, so that doesn’t work, either.

Actually, this card is garbage. For slightly more mana, you can have Mindslaver. For a lot less, you could play Word of Command and just make the person cast the instant or sorcery. Maybe one time in a trillion games, you might find someone with Tooth and Nail in hand and be able to copy it first, but most often you are going to blow six mana and a card to see that they have a hand full of land and creatures. If they even have an instant or sorcery, odds are it won’t be helpful.

Not even Glasses of Urza will let you see a use for this card. A target, perhaps, but not a use.

Magma Jet

This is pretty good. In multiplayer and casual games, the pure speed and mana efficiency are slightly less important, and the Scry ability is great. This is better than a Shock, but not be better than Incinerate. That said, Magma Jet would be cool on an Isochron Specter.

Magnetic Theft

All the cool tricks you want to try with this don’t work. If you put Wargear on an opponent’s creature, then unattach it, the creature is not sacrificed. (The wording requires you to sacrifice the creature, and you don’t control your opponent’s creature and thus cannot sacrifice it.) If you move an opponent’s Loxodon Warhammer onto your creature, control of the Warhammer does not change, so your opponent still gets the life. Magnetic Theft is a combat trick, and the limited specialists will tell you how useful a trick it is.

The one trick that does work, sort of, is moving Vulshok Gauntlets onto a tapped opponent’s creature. That is a sort of overpriced, two card Dehydration. Zowie.

Thought Courier

This is why Merfolk Looter wasn’t reprinted in 8th Edition. I can see it in Block Constructed, as a combo enabler, but it is slow. The big question is whether gradually improving the quality of the cards in your hand is a valid strategy in a block with Ravager Affinity, other combos and mono-Red control.


Sure, whatever. I have heard some people saying that this nukes Tooth and Nail. Right – Bribery is already legal, it is more versatile, and it didn’t nuke Tooth and Nail decks. Inconsistency nuked Tooth and Nail decks, and I expect Condescend to be the final”nail” in that coffin, not Acquire.

Artificer’s Intuition

For 1UU, you could cast this, then discard a card and fetch Skullclamp – or you could just cast Fabricate. I’m not sure what one-mana artifacts you would want to search for repeatedly, even in Block and T2. In more casual games, Tinker and the various tutors are better options – or even Compulsion, since you can cycle basic lands and non-artifact cards.

Blinkmoth Infusion

Yes, it really did have to cost this much, to avoid powering combo engines. However, if it does not power combo engines, it is Frickin’ Useless. I opened this in the one prerelease pod I could play in. Plus Shared Fate and Fiery Gambit and Fist of Dawns. I hate useless cards! (Of course, I also got Razormane Masticore and Loxodon Warhammer, but whining is my hobby…)

The card is useless. Yes, if I have Gilded Lotus, Sol Ring, Grim Monolith, Voltaic Key, Seat of the Synod, and Metalworker in play, this does generate a net of at least three mana, but so what?

Bringer of the Blue Dawn

This is a great casual 5Color creature, and should be good in casual play. Beyond that, this is a more expensive version of Arcanis – and how often did that get played in Constructed? (Of course, Arcanis didn’t beat for five, and tapped to draw cards…) [And was played in some very sexy Reanimator decks in Type Two. – Knut] If there is a 5 color deck in T2 or Block, this is golden. In casual, this is great in the old Stratodon decks, with lots of duals, land fetchers and so forth. It is a good, but not great, card.

Hoverguard Sweepers

It is Undo and Mahamoti Djinn in one card! Considering how often I play either card, I don’t see this having a huge impact. However, this could be a tempting Tooth and Nail target in Block or T2, assuming that counterspells haven’t destroyed that deck. In the mirror, this would bounce opposing creatures, or your own Duplicant, then fly over for the win.

Fold into Aether

This is the worst counterspell ever – if you consider it to be a counterspell. However, you can also look at it as a means of putting your own creatures into play – at end of turn, in some cases. Just cast a spell, then counter that spell with Fold into Aether. You get to put a creature directly into play. Of course that is at least four mana, and serious card disadvantage, but in a block with a fair number of zero-mana cards and Darksteel Colossus, it might work.

Plasma Elemental

If it weren’t so expensive, and so vulnerable, it could be a great body to slap a Sword of Fire and Ice onto. However, I would be happier with Phantom Warrior or even Ferropede – they might get cast before the game ends.

