Dragons of Tarkir Set Review – The Rest
Holy cow! It’s set review time already? Yup, Dragons is all done spoiler season and this weekend is the set pre-release, next weekend is release, and then in two weeks we have the online release for MTGO. As with the release of Fate Reforged I’m skipping the paper pre-release and release events of the set and saving up for the MTGO releases. If all goes according to plan I’ll be doing a twenty-four hour stream of Swiss drafts live on Twitch.tv. If I get enough in donations between now and then I’ll be upgrading to doing sealed deck instead.
That all said, here’s my thoughts on the set for everyone to think about. As always I’ll be going card by card talking about just the formats of wear I think the cards are going to find homes. Also making comments on the cards I think are the most flavorful. So let’s go see how our game is getting updated and changed all around with the new cards.
Remember this fall when we hit the new rotation this is going to be the only Tarkir set in Standard. Also with the release of this set the draft format is switching to Dragons-Dragons–Fate. So it’s really important for everyone that we take a really good look at this set. If anyone has any cards they disagree with me on, please comment below. Only by having a dialog about the cards will we truly understand them. Okay, now let’s start the review.
Scion of Ugin – 6 – Creature -Dragon Spirit – U – Flying. 4/4. Perfect for Limited and I’m willing to bet that this will find a hone in Constructed decks along side Ugin. I have high hopes that we will see a colorless deck once the Eldrazi return this fall.
Arashin Sovereign – 5GW – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. When Arashin Sovereign dies, you may put it on the top or bottom of its owner’s library. 6/6. In Limited that’s a really good effect to have on you flying fatty. Oh, you used one of your few removal spells to kill it, okay I’ll just put it back on top. Also you can keep trading it with other large flying dragons and just recast it. Yup, this it eh take the rare format.
Atarka’s Command – RG – Instant – R – Choose two; You opponent’s can’t gain life this turn. – Atarka’s Command deals 3 damage to each opponent. – You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield. – Creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain reach until end of turn. Yup, three out of four are use able in every game and the first one is just good hate for life gain decks. I’m still in the take the rare camp.
Boltwing Marauder – 3BR – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, target creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn. Long ago when I was just a new player learning to play the Jund deck I asked my buddy and former Maine State Champ Nate McNamara for some advice on how to play the deck. “Make dudes, turn them side-ways, and win.” I’m very sure that is the motto of the Kolaghan. I look forward to having this in my dash deck.
Cunning Breezedancer – 4WU – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying. Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, Cunning Breezedancer gets +2/+2 until end of turn. 4/4. Are you playing the prowess/rebound deck in Limited, then here is your dragon.
Dragonlord – Atarka – 5RG – Legendary Creature – Elder Dragon – M – Flying, trample. When Dragonlord Atarka enters the battlefield, it deals 5 damage divided as you choose among any number of target creatures and/or planeswalkers. 8/8. A huge flying fatty with built in removal. Snap pick in Limited.
Dragonlord Dromoka – 4GW – Legendary Creature – Elder Dragon – M – Dragonlord Dromoka cant’ be countered. Flying, lifelink. You opponents can’t cast spells during you turn. Welcome to Commander Dromoka. She might also be a card to put in Green?white Devotion that can be countered and messes up counter spells verses Blue/Black Control. Also just as good in Limited to hate on control decks.
Dragonlord Kolaghan – 4BR – Legendary Creature – Elder Dragon – M – Flying, haste. Other creatures you control have haste. Whenever an opponent cast a creature or planeswalker with the same name as a card in his or her graveyard, that player loses 10 life. 6/5. The first two lines of text are just what makes this dragon a house in Limited, but the last line has me thinking about a Red/Black control deck in Standard. Or we could add a red splash to Blue/Black control and have a Grixis build with this.
Dragonlord Ojutai – 3WU – Legendary Creature – Elder Dragon – M – Flying. Dragonlord Ojutai has hexproof as long as it’s untapped. Whenever Dragonlord Ojutai deals combat damage to a player, look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. 5/4. Only has hexproof as long as she in untapped make me thing she wont find much love in Commander, or even Standard, but still it’s a great limited card.
Dragonlord Silumgar – 4UB – Legendary Creature – Elder Dragon – M – Flying, deathtouch. When Dragonlord Silumgar enters the battlefield, gain control of target creature or planeswalker for as long as you control Dragonlord Silumgar. 3/5. Blue/Black Control is going to keep playing the younger version of Silumgar until rotation. But this is going to find much love in Limited and might even find a home in some Cubes. After rotation we’ll have to wait and see as mind control effects do tend to not make it into Standard, but the rare ones on creatures do see some fringe play at times.
Dromoka’s Command – GW – Instant – R – Choose two: Prevent all damage target instant or sorcery spell would deal this turn. – Target player sacrifices and enchantment. – Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. – Target creature you control fights target creature you don’t control. Every one of these ia a spell that you will want at some point in Limited. And some of them you’ll want at the same time. So yup, another first pick rare that will pull you into GW.
