This past weekend, people around the world had their first opportunity to crack packs of Magic 2014. Reprints from Alpha shared the battlefield with cards from Innistrad, Urza’s Saga, and cards that had never before been printed, After reviewing all 101 M14 commons last week with Hipster’s resident Limited master and 23/17 author, Hunter Slaton, we turned our attention to the 60 uncommons.

Uncommons are exciting! You won’t see them nearly as often as you do commons, but you’ll get a good variety of them at every event (excluding foils, there’ll be 18 uncommons in a Sealed pool and 72 at a Draft). Oftentimes, there are “engine” cards at uncommon, like Burning Vengeance and Furnace Celebration that create entire archetypes. Uncommons are often much more powerful than commons and present stronger signals that a color is open. As ever, please comment below and let us know what you agree or disagree with (and perhaps even share a story from your prerelease). If you’d like to call one of us out for our reviews, all of mine are signed ZB (Zach Barash) and Hunter’s are signed HRS (for Hunter “Rolex” Slaton). And now… uncommons!



Angelic Accord—If you can reliably gain four life in a turn, either you’ve contorted your deck to have lots of life gain (and your deck is full of bad cards like Soulmenders that do nothing if you don’t draw Angelic Accord), multiple Brindle Boars, or you’ve got powerful and unanswered cards like Mark of the Vampire or Archangel of Thune (and then Angelic Accord is a win-more card). Perhaps there’s an interesting dedicated “lifegain matters” deck, but I’d rather fill my deck with solid playables. (ZB)


Banisher Priest—This “fixed” Fiend Hunter no longer allows you to do the feel-bad (for your opponents, anyway) trick wherein, with Fiend Hunter’s trigger on the stack, you bounced or blinked F.H., thereby allowing you to perma-exile whatever your first target was, and—upon F.H.’s re-entry to the battlefield—get another exile trigger, which would then stay under F.H. as normal. That was a corner case, though, and only occasionally an option in Limited. So this guy more or less does the same thing, killing anything as long as he hangs around. You might be tempted to get into combat with him more than you would F.H., given that he’s a proper bear, but probably better to hang back on “D.” (HRS)


Blessing—A reprint from an eternity ago! Blessing combines the shade ability (which is slow and mana-intensive), the card disadvantage of auras, and a heavy white mana commitment. That’s a very high risk proposition, and I don’t think that the reward justifies it. Removal seems too good for an aura this slow to be worthwhile. Perhaps you just win if you stick a Blessing on a Witchstalker or Gladecover Scout (and your opponent lacks a Celestial Flare, but I’ll avoid being blessed for the time being.(ZB)


Brave the Elements—Usually this is going to act much like Pay No Heed, although in heavy white decks it can act as a semi-Falter, or seriously screw up a big attack for your opponent. Keep in mind, too, that it can knock off pesky enchantments, such as Pacifism or Claustrophobia. That said, it’s not amazing, and I wouldn’t pick it too highly in draft. (HRS)


Congregate—Another reprint from a long time ago, and another miss. There are few dedicated lifegain spells worth playing, and I doubt that Congregate is one of them. For quadruple the cost of a Fog, you can potentially gain some life on top of all the combat damage you’re (presumably) reversing. Perhaps some decks will want this effect to buy time (Sporemound offers to gain lots of life), but I’d be surprised if it’s a card worth spending one of your first eight picks on.(ZB)


Serra Angel—Good ol’ Serra Angel is just as good as she’s always been: a one-woman air force who also keeps the peace at home (aka your side of the ‘field) while hitting hard in the air. Nothing feels better than curving out into S.A., and few things feel worse for your opponent. Lucky is the man or woman who snags two of these in his or her sealed pool, and it’s a total draft first-pick as well. (HRS)


