Magic Origins Card Discussion #1

All of us here at The Gray Merchants are excited about Magic Origins and the spoilers that have begun to be released. It looks like a great send off for the core sets with plenty of re-envisioned classics, but also new convention breakers. So as we usher in a new age, we thought we would take a look at 10 recently spoilered cards and share our excitement, getting different opinions on them from our writers.

So lets start off with some very short introductions:
Reuben: I’m a Timmy/Spike player and custom card creator who loves looking at the subtle ways the limited environments and individual cool cards are designed. Spoiler Season for me always has me looking at what themes and systems are underlying the set as well as how they integrate those with great vorthos flavor.
Molly: I’m a Spike through and through who enjoys aggressively costed, ridiculously powerful cards (who doesn’t!). For me it’s all about the win and whether a card will get me there. I do however really love the flavour that R&D imbues in sets and am super keen for 10 different worlds worth of flavour!

Now thats thats out of the way let’s dive into some cards!

Kothophed, Soul Hoarder


Reuben: So is this part of a cycle of legendary enemies for each of the main planeswalkers? Anyway this fancy looking demon has appeared before on a version of Demonic Tutor and is one of the 4 demons that Liliana is in debt to. And I gotta say his ability “feels” so black. It links death and knowledge and pain all into one 6/6 flying demon which I think really sells this nasty character.
One thing to note is that this card gets very awkward in Commander with all the board wraths threatening to literally bury you in painful card draw, and because of that I’m really unsure what formats he will see play in.
Molly: This is a huge limited bomb. 6/6 Flyer for 6 with sweet upside. However it’s the kind of card that you can only play when you’re ahead or at least not significantly losing. It’s super awkward against burn and aggressive strategies and I would be surprised if it sees standard play. Side note: the link between this art and the art for demonic tutor is sweet!

demonic tutor

Day’s Undoing

day's undoing
Reuben: Ok lets start by saying this really isn’t my type of card. I’m not a johnny and I don’t really care that it is remaking one of the power nine, specifically timetwister. I will however say that this does a great job of trying to make a rather broken card far more fair but in an interesting way that gets certain players excited. Hopefully unlike Treasure Cruise or Ancestral Vision and other card that anchor off the power 9 this will not end up horrifically broken in modern as the effect itself can be a very uninteresting way to lose a game of magic.
Molly: This card will break formats. Definitely modern, possibly legacy, but basically it’s effing amazing. Played with quicken at the end of you opponents’ turn = ooh look at my new 7 cards, so shiny! Speaking of shiny, I will endeavour to get myself a foil playset of these, they will be beautiful. Ad Nauseum in modern and Notion Thief just became significantly happier with their lots in life. Poor Chasm Skulker not so much; Matt Tabak:
“If you cast Day’s Undoing, any abilities that trigger before you start ending the turn won’t happen (i.e. ones like Sphinx’s Tutelage).” Credit to Fabian Peck and TGM facebook thread for most of this opinion and helpful rules insights.

Blessed Spirits

blessed spirits
Reuben: I want to link to this great article by Mike Linneman about the art and concepting here. As a vorthos I love the great art concepting that has been happening more and more. I mean look at something like Orc Sureshot and its first person perspective or Dragon Whisperer with its ferocious background character that frames everything with its horns.
This card is something that just wouldn’t appear in most other games. It’s only due to the longevity and maturity of MtG that they are willing to create such emotional pieces. I‘ll be getting a foil of this and putting it next to my Ogre Resistor and other cards that tug at my heartstrings.
As for the card mechanically it’s a wind drake with upside so even the spike in me is happy.
Molly: Aesthetically, I love this card, beautiful in the same way Gift of Orzhova was beautiful, stained glass tones just stand out well against magic’s generally evil undertone and generally create beautiful art. The card has potential to be excellent in limited depending on the depth of enchantments available. I doubt it will ever be anything more than a good limited card. Someone will definitely have fun making it enormous in EDH.


Reuben: Yeh baby! It’s no Damnation but it sure is close.I love this kind of card. Its obviously super powerful and going to be a big player in standard but is perfectly positioned so that their is a range of threats that simply don’t care like Siege Rhino. As a designer I always find the way development matches up the removal to the threats an interesting puzzle even if I don’t play much standard myself.
Molly: This card will firmly pull us back into the world of esper control. All creature based decks – especially aggro – just became significantly worse with a 4 drop wipe. On the plus side, it doesn’t kill Siege rhino or tasigur, the golden fang for all those Abzan and Control inclined. This card also made green-based ramp strategies including RG monsters worse as well, although those ramp decks will mostly fall off with the Blood block coming in 2016 which will rotate Theros block.

Chandra’s Ignition

chandra's ignition
Reuben: The FLAVOR! These are the kind of card designs that have really stood out to me over the last few years as the creative team gets more and more closely entwined with card design.
This grabs me at so many levels without even getting started on how sweet it can be on a lifelink or deathtouch creature. The effect is big, the cost is fairly low and the power potential is high. This may not be a card that sees much standard play but I know I’ll have a great time using it in limited.
Molly: I like that although R&D ditched the idea of a legendary creature, a spark ignition and planewalker set for each of our planeswalker characters for this season when they decided on flippers, that they kept some critical spark moment cards. Another in this set is Tainted Remedy which we will talk about later. This card has the potential to be really good but requires quite a bit of set up and an unusual board state for red. You need a big creature (yes a 2/2 can still wipe a board depending on the stage of the game you’re in, but you probably want more value than that for a 5 cost sorcery), and red is generally smaller toughness creatures and more of them than other colour strategies, making this card have a large potential downside. You don’t want to play it pre-combat and wipe your own board, and you don’t want to play it post combat and lose value. Overall, strong in limited, doubtful will see standard play, unplayable in modern, fun in EDH.

