Skip to content

Getting ready for the Conflux Prerelease

January 25, 2009

I haven’t really had anything new to talk about Conflux since the recent spoiling of Progenitus. I have been staying up late for each and every Magic article even to the dismay of having class in the morning. I have also been reading the Rumor Mill over at the Salvo pretty extensively and am sometimes surprised by how insightful some of the people are that lurk in those waters, but most of the time I just skip over the words and look at the spoilers.


I have been trying to become an efficient limited player for a while, and after playing loads of Shards of Alara drafts and sealed deck tournaments, I feel like Conflux will be a fresh look on something that I feel like has started to become a bit tiresome. I found myself always drafting the same deck and I found myself winning every time I did that too. Vithian Stinger, Wild Nacatl, Blightning, Sprouting Thrinax, Oblivion Ring, Blister Beetle and the house cards such as Broodmate Dragon and Predator Dragon. Those were the cards I looked for, those are the cards I got, those are the cards I won with. Lets look at what makes these the greatest cards to draft or include in your sealed deck.

If you are new to the Limited format then let me give you the low-down of what makes this a very enjoyable way to play the game of magic. Imagine you and your friends all of varying skill levels and all with different wells of monetary funds to spend on magic cards. Now imagine that you all get a random set of cards in the form of 3 Shards of Alara booster packs and 3 Conflux booster packs. Now you make a deck. 

When you look at booster packs normally, you usually just see trash. That trash is now the different colored legos upon which you will build a well-oiled machine. Seeing as how you are already thinking TRASH, I used that word as an acronym to help you remember what you want to look for in each pack you open.

T– Troll Ascetic305

R– Removal

A– Answers

S– Solid Creatures

H– House cards

Troll Ascetic

Troll Ascetic means any creature that is going to stick around for an extended period of time. When I play Troll Ascetic 2nd or 3rd turn, you are usually going to be seeing him for the rest of the game (holding a Loxodon Warhammer in his hands eventually) on my side of the board. He cannot be targeted by your Oblivion Ring or Shock. He dishes out 3 damage in combat, and lives to tell the tale with his regeneration ability. Also, at 3 casting cost, he is one of the most efficient creatures in the game. Drafting a Troll Ascetic would be like drafting Brett Favre as your quarterback. What, Troll Ascetic isn’t in Shards of Alara or Conflux? Well, let me outline what it means to be a Troll Ascetic. Shroud or other forms of it (my friend calls “shell” the whole “can’t be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control” thing), Protection, and 4 toughness. The power of 4 in magic is like being immune to Branching Bolt, Resounding Thunder, Naya Charm, Ajani Vengeant, Caldera Hellion among other sources of 3 damage in Shards of Alara. It is a powerful number in the magic universe.

In Alara there is a certain crocodile that everyone fears to see hit the field: Algae Gharial. His ability to grow in size from digging graves AND not be targeted by anything, is truly astounding in the Limited format. Something you will begin to realize about Limited, is that creatures rule. A good creature is what wins you the game, and being able to pick out those Troll Ascetic from the trash, is very important. Lets look at some Trolls from Conflux.

The outlander series are all considered trolls because of their protection of the enemy colors based on their casting cost, for instance: 

Goblin Outlander

Creature – Goblin Scout                          Common
Protection from white

Being able to regenerate is a very powerful ability, therefore I must mention:

Vagrant Plowbeasts

Creature – Beast Uncommon
1: Regenerate target creature with power 5 or greater.

And powerful abilities on a creature is cool, but when it has 4+ toughness, it becomes awesome.

Goblin Razerunners

Creature – Goblin Warrior Rare
1{R}, Sacrifice a land: Put a +1/+1 counter on Goblin Razerunners.
At the end of your turn, you may have Goblin Razerunners deal damage equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it to target player.

Starting at 4 toughness is amazing for this Goblin. You sometimes have access land in your limited deck, why not morph that terrain into turn by turn damage. This is almost a House card, pretty much borderline. 

One more card to look out for is Aerie Mystics

Aerie Mystics

Creature – Bird Cleric Uncommon
1{G}{U}{T}: Creatures you control gain shroud until end of turn.

Giving your creatures Shroud will be a pivotal move to keep you in the game. The power of Shroud in Limited is like never having to worry about dying other than from combat damage and your own devour.


Removal is an important tool in Limited, some could argue the most important part of being ahead of your opponent. Lets look at the greatest removal spell in Conflux (the greatest removal spell in recent history)


Path to Exile

Instant Uncommon
Remove target creature from the game. Its controller may search his or her library for a basic land card, put it into play tapped, then shuffle his or her library.


