It looks like it’s time to explore yet another draft environment. So welcome to our Time Spiral Remastered Draft Guide! This set is the first Remastered set in paper, and it’s looking pretty exciting. It mostly contains cards from the Time Spiral Block, that is:
- Time Spiral
- Planar Chaos
- Future Sight
Additionally, each booster contains one card with an old frame. There are 121 of these cards available in boosters. This makes one specific old frame card appear approximately as often as a specific mythic in a regular set. (Mulldrifter certainly deserves a mythic rarity!)
Because you won’t see any single old frame card appear very often, and because most of the players will draft Time Spiral Remastered only 1-3 times, this draft guide is heavily focused on cards from the main set.
We’ll first take a look at the Time Spiral mechanics. Afterwards, we’ll examine the best commons for each color. We’ll wrap up with the archetype overview. There won’t be any color and archetypes rankings this time around, as this set probably won’t be drafted so much as the regular ones, and therefore the rankings make less sense.
Nevertheless, you should still get a good understanding of the format’s main points from this article. This is especially handy, if you’ll only do one or two Time Spiral Remastered drafts, as you’ll get the most of your experience.
With all that said, let’s start with mechanics.
UPDATE: If you’re looking forward to drafting the newest set, you should read our New Capenna Draft Guide.
Time Spiral Remastered Mechanics
There are over a twenty mechanics in the Time Spiral Remastered draft. That’s actually one of the reasons why the original block was so popular among the enfranchised players.
Some mechanics are only featured on a card or two, while others appear more often. We won’t examine all of them, as it’s quite possible that you won’t even encounter them all, if you won’t do many drafts.
Instead, we’ll just explore the five most common mechanics, starting with suspend.
The most common mechanic is certainly suspend, which is featured on 36 cards in all five colors. They are all pretty straightforward.
Let’s take a look at Keldon Halberdier. You see that it has suspend 4, and there’s a red mana next to it. The number four tells you that you have to exile it with 4 time counters when you suspend it. The red mana is its suspend cost.
So you pay one red mana and you exile it, from your hand (face up) with four time counters. At the beginning of your upkeep, you remove one time counter from it. When you remove the last time counter from it, you can cast it for free. It also gains haste.
So the idea is that you pay a very reduced price, but you get your card later in the game. In general, cards with suspend are pretty good and they offer some interesting decision points. Sure, you’ll suspend Halberdier on turn one, but what about turn three, when you already have three lands in play and a couple in hand? The decision becomes a bit harder and depends on various factors.
All in all suspend is a pretty fun mechanic to play with, and so is the next one.
Sliver is a creature type. While this isn’t exactly a mechanic, all Slivers work in a similar way. Each one has an ability that gives all Slivers a bonus. Some give buffs, like Watcher Sliver. Others can give keywords like Two-Headed Sliver.
One important thing to note is that they actually buff all Slivers. Not just yours, but your opponent’s as well. This is different from the new versions of Slivers (Cloudshredder Sliver).
Slivers are centered in white, red and green, but there are also some scattered in other two colors too. There are 27 Sliver cards in Time Spiral Remastered.
Permanent with morph can be cast face down for 3 mana as a 2/2 colorless creature without creature types.
Whenever you have priority, you can pay its morph cost to turn it face up. This process doesn’t use the stack – this means players can’t destroy your face-down creature in response to you paying the morph cost.
A lot of morph cards will also come with an additional benefit from turning them face up. Take a look at Brine Elemental for example. Let’s say you have six mana and just need a big creature. No problem, you can just ignore the whole morph text, pay 4UU and cast it as a 5/4 creature.
You might have more mana though, or only three – in both cases you can play Thousand Winds face down for 3. Then you wait for the perfect opportunity to turn it face up, so your opponent will skip their next untap step.
There are 13 cards with morph in the set:
- 9 blue
- 2 red
- 1 green
Morph is usually a fun mechanic to play with. Especially if you have lots of them in your deck. This way your opponents won’t know what’s waiting for them face-down. It’s also great because it lets you do something in the early game and still have powerful options in the late game.
Madness is another interesting mechanic. There are 9 cards with this ability in the set. One is Reckless Wurm and the others are all black.
