Life of Norin

life on norin

ddt face avatar

Well, it’s that time of year again. The last day of 2014. Time to churn out one more little deck before we say goodbye and welcome what will hopefully be a great year for Magic: the Gathering and the world in general. This cool little decklist is from a tournament that happened in Japan not too long ago. I instantly fell in love with the list since it features so many cards one would never have thought playable in the Modern format.


Life of Norin

Modern Format

Creatures: 26
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
2 Auriok Champion
4 Champion of the Parish
1 Legion Loyalist
3 Norin the Wary
2 Purphoros, God of the Forge
3 Ranger of Eos
3 Soul’s Attendant
4 Soul Warden 

Instants: 7
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Path to Exile 

Sorceries: 2
2 Return to the Ranks 

Artifacts: 4
4 Genesis Chamber 

Lands: 21
4 Arid Mesa
4 Cavern of Souls
2 Flooded Strand
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mountain
4 Plains
4 Sacred Foundry
1 Windswept Heath

1 Aven Mindcensor
2 Blood Moon
2 Electrickery
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Mark of Asylum
2 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
2 Wear/Tear

You’ll quickly notice that just like the past Modern article I posted, the deck is not that expensive. A lot of people have the bad habit of assuming that Modern decks need to be expensive to win. Well, they don’t. Also, once you get your Modern manabase of fetchlands and shocklands (Return to Ravnica block)  – you’re set. Khans of Tarkir even made it easier on the wallet, giving us allied colored fetchlands (originally in Onslaught). The one card that is a tad on the pricey side is Auriok Champion – that is, until it gets reprinted (probably in Modern masters 2.0).

auriok champResistant to most removal and lifegain!

The deck reminds me of an old Norin the Wary EDH/Commander deck that used him as a commander with Genesis Chamber to get a great deal of tokens in play. In this deck, you also get an insane amount of tokens with Norin /Chamber in play (not infinite though). The lifegain provided by the Soul Sisters (Soul Warden/Soul’s Attendant) mitigates the damage more or less from our opponent making tokens. All we really need to do is either attack or play spell so that Norin the Wary leaves play and re-enters the battlefield at en of turn (netting use life and tokens most of the time). Norin is actually hard to deal with most of the time and can do even more damage with Purphoros in play (as he usually does in the Commander version). Getting a free Shock to the opponent’s head by not doing much each turns is slightly unfair. Then again, that’s the whole point of jamming our favorite Red God in the deck.


Don’t you just love seeing Standard cards in Modern decks?

Ranger of Eos is such a great lil’ tutor in the deck. Go get a Norin and Soul Warden to start doing the whole lifegain/damage/tokens thing. Another cool thing about the Soul Sisters is that they pretty much nullify the Splinter Twin/ Deceive Exarch Combo and 2 in play will cancel out the Splinter Twin/Pestermite version. I do agree with the exclusion of Serra Ascendant in the build. he was just a glorified beatdown creature, something Ajani’s Pridemate is as well (with a better possibility of getting bigger).

Another ‘upgrade’ is Return to the Ranks over Proclamation of Rebirth (from Soul Sisters fame). It’s not strictly better, but when we’re not playing a deck with Martyr of Sands … The convoke part can pretty much make it cost nothing or next to nothing. Champion of the Parish can get pretty huge all of a sudden as well. Humans being the predominant creature type in the deck also allows us to go crazy with Cavern of Souls x 4. You can later on maybe name Soldiers or something if you already have one on Humans.

genesis chamberget your Myr tokens ready!

The great thing about the two color Boros color combo is that you get some great hate cards in the format. Cards like Rest in Peace, Blood Moon and Stony Silence can shut down quite a few decks in Modern. Blood Moon is especially nice in a deck that doesn’t actually need more than 1-2 Plains in play to function (everything else will be producing red, which is our main color). So, sleeve up this up, bring some tokens, extra dice for counters and prepare to pad your life total!