Steelform SliverPredatory Sliver is much, much better for sliver decks than Steelform Sliver. A 2/3 for three isn’t terrible (though it’s nothing exciting). I won’t be surprised to see this in non-sliver decks, and a white-based sliver deck will take as many of these that it can get (though not as highly as it will take Predatory Sliver). If you can get several of these with Sentinel Sliver, then you can build your own Hold the Gates (a pet card of a certain Hipster). The extra point of toughness will be easy to forget (as this is only one of two cards that give slivers nonsquared stats), so it might be a blowout in combat and it’ll help your slivers not trade down.(ZB)


Stonehorn Chanter—A 4/4 for six is a bit off-curve, but it’s not embarrassing, either—and this Rhino preacher’s special ability, while it costs a lot, can be just what the doctor ordered in a late-game stall. I wouldn’t want more than one, but I’d be happy to have him. Also it’s worth noting that an activated-ability hit or block from this guy is the magic number for Angelic Accord. One minor grumble is that his “threat of activation” is kind of weirdly split; obviously if you want the vigilance you have to pay the cost before you swing in; so if you want to keep your mid-combat options (and mana) open, you’re not going to get the vigilance ability, only the lifelink, which makes this ability somewhat worse. (HRS)


Wall of Swords—Yet another white uncommon reprint from an eternity ago. Wall of Swords is a very unusual inclusion as it’s an actual Wall (rather than a non-wall creature with defender) and it’s a very powerful defensive card. A 3/5 flying can eat most creatures in this set, and for four mana, that’s a bargain. If you’re a slow deck looking to buy a lot of time (or draw out your opponent’s most powerful removal spells), then Wall of Swords is just the card for you. Of course, you’ll need ways to win the game, since Wall of Swords only helps you not lose (but it does a pretty good job of that).(ZB)



Air Servant—This guy straight-up rules the air. By the time you are ready to attack with him (i.e., turn six), you’ll be able to tap down at least one and maybe two of any opposing eyes in the sky, making him able to get in totally unopposed except in the most clogged of skies. He also plays great “D” and trades with Serra Angels and Sengir Vampires, if that’s what needs to happen. A very high pick for blue. (HRS)


Glimpse the Future—Ugh. This is Forbidden Alchemy back when it was in elementary school, before it grew up to be a sweet card. For three mana, I expect more than a lousy Impulse at sorcery-speed. There aren’t many graveyard shenanigans to get value off of this card (aside from Corpse Hauler and Archaeomancer), so unless you’ve got a bomb that you really need to dig for, Divination will serve you much better, and any other card might be better than this three mana cantrip.(ZB)


Illusionary Armor—Fragile, but strong. At least upon first reconnaissance, there are very few “tap [or trigger]: do something to your opponent’s guy” abilities, one exception being Master of Diversion—so if your opponent wants this armor (please don’t sac your creature if someone targets an armor-wearing dude) to exit stage right, they are mostly going to have to spend a card to do so, which lessens the blow. Definitely powerful, but—even more so than most auras—fragile and risky. Build-your-own dragon! (HRS)


Opportunity—Now this is a Magic card I can behind (and yet another Urza’s block reprint). It’s terribly slow, but if you’re playing a durdle deck, Opportunity provides insane card advantage at instand speed. If there exists a u/x control deck, it will appreciate this Opportunity. (ZB)


Phantom Warrior—I dislike the new templating on this guy, as somehow “can’t be blocked” feels less impressive than “unblockable”—but I realize that this is merely flavor quibbles. P.W. here is a solid, if slow, threat. You might be tempted to slap an aura on him and go to town, and that could be fine—but better, perhaps, to spend your aura on a less impressive/threatening creature, so that you now have two threats that must be answered, rather than just one. (HRS)


Spell Blast—On the one hand, Spell Blast is a splashable hard counterspell. On the other hand, it’s expensive. If the game is fast and each player is casting spells on curve, Spell Blast will never hit. If you’re looking to counter a Doom Blade or Shock, Spell Blast is good at it. If you’re looking to counter an expensive bomb, are playing a control mirror, or have a fair amount of islands in your deck, Cancel is probably a better choice.(ZB)


