Magic Origins' Impact on the Pro Tour

Posted in Event Coverage on August 1, 2015

By Corbin Hosler

Every new Magic set brings something new to the game. Whether it's a mechanic, an impactful sideboard card or something to build an entirely new deck around, players look to the latest set to impact the Standard metagame.

Magic Origins doesn't disappoint.

From the testing table to the feature table, here are a few of the cards that have changed Magic this weekend.

Hangarback Walker

Perhaps no card from Magic Origins has made a bigger splash in Standard. Walker has helped to make new decks possible—Blue-Red Ensoul Artifact comes to mind—while also upgrading existing ones. Control and aggressive decks alike are adopting the Walker, and you don't have to walk far in Vancouver to find someone slamming this down on the table excitedly.

Languish

Board sweepers come at a premium today, and few do it better than Languish. Not only does it act as a much-needed Day of Judgment against the aggressive decks, it also allows Abzan Control to clear away its opponent's board while leaving their own Siege Rhino holding onto its life.

Whirler Rogue

Sometimes referred to as a "mythic rare uncommon" when drafting, the Whirler also made its (and its Thopter friends') presence known in Standard this weekend. Alongside small artifact creatures, Ghostfire Blade, and Ensoul Artifact, Whirler Rogue formed the backbone of the tournament's fourth-most played deck in Blue-Red Artifacts.

The deck has been played—to marginal success—at Pro Tours in the past, but 33 players believed that Magic Origins gave it the tools needed to push it over the edge.

Thopter Spy Network

The Thopters have arrived, and their intricate spy network has come along with them. From control decks adopting it as a win condition (eight of the tournament's 31 Blue-Black Control players opted to go this route) to a potent sideboard choice for the Blue-Red artifact decks, Thopter Spy Network has certainly made its mark so far this weekend.

Demonic Pact

Rarely does a single card in Standard so drastically warp the deck around it. With Pact, it's extremely dangerous to play it if you can't also remove it from the board when needed, since the alternative is to lose the game on the spot.

But that didn't stop plenty of players in Vancouver from taking their best shot at making it work. When the upside is as high as it is with Demonic Pact, it's no surprise that a handful of players went out of their way to build decks to take advantage of the Pact, even if that means casting Invasive Species as a way to return the Pact to their hand.

Win or lose, there's no denying that casting Demonic Pact immediately makes the game more interesting, as both players begin tracking the Pact sub-game. It's a flavorful and powerful card from Magic Origins, and it's a force to be reckoned with in Vancouver.

While those are the highlights of Magic's newest set, they're far from the only cards making an impact. Goblin Piledriver isn't an uncommon sight across the room, and even Pyromancer's Goggles has some players experimenting in Vancouver.

While it remains to be seen who and what will rise to the top in Canada, there's no doubt that the cards from Magic Origins will have a say in what happens.

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