Top Level Podcast (new cards)

A discussion of the advantages of Dark Intimations from Aether Revolt, with points of comparison like Tidings and Cruel Ultimatum.

Direct download: dark-intimations.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 1:08am EDT

We know from Smuggler's Copter how good a two mana vehicle can be.

Aether Revolt is pushing that limit even more with Heart of Kiran. Make no mistake... This card might be bananas. Imagine playing Heart of Kiran on turn two, then following up with Liliana or Nissa on turn three. You can slam with the Heart of Kiran and still gain ground on the battlefield by destroying a threat or making a Plant.

There are two important things to take away from this card:

  1. You basically get to access Planeswalker loyalty twice per turn. The first use is the regular one; the second is a swing with Heart of Kiran.
  2. Because Heart of Kiran has vigilence, it can block. Got a spare loyalty? You can spring a 4/4 blocker on demand. The best thing? At least early in the Heart's career, you may be able to steal a body or two.

Some of the cards in Aether Revolt -- most notably Ajani Unyeilding -- imply a Planeswalker collective deck. Heart of Kiran might be great in that kind of deck, a two drop that comes down faster than any Planeswalker in Standard, and capable of thriving in a context rich with loyalty.

As explosive as the loyalty-leeching alternate crew cost may be, the regular crew cost on this card is challenging. Crew 3 is much harder to hit than Crew 1; Nissa was already struggling in a Smugger's Copter-first format, but at least Gideon could make 2/2 creatures. Now even [one of] Gideon's tokens need assistance. Not a fatal flaw to this card at all... But something, certainly, to be wary of as you select your creatures.

Direct download: heart-of-kiran.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 2:29am EDT

Yahenni's Expertise is like a Languish married a Bloodbraid Elf

It's that time again! Top Level Podcast's favorite time... Spoiler season.

Early Aether Revolt spoilers bring us three new cards to talk about: Yahenni's Expertise, Trophy Mage, and Scrap Trawler.

Yahenni's Expertise

  • -3/-3 hits a surprisingly sweet spot in the current Standard. Not only is -3/-3 for all creatures not all that bad for 2BB, tons of the best creatures in Standard have three toughness, like Reflector Mage and Spell Queller.
  • While Yahenni's Expertise doesn't give the full -4/-4 that Languish does, the additional ability to cast a card for no additional mana might make this card a powerhouse. For example, you can sweep the board and cast a card drawing spell in one move. In Modern, you might play Yahenni's Expertise and pop an Ancestral Vision!
  • The secondary ability on Yahenni's Expertise can act as a kind of color fixing. Don't be surprised if players cheat a little with this card, splashing additional colors they wouldn't easily be able to cast.


Trophy Mage

  • Trinket Mage and Treasure Mage* have a new cousin!
  • The number of cards you can find with this is huge, varied, and highly flexible. For instance you can lock some opponents out with Ensnaring Bridge... And lock others out with Crucible of Worlds. Psst... Oblivion Stone costs three mana.

Scrap Trawler

  • Four words "Even. More. Card. Advantage."

Our first stab at Aether Revolt!

* Incidentally, Patrick made Top 8 of PT Paris a few years ago packing Treasure Mage for Mindslaver and Wurmcoil Engine only!

Direct download: yahennisexpertise.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:48am EDT

There were 32 copies of Smuggler's Copter -- the maximum number -- in the first SCG Open Top 8 with Kaladesh. Play any Smuggler's Copter deck you want.

Direct download: smugglers-copter.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:29am EDT

Kaladesh is going to make Magic fast again... And Toolcraft Exemplar will be one of the best, and fastest (and not just in Standard).

Direct download: toolcraft-exemplar.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:10am EDT

Voltaic Brawler will be the centerpiece of a new Energy Aggro deck.

Direct download: pure-energy.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:24am EDT

Combustible Gearhulk completes the Kaladesh Gearhulk Cycle

 

 

Direct download: combustible-gearhulk.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 2:38am EDT

New set Kaladesh brings with it three (five?) great new Planeswalkers. Pro Tour Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin and Michael J Flores walk through new Nissa, new Chandra; other new Nissa, other new Chandra + Saheeli Rai in this podcast.

Direct download: Planeswalkers-of-Kaladesh.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:18am EDT

Birds of Paradise. G. Creature - Bird. Flying. T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. 0/1. Birds of Paradise is back in Conspiracy: Take the Crown!

Direct download: birds-of-paradise.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 1:51am EDT

Should Vampires play mono-red?

Should Vampires play mono-black?

Eldritch Moon puts the kibosh on both ideas by giving us Bloodhall Priest. Bloodhall Priest is on-theme, on-mechanic, and on-tribe for both black and red, encouraging a light splash in either. It is part Obstinate Baloth, part Murderous Redcap, and part Inferno Titan... But all awesome for either black or red vampires.

Direct download: bloodhall-priest.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:27am EDT