Tag Archives: magic: the gathering

My Favorite MTG Angel Ever Printed

As far as favorite creature types go, Angels are number one, and have been since I started playing the game. I’ve collected one of most of the Angels printed (minus a few of the really expensive/hard-to-get-hold-of Angels), and I even have an Angel deck put together. To say I’m an Angel fan in Magic is an understatement.

But who is my favorite Angel? Surprisingly, not Akroma, as awesome as she is. Instead…

image credit: MagicCards.info
THIS not-so-little lady became my absolute favorite Angel when Shards of Alara came out. Sure, she costs 3 different colors of mana, but she has lots of fun things going for her as well:

  • Shroud, meaning she can’t be targeted even by burn and kill spells
  • The protective “redirecting damage” clause
  • That crazy high toughness; she might not have as much punch as Akroma, but she can take more damage!

In short, Empyrial Archangel is a different flavor of Angel–less ROAR and more steadfast, less aggressive and more defensive. She’s almost like a Planeswalker Lite, since she takes damage for you. In this way, she’s very, VERY different from most of the other Angels, especially the ones which were already printed at the time she came out, but this is another plus for me. I like playing high-defense, life-protecting stuff in Magic anyway, and having all that on a favorite creature type is just icing on the MTG cake.

Sure, she may not be a battle-leader; heck, you probably won’t be sending her into combat at all, either for attacking or blocking. But Empyrial Archangel isn’t meant for that anyway. She’s meant to defend those Life Points of yours in a very different way, an unexpected way (for MTG Angels, at least)–not with a sword, but with her wings. She is one of the few Angels that exemplifies a quieter, humbler power…even while she blocks your way with an 8 toughness. 😛

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 6: Artifacts

You might have thought the “Awesome 1-Mana Creature” series was over last week when I profiled Black, but it’s not! This week I’m profiling the few 1-mana Artifact creatures that are more than worth their salt (plus a few 0-mana Artifact creatures that just can’t be left off the list).

As always, if you know of a creature I missed, let me know in the comments! All card images came from MagicCards.info.

It’s a 1/1 for 1, and the +1/+1 can move to another artifact creature when it dies!
Build this 1-mana bad boy up over several turns (or less, if you’ve got a way to untap artifacts or creatures :D)
Handy for getting rid of that pesky card you never want coming back to haunt you in a game.
Because sometimes, you just gotta shuffle. (Refraining from obvious Party Rock Anthem joke)
Get your mana investment back when it goes to grave…nice!
This is a hilarious classic in one of my boyfriend’s decks–plays well with Soul Warden and the like, plus functions as “Annoying Blocker Extraordinaire.”
A wall with 2 power? It’ll probably kill most of the little things that run up toward it!
At worst, it’s an Ornithopter for 1 more mana. But pay a little mana into its ability, and it can become a 2/2!
Its battle cry ability, plus its ability to evade most things that would block it make this a good attack booster!
A personal favorite–a 0/4 blocker for 1 mana, and no color commitment!
1/1 for 1 colorless is already good, but the option to gain infect for 1 black mana is POWERFUL. Many artifacts can generate black mana when needed, so this creature doesn’t have to operate just in a Black deck.

And here are the awesome 0-mana Artifact creatures I referenced earlier:

A classic–a 0/2 flying blocker for no mana. WOOT!
A 0/3 blocker is always nice, and especially for no mana cost–it means your opponent has to waste time punching through it or dealing it direct damage!
And for sheer ridiculousness, how about a 0/6 wall for 0 mana? Sure, it gets -0/-1 counters on it when it blocks, but it’ll be around long enough to protect you!

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 5: Black

In Magic: the Gathering, Black is not necessarily known for its creatures, and usually what creatures it gets are not cheap to play. But there are some little 1-mana gems hiding away in Black! Check out the list below! (And don’t forget to check out the other colors I’ve profiled so far: White, Blue, Green, and Red.)

All of the card images came from MagicCards.info; if you know of a 1-mana black creature that ought to be on this list and isn’t, let me know (nicely) in the comments!

Play it first turn and activate it second turn for an early-game life-drain jumpstart.
Good way to both fill up your graveyard and put your opponent at a disadvantage–even first turn!
Great for multi-color decks to balance out your mana.
When you just REALLY NEED that 1 extra mana. Or you need a cheap blocker.
Keep an opponent’s creature down for a turn with this one.
Messing with graveyards is traditional Black territory–and for a 1-mana investment up-front, not bad! (For a newer reprint, see Rag Dealer.)
For 1 mana you have a creature whose power and toughness can snowball over several turns. Who cares that it can’t block?
Great for re-balancing life totals, or for gaining an advantage.
If your deck already deals with a lot of “Sack this creature” effects, this would be a great little addition.
Though it’s hybrid, there’s still plenty to interest a mono-Black deck here. Getting rid of lands, instants, and sorceries from the graveyard? NICE. (And if you happen to run a little Green in your Black deck, all the better)
A quick and cheap way to make your opponent ditch a card.
Exalted is rare enough to find in Black, let alone Exalted and Regenerate. Great for boosting up another creature and sticking around!
Though its tap ability are pretty expensive, making an opponent ditch two cards is pretty fun. And late-game, you can Channel this little guy to make them ditch four instead!
Equal-opportunity disadvantage–great for a group game, and just fine for a one-on-one game.
Level this guy up, and you get a pretty powerful creature removal tool!
GREAT way to get Black mana early-game, especially if all you have are colorless or non-black mana sources. (For a newer, Black/Red option, see Manaforge Cinder.)
Like Drainpipe Vermin, but this says “ditch at random”–a small but possibly more dangerous change for your opponent!
Exiling cards when tapped, and being able to untap when a black spell is played…how is this guy just 1 mana again?
1/1 flying, which Black usually needs!
Because Black can always use a touch of Lifelink, given all the “pay X life to do something awesome” types of spells.
1/1 swampwalk is great for its cost, since Black has plenty of ways to make an opponent get a Swamp. (See Zodiac Rat for another example)
1/1 fear is pretty strong for Black–great for getting through hordes of creatures (unless they’re artifact or black).
This is better than it sounds–drain a life from EVERY opponent, AND potentially do some combat damage, too? Woot!
Give it flying for a few turns and you should have threshold for extra fun!
It’s as good as Plague Beetle if you don’t multi-kick it, and if you do multi-kick it, it’s a HUGE upgrade. Yay for options!
A Black creature giving first strike (traditionally a White ability)? WOW! And the +1/+0 is nice, too 🙂
Ah, yes, this little lady is lethal when combined with enchantments that keep her from attacking and blocking for your opponent. (My boyfriend uses Sleeper Agent to great effect with Pillory of the Sleepless…argh! LOL)
You can either pump up this Shade and use it as a killing blocker, or you can ditch all the cards out of your hand and start swinging with it. Either way, it’s GOOD.
This is like a walking Throne of Bone, but for life loss instead of gain. Neat!
Mess with your opponent’s upcoming cards…good ability on a 1-mana creature!
The Extort is a nice touch, and the tap ability can either bring something of yours into play quicker, or keep your opponent’s counter-centric combos from going off too soon.
Play this guy, and then start targeting him with any kind of spells…FUNNY for a group game especially.
1/1 unblockable for 1! WOW!
1/1 deathtouch…small but mighty. 🙂
0/1 flying that can become a 2/1 with some mana investment. (See also: Pit Imp, Phyrexian Battleflies)
Being able to scry is usually a Blue ability, so it’s nice to see it pop up in Black.
0/1 flying that can regenerate! A classic.

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 4: Red

Today, we get to see Red’s wide array of 1-mana creature greatness, just as we’ve seen White, Blue, and Green earlier in this series. With lots of little Goblins and Orcs running around, Red, like Green, has quite a few options for cheap but useful creatures!

If your favorite 1-mana Red creature isn’t featured here, drop me a (nice) line in the comments! All card images came from MagicCards.info.

