Daily Dose of Core 2019 – Bring on the Defenders!


Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Core 2019, where today I’ll be talking about creatures with Defender.

Okay, there might be more than that, but I will be talking about the last of the five Elder Dragons in Core 2019 and how important creatures with Defender are to its value. You know, with all these three-colour Dragons going around, you're going to need an easy way to put them all in the same deck. Because that’s obviously what you need to do. Thankfully Core 2019 has a solution, but I’ll go into more detail on that in a little bit.

For now, I want to start today off talking about a two burn spells, one that’s a reprint and one new to Core 2019. Here’s a look at Banefire and Spit Flame:


It’s great to have some burn spells in the format, especially one as flexible as Banefire. It’s great early, mid, and late game with the bonus that your opponent can't counter it later in the game. It's a great way to finish off your opponent by burning them out for their last points of damage without fear of it being prevented.

Spit Flame is a great instant removal spell and should be able to kill anything in the format that’s not a Dinosaur or Dragon. Being able to recur it when you cast a Dragon is great, but will be hard to pull off. A lot of the time when you get the mana to be able to cast a large Dragon, you want to play it on curve. Therefore you won’t have the mana available to bring this back to your hand.

Before I talk about the last Elder Dragon from Core 2019, I want to talk about that previously mentioned solution. Core 2019 brings us the return of the Dragon lord himself, Sarkhan. He’s back in full force, leaner and cheaper to cast then ever! Here is Sarkhan, Fireblood:


I love having a three-mana red planeswalker. This is the cheapest red Planeswalker since Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded. We know how popular he was, but it looks like Sarkhan, Fireblood will prove stronger in the long run. Let me break down his abilities.

[+1]: You may discard a card. If you do, draw a card. – I like this ability for a few reasons. It lets you cycle through cards you don’t need, but you also don’t need to discard a card if you don’t want to. This ability works great with Spit Flame as well. You can discard it early and bring it back when you cast a Dragon later in the game.

[+1]: Add two mana in any combination of colors. Spend this mana only to cast Dragon spells. – Now this is a very specialized second ability that you'll need to build your deck around to get the most value. On turn four, after casting Sarkhan, Fireblood on turn three, you will be able to cast pretty much any Dragon available to you with casting cost six or less. This covers all the Elder Dragons except for Chromium, the Mutable.

[-7]: Create four 5/5 Dragon creature tokens with flying. – Now this is what I’m talking about. That's a lot of firepower in the air for your opponent to deal with. At seven loyalty, it will take about five turns to be able to do this, but with two +1 loyalty abilities, it will come faster than you think.

Now that you have a planeswalker that can help you cast all the Dragons you need, it’s time to see the last Elder Dragon. This is a unique one, and you’ll see why in a second. Let's take a look at Arcades, the Strategist:


I have no idea what to think about this creature. It is the ultimate, “completely build your deck around me” type of card. But the question is, do you want to? I can see this being used in Commander without a doubt, but in Standard? Are there enough creatures with Defender currently in Standard to even make this work?

Well let's break it down. To start off you have two walls that become 4/4’s with Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs and Consulate Skygate. Amaranthine Wall can provide you a 6/6 indestructible attacker each turn which is nice. Golden Guardian will be able to attack and use its ability when its about to die to give you a reusable source of 4/4 creatures. There are two other creatures with Defender in Standard as well.

Now, what does Core 2019 have to offer when it comes to creatures with Defender?


Wall of Mist is an 0/5 that can deal five damage when needed and Suspicious Bookcase is an 0/4 that can make you other walls unblockable.

Arcades can also gain you card advantage if you have a lot of creatures with Defender. However, without this Elder Dragon on the battlefield, what are all your other creatures going to do? Just sit there and wait for something to block? However, I will say that being a 3/5 Flying, vigilance creature is good enough on its own for me to play this card in any Limited game. If I can squeeze in its three colour casting cost, that is.

This brings a close to Elder Dragon preview week here on the Daily Dose of Core 2019. I’m excited that they are providing some nice support to help players cast all the wonderful dragons they’ve put in the set.

Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose, your continued support is very much appreciated. Join me again next week as we continue previewing the new cards from Core 2019.

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