Enduring Scalelord – 4GW – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying. Whenever one or more +1/+1 counter are placed on another creature you control, you may put a +1/+1 counter on Enduring Scalelord. 4/4. So this is the uncommon that Bolster really wants in Limited. Make another dude bigger and make this dude bigger and attack, repeat until you win.
Harbinger of the Hunt – 3RG – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. 2R: Harbinger of the Hunt deals 1 damage to each creature without flying. 2G: Harbinger of the Hunt deals 1 damage to each other creature with flying. 5/3. It flies and kills ground dudes and makes blocks really bad when you have mana to sink into it. Great card for Limited here boys and girls.
Kolaghan’s Command – 1BR – Instant – R- Choose two: – Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand. – Target player discards a card. – Destroy target artifact. – Kolaghan’s Command deals 2 damage to target creature or player. Another good utility spell that is good in Limited. Might as well take it and be in RB.
Narset Transcendent- 2WU – Planeswalker – Narset – M – +1: Loot at the top card of your library. IF it’s a noncreature, nonland card, you may reveal it and put it into your hand. -2: Whenever you cast your next instant or sorcery spell from your hand this turn, it gains rebound. -9: You get an emblem with “Your opponents can’t cast noncreature spells.” Starting Loyalty 6. Lots of hype over Narset. I’m in the camp that she”ll be played in Standard but she isn’t broken as she doesn’t protect herself. Granted in Limited she will just finish games is she lives to hit that ultimate by turning off removal and tricks from your opponents.
Necromaster Dragon – 3UB – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. Whenever Necromaster Dragon deasl combat damage to a player, you may pay 2. If you do, put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield and each opponent puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. 4/4. Just the bonus mill effect draft that makes you tokens. It’s great for Limited but I don’t see it finding a home outside of it.
Ojutai’s Command – 2WU – Instant – R – Choose two: – Return target creature with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. – You gain 4 life. – Counter target creature spell. – Draw a card. I feel that they dis a good job of balancing the Command cycle so that they are just good magic bullet cards for Limited that have enough modes that you don’t feel bad first picking them.
Pristine Skywise – 4WU – Creature – Dragon – R – Flying. Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, untap Pristine Skywise. It gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. 6/4. If UW Heroic was looking for a dragon to side board in to the deck this would be that dragon. Ugin has been the bane of my life playing that deck lately, hmm… Maybe one or two in the sideboard? Okay, for real I just see this as the finisher of choice in the Prowess/Rebound decks in Limited as you can just answer one blocker and give this protection form the other while having sudo-vigilance. In the right Limited deck this is a three turn clock in the air.
Ruthless Deathfang – 4UB – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying. Whenever you sacrifice a creature, target opponent sacrifices a creature. 4/4. This is the glue that holds the Exploit deck together. Granted he shows up after a number of your creatures have already been exploited but with a Palace Siege allowing you to refresh exploit dudes along with a few grave-digger type cards to pull them back to hand this will end up allowing you just to grind you opponent out of creatures.
Sarkhan Unbroken – 2GUR – Planeswalker – Sarkhan – M – +1: Draw a card, then add one man of any color to your mana pool. -2: Put a 4/4 red Dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield. -8: Search your library for any number of Dragon creature cards and put them onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library. Starting Loyalty 4. The Khan of Khans. No really, in the lore of Tarkir there is a Dragon man who was the king of the kings. Sarkhan is the Dragon Jesus. Still I’m on the same page with him as with Narset. Both are really good and will win games when they go ultimate, but I’m just not seeing either have huge Standard demand in the future. Still table top players will be going nuts over this guy for years. “I get to make all the dragons!”
Savage Ventmaw – 4RG – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying. Whenever Savage Ventmaw attacks, add RRRGGG to you mana pool. Until end of turn, this mana doesn’t empty from your mana pool as steps and phases end. 4/4. Broken in Limited. If you opponent can’t kill this in combat you are just going to be dropping dragons all day till they give up. Or you can cast combat tricks or removal. I’m very sure that this might end up as a key card to ramp decks post rotation when you want to power out Eldrazi.
Silumgar’s Command – 3UB – Instant – R – Choose two: Counter target noncreature spell. – Return target permanent to its owner’s hand. – Target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn. – Destroy target planeswalker. In Limited that is the mana cost I would expect two pay for any of those effects by themselves. Getting two just makes this even more powerful in Limited. Now I don’t think we are going to see much of this other than maybe two in Blue/Black sideboards until rotation, but after rotation we are going to see the full playset some split between main and side as we lose Hero’s Downfall. #BestInCycle.