Madness is an alternate casting cost, which you can use if you would discard that card. Let’s take a look at Big Game Hunter. You can cast it for its regular cost three mana. Additionally, if you discard it, let’s say with a card like Lightning Axe, you can instead cast it for just one black mana.
You get another upside with instant speed discard outlets. You can cast a card with madness when you discard it, even though it’s a creature or a sorcery. So if you discard a card with madness at instant speed, you can cast it at instant speed.
Spells with split second have: “As long as this spell is on the stack, players can’t cast other spells or activate abilities that aren’t mana abilities.”
Cards with split second are in all five colors, and there are 9 total. While there is no archetype or payoff for the split second mechanic, you should still keep it in mind. For example, if you have Amrou Scout in play and plan on using it, you might want to do it in your main phase. Especially, if you suspect that your opponent might untap and use a Sudden Shock on the Scout.
Best Commons for Time Spiral Remastered Draft
Now that you know the most common mechanics of the set, let’s take a look at the best commons for the Time Spiral Remastered draft.
1. Bound in Silence
We’re starting up with a very solid white common. You might think it’s just an expensive Pacifism, but the Rebel subtype is quite relevant.
It means that you can get it with both Amrou Scout and Blightspeaker – from your library directly to the battlefield. Bound in Silence would already be a good card without the support, but paired with those two Rebels, it becomes insanely valuable.
2. Amrou Scout
Amrou Scout can look like a card for a Rebel tribal deck. However, you don’t have to do much to make it work. It’s already playable if you have one copy of previously mentioned Bound in Silence.
Once you add more Rebel cards to your deck it becomes better and better. All in all, you should pick the Scout highly in the first pack, then its quality changes based on the amount of Rebel cards you have.
3. Temporal Isolation
We’re wrapping up the white commons with another Pacifism variant, albeit a bit weird one. Enchanted creature gets shadow and it doesn’t deal damage. Now it can block or be blocked only by creatures with shadow.
So essentially the creature is now useless in combat, but can still use its abilities. The fact that the aura has flash, can give you a two-for-one if you use it in response to a combat trick. If you value this card as high as you would a Pacifism, you won’t miss by much.
Judge Unworthy is also a playable removal spell. Early in the game, it’ll usually kill almost any creature and in the late game scry 3 becomes even more powerful.
Ivory Giant can be a powerful card to suspend, even if your opponents see it coming, they might still just lose to it. Usually their whole board gets tapped, and you get another hasty attacker in.
1. Errant Ephemeron
Errant Ephemeron is amazing. You’ll rarely cast it for seven mana, you’ll usually just pay two and suspend it. If you manage to survive four turns, you get a hasty 4/4 flyer. Now that’s pretty absurd for the low investment of two mana.
Ephemeron is clearly the best blue common for the Time Spiral Remastered draft – especially, when you manage to suspend it on turn 2.
2. Looter il-Kor
Looters (creatures that draw, then discard a card) have always been good. This one is a bit different – it’s very hard to block, as there are only 9 creatures with shadow in the set.
You chip some damage in, and improve your hand while doing so. You can also just put Keen Sense on it and go to town. Additionally, it works amazingly well with madness cards.
You’re really getting a lot here, for the low investment of two mana.
3. Crookclaw Transmuter
3/1 flyer with flash is already a good deal for four mana. Its enter-the-battlefield effect requires some work, but you can actually turn it into a removal spell in the right combat situation. If you manage to do that, Transmuter becomes insanely good.
So you either have a good card, or an insanely good one. Not bad, all things considered.
Fathom Seer is a cool draw spell. A creature when you need it, and when it becomes irrelevant, you get two cards out of it.
Speaking of draw spells, Foresee is another great one. Scry 4 is a lot.
Dreamscape Artist is an interesting card. It looks like nothing much, but it can enable splashing, and if the game goes long, it actually relevantly thins your deck. After a multiple activations, you’ll have a higher chance of drawing non-land cards, which is amazing.
1. Ichor Slick
You can usually find a pretty good use for -3/-3 at three mana, even though it’s a sorcery. When it isn’t useful, you can simply cycle it away.
