ORI: Observations on removal

Some observations about the removal in Magic Origins:

  • Every color has access to some form of mass removal, even green (Joraga Invocation and The Great Aurora). The main ones to avoid overextending into are Tragic Arrogance, Chandra’s Ignition (does damage equal to the power of a creature you control), Languish (4 toughness), Eyeblight Massacre (2 toughness), and Chandra’s Fury (1 toughness), and you also need to be careful about overattacking into a Hixus Prison Warden if your opponent has WW2 available. Eyeblight Massacre, Hixus Prison Warden, and Archangel of Tithes are the only ones that aren’t symmetric or mostly symmetric. While most of the mass removal is rare or mythic, Chandra’s Fury is a common, and Eyeblight Massacre and Joraga Invocation are uncommons.
  • The only non-mass removal spell that affects multiple creatures is Kytheon’s Irregulars, which can tap multiple creatures.
  • Other than Sentinel of the Eternal Watch (uncommon), Kytheon’s Irregulars (rare), and Molten Vortex (rare), the reusable removal in the format requires you to jump through some hoops:
    • Grasp of the Hieromancer, Mage-Ring Responder (rare), and Gideon, Battle-Forged (mythic) require a specific creature to attack.
    • Akroan Jailer and Mage-Ring Responder (rare) require a significant amount of mana to reuse their abilities.
    • Disciple of the Ring (mythic) requires exiling 1 instant/sorcery in your graveyard per use.
    • Blightcaster (uncommon) requires you to play enchantments.
    • Ghirapur AEther Grid (uncommon) and Pia and Kiran Nalaar (rare) require you to have artifacts in play (although Pia and Kiran Nalaar bring 2 of their own).
    • Blazing Hellhound (uncommon) requires you to sacrifice creatures.
  • Observations about the removal available in each color:
    • All colors have access to Throwing Knife and Meteorite at uncommon, both of which deal 2 points of damage. There’s also Mage-Ring Responder at rare, and Alchemist’s Vial at common can prevent a creature from attacking or blocking for a turn.
    • White has a good permanent creature removal suite, with Celestial Flare and Supression Bond at common, and Swift Reckoning at uncommon. Among the temporary removal, the commons are unimpressive, and include an aura that’s unplayable in most decks, an expensive tapper, and Heavy Infantry, which you rarely want multiples of. However, Sentinel of the Eternal Watch (uncommon), Kytheon’s Irregulars (rare), and Archangel of Tithes (mythic) are bombs.
    • Blue has a varied removal suite. There’s the usual bounce (Disperse, Separatist Voidmage at uncommon, and Harbinger of the Tides and Displacement Wave at rare), Anchor to the AEther (uncommon) for repulse, Disciple of the Ring (mythic) for tapping, Send to Sleep for freeze, Claustrophobia for permanently tapping a creature, Willbreaker (rare) for stealing creatures, and Turn to Frog (uncommon) for turning a creature into a 1/1 temporarily.
    • At common and uncommon, black has to spend 3 mana to kill X/1’s (Eyeblight Assassin), 4 mana to kill X/2’s (Weight of the Underworld at common, and Eyeblight Massacre and Blightcaster at uncommon), and 5 mana to kill larger creatures (Unholy Hunger at common, and Cruel Revival at uncommon). At rare, black has 4-mana spells that kill X/4’s (Languish and Demonic Pact). Black also has a few other assorted removal spells: Reave Soul, Fleshbag Marauder (uncommon), and Gilt-Leaf Winnower (rare). Other than Reave Soul, black usually has to spend 5 mana to kill even an X/3.
    • Red can kill 1-3 toughness creatures at common, has Fiery Conclusion (5 dmg) and Ravaging Blaze (X dmg) at uncommon, and has Exquisite Firecraft (4 dmg) and Chandra’s Ignition (your creature deals P dmg to all others) at rare. While red doesn’t have many ways to kill creatures with a toughness of 4 or more (Fiery Conclusion requires sacrificing a creature, Ravaging Blaze requires 6 mana, and the other options are rares), it can use falter effects (Seismic Elemental at uncommon), borrow effects (Act of Treason at common, and Enthralling Victor at uncommon), and Ravaging Blaze as finishers once its creatures are outclassed.
    • Green has a fight spell and a flyer removal spell at common, as it often does. It also has Joraga Invocation at uncommon, which I played once and had mixed results with, possibly because I had only 13 creatures in that deck. It’s great on a stalled board, but doesn’t let you win out of nowhere like Overrun can, even though it costs 1 more mana. I think it’s still playable in G/W reknown or B/G Elves since those decks tend to play a lot of small creatures that can get outclassed as the game goes on.
  • There are a number of discard spells that force you to discard multiple cards, which is worth keeping in mind when deciding how to play your hand out. Black has Nightsnare (1-2 cards) at common, Tormented Thoughts (# cards equal to the power of a sacrificed creature) at uncommon, and Demonic Pact (2 cards) at rare.

