Khans of Tarkir Prerelease Dos and Don’ts


Prerelease weekend is upon us (finally!) and we’re all excited to finally get our hands on these new cards. Most LGS’s host multiple events, in a few different formats. My LGS has a midnight tonight, 2pm tomorrow, 6pm 2 Headed-Giant, and a 12pm on Sunday. I’m leaning towards attending two of them, possibly three. This will be my 5th prerelease, after attending each from Theros block and M15. I assume you’ve been to one, or maybe you haven’t, but here are some things you should do and some you shouldn’t;


  • READ EVERY CARD. I’ve seen lots of people misplay because they thought a card did a certain thing, or because they didn’t know every mode of the card they’re playing. You have plenty of time to build your deck and it takes a few extra seconds to make sure you fully understand each card you have access to.
  • SEPARATE CARDS BY COLOR. When you open your packs, I like to sort by color right away, so that I know which color I have the most cards in. It helps you know which colors might be splashable, or which will be too hard to play. After that, separate by playables and non-playables.
  • LEARN SOME OF THE COMBAT TRICKS. Take a few minutes so scan over the set on Gatherer or Mythic Spoilers to figure out the best combat tricks that you may have to play around. Being mostly a creature-based set, creatures and combat tricks are going to be crucial to pull out a win.
  • TRADE. Most of the hyped cards are at their highest, or near the highest they will ever be. This set is going to be one of the most open sets in history, thanks to the reprint of Onslaught fetches.It’s simple supply and demand. Scoop up any low cost cards that you think will go up (I wish I could go back to M15 prerelease and scoop up all the Rabblemasters). I like to have up on my phone. It has the TCG mid price for every mythic, rare and some uncommons and commons, as well as the foil prices.


  • DON’T FORCE A WEDGE. Just because you picked Mardu or Temur for the prerelease pack, does not mean you HAVE to play those colors. Yes, you will get a rare in those colors and may open another strong card in those colors, but it’s the rest of the commons and uncommons that make a deck. One card won’t affect a game as much as the 22 other cards will (of course there is always an exception).
  • DON’T OVERLOOK COMMONS. Don’t throw all 6 rares into your deck because they’re powerful. If they happen to work out that way, lucky you. Check out your commons and uncommons and really find the best ones. Sometimes a common is a better fit in your deck than that almost splashable rare.
  • DON’T PLAY TOO FAST. With Standard, Modern, drafting etc, you’re playing with cards you already know and ones you have played again and again. These cards are new for everyone. Take your time to slow down play and make sure you know what everything on the board does, and what you hold in your hand.
  • DON’T TAKE IT SO SERIOUSLY. The main point in prereleases are to have fun and experience a new set. This is not a GP or PTQ. While you should play every match to your best and call a judge if there is a confusion or misplay, just have fun.

Where are you prereleasing this weekend? Which wedge are you going to pick? Which rares are your sleepers for speculation?

Good luck and have fun!


Anger and Sorrow in Tarkir

For the most part, everyone seemed to be let down with the new board wipe in Khans, End Hostilities;

endFor one, it’s not 4CMC. For two, it can be countered, creatures could be regenerated. For three, it’s not 4CMC. That’s really the big deal here. End Hostilities does have the added bonus of taking any Boon Satyr, Herald of Torment or Spiteful Returned with their respected creatures though. With UW Control in RTR/Theros standard, Verdict ran supreme because the deck had the tools to set up for a turn 4 board wipe. While it might not seem like all that big a difference, giving an aggressive one extra turn to drop threats and attack could prove too late.

Turn 1: 2/1

Turn 2: 2 2/1’s, attack for 2. 18

Turn 3: a 2/1 and a 3/2, attack for 6. 12.

Turn 4: removal, big threat, or 5/5. attack for 11. 1.

Turn 5: Game.