Additionally, cycling and madness have a great interaction. Cycling actually discards a card, which lets you cast it for its madness cost. So when you have 6 mana, you get to give a creature -3/-3 and draw a card. Since cycling works at instant speed, you can do this at instant speed too.
This versatility makes Ichor Slick the best black common in the Time Spiral Remastered Draft.
2. Strangling Soot
Strangling Soot is a fine removal spell even if you don’t have access to red mana. You’d happily play even multiple copies in all of your black decks. It kills 146 of the 167 creatures of the format – so 87.4% of all creatures (not counting the old frame cards).
Naturally, the card becomes even better when you have red mana in your deck, as you can get a clear two-for-one. If you aren’t playing red, you should still probably splash one Mountain in your deck, to unlock the flashback part in the late game.
3. Rathi Trapper
Blightspeaker was mentioned many times before. It’s not in the top 3, since it is a bit worse in black decks without white, than Amrou Scout is in white decks without black. The reason being that it can’t grab Bound in Silence.
Dark Withering can be really good, if you have some discards outlets. If you don’t it’s pretty mediocre. Assassinate on the other hand, is always a playable removal spell, although you don’t want too many.
1. Rift Bolt
Three mana, three damage to any target is already a good card. The option to suspend it makes it even better. It kills 87.4% of creatures in the format, just like Strangling Soot. Plus it can finish your opponent as well.
However don’t get too fancy with it. If you need to kill something, just pay the full price. You don’t want your opponents messing with your Rift Bolt with combat tricks.
2. Dead / Gone
Shock for creatures is just a good card, especially, with the creatures having mostly low toughness. It kills 119 or 71.3% creatures in the format.
Add the Gone half on top of that – which is a red bounce spell – and you got yourself a really versatile and powerful interaction spell, that you’ll happily play even multiple copies of.
Red bounce spell on a stick! Sure the exho cost is annoying, but you don’t need to pay it if you don’t want to. You probably already got two mana worth of value, especially if you bounced something like Durkwood Baloth.
Additionally, in some archetypes you can return this Goblin to your hand at instant speed in order to get around paying the echo and to use its effect again.
Orcish Cannonade can provide you an easy two-for-one, but the life loss might be relevant against more aggressive decks, so don’t play too many copies of it.
Empty the Warrens is the one card that can potentially enable the strom archetype.
1. Durkwood Baloth
Suspending Durkwood Baloth is probably the best thing you can do on turn 1. It becomes weaker in the mid game, but in the late game, you can just slam it down for six mana and have one of the beefiest creatures in the format. It is just very strong, and you won’t mind playing multiples.
2. Giant Dustwasp
Giant Dustwasp is somewhat milder, but still a powerful card. The early suspend is less explosive, but you can cast it for its full price a bit earlier.
A 3/3 flyer is always a fine card to have, even if it looks out of place in green.
3. Penumbra Spider
Penumbra Spider might look like nothing special, but it’s actually a house! It holds the ground amazingly well, protecting you from flyers. Your opponents usually have to deal with it twice, to get rid of it.
That Giant Dustwasp shall not pass. All three top green commons are quite good and you won’t mind having multiples of any of them.
Utopia Vow is an interesting removal spell. You usually want to use it in the late game, as the early ramp from your opponent can definitely punish you.
Search for Tomorrow is a fine cheap ramp / mana fixing spell. If you plan on splashing you should pick it highly. It also helps you cast your other suspend cards for their full cost. Similarly, Gemhide Sliver is just a good card, you don’t need to play any other Slivers to want it in your deck.
Nantuko Shaman gives you a clear two-for-one if you suspend it. Citanul Woodreaders is another creature, that draws you cards. You really want to kick it, to get full value, but having an option to get a body on the board for three mana is always nice.
Kavu Primarch is a fine big creature, and gets better if you have various smaller creatures too, so you can cast it faster.
Time Spiral Remastered Draft Archetypes
Now that you know everything about the best commons, it’s time to move to the archetypes. This sets first came out 15 years ago, so if you’re a newer player, the archetypes might be different than you expect.
There aren’t two color uncommons, which would clearly show what a color pair is trying to do. Additionally, not all two-color combinations have a clear theme. Nevertheless, archetypes are still very much present, albeit a bit different than in the present era. Let’s take a look!
