EMN/SOI/GP Sydney Tricks Cheatsheet

Welcome to the guide to cards there’s no way your opponents will have at Grand Prix Sydney 2016! This is intended to be a comprehensive list of fast, interactive effects to watch out for in Shadows Over Innistrad / Eldritch Moon limited, focusing a bit more on sealed than draft.

I’ve left out instant-speed cards that do not interact with the opponent (ie. Scour the Laboratory, Succumb to Temptation), and the only one that I feel is a bit contentious is maybe Catalog, as it provides an instant-speed Madness outlet from hand, so has the potential for some sick blowouts.

Enjoy, and if you make it to the end actually reading my commentary, you’re truly a masochist.



Strength of Arms: The one mana trick, bane of the combat step. About as generic as it comes, but if you take ONE THING away from this article, let it be this: Tristan is great. Or that there are a lot tricks in this set that give +2/+2, so your first check should always be “how much of a blowout is +2/+2”?


Expose Evil: An important common to keep in mind during close races.

Puncturing Light: Remember that you can always play around this little fella by pumping your guys before they attack or block.

Blessed Alliance: This is just a nightmare to attack into. A strong reason to never go alone.

Long Road Home: Not much to see here, most likely to thwart a removal spell or snag a token.

Repel the Abominable: Worth remembering if they have A LOT of humans, unlikely to make much of appearance over the weekend, unless you’re on the bubble.


Eerie Interlude: Incredibly niche, and at rare I wouldn’t devote any brainspace to worrying about this.

Survive the Night: Decent as any other trick with “Investigate”, but probably one of the least commonly played.

Borrowed Grace: The first of the Escalate common tricks that are going to be a nightmare to remember. So just remember this mnemonic: +2/+2!

Drogskol Shieldmate: Reasonably low impact, I wouldn’t worry about this guy much unless I was hell-bent on aggression and full up on 2/2s. Most common/uncommon flash guys in this format have 3 toughness, so there’s another little shortcut for you.


Silverstrike: I love it when my opponent passes with 3 and a white open, and the look on their face when you just pass it straight on back. 9 times out of 10, it’s Silverstrike.

Tenacity: Some people are really high on this card, but I’m not such a big fan. Keep it in mind when opponents go for weird alpha strikes.

Give No Ground: This card is pretty much unplayable, so I’m pretty much guaranteed to lose to it at some point. I wouldn’t worry about it.


Archangel Avacyn: Scoop, go next, cut her to the bottom.

Humble the Brute: If you suspect this is what’s up, you might want to keep your creatures’ power under 4, but at uncommon out of 2 packs I wouldn’t stress too hard.



Essence Flux / Invasive Surgery / Turn Aside: Niche, nearly unplayable counterspells.

Spontaneous Mutation: Having a big dude turned into a wall is annoying, but not usually a blowout.

Not much to be worried about for U except for Just the Wind w/ Madness!


Compelling Deterrence / Just the Wind / Unsubstantiate: Lots of bounce at 1U. Unsubstantiate is noteworthy, but I’m not going to write home to mum about it.

Jace’s Scrutiny: Great trick, turns trades one-sided. Remember this one.

Rattlechains: I included Shadows Over Innistrad rares on this list out of respect, but if you think I’m spending any time writing or worrying about them, you’re kidding yourself.


Broken Concentration / Deny Existence / Convolute: We all know to expect Cancel, right? Convolute’s the only one you can really play around here.

Chilling Grasp / Nebelgast Herald: Surprise tappers! Herald is excellent, Grasp is medium. Worth remembering that Herald also triggers off other spirits! How is that fair?!

Displace: Probably unplayable? I doubt I’ll give this any thought unless I’ve shown my opponent lots of removal or they have a heap of enter-the-battlefield effects.


Engulf the… see Rattlechains.

Summary Dismissal: Maybe be cautious about filling the stack up with too much goodness? At rare though, not really worth worrying about.