It’s almost 2015! What are you doing reading this? Go out and have a great time. There’s always time for Magic: the Gathering, later!


FNM Promo for February 2015

hordeling otuburstThey’re just so darn cute!

The march 2015 FNM has just been spoiled and it’s actually petty great. They seem to be going with all-Standard FNM promos which is nice for newer players. Hordeling Outburst is actually seeing quite a bit of play as of late in various Mardu and Jeskai builds, so it already has a home in some pimped out all-foil decks. The artwork is very similar to the original but slightly cuter.




At a Magic: the Gathering store near you!

Skred Red

skred red

ddt avatar final

Ever played Modern but were too discouraged by the initial investment? Well, have we got a deck for you! The main deck comes up to roughly 100$ and it’s actually fun to play. You have a nice balance of threats,removal and ramp. The sideboard is of course jam-packed with great Red hate cards. It’s probably not a deck for everyone but I do like to rock it once in a blue moon (more like Red Moon, amirite?)


Skred Red

Modern Format

Creatures: 13
3 Boros Reckoner
4 Inferno Titan
3 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Stormbreath Dragon
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Wurmcoil Engine

Instants: 7
3 Lightning Bolt
4 Skred

Sorceries: 3
3 Pyroclasm

Enchantments: 2
1 Genju of the Spires
1 Hammer of Purphoros

Planeswalkers: 2
2 Koth of the Hammer

Lands: 8
1 Batterskull
4 Coldsteel Heart
3 Relic of Progenitus

Lands: 25
3 Mouth of Ronom
3 Scrying Sheets
19 Snow-Covered Mountain


3 Blood Moon
2 Cavern of Souls
3 Combust
2 Damping Matrix
3 Shatterstorm
2 Sowing Salt


It may not look like much and is probably a shocker to people that are only used to seeing the one dimension of Red: burn. I always liked the hate and control elements of Red since it made it somewhat of a more refreshing flavor. My first article on here was actually for a similar deck shown here.

The Modern list is one from a local Modern tournament in Montreal. The tournament had a pretty big turnout, so it’s not like it randomly performed well with extreme luck. I watched a few games and it really impressed me in how it just churned out these huge threats (Inferno Titan) and ramped up to things like a turn 3 Solemn Simulacrum or Koth thanks to Coldsteel Heart. It also has Boros Reckoners to stave off the aggro decks as well (something that was not printed when the Big Red deck was made).

You also get some card draw/advantage via Relic of Progenitus and Scrying Sheets (as well as Solemn Simulacrum sacrificing himself for the greater good). Pyroclasm can be a blowout against decks like UR Delver since it catches Young Pyromancer, the tokens it makes and  Delver of Secrets (flipped or otherwise). With a Boros Reckoner on your end, you can even catch their 4-toughness guys. All your other creatures are not dying to Pyroclasm either.

pyro ice ageLove that Jaya Ballard flavor text

Lightning Bolt is obviously a must in the deck, since it’s the measuring stick for creature resilience (aka. passing the Lightning Bolt test). Skred is really awesome for the bigger creatures late game (29 snow permanents in the deck). Unless you absolutely need to, never aim the Lightning Bolts at your opponent’s head. Skred can become rather deadly when paired with a Boros Reckoner on the battlefield. That’s some insane fire damage right there!

skredThe deck’s namesake

On a small sidenote: I really love the Relic of Progenitus in this build. It’s something you definitely have room for and can easily be an upside against any graveyard-based deck (or just bothersome Tarmogoyfs). Also, if you activated Scrying Sheets only to see an instant you can’t draw with it … just scrap your Relic and grab a timely removal piece. Another artifact that’s occasionally useful is the Hammer of Purphoros. You haven’t seen how good this thing is until you’ve dropped an Inferno Titan with it in play. 6 points of damage split however you want? Wow! Really? While flooded, you can just clear their board and pump your Inferno Titan for the killing blow. Or just scrap your lands in exchange for some hasty 3/3 tokens.

inferno artThe big guy!