Slivers can be found in all five colors, but most of them are in white, red and green. You don’t necessarily want to be in all three colors. You can just play any two of them, and still have a fine deck. Most likely, you’ll end up in two colors and splash the third one. Naturally, you’ll want to pick as many Slivers as you can.
Gemhide Sliver can be very important, as it provides you both mana fixing and ramp. Alongside it, Sinew Sliver is perhaps the most important common for this archetype, and you’ll want to get a lot of them. It’s a two mana 2/2 that buffs all Slivers, which can be devastating in the right deck.
Might Sliver is similarly very powerful, being another Sliver that works well in multiples. In general you want to pick those types of Slivers highly. Still, you do want to get Slivers with powerful effects, like Poultice Sliver and Harmonic Sliver.
Finally, you might even splash black, as both Sedge Sliver and Necrotic Sliver are very strong. Of course, you might also live the dream, and get the mythic Sliver Legion, which will surely enable some fun games. Besides Gemhide Sliver, you can also use cards like Search for Tomorrow and Edge of Autumn to get to all of your colors.
Last but not least, just remember that these Slivers pump all Slivers, not just those on one side of the battlefield.
White – Green: Go Wide Saprolings
This archetype is quite a fun-gus one! There are 6 cards that work in a similar way. They get a spore counter at the beginning of the upkeep, and you can remove three spore counters to get a 1/1 Saproling token. These cards are:
- Pallid Mycoderm
- Deathspore Thallid – but this one is actually in black
- Thallid Germinator
- Thallid Shell-Dweller
- Utopia Mycon
As you see, most of them also have additional abilities. There are two more cards, which might look similar, but are actually a bit better than the ones above.
One is Sporoloth Ancient. When you have it on the battlefield, you only need to remove two spore counters from a creature to get a Saproling. Second on is Sporesower Thallid, which gives spore counter not only to itself, but to each one of your Fungus creatures.
As you can see, you can quickly get a big army of Saprolings with this archetype. Then you just take advantage of that with mass pump spells. You have Fortify in white and in green you have Gaea’s Anthem and Tromp the Domains. Tromp and Fortify will get the job done, while Anthem can be a powerful card over the course of the game as well.
Blue – White: Flyers / Blink
Here’s another interesting archetype – well, depending on how you look at it. You can approach it as your regular flyers deck, and it will perform well enough. Just counting commons and uncommons, there are 20 flyers in these two colors, which is quite a lot. So the main plan of this deck is to just get as many flyers as you can, plus some removal spells and high-toughness creatures to hold the ground.
However, you can definitely improve it with the subtheme of blinking or bouncing your own creatures. This subtheme is quite subtle. The only in-your-face payoff card is Stormfront Riders, which makes a 1/1 Soldier, whenever a creature is returned to your hand.
The main payoff for returning your creatures are creatures with good enter-the-battlefield effects. Some of the best ones at lower rarities are:
So when you’re in blue and white, you want to draft flyers with a blink/bounce subtheme.
Black – White: Rebels
We already mentioned the strongest Rebel interaction in the commons section. Both Amrou Scout and Blightspeaker can grab you Bound in Silence. Since they put it directly onto the battlefield, the ability’s cost of 4 mana is pretty low.
There are 16 Rebel cards in the set, so you have quite a selection of them. Besides the ones we mentions, the most powerful ones that you can get are:
However, when you’re drafting black-white you don’t want to just go all-in on Rebels. Why? Because your only payoffs are Amrou Scout and Blightspeaker. While both of them are very good, there’s no need to have 8+ other Rebel cards in your deck to make them work. Additionally, even players who don’t draft this exact color combination might pick your two payoff cards, as they can work in just about any deck with some small support.
So you want to treat your Rebels as a subtheme. Just pick good quality cards in black and white, and use the Rebel subtype only as a tiebreaker between two cards of a similar power level. This certainly isn’t your traditional tribal deck.
Empty the Warrens Storm
There are just three cards with storm in the set:
However, storm is an interesting mechanic, as many players often want to draft it no matter how good is it. So is it any good in the Time Spiral Remastered draft? Possibly, but you’ll need a right combination of cards in some carefully planned game actions in order to succeed.