Swift Warkite – 4BR – Creature – Dragon – U – Flying. When Swift Warkite enters the battlefield, you may put a creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard onto the battlefield. That creature gains haste. Return it to your hand at the beginning of the next end step. 4/4. Seems we got two reanimation dragons in the set. This one is prefect for the Dash deck in Limited as it brings back a number of them for more attacks over and over. Also with a number othe utility megamorphs having casting cost in this range you can get them back to cast face down and flip the next turn. Totally a tech creature for Limited.
Ancestral Statue – 4 – Artifact Creature – Golem – C – When Ancestral Statue enters the battlefield, return a nonland permanent you control to its owner’s hand. ¾. Every set needs a bad but good artifact dude for Limited. Still this can abuse enters the battlefield effects like some of the bolster dudes and even Swift Warkite above. So it gets a pass in sealed deck.
Atarka Monument – 3 – Artifact – U – Tap: Add R or G to your mana pool. 4RG: Atarka Monument becomes a 4/4 red and green Dragon artifact creature with flying until end of turn. Okay, seeing how these are just different colors and all do the same thing I’m just going to say this once for all the monuments. Nice mana rocks for Limited as the both fix and can become creatures themselves in the late game. But out side of Sealed they are just as bad as the Banners were in the last Limited format.
Custodian of the Trove – 3 – Artifact – Defender. Custodian of the Trove enters the battlefield tapped. 2/5. A good big butt for Limited in the big butt deck.
Dragonloft Idol – 4 – Artifact Creature – Gargoyle – U – As long as you control a Dragon, Dragonloft Idol gets +1/+1 and has flying and trample. 3/3.Just an artifact dude that gets better if you have dragons in Sealed deck. Yeah, I wont play this in Limited.
Gate Smasher – 3 – Artifact – Equipment – U – Gate Smasher can be attached only to a creature with toughness 4 or greater. Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and has trample. Equip 3. With all the dragons and fatties in the set I have to say this is a perfect equipment for Limited.
Keeper of the Lens – 1 – Artifact Creature – Golem – C- You may look at face-down creatures you don’t control. ½. So the Lens sucked in Khans, not it’s being held by a ½ dork, and might just see playing in Sealed deck now.
Spidersilk Net – 0 – Artifact – Equipment – C – Equipped creature gets +0/+2 and has reach. Equip 2. A good reprint of a Zendikar block equipment that helps out in the Limited format because ther are a ton o dragons and fliers. Personally I’m thinking this is going to be a solid late pci for any deck and an auto include in ever sealed deck just to block problem Dragons. Also just good in Big Butt deck.
Stormrider Rig – 2 – Artifact – Equipment – U – Equipped creature gets +1/+1. Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control, you may attach Stormrider Rig to it. Equip 2. As a personal fan of Ronin Warclub and Hero’s Blade I’m going to value this high as my go to equipment. Just allows me to drop this and then equip it to whatever new creature that enters the battlefield without having to pay to attach it. Still this is only a +1/+1 so it’s not going to see much play outside of Limited.
Tapestry of the Ages – 4 – Artifact – U – 2, tap: Draw a card. Activate this ability only if you’ve cast a noncreature spell this turn. Just some draw for the prowess deck in Limited.
Vial of Dragonfire – 2 – Artifact – C – 2, tap, sacrifice Vial of Dragonfire: Vial of Dragonfire deals 2 damage to target creature. Yup, just some colorless artifact based removal for every deck in Limited. Moving on.
Evolving Wilds – Land – C – Tap, sacrifice Evolving Wilds: Search your library for a basic land card and put it onto the battlefield tapped. Then shuffle your library. Okay, so we were spoiled a bit by having the good fetches in Khans, and they are still kind of in Fate too, but for the most part this will be out fixing land in Limited. I know it sucks but at least it doesn’t suck as much as…
Haven of the Spirit Dragon – Land – R – Tap: Add 1 mana to your mana pool. Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast Dragon creature spells. 2, tap, sacrifice Haven of the Spirit Dragon” Return target Dragon creature card or Ugin planeswalker card from your graveyard to your hand. The one and only rare I wouldn’t first pick in draft but would love to have in Sealed. No really only works if you are already flooded with off color dragons.
Alright, so the artifacts are lame and the lads all suck, but the awesomeness of the multicolored cards is real. Still after getting all the way into the set and only at the end with the very last rare do we find a card that isn’t part of some deck build where you first pick the rare. So it’s time to buckle down and enjoy the new draft order. First pick the rares and then draft around them. Unless you get the Haven, then just take the best uncommon. I’ll right I’m done. Everyone have fun at the paper per-releases and release tournaments, and I’ll see you all for the MTGO per-releases during my 24 hour stream. Till then I’m going to play some Cube and Rise Drafts. Maybe a few games with Mono Black Devo in Standard 5-3-2-2s. This has been…
Jeffrey Carmichael II
Fenthing Jeffrey on Facebook
KDPfenthing on MTGO
https://twitter.com/fenthing on Twitter
Fenthing on TwitchTV