Removing their creatures from the game is a surefire way to win. Sounds like a no-brainer, but really, this is a format all about getting out your best hitters and keeping them there until they have swung for that last point of damage. Stopping their fighters is important, and removing them from the game is just plain nasty. Oblivion Ring is obviously a very great option, as it is the most powerful removal spell in the format right now. Spells that do damage to creatures, like the almighty Branching Bolt, will obviously be important to get into your deck, but one that sticks out in my mind from Conflux is:



Sorcery Rare
Banefire deals X damage to target creature or player. 
If X is 5 or more, Banefire can’t be countered by spells or abilities and the damage can’t be prevented.

If they do have that Cancel in their hand to try and stop your game winning action, well lets just say, it was sad that they held onto it. This spell also brings up a great point I would like to make: You are going to have excess mana, so don’t worry about having something that costs a lot to play, the game will more than likely last long enough were you will be able to cast it. Banefire will be winning games around the world on Saturday where X will be clicking in from about 5-9 uncounterable, unpreventable damage. Lets move one shall we?


Answers range from Naturalize to an Obelisk. Naturalize answers your opponents artifacts and enchantments while an Obelisk will answer your mana problems. Being screwed over by an opponents Maniacal Rage slapped onto your Guardians of Akrasa is not something you want to see happen, so be prepared. It doesn’t matter who you are, you do not want to be screwed over for mana, so get the tri-lands, obelisks and buckle up. Answers vary in some ways, but are really there to help you when you are faced with a problem, and if you don’t have a way to fix a problem, then you are going to fail in that game.

Solid Creatures

Solid Creatures are not the same as Troll Ascetic, they are the filler creatures. This is where all the empty slots of your 40 card deck is filled. This is where Elvish Visionary gets a good seat over Cylian Elf, because you get card draw where you can in this format, and to get an early game beater and an extra card, is just awesome (but, if there is an empty spot, Cylian Elf will be welcome). In Conflux there are solid creatures that you will want to slap in there.

Canyon Minotaur

Creature – Minotaur Warrior                                                              Common

Aven Squire

Creature – Bird Soldier Common
(Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, it gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
  #3/145 1/1


Rhox Meditant

Creature – Rhino Monk Common
When Rhox Meditant comes into play, if you control a green permanent, you may draw a card.

Grixis Slavedriver

Creature – Zombie Giant Uncommon
When Grixis Slavedriver leaves play, put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token into play.

I really like Grixis Slavedriver in the sense that you get a lot of solid creatures. 12 power for 10 mana. 4 creatures. Very cool.

Hellspark Elemental

Creature – Elemental                                                                         Uncommon
Trample, haste
At end of turn, sacrifice Hellspark Elemental.

Turn 2 you hit them for 3 damage. then if they play a creature, you unearth it and either put them at 14 or they trade with something that will be removed from the game anyway. Very awesome creature. Lets move on!

House Cards

House cards are the tanks at the back of the pack, because they are usually rares. Usually these are the first pick that sets the trend for the rest of the deck. Conflux brings us a bunch.

Inkwell Leviathan

Artifact Creature – Leviathan Rare
Islandwalk, trample, shroud
“Into it’s maw went the seventh sea, never to be seen again while the world remains.” -Esper Fable
  #30/145 7/11

I couldn’t help but mention this guy first. If he resolves, which in this format, isn’t that much of a fear, but I can’t help but imagine how screwed your opponent is. It has 11 toughness, it has shroud, it has trample, and seeing as how it is a multi-color set, you will more than likely be controlling an island.mhtocxvjv_en2

Wall of Reverence

Creature – Spirit Wall Rare
Defender, flying
At the end of your turn, you may gain life equal to the power of target creature you control.

It has flying and 6 toughness, which will shut down nearly all fliers. This will set a tempo of tremendous life gain that your opponent just won’t be able to catch.


Mirror-Sigil Sergeant

Creature – Rhino Soldier Mythic Rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control a blue permanent, you may put a token into play that’s a copy of Mirror-Sigil Sergeant.

Uncontested, this will win you game. They have 4 toughness, they have trample and they are duplicating like wild cats. I was hoping this would be better for Constructed, but he is an absolute god in Limited.

Apocalypse Hydra

Creature – Hydra Mythic Rare
Apocalypse Hydra comes into play with X +1/+1 counters on it. If X is 5 or more, it comes into play with an additional X +1/+1 counters on it.
1{R}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Apocalypse Hydra: Apocalypse Hydra deals 1 damage to target creature or player.

Again, lots of mana is not a problem here, and this thing is just going to be ridiculous. Knocking away their chump blockers is like removing any chance they had of controlling this hydra.

Obelisk of Alara

Artifact Rare
1{W}{T}: You gain 5 life.
1{U}{T}: Draw a card, then discard a card.
1{B}{T}: Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
1{R}{T}: Obelisk of Alara deals 3 damage to target player.
1{G}{T}: Target creature gets +4/+4 until end of turn.

