Week two of the most recent Magic the Gathering set release Khans of Tarkir is in full swing. This set is understandably flavorful, detailing the home plane of the beloved draconic nut job Sarkhan Vol. Sarkhan’s home plane of existence is the fantasy world of Tarkir.
Tarkir is a wedges set, which means it has multiple tribes with three colors assigned to each. Now each tribe of Tarkir has its own game mechanics and tribe leader known as a khan, henceforth the set name “Khans of Tarkir.” Overall this set is incredibly flavorful. It helps us as the players gain insight into the world of Tarkir. The best thing to come from this set, however, is the reprint of fetchlands.
For those who have not played Magic before with fetchlands, fetchlands are lands that you pay one life, tap, sacrifice the land and look through your deck for a specific land depending on the fetch. Now this may sound bad or inefficient. but imagine having a one land hand, dropping a fetch, and fetching for a shockland. You just efficiently set up a good turn two. Now in eternal formats, such as modern, you thinned your deck and found a powerful new land and shuffled your deck. Fetchlands have not been in print since zendikar and are welcomed back with open arms. Now modern and legacy decks should be going down in price and standard just got a lot more interesting. The cycling of return to ravnica is upsetting, but this new set is objectively more fun, and everyone is up for a really interesting new pro tour this season.
On the professional side of things, Sultai control is looking amazingly good with the delve mechanic allowing you to cast spells from your hand for free. Delve works by exiling useless cards in your graveyard to lower the cost of spells you are casting from your hand. Remember that fetchland you put in your graveyard turn one? Well, now it’s still useful as you can exile it to reduce the cost of powerful spells like hooting mandrills and murderous cuts, allowing you better board control and low cost high efficiency creature, then scry like cards with dig through time allow you to thin your deck better and better set up another turn.
Another interesting and potentially powerful deck is the powerhouse Mardu midrange. The deck has powerful mid-game effects and efficient token creation to allow you to have fun with ankle shanker and other zurg rush mechanics with the enter the battlefield effects with raid. On top of this all it has access to both of the new planeswalkers with Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker and Sorin, Solemn Visitor to better allow you to control the board with creature destroying abilities. The other three tribes of Tarkir are a little less powerful but it still would be a lot of fun to play in your casual Friday night magic metagame. Khans of Tarkir is a perfect new set, and I am looking forward to more advances in the ever expanding competitive market.