5+ CMC

Confirm Suspicions: How come they get to draw so many cards when I get to draw so few?!

Stormrider Spirit: Generic flash flyer.

Drownyard Behemoth / Elder Deep-Fiend: Every blue deck is likely to have some Emerge enablers, so that’s not really a tell to expect them. The octopus is particularly vexing.



Borrowed Malevolence: If we do some mental gymnastics, +1/+1 & -1/-1 is kind of like +2/+2… I would expect every black deck to have at least one of these.


Grotesque Mutation: Not super popular, probably not going to show up often.

Murderous Compulsion: Running into this really puts the ass into assassinate. Twice.


MURDER!!!: There’s nothing you can really do.

Biting Rain: Unlikely to show up as trick, but you should be aware of this if your deck’s full of x/2s and x/1s anyways.

Gisa’s Bidding / Twins of Maurer Estate / Voldaren Pariah / Weirded Vampire: Lots of 3-cmc black Madness critters to be aware of. I just want to mention that Pariah’s transform ability is instant speed, because at prerelease I saw a real sick play where someone Madness-ed in Pariah and transformed it and their opponent cried… Ok, it was me. I did the crying.


Throttle: One of the great pillars of the limited landscape.



There’s a lot of pump and burn going on at one R, especially with some Madness. Best bet is remembering what you see game one.


Bloodmad Vampire / Stromkirk Occultist: Couple of random Madness vamps to watch out for.

Senseless Rage: Hey! +2/+2!

Abandon Reason: This is the sort of nasty trick that will catch a lot of people out, especially with so many 3/2s in EMA.

Alchemist’s Greeting: Premium common removal for the format. Expect at least one from every red deck.


Fiery Temper / Geistblast / Savage Alliance: Burn baby burn! Savage Alliance also doubles as a pseudo-Magmatic Chasm with trample and mass damage, so keep that in mind.

Uncaged Fury: We all miss Temur Battle Rage. Or none of us do. One of those.

Stensia Masquerade: Pretty niche, watch out if they’ve got lots of vampires though.


Dance with Devils: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gFnCwVqbWs

Inner Struggle: Solid removal, not much to be said here.

Spiteful Motives: If you see this coming, great opportunity to flip the blowout back on your opponent!

Insatiable Gorgers: Hey look! A fast Madness guy with 3 toughness!

5+ CMC

Dissension in the Ranks: As far as I’m concerned, this card doesn’t exist. What card?

Spreading Flames: I guess if your opponent gets to 7, watch out?


Avacyn’s Judgment: I wasn’t kidding about the SOI rares.



Confront the Unknown: I’m really sad that I don’t have 6 opportunities to open this card anymore. Worth watching your opponent’s behaviour with clues; if they’re not cracking them at every opportunity, this could be why.


Aim High: +2/+2!

Clip Wings: A nice twist on the usual green flyer kill-spell. Can be worth keeping a spirit around if you’ve got some bigger flyers waiting in the wings.

Moonlight Hunt / Waxing Moon: Niche effects to keep in mind if your opponent has lots of werewolves.


Howlpack Resurgence: I was originally going to lump this with Spirit of the Hunt, but that card is good, and this card is quite bad.

Clear Shot: This card is just excellent. Only way to play around it is by holding onto your own fast effects.

Spirit of the Hunt: A much better shieldmate. Note that it doesn’t buff itself, and so only has 3 toughness *taps nose*.

Woodcutter’s Grit: +3/+3?! What? Everything’s ruined.


Might Beyond Reason: +2/+2 but maybe +3/+3? Now they’re just messing with us.

Pack Guardian / Swift Spinner: 3-toughness! Consistency!

Springsage Ritual: Like any naturalise, maybe they’ll bring it in if you show them a Triskaidekaphobia!



Ride Down: Worth being aware of out of aggro RW decks, but not much to be done.

3+ CMC

Gold Rares: These cards are obviously all great, but they’re gold in border and in symbol! Double gold! What did you expect?!