dual lands magic the gathering

The most important part of any deck is the lands and dual lands are the holy grail of magic. Fortunately, dual lands are pretty cheap and you should be able to build a winning deck by spending less than $20 on lands. 

When Ice Age and Fourth Edition came out, old-time players were dismayed at the lack of dual lands. So beloved for their ability to let players cast their spells, their removal signified the dawn of a new era in Magical mana. Players would have to work to get a good manabase, and pay real costs to have something other than a mono-color deck.

But what if they had reprinted dual lands instead?

The precedent set would be completely different. Instead of wondering what the next set’s manafixing was going to be, there would always be the best the game had to offer instead.

seachrome coast mtg dual lands

There were several years in Magic’s history when, if you were playing Standard, there were only certain color combinations that were possible, due to how the mana worked. Going outside of that meant using terrible, slow lands against the nonstop aggression of monocolored red decks with no such restrictions. Early incarnations of combo decks, like Survival of the Fittest/Recurring Nightmare, or Mike Long’s Prosperous Bloom, would have been unfathomably stronger.

The irony in replacing all those inferior dual lands with real duals, though, is that we would miss out on what really defines Eternal formats: fetchlands. It would be insane to print them in a Magic where everyone has access to dual lands in every format; doing so would essentially dictate the end of color restrictions mattering for Standard.

There’s also the ugly side to printing dual lands: printing cards to hate out the dual lands. The game would still need a way to incentivize people to play their basics, so cards like Wasteland, Back to Basics, and Blood Moon would certainly be made more prominent, rather than placed in the sad bin of “things the game doesn’t do any more.”

Would Magic be a better game in this alternate reality? It would certainly be a less expensive one, if the hideously expensive lands were instead reprinted to saturation. But we’d also run into a lot more Standard decks that resemble things like Shadowmoor’s Five-Color Control: all the best cards in whatever color; shuffle ‘em up. 

Forward by: Matt Dolge 

Written by: Jesse “Easy Mana” Mason

Build your deck at card kingdom

Look forward to your comments below.


Grixis Delver might be the best deck in modern as it is one of the most consistent decks to win. It can apply pressure when needed and is a world-class deck able to compete at the pro level.

Legacy U/R Delver has undergone a terrifying metamorphosis since the loss of its beloved Treasure Cruise. It already often harbored a black splash, the lust for power over the combo decks too easily satisfied by the synergy of Pyromancer and Cabal Therapy. But this is something darker.

In the Treasure Cruise era all of this stayed in the side board and you might never know it was there, unless your opponent naturally drew their Underground Sea. Now, even the threat base has dipped into Black. We’ve seen Tasigur everywhere, in every format. He’s just good. But perhaps good doesn’t belong in this deck. After all, it’s no fun to pay four mana to activate his ability and get back a Daze. Maybe you thought Gurmag Angler was a joke? I assure you that when you’re opponent casts it for one mana and you look down at the Lightning Bolt in your hand, you will not be laughing.

grixis delver mtg of secrets

Dig Through Time isn’t Treasure Cruise, we know. Still, even if you have to pay an extra mana for it, the effect is often better. While other Delver variants have been shy about incorporating the Delve draw spell that requires a whopping TWO mana to cast, Grixis, ever the ruthless pragmatist, has recruited Dig into the fold.

It’s clear that something unseemly is transpiring just below the surface. A once lighthearted, format warping superpower, has fallen from grace and taken on a darker aspect. While BUG lists are working in a different direction, it is Grixis Delver that has taken up the mantle and may be the heir apparent to the Delver throne.


Cards in the Grixis Delver deck:

1 Island
2 Flooded Strand
4 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
4 Scalding Tarn
2 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Island
17 lands

4 Delver of Secrets
1 Gurmag Angler
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Young Pyromancer
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
14 creatures

4 Brainstorm
4 Daze
2 Dig Through Time
1 Fire//Ice
4 Force of Will
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Forked Bolt
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Ponder
29 other spells

1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Null Rod
1 Pithing Needle
1 Sulfuric Vortex
1 Echoing Truth
2 Price of Progress
3 Pyroblast
1 Rakdos Charm
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Cabal Therapy
1 Sudden Demise
15 sideboard cards

Forward by: Matt Dolge 

Written by: Jordan “Ruthless Pragmatist” Short


Build this deck at card kingdom

crystal shared book cover

If you aren’t familiar with Robert Anthony Salvatore first book The Crystal Shard: The Legend of Drizzt, Book 4 spend a weekend and give it a read and you’ll be surprised out how many Magic cards that Salvatore inspired through this book.

crystal shard magic card

Sometimes a deck can be a brilliant innovation, fun to play, have seeming strategic dominance over the field, and be completely the wrong choice to play. This is Crystal Witness, from Matteo Cirigliano in 2004’s Mirrodin Block Constructed.

