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Sunday, May 28, 2017

M15 Core Set Review – Gathering Mass with Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

July 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Chord of calling

Answering the Call

Hi fellow EDH-ers and welcome to the final round of M15 Commanders review. For today article we will be looking at the last Legendary of the Core set and the featured old keyword mechanic for M15.

 

Featured Old Keyword Mechanic:

Overwhelm

Power in the Mass

The featured old keyword mechanic for M15 is Convoke. A little back history for Convoke; it was first introduced in Ravnica: City of Guilds as the Selesnya guild keyword ability; that restricted it mainly within the colors of White and Green. It was also one of the returning ability in Future Sight; although still within the two colors of Selesnya. That changed in M15. Now the mechanic like some of the previous guild or shard abilities (Exalted; Bloodthirst) is spread among the colors and even to Artifacts instead of just being in their respective guild or shard colors. The ability previously was an additional cost that reduced the casting cost in mana. Now it is change to allow your Creatures to help you to pay for the cost of the Convoke spells by tapping Creatures to pay some of the mana of the Convoke spell. Creatures tapped this way either pays 1 or one mana of its colors. The basic change here is that sacrifice-based mana abilities must be activated before paying costs. That causes Creatures like Eldrazi Spawns to be unable to tap for Convoke if they are sacrificed for mana. Another significant change here is that the new Convoke ruling doesn’t reduce the spell cost. This changes how Convoke spells interact with effects such as Trinisphere that care about total costs. Below are all the Convoke related cards in M15.

 

White
Devouring Light 1WW Exiles target attacking or blocking Creature. Reprint from Ravnica: City of Guilds.
Ephemeral Shield 1W Target Creature gains Indestructible till end of turn.
Meditation Puzzle 3WW You gain 8 life.
Return to the Ranks XWW Return X target with converted mana costs 2 or less from graveyard to battlefield.
Seraph of the Masses 5WW Flying with power and toughness equal to number of Creatures you control.
Triplicate Spirits 4WW Puts three 1/1 White Spirit tokens with Flying onto the battlefield.
Blue
Chief Engineer 1U Gives your Artifact spells Convoke.
Black
Covenant of Blood 6B Deals 4 damage to a target and let you gain 4 life.
Endless Obedience 4BB Reanimates a Creature from your graveyard.
Stain the Mind 4B Exile all copies of named nonLand card from target player’s graveyard, hand, and library.
Unmake the Graves 4B Return up to three Creature cards from your graveyard to hand.
Red
Crowd’s Favor R Target Creature gets +1/+0 and First Strike till end of turn.
Stoke the Flames 2RR Deals 4 damage to a target.
Green
Chord of Calling XGGG Tutor for Creature card with X cc or less to the battlefield. Reprint from Ravnica: City of Guilds. The top most used Convoke spell then.
Feral Incarnation 8G Puts three 3/3 Green Beast tokens onto the battlefield.
Gather Courage G Target Creature gets +2/+2 till end of turn. . Reprint from Ravnica: City of Guilds.
Living Totem 3G Puts a +1/+1 counter on another Creature when it ETB.
Nissa’s Expedition 4G Tutors up to two basic Lands onto the battlefield.
Overwhelm 5GGG Gives all your Creatures +3/+3 till end of turn. Reprint from Ravnica: City of Guilds.
Siege Wurm 5GG Basic 5/5 Creature with Trample. Reprint from Ravnica: City of Guilds.
Artifact
Obelisk of Urd 6 Gives Creatures you control of chosen type +2/+2.
Will-Forged Golem 6 Basic 4/4 Creature with Convoke.

 

Of all the spells above, the ones which had made an impact on the Standard scene are Chord of Calling; Stoke the Flames; and Chief Engineer. Chord made waves during its time in the Standard when it was first printed in Ravnica block. Now it’s return in M15 had also made similar waves, which is not surprising considering its tutoring powers to tutor for utility Creatures at Instant speed. Another spell which recently had also been used heavily is Stoke the Flame. Combining with tokens generating effects or spells, Stoke can often be cast at as little as one or two mana if not for free. For example, one could cast Hordeling Outburst and then use the tokens and plus one more mana to cast Stoke the Flames. Chief Engineer made a little impact being a key component to Artifact based beatdown decks; making it easy to cast Artifact Creatures like Juggernaut and Scuttling Doom Engine. Of all the M15 Convoke spells, the one which catches my attention for EDH is the Obelisk of Urd which is very good addition to Tribal decks which is very common theme in EDH.

