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Kamigawa Remastered

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This is a followup to my article All that was wrong with Kamigawa. Therein, I claimed that this setting was not so much doomed to be a failure from its very conception, but instead just misdesigned and, most of all, terribly developed. To underscore this, I put in the effort to design a remastered version of Kamigawa block, following the precedent Wizards did set with Tempest Remastered. While obviously I could not address all the issues Kamigawa had this way, I feel it’s surprising how much more fun this environment looks if you just reduce its contents to the better designs (and shuffle a few rarities around). Honestly, I believe that my Kamigawa Remastered would even play better than the lukewarm received Tempest Remastered, because the structural issues of that ancient, venerable environment were actually greater, even though its contributing sets were far more liked!

When crunching numbers for my Kamigawa Remastered set, I adhered somewhat closely to existing formulas, only fudging a little with the rares and mythic rares, because there was no real reason not to – Tempest Remasterd never got printed, only published on Magic Online, so its numbers did not need to add up in a way conforming to printsheets. I’m not even sure that is generally still a concern nowadays, but I am aware that with the usual 53-15 distribution of rares and mythic rares in big sets, you get to print two copies of each rare and one of each mythic rare on that good old 11*11 printsheet which used to dictate set sizes and rarity distributions in Magic’s early era.

If that would ever become a real issue, I certainly could cut nine cards from among the rares and mythic rares in my Kamigawa Remastered set, but since it will almost assuredly never be, I allowed myself to deviate a little from that formula for symmetry reasons, while of course still observing the rule that the frequency with which a specific mythic rare shows up should be (very closely to) half of that with which a specific rare shows up, assuming that still every eighth rare will be replaced by a mythic rare in booster packs. This is how I got to my 60-17 distribution that fulfills this condition just as well as 53-15 does.

Umezawa's JitteSo, my set has 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 60 rares and 17 mythic rares. With the commons and uncommons, I still had to cut quite a bit of decent stuff in some colors (especially Green), while already running rather thin on others (namely Blue), and this numbers happened not only to be the usual ones, but also the best solution overall for this set. A general note about my choices: The large majority of cards is in there to enhance limited play (the designated main purpose of my set, just like with Tempest Remeastered) and to focus on recognizable aspects of the original environment (which were worth being brought back), but a few rares and mythic rares I put in there as „value“ cards – that is, cards people would be happy to open and which could drive interest into the set in addition to its appeal for drafting. (I had to do a little research here, since I’m not too familar with MTGO singles prices, especially from older sets, and there were a few cards which surprised me.) One card a thought I just had to include, even though it would have ruined nearly every limited game when it was cast, was Umezawa’s Jitte, but when I looked it up I realized with much relief that it is actually not that valuable, and could be left off my list.

Not all themes or good single designs made it, although I managed to include most of them, especially at lower rarities – the percentage of utter trash in the original expansions was so large that I had been able to cut down the number of candidates to an already reasonably-looking number after the first pass. Possibly the most glaring ommission are the common zuberas, and (relatedly) Devouring Greed. The set just had enough power-1-creatures without them, and the very linear strategy making the best use of them wouldn’t have made for good gameplay. In Modern Masters 2015, the overall density of spirits had been lower, while at the same time the overall power level of decks was much higher, so Devouring Greed was acceptable there, but it would not have been in Kamigawa Remastered. Waxmane Baku fell to the wayside for the same reason, although I wasn’t too keen on that cycle in general, since I wanted to cut down on the number of counters used in games.

Dampen ThoughtsThe other big omission was Dampen Thought. If you weren’t around at that time: This instant was to triple Champions of Kamigawa draft what Spider Spawning was to triple Innistrad draft – a build-around uncommon leading to a very unique deck which was really hard to interact with. Many people call that „fun“, while I call it „shitty gameplay“. I did not only cull that card to avoid those non-interactive games, though: Just like Waxmane Baku it had already been strong when you had to struggle to get enough playable cards synergizing with it, but in a set with plenty of such playables it would have been repressively overpowered.