Wall of Frost—If you want to win in the air, there’s no more frustrating way to clog up the ground than this, uh, “guy.” Nothing short of a Doom Blade, Pacifism, Claustrophobia, or a Liturgy of Blood is going to kill it alone—and if your opponent is spending premium removal on your wall, you’re probably in good shape. Frosty can’t ever win the game on his own, of course, but he buys you a ton of time in which he can help you win. (HRS)


Warden of Evos Isle—I like me a Wind Drake just fine. A Wind Drake that turns Messenger Drake into Phantom Monster and could be a Helm of Awakening? Sign me up! I don’t imagine that this is a windmill slam first pick, but it’s a welcome addition to any deck with flying creatures, good enough to be played on its own stats, and a fine reason to go into u/w skies.(ZB)


Water Servant—This green creature … wait, what? You get a 3/4 with special abilities in blue, for four mana? This guy is a serious beater, and loves to get tossed in the air by a Trained Condor. Water Servant is particularly impressive because he can so easily transition from defense—becoming an 0/7 Wall of Frost if need be—or, when the coast is clear, getting in for a massive six damage. Keep in mind that, should you need to, you can always backtrack on the pumping ability; if you make him a 5/2 and your opponent points a Shock at him, you can respond by dialing him back to a 4/3, thus dodging the burn. (HRS)



Artificer’s Hex—There are sixteen good reasons as to why this shouldn’t be in your maindeck. If you really need to deal with a Haunted Plate Mail or a Fireshrieker on a Witchstalker, it can do the trick… kind of. It’s really slow and allows your opponent to swing, then move the equipment onto a sacrifical creature. This looks like bad sideboard material (though an interesting design).(ZB)


Blightcaster—At my prerelease this past weekend, this guy did some serious work for one of my opponents, who was stocked up on Dark Favors and Mark of the Vampires. On his own, he’s overcosted for a 2/3, but that extra point of toughness also makes him that much more difficult to kill—and, of course, he eats bears himself. If you’re in a draft game and you see this guy, I recommend you kill him on sight, as you can be pretty sure your opp. isn’t running him just as a four-mana Hurloon Minotaur. I think you probably need at least three enchantments before I’d want to run him, and maybe even more. He can do gross things, though, so watch out. (HRS)


Corrupt—Once upon a time, in Urza’s Saga, Corrupt was a common (along with Pestilence). Unsurprisingly, black was the best color. If you’re in a heavy black deck, Corrupt will kill any creature and regain you a fair chunk of life. This card is a big signal that monoblack is open, and along with Quag Sickness, makes for a solid removal suite. One of black’s many powerful uncommons.(ZB)


Diabolic Tutor—Ol’ boring Diabolic Tutor, back again. I basically never run this card. In sealed, where decks are in general going to be slower and more dependent on their bombs, I think this can be fine to run, but I’m never picking it or playing it in draft (unless M14 draft somehow turns out to be a glacially slow format, which I doubt it will). It’s a powerful effect, sure, but it’s just too slow and expensive to make it worth it, given that this will usually be how you are spending your entire turn. (HRS)


Doom Blade—Simple and powerful, Doom Blade is an amazing removal spell (that, like Corrupt, was common, and it was insane). I’ve written an entire article inspired by Doom Blade. This is arguably the best removal spell in the set. An easy P1P1 and a great reason to splash black.(ZB)


Gnawing Zombie—Another 1/3 for 1B! (Hello, Bane Alley Blackguard!) While this hungry bastard could potentially close out games, in general I think his special ability costs too much to really be a factor most of the time. If you are happy having a 1/3 for two in your controlling UB deck, you’ll be glad to get the odd few points of damage and lifegain out of him throughout the course of the game, but I do not think this zombie is a build-around-me card. He’s just kind of bad, mostly. (HRS)


Sengir Vampire—Yet another powerful black uncommon. Giant flying creatures (aka dragons) are great in limited (even if Serra Angel‘s ability is relevant more often). Bombs like this are reason enough to go into black and present a strong signal that black is wide open. (ZB)


