Every time a “fall set” gets released, I’ve scoured the Internet looking for some idiot/champion who has gone through the entire set and compiled a list of all the cards that can fuck you at a moment’s notice and never found one. You know the kinds of cards – the ones where your opponent attacks with all their dudes, you go from infinity to infinity minus six and they play their 8th land with four cards in hand and say “yours”. Then you’re all like “what the actual fuck”. Those kinds of cards. So, yeah, I’ve always wanted someone else to make a list for me and never found one – and with GP Sydney coming up next weekend, my innate desire to rote learn everything and now with a few drafts and sealeds under my belt, I think who better to do it than this idiot?
A few ground rules first:
- 90% of the kinds of cards that will be included in this list can all be cast at “instant speed”. That is, they are either Instants themselves or have Flash or whatever. However, not every Instant card is included here, because they don’t all affect the board (e.g. Anticipate).
The other 10% are cards that have “game effecting activated abilities” which can also be cast at “instant speed”. Not every card with an activated ability is included here, either, but I have included all the ones that I think can cause non-obvious board interaction.
- As a rule, I don’t play around rares or mythics unless I’ve seen them play it before (either against me or against someone else and I saw) or I’m 99% sure they have it because it’s the only card they could possibly have. For this reason, this list will only be of commons and uncommons. I will not stop you from getting wrecked by “golds” and “reds”.
- In the interests of actually finishing this thing, I’m only writing a sentence or so on each. However, feel free to ask infi questions in the comments at the bottom and me or one of our amazing MPTC writers will be happy to answer any questions you have.
- I’ve done my best but may have missed some (side note: why the fuck does it take magiccards.info so long to update when a set gets released? I had to do this off the card image gallery which was a fucking nightmare).
Okay, let’s do this.
A great way to start – very rarely cast for three but definitely an option, this five mana one-sided fog can see your opponent eat all your creatures and get a 2/2 in the process.
Classic white combat trick that works on offence and defense. Should see play in every white deck.
Printing this at Instant was a big deal as it functions incredibly well on your opponent’s defense. Don’t expect to see it outside of the aggressive decks, but keep it in mind if you’re the beatdown.
Mini giant growth is usually just enough to help their creature eat yours, but the added ability to prevent all damage from colourless sources can make your attack with Deathless Behemoth, Kozilek’s Channeler or Bane of Bala Ged a nightmare.
Very powerful spell but thankfully at five mana you should see this one coming. Keep in mind how they can use their creatures’ power to supplement the five this dishes out on defense. Maybe they’ll 2-for-1 themselves, but that might just be their only line to get rid of your monster.
Keep this card in mind when pumping your creatures through ally triggers or the like as your threes become fours.
Probably the best removal in the set, the Snare will totally eat your dick and have your balls for dessert. Ladies, imagine them eating the dick and balls of a loved one. Not a pretty sight. Particularly Mine.
Fairly obvious but keep this lady in mind when doing your combat math
There are quite a few “trigger-on-life-gain” abilities in this set from dudes like the ones mentioned earlier, so keep in mind how the board state can change with just one activation of this guy.
Sleeps two creatures and gives them a scion. Watch out for this one at the end of your turn so they can get through those final few points (or point) of damage.
Nice Smite the Monstrous, bro, where’d you get it? Your opponent is *very* unlikely to play this card unless you cast something game-breaking in game one, but it’s worth including for completeness.
Another situational counter. You’re more likely to see this one, particularly in the slow blue based control decks, so if you have a two and a three drop to cast on turn five, make sure you play the shitty one first.
It even has “trick” in the name! Sneaky roilmages! The fact this card cantrips makes it infinitely more playable, so don’t look too surprised when your opponent drops your team’s power by two or three.
Great three mana counter anything. If you think they have it and you don’t need to cast your dragon yet, just wait it out. Especially if you control the board already.
A passage for rogues with room for two! Or more! Probably not, though.