I don’t want to take anything away from this brilliant blue-green concoction. It has creatures with comes-into-play abilities. It has card drawing and permission. It reuses those creatures with Crystal Shard until you’re happily bouncing and replaying and destroying everything your opponent has over and over and over. Somewhere around turn fourteen, your opponent might realize they can’t possibly beat your Eternal Witness when it comes into play for the eighth straight turn.

But… let’s be real for a second. Is this deck Affinity? No, it is not. Affinity was totally legal in Mirrodin Block Constructed at the time (well, not Skullclamp), and this deck has zero cards with Affinity or that kill the opponent for one mana. Instead, it has eleven maindeck artifact removal spells and more in the sideboard.

Is it going to beat Affinity most of the time? Well… let’s focus on how cool it is, instead. Let’s block their guys with Solemn Simulacrum, activate Triskelion before bouncing it back to our hand, and draw more Viridian Shamans than our opponent has overpowered artifacts.

But somehow, someway, things come together in favor of coolness over power. This deck debuted with a 13-1-1 record at a Grand Prix, the only loss coming in the finals because of… the incredibly overpowered Affinity? Tooth and Nail easily winning on turn four? Its own lack of powerful cards? Nope. It didn’t draw enough lands.

Cards in this Deck:

12 Forest
12 Island
24 lands

4 Eternal Witness
4 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Triskelion
4 Viridian Shaman
14 creatures

3 Annul
4 Condescend
3 Crystal Shard
4 Echoing Truth
4 Oxidize
4 Thirst for Knowledge
22 other spells

1 Annul
2 Duplicant
4 Last Word
4 Tel-Jilad Justice
4 Troll Ascetic
15 sideboard cards

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jesse “CAN I GET A WITNESS?” Mason

Looking forward to your comments…

food chain

This year I began buying and selling Magic cards like stocks so if you want an insider tip on a hot “stock” card to buy then Food Chain should be in your portfolio. According to TCG Player Food Chain’s price has relatively been stable since April 2014 but appears to making stable gains and is expected to reach new highs before the end of the quarter. Alright enough investor babble, let’s dive into why this card is so fun to play.

food chain mtg card

The best thing about Legacy is the sheer diversity of the format. On any given weekend there are a lot of archetypes capable of spiking a tournament. Last weekend it was Food Chain’s turn, in the hands of Jeffrey Chen. Now, maybe Food Chain isn’t the best deck in Legacy, but it is fun, customizable and capable of winning without the combo.

If you’ve never seen this deck in action there are a lot of moving parts. You’ll need a Misthollow Griffin, a copy of Food Chain and one of your win conditions in hand. So let’s say on turn one you play a Deathrite Shaman. Turn two you ramp into a Food Chain, and on turn three you play a Misthollow Griffin. Now you can exile your Griffin and net a mana. Since you can play the Griffin from exile you can repeat this process to gain infinite mana. Now with your infinite mana you can cast an infinitely big Genesis Hydra to find the one-of Tidespout Tyrant, exile and play the Griffin a bunch more times to use the Tyrant’s ability to bounce all of their permanents and beat down at your leisure.

This game plan has some holes in it. Against fast combo decks that don’t need a bunch of lands in play, the combo doesn’t really do much besides give you an impressive board. Even if the combo is relevant it’s often tough in Legacy to put together a combo with three pieces. The strength of a strategy like this is that if your opponent has a way to prevent you from comboing, you can just play the midrange deck and cast some creature and attack. It’s a lot like Splinter Twin plays in Modern. You just put out some threats and start attacking and your opponent has to respect your ability to kill out of nowhere.

This deck has a lot of different win conditions that people have found. You can run Fierce Empath to tutor up Emrakul. You can even kill with Maga, Traitor to Mortal. I like the Genesis Hydras that Jeffrey played. You can even set a Food Chain on top of your deck with Brainstorm, then cast a Hydra for five to put an uncounterable Food Chain onto the battle field. Neat.