Another theme that had to be adjusted for similar reasons is soulshift, whose creatures mostly moved from common to uncommon. Spiritcraft is now a bit less unevenly spread over the colors, which required a few unexpected cuts (for example, Elder Pine of Jukai lost out in the crunch), and splice onto arcane should play an important part in the environment. Samurai and snake tribal are now on much more equal footing with other themes, and ogre/demon synergies should work more reliable as well. I also moved a few more legendary creatures down to uncommon, to finally make that theme relevant. Ninjas will show up quite frequently (but not too frequently). Soratami, Hondens, Genjus and spirit dragons are all still there at rarities which make sense, the more playable of those weird equipments have made it, and each color got at least one cool flip card.

One thing I did was to adjust the set’s removal – it’s important that there’s plenty of it, so I upped its frequency, but the original rarities didn’t always check out. Even more important was to give each color a solid creature base, which proved a bit tougher – the overall quality mostly works out, I believe, but I could not prevent a noticeable weakness of Red in the lategame, and a similar weakness of Blue in the earlygame. However, in 2-color-decks one should be able to find balanced decks with those colors as well.

Kodama's ReachThat reminds me of a third big omission: Green manafixing, specifically via Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kodama’s Reach. Now, if you follow my thoughts on cube-building, you know that I do not like Green being the color enabling you to play other colors, but I did not design Kamigawa Remastered in the way I design one of my Next Level Cubes. The thing is just – these cards are too good in an environment which features practically no other fixing (yes, those lands are just unplayable), forcing non-green drafters to restrict themselves to two colors, and even heavily encouraging them to priorize one of those. I had them at uncommon for that reason, so that they enabled at least a buildaround multicolor archetype, but I realized they still would have made it too easy to play the best-of splice deck while ramping you towards big legendary creatures and incidentally allowing you to use all Hondens. Also, Green was the one color which was absolutely crammed with solid designs (compared to the other colors), and something had to go. In the end, it wasn’t a tough choice.

You might want to compare my design decisions with the remarks I made towards specific mechanics in my previous article. Obviously, I couldn’t get rid of everything I considered a mistake – Kamigawa Remastered is still roughly 50/50 about spirits and non-spirits, and I embraced slice onto arcane instead of cutting it – but the most glaring issues should be solved. I was a bit concerned that without the handsize matters theme Saviors of Kamigawa might not contribute much, but while it certainly suffered somewhat, there are still many cards from that expansion in my set.

A file with the complete list of my set is at the end of this entry.

Commons, Teil 1:

Commons Teil 1

Commons, Teil 2:

Commons Teil 2

Commons, Teil 3:

Commons Teil 3

Uncommons, Teil 1:

Uncommons Teil 1

Uncommons, Teil 2:

Uncommons Teil 2

Rares, Teil 1:

Rares Teil 1

Rares, Teil 2:

Rares Teil 2

Mythic Rares:

Mythic Rares

 

Die XLS-Datei:

Kamigawa Remastered

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Battle for Zendikar update to my Limited Card Pool

If you do not know what this is about, click here!

Lands

Ally Encampment
Blighted Cataract
Blighted Fen
Blighted Gorge

I already talked about those lands here. I decided to remove Tolaria West now that I have the Cataract, since I never really liked the tutoring, but keep Soldevi Excavations.

Colorless (non-devoid)

Kozilek’s Channeler
Bane of Bala Ged
Eldrazi Devastator
Hedron Archive
Gruesome Slaughter

The Channeler will replace Stone Golem, the Bane Triskelavus and the Devastator Sundering Titan: One interesting and reasonable upgrade, and two replacements of cards which were always second-rate solutions. I didn’t like the Archive at first, with both modes being overcosted, but every deck that wants Thran Dynamo will also not be too unhappy with the Archive, and its two uses make it playable. The Slaughter is a nice artifact synergy card to me, even though colorless cards and artifact cards are of course not the same, but the overlap is large enough that this makes sense. I chose a couple more colorless synergy cards for the same reasons.

