This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Technology

By Mark Mahler

mahler, mark - headshot





I’ll admit that the last Friday in January is kind of a strange time to be putting out New Year’s resolutions, but I prefer to look on the bright side: now I only have 11 months in which to break them.

Let me just say upfront that I have no idea if these cards will actually be worth playing. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never played with any of these cards before, but that’s the whole point: I want to try some new things in the new year and near the top of my list is breaking out some of the benchwarmers in my collection.

I fully expect some of these little guys to flame out once they hit the big leagues, but who knows what the new year will bring, right? I might pull a rookie of the year out these prospects yet. Real talk from an old school Patriots fan: sometimes you keep playing a Drew Bledsoe long after the time in which you should have given a Tom Brady his shot at the big time.  It’s time for change in 2015.

Barrin, Master Wizard

I have been casually glossing over Barrin for years.  Every time he showed up in a Gatherer search, or popped up in my trade binder, I’d stare at him wistfully for about two seconds before exclaiming, “Sac a permanent? To hell with that!” and flip past him, never giving him a second thought.

Then, quite recently, I had my own little “road to Damascus” moment as I was reading Aaron’s awesome year end deck tech article over on The General Zone and there it was: Barrin & Reef Worm.  All of the sudden, everything unplayable was new again and what, to my heathen eyes, was formerly the least desirable wizard in Magic became the greatest excuse to build yet another mono-blue deck since I fell in love with Mistform Ultimus & derpy tribal effects.

Simply put, it’s moments like these that make EDH my favorite format.

Everything else fell into place like Tetris blocks from then on and I can’t wait to take my new Barrin deck out for a spin. (However, if you really want to take a look at what a good Barrin list looks like, check out Aaron’s list over on TappedOut.  This one has been a major inspiration for me.  I might go as far as to say that Aaron’s my muse, but a) I somehow doubt that he would take that as a compliment, and b) my wife looks at me funny when I say that out loud.)

*Side note: my favorite line of text on this card: “Barrin, Master Wizard counts as a Wizard.” Ah, the good ol’ days when WotC needed to explain the obvious to us. -Sigh-




Charmed Pendant

If any of these picks are going to crash and burn, it’ll probably be this one.  Dumping crap into my yard AND generating mana, all for tapping a single artifact?  This baby is either going to be the new hotness of 2015, or I’ll swiftly and painfully discover the reason why I’ve never seen it played before. I’m betting on the latter, but I’m fully prepared to pull a Matthew McConaughey ala The Wolf of Wall Street at the table if it works out like it does in the magical Christmas land of my fantasies.


Anafenza, the Foremost

I’ll admit that I have something of an addiction to Reanimator in EDH, so I decided that in lieu of going cold turkey, I’m going to build an anti-Karador deck.  I’m not doing this to be a dick (although that might be a nice side benefit), I’m doing this to step outside my comfort zone and try out a new deck building restriction: Junk colors with no graveyard interaction, besides straight GY hate, of course.

Shaman’s Trance

Graveyard hijinks with somebody else’s graveyard? Sign me up! I’ve been meaning to build a Jund deck for a while now, so when the cold turkey approach to my aforementioned Reanimator addiction with Anafenza wears off, I can fall off the wagon again with this little baby.  Ah, sweet, sweet indulgence.


Angelheart Vial

I know I’m missing something here. On its surface, this card has all the things I like to do in Magic: draw cards, gain life, durdle around with counters, and get some small, passive benefit out of being smacked in the face (which is bound to happen anyway).  And yet, there’s this nagging certainty in the back of my mind that screams, “No, you fool! Look deeper in the into the drawbacks of relying on the marginal benefit of a five-mana artifact that’s almost certainly too slow to be of any real advantage!”

To that small voice of reason, I utter the immortal words of the new generation: #Yolo, bitches. (Check back in to my followup article in a few months: “#Regret”).

 I’m going to get an alter of Angelheart Vial with this meme someday.

I’m going to get an alter of Angelheart Vial with this meme someday.



Rakdos, Lord of Riots

Three words: Rakdos BR artifact burn (that’s still technically three words, right?). Throw a Fireball for six right to your opponents’ face and get a Wurmcoil Engine as the cherry on top for free. C’mon, you know it’s going to be awesome!

Or maybe the opposite of awesome.  Whatever. Either way, it’ll make a statement.



B/W pillowfort with this, Gild, and Macar? Maybe with Teysa, Envoy of the Lounge Chair at the helm? Solid gold, baby.


Here’s to keeping the random, ancient reference train a-runnin’ in 2015


Da’ Bringers

Confession time: the first time I saw these guys I really did laugh out loud (unironically, even), and there’s probably a good reason for that, but as the new year rolls in it’s time to throw away my tired, preconceived notions about “playability” or “efficiency” in my decks.  After all, what am I playing Commander for, if not to use wildly inefficient and unwieldy creatures? Also, the blue & black Bringers look deceptively cool.


Chalice of the Void

I’ve been sitting on a copy of this card ever since I pulled it in my last Modern Masters draft and it’s high time that it either got sold, traded, or started pulling it’s weight in one of my decks.  Colorless counter effects that aren’t Ring of Immortals seem like a good thing, but they also never seem to make the cut in any of my decks, even my artifact decks. I’d likely need some addition and subtraction shenanigans with counters to make this playable, but I’m willing to dust it off and give it the ol’ college try.


Vernal Equinox

I’ve never played a chaos deck before–mostly because I’m not a fan of shuffling a thousand times in game–but this card looks like just my type of crazy.  What could possibly go wrong if everybody got to play fatties and enchantments any time they like?


A Teferi for everyone, you say? Excellent…


Vhati il-Dal

I’ve always felt like this guy + pingers would be a recipe ripe for either not-so-clever shenanigans or near-total disaster. (I feel like that might be a strong undercurrent for almost all of these picks…).


Saprazzan Heir

I know this card is just going to get bolted, or killed/destroyed in any one of a hundred different ways, but I could draw THREE cards off her if she doesn’t! Three cards, man! With the downside being that my opponent has to waste removal on my Saprazzan Heir. The image of this gal carrying a Sword of X/Y makes me smile.

Of course, once I cross over from denial to the acceptance stage of realizing what total crap that play is destined to be, she’ll probably go right back into my trade binder, where she’ll continue to get glossed over in favor of other, actually playable, cards.  But we’ll always have Paris…

Casablanca-Saprazzan Heir

She even looks a little like Ingrid Bergman (if you squint)



Well, kiddos, that’s all I’ve got for this week.  Please feel free to tell me how indescribably crappy my card choices are, along with my obviously impaired decision-making ability, in the comments below. Yolo!


*Author’s note: I swear this is the very last time I’ll use the term “yolo.” For some reason, today marked the day when that ridiculous saying went from being annoying and stupid, to played out and stupid, right ‘round the bend to being funny and stupid (to me, anyway).  

This may or may not have anything to do with the foot-and-a-half of snow that’s kept me stuck in the house all day. The Internet can be a dangerous thing, boys and girls.


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