A Danger Room with a Kaladesh View

When I look at a new card on an MTG spoiler the first question I ask myself is: “What is the best application for this card in a Constructed format?” The second question: “Is it going in my Danger Room?”

Battle Box is my absolute favorite format. The Danger Room is the nickname that I call my personal Battle Box stack. It is a collection of cards that I constantly tune, add, and subtract from to create my own little slice of heaven to play with my friends. When it comes to building and refining one’s own stack, I highly recommend customization—play with the cards that you love and explore cards that look interesting.

I like to think of the Battle Box format as “Magic: The Boardgame” or “Deck Building Game” because you can sit down with a friend and play Magic at a moment’s notice without having to have set decks or go through the process of drafting. In fact, you can play dozens of games, each completely different from the last, with zero preparation or deckbuilding whatsoever.

You just grab 10 lands and a stack of cards and play.

If you are not familiar with this MTG variant and are interested I highly encourage you to look into it. The format is a blast. It’s kind of like a Cube, but you don’t draft and it has its own mana system built in. Here are a couple of good reads to get you started with the basics:

But if you are reading this article, chances are that you already know about Battle Boxing and are interested in checking out my current list to see which favorites got the boot and which exciting new cards made the cut.

I haven’t published an updated list since before Shadows over Innistrad was released and I’ve had a lot of requests in the meantime. Since I didn’t do a review for Eldritch Moon, this review will highlight both of the newest sets. Conspiracy was a bust but Eldritch Moon and Kaladesh may serve to be two of the biggest Danger Room changers EVER.

Artifacts (+5* up to 35 Total)

In honor of Kaladesh being an artifact-themed set (and the fact that I’ve felt my artifact count was a little low), I decided to add 5 additional artifacts to the stack without making any cuts. I’ve always felt like there were not enough artifacts in the stack, but it is hard to find ones good enough to compete. I’m hopeful that some of these new ones will do the trick!

Let the cheers of the fans of Mishra lands be heard!

Familiar feels like the essence of a Battle Box card and I’m excited to add it to my list. It is exactly the kind of card I enjoy playing with in a format like this.

Vehicles are cool and I wanted some in my stack. The Cruiser seems really impressive and I can’t wait to see it in action!

I like to have a critical mass of “graveyard matters” cards and this one feels pretty awesome. It is a unique card that I think I’ll enjoy playing with in here for years to come!

The other Vehicle that I opted to add to my stack. I love looter effects in DR and this card just does a lot for a nice price.

Graft is one of the best equipment cards that I’ve seen in a very long time. It is exactly the kind of beatdown card that is fantastic in Limited, which makes it a great Danger card.

Favorite New Artifact

A really cool graveyard card that is also an artifact? Workshops and Bazaars fighting side by side!? Dogs and cats living together!? TOTAL CHAOS.

Mono-Color Spells (65 cards of each color)

White Cards

Out

In

I already have a Soul Warden in the stack so it is cool to get a similar effect that is actually a lot different. I’ve been looking for more enchantments that matter but don’t completely wreck somebody and this seems like a nice fit.

Out

In

I’m always excited to get more cards with multiple modes into my stack and escalate is exactly the kind of mechanic I enjoy—OPTIONS! Sunlance is a fine card but isn’t very exciting. The last dance of the lance.

Out

In

Modal spells are great and effort is no exception, the card has been a lot of fun to play with so far. With that being said, I was very sad to see my Alpha Serra Angel retired for the Danger Room. Power creep is real. Serra Angel is just not what a 5-mana creature needs to be in order to compete with what is going on nowadays. It was a good run.

Out

In

Apostle’s Blessing is such a soulless boring card just like the Phyrexian mana cost it bears in the upper right corner. Goodbye, you will not be missed by anybody. Eldrazi have been difficult to get into the stack because Scions make mana (nope) and <> mana (which none of my lands produce. Extractor is a really cool card that makes Eldrazi and utilizes delirium. Seems like a perfect Danger Room card!

Out

In

There is a rule in the Danger Room that if a card would go to the bottom of a library it just gets exiled instead. But with that being said I tend to replace cards like that with ones that don’t need that distinction. Fumigate is just a savage awesome wrath effect that I’m excited to try out.

Another cool enchantment that I randomly discovered while sorting foils at the LGS. The card is pretty sweet and really shines in the Danger Room! I added it awhile back, so I’m not exactly sure what I cut for it, but I wanted to showcase it nonetheless.

Out

In

This swap feels pretty straightforward. The Knight was pretty obviously one of the most boring and uninspired 2-drops in the stack and Selfless Spirit is a sweet card. Very fun to play with!

Another card that has been added along the way that I’m not sure what was cut for. Outfitter is a sweet card. It is fine early when you don’t have an equipment but becomes quite a threat when you do. There are also more equipment and equipment-matters cards overall than before.

Out

In

There are now so many good token based cards that it is getting easy to pull the weaker ones for more reasonable ones. The “I WISH THIS WAS LINGERING SOULS…” feel-bad is also quite real.

