M14: Tips and Tricks

m14 tips and tricks

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

Well, Magic: 2014 is now upon us and you have undoubtedly had your fair share of limited play. The set looks simple enough that one would expect some pretty straightforward play, but that is not always the case. Let’s get our feet wet and start off with a fairly nice combo involving two of the more interesting uncommons of this set.

Here are 20 little card interactions you should keep an eye out if you’re drafting/sealing the Magic 2014 expansion.

1. Bubbling Cauldron + Angelic Accord

bubbling cauldron angelic accord

I’ll give you a few second to let it sink in…. Yeah, I know right? Seems so simple when it’s staring you right in the face, no?

I was playing a sealed (one of many) last week at a local game store and my deck was so bad that I started looking for combos. Needless to say that I was just thrilled when I noticed this. Of course technically there is a third piece to this combo called ‘Any Creature you control’.

Before you go off trying to find this mystery card simply run a Gatherer search for ‘Creature’ under f’Filter Card Type’. Yes, I’m just trolling you. It’s basically any creature you happen to have in play. Sacrifice it, preferably after blocking an attacker and you will have satisifed Angelic Accord’s ‘end of turn’ trigger.

What’s even cooler is that it triggers at ANY end of turn step, meaning that if you find a way to gain 4 life each turn (yours and your opponent’s) you will be rewarded with a 4/4 flying angel token:

m14 angel tokenThis time we only get the Angel side of the token as opposed to the reversible Angel/Demon ones

Barring that, we also get to mimic some pseudo- Serra Angel/ Baneslayer Angel action. Of course we need to work a tiny bit to get this super creature going. We get to attack with the 4/4 Angel token then sacrifice it before our end of turn to gain 4 life. This will have gained us 4 life  as though the Angel token had lifelink. It will also create a new Angel Token as though our Angel Token had ‘vigilance’.

Keep in mind that this is the ‘bare minimum’ here. You can easily sacrifice a ‘lesser’ creature to make a 4/4 Angel Token and just grow your own Angel army, just like you had cast a really really slow Entreat the Angels. You have to also keep in mind that this involves two uncommons, but if we want to ‘spice it up’ a little we can add this to the mix:

trading post

Like this card really needed to be part of a combo

2. Strionic Resonator + cards that trigger it

strionic resonator

Yeah, I ran that Standard card search for you!

3. Bubbling Cauldron +  Act of Treason

bubbling cauldron act of treason

You get all the value on this!

This one is basically the usual steal and sac maneuver we often see with Red/Black combinations. Can also be accomplished with Blood Bairn, Altar’s Reap and Gnawing Zombie in this Set.

4. Air Servant + Zephyr Charge

air servant zephyr charge

Yes, I’ll admit it’s rather costly just to tap down a non-flying creature. Air Servant is good on its own though and Zephyr Charge can be pretty nice if you’re short on actual fliers. Another neat trick is to pair off Zephyr Charge with cards like Windstorm and Plummet.

5. Archaeomancer + Disperse

archaeomancer disperse

Much like in M13 with Unsummon, this 2 card combo can keep you alive long enough to draw some answers. Plus when you do, you’ll probably have something better to recur than Disperse.

6. Auramancer + Quag Sickness

auramancer quag sick

Usually Auramancer is kinda blah, but in Magic 2014 enchantments matter with other cards like Blightcaster. White/Black Auras is not a terrible deck if you have the synergies going. Think of Quag Sickness as a Doom Blade and Auramancer as an Archaeomancer and everything will be ok, I promise.

7. Blightcaster + Quag Sickness

blightcaster quag sick

Pretty similar to the above interaction only it’s usually a 2 for 1. You cast Quag Sickness, Blightcaster triggers and usually takes down a 2 toughness creature then you place Quag Sickness on something bigger and either end up killing it or severely crippling its offensive capabilities.

8. Dragon Egg + Barrage of Expendables

dragon egg barrage of exp

You can’t just sit around and wait for the egg to hatch on its own can you now? Without the usual sacrifice outlets in Black (as we saw before) and the aforementioned artifacts, we can look to this little gem of an enchantment to help us out.  Ideally you don’t want to just sacrifice the Dragon Egg to ping your opponent in the face for 1, you want to get some value out of it (like finishing off a bigger creature or chump blocking with it and forcing a trade somewhere else).

I know you’re thinking that you can also sacrifice the dragon token and deal an additional 1 damage, but no! You don’t want to be doing that just to get the damage output of a Shock (unless you absolutely have to), The fire-breathing dragon token will be valuable to you in the long run (much like they were to Daenerys in Game of Thrones).