ORI: List of removal

This is a list of all the removal in Magic Origins, 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 list of tricks, 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 N (put N 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.

ORI: Memorizing the instant-speed tricks

I usually memorize the tricks in draft formats I play, so I can quickly determine what plays are available to my opponent given the mana they have open. I typically break tricks down into 5 categories:

  • Instant-speed creatures: Flash creatures, token generators, and spells that let you play reatures at instant speed.
  • Creature removal: This includes bounce, tapping, and other temporary removal.
  • Pump/protection: Pump spells primarily affect combat by giving a creature +M/+N, while protection spells are primarily used to save a creature from removal by giving it hexproof or protection from a color. However, +M/+N can save creatures from removal, and protection from a color can help creatures survive combat, so I’ve combined them.
  • Sideboard cards: This includes color hosers, artifact and enchantment removal, and conditional removal (e.g., Plummet, which only kills flyers). You don’t usually need to play around them in game 1.
  • Other: Everything else, including counterspells, card draw, and life gain. You may want to play around counterspells on occasion, and you may sometimes want to play around lifegain if you’re planning an alpha strike, but you don’t usually need to play around the rest.

This table shows the count of tricks in each category by color. Note that this count combines all rarities, since the primary purpose of this table is to help you remember the tricks in the set so you can quickly enumerate the relevant ones. If a card belongs to multiple categories, it will be counted in the leftmost column, e.g., Aerial Volley is listed under Sideboard Cards, even though it is also a removal spell.

TOTAL Sideboard Cards Instant-Speed Creatures Creature Removal/ Bounce Pump/ Protection Other Spells in “Other” Category
White 7 1 2 2 2
Blue 13 3 3 1 6 = 5 counterspells (Negate, Clash of Wills, Psychic Rebuttal, Calculated Dismissal, Bone to Ash) + 1 card draw (Artificer’s Epiphany)
Black 4 2 2
Red 6 1 4 1
Green 5 1 3 1 = Reclaim
Multicolor 2 2
TOTAL 37 3 7 11 9 7

Let’s examine this table and see what we can learn. We’ll ignore the Sideboard and Other categories for most purposes, since they are encountered less frequently.

  • There are 27 relevant tricks in the set: 40% are removal, 33% are pump/protection spells, and 17% are instant-speed creatures.
  • Of these, blue has no tricks that cost 1 mana. White, black, and green have 1 each, while red has 2. White’s tricks all cost 2 or less, except for its instant-speed creatures. All the black instant-speed removal spells cost 5 mana.
  • All the instant-speed creatures in the set require white and/or blue mana.
    • White has 2 instant-speed creatures, blue has 3, and W/U and U/G have 1 each.
    • The monocolored creatures are all rares other than Nivix Barrier, and are either 2/2’s or X/4’s.
    • The multicolored creatures are both uncommons and are X/3’s.
    • Excluding the largely unplayable Nivix Barrier, an 8-person draft will have an average of only 3.4 instant-speed creatures, so we don’t need to worry about them too much. There are also 2 instant-speed spells that can untap creatures in this format, but Enshrouding Mist only untaps a renowned creature and Bounding Krasis is a multicolor uncommon.
    • All 7 of these creatures also have additional effects when they enter the battlefield; Hixus Prison Warden and Harbinger of the Tides double as creature removal, Gideon’s Phalanx, Mizzium Meddler, Nivix Barrier, and Thunderclap Wyvern double as pump/protection, and Bounding Krasis taps/untaps a creature.
  • Other than the 4 flash creatures and a sideboard card (Hallowed Moonlight), the rest of the tricks are commons and uncommons.
  • Most colors have 4 removal + pump/protection spells, except red which has 5, and green which has 3. White and black both have 2 in each category. Blue and red have 1 pump/protection spell each (Hydrolash and Titan’s Strength), with the rest being removal. Predictably, green has 3 pump/protection (Aerial Volley is in the Sideboard category since it is unlikely to be playable maindeck).
  • There are 12 instant-speed removal spells. The red ones can kill creatures from 2-5 toughness, other than Ravaging Blaze which can kill larger creatures if you have enough mana. The rest are capable of handling creatures of any size.
    • 2-3 toughness: Fiery Impulse
    • 4 toughness: Chandra’s Fury
    • 5 toughness: Fiery Conclusion (uncommon)
    • X toughness: Ravaging Blaze (uncommon)
    • Any toughness: Celestial Flare, Swift Reckoning (uncommon), Disperse, Send to Sleep, Turn to Frog (uncommon), Unholy Hunger, Cruel Revival (uncommon). The 2 instant-speed creatures that double as creature removal (Hixus Prison Warden and Harbinger of the Tides) can also handle creatures of any size.
  • All pump/protection spells other than Hydrolash are commons. In addition, many of the instant-speed creatures, have a pump/protection effect when they enter the battlefield.
    • The pump spells are fairly well spread across the spectrum: Touch of Moonglove gives +1/+0 (and deathtouch), Enshrouding Mist gives +1/+1, Mighty Leap gives +2/+2, Titan’s Strength gives +3/+1, Titanic Growth gives +4/+4, and Might of the Masses gives +N/+N where N is the number of creatures you control. Among the instant-speed creatures, Thunderclap Wyvern (uncommon) gives all other flyers on its side +1/+1. That is also the only instant-speed pump spell that affects multiple creatures.
    • Hydrolash (uncommon) and Vine Snare are Fog effects. Among the instant-speed creatures, Nivix Barrier gives a single creature -4/-0.
    • The only protection-only spell is Dark Dabbling, which regenerates a creatures (or regenerates all your creatures if you have spell mastery). Enshrouding Mist also doubles as a protection spell since it prevents all damage to the targeted creature. Among the instant-speed creatures, Gideon’s Phalanx (rare) can make your creatures indestructible, while Mizzium Meddler (rare) can change a spell/ability’s target to itself.
  • The 3 Sideboard tricks include artifact removal, flyer removal, and a spell that hurts reanimation/token strategies.
  • The 7 Other tricks include 5 counterspells, a card draw spell, and Reclaim.

ORI: Expected numbers of copies of a card

Magic Origins has 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 55 rares, and 16 mythics. This means that an 8-person ORI/ORI/ORI draft will have an average of 2.4 copies of a given common, 0.9 copies of a given uncommon, 0.4 copies of a given rare, and 0.2 copies of a given mythic.

ORI: Compact FAQ

This is a compact version of the Magic Origins FAQ (16 pages vs. 39 pages for the original).

ORI: List of instant-speed tricks

This is a list of all the instant-speed tricks in Magic Origins. 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: ~ (this card), 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., Vine Snare is described as “Fog all C’s with P <= 4".

ORI: Compact spoiler

This is a 9-page version of the full Magic Origins spoiler. The card image gallery at DailyMTG is 70 pages, so I’m hoping this saves a couple of trees, while also being easier to carry in your pocket for reference. 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.