Honored Hierarch

honoured heirarch
Reuben: So this isn’t exactly the most exciting card for me as I don’t play a lot of constructed but lets slow down a moment and talk about Renown. How do people think it will play in limited? I’m personally quite excited as saboteur triggers have always been popular especially to new players as it makes combat very satisfying. The use of Monstrous technology is clever and allows for a very clean yet open ended templating. I’ve seen many versions of this type of ability be suggested by custom card designers but never so cleanly. WotC continues to impress.
The way this tempts players who love 5 color fixing amuses me as if you don’t get the renown trigger this card gets really bad.
Molly: This card is only good if you’re on the play, otherwise it has a high potential to be blanked by their turn one or two play. It’s barrier to entry (ie being good) is just too high. you have to play it, wait a turn, attack, deal combat damage to a player and then wait until the next turn for it to be a birds of paradise 2/2. I think people will try to make it good, especially after theros/m15 rotates, but it think they will fail. It’s honestly not good enough for any format and is a disgrace at rare.

Starfield of Nyx

starfield of nyx
Reuben: The idea of Leylines beating down is kinda amazing, though I think this is far more a commander card than anything else. The flavor is good as the starfield of nyx was such a huge part of the world especially in the novella.
I think the last time we had a card like this was Opalescence which shows this is another part of magic origin’s trend to recreate famous old cards while giving them a modern treatment.
A flavor glitch I noticed is doesn’t this make lots of the gods smaller? Hmmmmm well I guess you can’t have everything perfectly match the flavor, although the DFC planeswalkers in this set have been really spot on.
Molly: This card brings out the hidden Johnny in me. I used to play hexproof during RTR standard and it is my favourite competitive deck from that time (yes I am a bad person) so I have a weakness for auras and enchantments. This is a purely fun EDH style card and I doubt it will see much play in other formats. 5 cost seems high, but who wants to put a price on fun?

Fiery Impulse

firey impulse
Reuben: All the magic players will look up and shout “Lightning Bolt” and Wizards will look down and whisper “No.”
So this got a lot of players very excited until they reread it. I gotta say I kinda approve of this game design trolling as I think another lightning bolt would not be healthy for the game in many ways. This is a lesson that what your audience wants isn’t what is best for the game in the long run.
The card itself will be sweet removal in limited in any case though it still remains to be seen how easy spell mastery is to activate. I like that this wants you to play more instants and sorceries and that the new red/blue evergreen mechanic is prowess which wants the same things so the two mechanics are not fighting each other for deck space.
Molly: I was so happy when I saw this card, and then I reread it. Card is still good. Bomb removal in limited, will see 3-4 ofs in most red standard decks. The spell mastery ability is good, but not essential which makes the card good. A lot of similar cards in the past have had terrible static abilities only being made good by their keyword interactions (think ferocious), I’m glad that it is not the case for this card.

Jace’s Sanctum

jase's sanctum
Reuben: I’ve always been a fan of Arcane Melee in EDH but the high initial cost and global effect always made the spike in me sad. This on the other hand is cheaper, gives me more options with scry and doesn’t effect my opponents. Sure the discount isn’t as good but when I’m scrying into more spells I don’t care.
Chaining removal spells and sry sounds like all I want to do in limited but unfortunately I doubt I’ll play it unless their is quite a lot of support for a spell heavy izzet deck.
In other formats I think the Goblin Electromancer still wins the slot due to just being cheaper.
Also I’m trying to figure out if this is Jace’s sanctum on Vyrn or Ravnica.
Molly: This is a poor man’s goblin electromancer. Yes it’s not a creature so it’s harder for your opponent to kill and you get a scry trigger (!), but you cant beat down with it either and 4 mana for no body, same effect +scry is just bad. It may see play in limited (as a mediocre at best card) but who knows, maybe you first picked a Starfield of Nix and this card is suddenly good. If this card was a 4 cost 4/4 with the same abilities, I’d actually play it. You might occasionally come across it in EDH.

Tainted Remedy

tainted remedy
Reuben: They fixed Rain of Gore! So a Beacon of Immortality combo deck is a thing in modern right? Anyway seriously this is a really nice card that would normally be simply seen as a Commander card but could actually be quite relevant as a hoser to some of the massive life gain effects in standard right? Like Whip of Erebos or Mastery of the Unseen or DL Dromoka suddenly look pretty bad against this. It is always great to see when development finds a card that people have been wanting for a while and print it exactly at the right time.
The flavor text on this made me chuckle as rest is the last thing her brother received.
Molly: I know so many people who will just love this card. Seems good against whip and other lifegain cards and will possibly fill some sideboard slots in that respect. I’m uncertain about it’s impact on modern, but it’s aggressively costed which is a good sign. It’s reverse sanguine bond effect means that brewers are going to have fun trying to make it good and I look forward to seeing what support it will get.

Thanks for reading, if you like what we thought, let us know. If you think we’re complete nufties and are so wrong about something, let us know that too (but play nice).

So long for now,

Molly and Reuben

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