Magic Origins: Playing to Your Weaknesses – Artifacts, Lands, and Multicolor

(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)

As for my rating system, I’ll be using a new format this time around. After a lot of feedback, I’ve decided to abandon my 3 tier scoring system of Low-Medium-High and I will instead be moving onto a 5 star ranking system. The system is as follows:

  • 1 star = a card that is barely playable, even as filler for your deck
  • 2 stars = this card could be a strong sideboard card, but is highly conditional and not always effective
  • 3 stars = a 3 star card is a solid role-player. These cards could be less than amazing removal effects, or a creature that is a glass cannon (high power, low defense). They could be good except for a few flaws.
  • 4 stars = Here’s where we get into the powerhouses. 4 Stars could be good finishers, or cards that can end a game if left unchecked. They also have multiple effects, and are all around good value for you. The only thing holding them back is restrictive costs or some small drawback.
  • 5 stars = you won’t see a lot of these at common and uncommon. These will usually be your rares and mythics because they are incredibly bonkers. Planeswalkers, massive creatures, etc., these are the cards you could build a deck around.

 

Artifacts, lands, and multicolor cards have never been really good when it came to core sets, and were usually an afterthought that you’d add into your deck as your 22nd or 23rd card. Just as Magic Origins did with all the other colors, it’s going to change the way you use and draft the cards that are off the color wheel or sharing multiple colors. Wizards did a good job with this set and they finished strong with the final cards of their expansion. Let’s start off with artifacts in this last article devoted to Magic Origins.

 

Artifacts

 

Gold-Forged Sentinel

Gold-Forged Sentinel

Gold-Forged Sentinel gets another breath of life after the Theros block and should make it back to the decks in Origins limited. Flyers are always coveted by player in limited, especially if they are as big as he is at 4/4. I don’t see any reason not to pick him early in draft, even if you have another flyer in your colors. Unless it one of the rares like that 3/5 Angel or 6/6 Demon, more often than not you’ll be dealing with 1 or 2 power flyers. The Sentinel is a solid pick no matter which colors you’re playing.

RATING: 3.5 stars

 

Runed Servitor

Runed Servitor

Yeah, it’s bad to give your opponents cards but I can’t help but see the value in him. He gets played early, gets some damage in, then chump blocks later and draws you a card. In decks that don’t get a lot of card draw he’s pretty useful. The casting cost is also something it has going for it. If you can’t find enough 2 and 3 casting cost creatures to fill up your curve early, put him in there. If you have too many, don’t be afraid to drop him. It’s not incredibly crucial to play/pick him, but he is a solid pick overall.

RATING: 2.5 stars

 

Guardian Automaton

Guardian Automaton

The Automaton is nothing special, but I played with it a little bit at the pre-release and I liked it. It has a well sized body, a decent casting cost, and getting 3 life when you tumble with an opponents creature seems like a good trade off. Two of these in a deck seems perfect, but not more unless you’re going the artifact lord route. The incidental life gain just might come in handy, so consider it! You shouldn’t have a problem getting this in your limited pool.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Chief of the Foundry

Chief of the Foundry

A 2/3 body for 3 mana is alright, but where Chief of the Foundry will really shine is in UR Thopter decks that throw token after token into the battlefield. He makes all these artifact creatures pretty “buff”, and I think it makes it worth drafting him somewhat early to build around him. UR Thopters was kind of underwhelming without all the pieces in sealed, but I’m sure the power level can be a lot higher if you are able to put the pieces together and also get some good red removal. He might be so-so in sealed, but I think he’s good in draft.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Throwing Knife

Throwing Knife

This card is really good in aggressive decks, but it also works well as spot removal in decks that might not have as much removal as they’d like. I think it’d excel in those GR or GW renowned decks the most, but anything aggressive would do. I also think it’d be a good card in a UW flyers deck. Not a really early pick, but I’d get it around my 5th-6th choice I think. Best common/uncommon rarity equipment in my opinion.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Lands

 

Rogue's Passage

Rogue’s Passage

If you’re playing a swarm strategy with lots of small creatures or playing a white deck with lots of tap effects then you PROBABLY don’t need this card, but if you’re playing a slower midrange deck with huge beaters like Titan of Erebos and some massive haymakers like Gaea’s Vengeance, then I urge you to consider playing Rogue’s Passage. If you don’t have evasion to push the damage through, this is the card for you. I think it works great in red and green decks, but I would recommend it for any midrange deck you plan to build.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Evolving Wilds

Evolving Wilds

Evolving Wilds is much better in Origins than any other set in recent memory. We had fetches and dual tap-in lands in the Khans block which spoiled us, but going back to the basics (pun intended) is what nature intended. It actually combos with some cards such as Zendikar’s Roil too. I would never feel bad about taking some of these around pick 6-7 for my deck, especially if I was running a deck with lots of double symbols. Wilds is an all around strong card in limited and I would recommend at least 2 if you can get them in draft.

