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!

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: