After all the goodies Khans of Tarkir gave us, I was excited about the potential of Fate Reforged. There were two very important things that immediately jumped out at me. The first was that delve would be a returning mechanic. I harp on this a lot, but it almost always proves true: mechanics that let you cheat on mana have a very strong potential to get busted in half (see: Miracles, Cascade, Storm, Phyrexian Mana). Delve proved it true again, with even some of the “lesser” (non-blue) delve spells seeing play in Legacy and Modern. To learn that delve was coming back meant that we were gonna get some new goodies!

The other mechanic that piqued my interest was manifest. I think this might be one of the most challenging abilities to evaluate at a glance, without actually playing with it, first. Remember what I said about mechanics that let you cheat on costs? Manifest, to an extent, let’s you do that. I’m eager to watch people attempt to break it, whether it involves Resto-blinking Emrakul into play in Modern, or having an additional method of cheating out a Phyrexian Dreadnought in Stiflenaught. The concern, here, is that while you do sort of get to cheat on costs with manifest, it may require too many additional cards and setup to be worth the payoff, but it’s hard to tell, since this is quite unlike any mechanic we’ve had in the past. The above statement can effectively apply to most of the manifest cards that I’ve included among the Fate Reforged cards that I expect to earn their spot in the Eternal formats.

As we did, last time, I’ll give my opinion on each card’s viability in Modern, Legacy, and Vintage (assuming the card has some viability in at least one of the formats).

[casthaven]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/casthaven]

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Modern: The obvious home, here, is ‘Tron. Yeah, yeah, I get the whole, “But this doesn’t have the natural synergy that Karn does, because he can come down on exactly turn three if you can assemble ‘Tron.” Ok, that’s cool, and all, but have you seen that -X? What’s Karn gonna do against an early Geist of Saint Traft?

Legacy: I’ve spoken to a few 12-post players that are pretty excited to experiment with Ugin. The card is very powerful, and I think it has potential to see play in decks that can generate large amounts of mana, and use the board wipe as more of a Plague Wind-style effect, due to the fact that all of their own permanents are colorless. That means that 12-post, as well as MUD, might find a use for the Spirit Dragon. I also could see a world where The Painter And The Dragon could be a real thing (which also happens to be Modern-legal); for those not in the know, you get a Painter’s Servant on board, play Ugin, and then blow up everything but Ugin, lands included. As an added bonus, if you’re playing Painters, you can steal a page out of Imperial Painter’s book and overload on REB effects.

Vintage: Big, colorless permanents always have a reasonable shot at seeing play in Vintage. But this one won’t because you can’t Tinker for it or cast it off your ‘shops.

[casthaven]Jeskai Barricade[/casthaven]

Jeskai Barricade

Modern: Maaaaaybe? Flash plus a rebuy on [casthaven]Snapcaster Mage[/casthaven] after a chump block? I don’t think this one is too likely to break into the format, but it’s a neat set of abilities on a defensive card. [casthaven]Wall of Omens[/casthaven] has seen play, before, so the big question we need to ask, here, is whether flash and the ability to bounce one of your own creatures is worth more than drawing a card (while also keeping Resto in mind).

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!



Modern: There are better options for setting this up, in Legacy. While we do have the option to use a Resto-blink to get paid by our manifest, having the Lightform fall off isn’t too desirable.

Legacy: Cheating a [casthaven]Phyrexian Dreadnought[/casthaven] into play, with flying and lifelink, seems like a sweet thing to do. While Stiflenought hasn’t typically used white, it might be worth it, now that [casthaven]Enlightened Tutor[/casthaven] nicely finds both halves of the combo, as well as perfectly sets up your manifest,

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Monastery Mentor[/casthaven]

Monastery Mentor

Modern: Obviously-pushed creature will obviously see play.

Legacy: Legacy, the format of cantrips, is where the Mentor is going get to do the most work. Drew Levin recently posted an all-in Mentor list on the paid side of SCG, but I think he’s missing [casthaven]Concordant Crossroads[/casthaven] (which also triggers Mentor), [casthaven]Anger[/casthaven], or both. Mentor will be a fine value creature/finisher in less all-in lists, as well. I think Mentor is going to be strong in UWx lists that err on the controllish side of the spectrum, but need a way to quickly turn the corner. Mentor allows you to do that, by dropping one on the table in the mid-late game, and then firing off a salvo of cantrips. Here’s another trick that you can turn with a Mentor, but would do nothing with a Pyromancer: when you have two Tops in play, every one mana that you pay will buy you a trigger; think of it as a Sword-Thopter combo that trades the life-gain aspect for the ability to not have to play as many situational cards in your deck. And if you want to play with situational cards, might I introduce you to [casthaven]Helm of Awakening[/casthaven]? I can’t wait to play Mentor CounterTop! (Spoiler alert: I’m likely going to explore that or Worldgorger Combo in the coming weeks.)