Chief Engineer

Monitoring the Master Piece

 

Gathering the Mass

From above, you can see that Creatures play a big part in Convoke. Without Creatures Convoke cannot function. The more you have on your battlefield, the easier it gets to use Convoke spells which makes it a very Green based ability when it started. This brings us to Yisan, the Green Commander we are featuring for today’s article. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is one of the cards designed by people out of Wizards, namely game designer Brian Fargo. Below are the stats of Yisan.

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Card Name: Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

CMC: 2G

Types: Legendary Creature – Human Rogue

Card Text: 2G, T, Put a verse counter on Yisan, the Wanderer Bard: Search your library for a creature card with converted mana cost equal to the number of verse counters on Yisan, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

P/T: 2/3

Birthing Pod

Same same but Different

At first glance, Yisan reminds me of Birthing Pod, the powerful Phyrexian Artifact of the same color. Both tutor out Creatures which match their converted mana cost requirement. The difference is that Birthing Pod requires a sacrifice of a Creature and tutors 1 plus of the sacrificed Creature’s converted mana cost, this allows the Pod a slight higher degree of versatility as compare to Yisan. Also unless you have a way to reduce (Power Conduit) or reset the verse counters on Yisan, he will hit a roof whereby he will not be able to tutor out any more Creatures. All in all both serve pretty much as a utility Creatures tutor of sorts. When built right, Yisan along with the Pod can tutor for Creatures with ETB effects to deal with all sorts of threats.

 

Support Recruiter

power conduit

All the power at the finger tips

In my opinion, Yisan has a very limited ability as a Commander and has a lot of build around work to make him work. Making him the Commander means the deck is Green and Green doesn’t has a lot of blink or bounce spells to use to reset Yisan verse counters. Also the fact that his tutor is cc specific, what I am looking more of is the ability to manipulate the number of verse counters on him rather than resetting them. The only one available to Yisan is Power Conduit, an Artifact which moves counter off your permanent and converts it into charge counter on your Artifact or +1/+1 counter on your Creatures. The mana curve of the Creatures in your deck has to be planned carefully in order to benefit from the tutoring of Yisan. In this regard, Cloudstone Curio can be use to reset Yisan’s verse counters should it become too high. Below are some Green utility Creatures which are recommended to tutor in.

 

Name CC Abilities
Elvish Pioneer 1 ETB put a basic Land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Treefolk Harbinger 1 ETB you may tutor for Treefolk or Forest card, reveal it, then shuffle your library and put that card in top of it.
Riftsweeper 2 ETB choose target face-up exiled card. Its owner shuffles it into his or her library.
Harvest Wurm 2 ETB sacrifice it unless you return a basic Land card from your graveyard to hand.
Nest Invader 2 ETB put a 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn token which has “Sacrifice this Creature: Add 1 to your mana pool.” onto the battlefield.
Sylvan Ranger 2 ETB tutor a basic Land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
Tempting Wurm 2 ETB each opponent may put any number of Artifact, Creature, Enchantment, and/or Land cards from their hand onto the battlefield. Super political tool.
Invasive Species 3 ETB return another permanent you control to its owner’s hand.
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker 3 ETB tutor for a Creature card with Deathtouch, Hexproof, Reach, or Trample and reveal it. Shuffle your library and put that card on top of it.
Cartographer 3 ETB return target Land card from your graveyard to your hand.
Eternal Witness 3 ETB return target card from your graveyard to your hand.
Farhaven Elf 3 ETB tutor for a basic Land card and put it onto battlefield tapped. Shuffle library after tutor.
Fierce Empath 3 ETB tutor for Creature card with 6cc or higher and put it into your hand. Shuffle library after tutor.
Loaming Shaman 3 ETB target player shuffles any number of cards from his or her graveyard into his or her library.
Reclamation Sage 3 ETB destroy target Artifact or Enchantment.
Spike Feeder 3 ETB with two +1/+1 counters.2, Remove a +1/+1 counter: Put a +1/+1 counter on target Creature.Remove a +1/+1 counter: Gain 2 life.
Tilling Treefolk 3 ETB you may return up to two target basic Land cards from your graveyard to your hand.
Uktabi Orangutan 3 ETB destroy target Artifact.
Viridian Corrupter 3 InfectETB destroy target Artifact. Corrupted version of the next card.
Viridian Shaman 3 ETB destroy target Artifact.
Wood Elves 3 ETB tutor for a Forest card and put it onto battlefield tapped. Shuffle library after tutor.
Yavimaya Dryad 3 ForestwalkETB you may tutor for a Forest card and put it onto battlefield tapped under target player’s control. Shuffle library after tutor.
Yavimaya Granger 3 Echo 2GETB tutor for a basic Land card and put it onto battlefield tapped. Shuffle library after tutor.
Eidolon of Blossoms 4 Constellation – Draw a card.
Hunted Troll 4 G: Regenerate Hunted TrollETB target opponent put four 1/1 Blue Faerie tokens with Flying onto the battlefield. Political tool.
Hunted Wumpus 4 ETB each other player put a Creature card from his or her hand onto the battlefield. Political tool.
Kozilek’s Predator 4 ETB put two 0/1 colorless Eldrazi Spawn tokens which have “Sacrifice this Creature: Add 1 to your mana pool.” onto the battlefield.
Nylea’s Disciple 4 ETB gain life equal to devotion to Green.
Obstinate Baloth 4 ETB gain 4 life. If a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard Obstinate Baloth, put it onto the battlefield instead.
Ondu Giant 4 ETB tutor for a basic Land card and put it onto battlefield tapped. Shuffle library after tutor.
Spike Weaver 4 ETB with three +1/+1 counters.2, Remove a +1/+1 counter: Put a +1/+1 counter on target Creature.1, Remove a +1/+1 counter: Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.
Vital Splicer 4 ETB put a 3/3 colorless Golem Artifact tokens onto the battlefield.1: Regenerate target Golem you control.
Acidic Slime 5 DeathtouchETB destroy target Artifact, Enchantment, or Land.
Derange Hermit 5 Echo 3GGETB put four 1/1 Green Squirrel tokens onto the battlefield.
Indrik Stomphowler 5 ETB destroy target Artifact or Enchantment.
Nessian Demolok 5 Tribute 3ETB, if Tribute wasn’t paid, destroy target nonCreature permanent.
Nessian Game Warden 5 ETB look at top X cards of your library, where X is the number of Forests you control. You may reveal a Creature card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
Stingerfling Spider 5 ReachETB you may destroy target Creature with Flying.
Thragtusk 5 ETB gain 5 life.LTB put a 3/3 Green Beast token onto the battlefield.
Bane of Progress 6 ETB destroy all Artifacts and Enchantments. Put a +1/+1 counter on it for each permanent destroyed this way.
Brutalizer Exarch 6 ETB choose one:

