Halimar Tidecaller

Mike (michaelj) and Brian (BDM) are back to Top 8 Magic podcasting on ManaDeprived!

One thing that came up in their most recent podcast “Landfall and Fall TV” is the idea of an “Awaken” theme deck featuring Halimar Tidecaller:

Halimar Tidecaller

Halimar Tidecaller is an interesting, if initially unassuming, little card. It actually has a slightly better body than Eternal Witness (2/3 being superior to 2/1)… But does much the same thing as long as you are looking to return “Awaken” theme cards exclusively. Of course the ability to give your land cards flying is a bonus, but I think the Eternal Witness-ness headlines this Human Wizard Ally.

So the question is… Are there Awaken cards worth playing, let alone building your deck around? We think that the answer is at least possibly yes. Consider:

  • Ruinous Path – Same mana cost as the widely played Hero’s Downfall; trades instant for sorcery, yes, but minor liability relative to Awaken upside and synergies
  • Scatter to the Winds – Literally a Cancel-plus. Substantially worse than Dissolve in the early turns (at the same mana cost); substantially better than most of the 1UU permission spells in very long games
  • Planar Outburst – Most interesting of all the “obvious” Awaken cards simply because it actually has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Advantage: Super synergistic with your own Awaken cards! Disadvantage: If you find yourself in an Awaken mirror, you ain’t killing their thing.

Here is a preliminary Halimar Tidecaller Esper Control deck, based on Brian’s enthusiastic comments:

Esper Control by Brian David-Marshall

1 Ob Nixilis Reignited
4 Ruinous Path

3 Anticipate
2 Clutch of Currents
4 Dig Through Time
4 Halimar Tidecaller
4 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
1 Part the Waterveil
4 Scatter to the Winds

2 Dragonlord Ojutai

4 Planar Outburst

4 Flooded Strand
1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
2 Island
2 Plains
4 Polluted Delta
4 Prairie Stream
4 Shambling Vent
4 Sunken Hollow
2 Swamp

3 Infinite Obliteration
2 Rising Miasma
4 Ultimate Price
2 Disdainful Stroke
3 Part the Waterveil
1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death

One card that was considered that is fairly on-theme is Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper; ultimately we considered that too immediately clunky and vulnerable relative to Dragonlord Ojutai at 3WU (especially no hexproof tapping out).

Of course “Landfall and Fall TV” has much more going on than just Halimar Tidecaller brewing. Check it (and what Mike and Brian are watching right now) out at ManaDeprived.com.

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Last week, Chris and I sat down to get hyped about Pro Tour: Origins in Vancouver. Instead, we ended up getting hyped about Luis Scott-Vargas.

Chris asks if variance is a threat to Magic’s long-term viability, and I have a thing or two to say about that. Also, I recap a recent Modern PPTQ I nearly won with a tier-1 deck that no one seems to appreciate… which is excellent against Grixis Delver.

We also discuss some of the more absurd cards from Magic’s early days, and, as usual, play some games. Listen below, or subscribe on iTunes!

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(Chris doesn’t use his Twitter account, but you can harass him there anyway. His phone number is in the podcast if you want to bug him via text message!)

Demonic Pact

Two-time US Nationals Top 8 competitor Conrad Kolos joins the Card Talk team for a discussion of new Magic Origins cards.

What do they think of…

  • Hangarback Walker,
  • Demonic Pact, or
  • Herald of the Pantheon?

Conrad loves Hangarback Walker, comparing it to both Arcbound Ravager and Doomed Traveler.

Gabe calls Demonic Pact a Cruel Ultimatum for 4 mana! This card certainly does a ton of awesome things (so long as you are a little patient)

Herald of the Pantheon, though, is terrible according to the team. Either you will draw all Herald of the Pantheons or all clunky enchantments with no acceleration. The first two, though? Very high on these.

Per usual, this episode is chock full of trivia, swapping Magic cards, and speculation.

Give #33 a listen now:

“All’s well, Counterspell!”

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Card Talk 32

BDM and I are super excited to welcome Card Talk: The World’s Greatest Magic: the Gathering Podcast to Fetchland!

You might know Gabe Carleton-Barnes as a longtime member of the Top 8 Magic podcast extended family (Gabe used to be a New Yorker working at the Top 8 Magic offices and was then a frequent participant on our podcast); and you probably know him as a current member of Wizards of the Coast’s Grand Prix coverage team. He is a whiz-bang crusher of PTQs (and now PPTQs and RPTQs). He is joined by partner Chris Murray on this and every episode of Card Talk. This week’s will focus on renewals (bringing back Card Talk after some months of hiatus, here on Fetchland), what Gabe and Chris liked (and didn’t) about Magic Origins, plus Gabe once again owning cake (on account of qualifying once again).