Play this guy, then start targeting him with spells and watch your army assemble.
1/1 for 1, with Firebreathing for 1R. Nice!
Good way to get rid of 1/1 grounded token armies! (*cough*ELVES*cough*)
Great first-strike option for Goblins, and good creature all around.
ROARRRR. Now I suddenly need to build a deck around this guy.
Here’s one flavor of 1/1 Mountainwalking creatures: others include Goblin Mountaineer, Mountain Goat, and Zodiac Goat.
The “making another creature mostly unblockable” ability is great, especially when it comes into play for such a low mana investment!
With the 0/2 toughness, this little guy can withstand a bigger punch; with the 1-mana-per-point Firebreathing, he can pump up the power quicker.
Great way to get rid of one of the big-mama blockers in the way!
With this thing, you can deal potentially 4 damage to a player with one card!
The haste and bouncing-back-to-hand means this is one hard-to-pin-down creature annoyance for your opponent!
Since flight is so seldom seen at low mana costs in red, you’ve got to get it where you can! Yay for blocking a dragon with a bunch of goblins in a hot-air balloon!
A constant source of 1 damage, for 1 mana!
GREAT for putting out lots of Goblins in few turns.
If you need your Goblins (or Dragons, or Orcs, or Dwarves) to deal double damage, use this guy! Just make sure you have a Goblin to sack somehow, if you’re not completely reliant on the creature type.
Fiddle with your Artifact-wielding opponent’s combo strategy, for 1 mana. Hee hee!
Blocking a regen ability? Doesn’t sound that “durr hurr” to me! LOL
Play this guy and start laying out the cheap spells to keep your creatures from being blocked…
If Wolvie gets through, 1 damage to player. If he gets blocked, still 1 damage to player. No drawback!
Because sometimes you’ll be facing a Red-playing opponent with your Red deck.
A classic for Red/Green decks.
Since you have to ditch a card to make this work, this could be good for Madness decks!
If you’re attacking first turn with this guy, he’s pretty great. If you’ve got him and two or more buddies attacking…he’s SILLY. 😀
One-upping Bloodfire Dwarf with a little more mana investment.
Another classic for most Red decks!
Great 1/1 for 1 Kinship creature for Goblins.
Fix your mana (especially in a Red/Green deck) with this guy!
Most of Sensei’s Divining Top’s ability, with legs!
The option to play this Unleashed is what sets this apart.
Play this, wait 4 turns, and you have a 3/3 flying Bird–in Red, no less!
Red gets Wither? Yep, through creatures like this!
The Multikicker option is great, but even if you can’t kick it, you’ve still got a 1/1 haste for 1.
Hilarious fun with Shatterstorm.
Smaug, much? LOL
The ability to shuffle your library–in Red–seems pretty rare, and very useful.
It’s like a baby Ball Lightning! Aww, what a cute little bundle of destruction!
Deal damage to a player, and then damage a creature to boot–for 1 mana!
The Soulbond option is what makes this simple little creature good.
Either your opponent takes 4 right away, or you get a 4/3 creature for 1 that’s going to smack them in the face every turn until they deal with it. Good options!
Great for those times when you just need ONE MORE RED MANA.

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 3: Green

Continuing with my series on awesome 1-mana creatures (which began with White and Blue), I’m covering the wide, wide world of 1-mana green creatures today, seeking the best and/or most interesting of the bunch to present here. 1-mana powerhouses on legs are Green’s strength; the following list contains creatures you would never believe cost just 1 green mana!

As always, if I’ve missed an awesome Green creature, let me know (nicely) in the comments! All images came from MagicCards.info.

