This week in Magic: M15 pre-release primer


It’s that time of the year again, Magic lovers: another core set is upon us. That mean this weekend, all over the world, local game stores will be hosting pre-release events. Have you studied up on your core set yet? Do you have an idea as to what color you’re going to ask for? Are you confused? It’s okay. That’s what I’m here for. Let me present a little primer you can use heading into this weekend’s pre-release.


There is a lot to go through, so we’re going to go through each color, one by one. Also, a lot of the times, the mythics and rare cards tend to stand out on their own in terms of power. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the commons and uncommons. These are cards that people look over because of their rarity (or lack there of).


I don’t plan on doing  a series, so you’re going to get an abridged version of each one. So where should we start? How about with…



In Limited formats, creature removal is always on the lighter side of things – meaning that there isn’t much to go around. If you do come across some, your best bet may to run the colors where your removal lies. However, that’s not always the best decision. So keep in mind what your pool, as a whole, has to offer.


So what stands out to me? One card I really like is Oppressive Rays. While it doesn’t get rid of your problems entirely, they do hinder your opponent quite a bit. In fact, sometimes it just isn’t worth it for your opponent to pay mana in order to attack or use a creature’s ability. In that sense, this can be considered creature removal.


Another card that stands out is Pillar of Light. This is a three mana Instant spell that removes a creature with toughness “4 or greater.” This is really interesting because usually cards are worded to have “power” be the leading cause of removal, but in this case, we need to pay attention to the creature’s toughness. This can still be effective in the event that the creature has such a high toughness, it makes attacking difficult.


As far as creatures go, Dauntless River Marshall is a really solid creature. Played in the right colors, he will be one of the best creatures in the format. As long as you have an island in play, he will be a 3/2 for two mana. His ability to tap creatures has always been a really good ability in the past. The added bonus of not having to tap to activate it will prove to be very useful.



Void Snare is probably in the Top 3 for the entire set in my opinion. I think it’s even good enough to see play in Standard. So what does it do? For one blue mana, you can return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand. It may be a little slow for some people, but keep in mind this can return Planeswalkers to their owner’s hand.


Another Blue spell I am a big fan of is Encrust. For three mana, we can enchant a creature or artifact. Once enchanted, that permanent does not untap during their controller’s untap step and it’s abilities cannot be used or activated as well. Sounds good to me.


The best Blue creature here s definitely the Jorubai Murk Lurker. Similar to its white counterpart, give that the player is playing the right color combination, it can be a 2/4 for three mana that has the potential to gain its owner life. Sound familiar? Yes, that’s because it sounds just like a Courser of Kruphix.



When Stab Wound made its debut in Return to Ravnica, it was winning games on its own. If a player could stick it onto a creature that was say a 2/3 – making it a 0/1 – that player would not have to attack or rarely play another spell. Once applied, the enchantment would be enough to kill the opponent over time.


Necrobite is another great spell in black. It will definitely be one of those combat tricks that, if you fall victim to, will feel very painful. Here’s a terrible scenario you may not want to be part of. Imagine swinging for the win with a creature your opponent could not possibly kill given what’s on the board. Your opponent goes to block with a tiny 1/1 and with no card in your hand (and nothing to worry about) they cast Necrobite on their creature, thus kill your creature and their’s surviving. Time to break out the tissues.


I really think that the Leeching Sliver is the best creature Black has to offer in the common/uncommon field. The best part is that is only gets better the more slivers you can attack with. Yes, I understand that it’s completely conditional, but it’s worth it in the end. Think about it, then get back to me and let me know what you think about it.



Stoke the Flames is at its best when its caster can convoke any part of its casting cost. Still, to be able to do 4 damage for four mana is pretty good in Limited. There are not many 4 damage spells in the game. However, remember that this spell can only hit a player. Knowing myself, though, I’m sure I will still be pointing it at  creature numerous times – even after I’ve been told I can’t by Ken Briscoe.


Lightning Strike and Shrapnel Blast are tied as “next best spell.” You’re probably asking why Shrapnel Blast? I understand you need to sacrifice a creature (and there is a wonderful creature you could sacrifice if you get it within your pool). The chance to do 5 damage to either a creature or a player is huge. As for Lightning Strike, it is as close as we’ll get to a Lightning Bolt until they reprint Lightning Bolt (which should happen any day now).


For creatures, I think the Generator Servant will be the one to look out for. If it doesn’t get killed right away, providing two extra mana the following turn (five mana at the earliest) and its controller could easily cast one of the Souls (cast on turn three, activate on turn four and don’t miss a land drop). The outcome is very fightening.



There are not a lot of non-creature spells I am a fan of. So, instead lets take a look at the creatures. First up is the Sunblade Elf. Out of this entire cycle of creatures, I think this one will definitely see play in Standard. Thanks to lands like Temple Garden and Green/White being a popular deck color combination, having a 2/2 for one mana is like the good ol’ days of playing turn one Savannah Lions. However, in this case, we have a 2/2 rather than a 2/1 which is a huge difference coming off of turn one.


I’ve always been a fan of Wall of Mulch. The only other time it was printed was in Onslaught (which makes me this old). Even then I think it was a solid card. I liked that it was a decent sized wall for only two mana. The best feature about it has to be that you can draw a card with it. This could potentially save your life by blocking something huge, then pay that one green mana and draw yourself a card. Thanks Wall of Mulch for being such  good friend!


Finally, Roaring Primadox is one of those creatures, when dropped, can make your opponent cringe. First of all, its a 4/4 for four mana. That alone is really solid. Now, add in the ability to combo with another creature, and the potential can be devastating. Take, for example, Heliod’s Pilgrim. You could potentially fetch up a aura spell every turn. Or imagining bouncing your Tireless Missionaries and casting them again over and over, gaining three life each turn. Talk about back breaking.


Well that’s it for now. I hope you found this enjoyable and helpful. After you get back from your pre-release event, come back here and let us know what your experience was like and what awesome cards (or combinations) you got to play. Have fun this weekend.



About the author

Simeon is now the Community Manager for Battleground Games & Hobbies. If you have any questions or inquiries, then you can reach him at He is also an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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