Who Wants More Dragons?

Justin Clouse | 11 Mar 2015 15:00
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Last week, I shared some thoughts on a few choice cards from the initial Dragon's of Tarkir spoilers. Narset Transcendent then got spoiled the next day, and so I whipped up a few decks ideas built around her. Since then WotC has been showering us in spoilers, with the usual assortment coming out each day along with a few doled out during GP Miami. If you missed the coverage, GP Miami gave us this thing of beauty. And no, Commander didn't suddenly become a GP format.


GW Devotion was the break out deck over the weekend, with two decks making it into the Top 8 and Mastery of the Unseen went from .20 cents to like $4-5, but it turns out the mirror match is miserable. Luckily if that match was boring you to death there were plenty of newly spoiled cards to get excited about. It needs to be said, but the power level of Dragons of Tarkir is really high. Every day there seems to be some crazy good card getting spoiled. It helps that this is a large set, the last few block have had small third sets, but it seems like WotC is trying to make this final third set a send off before we switch to the new block structure. Any ways, here are the latest few Dragon of Tarkir cards I'm excited about.



While many folks will remember Delver of Secrets reign in Standard, it's arguably that the real backbone of the Delver decks was the cheap interaction, like Mana Leak, and the decks ability to dig for answers or setup the top of the deck with Ponder. With Ponder going on to be banned in Modern and Restricted in Vintage, perhaps WotC has been a bit gun shy about printing any good cantrips lately, but at long last we've finally been graced with a new one. Older players with recognize Anticipate as a slightly nerfed Impulse. Cantrips like Impulse and Anticipate are not ideal since if you flip several good cards you're still forced to send all but one to the bottom, but in Standard and Modern we are kind of are forced to work with what we got. A few places where you might see Anticipate pop up are in Control or Tempo-oriented decks to start. Most control decks are just a stack of interchangeable removal, counter spells, and a few win conditions so sending redundant cards away isn't a problem, and by having an instant speed cantrip they can dig for the right answer while holding up their counter spells. This often means you can shave back on the numbers of each card and run a more diverse suite, since you can more reliably go find them - which also helps for sideboarded games. Combo decks are also interested in anything that can help them find the pieces they needs, though as mentioned it's especially awkward to push combo pieces to the bottom if say you need to make a land drop.

Atarka's Command


In Magic cheaper casting cost is better, in general. You don't want to fall behind your opponent and many match-up come down to who can start making more than one action a turn. Though cheap doesn't always mean good, *cough* *cough* Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded. However at two mana, Atarka's Command was virtually assured a certain threshold as long as the effects we decent since it makes two actions for one spell so cheaply. 'Your opponents can't gain life this turn.'and 'Atarka's Command deals 3 damage to each opponent.' make the floor for Atarka's Command to be basically Skullcrack. Note that it doesn't have Skullcrack's damage prevention clause though, which is sometimes relevant. The instant speed mana ramping might help you to surprise an opponent with a crucial spell, but the 'You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.' effect is pretty weak and out of place with the other more aggressively oriented ones. This isn't Rampant Growth, it doesn't get you the land. At best it's an Explore and the second card is always one of these other effects. 'Creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain reach until end of turn.' is the last one and is decent enough as combat tricks go. Where Atarka's Command is likely to make waves is in the very aggressive or burn decks. For instance, in Modern Burn, which is already sometimes splashing for Destructive Revelry, it's essentially a more versatile Skullcrack. If you have a creature in play you get to effectively make Atarka's Command into a 4 damage burn spell, provided the creature connects. This gets even better if your creatures have prowess or cards that make more than one body. Maybe we'll see a super aggressive RG deck in Standard with Atarka's Command, Goblin Rabblemaster and Monastery Swiftspear.

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