Vintage: I think Mentor might even make an impact in the land of Moxen, particularly since each Mox that you play will cause your army to grow, in both size and quantity. I’ve seen a Pyromancer that is unchecked for just a single turn take over the game, and this will have a similar effect. When you also consider that very little removal is played in Vintage, Mentor has a decent chance of going unchecked, and thus, ending the game in short order.

[casthaven]Rally The Ancestors[/casthaven]

Rally the Ancestors

Modern: Should we just call this card “Rally The Allies,” instead? The crazy combo deck that I imagined, when [casthaven]Immortal Servitude[/casthaven] was spoiled never came to be, but with Rally costing one less, as well as being less picky (x or less, rather than just x) with regards to what it reanimates, it might be time to pick up your foil [casthaven]Halimar Excavators[/casthaven].

Legacy: The above combo might have a shot at also cracking Legacy. I’m going to say it’s significantly less likely, given the presence of better (and free) countermagic and maindeck [casthaven]Deathrite Shaman[/casthaven]s, but the larger creature-pool might allow you to run some other shenanigans, besides just Ally-mill. Maybe there’s some Cheerios-style deck that can take advantage of temporarily reanimating a swarm of small creatures for two mana.

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Sage’s Revery[/casthaven]

Sage’s Reverie

Modern: This seems like an incredibly powerful effect, in Bogles, but it’s probably too far up the curve for that deck.

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Soul Summons[/casthaven]

Soul Summons

Modern: Another one of those hard-to-evaluate manifest spells. This  is probably my favorite one, for Modern play. It’s the cheapest, no-frills manifest spell out, there, and it’s in white, which plays into the plan of using Resto to (flicker and flip) whatever monster is hiding. The only tricky part is setting said monster up. Are [casthaven]Serum Visions[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Telling Time[/casthaven] enough to get the job done?

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Soulfire Grandmaster[/casthaven]

Soulfire Grand Master

Modern: Might see play as a two-of in Jeskai Control, to serve as a finisher. They can utilize Grandmaster to lock a game up with rebuyable burn, and in some extreme cases (I’ve seen this deck get lots of land into play), Cryptic! I’ve seen an early Boros Burn list top eight with a pair of Grandmasters in the board, though I’m not sold on its effectiveness, outside of maybe the Zoo matchup.

Legacy: She doesn’t seem as effective in Legacy, as other formats. Modern has games that can go longer, to the point where the activated ability is relevant, and Vintage gives you other methods of getting the required mana to make Grandmaster do work (Moxen, Crypt, Ring, etc). I don’t think it sees play.

Vintage: I like Grandmaster in Vintage. She can serve as a mana-sink for [casthaven]Mana Drain[/casthaven], to recycle some sort of busted card ([casthaven]Time Walk[/casthaven], Ancestral, anyone?), and I think the presence of Moxen make it easier to get to the big mana that the Grandmaster demands. Also, [casthaven]Tolarian Academy[/casthaven] and Grandmaster might end up as BFFs (if a land can count as your BFF).



Modern: Between [casthaven]Cloudform[/casthaven] and Invisible Stalker, this might give us the tools we need for a blue-based hexproof deck.

Legacy: I know this is going to be tough to resolve, at times, with the return of the traditional Delver decks but I really want to have a flying, hexproof [casthaven]Phyrexian Dreadnaught[/casthaven].

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Monastery Siege[/casthaven]

Monastery Siege

Modern: If BGx decks are all the rage, once again, in Modern, the Dragons mode of this particular Siege is an interesting sideboard option. It makes their discard spells a lot worse, and it is pretty strong against [casthaven]Abrupt Decay[/casthaven]. The two extra mana could make all the difference in the world, if you need to protect a [casthaven]Splinter Twin[/casthaven] target.

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!



Modern: With Cruise banned, perhaps Ascendency decks will want to adopt [casthaven]Refocus[/casthaven]? When you’re going off, it effectively costs 0 mana to draw one and loot one. If Ascendency decks adopt [casthaven]Humble Defector[/casthaven], [casthaven]Refocus[/casthaven] will also allow you to draw six and discard one, for between one and two mana (one if you have a dork/’Stitcher), which is basically like having Cruise back; also, in that previous scenario, I was not counting the initial two

Legacy: See above. I’m less sure that Ascendency decks can stick around in Legacy, following the loss of Cruise. I think the return of traditional Delver decks will make Ascendency Combo much worse.

