Every time a new set comes out, new sets of lists come out on Magic sites. You can expect to see headlines like, “Financial Predictions for Origins”, “Top Eight Sleeper Cards in Origins”, “Best Commons for Origins Limited”, and “Most Overrated Cards in Origins”. I mention this not because I see anything wrong with it, I too enjoy a good list, but because most of the good lists have been taken. I don’t want to write a list of sleepers only to have Frank Lepore post the same thing the next day. However, if I came up with my own criteria for a list, with multiple categories, well, that seems like it would work out fine. So without further ado, here is my top five list for Magic Origins.

  1. Most Likely to Kill Me in Constructed Tournaments: 

    I’m already having flashbacks to the days of Goblin Bidding in Standard. Psychatog couldn’t block Goblin Piledriver then and Harbinger of the Tides sure as shit can’t block it now. While I am glad that they kept the iconic Matt Cavotta art, I know that that headlocked soldier and I share the same gruesome fate. Goblin Piledriver gets to be in Standard alongside its goblin brethren Goblin Heelcutter, Goblin Rabblemaster, Foundry Street Denizen, and Hordeling Outburst, which hardly seems fair to me. I look forward to their entire crew crashing into me while I have a useless Dissolve in hand and a Crux of Fate I am one mana short of casting. The least they could have done is also reprinted Smother as another means to keep this green guy in check. Oh well, thanks for the Reave Soul Wizards, I hope I never have to play it.

  2. Most Likely to Find a Place in my Pauper Cube: 

    nissaspilgrimageI feel like Origins was not very kind to the Pauper mages out there. While the set looks cohesive as a standalone Limited format, it doesn’t stack up well for people looking for spicy things to jam in their cubes. All the removal is god awful in terms of mana efficiency; I’m looking at you Unholy Hunger and Lightning Javelin. Most of the creatures are lackluster and anything I would want to actually put in my cube (Read the Bones and Dragon Fodder) are in there already. So this leaves Nissa’s Pilgrimage as the one card I might try out. Sure it doesn’t fix your mana like Kodama’s Reach and Cultivate but it still ramps you and occasionally you even get a third land out of the deal. I’m not sure if it’s good enough, but it’s certainly worth a try.

  3. Favorite Reprint: 

    There’s nothing flashy about Celestial Flare. As a removal spell it’s somewhere in the middle of the pack. It can kill creatures with indestrucible or with hexproof but it can also kill useless mana dorks when you really want to be killing their Stormbreath Dragon. What I like about Celestial Flare is that it gives UW Control another instant speed removal spell. Right now UW Control has fallen out of favor because UB Control has access to better removal in Bile Blight, Hero’s Downfall, and Foul-Tongue Invocation. Oh yeah, and Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver is pretty good now too with all these Siege Rhinos trampling around. But maybe with just a few more answers available to UW Control, it might be good enough to start bringing to the FNM tables again.

  4. Best Art: 

    Guys, tell me this isn’t Jeremy Irons.6a00d8341c630a53ef014e602ba866970c-800wi

    Every time I see this card, I immediately think of the villain from Die Hard 3: With a Vengeance, which works out because I fucking love that movie. If only Kieran Yanner could illustrate an entire series of cards that subtly feature John McClaine, Zeus Carver, or Carl Winslow’s character in the original Die Hard, I would proclaim Origins to be the finest Core Set that ever was. In all seriousness though, I really like the color palette on this card and the fact that the focal point of the piece is the reflection in the magnifying glass which I can’t quite make out. Do you guys know what he’s looking at? I want this as a wallpaper just to see if I can figure it out.

  5. Most Baffling Flavor: 

    I really just don’t get it. This giant is one of Erebos’ champions right? He is a giant gladiator with armor made out of faces and bears a huge mace looking weapon to take out enemies. Yet, he is only indestructible when there are no other creatures out. It’s sort of like that guy in Mystery Men who had invisibility only when people weren’t looking at him. Okay, and the second part, whenever a creature leaves the graveyard, you can discard a card and return him to your hand. This makes sense flavorwise if a creature found a way to escape the underworld and then Erebos sent his titan to track down that creature. But why would he come back if you exiled a card from your graveyard? The creature vanished into the aether, you’re not going to send the Titan after it there are you? The three black mana symbols I suppose do demonstrate devotion, which makes sense given that this guy is Erebos’s Titan, but the rest of the text is just kind of baffling to me. Having said that, it’s still a 5/5 for four that can dodge some removal and is sort of recursive if your opponent helps your out, so I imagine it will still see play.


At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.

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