Hard for your opponent to get a lot of value from this, but they can absolutely use it to tap down your blockers and go for the kill.
Cheap removal spell that can make gang-blocking really hard, even in the late game.
Nice little cantrip that nets them a 1/1 – perfect for blocking your Nettle Drone et al.
Very overcosted but I guess if it was four you’d be popping shots like no one’s business. Keep in mind that this isn’t just for killing X/1s, it’ll also drop your creatures down to small enough so that theirs either trade or eat yours up.
Cheap to cast, cheap to activate, great effect! One of the premiere reasons to be in GB, this on-board-trick can make your world really difficult if you plan on staying alive by gaining a bunch of life through lifelink. They can also just use it to, you know, not die and then, you know, kill you.
A one mana instant that can do infi damage? How is that fair? Watch out for this in combination with spells that make tokens.
The fury of the stone is not to be trifled with. Can do upwards of eight damage and not even break a sweat. At common, expect to see this in most red decks.
Red’s premiere combat trick makes their guy big enough to kill yours and the first strike ensure he lives to talk about it.
Instant speed mind controls are always to be weary of. If you have any inclination that your opponent is holding this and there are no safe attacks, just don’t.
Unlikely to be seen in game one, but if you’re playing a deep blue awaken deck with clutch, rush and coastal, you can expect to see this brought in to make sure you… Fuck I love that video.
This guy racks up damage like my ex-wife racks up requests for child support. Suffice to say, this guy is more likely to defeat you than I am to pay, Sharon.
This dude is moving up and up in the GAS playtesting group’s opinions to the point that some are arguing it’s the best red common.
Even where X is two, this card can make your life a living hell. Green doesn’t have as many tricks as usual, so definitely keep this card in mind when your opp is rocking forests.
I’m including this because if your opponent passes with five lands and you’re not worried about them until they get to seven to cast Plated Crusher or something, keep in mind that could be the next turn.
Does exactly what it says on the packet.
Another card with a few modes: 1) It makes their creature big enough to eat yours 2) it makes their creature big enough to kill you 3) it enables land-fall mid combat 4) it ramps them for the next turn.
I love Instant fight cards.
Ends late games quickly when you’re sending over a 7/7 trample every turn, but hopefully won’t come as too much of a shock to you when your opponent activates in defense.
A 2/3 for three that processes to make 1/1s. One more power might be all they need to take down your bomb.
Just the one:
This card is as complicated as it is incredible and fills so many different roles. It counters a spell, blocks a Shadow Glider, trades with a Cloud Manta or plain old kills your opponent on the next turn. What a card. If your opponent has a stack of cardboard in hand and more islands and swamps untapped than Louisiana, keep this guy in mind. He. Will. Fuck. You.
Don’t be a dick about the whole colourless/devoid thing. You’re better than that.
SpellsScour from Existence
Expensive, obviously, but the ramp decks gawk at seven as they exile your best creature after it attacks and you pump for the win.Titan’s Presence
In the right deck the presence of the titan can be earth shattering. Dust and memory are all that remain in Ulamog’s wake.
An edict land? Having finally played this last night I can now say categorically that it is not as good as I had hoped, but that won’t stop me or anyone else from playing it. When it’s good, it’s fucked.
A shock land! Kinda!
Expect to see this in any white based creature deck. Usually it’ll sac for just enough life for them to live AND YOU TO DIE.
Triggers your opponent’s landfall in your turn. Don’t fuck up like I did (unlikely).
Stops your Eldrazi from attacking, taps down your blockers or kills your X/1s. Not bad, but not great. Look out for it after sideboarding.
Makes three whole dudes. Works in ramp, works in swarms, just works, dude. I wouldn’t recommend attacking into an empty board with a 3/3 if they have this.
That’s it! Thanks for sticking in there with me and sound off in the comments with your thoughts and questions. See you all in Sydney!