Artifact synergy

Skitterskin
Nettle Drone
Molten Nursery
Forerunner of Slaughter
Herald of Kozilek

I was happy to get another artifact synergy card in Black with Skitterskin, and the Drone and the Nursery replaced the lackluster Rustmouth Ogre and the awkward Forge Armor I also decided to extend artifact synergies to two-colored cards, adding not only Forerunner and Herald, but also Ethersworn Shieldmage and Reclusive Artificer, and hoping that Oath of the Gatewatch will have a few more.

Allies

Expedition Envoy
Kor Bladewhirl
Lantern Scout
Makindi Patrol
Hero of Goma Fada
Kor Entanglers
Kalastria Healer
Zulaport Cutthroat
Hagra Sharpshooter
Tajuru Warcaller
Tajuru Beastmaster
Coralhelm Guide
Firemantle Mage
Chasm Guide
Ondu Champion

I don’t like that the new allies work differently from the old ones, but I will make the best of it. I removed all allies with abilities which affected only allies (unless they were putting +1/+1 counters on allies) and replaced them with rally variants, but kept those which counted allies for an effect. I also now include a few cards specifically because they are allies – even without an ally-related ability – in addition to Stonework Puma. All of those – the Envoy (taking over from Elite Vanguard), the Cutthroat, the Sharpshooter and the Guide – make also sense in cubes without ally synergies, but would probably not have made the crunch without that creature type. I also used the opportunity to get rid of Bojuka Brigand and Nimana Sell-Sword, which are strictly inferior versions of green allies.

Landfall

Ondu Greathorn
Retreat to Emeria
Retreat to Hagra
Scythe Leopard
Snapping Gnarlid
Retreat to Kazandu
Wave-Wing Elemental
Retreat to Coralhelm
Valakut Predator
Retreat to Valakut

Landfall isn’t a theme which needs too much density, so I could be rather picky here – at least in Red and Green. I decided to use all five Retreats to make sure I have enough landfall on non-creatures, to support the colors with fewer attractive options, and because their abilities are not all focussed on attacking. However, that meant that Grazing Gladehart and Zendikar’s Roil had to go for being too similar with some Retreats. I also took out Zektar Shrine Expedition, which I never liked too much because I wanted my landfall-enchantments to do non-creature stuff. As for the creatures, I preferred very simple abilities not requiring additional mana. Hedron Rover got the boot for being too similar (and vastly inferior) to the Predator.

Miscellaneous

Quarantine Field
Roil’s Retribution
Seek the Wilds
Vestige of Emrakul
Turn Against

There is room in my pool for the Field because I use Journey to Nowhere instead of Oblivion Ring or Banishing Light, and the scalable version should play interestingly. The Retribution is fairly unique (at least in White, where this effect belongs), and the Seek weakly supports a land theme and might serve as a kind of green Impulse in general. The Vestige replaces the vanilla Highland Giant which is just too far below the curve nowadays, and Turn Against shoves out Ray of Command which Blue neither needs nor deserves (but the effect was too cool to go unused).

As usual, I will not explain why I NOT chose cards unless specifically asked – so, if you are curious why some cards didn’t make the cut, just ask me in the comments!

You can download my complete updated Limited Card Pool below as a spreadsheet in XLS format. The columns show card name, converted mana cost, a card type code I use for easier sorting, an abbreviation for card rarity, and some tags I use to facilitate cube-building. My type code uses „Klar“ for colorless cards and those affiliated with all five colors, and otherwise the German names for single-colored cards and the established names for color pairs and triples. The color function of cards in a cube trumps technically correct color definition here. „L“ denotes lands, „K“ creatures, „J“ other permanent types, and „I“ instants and sorceries. The asterisks are only there for sorting purposes. The rarities are (ordered from high to low frequency) „S“ for staple, „C“ for commons, „U“ for uncommon, „R“ for rare and „M“ for mythic. That there are five rarity categories does not mean that every cube I build will use them all. Note that I changed the concept for the rarity I give in that spreadsheet: It is no longer defined as the projected most likely rarity of a card in a cube (although it will often happen to be), but the lowest rarity which I believe could make sense in a cube I build. The exception here are mythics, which can always be downgraded to rare. I will always use at least three rarities, maybe not for single card frequencies, but for collation purposes.