RATING: 4 stars

 

Foundry of the Consuls

Foundry of the Consuls

It’s a land that makes two 1/1 flying artifact creatures, what’s not to like about that? I wouldn’t go overboard with non-colored lands in limited though. Two is probably the max you want to use. It’s also not a horrible draw in a long game either. If you’re low on creatures in your deck play this in it. It also has great synergy alongside of Thopter Spy Network and a UR Thopter deck. I’d pick is up kind of early in draft if I the choices in my colors weren’t that strong. Better to have this than a barely playable card.

RATING: 3.5 stars

 

Mage-Ring Network

Mage-Ring Network

Mage-Ring Network is a neat card. Whenever you have one of those turns where nothing happens you can add a storage counter, and when you’re ready you get a huge boost of mana. But what are it’s uses? Well, if you’re playing a midrange deck with a few 6+ mana spells like Woodland Bellower or an X burn spell like Ravaging Blaze, I think Mage-Ring Network will come in handy. I found myself playing cards like Gideon’s Phalanx before turn 7 which was pretty useful, and another time I burned my opponent out for 8 damage with it late game. It’s probably not great in a tempo/aggro deck, but just as with Rogue’s Passage I think it can be very useful in midrange decks. Just remember not to have too many non-basic lands in your deck!

RATING: 3 stars

 

Multicolor

 

I don’t think there is one bad multicolor card in this set. They are all uncommons which means they aren’t too pushed, but nonetheless they are must haves if you end up playing in their colors. The cards are pigeonholed into one strategy, meaning if you want to push them to their limit you better be playing that strategy. Most of them are pretty obvious. I mean, you don’t need me to tell you where they’ll be most effective. What I’ll try to do is to look at them from a different angle and see if there is another way to use them.

 

Shaman of the Pack

Shaman of the Pack

I’d like to start out with Shaman of the Pack, which I think is a great card in draft when you can realistically put together a deck almost entirely of Elves. If you start early enough in draft and focus on getting them I think it’s possible. In a normal GB deck with a few elves it would be alright. Basically what you’re looking at is a 3/2 for 3 that can hit your opponent for a few extra points of damage when it enters the battlefield. Take it high if you’re playing elves, but otherwise I think it’s good picking it up later in draft.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Thunderclap Wyvern

Thunderclap Wyvern

Blue and White always give us plenty of birds, spirits, and drakes and the strategy does pretty well for itself, especially if it can be aggressive. This card’s power level is pretty obvious, but that’s if you can draft enough 2-3 mana flyers to go with it. If you can snatch up some Blessed Spirits and Stalwart Avens to go along with cards like Scrapskin Drake, you can have a pretty aggressive deck on your hand. Thunderclap Wyvern might also be worth splashing in a UR deck playing lots of Thopter token effects. It’s definitely worth a splash to make your 4-5 Thopters into 2/2 flyers.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Iroas's Champion

Iroas’s Champion

Evan Erwin from SCG made it to Magical Christmas land during the pre-release with this card. He cast double Titan’s Strength and a Mighty Leap on the same turn to deal 20 damage with an opponent at 20 life. Double strike cards tend to be pretty good in limited, and even better when you are playing a lot of effects that boost their power. I had a chance to play RW Tap/Renowned for a few games during my second pre-release and it was pretty good. RW has a lot of ways to sneak damage in thanks to spells like Grasp of the Hieromancer, and I think that the RW game plan mirrors RW Heroic from Theros block. The idea now is the same as then: play fast creatures and lots of combat tricks so your opponents don’t know what hit them. Iroas’s Champion is a good card in RW, but not splashable.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

Zendikar Incarnate

Zendikar Incarnate

The only card I really see as being splashable is Zendikar Incarnate. He comes into play as a 4/4 if you curve out, but he becomes ridiculous the longer the game goes on. I would consider taking this early in draft if you’re in either red or green, and I would make sure I drafted a few Evolving Wilds to be able to play him somewhat consistently. His only drawback is the 4 toughness, but this forces two creatures to block most of the time which gives you an advantage. I expect him to be a 6/4 most of the time you play him, but he can get crazy with a card like Animist’s Awakening. Other cards to play in a land-centric strategy would be Zendikar’s Roil, Nissa’s Pilgrimage, and Sword of the Animist.

