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Friday, October 20, 2017

M15 Core Set Review – Jalira, Master Polymorphist and Color Lords

July 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Lords of Mtg

The Leading Ones

Core Sets are about reprints and allows collector players like me to use our old cards again in the Standard format. Ever since M10, the Core Sets structure was changed fundamentally. Instead of all reprints the Core Sets since then had consists roughly 50% each of old and new cards. This gave rise to a set of new Creature Lords with the new Lord template in M10. They are namely; Captain of the Watch for Soldiers; Merfolk Sovereign for Merfolks; Cemetery Reaper for Zombies; Goblin Chieftain for Goblins; and Elvish Archdruid for Elves. This Lord cycle would go on with a bit of member change or sometimes a broken cycle in future Core Sets before finally developing into the Color Lords of M15. Speaking of Colors, there is also an ongoing color hosing theme present in the Core Sets. The idea then was to give each color a way to deal with their enemy colors. Through this theme, the enemy color hoser cycle were made: White Celestial Purge; Blue Flashfreeze; Black Deathmark; Red Ignite Disorder; and Green Mold Adder. These hoser cards would later be developed to form the Color Hate Creatures: White Fiendslayer Paladin; Blue Tidebinder Mage; Black Lifebane Zombie; Red Mindsparker; and Green Witchstalker. While we are on the topic of Color, there was also a cycle of Creatures called the Sedge Creatures. These Creatures are a called back to Sedge Troll who get +1/+1 and an ability if the controller has a basic Land of the appropriate allied color. They can also gain an ability for a payment of their individual allied color. This cycle consist of: White Prized Elephant; Blue Arctic Aven; Black Harbor Bandit; Red Crimson Muckwader; and Green Flinthoof Boar. Of all the cycles mentioned above, the Sedge Creatures and Color Lords are the ones present in M15 and thus would be what we will be talking more about in today’s article.

 

Sedge Creatures and Color Lords

Sedge Troll

The Origins of Sedge

 

Name Sedge bonus P/T Ability
Dauntless River Marshal +1/+1 as long as you control an Island. 2/1 3U: Tap target Creature.
Jorubai Murk Lurker +1/+1 as long as you control a Swamp. 1/3 1B: Target Creature gains Lifelink till end of turn.
Nightfire Giant +1/+1 as long as you control a Mountain. 4/3 4R: Deals 2 damage to target Creature or player.
Kird Chieftain +1/+1 as long as you control a Forest. 3/3 4G: Target Creature gets +2/+2 and Trample till end of turn.
Sunblade Elf +1/+1 as long as you control a Plains 1/1 4G: Give all your Creatures +1/+1 till end of turn.

 

The Sedge Creatures of M15 (see above) are different from the previous cycle with them all dependent on the other allied color of their color. Where the previous cycle are all giving only themselves an ability through payment of the allied color, M15 cycle is affecting a target or all when activated. This Creature may not seem like much in EDH but I am mentioning them here more for their value in normal variant for their low cc and relatively high power. A Zoo deck may benefit a bit from them.

 

Paragon of New Dawn Your other White Creatures get +1/+1.W, T: Your another target White Creature gains Vigilance till end of turn.
Paragon of Gathering Mists Your other Blue Creatures get +1/+1.U, T: Your another target Blue Creature gains Flying till end of turn.
Paragon of Open Graves Your other Black Creatures get +1/+1.2B, T: Your another target Black Creature gains Deathtouch till end of turn.
Paragon of Fierce Defiance Your other Red Creatures get +1/+1.R, T: Your another target Red Creature gains Haste till end of turn.
Paragon of Eternal Wilds Your other Green Creatures get +1/+1.G, T: Your another target Green Creature gains Trample till end of turn.