Great for Green/White–not often that any creature generates white mana, after all!
The ability to become a 3/3, AND the ability to be played for no cost? Awesome!
A classic for mana ramp, PLUS it flies–a rarity in Green!
Run 4 of these little guys and somebody’s getting +4/+4…or perhaps 4 creatures are getting +1/+1, or any other combo you choose!
Sometimes you just need colorless mana, even in a Green deck. For that, there’s this guy.
A little touch of Blue flavor (countering spells) on a Green creature, playing off of Green’s historical hatred for artifacts.
Great for keeping your creature force ready to block!
One of my boyfriend’s favorites, for its synergy with Muscle Burst as well as its land fetch.
(Technically a 0-mana creature, but it’s a land that’s summoning-sick like a creature, so I think it counts.) Great as a land source OR an emergency blocker!
Would be hilarious with Lure for killing a token army!
For those times when you need to add Trample to a creature that really ought to have it (ahem, Krosan Cloudscraper?)
1/1 shroud, and it’s an Elf to boot!
Great for mana ramp.
The green Soul Warden, and arguably better suited to Green for all the creatures Green can play for cheap.
1/1 Evolve is actually pretty strong, given that you’re likely going to play more powerful creatures later. And you can use those counters to regen it? SWEET
1/1 Reach is already great for Green, but the added power upon blocking a flying creature is just gravy.
If you need to be able to enchant your creatures, this little lady will serve you better than Elvish Lookout (mentioned earlier in this list).
More powerful than it might appear–Infect is DANGEROUSLY good.
Ditch a card for land fetch when you need it? OKAY! Helps to thin your deck AND get you the mana you need!
Great for at least partially combating a Mill deck–gets your lands back into play where you need them.
Here we see one reason why Elves win so doggone FAST in Magic…mana ramp on creatures!
Forestwalk is always a nice touch in a Green deck; Shanodin Dryads, Willow Dryad, and Zodiac Rabbit all come with this ability too.
Sack for mana ramp–a little different functionality from Elvish Pioneer, but same result!
Can’t leave out this classic, either! Elf and mana ramp for 1 mana…phew!
And if you want to get COMPLETELY silly with your Llanowar Elf action…LOL
Not so great in a one-on-one, but I could see this working great in a team game or Emperor game to help your buddies ramp up just as fast as you do!
Swampwalk is unusual but handy for a Green creature.
Shroud PLUS the ability to be a 3/3 mid- to late-game.
There’s a reason these things were snapped up like hotcakes when they were first printed–Exalted, 3 colors of mana, AND a 1/1 creature in one package!
This is one of those creatures that works great with your own cards, but gets SILLY when you play against another Green deck.
Suddenly I have an urge to build a Cat deck just to include this little beast!
Early-game mana cost, mid- AND late-game functionality. WIN
1-mana STOMP! Who cares that you have to sack a land to get it?
The phrase “EACH creature with flying” makes this 1-mana elf GREAT. Wonderful for getting rid of an army of 1/1 Birds, Spirits, etc.!
1/1 flying Faerie in Green? Yes, it exists!
Hilarious with a little mana ramp. And I love the flavor text, LOL
Like Rogue Elephant, this cat is utterly worth the extra cost of sacking a land, AND it adds Shroud!
1/1 deathtouch <3
Fog on legs!
Though it has no power, its potential high toughness PLUS Reach is well worth it for 1 mana.
Wither AND the ability to be a 3/3 till end of turn? WOOT!
A classic first-turn alpha strike creature–even if you can’t pay the echo cost next turn, you still did 2 damage first turn!
Block creatures up to 3 power, even in the air!
Lovely synergy for Green/White/Red, Green/White, and Green/Red, but still a good creature even in a mono-Green deck!
Weren’t expecting that out of Green, were you? Just power up the bugs with Gaea’s Anthem and keep opponents from bouncing, preventing damage, etc.!
A Persist-like new ability on a 1/1 Wolf? Cool!

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 2: Blue

To continue the list of awesome 1-mana creatures from last week, I’ve searched through Blue and found its awesome 1-drop creatures. Blue’s 1-drops are more like precision tools rather than combat machines–they are more likely to provide a service, like milling the opponent, changing their land types, countering spells, or drawing/ditching cards. (There are a few good combat-ready creatures hiding in these ranks, however!)

As always, let me know if I’ve missed a good Blue 1-drop in this list! All card images came from MagicCards.info.

An old favorite–1 mana for an 0/2 flying blocker, with 2 great creature types for later P/T boosting.
A milling machine you can play on first turn! (Use this and Hedron Crab together and you’re set!)
1/1 flying, but with Evolve so it can get bigger later on!
Great for those moments when your opponent is utterly tapped out and cannot pay more for their combo piece.
Sack one of your “comes-into-play-effect” creatures for a quick ditch-and-draw!
A different flavor of mill action, punishing the opponent for playing blue spells. Sneaky!
The level-up ability gives this creature mid-game functionality as well as early-game help.
Give all your Slivers flying for 1 blue mana? WHY NOT!
1/1 islandwalk for the win.
This little guy helps fix your mana in a multi-color deck!
Draw-and-ditch is a great mechanic to pull off for 1 blue mana.
One of the best mill creatures out there right now…quite lethal!
Mill your opponent enough and this guy gets HUGE…but until then, he’s a 1/1 flying for 1, which isn’t bad!
A flying, hybrid version of Cursecatcher!
A 0/4 for 1? AWESOME! (Then again, I do like creatures with big toughnesses for low cost…)
A blue creature with the option of flight…because sometimes, you might not want to have your creatures fly all the time. (Hurricane, anyone?)
GREAT way to keep that final combo piece from hitting the table!
Islandwalk plus the ability to peek at an opponent’s hand.
“Comes-into-play” mill = awesome.
Blue gets a 1/1 flying defender creature, with Wither added from Black!
A potent little mana fixer, great for multi-color decks.
You can hit either your own lands or your opponent’s lands with this guy…give somebody a completely useless land for a turn, or help yourself out.
Dig up that artifact one more time for added flavor–uh, utility!
Peeking at an opponent’s library every turn? Sounds good to me!
AWESOME little guy–helps you get the cards you need to the top of your deck.
For those times when you need to draw more than you need another 1/1 creature on the field…
Make all Slivers on the field into milling machines. This could be a masterstroke or a huge backfire…LOL
The 1/1 Hexproof (with the help of Green) is a nice touch for Blue.
Tidal Warrior: an old-school way to help out your Islandwalkers.
Getting a larger hand size for 1 mana is great, and you can always bounce those “come-into-play-effect” creatures for extra oomph!
Simple 1/1 flier, with added danger from the Faerie creature type.

Awesome 1-Mana Creatures, part 1: White

Sometimes the best or most helpful creatures in Magic: the Gathering don’t cost 4 or 5 mana; sometimes, all you need is a one-drop creature with a surprisingly great ability. One-mana creatures are often overlooked, but if you use them wisely, they can help underpin a deck, or even make it sing!

To kick off this series of posts, I’ll profile many of the one-mana creatures in White that I find useful, alphabetized by title. (By the way, if your favorite isn’t in this list, please add it in the comments!)

1/1 Exalted is always a nice boost for your early game!
Gaining 3 life for one mana, plus you get a blocker? Woot!
I love that this can defend against life loss as well as damage!
This is a nice, subtle Bluish control move for White, making the opponent pay a mana to make sure this creature stays gone.
Bushido makes this little guy worth playing–able to block a 2/2 for the kill!
2/1 for 1? Awesome! Soldier creature type? Even better!
Play him for 1 mana, and then ramp him up–FUN!
Either gain 2 life pretty reliably every turn, or gain 4 life for one shot. Very handy!
GREAT little guy for getting around big stompy creatures!
For one mana, you get the ability to control one of your opponent’s creatures.
You can either get a 1/1 creature with lifelink for 1 mana, or pay more for enchanting another creature with +1/+1 and lifelink. And you can get this creature back after the enchantment falls off–options, ahoy!
A classic–shoot down a creature or deal a damage to a player, all for one mana.
ROAR! 2/2 for 1! Even though it’s Legendary, this dog is awesome!
Just add Accorder’s Shield, Bone Saw, Kite Shield, Paradise Mantle, or Spidersilk Net and you have yourself a 1-mana double-strike machine!
1/1 flying Spirit–yay!
Kird Ape in White!
Potential to gain 21 life off one creature? SURE WHY NOT?! LOL
Giving pro-any color is great for breaking through somebody’s mono-color creature defenses, or for defending against someone’s assault!
0/4 for 1 white mana, AND when he blocks, you gain 2 life. (Even funnier if you have a whole deck full of defenders!)
BIG kitty goes ROAR for 1 white–a classic staple for White Weenie decks.
1/1 shadow…don’t see that very often at all, and it’s deadlier than you think!
Another classic for Life-Gain decks and creature decks <3
Like Figure of Destiny, this can level up, but it starts out at one mana–very handy for playing quickly.
1/1 flying Bird–whether you choose this or Lantern Kami only depends on what creature type you need.
Just make sure you have an enchantment on the board, and this 2/3 flying for 1 white stays around!
1/1 first strike for 1–I’ve always liked this one.
0/3 for 1, AND it’s a Soldier, which makes it both a good early-game defender AND a good synergy piece for a Soldier deck.
A classic favorite for my Life-Gain decks–block and gain life according to however much damage is dealt to it, even if it’s destroyed!
Great for quick land-fetch when your opponent has got an early mana lead.
0/4 for ONE mana? WOW…who cares that it’s a random Ox? It doesn’t die to Lightning Bolt like most one-mana creatures!
This one is great for surprising your opponent with a blocker!