Yep! like any good little control deck you get to pad your life total a bit when things don’t go your way. Wurmcoil Engine almost always demands an answer, usually in the form of Path to Exile. Batterskull does as well, plus it can often be more resilient by bouncing it back to your hand or just straight up equipping it to one of your other creatures in play.


It’s also really nice to see these 1-of’s in the deck. Genju of the Spires is cute and better than it seems, since it dodges sorcery speed removal or just attacks after you Pyroclasm the board. Thundermaw Hellkite and Stormbreath Dragon are great at keeping most opposing fliers at bay on top of have some sweet abilities.

stormbreath dragon

thundermaw hellkite


… even Planeswalkers !

Aside from Liliana of the Veil and the odd Karn Liberated, it’s not very common to see planeswalkers in Modern decklists. As soon as I saw that this particular build was running Koth of the Hammer, I was immediately intrigued. He’s a nice change from all the Chandras that we are used to seeing in Red decks and I think this build can almost even play a Sarkhan the Dragonspeaker instead of maybe one of the dragons. I would maybe try one in the sideboard and see how it goes. The fact that he double as a removal against some 4-toughness guy like a Linvala, Restoration Angel or Spellskite is gravy.

koth of the hammer

Koth is great in almost all stages of the game, except it you need to stabilize. You get that early aggro/extra mana early game.

Turn 2 Coldsteel Heart

Turn 3 Koth of the Hammer

Turn 4 Wurmcoil Engine, Inferno Titan 

He can give you an insane mana boost late game with his -2 as well, If you’re thinking of dropping down a couple of threats in the same turn or just going all-in with Inferno Titan‘s firebreathing ability. Although if you can go for his ultimate, then by all means..,

koth emblem

Dat emblem! O_o

Enough about the main deck. I’d really recommend adding it to your Modern testing gauntlet and seeing how it performs. Also, since the expensive cards are mostly in the sideboard – you can probably proxy them while testing (just remember you can’t proxy them in a real event). You can also try variants of sideboard cards, like a Shattering Spree over a Shatterstorm if you feel you might need to cast it earlier against deck like affinity. If you find yourself having problems against Birthing Pod decks, you can also try Torpor Orb. It can screw over a few of you creatures, but will probably do much more harm to your opponent. Same goes for something like a Spellskite if you are trying to combat Splinter Twin decks. Damping Matrix kind of combats Birthing Pod (which is still one of if not the top Modern deck at the moment. It shuts them down in a different way, by going directly after the Birthing Pod itself. It also hits Splinter Twin, since it’ll prevent them from actually activating the creature enchanted by the Splinter Twin as well as hitting Kiki-Jikki.

Maybe the deck can play a 1-of copy of Fate Reforged‘s newest spoiler:


Yeah, it’s legit

skred red altSo what are you waiting for? Give it a shuffle! Oh, an Happy Holidays!


Tiny Teysa

tiny teysa

ddt avatar final

I have played against a few Orzhov decks in both Tiny Leaders and in Commander. I find that most people opt for Athreos, God of Passage as their general most of the time. A lot of these decks run quite a few token producers (one of the BW combination’s greatest features), thus making Athreos even less good. I then went on a little quest to make a token-based deck in the Tiny Leaders format. It’s by no means ‘the next big thing’. It’s just downright amusing to play and has a few interesting interactions without going overboard on the whole ‘boosting your tokens’ thing.


