DTK: Observations on megamorphs

Here are my observations on the creatures with megamorph in Dragons of Tarkir:

  • The set has 30 creatures with megamorph: 11 commons, 12 uncommons, 5 rares, and 2 mythics. Dragons of Tarkir has the same rarity distribution as Khans of Tarkir, so a DTK/DTK/FRF draft will have an average of 1.6 copies of a given common, 0.6 copies of a given uncommon, 0.26 copies of a given rare, and 0.13 copies of a given mythic. This means that an 8-person draft will have an average of 26.4 creatures with megamorph, or about 3 per player.
  • Blue and green have 8 megamorphs each, white and red have 5 each, and black has 4. Unlike in Khans of Tarkir, there are no colorless or multicolor megamorphs.
    • Blue and green each have 3 megamorphs at common, 3 at uncommon, 1 at rare, and 1 at mythic, so they have an average of 7 creatures each in a typical 8-person draft.
    • White and red have 2 megamorphs at common, 2 at uncommon, and 1 at rare, so they have an average of 4.66 creatures each.
    • Black has 1 megamorph at common, 2 at uncommon, and 1 at rare, so it has an average of 3 creatures.
  • As in Khans of Tarkir, if your opponent has less than 5 mana, their face-down creature cannot beat a 2/2 unless they have a combat trick. However, if they have multiple face-down creatures, one of them could be a Guardian Shield-Bearer, which could let their other face-down creature beat a 2/2 in combat. (They could also have an on-board effect like Salt Road Ambushers that helps them win the combat.)
  • 8 of the 13 creatures with a megamorph cost of 4 or less are 3/2’s when turned face up. There are also 3 2/2’s, a 4/2, and a 6/2. (Marang River Skeleton can regenerate, but it takes 4 mana to unmorph and 1 mana to regenerate, so it still takes 5 mana to beat a 2/2 if Marang River Skeleton is face down.)
  • 8 of the 17 creatures with a megamorph cost of 5 or more are 4/4’s when turned face up. Tnere is also a 2/2 (it’s a double striker, so it still beats a 2/2 in combat), a 3/4, a 4/3, 2 4/5’s, a 5/7, a 6/6, and 2 7/6’s (one of which is a defender).
  • Each color has a rare megamorph that can potentally provide card advantage for less than 5 mana: Hidden Dragonslayer, Stratus Dancer, Silumgar Assassin, Ire Shaman, and Den Protector. In addition, green has Ainok Survivalist at uncommon.
  • Once you get to 5 mana, there are another 3 megamorphs that can potentally provide card advantage: Monastery Loremaster, Silumgar Spell-Eater (uncommon), and Shorecrasher Elemental (mythic). Attacking into Monastery Loremaster with a creature that’s 2/4 or smaller can lead to getting 3-for-1’d, so it may make sense to play around this common if your opponent has an instant, sorcery, enchantment, artifact, or planeswalker in their graveyard. Silumgar Spell-Eater only results in a 3-for-1 if you cast a spell during combat. Shorecrasher Elemental can’t usually result in a 3-for-1 in single combat; while it can flicker to save itself from removal, that also takes it out of combat. Also, it’s a mythic and so you’re unlikely to face it often.

DTK: List of removal

This is a list of all the removal in Dragons of Tarkir, divided into permanent creature removal, temporary creature removal (such as bounce, tap, and falter effects), non-creature removal, and off-battlefield removal (hand, stack, and graveyard). The column labeled T (to the right of the permanent creature removal column) indicates how tough a creature the removal can handle; if there is no number in that column, the removal is independent of the creature’s toughness (it is a destroy effect unless specified otherwise). Conditional removal is indicated after the card name.

Italics indicates that one or more permanents have to remain in play for the effect to continue. Bold indicates a reusable or ongoing effect. Yellow highlight indicates that multiple targets are affected. Red highlight indicates mass removal that you may be able to avoid overextending into. Within each color/rarity, cards are ordered by how tough a creature they can kill, then by converted mana cost.

