Magic Origins spoilers are coming hot and heavy. The cards look awesome! I can’t wait to crack some packs to draft. I also can’t wait to see what this set does to Standard. [casthaven]Knight of the White Orchid[/casthaven]? That card can do some serious work. [casthaven]Goblin Piledriver[/casthaven]? I hear that’s a good one too. And these are just the reprints!

But I’m not here to talk about constructed. I’m going to give you my five top picks for limited, one from each color. We haven’t seen the full set yet, and they usually don’t spoil a lot of the cards that hold the limited format together. But there are gems in the current spoilers.

Some cards are going to be awesome no matter how the format plays out. These are their stories.

blessedspirits

Creepy art alert! Get past that and this card is driving the gravy train. Maybe you have enchantments, maybe you don’t. What you do have is [casthaven]Wind Drake[/casthaven], and that’s pretty good. Black-white looks to be enchantment themed, as it often is, so it seems likely you can get a counter or two without going out of your way. But you don’t ever need to put a counter on Blessed Spirits to justify their slot in your deck. It’s no ghetto grocery bag.

Limited is all about maximizing the power of your 22-24 spell slots. Cards that easily fill a slot and provide random extra value are exactly what you want. You lose that extra value if you waste other card slots on bad enchantments that you wouldn’t otherwise play. But I expect Magic Origins will have a few good enchantments that you’ll want anyway, which will randomly make your Blessed Spirits big and then your opponent will be entering a world of pain.

jhessianthief

This is how bacon is supposed to be! I liked [casthaven]Jeskai Elder[/casthaven] more than most in Khans limited. [casthaven]Jhessian Thief[/casthaven] is a little slower, but possibly even better. The extra point of toughness makes it hard to kill, and they can’t even point a three-point burn spell at it if you hold up mana for an instant to trigger prowess. On attacks, they need a big creature to block effectively, and much like renown, this card will force your opponent to go out of their way to block. Pressuring your opponent to play defensively usually helps you win the game, and so does drawing an extra card a turn if they can’t.

I don’t think prowess will quite be a “deck” like it was in Khans, but blue decks always have noncreature spells. Spell mastery, removal in other colors, artifacts, etc. Blue green looks like the best tempo shell, and [casthaven]Jhessian Thief[/casthaven] fits that style perfectly. Attack, play a pump spell if they block, or play a big green beater if they don’t. You need to have some big thumpers to draw into, as hitting for one or two a turn won’t win the tempo game. But I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.

deadbridgeshaman

[casthaven]Black Cat[/casthaven] is really annoying to play against. Fortunately it’s just a 1/1 so you can mostly ignore it and eventually kill it when you don’t care about discarding. Even though it is annoying, it doesn’t apply pressure and it doesn’t win the game. [casthaven]Deadbridge Shaman[/casthaven], however, hits for three. If they don’t block, great. If they do, you are probably trading and making them discard. On offense it is a threat they have to answer, and one they’ll have a hard time stopping without getting two-for-oned. They bite the shaman, the shaman bites back.

[casthaven]Deadbridge Shaman[/casthaven] does great work on defense too. It trades up, making attacking into it a losing proposition. But if they want to remove it, they probably have to lose an extra card to do that. A control deck is happy to sit behind a 3/1 they don’t want to trade for or kill. Eventually they’ll either waste two cards on it or run out of cards in hand before killing it, which is likely also good for you. And she’s an elf any time that is relevant! I’m very excited to play this card.

seismicelemental

I always want to play a falter effect in my red decks, but I have a hard time using an entire card slot just to do that. [casthaven]Seismic Elemental[/casthaven] has heard my sad story and is coming to help. Maybe I’m biased from losing to Kenji Egashira on camera because of [casthaven]Stoneshock Giant[/casthaven], but sticking a falter on a big guy you are happy to play anyway is good. This cheese is oozing with value.

This one has the added benefit of being a straight up falter the turn you cast him. That’s a lot like haste, in that you can get in with your team where you otherwise couldn’t. If that isn’t lethal, at least you have a 4/4 back to hold off the counterattack. And unlike actual [casthaven]Falter[/casthaven], you don’t want to kill yourself if you top deck [casthaven]Seismic Elemental[/casthaven] on an empty board on turn 18 in sealed. A 4/4 is relevant through the late game, and once you get to that point the slightly inefficient five mana you spent to cast it doesn’t matter. Any card that can provide a game-winning effect the turn you cast it, but that is also generally useful in other situations, is a card I want in my deck.

rhox

You know how you can tell the difference between a weak card and a card that has strength? A card that has strength comes down big, and it just gets bigger. Seriously, I know I talked about this card last week, but renown plus trample equals big game hunter. I plan to rock steady with these bad boys, and I’ll be boppin’ my opponents’ faces left and right. [casthaven]Rhox Maulers[/casthaven] start big and get bigger for free.

Green always wants big creatures. Trample is one of the best combat abilities for green. Who needs [casthaven]Falter[/casthaven] when they can’t chump block anyway? This goes up to 6/6 after it hits, likely even if it’s blocked. Unless they have a way to kill it as a 4/4, you are going to do a lot of damage with [casthaven]Rhox Maulers[/casthaven].

What do you think of my picks? Feel free to point out other spoilers in the comments, especially if they come out after this gets published and you can pretend I missed them!

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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