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Temporal Trespass[/casthaven]

Temporal Trespass

Modern: Now that the party boat has been sunk, the other delve spells can get their time in the sun. This is much less powerful than Cruise, but it might be a worthwhile one or two-of in Izzet Delver. Even if Cruise wasn’t banned, I think we’d still see this in the “Play ALL the [casthaven]Time Walk[/casthaven]s” deck.

Legacy: I personally think that Dig is still the better delve spell in Legacy, and triple blue is a real cost, especially with [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] returning to the format.

Vintage: [casthaven]Time Walk[/casthaven] is restricted. Most blue Vintage decks play all blue duals, so the triple blue isn’t as rough to come by. I could see this finding a home in Pyromancer/Mentor strategies to increase your chances of drawing your [casthaven]Time Walk[/casthaven]. Delving eight cards is, quite a bit, though, if you’re also trying to support four copies of [casthaven]Dig Through Time[/casthaven], so I don’t think it’s too likely.

[casthaven]Write Into Being[/casthaven]

Write into Being

Modern: Someone needs to make a combo deck that uses this happen. I’m probably being too optimistic on some of these manifest cards, with regards to the Modern-possible blink-combo. Maybe they’re saving the super-pushed manifest cards for Dragons of Tarkir.

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Tasigur, The Golden Fang[/casthaven]

Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Modern: He’s already seen a smidge of play in the first Modern Super IQ where he was legal. I think he’s a fine inclusion in any black midrange shell that can utilize his activated ability (so BGx and UBx). I don’t think I need to beat the dead horse of, “especially, now that Dig and Cruise are banned!” Oops, I just did.

Legacy: Tasigur has started to show up in some of the early Sultai lists, and I think he’s could easily end up being a format regular. While he lacks the evasion of [casthaven]Tombstalker[/casthaven], he can typically come down at least a turn earlier, and can cost as little as a single black. This is a big deal in the Sultai Delver lists that play a 3/3 split on Trops and Seas, as those builds don’t want to be casting many double-black spells (maybe a single Lily, and that’s it). Even if you only get to use the activated ability once or twice, the fact that it can be used on their end step makes it decent value, if you have no other plays to make.

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Flamewake Phoenix[/casthaven]

Flamewake Phoenix

Modern: Might be good enough in a Gruul aggro deck. It really needs another good ferocious-enabler, besides ‘goyf. I initially thought that using the bloodrush ability on Rampager would trigger Phoenix, but it actually doesn’t, since Phoenix checks for ferocious at the beginning of combat, before attackers are declared (meaning before you get to bloodrush). I don’t think there’s a clear-cut home that this easily slots into, but the ability is powerful and efficient enough that I won’t completely rule it out.

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Humble Defector[/casthaven]

Humble Defector

Modern: If Ascendancy can survive in the post-Cruise world, Defector makes a fine draw-engine, when coupled with the powerful namesake enchantment.

Legacy: Refer to what I said, regarding Modern.

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Outpost Siege[/casthaven]

Outpost Siege

Modern: [casthaven]Chandra, Pyromaster[/casthaven] has seen play, and this card is similar. It lacks the +1, but can’t die to damage or attackers. It’s also more splashable. A decent one-of option in any midrange that plays red, and a reasonable sideboard card against slower control decks.

Legacy: The various red-based prison-stompy/combo decks (Imperial Painter, Mono-Red Sneak Attack, Mono-Red Mogg Catcher, etc.) maaaaaaybe have a use for this card.

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Abzan Beastmaster[/casthaven]

Abzan Beastmaster

Modern: Possible sideboard card against creatureless (or creature-light) control decks. [casthaven]Triumph of Ferocity[/casthaven] didn’t see play, but sometimes, all you need to do to make a fringe enchantment playable is to give it legs (see: [casthaven]Pyrostatic Pillar[/casthaven]). Unlike Triumph, you don’t need another creature in play to start drawing cards, since it will count itself.

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Harsh Sustenance[/casthaven]

Harsh Sustenance

Modern: Might be a removal option for BW Tokens, that helps it win races, and deal with things like a big ‘goyf. Three mana is probably too much for a removal spell, though.

Legacy: Nope!

Vintage: Nope!

[casthaven]Hewed Stone Retainers[/casthaven]

Hewed Stone Retainers

Modern: Nope!

Legacy: I know it’s hardly a tier one deck, but this seems like it would fit into Sea Stompy. You now have 12 four-power threats that you can pretty easily drop on turn one or two, in [casthaven]Sea Drake[/casthaven], [casthaven]Illusory Angel[/casthaven], and Retainers. Does the redundancy with Angel give the deck enough tools to help legitimize it?

Vintage: Shops? I’ve never actually played that deck, so maybe this isn’t what that deck wants, but it’s always worth pointing out when a new artifact is printed that might be able to leverage the powerful land. I’ve also heard of Vintage Sea Stompy, though I’ve never actually seen the execution.

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