Food Chain is just one of the endless possibilities Legacy has to offer. Even within oddball archetypes like this there is a lot of room to make your own deck building choices. So congrats to Jeffrey “the Chain” Chen for finding the sweet spot; playing to win and playing for fun!

Cards in this Deck:

1 Bayou
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Polluted Delta
3 Tropical Island
3 Underground Sea
4 Verdant Catacombs
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Swamp
20 lands

2 Vendilion Clique
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Deathrite Shaman
2 Genesis Hydra
4 Misthollow Griffin
1 Tidespout Tyrant
4 Baleful Strix
18 creatures

3 Manipulate Fate
3 Abrupt Decay
4 Brainstorm
2 Dig Through Time
1 Dimir Charm
4 Force of Will
1 Misdirection
4 Food Chain
22 other spells

2 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Disfigure
2 Golgari Charm
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
3 Duress
15 sideboard cards

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jordan “Off The Chain” Short

Build this deck at Card Kingdom.

Looking forward to your comments…

urza block mtg

The fact is the Urza block is horrifically broken but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some cards that should be in your UrzaTron deck. Enter the “UrzaTron” lands. On their own they each tap for a single colorless mana but by assembling Urza’s Mine, Tower, and Power Plant the deck can easily cast creatures as large as Emrakul. You can either patiently wait to naturally draw the Mine, Tower, and Power Plant or you stock your library with cards like Condescend, Remand, Thirst for Knowledge, and Expedition Map ensuring that you enable Urza’s “Tron”.

urza mine card

So… what if Urza block hadn’t been horrifically broken?

A bit of history: Urza block had… let’s call it “a few” cards that were too good. If this isn’t enough to jog your memory, check out the Legacy banned list: bits of fun like Tolarian Academy, Yawgmoth’s Will, Windfall, and the so-good-it-had-to-be-emergency-banned-in-Standard Memory Jar. Basically, what happened is that a small group of people rushed the designs on the set, and there was no time to find out in playtesting that Grim Monolith goes rather well with Voltaic Key.

But what if those cards hadn’t gotten printed in their final forms; if the designers had been a bit more conservative with things like “making spells free to cast”? The fallout from the Urza block debacle shook Wizards to its core. They completely revamped how they playtested sets, by hiring a team of former pro Magic players to tell them when they made cards that were unprintable. In the meantime, they shipped out an underpowered Masques block to tide things over.

Urza block ended up being one of Wizards’ most important teachers. Their devoted fans, the people going to Standard tournaments every week, got fed up with losing to a turn two combo kill and found other things to do with their time. The Urza block experience (a.k.a. printing things way, way too powerful for tournaments and suffering for it) seems like an inevitability. There was no one who could find out beforehand what all the powerful, unfun cards were. Even if they did find some, there was no Future-Future-League to test things that would happen two years down the road, with enough time to go back and change (or remove) those problematic cards.

The fallout from all these broken, un-playtested cards gave us something else, though: a whole ton of cards that define Legacy and Vintage. Sure, Gaea’s Cradle might have been a bad idea to print… but Legacy is a more interesting format with the Elf deck running around. The same goes for Sneak Attack, Show and Tell, Exploration, and even Yawgmoth’s Will in Vintage.

Of course, things go in cycles. The tension builds and builds after a broken block. Designers push things more and more, things get changed closer to the absolute deadline of printing a card, and people naturally become riskier after a long period of time without getting punished for it. Magic had been building up to this point for five years since the game began, and Urza block was the dam breaking. Then, the tension builds for five more years as Urza block fades slightly in memory, and Mirrodin happens. Yet again, a lack of playtesting and too many last-minute changes leads to a bunch of bans in various formats.

The lesson here, then, is to be ever-vigilant about repeating one’s mistakes. Don’t get so confident that past lessons are forgotten, or you’ll find yourself wading into the same waters that pulled you under years back.

Now onto an incredibly fun deck to play…that will allow you to cast Emrakul.

Cards in this Deck:

4 Celestial Colonnade
1 Eye of Ugin
3 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
3 Seachrome Coast
1 Tolaria West
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
25 lands

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
4 creatures

4 Azorius Signet
1 Condescend
1 Day of Judgment
3 Expedition Map
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Path to Exile
4 Remand
1 Repeal
1 Talisman of Progress
4 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Timely Reinforcements
1 Unburial Rites
1 Wrath of God
31 spells

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jesse “Horrifically Broken” Mason

Build this deck at Card Kingdom.