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For some reason Chris gives out his phone number on each episode of Card Talk. Text him, I guess! 971.219.2176

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Top 8 Magic #415: Fetch Lansdell

Posted by Brian David-Marshall | Top 8 Magic


Listen to the latest episode of Top 8 Magic in which Brian David-Marshall and Michael J. Flores are joined at the intersection of Chinatown and Little Italy by Level 2 Judge and fellow-podcaster Chris Lansdell. Topics of discussion included playing in tournaments as judge, the (then) impending NBA draft, and some advice for players to pay keen attention to when they have to speak with a judge. (Hint; it is often the cover-up more than the crime that leads to extended time away from competitive Magic.)

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  • Knight of the White Orchid

    Top Level Podcast Summary:
    Patrick Chapin and Michael J Flores discuss the exciting new Nissa, Vastwood Seer (Nissa, Sage Animist) and other Magic Origins cards in this Magic podcast.

    I swear I didn’t know that Knight of the White Orchid was in Magic Origins 24 hours ago. Or more like 72 hours ago, based on when we recorded this week’s episode of Top Level Podcast.

    But there we have it in all its two-drop glory: Knight of the White Orchid in Magic Origins.

    Knight of the White Orchid and I have a bit of a special history. You see, I get stuff like this all the time:

    God bless Brendan Hurst. This is a guy who came out of semi-retirement recently, based on the love of absurdly costed Dragons to win a PPTQ with my Five-Color Blue Dragons deck. He is also the guy who made the Mike Flores soundboard. Love his tweets, all of it.

    But even Brendan pegged me with his comments on Nissa as “the Borderland Rnger guy”. I guess I’ve been the Borderland Ranger guy since before there were Borderland Rangers (previously they were Civic Wayfinders). When Pilgrim’s Eye came out (bdm) bet me on the Top 8 Magic podcast that I was going to be the Pilgrim’s Eye guy. I said it would never happen… and we all know how that turned out, ultimately. As I detail in this week’s Top Level Podcast… I never meant to be the Borderland Ranger guy!

    (Go to about 2:25 to hear more; via Top Level Podcast)

    … I actually just wanted to be the Knight of the White Orchid guy.

    Not only did I want to be the Knight of the White Orchid guy, our puppeteering overlords in Renton, WA wanted me to be the Knight of the White Orchid guy! They even entrusted me with the preview!

    The stars seemed to be aligning. I was supposed to be the Knight of the White Orchid guy. Knight of the White Orchid was “only” an effcient two drop, but it was beautifully synergistic with one of the then-Standard’s big bombs: Reveillark. My old Cabal Rogue and Righteous Babe teammate (and present Team Ultra PRO teammate) Brian Kowal was already synergizing Knight of the White Orchid and Reveillark and kicking butt with them together. Man oh man these cards seemed like they should go together like peanut butter and jelly… Scratch that: Peanut butter and chocolate.

    With its ability to return creatures with power two or less to play, Reveillark made for great synergy with Knight of the White Orchid.

    Knight of the White Orchid made me positively not-unhappy to go second. I spent many first turns setting myself up with Fieldmist Borderpost, even on the play.

    But ultimately, we just didn’t work out. You know how one day Jennifer Garner is on the red carpet “best dressed couples” list with husband Scott Foley… And then five minutes later she is married to Ben Affleck? Wasn’t he just married to JLo? you are asking yourself. Me and Knight of the White Orchid… We just didn’t work out. I could never get it to give me a two for one. I resorted to hitting the opponent’s guys with Path to Exile just to stay even. Then when I got my Reveillark killed, half the time my re-bought Knights didn’t even dig for Plains. I was a worthwhile person (I hope); Knight of the White Orchid a solid 2/2 for WW in a long line of 2/2s for WW… But together we weren’t peanut butter and chocolate at all. We were more like peanut butter and bananas. Bananas!

    I still wanted my 2/2s and land drops. I needed to get up to five or six, remember! And Reveillark wasn’t going anywhere (except the graveyard, where it belonged). Civic Wayfinder cost me one more mana, but unlike Knight of the White Orchid, always got there for me. I discovered new synergies with the two, and started returning the nominally naught-power Doran, the Siege Tower to the battlefield… In the same decks that I mustered the UUU for Cryptic Command.

    Doran, the Siege Tower
    Guess who has less than two power (but hits like it has five)?

    “You want basic Island? I can get you basic Island! You want to play one Swamp? It’s yours. I know I’m not the hero you want, baby,” whispered Civic Wayfinder in my ear. “But I’m the hero you have.”

    Rotations happen, as they do. Civic Wayfinder traveled West to the Undying Lands (as Elves do). But it passing didn’t leave me bereft for long: Borderland Ranger took its place immediately in the then-Core Set; and just in time to block an incoming Bloodbraid Elf without a loss of card advantage. It’s been a while. And we finally have the most exciting Core Set ever in Magic Origins.