This is the last card I want to look at today. It creates tempo in the sense that it gains you 5 life. It finishes them with the 3 damage and the +4/+4. It kills and nerfs their creatures with the -2/-2. This is about as controlling as an Umezawa’s Jitte. No one wants to go against this. Have your Naturalizes ready.

I hope you have enjoyed my look at the world of Limited. Kick butt this weekend at your local prerelease and remember, if your opponent somehow plays a Progenitus, do the right thing and don’t panic, just scoop your cards and concede.

picture-3Also, I wanted to give a plug to CCGTradepost for doing an awesome job at setting up a trading site for all of us folks who don’t have a super extensive trade circuit around us at all times. I suggest you set up an account, and get to trading! You can find nearly any Standard legal card in the Have/Wants lists of its ever growing amount of user created pages. They are nice people and very understanding. It is all based on the tried and true system of ‘feedback’ so you know you are dealing with a grade-A person. So, after you make an account, be sure to drop me a line at my page, then trade me a Garruk Wildspeaker!

Bon Voyage,


13 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2009 10:40 pm

    Awesome post. This is one of the most insightful posts about Conflux that I have seen.

    I’m not sure where you will be attending your prerelease but I’m going to take your wisdom with me.

  2. taptolaugh permalink
    January 28, 2009 12:45 am

    I have to agree with Norm on this one. Amazing post, very insightful and entertaining. I really am excited for Conflux.

  3. Lunashine permalink
    January 28, 2009 9:21 am

    Hello hello, another very fine article you put up, I enjoy your writing style. Im surprised you didnt mention “celestial purge”. Covering 2 colors in a set thats aimed towards all 5 is huge I think.

    Most of the real problematic creatures, like meglonoth, apocalypse hydra, nyxathid, goblin razerunners, child of alara, maelstrom archangel and a lot more are just dust for mere 2 mana. Not to mention this prevents any stupid unearth games your enemies might scheme. Ah and of course, it also can remove bolas eventually ^^


  4. January 28, 2009 10:32 am

    Celestial Purge is a great removal spell, especially in here, you are very right. One of the only things that I find that would be wrong with that card is this: Bant.
    It is going to be a shard that is drafted MORE often because in Shards of Alara, it only had two removal spells (Oblivion Ring, Bant Charm). So now that they have Celestial Purge, Path to Exile, Bant charm, and Oblivion Ring, it is going to be a more prominent draft style than before.
    With that said, you are very right Lunashine, Celestial Purge is an amazing answer. If you can get it, then throw it in your main-deck.

    Also, since you bring up 5 color in Limited: If you see your opponent playing all five colors, they more than likely have one of the house rainbow spells of the set so hold onto that counterspell (HOTC)!

  5. Lunashine permalink
    January 28, 2009 1:38 pm

    I totally agree dillon, bant is a force to be reckoned with. I think crasher-rafiq will get a lot more aggro with o ring and path to exile together. I guess its ok to play purge maindeck in conflux limited, since everyone SHOULD have a target, be it a rainbow permanent or one of the other red/black troublemakers.

    I also love shard convergence. Its no game winner, but the power of the rainbow will be with you for sure 😛

    about having a counterspell ready: I dont plan on using that overcosted traumatic visions, and countersquall seems a little risky to me in limited, where manabase and creatures totally dominate. Well any suggestions? Oh wait…. white got a counterspell – case closed 😀

  6. January 28, 2009 2:30 pm

    Great article Dillon and I should think very timely with the pre-release just around the corner.
    I appreciated your points on thinking ‘TRASH’ (great acronym by-the-way) and will take this with me to sealed events from now on.
    Looking forward to a similar article on standard constructed play.

  7. January 28, 2009 4:08 pm

    @Lunashine – Cancel is still in the format, and yes, “noncreature spell” is semi-difficult to pull off, but stopping a Branching Bolt or Resounding Silence will definitely create some serious change in momentum. That loss of 2 life is pretty cool.

    @Copysix – That article is right around the corner for sure! Excited for a G/W Aggro with some sweet Knight of the Reliquary and Path to Exile in hand, and with Shock Lands coming in 11th! It will be really fun.

  8. January 29, 2009 10:00 am

    Thanks for the plug, Dillon. Very good read, indeed!

  9. February 3, 2009 2:38 am

    CCGTradepost only has cards from Standard? That’s pretty lame…and retarded.

  10. February 3, 2009 7:28 pm

    You can find pretty much anything there, but with a higher concentration of newer tournament savvy players on there, you will be able to find almost every Standard legal card on there.

  11. February 4, 2009 3:25 pm

    …which makes that site not worth visiting.

  12. February 4, 2009 5:17 pm

    Perhaps you should explore the site before you dismiss it in such a childish manner.

  13. March 10, 2010 1:55 pm

    Or perhaps not.

Leave a Reply to Jura Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: