What? There’s a limited Grand Prix coming up this weekend? I’m planning to go. It just so happens that I also moved into a new apartment and started a new job this week. Nothing like the old “I need to leave early on my first Friday so I can fly to a Magic tournament” to start off on the right foot! At least I will get to play Magic in Cleveland, though. I haven’t had internet at my new apartment, and when you combine that with working full time, I haven’t had a chance to play any Magic, live or online in over a week.

You can take the cards out of my hand, but you can’t get them out of my mind. As luck would have it, we’re in the middle of spoiler season, and that’s the best time to think about Magic! While I haven’t played much lately, I have stared longingly at the visual spoiler. It’s too bad all they ever spoil are the splashy rares and mythics. Booooooring. I want to see the common two drops!

Early predictions about a new draft format seem kind of pointless, but so does the rest of life, so why not? I present the top five cards I can’t wait to play in Dragons of Tarkir limited!

warbringer

Number five with a bullet! It’s hard to imagine Dragons of Tarkir being a super fast format. They want us to play with dragons, and dragons don’t come cheap. Aggressive strategies will probably be viable, but I doubt they’ll be dominant. That said, if you are planning to win on turn five, I bet Warbringer is going to be involved.

The best way to win with an aggressive deck is to beat down for the first few turns and then explode for the unexpected alpha strike. You want your opponent to be thinking “well I can survive a hit for twelve, so I should be safe” right before you throw fifteen damage all up in their mind palace. You can play around a Goblin Heelcutter, but I don’t think you can play around it plus Warbringer plus whatever else.

Even if you can’t win in one turn, an active Warbringer makes dashing so cheap that you can still develop your board while dashing a Heelcutter every turn for one mana. Effects that cheat on mana costs are almost always insane in limited.

havenofthespiritdragon

Number four is rare, but it’s a land, so it doesn’t count. All I can say is that I am first picking this card every chance I get. Sure, I am a sucker for cool nonbasic lands, and the art is sweet, but this is all about power. There are a lot of dragons in this set. You are going to have some in your draft deck. There will probably be some aggressive decks that don’t want dragons, but I would be surprised if less than a solid majority of draft decks have multiple dragons. Haven of the Spirit Dragon gives you some free mana fixing for those dragons, but more importantly turns into an extra copy of one as well. Trading a land for a big flying creature is awesome.

Sure it is risky to throw a colorless land into your draft deck in a gold set, but Dragons is nowhere as mana-desperate as Khans. This set is built around two-color combinations and there are no three-color cards other than the new Sarkhan. You can afford to run a colorless “spell” land in a two-color deck, and this spell seems quite good.

aeriebowmasters

Let me asp you a question: is number three too low for this baby? Given the skies will be filled with dragons that tend to have at least four toughness, Aerie Bowmasters might not be insane as simply Gianter Spider. But the bowmasters are more like Giantererer Spider. Would you like a 3/4 reach for four mana? How about a 2/2 morph that turns into a 4/5 reach for six mana? Unlike Nessian Asp this thing won’t block everything forever, but it will block a lot and trade with something in the “kill it or die” category.

I expect we’ll see a lot of answers for dragons. Aerie Bowmasters won’t be the best, but it will always be good. The floor of this card’s value is very high. Unless you are stuck on four mana with only a single green and getting beaten down by Aven Skirmishers, you will get good value out of this.

silumgarsscorn

Number two is part of a sweet cycle that I expect to be major cogs of Dragons draft. You know how people sometimes refer to a six- or seven-drop in your opening hand as a virtual mulligan? There’s a reason most draft decks only want a few cards that cost five or more mana. Having a useless dragon stuck in your hand while your opponent goes all Wojek Halberdiers is a recipe for disaster. But Dragons of Tarkir is overflowing with expensive dragons. What do we do?

How about this: if you have dragons in your opening hand, the stupid Frightful Delusion you picked fourteenth turns into Counterspell. That’s kind of an upgrade. (To be fair, not much feels better than nailing a Bloodline Keeper with Frightful Delusion and making them discard their last card in hand.) I was a fan of Stoic Rebuttal as a Sometimes Nope, and Silumgar’s Scorn seems easier to turn on in Dragons than Stoic Rebuttal was to turn on in Scars. Sure, the older card was way better when you couldn’t turn it on, but I have a feeling that Silumgar’s Scorn is going to be Counterspell quite often in Dragons draft.

cunningbreezedancer1

This cycle is number one in the hood, G. Prowestes Destrade here is a real beating, and the entire cycle of two-color six-mana dragons look great. I expect these will be among the best uncommons in the set. All five of them have sweet abilities and they have built-in protection against the other best uncommon, Ultimate Price. (Feel free to Roast me for this later.)

Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that six mana 4/4 fliers are going to be better in this format than at other points in the Tarkir timeline. You might see these go around a little late in the pack, but that’s because a) people are fools and b) two-color cards are undervalued.

Well, that’s it for this week. I’ll see everyone in Cleveland this weekend, where I plan to steam up the place with hot sealed action.

Brendan McNamara (MTGO: eestlinc, Twitter: @brendanistan) used to play Magic in the old days. His favorite combo was Armageddon plus Zuran Orb. After running out of money to buy cards and friends who were willing to put up with that combo, he left the game. But like disco, he was bound to come back eventually. Now he’s a lawyer by day and a Dimir agent by night.

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