The Colorado Magic scene provides an abundance of prerelease options. There are tons of stores who space out their start times so you can basically go play whenever you have the time. For me, that ended up being 5pm on Saturday at Black Gold. I hopped down there, picked black, and cracked open my first packs of Magic Origins.

My seven-card seeded booster had Dark Petition—some nice value but not playable—but Eyeblight Massacre, Unholy Hunger, and Reave Soul gave me a great start on a sweet deck. My pool wasn’t overflowing with power, but I got two copies of Outland Colossus and that seems pretty hard to beat. Here’s what I played:

Rock me Amadeus

Creatures (14)
Elvish Visionary
Fetid Imp
Shambling Ghoul
Chief of the Foundry
Eyeblight Assassin
Hitchclaw Recluse
Graveblade Marauder
Deadbridge Shaman
Pharika’s Disciple
Llanowar Empath
Rhox Maulers
Outland Colossus

Spells (8)
Reave Soul
Unholy Hunger
Eyeblight Massacre
Weight of the Underworld
Wild Instincts
Lands (18)
Evolving Wilds
10 Swamp
Forest

Sideboard (16)
Caustic Caterpillar
Throwing Knife
Blightcaster
Revenant
Rabid Bloodsucker
Undead Servant
Vastwood Gorger
Catacomb Slug
Zendikar’s Roil
Infernal Scarring
Dark Petition
Aerial Volley
Reclaim
Gather the Pack
Touch of Moonglove

I was a little short on bodies, which is why Chief of the Foundry made it in there. It seemed better than Blightcaster because my other cards were better than mediocre auras. Revenant is worse than the five drops I played, and it didn’t seem worth enabling. Rhox Maulers is pretty much the same card, but it does it all on its own.

I’ve talked a big game on Rhox Maulers, and I stand by it 100% having played with the card. In one game, my opponent double blocked. I killed a blocker with Unholy Hunger, got two damage in and triggered renown. A stupid pump spell like Might of the Masses would do the same thing even cheaper.

If Rhox Maulers is good, Outland Colossus is even better. It doesn’t have trample, but nothing blocks it except the deathtouchers and a few good creatures like Undercity Troll and Kytheon, Hero of Akros. You have to kill the colossus with hard removal, so my strategy of having two was quite effective.

second

Before the official games I ran some test games against my buddy Lee. He had opened both Chandra and Gideon (nee Kytheon) and naturally built a red-white deck to feature them. It was not an especially good red-white deck, as the packs were kind to him in rares but not in commons or uncommons. Against my deck he had no chance. He’d cast Mage-Ring Bully on turn two, and I’d follow up with Graveblade Marauder. Or some random 2/3. Or he’d play a 2/1 and I’d have Eyeblight Assassin. Suffice it to say that green-black is well equipped to crush small aggressive decks. Eyeblight Massacre puts my deck over the top, but even without it the matches would be no contest.

I ended up playing red-white twice in the four rounds, in rounds three and four. The third was against Lee, who brutally got paired up against me. He offered to just scoop, but the tournament was just pack-per-win, so I told him if he could beat my deck with his he deserved the pack. Ten minutes later, the pack was mine. Then in the final round, there were three of us undefeated. I again got paired down against another red-white deck. Kytheon can hold off one Outland Colossus pretty well. He cannot hold off two. Or Eyeblight Massacre. Or find a way to win when all mana has to be held up to make Kytheon indestructable up to twice a turn, you know, to protect from a removal spell in response to activating it once after blocks.

No blue decks showed up on the other side of my playmat. That’s not too surprising, as blue appears to be the weakest color in the set, and blue’s subtleties tend to reveal themselves more slowly than a prerelease allows for us to wait. I’m not sure how green-black will hold up against a thopter deck, but the tools are there. Hitchclaw Recluse and Fetid Imp seem like the key cards, while Eyeblight Massacre obviously does serious work.

Shadow

Anyway, I went 4-0 in matches. I lost my first game to a green-white deck that put Knightly Valor on Orchard Spirit. I never drew any of my three Unholy Hungers. That felt aberrant, and sure enough, I never lost again. Overall, green-black seems well suited to play the control role in the format. Both colors seem slow and grindy. Black gives strong removal and green gives big bodies. If you’re lucky, you can get some elf shenanigans going, but those will mostly be gravy. I don’t think the aggro elf deck is where I want to be, but it’s always nice to have the ability to win quickly when you draw the perfect combination of cards.

I’m excited to explore Magic Origins limited. If this is truly the last “core set” then it sure looks like a good one to go out on.

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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