Tiny Teysa

Tiny Leader Format

Creatures: 12
1 Teysa, Orzhov Scion
1 Blood Scrivener
1 Ophiomancer
1 Blade Splicer
1 Doomed Traveler
1 Herald of Anafenza
1 Skirsdag High Priest
1 Thraben Doomsayer
1 Auriok Champion
1 Xathrid Necromancer
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Cartel Aristocrat

Artifacts: 3
1 Blasting Station
1 Shrine of Loyal Legions
1 Avacyn’s Collar

Enchantments: 5
1 Promise of Bunrei
1 Bitterblossom
1 Darkest Hour
1 Spear of Heliod
1 Intangible Virtue

Sorceries: 7
1 Gather the Townsfolk
1 Lingering Souls
1 Timely Reinforcements
1 Martial Coup
1 Night’s Whisper
1 Council’s Judgment
1 Toxic Deluge

Instants: 6
1 Midnight Haunting
1 Raise the Alarm
1 Mortify
1 Tragic Slip
1 Zealous Persecution
1 Swords to Plowshares

Lands: 17
1 Evolving Wilds
3 Plains
3 Swamp
1 Tainted Field
1 Vault of the Archangel
1 Temple of Silence
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Command Tower
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Godless Shrine
1 Scrubland
1 Marsh Flats

Sideboard: 10
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Act of Authority
1 Vindicate
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Devour Flesh
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Orzhov Charm
1 Orzhov Pontiff
1 Tidehollow Sculler


The deck is somewhat straightforward and tries to pump out tokens in an efficient manner. Teysa is basically a removal each time you cast her with a couple of her token buddies. She is also part of the deck’s infinite combo:

darkest hour blasting st

You sacrifice your token (which will be black) to Blasting Station to ping whatever you want for 1. This will produce another token which will also be black and it will untap Blasting Station. Rinse and repeat.Rinse and repeat…

It’s essentially a 2-card combo, since Teysa is usually just sitting there in your command zone. You only need to find the other pieces. Darkest Hour is not that great on its own and even with Teysa, all it does is create a few ‘immortal’ chump blockers. Blasting Station is much more effective on its own with a few tokens. You get to zap a few creatures on your opponent’s end as well as use it to sacrifice your creatures for profit. I find it pretty nice with Ophiomancer. It’s not spectacular, but it’s pretty nifty. Since Ophiomancer triggers on each upkeep, you can make a Snake token on your upkeep and sacrifice it before the end of your turn. On your opponent’s upkeep, you will get another little Snake token and this will untap Blasting Station as well. You get to have a deathtouch blocker for anything your opponent attacks with or just sac the token at the end of turn to deal your opponent 1 damage.

ophiomancerMuch much better than I originally thought

Xathrid Necromancer is really good here too, since all but one of the creature cards are humans (not to mention the human tokens you can produce). This is also good for Avacyn’s Collar. You get to double up on your token making if those are both in play. You even get more value if Teysa is in play as well, since that zombie token will create a Spirit token when it dies (Which is funny, because I was under the impression that Zombies had no souls). Bitterblossom works really well with Teysa since it basically swaps your little Faerie token for a Spirit token once it dies.

Needless to say, a lot of games are going to be grindy with this deck. You’re not going to super turbo aggro people but you’re not going to be completely blown out either. It’s actually pretty rewarding to play. Of course, you might feel like you’re ‘durdling’ if you cast back to back Lingering Souls, Midnight Haunting and Raise the Alarm. I didn’t want to have many ‘Glorious Anthem‘ effects in here either. I figured Spear of Heliod deserves a slot for its secondary function. Since the deck is very very token-centric, Intangible Virtue is your go to creature booster. The vigilance part is really really great in a more aggressive format like Tiny Leaders.


Perhaps the deck’s biggest weakness is the mana base. It’s not super fancy or anything. It does the job, at least.

The only ‘spicy’ one of is Vault of the Archangel, but it’s almost a token deck staple. Essentially, it gives your tokens even more removal value at a steep cost. The lifelink part hasn’t been too awesome so far, but with Bitterblossom and not much lifegain in the deck …

Card Advantage

It goes without saying that the majority of this deck’s card advantage comes from the token generators. Most people still associate the term with card-drawing, so we have a bit of that as well.

Mentor of the Meek is pretty sweet here. He is not much to look at as far as his stats go, but if he goes unanswered you will basically be drawing a card off each little token you create for a mere 1 mana. You get to have an improvised Phyrexian Arena with Bitterblossom.