 

The Color Lords of M15 are called Paragons with each giving a +1/+1 to all your other Creatures of the same color plus an activated ability to give another target Creature of the same color you control an ability most related to their color. Of all the Paragons, Gathering Mists is the most deadly as Flying is the most useful evasion ability most commonly used to break a Creature standstill in EDH. Open Graves is the second most useful as Deathtouch allows you to trade Creatures with your opponent regardless of how high their Creatures’ toughness are; 1 Deathtouch damage is lethal damage. New Dawn is also another one of the more useful Paragon as Vigilance allows you to attack and defend at the same time which is important in a multiplayer game. Having Vigilance allows you to attack an open opponent and still be able to block the next opponent. Fierce Defiance and Eternal Wilds are situational dependent. Both require another Creature to be of use. Haste is a one shot ability which is rather redundant once the turn the Creature entered the battlefield had passed; you can look at it as if you paying an extra R to summon your Creatures to give them Haste. Trample on the hand is a bit stronger than Haste but requires the Creature to have a high enough power. All in all the Paragons are all pretty good add to any EDH decks which can use them, especially so if your deck is mono color or Creature base. They could also double as extra Lords in Tribal theme decks. Speaking of Lords, the Commander we are looking at today is also a Lord in her own means.

Paragon of Eternal Wilds

Here to lead

 

Jalira, Master Polymorphist

 Jalira, Master Polymorphist

 

Card Name: Jalira, Master Polymorphist

CMC: 3U

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Wizard

Card Text: 2U, T, Sacrifice another creature: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonlegendary creature card. Put that card onto the battlefield and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

P/T: 2/2

 

Polymorph

From Rabbit to Goblin or Goblin to Rabbit?

If you are wondering why her occupation is rather familiar you are not too far off. This is because Polymorphist is a Wizard who specializes in the art of Polymorph; the spell from Mirage set. Back when this spell was printed, players had attempted to break the card with decks that consists huge Creatures with no other smaller Creatures. They would usually find ways to create tokens and then Polymorph those tokens away to get the huge Creatures. This tactic would later be further abused after the printing of Proteus Staff, an Artifact with a similar ability like Polymorph. This was attempted once again with the reprinting of Polymorph in M10 and yet again in M11 with the bigger effect Mass Polymorph. Though not much of a strong combo, it finally made some limelight with the Scars of Mirrodin block Shape Anew which does almost the same thing as Polymorph but with Artifacts. General idea with Shape Anew was to sacrifice an Artifact Creature token and get Blightsteel Colossus. Jalira is effectively a Polymorph with legs. She even comes with her own failsafe by not putting Legendary Creature onto the battlefield with her ability. This is crucial if you are using her in normal variant as there is a chance that you might reveal copies of her when using her ability; though it is quite a pity as nowadays Legendary Creatures are quite strong too.

 

More than Meets the Eyes

The general idea of the Polymorph deck was to Polymorph a token and gets the bigger Creature of the deck onto the battlefield. Before you could Polymorph anything with Jalira you will need a Creature for her to sacrifice. As Jalira’s color identity is mono Blue, there is not much to choose from and you will need to look into Artifact to produce those fodders. Below are some recommended ways to produce the token needed.

 

Diamond Kaleidoscope Token producer and mana fixer as well.
Golem Foundry Need many Artifact spells to be effective. May also use Proliferate to help.
Metrognome / Myr Matrix / Nuisance Engine / Riptide Replicator / Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII / Serpent Generator / Summoning Station / The Hive Repeatable token producers.
Orochi Hatchery Repeatable token producer which can produce many tokens at once. Number of tokens produced can be further increase even after casting it by increasing the number of charge counters on it. Ways to do so include: Coretapper; Energy Chamber; Power Conduit; Proliferate; Surge Node.
Sharding Sphinx Flying Artifact Creature which let your Artifact Creatures give you a 1/1 Blue Thopter token with Flying whenever they deal combat damage.
Spiny Starfish U: Regenerate. Gives you a 0/1 Blue Starfish token at the end of each turn for each time it regenerated that turn.
Wall of Kelp Defender. UU, T: Put a 0/1 Plant Wall token with Defender named Kelp onto battlefield.

