It’s time to start Pick 1 Pack 1 with Magic Origins. Pro Tour Magic Origins is just around the corner, and this Limited format will no doubt be a tough nut to crack. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks we can explore things together and I’ll be in a good spot to really learn the depth of the format when I begin Pro Tour testing. Let’s take a look at this week’s packs:
The red Sandsteppe Outcast. After playing a few months of Limited including Fate Reforged, we all know how powerful Sandsteppe Outcast is. Ghirapur Gearcrafter might be slightly worse because you lose the option to play him as a 3/2, however, I think in all of Fate Reforged I only used that option on Sandsteppe Outcast once or twice. The Gearcrafter has an additional upside in that the token is an artifact. This means that it works well with all of the artifact synergies in Origins, and I’d argue that the upside here is bigger than the downside of losing the option to make him a 3/2. Ghirapur Gearcrafter is certainly not the card I’d choose to open, but in this pack, he’s the best choice.
Ringwarden Owl seems like it gets the nod over Topan Freeblade, to me, but this could easily end up being the incorrect pick. Ringwarden Owl is a 5-mana 3/3 flier, which is a reasonably good rate, and also has the benefit of prowess. It’s worth noting blue looks very powerful to me, and I’d be happy to start with what I feel is a powerful blue card. If the format ends up being more aggressive than it looks, Topan Freeblade would be the correct pick here.
Scroll Thief was a pretty good card. Scroll Thief with prowess is a great card. On the play, Jhessian Thief will create scenarios where if your opponent blocks they lose a creature, and if they don’t block you draw a card. Also, simply attacking with Jhessian Thief into a 2/2 creature puts your opponent in a real bind. They will never be too sure what to do, and you will often be able to draw cards even when you don’t “deserve” them. This is a card that I’m likely to want in any blue deck, and I will be happy to select it early in the draft.
A removal spell, at instant speed, that will often gain 2 life. The fact that it is an instant notches it slightly ahead of Suppression Bonds in my book. Suppression Bonds does have the advantage of being able to deal with noncreature permanents such as planeswalkers or equipment, but cards like that are so often used on creatures anyway that the instant speed and 2 life easily make up for it.
This card seems like a borderline bomb. UU2, put two 1/1 fliers into play is practically a playable card on its own. Whirler Rogue gives you a 2/2, two 1/1 fliers, and an ability that can be used immediately. I would be happy to first-pick this card out of plenty of packs, and it looks like an incredible way to start a draft.
This card is two colors, which does make me hesitant to first-pick it. That being said, it’s just so incredibly powerful. It’s rare that a card with this kind of effect is able to return both creatures and spells to your hand, but Possessed Skaab can. Five mana 3/2 return just a creature or just a spell would both be good cards, but the added versatility of being able to do both overcomes the difficult mana cost and makes this card worth taking here.
A flying Strongarm Monk. Soulblade Djinn is another case of a card that would be good even if it had no passive abilities. 5 mana is a good rate for a 4/3 flyer, add to that the fact that any time you cast a noncreature spell it gives your entire army +1/+1 and this card is a borderline bomb rare, though not quite, and a card that I’d be happy to first pick and include in any blue deck.
There isn’t much more to say about Jhessian Thief than what I said above. I think this card will turn out to be a premium first pick, and although I’d take an exceptional rare like Soulblade Djinn over it, I’d be very happy to first pick it most of the time.
This card is a true bomb rare. When you consider that many of the black removal spells in this set already cost 5 and this one leaves you with a 4/3 creature with menace, it becomes apparent how good this card really is. The removal ability is conditional, but it is an Elf and has evasion. This card is likely one of the best cards in the set, and I would never pass it.
Claustrophobia is a blue removal spell, which is pretty hard to come by. Very similar to a card like Arrest, it will be an auto-include in any blue deck and is one of blue’s premium commons. I’d rather take a bomb rare over Claustrophobia, but it’s a fine first pick, and what I’d take here if Gilt-Leaf Winnower were not in the pack.
That’s it for the first edition of Pick 1, Pack 1 with Magic Origins. Pro Tour Magic Origins in Vancouver is just a few weeks away. I am greatly looking forward to heading to Canada and beginning work on both Standard and Limited formats with my team, The Pantheon. Stay tuned to ChannelFireball, as more Pick 1 Pack 1 and eventually Pick 1, Pack 2 will be coming soon.