With Magic 2015 here, strategies are coalescing. I’ve had the pleasure of several M15 drafts so far and here are the emergent strategies I’ve encountered.

Marsh Flats

The M15 power level is relatively flat. Yes, there are obviously best commons, like Lightning Strike and Triplicate Spirits, but there’s a lot of chunkiness when you look past them.

Glacial Crusher is an unexciting but perfectly playable card. Runeclaw Bear, Bronze Sable, Goblin Roughrider, and Witch’s Familiar are all fine-to-good vanilla creatures. Combat tricks like Sanctified Charge, Ephemeral Shields and Titanic Growth are rather good in the relative absence of strong removal spells, as are powerful auras like Marked by Honor, Inferno Fist, and Hammerhand (which has three abilities, all of which are worth remembering).


A direct consequence of flatter power level is the importance of synergy. Having an on-color paragon, a bunch of low-drops to convoke out an early Will-Forged Golem or Siege Wurm (or be buffed with Sanctified Charge), or Heliod’s Pilgrim to fetch out auras for Brood Keeper or copies of Crippling Blight can provide the necessary edge to beat an opponent with otherwise comparably-powered cards.

In other words, know your archetype. If you’re drafting an aggressive white deck, look for Paragon of New Dawns, Triplicate Spirits, and Raise the Alarm first. Supplement your deck with Oreskos Swiftclaw, Kinsbaile Skirmisher, and Selfless Cathar. Find a finisher or two in Sanctified Charge or flying creatures like Geist of the Moors.

If you’re drafting blue, decide whether you’re tempo/aggro (which wants Welkin Tern) or control (which wants Jace’s Ingenuity and creatures that block). Both decks appreciate Frost Lynx (which is a removal spell for the aggressive blue deck and a staller for the slower blue deck).

Soul of Theros

Bombs are nuts in M15. As creatures and removal spells are of a fairly low power level, there’s a wide disparity between the best commons and many rares. Small flying creatures like Welkin Tern are already quite strong, but a large, efficient flyer like Hoarding Dragon or Master of Predicaments is fantastic (even before their abilities are considered). Then, there are the mega-bombs, like the Souls, Garruk, and Nissa. These cards are so disproportionately powerful and difficult to remove that they can almost guarantee victory.

If you plan to play in an M15 Limited event, particularly a long sealed tournament, you will need to have a plan for cards like Soul of Theros. Aggressive decks can kill before a Soul of Shandalar or Nightfire Giant begin to wreack havoc; however, most creatures have fairly comparable stats, causing frequent trades or board stalls. Slower decks will need to save countermagic or a Flesh to Dust for middle and late-game bombs.

Parallax Nexus

If you’re heading to Portland or just slinging some spells at your local game store, I hope my input has provided some help. Core sets tend to teach the basics (creatures are good, flying creatures are great, removal is great, bombs are insane) and M15 is no exception. Best of luck in your endeavors, and as always, 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 that borders on being unhealthy.

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