The newest Magic: The Gathering product is the Time Spiral Remastered draft set, an expert-level product that rewards experienced players for creating insightful and creative draft and Limited strategies. The entire set has now been spoiled, and Time Spiral Remastered fans may note a few distinct draft archetypes to try out.

All sets feature archetypes for draft and sealed pool, and Time Spiral Remastered is no different. Between its tricky time-based mechanics and a few creative creature tribes, Time Spiral Remastered offers a lot to veteran draft players who have a good eye for synergy and archetypes. It’s time to build some Limited decks.

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The White-Blue Archetype: Bouncing Creatures All Over the Place

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Many of Time Spiral Remastered‘s white cards either have potent ETB effects, bounce friendly creatures or both, and a handful of this set’s blue cards are doing the same. This archetype is based on generating extra value from having creatures repeatedly entering and leaving the battlefield, and not just for those ETB triggers. Flickering and bouncing creatures at instant speed like this can save those creatures from unfavorable combat situations and removal spells too, which can slow down an opponent’s strategy. Lightning Axe looks pretty silly when the target vanished courtesy of an angel’s intervention, and Angel of Salvation is the ultimate flicker target, preventing damage while serving as a 5/5 flying finisher.

Some bounce and flicker-oriented cards include Flickerwisp and Restoration Angel, which are evasive flying beaters that can re-use an ally’s ETB effect. Whitemane Lion is a 2/2 with flash that bounces a friendly creature too, and Thraben Inspector and Stonehorn Dignitary each have ETB effects that are definitely worth duplicating via flicker or bounce effects.

Blue cards like Riftwing Cloudskate can bounce a friendly creature or turn this power on the opponent to create a solid tempo play. Primal Plasma can be flickered if its owner wants to change its power/toughness, and Mulldrifter can be flickered to act as a Divination on a 2/2 flying body. Spells such as Momentary Blink, Sunlance, Banishing Light, Lingering Souls, Snapback, Reality Acid and Remand can help complete this deck.

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The Blue-Red Archetype: Mastering Time Itself

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When blue mana is combined with red, it cares less about blinking and more about suspend and morph, creating an unpredictable and resourceful archetype. This deck is eager to suspend most of its best cards for cheap. Better yet, those suspended cards may be cast early when certain creatures are in play. Suspended cards have time counters on them, and the likes of Timebender, Rift Elemental and Shivan Sang-Mage can remove those to cast the suspended cards early (among other benefits).

Timebender is very flexible, either speeding up a friendly suspended card or adding more time counters to the opponent’s own suspended cards, delaying them further. Rift Elemental gets +2/+0 each time it eats a time counter, and Shivan Sand-Mage is a red Timebender, except its ability is based on entering the battlefield instead of flipping face up.

As for cards being suspended, Shivan Meteor, Rift Bolt and Arc Blade are all potent burn spells with suspend, and among blue cards, Ancestral Vision is an excellent card to suspend, along with Aeon ChroniclerRiftwing Cloudskate and Errant Ephemeron. Counterspells such as Logic Knot, Delay and Remand also help this deck maintain its tempo edge, and Delay in particular is rather flexible.

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Delay will counter a spell, then put that spell into suspend with three time counters. This can be used on the opponent’s spells, but it can also be used on a friendly spell that’s in danger of fizzling or being countered. Then, friendly creatures such as Rift Elemental, Timebender and Shivan Sand-Mage can remove those time counters to cast the spell sooner. Finally, spells such as Wipe Away, Think Twice, Mystic Confluence, Jhoira’s Timebug and Jhoira herself can round out this deck.

The Black-Green Archetype: Cultivating a Garden Army

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Time Spiral Remastered made room for an aristocrats archetype — that is, a deck based on making, then sacrificing disposable creatures for benefits. The black-green deck is built upon Fungus and Saproling creatures, with powerful Fungus creatures such as Sporesower Thallid, Utopia Mycon, Sporoloth Ancient and Thallid Shell-Dweller getting spore counters and then making Saproling tokens.

