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Saturday, July 14, 2018

M15 Core Set Review – Avacyn, Guardian Angel and the Avatars

July 12, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review


Rising Legends among the Fallen

The Core Set M13 was the first of the Core Set series to bring in a series of Legendary Creatures. Following that trend M15 also came out with the second of that series, bringing with it a new set of Legendary Creatures which can be potential Commanders for us EDH-ers. Wizards had announced that M15 would be an all out set and since they had announced their intention to remove Core Sets from the gaming structure, M15 is in actual fact the second last Core Set printed. For that they had put in a lot of interesting designs into M15 for now. Thus for this series of article for M15, I would look into the M15 set and discuss some of the designs I find interesting about this Core Set.


Revised Cycle

The Primeval had joined the Sundering....

Dominating in Past Glory

Back during M11, the Titans cycle was printed and they made an impact with their ETB (Enter the Battlefield) and attacking triggers. One of them, Primeval Titan, was so powerful that it had been banned in EDH. This cycle of big Creatures are now sort of revised and featured in an Avatar series in M15. These Avatars are actually manifestation of the essence of the various planes featured in previous sets, each of them representing and serve as the protectors of the planes they reside in. There are a total of six of them in the cycle, a bit different from the usual cycle of five; one Avatar for each color with the sixth being an Artifact. They are all 6/6 with varied keyword ability and cc. Each of them also has an activated ability which you could use while they are on the battlefield and another activated ability that you could use while they are in the graveyard. Both activated abilities are of the same activation cost with the later also exiling them when used. All of them have a very EDH feel for their huge mana activation as mana is always abundant in long EDH games. Below is a brief explanation of all of them.


Name Color Abilities
Soul of Theros White VigilanceActivated Ability: Give your Creatures +2/+2, First Strike and Lifelink till end of turn.
Soul of Ravnica Blue FlyingActivated Ability: Draw a card for each color among your permanents.
Soul of Innistrad Black DeathtouchActivated Ability: Return up to three Creature cards from your graveyard to your hand.
Soul of Shandalar Red First StrikeActivated Ability: Deals 3 damage to both target player and up to one target Creature that player controls.
Soul of Zendikar Green ReachActivated Ability: Put a 3/3 Green Beast token onto the battlefield.
Soul of New Phyrexia Artifact TrampleActivated Ability: Give your permanents Indestructible till end of turn.


Of all of them, Soul of New Phyrexia is the most potentially dangerous one with the ability to protect all your permanents. It is also very cost effective being a 6cc for 6/6 Trample, requiring only 5 to give all your permanents Indestructible. Since it is colorless, it is also the most versatile allowing any decks to use it.

Soul of New Phyrexia

Doom of all Dooms


Soul of Shandalar is another potentially dangerous Avatar for being good permanent damage source. Since EDH games usually last very long and when a game reaches that stage, it would normally become a standstill between players where mana will be abundant. This is the time where all those mana could be pumped into Soul of Shandalar to Lightning Bolt opponents and their Creatures who do not need to attack to be pesky like Mother of Runes or Magus of the Moat. Usually these Creatures are also responsible for making the game going into a standstill.

Soul of Shandalar

Burning down the house


Next most noticeable are Soul of Theros and Soul of Zendikar. Both add support to Token style decks especially so with Soul of Theros who pumps up your army. An army of 1/1s instantly becomes 3/3 with First Strike and Lifelink with one activation; not forgetting that the ability also affects the Avatar itself making it an 8/8 too. Furthermore the ability is mana dependent and thus piles up if you can afford to pay for more activation. Soul of Zendikar although supporting the Token Style is rather slow in my opinion in production. The activation cost is a bit high for just a 3/3 Beast token. It is a good add but might not be worthy or must add.

Soul of Theros and Zendikar

Smashing Bros.


Soul of Innistrad is another theme oriented Creature. Since the planes it represented is the Gothic graveyard themed Innistrad, it is best suited in Recursion style decks. It also has Deathtouch which can really discourage opponents from attacking you while you return Creatures from your graveyard to be cast again, slowly regaining your board position.

Soul of Innistrad

Night of the Dead


Lastly the Soul of Ravnica is the most limited for it to be effective. Probably following the theme of Ravnica being the set with all the dual colors of the guilds, the Soul of Ravnica also follow suits with it embracing all the colors as a representation of the colorful culture of the plane. The Avatar card advantage cannot be fully utilized unless you go 5c. It seems rather counterproductive to use it in anything besides a 5c deck. That being said, it is still quite a huge amount of card drawn at Instant speed for 7 mana (5UU); instantly refilling your hand when you have all the colors among your permanents.

Soul of Ravnica

Mono yet Multi


Avacyn, Guardian Angel

You may be wondering why the Souls are mentioned in this article. The reason is that they are all Avatars and Protectors of the Planes they are from; which bring us to Avacyn, the Commander we are discussing today of M15, who is also an Avatar of sorts created by Sorin to serve as the protector of Innistrad’s human race when he is not on the plane. Below are the stats of the Guardian Angel.


 Avacyn, Guardian Angel

Card Name: Avacyn, Guardian Angel


Types: Legendary Creature – Angel

Card Text: 1W: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to another target creature this turn by sources of the color of your choice.

5WW: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to target player this turn by sources of the color of your choice.

P/T: 5/4

This version of Avacyn deals solely with damage prevention by preventing all damage to target Creature or Player from all sources of a chosen color. As compared to Avacyn v1.0, v2.0 is not as impressive as EDH usually deals with Creature threats by board sweeping or direct removal and seldom by damage. V1.0 gives all your permanents Indestructible totally protecting everything you control. The only gain I see that Avacyn v2.0 can provide is politically helping other players preventing damage from a color.


The Old vs the New

Avacyn Angel of Hope

Protecting all since debut

Avacyn v2.0 is somewhat lacking as compared to v1.0. Given a choice, v2.0 serves much better as a support rather than as a Commander. Damage prevention for Creatures is not too useful in EDH as most removal is in form of board sweeps or outright removal. Damage is seldom used to remove Creatures. Avacyn v1.0 stands out in this point by giving all your permanents Indestructible. This makes v1.0 superior compared to v2.0 even if not chosen as Commander. That being said, Avacyn v2.0 does have the benefit of having a lower cc than v1.0 and therefore is still playable as a support Creature which can be used along with v1.0. In the early phase of the game, Avacyn v2.0 can be used to protect your other Creatures since the activation is low. When you go into the later with more mana, the player protection ability can then be used as your political tool to bring in ally in the game. It is still a pity though that Avacyn v2.0 cannot use her ability on herself, thus the extra help is needed from you or v1.0 to protect her. Otherwise Avacyn v2.0 is still pretty decent as a common Creature for any deck which can use her; like an Angel Tribal perhaps. After all the Core Sets had been packed randomly with a couple of Angels which are quite playable in EDH for their abilities like; M10 Baneslayer Angel; M11 Angelic Arbiter & Platinum Angel; M12 Aegis Angel; M13 Sublime Archangel; M14 Archangel of Thune; M15 Resolute Archangel & Seraph of the Masses.


What do you think of v2.0 of the Guardian Angel of Innistrad? Do you think she is worthy as an Avatar of Sorin as are the Avatars cycle are to their home planes? Please do share with us your thoughts in the comments below. And that is all I have for the Avatars, ending the article here….


This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.


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