My Limited Card Pool in XLS format

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My Limited Card Pool: White Lands and Creatures

This is the second entry in a series where I comment on and explain my choices for my limited card pool in detail. (Here’s the first, and here’s the second.)

In this entry I listed a number of guidelines I follow when deciding which cards I want in my cubes.

Here’s a PDF you can open in a new window to look at the part of my list I’m taking about while reading:

White Lands & Creatures

And here’s a link to an explanation of the shortcuts I use in that list, if you need it.

This entry might be especially long, since I’ll say something about many cycles spanning several colors.

About the lands:

Daru Encampment is part of a small cycle of tribal supporting lands I use. They’re especially useful because they’re of little interest to drafters not going for that theme, but also not worthless if that theme fails to manifest fully. A general note about tribal: Each tribe has 6 supporting commons and 3 supporting uncommons/rares, so that the average number of these cards showing up in the draft pool of a typical cube is five (6* 2/3 + 3* 1/3). (I treat red and black goblins as different tribes, so that I can use them either separately or together.)

Kjeldoran Outpost is a nice card for a land theme, but it is also the closest thing I found for a generic token producer.

The cycle featuring Secluded Steppe fulfills several roles: For one thing, they are a great option for advanced drafters to subtly improve their deck by taking a land which gives them a little flood protection instead of a redundant spell. They also lend some support to a threshold theme, as well as to cards like Cartographer or Grim Discovery. Then there’s the effect of thinning one’s deck (of course, you need a couple more cycling cards and/or cheap cantrips for it to become noticeable), which might become important in a cube where you want to give drafters a little extra help to find synergy cards.

Vivid Meadow and its ilk are a cycle of mana fixers intended for environments encouraging players to draft mostly monocolored decks (but with the option for a few splashes), in contrast to mana fixers for „normal“ environments, where two-colored decks are the norm; or for pronouncedly multicolored environments.

About the creatures:

Exalted is just a mini theme now, centered in White, with one card each in the other colors except Red, where there isn’t one, and Cathedral of War. There’s still room for another card in White, but only if the design convinces me completely.

The amount and rarity distribution, as well as the nature of support cards for an artifact theme differs from color to color. After Blue, White is supposed to lend itself the best towards a heavily artifact themed deck.

White and Green are the only colors which are able to support an enchantment theme. (White playing well with – and also against – both artifacts and enchantments might be one reason the amount of White cards in my pool is slightly higher.) Blue offers some aura-themed stuff, but as I already mentioned, that doesn’t really play that well. I still hope that Theros block will offer something usable in Blue, Red and Black (other than enchantments themselves, which are already plenty). Actually, even the selection in White and Green isn’t THAT great so far, but enough to work with (barely).

I’m not too happy with Favored Hoplite as the white representative of heroic (a bit too explosive and too hard to kill), but was even less happy with Wingsteed Rider, which was the only double-colored card in the cycle, and also the only one which was both decent without ever triggering and impressive when triggering a few times (and thus overpowered overall). Here, the next two sets will likely present a better option, though.

I use Soul’s Attendant over Soul Warden, because that trigger is forgotten so often, and in casual, neither having to always remind your opponent, nor NOT having to remind him of a mandatory trigger seems a good solution (one is incredibly annoying, one feels too much like rules-lawyering).

Landfall is another smaller theme, and I took care to somehow balance it out, so that it is not nearly completely about aggression, as it was in Zendikar, but in White, the only acceptable candidates clearly tend towards offense.

I decided to make all double-colored creatures for two or three mana at least uncommon: not all of them – like Chapel Geist – really feel uncommon, but most do, and I needed more uncommons overall (because most designs I really like are printed as commons). Bumping all color-intensive creatures up to uncommon is another piece of the puzzle of making sure beginning players will end up with an at least playable deck.

Let me talk about Leonin Skyhunter as a prime example of an absolutely perfect design which still did not make the cut anymore: Mistral Charger isn’t any less perfect, but more important, and Skyhunter is too similar to it. The Charger and Spectral Rider together cover all of the spectrum where the Skyhunter fits in.