Looking forward to your comments…

angry hermit mtg

Is that Eddie Vedder with his shirt off peaking out from behind the trees?! Oh wait, that druid has way too many tattoos to be Eddie Vedder and also Eddie isn’t a hermit nor is he angry.

hermit druid mtg card

Combo: Hermit Druid. The second part of the combo is untapping with Hermit Druid.

Being able to cast Demonic Tutor is pretty good, seeing as that card is banned in Legacy, restricted in Vintage, and worse versions of it have become cornerstones of various archetypes. But if your entire library goes into your graveyard… similar things happen. Krosan Reclamation becomes double-Tutor. You suddenly have all these Cabal Therapies to cast. And, better yet, they’re probably dead on the spot, which is somehow even better than casting Cabal Therapy (well, slightly better).

This graveyard deck is, of course, a Reanimator deck. Some games are fairly straightforward: you Exhume a big guy into the dead place, then bring it back to the land of the living where it kills them in short order. Boring. What the cool kids are doing with this deck, though, is returning Sutured Ghoul to play, exiling 20 or more power worth of creatures from the graveyard, and attacking with haste due to the Anger in the graveyard. Angry… Hermit.

In retrospect, this graveyard strategy just seems adorable. Awww, look, it has to jump through hoops to get creatures into play from the graveyard because Dread Return didn’t exist! How precious is that Krosan Colossus, the biggest creature available to it at the time? And don’t you just want to nuzzle the deck and coo to it that one day it’ll grow up big and strong with Dredge cards?

For those of you wondering why this is Angry Hermit pt 2, the original Angry Hermit had Deranged Hermit and burn spells. That is, it had none of the same cards. Great job with the deck names, guys.

Cards in this Deck:

4 Bloodstained Mire
4 City of Brass
2 Darigaaz’s Caldera
4 Forsaken City
4 Llanowar Wastes
1 Mountain
2 Reflecting Pool
1 Tarnished Citadel
1 Underground River
23 lands

2 Anger
1 Avatar of Woe
4 Hermit Druid
1 Krosan Colossus
2 Sutured Ghoul
2 Verdant Force
12 creatures

2 Cabal Therapy
4 Duress
4 Entomb
4 Exhume
1 Krosan Reclamation
4 Mox Diamond
2 Reanimate
4 Vampiric Tutor
25 other spells

1 Addle
3 Chill
4 Defense Grid
1 Engineered Plague
2 Naturalize
1 Phantom Nishoba
1 Ray of Revelation
1 Seal of Removal
1 Swamp
15 sideboard cards

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jesse “Double-Tooter” Mason

Build this deck at Card Kingdom.

Looking forward to your comments…

sultai charm control

The best comparison to Satyr Wayfinder is Mulch, which is a sorcery but because Satyr is a creature it is generally better because if you’re running a self-mill deck it will provide an essential blocking creature which can also be reanimated when it inevitably goes to your graveyard.

satyr wayfinder born of the gods

Every time a new set enters Standard we collectively hold our breath. Sometimes an entirely new set isn’t enough to make a dent in the entrenched metagame. We look at the results from the first big tournament and sigh. Three more months of same old same old. Not this time. The mark was set so high by Khans of Tarkir that Fate Reforged seemed doomed to feel underwhelming, coming as it did on the heels of a set that was so good it forced a wave of bannings. But after week one, it’s clear: Fate Reforged is the nutter butters.

At eight mana maybe you thought Ugin was fringe playable. Hope you didn’t bet on it. The poster child for Fate Reforged was everywhere, and he was kicking some serious tail. Resolving Ugin, as you may have guessed, is pretty much game over. Gerard Fabiano’s winning Sultai Control decklist featured two at the top end. While some lists in the field used Frontier Siege to power Ugin out, Fabiano relied on an eclectic base of “good cards” to control the board as he progressed to bigger and badder Planeswalkers.

Shifting from U/B control to Sultai gives this control shell some powerful tools. First, Satyr Wayfinder provides a road bump, smoothes mana issues and fuels your delves, all of which improve this deck. Adding Kiora and the Apex Predator to your threat side of the column also makes for a robust decklist that less often finds itself Digging for something worthwhile to do.