RATING: 3.5 stars

 

Possessed Skaab

Possessed Skaab

Talk about value. You get to bring back removal or a good creature to your hand when you play him.  It’s too bad that you have to exile him when he dies because you could have almost unlimited removal in limited with a card like Cruel Revival in your deck. His body is “meh” but the reason to play him is to get back your best cards in your graveyard and then let him trade with another creature. I think the effect is good enough to warrant a splash in a black or blue deck, and I would definitely pick him up in draft if I was in any of those colors.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Blazing Hellhound

Blazing Hellhound

Besides a great ability that is easy to use, the Hellhound’s 4/3 body makes him very playable. Black and red work really well together in Origins limited due to all of their removal, but I would consider splashing the Hellhound in a UR Thopter deck as well in order to get maximum value out of each 1/1 flyer.

RATING: 3 stars

 

Other Cards That Might See Play

 

  • Blood-Cursed Knight – If you are playing with mostly white cards, there is a good chance you’ll have things like Suppression Bonds and Grasp of the Hieromancer which makes this card much better. In a mostly black deck though, it loses its appeal. A 3/2 body is still good though.
  • Citadel Castellan – This card basically becomes a big stupid beater that’s good on offense and defense once it becomes renowned. A 4/5 vigilance creature for 3 mana is hard to beat. Would definitely play it in GW.
  • Bounding Krasis – A 3/3 flash creature for 3 mana that taps/untaps another creature when played? That’s pretty damn awesome. It’s biggest problem is the UG color. I’m not sure how good that combination will be.
  • Reclusive Artificer – probably much better in draft than in sealed. Not sure how playable it would be outside of a UR Artifact/Thopter deck though.
  • Ramroller – good in an Artifact deck. Otherwise a 2/3 for 3 mana isn’t anything special.
  • War Horn – good for aggressive decks playing a lot of 2 and 3 drops. Gives you just the power you need to overpower your opponent.

 

Results, Results, Results

 

My first deck at the midnight pre-release was GW. Green, red, and black were the most popular but for some reason I believed that having reusable tap effects from creatures and enchantments such as Grasp of the Hieromancer were much better for the long game. The deck I ended up making had some great synergy and a lot of lock down effects. The tap down effects helped my creatures to become renowned rather consistently, but Zendikar’s Roil and Evolutionary Leap were the true all-stars. I was able to put in tons of 2/2 elementals that swarmed the board, and whenever I had to block I could sac my creatures and dig to my next one with Leap.

I went 2-1 by beating GR 2-0 and GU 2-0, but lost to a GB deck 1-2 in an epic battle where he had to throw everything he had at me and sacrifice his entire board to Nantuko Husk just to kill me by 1 point of damage. I might have been able to pull it off, but I was sleepy by then (it was 4am). I finished in 13th place out of 64 people.

 

 

The biggest problem at my second pre-release (with 54 players) the following day was choosing what deck to use. I had a pretty deep pool, and aside from the RW deck you see above, I also made a blue/red and green/black one. Using both the GB and UR decks, I lost to a fast and consistent GR deck in round 1, then a RUG deck with Jace, burn, and big beaters in round 2. I ended up winning my next 2 rounds against BW decks with my RW deck, but then dropped so I could get one more pre-release in for the weekend.

 

 

I ended up finishing 3-1 with GR at my last tournament. The deck was solid and drew very well. There were only 9 players at this event, but it was still good practice. I beat GR, UR, and another GR deck but lost to a fast BR deck. The deck was fast and had great card advantage thanks to Evolutionary Leap, and Chandra’s Ignition was great when combined with a card like Skysnare Spider.

 

Wrap Up

 

My first thoughts on Origins sealed is that white is one of the best colors. My instinct that reusable tap effects would be good seemed to be right, and renowned was pretty strong in limited too. Green was also pretty good, especially cards like Zendikar’s Roil and Evolutionary Leap, and I was impressed with all of the burn spells red had as well. The only color I didn’t like that much was blue. Whenever I tried to play it, I just felt like I’d rather be playing another color instead. The creatures and spell effects just weren’t that good.

How did all of you do and what do you think of Magic Origins limited? I’d like to get some more feedback so we can pool that information together, so please leave your comments down below. Thanks for reading the series and I hope to see you back here again soon for my next series of articles, Bang for your Buck, Puca Pals, and the Japan Metagame Diaries! Until then, good gaming.

 

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