Maybe the next time we visit the plane of Innistrad or something

The other little addition to the deck is Blood Scrivener. He’s probably my favorite of the Dark Confidant clones, since he’s affordable and has a relevant creature type. Plus, his ability can trigger at any other time you would draw a card, such as Mentor of the Meek‘s ability or with actual Phyrexian Arena (which could have also gone in the deck). You don’t tend to keep many cards in hand with this deck, so Blood Scrivener’s ability can become relevant really quickly.

auriok cha

Courtesy of

Another thing to note is that a lot of Tiny Leader decks tend to go overboard on their removal package. You can thrive on this, by sending in your tokens to die first and hold of your better utility creatures for later. A probably exception would be Auriok Champion. She’s really worth that extra mana in this format, since she can actually stay in play for much much longer than Soul Warden or Soul’s Attendant.

Tiny Leader Links

Tiny leader Blog Site

Tiny Leader Facebook page

Tiny Leader Ban List


Tiny Leaders Deck Construction:
– Deck Restrictions:
• 50 Card decks.
• Singleton (Only 1 of each card except for Basic Lands)
• All cards must be Converted Mana Cost 3 or less.
• Must include a LEGENDARY CREATURE as a General, which IS included in the 50 cards.
• Starting Life Total: 25
• No free Mulligan.
• No ‘Commander Damage’ rule.
• Tiny Leaders is a 2-Player format.

Give it a try!

Modern Masters (2015 Edition)

etched champ mm2

During the Magic: the Gathering Worlds, it was announced that Modern Masters would be back. This time around Modern Masters (2015 Edition) features “some of the most remarkable planes from recent history, including Zendikar, Mirrodin, Ravnica, Lorwyn, Kamigawa, and Alara.

It was also revealed the Emrakul, the Aeons Torn would be in the set as well. Boosters will now have an MSRP of 9.99$ (up from the previous 7.99). It’s still unknown as to how ‘limited’ the product would be. If you recall: when the original Modern Masters was released a lot of dealers basically price gouged the product, selling it from 14.99 to 24.99 a booster. Not sure if Wizards of the Coast will try to do anything to ensure this doesn’t really happen again (or if they even care). The fact that it does cover Zendikar block pretty much means that the Zendikar fetchlands are almost assuredly in it this time as well. This doesn’t really mean that the reprints will cause the cards to drop necessarily. All you have to do is look at all the cards that actually rose in value in the original Modern Masters:

Sword of Fire and Ice
Vendilion Clique
Cryptic Command
Dark Confidant
Arcbound Ravager
Blood Moon

mm exp

It gets quite a few more players into the format without totally devaluing all the original printings of the more sought after cards.

Here’s the video of the announcement:

mm 2015

Every box of Modern Masters (2015 Edition) contains 24 booster packs—each with 15 randomly inserted game cards, including one premium card in every pack—making it perfect for exciting draft play.


Number of Cards:
Release Date:
May 22, 2015
English, Japanese, Chinese Simplified


Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Kiora

Here’s a neat little product coming out soon-ish. A little thing to tide you over until Game of Thrones Season 5 will come out after a few months of winter hell:


e vs kio

Elspeth looks alright but Kiora could of been much nicer.

The knight Planeswalker Elspeth Tirel sees herself as the protector of the Multiverse. She has pledged her sword and shield to all who suffer, and she summons forth impressive armies to assist her. The merfolk Planeswalker Kiora calls upon the creatures of the deepest oceans to fight at her side. She is the master of the world beneath the waves, her true power only now beginning to surface. How will these Planeswalkers measure up when they meet in battle?

So, just like Duel Decks: Koth vs. Venser, we get two ‘face’ (or good guy) planeswalkers duking it out. It’s also just a good excuse to give newer players some good value on two 20$+ planeswalkers before they rotate from Standard in November 2015. Not sure what nice little reprints or new art cards Wizards of the Coast will be including in these babies, but they seldom disappoint.

elspeth art kiora art

Release Date:

February 27, 2015