Of course this is a scenario where you play nothing until turn 5, but damage exponentially grows by turn, and the jump from 4 to 5 can mean moving on to sideboarding, or living a turn or two more. With no Sphinx’s Revelation or Archangel of Thune to gain a lot of life, control decks have to be more proactive in slowing down damage and controlling threats. The other mass removal we have available to us is a little on the high end of the curve as well;


While these could see play as a 1 or 2 of in some decks; Fated Retribution saw some play beside Planar Cleansing, and Mass Calcify could see play in a midrange white creature deck, these aren’t reliable sources of creature removal.

With spot removal being so scarce post-rotation, I think the role of the control deck has to shift. Before, UW could take damage, then Verdict, Revelation and play Elspeth once they had enough cards to counter any real threats. Now, midrange or control decks will have to limit the amount of early damage they take. The best option they have?

anger   drown

Anger of the Gods and Drown in Sorrow have already seen play as hedges against aggro decks, especially with the rise in popularity of Rabble Red and green ramp decks.

They both could fit into a Mardu midrange deck, but the casting cost is a little restrictive. Getting access to Bloodstained Mire, Temple of Malice, Nomad Outpost and both Caves of Koilos and Battlefield Forge help smooth out the mana for this deck. Also, with Thoughtseize and Despise, you could take early threats, or take the larger creatures, letting them play right into a wipe.

What board wipes do you see being good in Khans? Which ones are you going to play?


Deck Tech: Modern Rakdos Burner

I’ve always been a fan of the sligh build.  Whether it be a legacy or modern build, it’s quick, effective, and easy to pilot.  Perfect for the casual player like myself.  I normally play edh but i wanted to expand my builds to something more.  Thus, here is my first modern build!


4 x Mana Confluence

4 x Blood Crypt

4 x Bloodstained Mire

4 x Swamps

4 x Mountains

Bloodstained Mire is not in modern WOOHOO!  Thank you r and d.  The Mana Confluences can certainly be swapped if you are concerned with losing life.  Especially if you turn one a mire into a Blood Crypt then turn two a confluence.  Granted, you should be doing more damage to your opponent than yourself in the next two or three turns.


4 x Bump in the NIght

4 x Lightning Bolt

4 x Rift Bolt

4 x Lava Spike

4 x Shard Volley

4 x Thoughtseize

Al of cards above are perfect candidates for the deck since they all have a one cmc. Once you get Bob on the field and start drawing extra cards your life total will only slightly dwindle.  I also threw in the Thoughtseizes just for some leadway with your opponents hand. Discarding a big player quickly could save your game plan.


4 x Goblin Guide

4 x Young Pyromancer

4 x Dark Confidant

2 x Grim Lavamancer

2 x Vexing Devil

So here we are with a modern and modified sligh deck.

I love Bump in the Night.  It fits perfectly since we have no access to Chain Lightning plus it has flashback.  Granted the game should be over by the time you can afford the flashback cost.

Goblin Guides because they’re Goblin Guides.  Probably the best one drop creature ever printed in my opinion.

Young Pyromancer will get plenty of fuel for the fire and it will also generate some chumps for you.

Vexing Devils in the initial build.  I would need to play test it to justify keeping them in there.  Would consider jumping to four lavamancers instead.

Dark Confidants will help keep your hand nice and full.  Sligh decks tend to run dry very quickly because of the numerous one drop spells.

The other thing that I like about this deck is that it can easily be swapped for a legacy build.  You can swap the Mana Confluences in a heartbeat for Badlands and easily swap shard volley or even the Thoughtsiezes for Chain Lightnings.

I never have liked sideboards, hence why there isn’t one! I do completely understand the importance of a sideboard but for me being a casual player I don’t really deem it a necessity.

I hope you enjoyed my first deck tech and if you have the cards take it for a spin!


Departing Ravnica and Leaving Behind an Old Friend.

There are definitely some cards I will not even come close to missing when rotation hits in a week and a half. Sphinx’s Revelation and Supreme Verdict are cards that should have been taken out behind the shed and taken care of long ago. Desecration Demon, Pack Rat, Obzedat Ghost Council and Blood Baron of Vizkopa should all have been caged up like the Ark of the Covenant and locked away in a cavernous warehouse.

