TGN Feature – 9 Cards to Build Around from Khans of Tarkir

By Polar_Bear
In Magic: The Gathering
Sep 27th, 2014
3 Comments
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Mike Eaton presents 9 cards from Khans of Tarkir, Magic: The Gatherings latest set, and the deck-building ideas they inspired.

TGN Feature

Hello and welcome, Magic: the Gathering players, fans and spectators! There’s a new set on the block – Khans of Tarkir, which officially went on sale for the first time yesterday – and you may be wondering, “What’s in it for me?”

The simplest way to play Magic these days is to play on Friday Night at your Local Gaming Store, but there are plenty of other options for these new cards from Khans. My main concern, for example, is which cards will fit into my Magic cube — which you can think of as a self-contained Magic deckbuilding game. Still, most folks are hungry for that next great standalone deck.

Your personal taste may vary, but I hope you find at least a few cards in these nine (OK, more like seven or eight, and you’ll see why) as a starting point for your new favorite deck.

Ankle Shanker

Ankle Shanker

Ankle Shanker

The Shanker is a Mardu (Red-White-Black) goblin creature that, when it attacks, gives all your creatures two abilities: First Strike and Deathtouch. That means they a) deal damage before your opponents’ creatures deal it back (usually) and b) immediately kill any creature they damage. The result? No retaliation! Attack with all your might and see who dares block you!

Best Paired With: Any creatures you would like to attack with every time.

Become Immense + Dragon-Style Twins

Become Immense

Become Immense

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Dragon-Style Twin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two cards are one entry because, while both do good things on their own (a 3/3 Double Strike creature and a card that gives +6/+6), the combination is really where they shine. The Twins also have an ability called Prowess, which means they get +1/+1 for each noncreature spell you cast. If you let them Become Immense, they turn into a 10/10 creature. With Double Strike, they’ll deal 10 damage during the First Strike step and 10 more during regular damage; that’s . . . (carry the 4, use some Common Core, x=3.14 . . .) twenty damage in one attack!

Best Paired With: Each-other, other Double Strikers (like Hound of Griselbrand), and other huge pump spells (like Might of Oaks).

Narset, Enlightened Master

Narset, Enlightened Master

Narset, Enlightened Master

Confession time: I just kind of adore Narset. She’s a master monk and leader of the Jeskai (Blue-White-Red) clan; what’s not to love? In game terms, Narset has Hexproof and First Strike, meaning that she’s hard to get rid of by blowing her up or blocking her. She also has a super cool ability: when she attacks, you can basically play the top four cards of your library for free (as long as they aren’t Lands or Creatures). As soon as humanly possible, I’m going to build a Commander deck with Narset at the helm, and I’ll fill it with every Enchantment and Equipment card I’ve ever wanted to put onto a creature. Then I’ll put Narset’s enlightened abilities to good use.

Best Paired With: Aura and Equipment cards that make her extra deadly and normally cost way too much — like Eldrazi Conscription or Argentum Armor. (Just remember that they won’t get their extra powers yet if she pulls them out of your deck, because she’s already attacked.)

Rakshasa Vizier

Rakshasa Vizier

Rakshasa Vizier

Who doesn’t love a good tiger demon? The Rakshasas of Tarkir are crafty magic hoarders, and they are loyal to the Sultai (Black-Blue-Green) clan – or vice versa, I suppose. This vizier gets bigger when cards get exiled from your graveyard. It sounds difficult until you remember that this set uses the Delve ability, which lets you do just that to cast certain spells. If you build carefully, you might find it’s not too hard to fill your graveyard up with cards, and use them for added value — both for the Delve spells you cast (like maybe Treasure Cruise) and for your vizier.

Best Paired With: Cards that fill up your graveyard (anything with Dredge) and move it on out (Delve cards like Tombstalker are your best bet.)

Rattleclaw Mystic

Rattleclaw Mystic

Rattleclaw Mystic

Rattleclaw Mystic is a bit different from the rest of our list. The best thing about Rattleclaw is that you can use it to cast anything *else* you might want. Especially in the Standard format, where you have access to Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid, too, Rattleclaw can help you power out your favorite high-cost spells far earlier than nature intended. Of all the cards on this list, Rattleclaw is probably the most “competitive” and practical for the Standard events at your Local Gaming Store.

Best Paired With: Huge, scary Standard-legal creatures, like Scuttling Doom Engine, or any of the Souls from Magic 2015, like Soul of Shandalar.

Sultai Ascendancy

Sultai Ascendaency

Sultai Ascendaency

The Sultai are back already – because this enchantment is a powerhouse. It lets you look at the top two cards of your deck every turn and dump them into your graveyard if you like. Doesn’t sound powerful yet? How about if you think of it as drawing three cards per turn — especially in a world where you can use those pitched cards to Delve? Find exactly what you want and use the rest for extra tricks. That sounds like a deck waiting to happen.

Best Paired With: Your favorite combo — ideally one that uses the graveyard as a resource.

Trail of Mystery and/or Secret Plans

Trail of Mystery

Trail of Mystery

Secret Plans

Secret Plans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many of us have old Morph creatures lying around from other sets. Morph is the classic, tricky ability that lets us play a creature face-down and flip it up at any time to reveal its secrets. Trail of Mystery and Secret Plans make the prospect more attractive. With these cards out, you can search your deck for lands or draw extra cards, among other special effects, no matter which creatures you use. The abilities of your favorite Morphers (mine are Exalted Angel and Fortune Thief) are just icing on the cake!

Best Paired With: Your favorite Morph cards, or cards that mess with Morph (Like Ixidor and his horrifying creation, Ixidron.)

And, if you have any favorite cards from Khans of Tarkir that inspired a brand-new deck, let us know!

 

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  • BaconSlayer

    First video games and now Magic? Is this the start of Tabletop Kitchen Sink News?

    • Daniel36

      Well, I don’t usually play Magic on the kitchen sink… I usually play it on a regular tabletop. 😀

      I get what you mean, TGN never reported on Magic before, so why start now? But it IS a tabletop game… So… And it’s definitely not the first card game they report on.

      • Soulfinger

        The site’s policy used to allow for single deck and deck building games but drew the line at CCGs. The FAQ has since been revised to give the site a broader focus, or one could say that the mission statement has become muddled. I’m still not a fan of the ‘nerd interest’ posts like that last Blizzard one. Dave Trampier died back in March, and I don’t recall any posting, whereas Blizzard cancels another game I’ve never heard of — woopity-doo! Let’s talk about the Golden Girls and favorite Agatha Christie novels while we’re at it.

        Personally, I am here to learn about new product releases and KS projects for wargaming, board games, and role playing in that order. If I want leaked news about a GW product, I’ll go to BoLS and get it two days earlier while wondering why I ever bother to visit that site. I hate sneak previews of unfinished sausage people models that are just thinly-veiled attempts to garner more media exposure for an upcoming release. I don’t like blog posts about another blog making a blog post.

        Probably what I dislike the most are off-site reviews. Most of them read, “This product is great. I really liked it. I liked this, this, and this, although the cardstock counters may be a little bit flimsy to some people, but don’t let that get in the way of how great this game is. I really appreciated getting a free copy.” Now that there are on-site reviews, there is no need to link to these amateur hour productions.