Tenacious Dead—I was listening to the Limited Resources set-review podcast this past week, and I swear a half-step before they realized this guy was (or could be) a play on the joke-metal band “Tenancious D,” I realized it myself. That, unfortuantely, is probably the best thing to say about this guy, as his ability is so time-restrictive (has to be when he dies, unlike Reassembling Skeleton) and relatively costly (double his original price—and keep in mind that all you are getting for the effort is a 1/1) that I don’t much think you’ll be wanting to do it. That said, it seems like there are a relative dearth of two-drops in M14, and getting this guy on turn one, to get in for a few damage, and then later be sacced for profit to your Blood Bairns isn’t the worst plan in the world. (HRS)


Vampire Warlord—This is a nifty sacrifice outlet. A five mana 4/2 is pretty bad, but one that can let you trade a Festering Newt for a Marauding Maulhorn and a Regathan Firecat bears considering. It should play similarly to Blood Bairn; both work very well with [/mtg_card]Act of Treason[/mtg_card] and both let you sacrifice a creature for four power (though Blood Bairn can scale to higher power and Vampire Warlord protects itself). It’s a bit slow for aggro decks to use and heavily reliant on having creatures for black removal/control decks, so there’s no clear deck that wants this. Perhaps there’s a sweet spot at which an adult Warlord is better than a Blood Bairn.(ZB)



Barrage of Expendables—A fun card, and I like the costs on both ends of the dial—one to cast, and one to activate—so I can see a red deck using this to pretty decent effect in order to get the last X points of damage in; once it’s on the table, there is pretty much nothing (outside of, say, Congregate) for your opponent to do about it, given that you can’t counter its ability. Also, unlike an aura, green is the only color that’s going to be able to answer this directly, with a Naturalize. I kind of like this better than I thought I might initially. It coming down so early makes it much better, because you can get incremental advantage (for cheap) when your opponent points a kill spell at your guys, and potentially even picking off (or preventing them playing at all) X/1s like Trained Condor. Maybe pair this with Hive Stirrings and Molten Birth and go to town? (HRS)


Battle SliverBonesplitter Sliver returns! This is likely the worse card (because it costs more), but a five mana 5/3 isn’t terrible, and it makes all of your slivers terrifying. Blur Sliver becomes Slash Panther, Striking Sliver becomes Porcelain Legionnaire, and Hive Stirrings becomes a pair of Accorder Paladins (to stretch the Scars of Mirrodin comparisons thin). I’d pick this highly and go into R/x slivers. Even if I’m not in a sliver deck, this and Blur Sliver are good enough on their own and insane together to merit drafting.(ZB)


Dragon Egg—Love the flavor, and it’s not a bad card at all. Sure, an 0/2 defender isn’t really what red wants to be doing—but it will gain you some life; and then, when it dies, leaving behind a Wind Drake with (actual) Firebreathing is kind of fantastic. It’s not game-breaking by any means, but it either trades up with their largest flier on defense, or it starts getting in for tons of damage if they don’t have an air force. I like it. (HRS)


Flames of the Firebrand—Turns out Arc Lightning is a great card in Limited. M14 seems a format where Flames of the Firebrand should be (at least) a two-for-one a fair amount of the time. If Flames of the Firebrand can’t kill multiple creatures, then it’s a worse Volcanic Hammer (which is still good enough in limited, though not as good a removal spell as Doom Blade or even Shock at times). I’d pick this highly and be happy to splash it, though I’ll be mindful of how often this card kills multiple creatures and reevaluate down the line.(ZB)


Fleshpulper Giant—Oh, cool—a five-mana 4/4 with an upside. What’s that, you say? This guy doesn’t cost five, but seven!? That’s unbelievable. I keep looking between the text box and the power and toughnees, and then the casting cost, and the two just don’t seem to jibe in my brain. This is not what you want to be doing for an incredible double-red seven mana. (HRS)