Favorite New White Card for Danger Room

A really neat card with a ton of abilities that has been a lot of fun to play with so far.

Blue Cards

Out

In

A sorcery-speed Repulse is still a card that I’m more excited to play with than a madness unsummon. Drag Under is good clean fun for the whole family.

Out

In

Insidious Will is a neat card with lots of tricky modes. Void Shatter is a half-hearted reprint of Dissipate. Upgrade.

Out

In

More delirium is cool with me, and getting a card with “Jace” in the name out of the deck is also upside.

Out

In

Unsubstantiate seems like a sweet add because it is so flexible.

Favorite New Blue Card

Not even close. Plus, I got a sweet full art one! BONUS!!!

Black Cards

Out

In

There was basically no world where this card wasn’t getting into the deck! Last Gasp, you are last classed.

Out

In

I’m very excited to play with the Lord of Luxury. The card just feels like it will be cool to play with. Theros block enchantment creatures getting the axe will be an ongoing theme in this article.

I stumbled across a foil one and decided I wanted to give it a try. The card is pretty neat so far. Not sure if it will own a long term spot but I’m enjoying it for the time being!

I can’t believe it took me so long to realize that Paralyze should be in the stack! It is a happy time whenever you can add a Beta card back into the mix!

A sweet old Alliances card that I had completely forgotten about. A really cool black control Magic variant with very freaky looking artwork!

Out

In

Favorite New Black Card

I mean, CB is completely insane. It is one of the better cards in the whole stack.

Red Cards

Out

In

The old “cut a burn spell for a better burn spell” trick.

Out

In

Whelp is a great 2-drop. Fumiko is a 4-drop that is only good if your opponent’s position is miserably poor. To be fair, Fumiko was mostly there as an homage to my friend Mark with whom I used to draft a ton of Champions Block. We called her “Fumiko, of the irrecoverable board state.” I’ll probably drop her back into the deck if I ever go out to visit him in the Pacific Northwest.

Out

In

Lightning Strike is a reprint of Searing Spear. The new card offers something new and so I’ll give it a whirl. Sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow when it comes to new cards.

A very cool oldie, but goodie, that I remembered from back in the day!

Out

In

Yeah, pretty obvious.

Favorite New Red Card

I love the elegance of the card. Reminds me of Jackal Pup at 2 mana old.

Green Cards

Out

In

It always pains me to cut one of my “little Spider guys” but the card was mediocre and the Stomper feels pretty awesome. A big trample body and life gain is so DR.

Out

In

Blossoming Defense is another great combat trick/counterspell. Sage of Ancient Lore was a card that despite drawing cards and feeling like it would be fun, wasn’t. It was either too good or terrible, the definition of a bad card.

Out

In

Lumberknot is just knot that good anymore. It takes too much work to set up and for not enough payoff. Grapple is a good card. There are lots of graveyard matters things already going on in the DR, which makes this a fine spell.

Out

In

More games confirmed something that I had suspected when I added Whisperwood Elemental—it is just too powerful for the stack. It dominated a stunningly high majority of the games when it was cast. It of the Horrid Swarm was the emerge spell that I selected to add to the stack. Lots of value and board presence to be had there.

Out

In

Prowler is one of the best Savannah Lions variants I’ve ever seen and I’m excited to add it to the deck. Leafcrown Dryad is, well… Leafcrown Dryad. Don’t worry bestow fans, Boon Satyr isn’t going anywhere.

Out

In

Noose Constrictor is a better version of a card that was already a joy to play with. Bygone Bishop did not pan out the way I envisioned it.

Favorite Green Card

Fun incarnate.

Multicolor Spells (2 Color Guilds, 10 cards each color):

Azorius (U/W)

Out

In

Did you ever wish every card could be a Mulldrifter? One step closer…

Out

In

Not all 3 mana Azorius flyers are created equal…

Boros (R/W)

Dimir (U/B)

Golgari (G/B)

Gruul (R/G)

Out

In

Yeah! An energy card for the deck! I was pretty happy to cut Artifact Mutation. The kind of card that skews a game by being either amazing or awful depending on if your opponent draws a big artifact.

Izzet (U/R)

Orzhov (B/W)

Rakdos (R/B)

Out

In

Rakdos and Gruul both felt like colors that were one good spell away from having a full 10 rounding out the guild. I think both guilds got solid help with a few nice printings for DR.

Selesnya (G/W)

Simic (U/G)

Shards and Wedges (3 of each color combination)

Abzan

Bant

Esper

Grixis

Jeskai

Jund

Mardu

Naya

Sultai

Temur

5-Color

Favorite Multicolor Spell

You know a card is pretty unreal when it beats out Spell Queller and is in the same color!

And there you have it, my updated Danger Room stack! Whew, that was quite the project to get through. I can’t wait to replace these proxies with real copies this weekend at the prerelease.

Which new cards are you guys and girls most excited to try out in your stacks? Do you have any favorites that I’m not currently rocking in my list? I’d love to hear all of your suggestions in the comments. Stay dangerous, my friends.

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