Armed Response

This is a great example of Wizards just not getting the concept of weenie beatdown. White weenie with equipment is almost a deck, but it needs a method of dealing with blockers, tappers and with combo enablers. It does not need a method of dealing with attackers. White weenie should be attacking, then casting creatures. It should not be sitting back and trying to deal with attackers – that’s the opponent’s job.

The best use I can see for this in Constructed playtesting involves a Sharpie™. Bad cards make the best proxies…

Auriok Champion

It is a new Soul Warden. It won’t come down turn 1 anymore, but it doesn’t die as easily as Soul Warden (a/k/a Bolt Catcher.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit into the one Clerics deck I tried – which involves Skullclamp, Edgewalker to make the other clerics free, and Carnival of Souls. The kill is Tendrils of Agony. The deck is pretty fast and reasonably consistent, but rolls over to artifact destruction, or Duress, or Engineered Plague naming Clerics – or a lot of other things. Cute, though, and you get to play Disciple of the Vault, Soul Warden, and Foothill Guide – all cards people hate. The T2 version was fun, too.

Beacon of Immortality

This seems pretty situational, at first glance. If you are not being threatened, then this isn’t all that important. If you are being threatened, then it isn’t going to gain you much life. Either way, it is a lot of mana. I still don’t think you can play lifegain unless it gains you infinite life, or draws a card, or otherwise gains more than three life per mana (that’s Nourish, which isn’t played.) Beacon is either going to be about one life per mana when you need it, or about three life per mana when it is irrelevant.

Bringer of the White Dawn

This only triggers once per turn, so it is not an infinite combo. For about the same mana cost, you could have Reya Dawnbringer, which is more interesting in many cases. Bringer of the White Dawn only brings back artifacts and artifact creatures. Triskelion is slow. Duplicant is not that exciting. There is only one artifact that might be worth bringing back turn after turn – Mindslaver.

So the question is whether there is a 5 color deck running this, plus Thirst for Knowledge, counters and so forth. Let’s see: Turn 1: Mox, Land, new Merfolk Looter (Thought Courier). Turn 2: Land, Thirst for Knowledge, use Courier. Turn 3: land, Channel the Suns, Bringer of the White Dawn. Turn four, Mindslaver lock, probably with counter backup – and if you don’t have the Mindslaver lock, you do have a 5/5 trampler attacking, plus an active Merfolk Looter and more Thirst for Knowledge to help draw a Mindslaver.


Raksha Golden Cub

I’m sorry, I’m a dog person. Someone else can build the cat deck.


This, plus Pulse of lotsa life (Pulse of the Fields), may make White control playable. [White control isn’t playable? I musta missed that memo.- Knut] At least, it would if White could deal with artifacts. The new Arrest (Stasis Cocoon) for artifacts and Altar’s Light don’t seem to be enough. In casual and multiplayer, having 2WW available prior to combat may let you con players into attacking elsewhere, but this isn’t Wrath. For one thing, the creatures actually have to deal damage, first – which may mean you die before this activates. This is not as good as No Mercy, which warns people away as well as killing creatures – and many a Black mage has died to creatures that attacked despite No Mercy.

Roar of Reclamation

Seven man, and it affects each player? I’m amazed I didn’t open this at the prerelease. It stinks. It may combo with Krark Clan Ironworks – sacrifice all your artifacts for mana, then play this and do it again, but Second Sunrise does that just as well, and for a lot less.

Auriok Salvagers

Sure, it’s a combo with Black Lotus – but it is also a four-mana creature and Lotus is a restricted card, so that combo is not going to break T1 wide open. It looks more interesting with the Ironworks. If you can get some way to produce White mana, then the activation is free. Here’s one possibility: Battered Golem wearing a Paradise Mantle, this, Ironworks and an Ornithopter. Infinite (okay, randomly large) mana – or a really high Storm count to pump Brain Freeze. In Block, there’s always Fireball. There are probably better options, but that’s a start.

Circle of Protection: Artifacts

In casual, we have always had this, and it cycles. In block, I am less worried about Ravager Affinity and more concerned about combos and Bringers. Moreover, most combos can use milling or Fireball or Disciple of the Vault as kills, which makes this irrelevant.

Knut says that this is enough. He can’t take anymore.


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