Molten Birth—The Timmy in me is pumped to cast this, get this back, cast it again… and win another coin flip. From a competitive standpoint, this is arguably worse than Hive Stirrings—it’s not splashable and there are no sliver synergies, but the potential to recast this warrants consideration (plus it is quite good with Ogre Battledriver, but that dude’s insane with any creature). I wouldn’t be surprised to see this wheeling more often than not in draft (particularly since red has several excellent commons and uncommons), but I’d also not hate having it in my maindeck.(ZB)


Shiv’s Embrace—Spectral Flight, as we all know, could be a very good card. Even though this costs twice that, and adds only Firebreathing, Shiv’s Embrace is still very powerful, allowing you to build your own dragon. I dunno what’s better, this or Mark of the Vampire. Probably this. (HRS)


Volcanic Geyser—In M13, this card was usually worse than Flames of the Firebrand and Searing Spear. Sure, it looks like Fireball, it can kill any creature, and it’s a Lava Axe that you don’t mind having in your deck. The price of such versatility is a high mana cost: it’s much worse at disrupting aggro than Shock, Chandra’s Outrage kills just about everything for less mana, and it’ll take a large amount of mana to kill something with five or more toughness or an opponent. If you’re something like UR Archaeomancer/Opportunity durdles, you’ll probably love this card, but a red-based aggro deck would like much prefer a Shock, Chandra’s Outrage, Flames of the Firebrand, or perhaps even an Act of Treason. Granted, even if Volcanic Geyser is the fourth-best burn spell in the format, it’s still a solid pick and should make my maindeck every time.(ZB)


Young Pyromancer—Besides the really stupid art, this 2/1 beater for 1R is fine. In a Limited game, his ability isn’t going to come up often—but, unless you start including bad sorcercies or instants in your deck just to trigger him, it’s also pure upside. Nothing exciting, but a happy and relatively high pick for an aggro red deck, especially perhaps paired with black, where you can get some added value out of saccing any tokens you make. (HRS)



Bramblecrush—There are no utility lands that need killing in this format (and four-mana land destruction tends to be terrible), so unless you really need an answer for opposing planeswalkers (and have few creatures… even though you’re in green), this should only come out of your sideboard if you don’t have a Naturalize to bring in.(ZB)


Briarpack Alpha—Man this Wolf is a nightmare. At one point this past weekend, at the M14 prerelease, my opponent had up two green and two blue mana on my turn. I was preparing for combat, and was thinking, “OK, he’s got Nephalia Seakite. But even if he does have Seakite, and blocks my Blur Sliver, I can finish it off with Shock.” So I swing in. Nope: My opp. had Briarpack Alpha, and things were miserable for me. This is a great card, and has so many uses; to save your guy from burn; as a kind of bloodrusher that hangs around on the battlefield after he’s given his pump; and as a super-strong surprise blocker. Watch out for this card, kids. This is a great reason to go green. (HRS)


Enlarge—What a neat twist on Overrun! If you have two or fewer creatures, it deals more damage than its forebear (unless both of your creatures are huge and would be best served by having trample). It’s probably not going to end as many games, though for five mana, jumbo Lava Axe plus Diabolic Edict is pretty good. I’ll pick this pretty highly as it’ll allow an aggressive green deck to kill an opponent and a slower green deck to pick off a creature (particularly when the only fight effect in green is the four mana Hunt the Weak) while eating a chunk of your opponent’s life. Just make sure to play around Shock!(ZB)


Howl of the Night Pack—It all depends, on this card. I haven’t seen any mono-color decks yet (because I haven’t drafted), and I dunno if they are even viable—but sometimes in core set they are. If you manage to get a mono-green deck, this card is absolutely insane. Even if you are just heavy green, it’s still very powerful—because by the time you hit seven mana you should have three to four Forests on the ‘field, which is kind of the tipping point from good to amazing on this card. NB: Unlike a lot of big green fatties, this card is kind of a “nonbo” with ramp strategies, as it counts Forests rather than green mana spent to cast it. (HRS)


