One of the things I like about M15 is the
callbacks to past planes. Not that Shandalar
isn't awesome - in fact, it is - but personally,
I'm a connoisseur of Magic's history, and I see
no reason why we can't have both. Granted, there
aren't really any explicit references to
anything earlier than Zendikar, but Zendikar was
also an awesome era of Magic.
Consider, for instance, Perilous Vault. I
remember the Roil and how big a part of
Zendikar's lore it was, and the cool way the
hedrons foreshadowed the rise of the Eldrazi.
Until now, however, the only spell that really
let you tap into their maximum potential as
shown in lore was All Is Dust, and that could be
metagamed against with other Eldrazi spells.
Perilous Vault is fitting of the mythic-level
adventure zone that Zendikar was, and by
coincidence the two colors that most need its
effect are also well-placed to take advantage of
it: green's mana acceleration and blue's
affinity for artifacts are very well suited to
Today's card of the day is Perilous Vault which
is a four mana artifact that taps for five mana
to exile itself and all non-land permanents.
This is a very powerful effect, particularly in
Multiplayer, and can fire off fairly early in
the game with a purely colorless casting cost
and the nine mana total likely being spread out
over two turns. Effects like this shouldn't be
intended as a defense, but used as a supported
strategy alongside cards that can avoid the
removal. As this is an exile effect instead of
destroy the design isn't as straightforward, yet
the potential is enough that this will see play
as a top reset button in current formats.
For Limited this can be a constant threat
should an opponent start to overwhelm you, or
played for the reset when you have cards in hand
to recover faster. Either way supporting it is
more difficult in the format, yet passing it is
a huge mistake as it fits into any color scheme
and is not something you ever want to see played
against you. A first pick in nearly any pack in
Booster and usually worth including in Sealed,
unless every single slot can be filled with a
I was away on vacation last week, but it looks
like I came back just in time for us to start
looking at M15 cards! From what I've seen so far
there's a lot of very exciting stuff to look
forward to, and I can't wait to dive into it.
First up on our list this week is Perilous
Vault. It might be remind you a bit of Helvault,
in more than one way.
It's always fun to give Wrath of God style
effects to any colour that wants them instead of
just white, although I suppose it really is more
of an Akroma's Vengeance. The first card ever to
do so I believe was the fabled Nevinyrral's
Disk, which if you don't know the story behind
is an homage to the great author Larry Niven* of
the Ringworld** series.
* Google it
** Google it
Another way to look at Perilous Vault is just
to imagine it saying "4: Your opponent better
hope he has artifact removal." Because what
exactly are they going to do about it? No
really. That's a serious question. What are they
going to do? Play stuff? Play stuff so you can
just get rid of all of it next turn? NOT play
stuff? Not play stuff allowing you to play your
own stuff uncontested? Unless they have some way
to get rid of it, you control when the Vault
goes off. Which means you're either going to be
ahead on the board and not need it, or you're
going to be behind at some point and then for 5
more mana, *poof*, now you're not.
Nevinyrral's Disk had the advantage of being
cheap and the disadvantage of being slow,
whereas Perilous Vault has the advantage of
being fast and the disadvantage of being
expensive. But this is a card that shines in
control decks, combo decks, and mana ramp decks.
Decks that want to be able to get up to very
high turns with very high mana. Decks that don't
mind wiping out everything played before turn 5
because their best stuff drops on turn 6 or
It's not a flawless card because it does take
9 mana and you basically have to commit your
turn 4 and 5 to this and nothing else. And that
one turn may be enough for your opponent to - if
they're smart - remove it right away, giving
them the field advantage.
But it blows pretty much everything up, and
any colour can run it. That means this will see
play. In Limited, in Casual, in Multiplayer, and
maaaybe even a little in Constructed though not
as much. Someone would have to find the right
deck for it to do well in that environment. But
it could happen. This is one card that will
place your opponent in terrible peril.
And should they try to go back in there and
face the peril, they will quickly find that no,
it's too perilous.
Ugin, the spirit dragon, has been mentioned
several times since Future Sight, but I don't
think we've ever really gotten an official line
on who he was or what he did, unless it was in
the Zendikar novels. As for what his vault is
and what it does, it's a simpler version of
Oblivion Stone. The O-Stone was a powerful
staple of control and big mana decks in its
heyday, as it gave you the ability to cherry
pick your favorite permanents and leave them as
the only thing left on the board. The Vault
doesn't give you that option-- it wipes
EVERYTHING but the lands. And since it's "exile"
instead of "destroy", that means you can't cheat
it with tricks like indestructibility either.
This is a stone cold reset that puts both
players back to square one, and that's bad,
because these kinds of cards are at their best
when you can break their symmetry.
The simplest way to do that with this is to
simply be behind on permanents when you play it.
If your opponent has a stronger board state than
you, you stand to gain from resetting
everything. You don't want to plan on losing
board advantage, though you might hold your best
stuff back in hand the turn before you cast the
Vault. A deck that's low on permanents and high
on instants and sorceries also stands to lose
less to a Vault.
The next means of breaking the Vault would be to
"hide" your permanents from it. A temporary
exile effect like Ghostway would allow your
stuff to come back after the Vault explodes, but
those kinds of effects have become rare in past
years. Bouncing your best creatures back to your
own hand and re-casting them could also work, if
you play enough bounce spells. Even an
Excommunicate effect would help you rebuild
The third way, and possibly the hardest to do
properly, is to take advantage of the fact that
the Vault doesn't exile lands. An effect that
turns a land into a creature will almost always
come with the clause that it's still a land. As
long as the effect isn't a permament to be
exiled, like Living Terrain, you could continue
your assault with your surviving man-lands.
Other nonbasic lands with activated abilities,
like Scrying Sheets, Urza's Factory, or Eye of
Ugin would still be available to you. Good luck!