9, Aug, 23

Unbanned MTG Payoff Swiftly Revitalizes Dead Archetype!

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Article at a Glance

Monday’s announcement to unban two cards while simultaneously banning nothing came as a shocker to a lot of MTG players. There was certainly speculation that powerful cards like Karn, the Great Creator in Pioneer or The One Ring in Modern might get the axe, especially given the dominance of The One Ring at the Pro Tour. Well, instead, we are presented with an opportunity to try to utilize cards that haven’t been available in their respective formats for many years.

Mind’s Desire is a strange Storm payoff that was banned extremely quickly in Legacy after its release in 2003. Storm as an archetype in Legacy has gotten remarkably weaker in recent years, and Mind’s Desire is a relatively specific Storm card that could open the door for some new decks to arise.

Meanwhile in Modern, Preordain is unbanned. While not necessarily risky in the sense that the card is obviously broken, Preordain adds a lot of extra consistency to various archetypes. Both of these cards have been legal on Magic Online since Monday and are already starting to make major impacts. Let’s take a look at where these cards have been shining so far.

Legacy High Tide

Mind's Desire
High Tide is a unique deck that seems to have gotten a huge boost from Mind’s Desire, going undefeated in a Magic Online Preliminary event, piloted by none other than Reid Duke. This deck has been largely absent from the Legacy metagame for a while, but Mind’s Desire may help revitalize the archetype. The deck plays a large number of cantrips as well as Merchant Scroll to help find the namesake card: High Tide. High Tide, for only one mana, lets all your Islands tap for additional blue mana.

From there, you can use cards like Turnabout and Candelabra of Tawnos to untap your Lands and net even more mana. In order to build up your Storm count, Time Spiral gives a nice Timetwister effect, but also untaps your Lands to net even more mana.

Part of the weakness of a deck like this is that it lacks redundancy, especially given Time Spiral’s unique effect. Mind’s Desire slots quite nicely into the deck as a result, giving you another “payoff” that can further build Storm count. From there, you can cast the “Granted” portion of Fae of Wishes, get and cast Brain Freeze, and win the game. There are other ways to utilize Mind’s Desire too, but you definitely want ways to generate excess mana and cast lots of spells. Perhaps one of the most interesting ways to use the card appears with the next deck.

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Unique Take on Mississippi River

Tibalt's Trcikery

Mind’s Desire also appeared in a strange take of Mississippi River. This deck normally plays a ton of Lands that can produce multiple mana, Creative Technique, and Cascade cards that cost six or more mana, allowing for a chain reaction of Cascade spells to build a big board. This version of the deck plays Shardless Agent and Violent Outburst alongside Tibalt’s Trickery, with the plan of hitting a massive payoff. One of the best of these payoffs is actually Mind’s Desire, which can end up letting you cast a bunch more spells and win the game relatively easily.

While this deck and the High Tide are very different, they both show the importance of casting multiple spells.

As good as Mind’s Desire is, it can definitely be hated out, which is likely part of the reason the card was unbanned. Cards like Archon of Emeria can quickly put a stop to any plans of casting lots of spells in one turn. While Mind’s Desire is certainly more restrictive of a card and an interesting build-around, Preordain in Modern is very different.

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Adding Lots of Consistency

Preordain

Preordain is definitely a very strong addition to Modern, and the consistency it brings is significantly better than a range of other cantrips we’ve had. Even cards like Consider are much worse at both smoothing out your hand and digging for specific cards. Even against decks like Rakdos Scam, Preordain can help make it easier to come back from a quick Grief and Feign Death start by digging for removal.

We can see just how much of a difference the card can make by looking at the decks that are playing it so far. Beyond being a great inclusion for decks like Dimir Control to help guarantee the ability to hit land drops as well as action in the late game, the card helps combo decks dig for missing pieces.

Multiple established combo decks in yesterday’s Magic Online Preliminary events started utilizing the card. An Amulet Titan list cut some various flex slots in exchange for Preordain, which can help dig for additional copies of Primeval Titan or Summoner’s Pact. Similarly, a Hammer Time list added Preordain, which can help dig for either Puresteel Paladin or Sigarda’s Aid, as well as Colossus Hammer if necessary. The opportunity cost of adding Preordain is so small compared to the consistency it adds for various decks, including combo decks, but there’s one card in particular that benefits a ton from having this card added to the format.

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Dragon’s Rage Channeler Decks

Dragon's Rage Channeler

Dragon’s Rage Channeler is a great card, but it’s power lies in your ability to obtain Delirium. Given the prevalence of Orcish Bowmasters and Wrenn and Six, you really want to obtain Delirium very quickly. Many Dragon’s Rage Channeler decks also play Unholy Heat, which gets a big boost with Delirium enabled. A previous issue with decks like Izzet Murktide or Izzet Prowess was that these decks played a lot more Instants than Sorceries. Sometimes it was difficult to get Delirium if you didn’t draw Expressive Iteration.

Preordain helps solve this problem. While Preordain is absolutely a better card than Consider to begin with, the fact that Preordain is a Sorcery is very strong for these styles of decks. Of course, as more cantrips get added to players’ decks, Orcish Bowmasters’ stock only goes up, so definitely be mindful when your Rakdos Scam or Dimir opponent has two mana up.

Preordain definitely has a wider range of decks it can go in than Mind’s Desire, while Mind’s Desire has a higher ceiling in its ability to take over a game. It’ll be interesting to see how the Modern and Legacy metagames shift with these new additions solidifying their spots in each format.

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