Kalonian Tusker—Ah, Watchwolf. A 3/3 seems a good body for this format, and a turn two 3/3, particularly on the play, should be a Savage Beating. Because it’s an undercosted vanilla creature, the power of Kalonian Tusker is wholly dependent on the turn it’s played. If it’s T3, it’s a Centaur Courser, and that’s still above the curve, whereas on turns four or later, unless you’re deploying multiple threats, it’s a Canyon Minotaur/Hill Giant. If I take this early, I’ll try to have at least eleven or twelve green mana sources in my deck to ensure it can always be cast on T2.(ZB)


Manaweft Sliver—Gemhide Sliver is reborn! I kind of like this guy. If you have enough Slivers, he can not only get bigger himself, but also turn your whole team into an insane ramp situation; and even if you don’t have many or any Slivers, would you pay 1G for a Birds of Paradise? I think you would. He doesn’t win games on his own, of course, but he can grease the wheels. (HRS)


Voracious Wurm—A bear that might be a decent topdeck later in the game. This is probably best in a BG deck with Child of Night and Mark of the Vampire (T2 Child of Night, T3 4/4 seems pretty good). In isolation, Predatory Sliver is a better two-drop, but if you’re in black or white and not slivers, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll get more value off of this hungry fella. Just don’t be afraid to run it out on turn 2; sometimes you just need a bear. This should make my maindeck every time, unless bears turn out to be bad.(ZB)


Windstorm—I’d generally prefer maindecking a Plummet (which is almost always going to cost less, and won’t ever kill your own dudes) if I were going to maindeck a card that works along this axis—but, of course, I would be more than happy to have one of these in my board if facing a blue- or white-based skies deck. Don’t hesitate to fire it off as a one-for-one, either, when your opp. goes to put an enchantment on their 1/3 flier, or some such. (HRS)


Woodborn Behemoth—A five mana 4/4 isn’t the worst (though green having a two mana 3/3 does belittle those stats and Rumbling Baloth is strictly better), though a five mana 8/8 trample is ridiculous (though it kind of is an eight mana 8/8 trample, and that’s… beefy but slow). I expect that Woodborn Behemoth is worse than it appears as there are no Rampant Growth effects to accelerate you into or help guarantee your eighth land drop. You’ll have better things to accelerate out with Elvish Mystic and Manaweft Sliver (like Rumbling Baloth). If you’re a green control deck that hides behind a wall of Giant Spiders and Sporemounds, then sure, this is a fine finisher, but I wouldn’t pick this highly and would not always put it in my deck.(ZB)



Accorder’s Shield—Well … it gets your storm count up for free, I guess? I’d mostly pass on this, as its equip costs is just too high, and its effect too limited (not pumping power at all sucks), to be worth it. If I had a bunch of Sengir Vampires and my opponent had a bunch of Serra Angels I could see maybe bringing this in out of the board—but that’s a real corner case and maybe not even a great idea then. Pass on this shield. (HRS)


Bubbling Cauldron—I absolutely adore the flavor of this cycle and will gladly run these as part of the Witch/Newt package (and will probably maindeck it if I have a bunch of Festering Newts). Otherwise, I don’t expect to play this. It combos well with cards like Sporemound, Molten Birth, and Trading Post to buy you a lot of time, but as with all pure life gain cards, it doesn’t win you the game (only helps you not lose) and doesn’t affect the board. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a slow green or nonblack Act of Treason deck run this. It’s more playable than it looks, but it’s still not playable enough for the vast majority of decks.(ZB)


Darksteel Ingot—“Indestructible” here may as well be flavor text; you are paying three mana for an any-color mana rock. If you really want or need the fixing (and, to a lesser degree, the ramp), go for it—but I might just play an 18th land instead of this thing, as it’s real slow. (HRS)


Elixir of Immortality—I love me an Elixir of Immortality in Limited… but only in Cube (with Trinket Mage). Sure, you can sideboard this in against aggro or the Tome Scour deck, but it’s usually a recurring dead draw. It’s not unplayable, but it’s not good enough for a maindeck.(ZB)