9. Elite Arcanist + Doom Blade

elite arcanist doom blade

I specified Doom Blade here because it is the most efficient one, but of course if your opponent is playing black you can go with Chandra’s Outrage. You can keep dealing 2 while taking down one of their dudes each turn. You don’t even need to attack, how cool is that? Ok, not extremely but it’s pretty respectable in the realm of M14 limited.

10. Fireshrieker + Creatures with Deathtouch

fireshrieker deathgaze buzzards

First strike and deathtouch work very well together as do trample and deathtouch (since you only need to assign 1 damage to a blocker and can deal the rest to the defending player). Nothing ‘magical’ here but you can take down multiple blockers or as is otherwise known, your creature becomes ‘unblockable’.

11. Goblin Diplomats + Guardian of the Ages

goblin diplomats guardian of the ages

It’s often rather tasking to get the Guardian to attack, unless you’re ‘diplomatic‘ about it. Yes, that was rather cheesy. The combo also involves 2 Rare cards so it will be less likely to have in an M14 draft. The Goblins themselves are pretty much removal since they will often force your opponent to attack with smaller creatures they normally would not.

12. Advocate of the Beast + Marauding Maulhorn

advocate of the beast marauding ma

While this is probably the easiest combo to find since Advocate of the Beast is mentioned in the Marauding Maulhorn rules text, it’s rather effective and more importantly common.  You can also try fitting in a Mutavault (if you were lucky enough to open one) since you can activate it before your end of turn and give it a +1/+1 counter with Advocate of the Beast.

13. Ogre Battledriver + Young Pyromancer

ogre battledriver young pyromancer

Of course it also requires you to cast instants/sorceries but now your tokens get to attack for 3 the turn they come into play (or be 3 power blockers if you cast something during an opponent’s turn. Our monored team-up here is very effective. Who would have guessed that a whip-carrying ogre would work well with a goggle-wearing Chandra fanboy?

The combo itself may even become somewhat potent in Standard (probably paired off with some blue card-drawing spells). Even something sub-optimal such as casting a turn 4 Ogre Battledriver followed by turn 5 Young Pyromancer X 2 can be threatening. Another spell that can be pretty potent is Dynacharge or Dragonshift, if we dare to dream a little bit.


Maybe, just maybe

14. Chandra’s Phoenix + Chandra, Pyromaster

chandra pyromaster chandra's phoenix

What is a Pyromaster without her pet? Not much actually. With it? Slightly less bad.

Yes, I continue my Chandra, Pyromaster hate here since even recurring a Chandra’s Phoenix (probably from all the chump-blocking required to protect her) does not even make her more playable. Wait what if we attack and stuff? Woah!

I’m willing to give her a chance, but the decklist would have to be something more alluring than the usual ‘Red Deck Wins’ kind.

Maybe even add this combo-riffic piece:

pyromancer's gauntlets

Just think of how ‘insane’ it can get with multiple Gauntlets. Trading Post control anyone?

15. Primeval Bounty + Into the Wilds

primeval bounty into the wilds

Wait, what? No creatures in this? It almost seems like a weird enchantress deck and that’s the reason I’m mentioning it. While both cards are OK on their own merits (Bounty being better by far), they might get much better in Theros. You see, enchantments matter in the next block so you’ll need to ‘stock up’ on them now. Just sayin’!

Basically, look at your top card. Land? slam it down and gain 3 life to then draw what is hopefully a nonland and cast that. Creature? Great! gain another creature. Noncreature? cast it and boost one of your existing creatures or if it’s it has flash/is an instant  – use it as a combat trick.


Sooner than you think

16. Ratchet Bomb + Trading Post

ratchet bomb trading post

Yes, it’s 2 rares. Yes, it’s also slow. Keep in mind that this limited format is also rather slow, so you have time to set it up and keep it going. Nothing fancy really, just pump out those goat tokens and recur the Ratchet Bomb when needed. You can also ‘slow cycle’ by sacrificing a making a Goat Token every other turn and getting the Ratchet Bomb back to sacrifice it with Trading Post to draw a card then repeat. Yeah, not fast at all.

Speaking of goats – remember that they were and are still used as bargaining chips in Greece. Theros is based on Greek Mythology. Will we see some more cards that give us value for our Goat Tokens? It only seems fitting, right?

goat token m14

*Goat Noise* 

17. Archangel of Thune + Soulmender

archangel of thune soulmender

We had to include one of the most sough-after mythics in the set here, right? Soulmender grows our angel and keeps us alive long enough in the meantime. For those of you who have played versus similar cards such as Soul Warden in the past, you know exactly how much of a nuisance Soulmender can be.

Simply getting to attack with the Archangel of Thune and deal damage also grows it, so it’s not like it ‘needs’ Soulmender, but it is a welcome addition. It’s also an infinite life combo in Modern with Spike Feeder (I think how that works is rather obvious).

18. Time Ebb + Tome Scour

time ebb tome scour

If you’re going for the mill plan (aka. you opened a Jace, Memory Adept in one of your M14 boosters), try Time Ebb. It has some pretty good synergy with the mill cards. Put a guy on top and then mill him. Simple as that!

Of course you should make it worthwhile and not just target any dork, unless of course you’re milling with Jace and are short on blockers. In such a case you probably just want to activate the +1 ability on Jace and not go for the full 10 mill since you want to recoup the cost of wasting a card on their creature and end up accomplishing pretty much the same thing.

19. Voracious Wurm + Verdant Haven

voracious wurm verdant haven

Pretty much any lifegain is also good (Trading Post, Brindle Boar,etc). Preferably, you are sacrificing the boar to gain 4 life in order to drop back a 6/6 blocker. If you have 4 mana, it’s perfectly acceptable to verdant haven one of your lands in order to get a 4/4 creature afterwards.

In the case of Trading Post, it really depends what you’re pitching to it. You don’t want to discard a removal just to get a big creature most of the time. The prime fodder is probably excess lands.

20. Trained Condor + Scroll Thief

trained condor scroll thief

It can be done with any creature really, but gaining a card is very key here. Plus it’s somewhat ‘on curve’. You drop Scroll Thief turn 3 if you think you can sneak in a card (it’s maybe OK to waste a removal on their only blocker here). Otherwise, you play Trained Condor first going for the extra damage output.

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That’ll have to be all for today. I tried to keep the card interactions low on Rares/Mythics to simulate more of what you would see in a draft.If you have any other card interactions I missed (I really only tried to cap at 20), please let us know.

Magic 2014: More Spoilers!


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We’ll start off with one of the ones we were really anticipating:


Chandra, Pyromaster

chandra pyromasterUm…I guess it’s better than the last one

I honestly don’t think the anticipation was worth it. She’s kind of underwhelming overall. Definitely not a reason to crack M14 boosters, boxes or cases. I hate the fact that she can’t even burn anything relevant like the original Chandra Nalaar used to be able to.

I don’t think it would have been a stretch if she had a Pyroclasm ability as a -4 or something as well. Her artwork is by far the worst looking Chandra art ever and quite possibly worst overall planeswalker art ever (maybe tied with the new Garruk art which is pretty bad).

Let’s examine her abilities:

chandra pyromaster 1

So at best you can hit a player and redirect to an opposing planeswalker plus hit one of their 1 toughness guys for ‘value’. I use this term loosely because it’s a rather unlikely scenario. You then probably get attacked by one of their bigger creatures and die. I’m guessing this would have been ok if you had something like a Cyclops Gladiator in this set. In that case you could hit their biggest dude so they cannot block the Cyclops and then have the Cyclops ‘fight’ with one of their smaller guys and possibly deal them 4 damage. Even in that scenario, she’s not really defending herself at all. Maybe with vigilance creatures? How many of those exist in red? Yeah, not many…

chandra pyromaster 2

Not gonna lie. This is pretty damn cool!

So Wizards of the Coast decided to innovate a bit on red planeswalker abilities and I think that’s a step in the right direction. Basically, you’re going to either use this late game or start using it the turn after she came in to play on curve (since on turn 4, barring acceleration you cannot have mana to actually pay for the card. Or, in the case of it being a land, you cannot play an additional land in the turn.)

Knowing what the top card is kind of helps, in case of a format like Commander. In Legacy formats you can have ‘fun’ with this Chandra and a very frustrating Enchantment:


Probably one of the most hated cards, ever!

Yeah, kind of like Ral Zarek and Stasis. When their dudes are just 1/1’s it’s easy to constantly Chandra-snipe them. Also with a Sensei’s Divining Top in there you can actually play extra cards when you’re done trouncing their creatures. Not terribly exciting, but this is the kind of deck she would be most effective in all while being able to defend herself and possibly finish the opponent off with her ultimate.

Speaking of which:

chandra pyromaster 3

Yay! Time to burninate our opponents!

So at -7 we ‘might’ get something in our top 10 cards that we can ‘triple cast’ and can potentially lead us to victory. *Sigh* I guess… If it’s a Searing Spear, it’s just 9 damage. Kind of makes us miss Chandra, the Firebrand’s 6 damage to up to 6 targets ultimate. In more casual formats you can do stuff like Triple Wheel of Fortune or something along those lines.

Final Verdict

This is not going to have been worth the wait. Whatever hype it has, it will not live up to it. We can only hope that the ‘black foil’ version they sell at Gencon looks amazing (which it probably will). Like most real-life Red planeswalkers , Chandra still has a lot to learn before she can achieve greatness.



So this thing is back

and so is this:

Shivan Dragon


Oh joy!

I know that personally I will dread opening these up in boosters and you probably will as well. Do future generations of Magic: the Gathering players a favor and either:

A) tear these up

B) give them to new players who are just beginning to discover the wonderful world that is Magic. It might brighten some youngster’s day.

Kalonian Hydra

Kalonian Hydra

A ‘fixed’ Primordial Hydra for one mana less

Here we have a nice green fatty that is sure to be played in the upcoming Standard format since it’s slightly ahead of the curve on its abilities. If it gets to actually attack the following turn it becomes a legitimate threat as an 8/8 Trampler. This obviously gets scarier if it has been granted haste (Fervor, for example).

If you’re into attacking with big bad creatures, then this is for you. Of course, in the tradition of big green beast you’ll probably need some little mana dorks/acceleration to get them out a turn or two earlier.

Elite Arcanist

elite arcanist

Isochron Scepter , but vulnerable as a creature. Yet no mana cost limitation on what it can copy.

Strionic Resonator

stronic resonator

Mmmm…double dipping!

Strionic Resonator (not the most obvious two words in the English language) is going to be one of the coolest cards ever. Think of anything that had a ‘when’ ‘whenever’ or ‘at’ clause that you thought was awesome and double it.

Snapcaster Mage x 2 . While you don’t get the creature twice, you get to effectively ‘flashback’ 2 spells.

Acidic Slime x 2. This is just disgusting and we can prboably be glad that Acidic Slime won’t come back in M14.

Angel of Serenity x 2. If you’re on the receiving end of this, good luck!

Also comboes decently with this new card from M14:

Dark Prophecy

dark prophecy


Most people are pretty excited that black gets another Phyrexian Arena style card after Underworld Connections (which was and still is not too bad). This one has both an upside and downside.


You get to sort of control it by sacrificing creatures and chump blocking.

You get to potentially draw multiple cards a a turn.


You can’t fully control it, so your opponent can technically finish you off by killing your creatures.

You need creatures on your side of the battlefield to utilize it.

Triple black mana cost.


So it’s not clearly better than Underwold Connections which is currently in Standard. Dark Prophecy (cool card name) will surely see lots of constructed play early one (we won’t even mention the countless Commander decks it is going to be played in). It’s just a really well designed card from top to bottom. Great job Wizards!

Syphon Sliver

Syphon Sliver


So the sliver lifelink ability gets discounted by one and becomes black. Interesting!

Galerider Sliver

Galerider Sliver


Winged Sliver strict upgrade!

Banisher Priest

Banisher PriestA ‘fixed’ Fiend Hunter

Fiendslayer Paladin

Fiendslayer Paladin


Bringing ‘White Weenie’ back

Xathrid Necromancer

Xathrid Necromancer

We now have enough cards that begin with ‘X’ to make a deck with

This card is more or less a functional reprint of Rotlung Reanimator. Of course the ‘Human’ clause is a lot more relevant than the ‘Cleric’ one. You also get double your value with things like Doomed Traveller and Loyal Cathar. The only downside to the original is that the Zombie token comes into play tapped, but I think that’s acceptable.

The card kind of allows decks like the Aristocrats to stick around in some form past the November Standard rotation. Of course they will have to adapt and try out some new cards (Dark Prophecy perhaps?).

Pyromancer’s Gauntlet

pyromancer gauntletIt’s a trap!

For all the coolness this card posesses, it has one very glaring drawback: it does nothing and I mean absolutely nothing on its own. Once you get past that, you can examine the obvious cool things it can enable. Chandra, Pyromaster becomes less of a slouch with this thing in play (she needs all the help she can get). Your Searing Spear and Warleader’s Helix s become that much more devastating.

But at what cost?

I mean, there are so many other things you would much rather be doing on turn 5 than tapping out for this thing, no?

More to come

With just over 70 cards left to spoil this set is looking fairly fun and exciting. What’s to come? Maybe more lands? Some older Modern reprints? Who know?

Stay tuned!



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