 

During the early days of Polymorph deck, the usual Creature used then was either the huge attacker and defender in one Archangel; or the ridiculous full of abilities Spirit of the Night. Both Creatures were big hard to deal with attackers which can finish off an unexpecting opponent in the shortest time. But MtG had since then evolved. Both of the Angel and the Spirit are now nothing compared to the modern days Creatures with more insane power and abilities. All the pure breed Eldrazi, less the Titans as they are Legendary and cannot be brought in by Jalira, make better choices to Polymorph in. Blue itself also has quite a number of good Creatures to choose from. Below are some examples of Creatures to pack into the deck for Jalira to Polymorph in.

Stormtide Leviathan

Bringing in the Big Guns

 

Name P/T Remarks
Artisan of Kozilek 10/9 Besides having Annihilator 2 and a huge body, Artisan also has the trigger ability of returning Creature from your graveyard when you can actually cast it which is especially good in the late games.
Frost TItan 6/6 Tough to kill Giant who taps down your opponents’ permanents as it enters the battlefield or attacks.
Grozoth 9/9 Late game attacker since mana will be abundant then.
Guile 6/6 Comes with its own evasive ability; steals spells as you counter them; and also returns itself to the library when it goes to the graveyard from anywhere so you can Polymorph it out again.
Hand of Emrakul 7/7 The “smallest” among the Eldrazi and one of the lowest with Annihilator at 1.
Inkwell Leviathan 7/11 Self protects with Shroud; comes with Trample in case it cannot attack through with Islandwalk.
It That Betrays 11/11 The one who encourages you to play Annihilator despite it having only Annihilator 2.
Pathrazer of Ulamog 9/9 One of the more popular choices of the normal Eldrazi probably for its evasive ability of requiring three or more Creatures to block it. Comes with Annihilator 3 to really put defending players between a rock and a hard place.
Pearl Lake Ancient 6/7 Powerful for having Flash and uncounterable; also has the ability to return itself to hand to escape being killed by board sweep. Added bonus with Prowess.
Spawnsire of Ulamog 7/11 The other Annihilator 1. Also doubles as token producer for Jalira to Polymorph.
Stormtide Leviathan 8/8 Stop most hordes at their tracks and provide a kill con by itself.
Tidal Kraken 6/6 Unbloackable. Enough said.
Ulamog’s Crusher 8/8 Another good beatdown choice but not a political card as it must attack each turn causing disturbance to the table with its Annihilator 2.

 

The above are just recommended Creatures if Jalira is your Commander. The choices will be more if you choose to have Jalira as a normal Creature instead. There are many more powerful Creatures out of the mono Blue shell. Some examples like Akroma, Angel of Wrath; Avacyn, Angel of Hope; Prince of Thralls; Sphinx of the Steel Wind are all Creatures which poses big problems for your opponents when they are on the battlefield.

 

Future Sight

Jallax, Master Polymorphist

“One simply is anything if I just put my mind to it.”

Jalira’s ability has some randomness in her as you will not know without any help what you are going to get out of her. Regardless of using her as a Commander or common Creature, you will need some level of library manipulation to fully utilize her ability. Some such examples are Scroll Rack; Sensei’s Divining Top; Soothsaying; which all provide you with some insight of your library so you know what might be coming up. With enough library manipulation, the randomness of her ability can be reduced to the minimum and even to the point of ensuring the Creature you want comes out. If you are able to commit to that, then Jalira is a very fun build around type Commander.

 

That is all I have to say for the Color Lords and Jalira as we come to the end of this article. What do you think of the new Color Lords and the Lord of Polymorphist? Do you think they are of any use to your decks? Share with us your thoughts in the comments. For now, I shall end it and so till the next article….

 

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

:D~

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