Unlike the lists of tricks and megamorphs, this list does not try to provide an abbreviated description of the effect, but just references how it affect creatures. Here’s how to interpret those effects:

  • Abbreviations used: A (artifact), attkr (attacker), blkr (blocker), borrow (untap & gain control until end of turn; the permanent gains haste), bounce (return to owner’s hand), bury (destroy & it cannot be regenerated), C (creature), CMC (converted mana cost), counter when used as a verb (counter a spell), dmg (damage), draw X (draw X cards), E (enchantment), ETB (enters the battlefield), flicker (exile, then return to the battlefield), flyer (creature with flying), freeze X (tap X and it doesn’t untap next turn), gain X (gain X life), GY (graveyard), I (instant), L (land), loot X (draw X cards, then discard X cards), lose X (lose X life), mill (put cards from a library into a graveyard), opp (opponent), opp’s X (X controlled by opponent), P (player or power, depending on context), prot (protection), PW (planeswalker), raise (return card from your graveyard to your hand), reanimate (return card from the graveyard to the battlefield), redirect X dmg from A to B (next X dmg that would be dealt to A is dealt to B instead), regen (regenerate), S (sorcery), sac (sacrifice), T (toughness), your X (X you control).
  • Effects (+X/+Y, -X/-Y, hexproof, first strike, prot from a color, etc.) last until end of turn unless specified otherwise.
  • Effects only target creatures unless otherwise specified, e.g., X dmg without any qualifiers means that the effect does X damage to any creature. If the effect also targets players, that won’t be mentioned here.
  • Descriptions sometimes mention other spells to avoid lengthy descriptions, e.g., Silumgar Spell-Eater’s unmorph effect is described as “Mana Leak” to avoid having to write “counter target spell unless its controller pays 3.”

DTK: List of megamorph creatures

This is a list of all the megamorph creatures in Dragons of Tarkir. The first table has the creature names while the second one has abbreviated descriptions; any portion of the description after a semicolon refers to effects that trigger when the creature is turned face up. Note that the latter table may not accurately represent all attributes of the creature and often leaves out certain details. For instance, it never has information about the creature’s mana cost or enters-the-battlefield effects since we’re assuming the creature is already in play face down. Also, I sometimes make mistakes while filling out these tables; please let me know if you spot any issues.

Both tables categorize the creatures by converted mana cost, color, and rarity. Unless specified otherwise, each creature has one colored mana in its morph cost with the rest being generic mana, so a morph creature listed under white/5cc has a morph cost of 4W unless listed otherwise. I also specify morph costs if the creature has X in its morph cost, has a multicolored morph cost, or costs more than the column it is specified in.

Here’s how to interpret the second table:

  • Abbreviations used: A (artifact), attkr (attacker), blkr (blocker), bounce (return to owner’s hand), bury (destroy & it cannot be regenerated), C (creature), CMC (converted mana cost), counter when used as a verb (counter a spell), dmg (damage), draw X (draw X cards), E (enchantment), ETB (enters the battlefield), flicker (exile, then return to the battlefield), flyer (creature with flying), freeze X (tap X and it doesn’t untap next turn), gain X (gain X life), GY (graveyard), I (instant), L (land), loot X (draw X cards, then discard X cards), lose X (lose X life), mill (put cards from a library into a graveyard), opp (opponent), opp’s X (X controlled by opponent), P (player or power, depending on context), prot (protection), PW (planeswalker), raise (return card from your graveyard to your hand), reanimate (return card from the graveyard to the battlefield), redirect X dmg from A to B (next X dmg that would be dealt to A is dealt to B instead), regen (regenerate), S (sorcery), sac (sacrifice), T (toughness), your X (X you control).
  • Effects (+X/+Y, -X/-Y, hexproof, first strike, prot from a color, etc.) last until end of turn unless specified otherwise.
  • Effects can target any legal permanent or player unless otherwise specified, e.g., X dmg without any qualifiers means that the spell does X damage to any creature or player.
  • Descriptions sometimes mention other spells to avoid lengthy descriptions, e.g., Silumgar Spell-Eater’s unmorph effect is described as “Mana Leak” to avoid having to write “counter target spell unless its controller pays 3.”

DTK: Compact FAQ

This is a compact version of the Dragons of Tarkir FAQ (13 pages vs. 34 pages for the original).

DTK: List of instant-speed tricks

This is a list of all the instant-speed tricks in Dragons of Tarkir. The first table has the spell names while the second one has abbreviated spell descriptions in case you don’t remember what the spell does. Note that the latter table may not accurately represent all uses of the spell and often leaves out certain details. Also, I sometimes make mistakes while filling out these tables; please let me know if you spot any issues.

Both tables categorize the tricks by converted mana cost, color, and rarity. Unless specified otherwise, each colored spell has one colored mana in its mana cost with the rest being generic mana, so a 3-mana white spell with no explicit cost listed has a mana cost of 2W. I also specify mana costs if the spell has X in its mana cost, is multicolored, or costs more than the column it is specified in. Spells in bold can leave a creature in play, e.g., flash creatures, spells that create token creatures, or spells that allow you to cast creatures at instant speed.

Here’s how to interpret the second table:

  • Abbreviations used: A (artifact), attkr (attacker), blkr (blocker), bounce (return to owner’s hand), bury (destroy & it cannot be regenerated), C (creature), CMC (converted mana cost), counter when used as a verb (counter a spell), dmg (damage), draw X (draw X cards), E (enchantment), ETB (enters the battlefield), flyer (creature with flying), freeze X (tap X and it doesn’t untap next turn), gain X (gain X life), GY (graveyard), I (instant), L (land), loot X (draw X cards, then discard X cards), lose X (lose X life), mill (put cards from a library into a graveyard), opp (opponent), opp’s X (X controlled by opponent), P (player or power, depending on context), prot (protection), PW (planeswalker), raise (return card from your graveyard to your hand), reanimate (return card from the graveyard to the battlefield), redirect X dmg from A to B (next X dmg that would be dealt to A is dealt to B instead), regen (regenerate), S (sorcery), sac (sacrifice), T (toughness), your X (X you control).
  • Spells that confer an effect (+X/+Y, -X/-Y, hexproof, first strike, prot from a color, etc.) last until end of turn unless specified otherwise.
  • Spells can target any legal permanent or player unless otherwise specified, e.g., X dmg without any qualifiers means that the spell does X damage to any creature or player.
  • Spell descriptions sometimes mention other spells as a way to describe their effects, e.g., Revealing Wind is described as “Fog; look at face-down attkrs/blkrs”.

DTK: Compact spoiler

This is an 8-page version of the full Dragon of Tarkir spoiler. The card image gallery at DailyMTG is 67 pages so I’m hoping this saves a couple of trees. This spoiler is also text instead of images, so it’s easier to search for card types or keywords before the set is available on Gatherer, and it’s also easier to carry around in your pocket for reference.

FRF: Lotus-Eye Mystics and Abzan Advantage

Lotus-Eye Mystics and Abzan Advantage both get better if the format has good enchantments, although for different reasons. Khans of Tarkir had very few good enchantments, so neither of these cards would have been strong in a triple Khans of Tarkir draft deck. While Fate Reforged brought more enchantments to the format, including some excellent uncommon, I’ve often ended up with just a 3/2 prowess creature or a +1/+1 counter and am not sure whether my experience is representative. Let’s try to get a better sense of how many playable enchantments exist in the format, and in which colors. (I’ve left out the enchantments whose quality is still TBD — Ancestral Vengeance, Molting Snakeskin, and Frontier Siege — as I suspect they are unplayable in most decks.)

  • White: Lightform (uncommon), Sage’s Reverie (uncommon), Suspension Field (uncommon), Citadel Siege (rare), Mastery of the Unseen (rare) = 1.8 copies in an average 8-person draft
  • Blue: Jeskai Runemark, Singing Bell Strike, Cloudform (uncommon) = 3.3 copies
  • Black: Debilitating Injury, Raiders’ Spoils (uncommon), Retribution of the Ancients (rare) = 2.5 copies
  • Red: Dragon Grip (uncommon), Rageform (uncommon), Outpost Siege (rare) = 1.3 copies
  • Green: Trail of Mystery (rare) = 0.3 copies
  • Multicolor: Secret Plans (uncommon), Abzan Ascendancy (rare), Mardu Ascendancy (rare), Sultai Ascendancy (rare), Temur Ascendancy (rare) = 1.6 copies

So an 8-person draft has only 11 playable enchantments on average. Of the clans, Jeskai is expected to have most number of playable enchantments available in a draft (6.5), so I would expect a typical Jeskai deck to have no more than a couple of enchantments. This means that while Abzan Advantage is a reasonable card for your sideboard, it is probably not worth playing maindeck unless the +1/+1 counter is particularly relevant to your deck. Similarly, if you already have a couple of enchantments, it makes sense to draft Lotus-Eye Mystics more highly, but it’s probably not worth drafting early with the expectation of picking up enchantments to go with it. If you do draft it, keep an eye out for Debilitating Injury.

EDIT: I somehow missed the Khans of Tarkir auras in the list above. Singing Bell Strike, Debilitating Injury, and Dragon Grip (uncommon), are all quite playable, so I’ve added them to the analysis above.