The breakout card of the event was actually in Fabiano’s sideboard; Tasigur, the Golden Fang. In conjunction with Satyr Wayfinder, Fabiano was able to power this legend out on turn three pretty consistently. Activate him once and he is quite good. Activate him twice and he starts getting ridiculous. The price tag on Tasigur doubled over the weekend. With talk of him leaping to eternal formats, we’ve only just scratched the surface of the depths he is capable of.

I was very pleased to see how much Fate Reforged had changed the new standard environment. Monastery Mentor was in the other finalist’s deck and a swath of other new cards appeared throughout the event. Here’s to three months of something completely different!

Cards in this Deck:

2 Island
3 Swamp
2 Llanowar Wastes
4 Opulent Palace
4 Polluted Delta
2 Temple of Deceit
4 Temple of Malady
1 Temple of Mystery
2 Yavimaya Coast
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
25 lands

4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 creatures

4 Bile Blight
4 Dig Through Time
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Hero’s Downfall
2 Murderous Cut
2 Sultai Charm
2 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
1 Garruk, Apex Predator
2 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
2 Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
2 Crux of Fate
1 Interpret the Signs
2 Rakshasa’s Secret
2 Thoughtseize
31 other spells

1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death
2 Tasigur, the Golden Fang
1 Sultai Charm
2 Feed the Clan
2 Rakshasa Deathdealer
1 Drown in Sorrow
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Polukranos, World Eater
2 Negate
1 Thoughtseize
15 sideboard cards

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jordan “Banana Whip” Short

Get your hands on Ancestral Recall at Card Kingdom.


All right, everyone we all know net decks are good but they are only as good as the wizard casting the spells. So I look forward to a broad discussion below, on how effective this deck plays in a real world setting.

lingering souls mtg

Since the printing of Treasure Cruise, the proliferation of U/R Delver decks has gone off the charts. While I was researching decklists for this article, it became obvious that the metagame is a little crowded with Treasure Cruise decks of various stripes. But certainly the most common is the Delver deck. It’s gross how good it is. That’s where legendary brewer of fairness, Bahra, steps in. I tuned into his stream last night to find him battling with this little number.

Here’s the cliff notes; “This deck beats that deck.” That’s what it was made to do and it does it resoundingly well. Priority number one is to blank Lightning Bolt. There just aren’t any good targets for it in this deck. Everything is pro-red, has four toughness or is one quarter of a card. So if your Delver opponent points their Bolt at anything other than your face… yeah! Incidentally, Kor Firewalker protects that pretty face with a nice padding of life gain just like his good buddy Lightning Helix(two great tastes that taste great together). Butcher of the Horde was the one threat I didn’t actually get to see in action. It’s unclear how good this card is against the field. If you were looking to cut it I’d say this deck is a little lacking in the two drop department. However, you don’t want to field a good Bolt target in that spot. If you wanted to get grindy you could give the old Squadron Hawks(and Mistveil Plains) a try. But Butcher is new and fun, so maybe not.

You get plenty of spot removal and interaction, making this deck a solid choice against any creature build. The Thoughtseizes in the board also go a long way to shoring up any combo and control matchups. Liliana of the Veil is probably the weakest card against U/R Delver because of Young Pyromancer tokens, but it’s probably a wise hedge against the rest of the field. After all, combo and control will be cruising too.

Treasure Cruise is REALLY good in Modern(and every other format). But it’s not the only strategy you can play. In fact, the warped metagame actually allows sweet brews like this to prey on the best deck. So if you’re looking for a little variety; join Team Mardu!

Cards in this Deck:

4 Arid Mesa
3 Blackcleave cliffs
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
2 Fetid Heath
2 Godless Shrine
2 Lavaclaw Reaches
4 Marsh Flats
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Swamp
23 lands

3 Butcher of the Horde
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Kor Firewalker
10 creatures

4 Path to Exile
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Murderous Cut
4 Lightning Helix
4 Lingering Souls
3 Liliana of the Veil
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of War and Peace
27 other spells

3 Stony Silence
3 Mirran Crusader
4 Thoughtseize
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Pithing Needle
1 Batterskull
2 Zealous Persecution
15 sideboard cards

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jordan “Italian Stallion” Short

Get your hands on Ancestral Recall at Card Kingdom.

Ascendancy combo

It’s January and Jeskai Ascendancy is still not banned so make it your New Year’s resolution to play this card before it gets banned. But seriously though if you hate losing then build this deck as described and roll over your opponents with the masterful combos.