Glasses Off: 4 Useful Collectible Gaming Sites

If you play Magic: the Gathering, HeroClix, or any other type of tabletop game, the Internet has proven itself over and over again to be an awesome resource for gaming tips and news. Here are four of my favorites:

Any and all board games…it’s AMAZING how many games this site has sections for!

One of the best HeroClix resources out there, not only for game news and figure information, but for Clix player community as well.

I used to try to keep up with all the M:TG set lists out there…then I found out that MTGSalvation already covers it all, in a wiki format. That and much more behind the click!

Keep up with news and announcements for all sorts of miniatures games!

(bonus: Roll20.net–a virtual tabletop where gamers can meet and play!)

Plains and Forests Unite, part 2: Modifications

Last week, I showed my Plains and Forests deck, naming the combos and synergies I had within the deck already. This week, I’m tackling some modifications I could make to this cool little deck–and some which I already have!

Research, then Proxy City

I did quite a bit of research on White/Green multicolored cards, using Gatherer‘s advanced search, and came up with a short list of interesting cards which I might want to fit into the deck. From those, I narrowed it down to three cards I definitely wanted to fit into the deck:

wiltleafliege Wilt-Leaf Liege is a great card just for pumping up Selesnya creatures’ P/T, but it also has a surprising defense against being discarded from your hand by another player–you can put it straight into play instead! Plus, you can’t beat a 4/4 for 4 mana, especially hybrid mana.
trostani As well as being a walking Angelic Chorus (yay life-gain), Trostani also serves to help produce creature tokens. This ability doesn’t help my deck very much at the moment, but I like her P/T–she’s a 2/5 for 4 mana, and the mana cost is balanced enough for my current mana curve. (And she’s a Dryad! <3)
messengerfalcons Because this deck needs some more flying defense and card draw, I included Messenger Falcons. (Added bonus: Knight of New Alara‘s ability gives the Falcons +3+3, because part of its casting cost is Blue!

What I Took Out

Since I’m running a 60-card deck and want to keep it that way, I had to take out three cards from my deck:

  • Chrome Mox (because it’s always a dead card in my hand–I hate removing a card from my hand for mana, even if I can’t play it right then)
  • Safehold Duo (never gets to trigger more often than +1/+1 or possibly +2/+2 if I’m lucky)
  • Oversoul of Dusk (it’s a big stompy creature with good protections and 5/5 P/T, but…that’s about it…?)

Other Possibilities I’ve Thought About

  • Barkshell Blessing – nice boost for 1 hybrid mana, but it’s only temporary
  • Call of the Conclave – gets a creature token out–might still be useful with Trostani if I so choose
  • Voice of Resurgence – this would be SO silly with a creature token deck, but I’m not sure I want to go that direction
  • Armadillo Cloak – would be AWESOME in this deck, just can’t figure out what to replace
  • Congregation at Dawn – like Eladamri’s Call x 3, but it doesn’t pull the creature to hand
  • Ranger en-Vec – nice first strike for Selesnya, but that’s about it
  • Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers – vigilance and bigger P/T, but that’s about it
  • Ancient Spider – good, but a bit too expensive for flying defense
  • Bronzebeak Moa – runs into same problem as Safehold Duo
  • Heartmender – would be great for Kitchen Finks, but ONLY Kitchen Finks
  • Horned Cheetah – for Green/White, there is better for cheaper
  • Mystic Enforcer – works directly against Wheel of Sun and Moon, which is not going ANYWHERE
  • Juniper Order Ranger – again, like Safehold Duo, it works IF you can play creatures reliably
  • Sigarda, Host of Herons – YAY for Green/White Angel, but it doesn’t QUITE fit this deck yet.
  • Collective Blessing – it’s Glorious Anthem/Gaea’s Anthem x3, but you have to wait 6 turns…
  • Risen Sanctuary – it’s a big creature, with vigilance. That is all.

Results of These Modifications: Next Time!

In the next post about this deck (which will not appear for a couple of weeks, since I need to test these changes), I will recount how these modifications have either helped or hindered the deck’s performance. Were my instincts about these cards right, or did I only hamstring myself? Stay tuned!