Looking forward to the new possibilities post-rotation is a very exciting time; you brew with new cards, you brew with forgotten cards, and you try to take your old deck and bring it with you, adding some new cards. While looking forward, I started by looking backwards at my year in RTR/Theros standard. I began with Pyromancer Burn, went to Mono Red Devotion, GR Monsters, then Jund Monsters, Jund Planeswalkers and then finished up with GR Rabblemonsters. If you’ve read my other articles, you won’t be surprised that all my decks contained red cards. But when thinking of what cards I’m looking to bring to Tarkir (Stormbreath Dragon, Goblin Rabblemaster, Lightning Strike), I was thinking of which cards I was leaving behind. I was only focusing on which cards I would no longer be playing against, not which cards I would no longer be playing with. Going over deck lists in my head, and rethinking over FNM games and tournament rounds, I came to a realization.

Every single one of my decks contained one card in particular,

mortarsMizzium Mortars was a mainstay for my decks this past year. It’s easily one of the best removal spells from RTR and is so efficient and diverse.

It could take care of Courser of Kruphix, Stormbreath Dragon, Blood Baron, Brimaz and other resilient creatures. But, when you have Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid, it was easy to ramp into overloading the Mortars to sweep the opponent’s board. Taking down 4 Pack Rats, sweeping an army of 2/1’s, or even clearing away Caryatids and Coursers was so beneficial, and a great way to 3 for 1 or 4 for 1 your opponent. Being able to wipe out an army of 4/4 lands with Nissa’s +1 or ultimate is also really fun.

While it can’t go to the face like a Boros Charm, or couldn’t hit at instant speed like a Lightning Strike, Mortars became a favorite card. With RTR to rotate out, we’re losing a lot of strong burn cards, and are left with cards like Lightning Strike, Stoke the Flames and Anger of the Gods, which are all strong in their own right. However, Anger hits your own creatures and Stoke and Strike only hit one target.

Coming up to rotation feels like moving away from your childhood home, leaving behind your best friend down the street. Hopefully I can return someday (Re-return to Ravnica?) or maybe I’ll make new friends who will be just as fun, but they’ll always have that place in your heart.

Stoke the Flames seems like a strong card, and very versatile with convoke and instant speed, but it’s no Mortars. I hope it knows that.

What cards are you going to miss playing the most? The least?


Nightmare Weaving Your Way Through Standard

Khans of Tarkir has been fully spoiled, we’re less than a week from prerelease and standard rotation is less than a fortnight away. This is one of the most exciting times of the year for Magic players. There are so many possibilities, so many new cards, so many cards that have been overlooked.

I’m putting a lot of faith into one criminally underplayed card, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver;


Just being a 3CMC Planeswalker that immediately hits 5 loyalty the turn she is played, Ashiok is very strong. In a format without Doom Blade, Ultimate Price or Dreadbore, creature removal is a little scarce in Khans standard. We’ll still have enough removal, but not cheap, efficient removal. This seems to mean that this standard will be very creature heavy. This is where Ashiok can shine.

Hitting 5 loyalty on turn 3 means on turn 4 you could possibly play an exiled Stormbreath Dragon, Polukranos, World-Eater, Butcher of the Horde, Master of the Feast, Surrak Dragonclaw, Arbor Colossus, or Sidisi, Brood Tyrant; or to say it short, there are A LOT of really powerful creatures in the under 5CMC slots.

Also, being in Black, being able to rip a Hero’s Downfall or early threat from your opponent with a Thoughtseize can help easily protect your Ashiok. While she may be a little weak against hyper aggro decks, she can also buy you a turn or two of damage, while your opponent may focus on killing her instead of you.

Shaheen Soorani has brewed a Sultai Planeswalkers deck with 3 in the mainboard, alongside Garruk, Apex Predator, Kiora, The Crashing Wave and Nissa, Worldwaker

SultaiPlaneswalkersJund Planeswalkers loses a lot of it’s major threats, and I think this deck, or a similar deck, could be the Super Friends powerhouse to start Khans standard.