It’s official; Jeskai Ascendancy in all formats. That card is nuts! It’s not just me. It’s nuts, nuts, nuts. Josh Utter-Leyton and company brewed up this combo-control masterpiece that many pros have hailed as breaking the format. Modern has lately lived under the looming shadow of bannable Khans cards. Ascendancy took the forefront early, it was immediately obvious that this card was busted, but the clunkiness of the four color builds allowed U/R Delver to shine. These Delver decks thrive on efficient threats and one for ones before recharging with Treasure Cruise. Wrapter’s new build eschews the green mana dorks for Fatestitcher and correctly uses all three busted Khans cards.

The Big Three; Jeskai Ascendancy, Treasure Cruise and Dig Through time. There is a pretty good chance that all of these get banned in January. That alone should be a pretty solid indication that the deck is scary good. The last time a deck was hit that hard by the ban-hammer was when Stoneforge Mystic was rubbing elbows with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Sure we’re talking about Modern as opposed to Standard but the multi ban principle remains the same; if a deck is getting multiple cards banned, the deck is good. Shocking right?

For anyone who isn’t familiar with how the combo works you start by resolving the Ascendancy. Then you cast a non-creature spell to trigger the looting ability. You draw a card and discard Fatestitcher. Then you unearth it and for every cantrip you play thereafter he allows you to untap a land, all the while growing in power and toughness. He even allows you to tap down blockers. Truly the swiss army knife of recursive mana dorks.

This list is even getting ported to Legacy. Just upgrade all the cantrips and the manabase and you’re pretty much there. All formats. The moral of the story is this; get it while it’s hot. This combo deck won’t be a part of Modern forever!

Cards in this Deck:

1 Arid Mesa
4 Faerie Conclave
4 Flooded Strand
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Sacred Foundry
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Seachrome Coast
2 Steam Vents
2 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
22 lands

4 Fatestitcher
4 creatures

4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Serum Visions
1 Treasure Cruise
4 Dig Through Time
4 Izzet Charm
3 Lightning Bolt
3 Path to Exile
3 Remand
4 Thought Scour
4 Jeskai Ascendancy
34 other spells

1 Deprive
3 Gifts Ungiven
1 Pact of Negation
2 Swan Song
3 Wear
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
2 Timely Reinforcements
1 Unburial Rites
15 sideboard cards

Build this deck at Card Kingdom.

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jordan “Mana Dork” Short


Ancestral Recall is a blue instant, originally designed to be a common, but Richard Garfield was persuaded to make it a rare instead. That didn’t stop Ancestral Recall from being a totally unbalancing card. The ability to draw 3 cards with no penalty allowed decks to become invincible. Ancestral Recall rightly so was banned in all formats but Vintage, where it is now restricted. It’s frequently cited as Blue’s most powerful card, and it’s one of the Power Nine.

What if Ancestral Recall had been a green card?

Let’s face what has to be the most pressing part of this issue: Ancestral Recall just sounds like a green card, doesn’t it? Caring about ancestors: green. Caring about things that came before: green, unless it’s the unrelated card named Recall.

Green loses Giant Growth as its entrant into Alpha’s boon cycle. This leaves Berserk and Web as the only cards that directly enhance a creature; this staple green effect could very well end up in white or red instead. But, in exchange, it establishes green as the “card draw” color, along with Verduran Enchantress, card rearrangement like Natural Selection, and the soon-to-come Sylvan Library. Blue of course still has Braingeyser and Timetwister. The justification then, is that blue gets big card draw, and green gets small card draw (similar to the current policy about what color gets flying creatures).

Perhaps just as importantly, this breaks blue’s monopoly on the colored cards in the power nine. Green is forever established as something that gets to do “Powerful Stuff,” and every vintage deck has to start with a blue-green base to support that. Green-based aggro is an unholy terror.

Then, when more card draw spells are printed—Inspiration, Whispers of the Muse, and the like—they default to green cards. Green’s identity moves from being entirely creature-based to a creature-spell hybrid, spilling out its hand with Elven accelerants, then refueling off its plentiful draw spells.

And what does this leave for blue? It’s certainly not going to be good. It’ll still get the occasional draw-seven or draw-X, but the core of blue’s “counter and refuel” gameplan is sullied. Good thing it still has “control anything,” “copy anything,” and “counter anything” in its share of the color pie.

by: Jesse “Total Recall” Mason
forward by: Matt Dolge

Get your hands on Ancestral Recall at Card Kingdom.