Soulbond is another of those mini themes which simply does not need large numbers. It is also, like exalted, one of those themes which manifests in 4 colors, which is terribly unaesthetic. I used to avoid that on principle, but came around when I realized that this forced me to leave out too many interesting cards. By the way, I really don’t think it would be too hard to find a flavor for a black soulbond card, but this is unlikely to ever happen.

While I like shadow, I reduced that theme continually until it only featured three uncommons each in White, Black and Blue, which is enough because shadow works better on just a couple of cards instead of constituting an omnipresent theme. Since Soltari Foot Soldier really only makes sense as a common, I replaced it with Lantern Kami.

Wall of Essence showcases that I do not reject creatures with defender in general, but want to make sure that they play a very specific role. The generic defenders are colorless, to be useful to any drafters who find themselves wanting such a card, but I chose the colored ones to be high profile (and thus uncommon or even rare).

Another theme, which is the strongest in White and Black (and thus maybe also responsible for those two colors featuring the most cards in my cube), is color matters. Since I do not use hate cards, this means all those cards only refer to their own color, which makes them generically useful, but especially interesting in mulicolor environments, and especially powerful in (near) monocolor environments, where they serve to draw players into such a strategy in the first place.

Azorius Justiciar is the sole white representative with detain. As much as I love Azorius Arrester (which was, for reasons I still do not fully understand, one of the most undervalued cards in Return to Ravnica draft): Between the Justiciar, Niblis of the Urn and Red’s Goblin Shortcutter, there is just not enough space in the crunch for the Arrester. White has access to a rather large part of the color pie, and I had to fight hard against myself not to include each interesting design in my pool, leaving too little room for the other colors. The Shortcutter is an excellent limited card on its own, so White shouldn’t one-up (more like two-up, actually) it.

I had to be careful with my selection of threshold cards. I do not use graveyard hate anymore (not the least because there is no good way to do that), and thus have to make sure I avoid cards which take over a game too easily, like Nomad Decoy or Cabal Torturer. I wonder if WotC will ever revisit threshold and improve the selection available to me…

A word about Indomitable Ancients: This is what a dedicated high-toughness aggro stopper should look like! So, if you feel you would miss one of those horrible Siege Mastodon / Thraben Purebloods / Silent Artisan type creatures, which WotC seems to be so fond of, in a cube: Here’s for you.

Knight of Obligation is a common for frequency reasons. Extort is a theme which should show up often enough that it makes sense for players to tune their deck with it in mind sometimes.

Loxodon Partisan wasn’t my first choice for the white battle cry creature, but Accorder Paladin was too similar (and in my opinion, inferior) to Daring Skyjek, which is very likely to show up in the same cube. It also has the same mana cost as Goblin Wardriver, so I decided to mix things up a bit. I ended up happier with the card after thinking a bit about it than I had expected at first, because White now has a somehow generic 5-mana creature, which is both useful on defense and offense, and not nearly as boring as WotC’s standard 3/5 for 5 mana.

Luminous Angel is a bit weak for my taste in the 7-mana slot – it really should be 5/5 – but it will do until a better design comes around. (Job description: A bit stronger, but not too strong; generically useful; and not too similar too other, more important cards in my card pool.)

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My Limited Card Pool: Non-Creature Artifacts (Unaffiliated)

This is the second entry in a series where I comment on and explain my choices for my limited card pool in detail. (Here’s the first.)

In this entry I listed a number of guidelines I follow when deciding which cards I want in my cubes.

Here’s a PDF you can open in a new window to look at the part of my list I’m taking about while reading:

Non-Creature Artifacts

And here’s a link to an explanation of the shortcuts I use in that list, if you need it.