In black, Deathspore Thallid can help too, and Slimefoot, the Stowaway is a black-green legend that can make Saprolings and drain the opponent’s life as creatures die. These Saprolings can attack en masse, block the opponent and get sacrificed, and more. Support creatures, such as Thelon of Havenwood and Thelonite Hermit, are Elves that back up the Fungi and create even more Saprolings. If white mana is splashed in, then Pallid Mycoderm and Mycologist can help too.

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A variety of support spells can back up this archetype, such as Dread Return, which can bring back a fallen creature to restock the battlefield. Its flashback cost requires not mana, but the sacrifice of three creatures, and this deck should have no trouble offering up cheap Saprolings and/or other disposable creatures to fuel Dread Return. Minions’ Murmurs is a black sorcery that will cost X life and draw X cards, with X being the number of creatures the caster controls. That means this black-green deck can draw many cards from Minions’ Murmurs.

Sudden Death, Dismember and Ichor Slick are all decent creature removal spells in black, and in green, Life and Limb can boost all Saprolings and Forests into both card types, with Saprolings tapping for mana and Forests becoming creatures. Muraganda Petroglyphs can grant Saprolings +2/+2 since they have no abilities, and Might of Old Krosa, Evolution Charm and Search for Tomorrow can also round out this archetype nicely.

The Black-Red Archetype: Discarding Everything for Madness

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When black and red mana come together, the player’s hand is going to rot away, but for all the right reasons. Black mana is adept at making the opponent discard cards, but black decks can also discard their own cards for creative benefits, especially when partnered with red mana. In particular, Time Spiral Remastered‘s  black-red archetype makes heavy use of the madness mechanic, where a card can be cast for its madness cost when it’s discarded. That’s half of this deck’s core strategy; the other half is made up of cards that discard cards as costs for their abilities.

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A variety of creatures and spells in the black-red deck will discard cards, with Stronghold Rats being a fine start. It’s a 2/1 Rat with shadow. When it hits an opponent, all players discard a card, but only the black-red player will actually benefit from doing so. Deepcavern Imp is an efficient 2/2 flier for just {1}B, and its echo cost requires discarding a card rather than mana, further fueling madness. Trespasser il-Vec is a 3/1 that can discard a card to gain shadow, and in red, Lightning Axe can discard a card to avoid paying a lot of extra mana. Urborg Syphon-Mage is a Spellshaper that discards a card, among other costs, to drain the opponent for two life. Ridged Kusite can also discard cards at will.

This is where the madness cards, such as Gorgon Recluse, Grave Scrabbler, Ichor Slick, Nightshade Assassin and Reckless Wurm, come in. All are castable when a card is discarded. Discarding a card for Lightning Axe will feel pretty good when it means casting Gorgon Recluse for just BB. Additionally, this deck features many spells with flashback, meaning they can be cast from the graveyard even if they were discarded, such as Conflagrate. Gathan Raiders has hellbent, benefitting from its controller having no cards in their hand.

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The Naya Archetype: The Sliver Hive Assembles

sliver mtg

White, red and green mana combine to form a Naya-colored Sliver tribe, mostly comprised of mono-colored Slivers that grant myriad benefits to all Slivers, even to the opponent’s. Fury Sliver is a top-end red Sliver that grants double strike to all fellow Slivers, and Two-Headed Sliver grants menace to all Slivers to make them much trickier to block during an all-out assault.

White mana offers Sinew Sliver, granting +1/+1 to all Slivers, and Sidewinder Sliver will grant flanking. Green mana has some good Slivers too, such as Might Sliver, which grants an impressive +2/+2 bonus to all Slivers on the board, while Reflex Sliver gives them haste, despite being green instead of red.

Naya colors can make a solid Sliver deck, but if the player can splash in blue and/or black mana, they can use some tricky multicolored Slivers, too. Darkheart Sliver is black-green, and it allows all Slivers to sacrifice themselves to gain three life, which is a great against burn effects or if the player draws a redundant Sliver. Necrotic Sliver is a downright vicious white-black Sliver that allows a Sliver to pay {3} and sacrifice itself to destroy any permanent. If all five colors of mana come together, Sliver Legion itself can be cast, a beefy 7/7 that rapidly pumps all Slivers according to how many Slivers are on the battlefield. That is bound to end a game in a hurry.

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Cover art by Jorge Jimenez for a variant of Batman #106

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