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Aura Affection

G'Day MTG fans,

We're sure that we, like many of you out there love getting your claws and your noodle into a new set. We put our imagination to work and start generating some wonky and fun casual decks.

Our newest set, Rise of the Eldrazi, holds some fairly interesting opportunities to design something new and untried. One new keyword ability in this set is Auras. Traditionally, in the pro-tour circuit as well as around kitchen tables, auras have not really attracted too much attention and gamers have simply related them to the sideboard or worse. This time however, the new family of 'Totem Auras' has most definitely moved us to give this ho-hum enchantment some attention.

Totem armor is a static ability that appears on many Auras in Rise of the Eldrazi. "Totem armor" means "If enchanted permanent would be destroyed, instead remove all damage marked on it and destroy this Aura." One of the biggest downers previously was to drop some serious mana on an aura, enchant a creature to make it awesome and then watch your opponent dash your hopes by dealing lethal damage or destroying said enchanted critter . . . well not any more.

One new creature card, Umbra Mystic, will allow all your auras on the field to have the new hot Totem Armor ability. Another new instant, Aura Finesse, lets you slide an aura you already have on the field onto another creature - almost like equipment - not too shabby.

What really got our creative juices flowing was some of your eMails about pre-release stories - specifically just how good Aura Gnarlid or Kor Spiritdancer was - perhaps a bit surprising to some including us. Unfortunately, these are really the only two creatures that really shine with auras. That is, unless we look a bit further back in the Shards of Alara Block . . . Remember Uril, the Miststalker and Sovereigns of Lost Alara? Uril, not only provided shroud-lite, but also gives a similar pump like the new Kor Spiritdancer. Sovereigns was a bit expensive but will allow you to tutor out and play for free an aura in your deck - perhaps worth another consideration with all the excellent auras now running around in the standard environment.

Well, time now to chuck out a casual aura deck idea. Please drop your comments and feed us some of your ideas . .

For Auras, we choose the following with Totem Armor - Hyena Umbra, Spider Umbra (nice 'n' cheap), Eland Umbra, Snake Umbra and Bear Umbra (to help the mana flow). We could not leave our fav Worldwake aura out in the cold, Canopy Cover, which gives evasion and shroud-lite. This works well if placed on an effective creature along with Snake Umbra for additional card draws.

Sovereigns of Lost Alara and Totem-Guide Hartebeest will help you pull out the aura you want when you want. Sovereigns is certainly better as the effects are repeatable with any exalted attack as apposed to the Hartebeest which works only as a comes-into-play ability - you can bounce and return but that's extra mana and card slots you might not have. Rounding off with the awesome are Kor Spiritdancer (pump and card-draw), Aura Gnalid (pump and unblockable), and Uril, the aura fatty.

That's it for now, return soon for more crazy-burro casual deck ideas.

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