The generic cards in this list are mostly made up of mana artifacts and removal. Because interaction is essential to good gameplay, stuff like Brittle Effigy or Icy Manipulator is common, and Ratchet Bomb and Nevinyrral’s Disk will almost always make my cubes (remember that single rares show up with the same frequency as uncommons in my cubes, 1/3). I really wish there were a few more, reasonable designs of colorless cards which can deal with enchantments (for artifacts, there are at least a few options), but there aren’t, so I will always have to be extremely careful with enchantments in my cubes – they must be a relevant part of it, but cannot be too poweful, since they’re so hard to get rid of for some colors. Since Theros block has enchantments as a major theme, there’s a small chance that will change with the next two expansions, but I’m not holding my breath.

I trimmed my equipment selection to mostly include only very basic effects, because I found those to play best – equipment is already offering a lot in its most basic form, and I wouldn’t want to use more complicated equipment instead of simple stuff, but there’s not enough space in a cube for too much equipment. Even very simple equipments, like [Trusty Machete[/card], already became a victim of the crunch, since I only need so many choices.

A few card-specific notes:

Chimeric Mass is a bit annoying, since it will often be a creature with charge counters on it (instead of simply using +1/+1 counters), and I wish there were a cleaner version, but it will do.

It always annoys me when a colorless card needlessly (for flavor reasons) produces colored tokens, like Orochi Hatchery, because in some environments, this makes it color-affiliated (if there’s Kaysa in it, for example), but usually it isn’t. There’s no better choice, though.

I consciously chose Neurok Hoversail over Cobbled Wings, because re-equipping from an attacker to a blocker shouldn’t be too cheap.

Aeolipile is superior to Moonglove Extract, because it is one one hand less clumsy (the point of such cards is to be put on the board pre-emptively for secureness, so cheaper is better), but on the other hand creates what R&D calls „shields-down moments“, allowing the opponent to avoid its effect when you’re completely tapped out.

I avoid indestructible whenever possible (it prevents interaction and is slightly confusing), but it’s not too big a deal on Darksteel Pendant, which provides an important basic function.

Mind Stone clearly edges out Guardian Idol, since drawing a card is better flood protection than providing a clumsy 2/2. Prophetic Prism teams up with it and Millikin for my choice of two-mana artifacts. Coldsteel Heart had for some time been the only snow card in my cube, but I finally got rid of it after I realized I actualy preferred to separate acceleration and mana fixing.

Titan Forge and Lux Cannon are newcomers in my pool. I was looking for a couple more high-end cards for control decks and found these, which play differently from simply expensive cards, because they’re not as attractive for ramp strategies, and specifically reward you for dragging the game out. That’s a pretty small niche in my cubes, but I feel two rares are just right to potentially fill it.

Medicine Bag is the last survivor of a couple cards which I had previously used specifically as discard outlets. See, I knew I forgot something when I listed my guidelines: I got rid of madness, all hellbent cards except Keldon Megaliths, spellshapers, and most discard outlets. Mechanics which specifically encourage you to empty your hand are nearly as bad as those which encourage you to keep it full, madness is rather complicated and confusing, and spellshapers make for repetitive play (and are usually extremely annoying to play against). The whole complex of these mechanics didn’t convince me anymore, and thus I only kept a few select cards which could stand on their own. (The Bag still somehow supports threshold, obviously, but that is not important.)

Seer’s Sundial, although featuring landfall, is now my „generic“ card-drawing artifact. I finally got rid of Jayemdae Tome, which no one, including me, ever used. In the really early limited days, there was a time when the Tome was quite useful, but nowadays, and especially in my cubes, paying 12 mana for an Inspiration is just beyond awful. Cannon and Forge seem to have similar egregious initial investments, but at least produce an impressive effect impacting the board; helping you to win where the Tome might just have gotten you closer to decking yourself.

I wasn’t too happy with my overall selection of high-end colorless creatures, so I included a couple more high-end non-creature artifacts instead. Minion Reflector, Mirari, Mindslaver, Staff of Nin and Aladdin’s Ring are my toys of choice for lategame or ramp decks here, with Mindslaver intended for cubes in the top segment of the power level spectrum.

Some important cards I removed are Serrated Arrows, which are overpowered, and Spine of Ish Sah, which is too expensive to fulfill the role I wanted it to (a catch-all colorless removal spell), and at the same time lends itself to silly combo plays recurring it every turn. Though the Arrows are an excellent design, they need to cast at least one mana more to be fair. It’s funny how strong they are, yet how weak [cast]Dragon Blood[/card] is – a design I’d gladly include in my pool if its activation cost were just tapping it.

Another card which finally got kicked out is Disrupting Scepter, which is essentially a sideboard card in my cubes (reason enough not to use it), and for the rare control-on-control matchup to boot, because it is too clumsy otherwise. I kept it so long because there is just no alternative to it – but then again, in contrast to card drawing, discard probably isn’t an effect which is really needed on a colorless card.

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My Limited Card Pool: Explanation of Shortcuts

I realized I had to explain the shortcuts I used in my limited card pool list all in one place which I can link to.  If they don’t make sense to you, that’s fine; I mostly just wrote what came into my head first, but in general, they should be quite intuitive. They have been of enormous help to me when compiling my card pool, although they’re far from perfect, especially since I’m too lazy to write down all applicable tags – Ring of Thune, for example, should list „art (is)“, „mark“ & „equip“ in addition to „color (pro)“ and „ring“.

So here we go:

Column C:

„Klar“ signifies color-unaffiliated cards. The other words are German for the colors or name the guilds and shouldn’t need an explanation. A reminder: L marks lands, K creatures, J non-creature permanent spells, and I instants and sorceries.

Column D:

Yup, „C“ means „common“; „U“ „uncommon“ and „R“ „rare“, as defined in my default rarities for Next Level Cubes. (These rarities differ a lot from print rarities.)

Column E:

„art“ marks cards which support an artifact theme, „land“ a land theme, „mark“ a +1/+1 and -1/-1 counter theme, „yard“ a graveyard theme, „ench“ an enchantment theme, „instery“ an instant and sorcery theme, „sold“
a soldier tribal theme, „color“ a color matters theme, „gob“ a goblin tribal theme, „zomb“ a zombie tribal theme, „elf“ a elf tribal theme and „wiz“ a wizard tribal theme.

„hyb“ denotes a hybrid card, and „cross“ a monocolored card which is actually mostly a dualcolored card in disguise, since it needs another color to be desirable. Technically, dualcolored cards should get a tag, too, but since Column C already got this covered, I didn’t need it and could use that space for another tag.

I also use some qualifiers in brackets here:

„pro“ means the card is mainly intended to work with other cards of  that theme, while „anti“ shows that it is especially good against them, and „spare“ denotes a weakness against such cards.

„is“ signifies that the card supports a theme simply by belonging to that category. That is, of course, only useful in special cases – no need to tag all artifacts as „art (is) – for example, when the primary type of an artifact is land, or the artifact is colored; or when a land does something beyond providing mana, thus being integral to a theme of lands which do things.

„critter“, „instery“, „aura“, „double“ and „extra“ separate 5 ten-card cycles of hybrid cards: „critter“ are creatures needing only one colored mana; „instery“ are instants or sorceries only requiring one colored mana, „aura“ are the auras from Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block rewarding you for playing two specific colors (like Shield of the Oversoul), „double“ are cards requiring two colored mana intended to be uncommons, and „extra“ is an addition cycle of commons with no further common denominator which fulfill the necessary quota of hybrid cards.

Column F:

In alphabetic order:

„affi“ = affinity to artifacts

„afficrit“ – the cycle of creatures with affinity to certain basic land types from Darksteel, since changed to „laffi“

„arc“ – an creature with modular and the name component „arcbound“

„banner“ – a couple of color matters cards which permanently give all (or all your) creatures of a certain color +1/+1

„basics“ – a card whose strength scales with the number of lands of a certain basic land type you control

„battal“ = battalion

„bback“ = buyback

„bestow“ – just that

„bomb“ – an artifact with the name component „spellbomb“ from Scars of Mirrodin

„bond“ = soulbond

„cantrip“ – an instant or sorcery drawing you a card in addition to its primary effect

„caps“ – cards with the name component „capsule“ from Shards of Alara

„chief“ – some tribal support cards with that name component from Scourge

„cohort“ – some „color matters“ creatures with that name component from Lorwyn

„courier“ – some tribal support cards with that name component from Onslaught

„craft“ = metalcraft

„cry“ = battle cry

„cycland“  – the common lands with cycling from Onslaught

„cycling“ – just that

„cycrit“ – a cycle of creatures with landcycling from Scourge

„detain“ – just that

„eat“ – a creature with the additional cost of exiling a creature card from your graveyard

„enchtrip“ – a cycle of creature enchanting auras which draw you a card when they enter the battlefield

„enlist“ – some tribal support cards from Apocalypse which reveal the top 4 cards of your library when they enter the battlefield.

„equip“ – an equipment

„etbaura“ – a cycle of common auras with a spell-like triggered ability when they enter the battlefield from Ravnica

„evoke“ – just that

„evolve“ – just that

„exal“ = exalted

„fall“ = landfall, or a mechanic which is effectively the same thing

„fback“ = flashback

„fetch“ – a land which, for the cost of 1 life and sacrificing it, allows you to search a land featuring one of two basic land types from your library and put it onto the battlefield

„fix“ = manafixing

„gate“ – a creature from Planeshift which, upon entering the battlefield, requires you to return a creature featuring one of its colors to owner’s hand

„hero“= heroic

„ini“ – a color matters creature with that name component from Shadowmoor

„inspired“ – just that (will show up in a later update)

„intim“ – a creature with intimidate or fear

„laffi“ – the cycle of creatures with affinity to certain basic land types from Darksteel, formerly „afficrit“

„landact“ – an aura giving the land it enchants an activated ability (Leafdrake Roost was missing this tag in the list)

„leash“ = unleash

„load“ = overload

„mage“ – a 2/1 for two mana with an activated ability with that name component from Magic 2012

„manland“ should be obvious – a land with an activated ability which turns it into a creature

„mentor“ – a color matters creature with that name component from Shadowmoor

„mill“ – a card with the main purpose of putting cards in its controller’s graveyard

„morbid“ – just that

„ordeal“ – an aura with that name component from Theros which puts a +1/+1 counter on the creature it enchants whenever it attacks

„palm“ – the „Gempalm“ tribal support creatures from Legions; formerly „tribcyc“

„persist“ – just that

„pumpart“ – an artifact creature with an activated ability requiring colored mana

„ramp“ = denotes cards which allow you to have more than x mana on turn x. I use it only on color-unaffiliated cards

„replica“  – the cycle of common artifact creatures with that name component from Scars of Mirrodin

„ring“ – colored equipments with that name component from Magic 2013

„rush“ = bloodrush

„scav“ = „scavenge“, formerly spelled out completely

„scavenge“ – just that; „scav“ meanwhile

„scry“ – just that (that tag is out of use now, only showing up in older versions of my list)

„seal“ – a cycle of enchantments with that name component from Nemesis

„shadow“ – just that

„shard“ – some artifacts with that name component, affiliated to a color, from Mirrodin

„signet“ – an artifact with that name component from Ravnica block which, for the cost of 1 mana and tapping it, gives you 1 mana each of two colors

„slith“ – a creature with that name component from Mirrodin, which gets a +1/+1 counter when it deals combat damage to a player

„smith“ – an artifact matters creature with that name component from Scars of Mirrodin

„spike“ – a creature with the name component „spiketail“ which can be sacrificed to counter target spell unless its controller pays some extra mana

„spot“ – a dual land which enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a land featuring one of two basic land types

„thirst“ = bloodthirst

„thresh“ = threshold

„tort“ = extort

„tribcyc“ – the „Gempalm“ tribal support creatures from Legions; changed to „palm“ meanwhile

„tribland“ – a land supporting a specific tribal strategy

„tribrev“ – a tribal matters creature from Lorwyn which cost three mana more to cast if you do not reveal a card with a certain creature type from your hand

„tribute“ – just that

„umbra“ – some auras with that name component from Rise of the Eldrazi

„undy“ = undying

„unearth“ – just that

„vivid“ – the uncommon lands from Lorwyn

„wall“ marks a creature with defender

„wither“ – just that

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