Turn 1: Thoughtseize

Turn 2: Sylvan Caryatid//Bile Blight a threat

Turn 3: Ashiok

Turn 4: Kiora//Prognostic Sphinx//Clever Impersonator’ing an opponent’s creature

This seems like a pretty strong start against any kind of deck.

What are your thoughts on Ashiok? What cards would you play in a Sultai deck?


Deck Profile | Rakdos Midrange

With rotation looking overhead, some players are making the most out of RTR block cards with some new brews.

This Rakdos Midrange deck looks like a lot of fun, and has a lot of powerful cards to present, and remove threats.


With Pack Rat , Young Pyromancer and Goblin Rabblemaster, this deck hits the ground running and can put a lot of power on the board in the early game. Topping off the creature curve with Stormbreath Dragon as a finisher once the tokens have done their damage seems very strong.

packratm15 goblin token

Being able to take removal or threats with Thoughtseize and Duress, while also sprouting up elemental tokens? Sign me up. Dreadbore and Ultimate Price are to clear the ways of the Coursers, Polukranos and Nyx-Fleece’s of the format, while Stoke the Flames, Lightning Strikes and Shocks can either remove blockers or go straight to the face of your opponent.

Mutavaults are even more powerful with the red and black combo, being both a rat and a goblin at the same time to pump up Pack Rat and the Rabblemasters.

What would you change of this deck? What are your thoughts about the sideboard? Would you play it at FNM this week?


Brewing with Khans of Tarkir | Mardu Midrange

As I’ve said before, aggro decks usually run the tables right after rotation; they have a game plan in set, they have the pieces, the mana base is usually more efficient, and they try to win before their opponent can react.

Rabble Red and Mono Black Aggro are two contenders with the addition of a few choice cards,



Bloodsoaked Champion can’t block. Raid – 1B: Return Bloodsoaked Champion from your graveyard to the battlefield. Activate this ability only if you attacked with a creature this turn.

With Radkos Cackler, Firefist Striker, Frenzied Goblin and a few other powerful one and two drops leaving, M15 and Khans picks up the slack and adds new pieces to the decks. I already brewed a Mardu aggro deck, thinking it has the best chances for a wedge aggro deck (Bloodsoaked Champion over Tormented Hero in the final draft of the deck). The losses of Legion Loyalist, Rubblebelt Maaka and Ash Zealot are huge blows to the Rabble deck, but raising the curve a little bit could help in that aspect.

But then yesterday I thought a lot about Stormbreath Dragon and how powerful it can be post rotation.

Maybe joining the ranks of the aggro players isn’t the best spot to be in. When an aggro deck is put on the defensive, it becomes a very hard game to play, because your cards are only meant to attack, not defend.

So how about a midrange deck? I like how the dragon is poised in the format so red definitely needs to be there; we also get access to Anger of the Gods, Stoke the Flames, Lightning Strike, Chandra, Pyromaster and Sarkhan, Dragonspeaker. Adding black gives us Thoughtseize, Hero’s Downfall and Despise. With white we get Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, Last Breath, and Ajani, Steadfast.

We get access to Duneblast, Butcher of the Horde, Sorin, Solemn Visitor, Crackling Doom and Mardu Charm with the Mardu colors, too.

What would you brew for a Mardu midrange? What numbers for each card? Are there any important cards that I am missing out on? What would you include in the sideboard?



Khans of Tarkir Spoilers – Goblinslide and Winterflame

We’re getting close to the full release of all Khans spoilers, and we are getting more and more cards spoiled.  Two in particular caught my eye today: Goblinslide and Winterflame.

This card will be a nice compliment to a rabblemaster deck.  I think this card, along with rabblemaster and some red heroic creatures, would make a nice mono-red burn deck.  I think I’ll have to buy more goblin tokens.

Winterflame is more valuable as what it represents than the actual card.  First, its a two color spell in a three color block, implying we are going to get at least some additional cards like this that are not monocolor or tri-color.  Second, you get to cast one or both of two effects, which is also awesome.  I look forward to seeing more of these dual color cards.