Fireshrieker—Equipment is best when it’s making small, otherwise insignificant creatures into threats (at a reasonable mana cost). That’s why Bonesplitter is fantastic. Fireshrieker isn’t like that—it improves creatures that are already good (and at an appreciable mana cost). In other words, it helps out creatures that least need help (and not cheaply, as O-Naginata does). It seems best on a Regathan Firecat, Witchstalker (but Witchstalker combos with everything), a Marauding Maulhorn, or any large flying creature. I’ve been unimpressed by this card in Mirrodin block Limited, but that format had some of the most powerful equipment ever printed. It’s worth a try, but I have very low expectations of Fireshriker.(ZB)


Millstone—This, along with Tome Scour, should go very late in draft. Mill, as ever, suffers in that its win conditions effectively do nothing until your opponent’s library is empty (the same could be said of winning via damage, except that creatures protect you and don’t require mana/cards each turn in order to do work). The nice thing about Millstone is that you only need one or two of these in a control deck to win (whereas the Tome Scour deck needs a bunch of them and Archaeomancers to win). You can prioritize removal in a BR control deck (both colors have access to very strong removal at common) or maybe even a G/x control deck (with Sporemound and Giant Spider to buy you lots of time), wheel a Millstone or two, and have it be one of your few win conditions. Not unplayable, but certainly not something that belongs in most decks.(ZB)


Rod of Ruin—Pingers tend to be very, very strong in Limited. However, Rod of Ruin is a bit slow for my tastes. Seven mana gets you one damage and thirteen mana gets you a Flames of the Firebrand (that can’t kill a creature with two toughness). This is great at killing Trainder Condor and Child of Night and makes combat math difficult for your opponent, but its speed concerns me. I’d expect to play this most often in green where removal is hard to come by but ramp isn’t. Perhaps my skepticism will ruin my reviews for you, but I’m not terribly excited by this rod. Then again, it’s a card that I won’t be disappointed to maindeck, unlike a certain other collection of sticks.(ZB)

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All These Dumb Sticks—Blegh. Pure lifegain cards that don’t do anything when you cast them. Unlike the previous lucky charms, you can’t sideboard in a Dragon’s Claw against your red aggro opponent. These serve as learning opportunities for new players, but that doesn’t mean I’ll draft ’em earlier than last pick. Think long and hard if you’re ever planning on bringing this out of your sideboard, because you probably shouldn’t.(ZB)


Vial of Poison—This is the very definition of card disadvantage. I’m wracking my brain trying to think of non-card-disadvantage ways in which to use this, and I can’t think of any. The worst thing is that this is an on-board trick, so your opponent will always see it coming. Terrible! I really like the flavor, but that’s about it. KEEP AWAY FROM POISON. (HRS)



Encroaching Wastes—This is not for Limited. Do not play, and don’t bring it in from the sideboard. The only situations in which I could even see boarding it in being possible would be against a Mutavault (but really, who cares?) or against an opponent with a billion Shimmering Grottos. Still, just don’t do it. It basically costs you a turn, five mana, and a land. Terrible. (HRS)


Shimmering Grotto—This card is no big whoop—and, keep in mind, it effectively costs two (because you have to tap this and another land) to make any color of mana, so don’t try to build five-color control in Limited in M14; it’s not happening. Still, I’d rather have this than a Darksteel Ingot, and it’s one of the few ways that non-green decks are going to be able to fix their mana. I’d never run it in a two-color deck, but if I want to splash for a Doom Blade or a Flames of the Firebrand, I’d be more than happy to have one of these swimming pools along for the ride. (HRS)

And that’s everything. Huge, huge thanks again to co-author and Limited master Hunter for all of his hard work with this series. If you don’t already, make sure to check out 23/17 every Friday. And as ever, thanks for reading.

—Zachary Barash

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Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food bordering on the unhealthy.

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