A few years ago, I had taken a somewhat self-imposed hiatus from buying Magic cards. I just didn’t have the funds and my twins were newborns – money didn’t flow as easily as the mana did.

Around that time, the OG battle for Zendikar was raging and it was all I could do to stay away from Annihilation. It was rude, reckless and devastating unless you were the wielder of the mighty magic of the Eldrazi.

So I never really got any of the OG Eldrazi. I also didn’t bother to go back since they were exorbitantly priced and I needed a lot to make the deck I wanted. Shortly after that I got back into buying on a regular basis – I was back on the wagon and happy!

Flash forward about six years and Battle for Zendikar was announced. My first reaction was dread and fear and loathing of that plane. Then it was revealed that Annihilate had been dropped and reworked into a much less devastating keyword ability – Ingest.

I felt much better about the Eldrazi and knew that I wouldn’t have to eliminate them from my collection like I had with the slivers. That said, I bought my box of the stand-alone set with a good idea of some of the cards that I wanted for my casual, combo style of playing.

However, with Oath of the Gatewatch, I did something I’ve never done. I went into opening my packs spoiler free! It was like I was back in the day of opening boosters for Mirage or Mirrodin.

While I am typically pretty lucky when playing, I would say I’m not the luckiest guy alive when it comes to getting the chase cards in Magic. Sure I’ve gotten my fair share of good cards, but never really Those cards that are like $200 when they hit the scene.

That is until my most recent outing with Oath of the Gatewatch. I got my box of boosters as normal and it was good. I got five mythics and some really nice rares, which felt really good considering I beat the average draw for mythics in a box.

At that point, I could have been done with my two Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet’s, a Chandra, Flamecaller, a Mirrorpool, a Linvala, the Preserver and a few of the Oaths. However, I had trade bait and decided that I wanted to try my luck.

Planechasing_Foil Mystic Gate

I just had to snap a pic quickly before they put it straight into a sealed card holder … It was mine for all of five minutes before the dollar signs called to me!

That’s when I hit the jackpot. I pulled a foily mythic Mystic Gate – my first and only Expedition. With that and a few trades more I got two-thirds of another box in total. Once that had settled in, I finally got a chance to really look at my new cards.

My top rare picks were the Oaths. As an avid combo player, those were just fuel to the raging inferno that is my Planeswalker deck.

I call it a raging inferno because as I told fellow admin Benagos, the deck either lights everything and everyone up as I reign victorious. Or I see whatever hopes I had of victory go up in flames, because shock of all shocks in a five-colour deck, I get colour-hosed.

Add Call the Gatewatch to the four Oaths and my Superfriends deck is just wrong – even I know it! Yes, I know the Magic team described the Gatewatch more like the Avengers, but I’m more of a DC guy and that is another story.

And while I appreciate Chandra, my favourite planeswalker between the two sets is Ob Nixilis Reignited. My first reaction to seeing him was that he belonged in my Soul Muse deck, which features Graveborn Muse and Tendrils of Agony.

However, I realized that this card begs to be played with Ob Nixilis, the Fallen, Forced Fruition, Liliana’s Caress, Underworld Dreams and Inexorable Tides. With the Tides, Drana, Liberator of Malakir would be a fantastic fit. And with the deck theme in general, anything that lets you and as many players draw cards would be fantastic.

Outside of the Planeswalkers, I would say that Zendikar Resurgent makes my combo happy heart sing. Card draw for critters and Mana Flair – that just makes me giddy in anticipation. Unfortunately, it’s a bit expensive, so we’ll see how much I actually rely on it.

After all of those combo bombs, my last top pick is Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. And that goes back to my favourite theme from BFZ, which revolves around Defiant Bloodlord.

Yes, there was a pre-con built around him. Once you’ve added Ayli, you need three of the Bloodlord in the deck as well as three of the Zulaport Cutthroat, Bloodbond Vampire and Drana’s Emissary. To this base, we will add Tablet of the Guilds, cheap lifegain spells like Life Burst, Well of Lost Dreams, Loxodon Warhammer and everyone’s favourite, Exsanguinate.

Also begging to be added is anything with the Extort mechanic from Return to Ravinca as well as any Flicker-like cards to protect your Bloodlord and to blink your comes-in-to-play lifegain critters. With all that, you will be sitting pretty with a ton of life and your opponent, well, they might be a little stiff.

Until next time when I look at a now truly viable Land/Critter fall deck, may the lands and your opponents fall in your favour.

— Nicol Billas