The card that you’re most likely to win with is certainly Empty the Warrens, and your game plan should be built around it:
- Cast multiple spells in a single turn.
- Cast Empty the Warrens in the same turn and get a ton of Goblins.
- Attack with all of your creatures and use a pump spell for the win.
As you can imagine, the hardest part of this plan is the first step. One thing you can do, is try to use suspend cards in a way that they’ll all resolve in the same turn. So suspend Keldon Halberdier 4 turns before your Warrens turn, Rift Bolt one turn before the Warrens turn, etc. This way you’ll have all the mana for that turn available, but you’ll already cast some spells.
Additionally, you can cast Coal Stoker that will effectively cost just one mana for that turn, while giving you a relevant body, and +1 storm count. Similarly, you can use Chromatic Star as a cheap spell that immediately gives you a card back.
Finally, on your next turn you can use cards like:
They’ll make all of your Goblins into relevant attackers, which will hopefully be enough for the win. Tromp the Domains is probably the best one, as storm combines nicely with green suspend cards, and there are quite many of them. Search for Tomorrow, for example, helps you both on your Warrens turn, and getting an extra land to make Tromp more powerful.
Black – Red/Blue: Madness
There are 9 cards with madness in Time Spiral Remastered draft. One is Reckless Wurm and the others are all black. So why is this archetype centered in black and red or blue?
Because for a madness deck you need two things. One are, naturally, madness cards. These can be found in black. The other part are enablers, so discard outlets. The best ones are in blue, followed by red. So if you’re drafting with madness in mind, you’ll want to be in black, paired with either red or blue.
The main idea of the madness decks is that you want to get double value. First you get value from your discard outlets. So for example, Cloudseeder, gives you a 1/1 flyer, which is almost a full card of value. The other benefit is that you actually didn’t just threw a card away, but you got a cost reduction instead. Your Dark Withering now costs only one mana.
If you have an instant speed discard outlet, you can also cast cards with madness at instant speed. You might surprise an unsuspecting opponent during their attack step, by casting Lightning Axe and Reckless Wurm. This can be quite a back-breaking pattern.
Outlets & Payoffs
Some of the best discard outlets include:
Pretty much all cards with madness are at least playable. Lots of them are removal spells, or removal spells attached to a body, like:
Additionally, Grave Scrabbler is a great value creature. All in all, this archetype looks really fun to play, and it might just have all the tools it needs.
This is not a hardly defined archetype. Suspend cards are in every color, but the best ones are in blue and green. The main idea is therefore pretty straightforward, just play good suspend cards like, the three you see above and:
There are two cards that seem that would fit well in this archetype. One is Jhoira’s Timebug, which can work as a weird mana dork. However you really want a lot of suspend cards (6+) in your deck before it makes the cut. The 1/2 body is pretty weak.
The other one is Timebender. This one also doesn’t come with a strong body, but at least the opponent’s won’t necessarily see it coming. Getting to remove two time counters, and getting a big creature in play mid-combat can be devastating. Also sometimes, you’ll postpone your opponent’s cards for a couple of turns, which can make a difference in the game.
You might have noticed that we didn’t talk about every two color combination. That doesn’t mean that you can’t play them, it’s just that the themes are less defined.
For example, you can surely play black-green, if you get good cards in those two colors. You might even support a madness theme, as you do get two discard cards in green with Greenseeker and Llanowar Mentor.
Additionally, you might get an old-border card, that you could build around. Let’s say you open a Temur Ascendancy, and you try to draft a 4+ power Temur deck. There are so many weird cards and interactions in this set, that you can totally explore different options.
If you’re planning on drafting Time Spiral Remastered at home, you can purchase a box on Amazon. The box contains 36 boosters, which is enough for:
- three 4-player drafts or;
- two 6-player drafts or;
- one 8-player draft, with 12 boosters for prizes
Anyways, that concludes our Time Spiral Remastered Draft Guide. Hopefully, you now have more knowledge about the format, which will result in more wins. If you want to prepare further, you can find all Time Spiral Remastered cards here. If you have any additional questions feel free to leave a comment below.
Until next time, have a fun time, and get many amazing wins in the Time Spiral Remastered draft.