  • Tutor for a Creature card, reveal it and put it on top of your library. Shuffle library afterwards.
  • Put target nonCreature permanent on the bottom of its owner’s library.
Cloudthresher 6 Flash, ReachETB deals 2 damage to each Creature with Flying and each player.
Deadwood Treefolk 6 Vanishing 3ETB or LTB return another Creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Grave Sifter 6 ETB each player chooses a Creature type and returns any number of cards of chosen type from his or her graveyard to his or her hand.
Kalonian Twingrove 6 Power and toughness equal to number of Forests you control.ETB put a Green Treefolk Warrior token with “This Creature’s power and toughness equal to number of Forests you control” onto the battlefield.
Hornet Queen 7 DeathtouchETB put four 1/1 Green Insect tokens with Flying and Deathtouch onto the battlefield.
Maul Splicer 7 ETB put two 3/3 colorless Golem Artifact tokens onto the battlefield.Golems you control have Trample.
Pelakka Wurm 7 ETB gain 7 life.When Pelakka Wurm dies, draw a card.
Tornado Elemental 7 ETB deals 7 damage to each Creature with Flying.You may have Tornado Elemental assign combat damage as though it weren’t blocked.
Terastodon 8 ETB you may destroy up to three target nonCreature permanents. For each permanent destroyed this way, its controller puts a 3/3 Green Elephant token onto the battlefield.
Woodfall Primus 8 Persist, TrampleETB destroy target nonCreature permanent.

 

On the other hand, Yisan is very supportive as a common Creature. Unlike Birthing Pod, using Yisan doesn’t reduce your board since he doesn’t require a sacrifice to use. Like the Pod, he can also help to avoiding counterspells since those Creatures are not cast. Once the verse counters build up high enough, he is also a cheap alternate way to bring in high cc Creatures. Also there are more cards in other colors (Chisei, Heart of Oceans; Gilder Bairn; Leech Bonder; Vorel of the Hull Clade) which can manipulate the number of verse counters on Yisan allowing you to a certain degree to customize the Creature he can tutor in.

 

Concluding the Set

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Finding help up the Ladder

Yisan, in my opinion, serves as a better common support Creature more than a Commander. He is a very build around Commander if chosen. Players who choose to use him as Commander will need to know his or her deck well enough so as to avoid tutoring with Yisan only to find that there are no more Creatures within the verse counters range. It takes a bit of innovative to fully utilize Yisan’s potential. How would you have use Yisan? Will you choose him as Commander or common Creature? Share with us your thoughts.

 

And with that we have come to an end for the M15 reviews. Hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I had written them. And thus till the next article.

 

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

:D~

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