    In Magic Origins we have a kind of Borderland Ranger — really a non-Legenday Civic Wayfinder — that can only get Forests. I’ve been wondering if they would give us a more traditional look at Civic Wayfinder; it turns out Magic Origins is giving the one before the one we think of as coming first.

    Maybe this time around?


    Gideon, Battle-Forged

    Top Level Podcast excerpt:
    Michael J Flores and Patrick Chapin talk new Magic Origins card Kytheon, Hero of Akros / Gideon, Battle-Forged; Patrick’s 9th Place Grixis, and more!

    Or, to paraphrase myself on Twitter… “New GIDEON + Patrick’s GRIXIS = GGs :)”

    This week Patrick and I spent the majority of the podcast on his Grixis deck from last week’s Grand Prix Charlotte, actually. Patrick has been an Abzan (formerly “Junk”) player for about the past year (since, you know, winning a Pro Tour with Fleecemane Lion + Hero’s Downfall) but deep in his bones he is a Grixis Control guy. I for one was overjoyed to see my other-partner crushing the GP Swiss with Lightning Bolts and Cryptic Commands (and for that matter the Modern card he “invented” in Gurmag Angler)… If not the 9th place finish on tiebreakers. We Top Level Podcast heroes are no strangers to 9th place on breakers, sadly.

    The whiz! Bang! New! portion of the podcast is obviously around the first one-drop Planeswalker in the history of the game… The Hero who would become Gideon, Battle-Forged. Some of our ideas are probably going to have to be refined (these are first impressions on a fairly complicated new card template, remember) but the fact remains that Gideon, Battle-Forged is quite likely to become a cross-format Staple.

    Besides obvious Standard synergies with cards like Collected Company or Brimaz, King of Oreskos; Gideon in a deck with Ornithopters and Memnites might make for an incentive to try the white version of Affinity in Modern. Might Tempered Steel return as a result?

    Check out “Fifty Percent Kytheon, Hero of Akros” and enjoy!

    Avaricious Dragon

    Manadeprived Exerpt:
    Once more at the corner of Waverly & Gay, you can find Brian and Mike talking about the Invitationals, basketball, comics… you know, everything!

    Last week Mike and Brian met on their habitual corner of Waverly and Gay in the West Village of New York City for the usual brand of Top 8 Magic podcasting + “ambient noise”.

    While this episode is entitled “Everything” — as in “every thing to every one” — it is not actually about every single possible thing. It is not even about every single possible interesting and germane thing; for instance there is no mention of this [brand new] website on the podcast despite its having been recorded less than one week ago.

    However it is about a good many things (some of them good), which we will detail forthwith:

    Avaricious Dragon (and some other spoiled cards from Magic Origins) – Mike calls Avaricious Dragon “awesomeawful to lovehate” … He seems torn about completely hating it and speculating about when it might actually be good enough but ultimately decides that the competition relative to Thunderbreak Regent may be too heady. Though Mike had been successful with cards like Bottled Cloister in the past (and Brian points out that archetypes like Burning Bridge have been successful contributors to decks across multiple eras) Mike points out “you can’t Doom Blade a Grafted Skullcap”.

    “Draymond Green is a hell of a drug.”

    Mike wonders how Andre Iguodala and David Lee can’t crack Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors rotation [clearly Steve Kerr listens to this podcast having revised his rotations for games three and four]. Overall Mike is concerned about the fouls on the GSW side, and argues that narratives about “calling it down the middle” or “keeping it even” miss the point if one team is actually fouling much more than the other.

    “Everything” is the latest episode of Top 8 Magic, a longstanding podcast hosted by Michael J Flores and Brian David-Marshall, and the spiritual ancestor of Fetchland. Top 8 Magic’s current home is Manadeprived.com and is sponsored by Face to Face Games.

    Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

    Top Level Podcast Excerpt:
    In addition to discussing PVDDR’s Esper Dragons and Adrian Sullivan’s Dimir Control, Patrick and Michael discuss GR Devotion and other recent top finishers.

    Earlier this week Pro Tour Champion / Pro Tour Hall of Famer Patrick Chapin and I did a podcast on Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver over at Top Level Podcast.

    Topics included two important decks featuring Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver (Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa’s continued dominance with Esper Dragons and Adrian Sullivan’s Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir Top 8 follow-up, this time packing ALL FOUR copies of Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver) as well as some other up-and-coming or returning decks in the Standard metagame including G/R Devotion plus some hither and thither changes to Abzan Megamorph / Abzan Control.

    But mostly why you might want to be on Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver right now.

    (if you haven’t already) give “Time to be Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver” a listen: