Nicol Bolas the Deceiver

In case you missed it from the 25th anniversary Announcement video:



+3 Each opponent loses 3 life unless that player sacrifices a nonland permanent or discards a card

-3 Destroy target creature. Draw a card.

-11 Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver deals 7 damage to each opponent. You draw 7 cards.

Looks like a planeswalker deck shown at the end of the 25th anniversary video.

Couldn’t see the starting loyalty, let me know if any one else finds its

25th Anniversary Announcements

Happy Announcement Day!

We have a big year planned to celebrate Magic‘s 25th anniversary. From new in-store play programs to new digital offerings to a slate of celebratory products, we’re not letting this anniversary go unmarked.

You can watch the full announcement below, but this article is meant to show off the products coming to you during our 25th anniversary celebration. As these sets don’t release until later in the year—or even next year!—expect some of the information (primarily images, logos, and the like) to be filled in in the coming months.

Now the exciting part—what’s coming up as part of our celebration of 25 years of Magic: The Gathering! Watch the video below for more information!

  • Brave the Unknown as you venture to the new world of Ixalan, where all we know so far is that Pirate Vraska battles Dinosaurs. But do you need anything more? Find out when Ixalan releases September 29.
  • Stake Your Claim on January 19, 2018, as the second set in Ixalan block releases with Rivals of Ixalan.
  • Explorers of Ixalan is an out-of-the-box multiplayer Magic experience that challenges you to defeat your opponents along the way as you search for the lost city. Begin your exploration on November 24, 2017.
  • The Art of Magic: The Gathering—Ixalan will be available January 2, 2018. Set sail for the uncharted jungles of Ixalan, where dangerous beasts, magnificent ruins, and lost treasures lie waiting to be discovered. Saddle up your Dinosaur mount and brave the unknown as you search the plane for a prize forgotten by history . . . until now!
  • Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins, which releases November 10, 2017, pits two of the most recognizable tribes in the history of Magic against one another with two ready-to-play 60-card decks. Will you side with the reckless and wily Goblins or the graceful and cunning Merfolk?
  • From the Vault: Transform takes the From the Vault series and, well, flips it. From the Vault: Transform, which releases November 24, 2017, collects fifteen of our favorite transforming cards, each with its own story to tell.
  • On April 28, 2018, we look to the past to move forward as we return to Dominaria with our next large set!
  • As part of our celebration of our 25th anniversary, we will be releasing a 25th anniversary–edition Masters set on March 16, 2018. The product will contain 249 cards from across Magic‘s entire history and will provide a drafting experience like previous Masters products. Available in English, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese.
  • On July 20, 2018, we once again will be introducing core sets back into Magic. We’ve got some tweaks to the formula prepared, so look for more information as we get closer.
  • We’re (finally) traveling back to the wacky world of silver-bordered cards when Unstable releases December 8, 2017.

We’ll be officially kicking off our 25th anniversary celebration at HASCON in Providence, Rhode Island, September 8–10, 2017. That event will be filled with games, previews of upcoming products, and fun events everyone can enjoy—including an early Prerelease for Iconic Masters that will be the world’s first look at that set. For more information on HASCON, visit



This is definitely a lot of awesome news in addition to what news we got earlier this week:

June 13th Banned and Restricted Announcement

Metamorphosis 2.0

MTG: Announcement Day Aug 31, 2016

It’s a pretty big bunch of announcements for some great upcoming products.

  • Rise Among the Worthy” on the plane of Amonkhet. Discover a world ruled by Nicol Bolas when the first set of the Amonkhet block releases April 28, 2017.
  • Nicol Bolas is among the most powerful beings in the Multiverse—don’t face him alone! Much like the originalArchenemy release, Archenemy: Nicol Bolas pits you and two friends against a single powerful foe where you must work together to survive—or fall to Nicol Bolas himself.
  • The second set in the Amonkhet block, Hour of Devastation, releases July 14, 2017.
  • In the same spirit as Duel Decks: Anthology and Planechase Anthology, Commander Anthology gathers four previous Commander products together in one convenient package, releasing June 9, 2017.
  • Draft like a master once more as we release Modern Masters 2017 Edition March 17, 2017—featuring cards from Eighth Edition through Magic 2014, including new trips through Innistrad and Return to Ravnica.
  • Brains or brawn? Cunning or strength? Test your guile and brute force with Duel Decks: Mind vs. Might, releasing in May of 2017.
  • Updates to Magic: The Gathering: Puzzle Quest are here, with Kaladesh content!


commander anth MM3_Announcement_Header_Image


Overall, some rather exciting news for everyone, especially the reprints for those looking to make even more commander decks or add a few planeswalkers to their collection.

Selesnya Aggro

selesnya ggro

monkey mealing

I love attacking, putting pressure on my opponents and forcing them to react. Mike Tyson once said: “Everyone has a plan until I punch them in the face.” In Magic it’s the same thing. Everyone wants to take time to set up their game plan, so by putting pressure on their life total it’s not as easy for them to take a lot of early turns to do so. Every experienced Magic player has a plan to deal with an aggressive strategy, so it’s my responsibility as an aggressive player to have a plan to counteract theirs. The issue with linear aggressive decks like “mono red “is that you can’t adjust your strategy very much post sideboard, so if your opponent has a solid sideboard plan for you then there’s not much you can do about it. The last couple of years I have adopted a deck building style that has explosive starts, but has enough sustainability that it can go longer and hang with mid-range decks with similar card quality. Let me show you what I mean with my new Standard Selesnya brew:


Selesnya Aggro

Standard Format

Creatures: 25
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Warden of the First Tree
2 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Fleecemane Lion
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Whisperwood Elemental

Instants: 3
3 Valorous Stance

Enchantments: 3
2 Mastery of the Unseen
1 Banishing Light

Planeswalkers: 5
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

Lands: 24
2 Blossoming Sands
6 Forest
1 Mana Confluence
4 Temple of Plenty
1 Temple of Malady
4 Windswept Heath


1 Valorous Stance
1 Banishing Light
3 End Hostilities
2 Reclamation Sage
Glare of Heresy
2 Arbor Colossus
3 Mistcutter Hydra


As you can see we are playing the best three aggressive cards in our colours, Warden of the First Tree, Fleecemane Lion, and Brimaz, King of Oreskos. On the other end of the spectrum we have the four best mid to late games cards our colours have to offer in Mastery of the Unseen, Whisperwood Elemental, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. Bridge those cards with some mana ramp and the best removal we have access to and you have the most durable and flexible aggressive deck in the format. The most common question I get asked is “why no four drops?” Although we don’t have any cards that cost four mana, we certainly have lots to do on turn four. You can activate Mystery of the Unseen, level up Warden of the First Tree or just ramp into a 5 or 6 drop. I feel all the cards at 3 and 5 are more important to our deck than anything we have access to at 4. We also have ten 1 or 2 mana cards that perform great in the late game, mana sinks if you will. Let’s get into the cards, and their roles in the deck.

mastery of the unseenThe next Jeskai Ascendancy? perhaps…

The Mana Ramp

4 Elvish Mystic
2 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Courser of Kruphix

A concession to playing a large number of 5 and 6 mana spells is that you need mana ramp. I found six mana dorks to be the right number in the deck, as we function best with one by turn 2 but we want to avoid flooding on them too often. Although Courser of Kruphix isn’t necessarily mana ramp, he does help us hit our land drops to cast our expensive cards. It’s also nice to be able to see the top card when Mastery of the Unseen is in play so you can fix your draws a little bit if you want.


The Removal

3 Valorous Stance
1 Banishing Light

I started with 4 Valorous Stance as the versatility of protecting your guys and killing theirs is so good. I changed one to a single Banishing Light so we had an out to problematic permanents game 1. If you feel like you need one more removal spell main deck then I would cut an Elspeth, Sun’s Champion for the second Banishing Light, but be conscious that you will become more vulnerable to Stormbreath Dragon as a result.

The Bombs

4 Whisperwood Elemental
2 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
3 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
3 Brimaz, King of Oreskos

elspeth suns championThe best planeswalker for the longest part of the Standard format

These cards tend to pull you ahead in the mid-game, most midrange games coming down to who draws more Whisperwood Elementals. Ajani, Mentor of Heroes can pull you far ahead if you have established an early board presence by making all your creatures bigger than your opponent’s. Most importantly it will win those grindy games where you are trading card for card with your opponent. Lastly, we come to Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. When I first built the deck she over performed, but now with the all the Whisperwood Elementals being played she is not quite as good. She’s still a necessary evil due to our weakness to Stormbreath Dragon, but I wouldn’t fault you for moving one to the sideboard.

The Soul

4 Warden of the First Tree
2 Mastery of the Unseen
4 Fleecemane Lion

These three cards are the reason the deck wins so much. And that is for one simple reason: they are good at any point of the game. The big thing I learned was if you have other things to play, then do that and don’t sink mana into these cards unless you are afraid of board sweepers. You will start to notice a trend, if you play this way, that your opponents will ignore these three cards to deal with your “bigger” threats. Once your opponent is hellbent, or when you feel there’s a safe opening, you can start investing mana into these three cards. You never want to invest 5 mana into the monstrous ability of Fleecemane Lion when your opponent is representing Lightning Strike and you could do other things with your mana. For Warden of the First Tree there are some scenarios where you spend mana early on leveling it up if you feel it’s safe. Getting it to level 2 then playing an Ajani, Mentor of Heroes and giving it three counters is pretty backbreaking. Also remember that you can activate the third ability of Warden of the First Tree more than once. I have won many games with a 13/13 trampling lifelinker.

warden of the first treeNot to be underestimated

I am not one to have a set sideboarding plan, as not every build or player of an archetype is the same. I do follow four golden rules though:

1. Against control I want constant pressure on the board without overextending.
2. If they are faster than you, lower your curve.
3. If they go wider then you, control them.
4. If they have a problematic card for you, board in all available answers.

I will have a video ready next week to post. If you can’t wait until then check out the archives on my twitch channel.
Until next time,

Monkey Mealing