I’m going to be trying something different for my set review this time around. I’m going to try commenting on every card this time around – however, I don’t want to litter this page too much with card images. As this site isn’t exactly optimized to view decklists, here’s a quick link to M15 in Gatherer instead. Hopefully, following along on a different page isn’t too much of a hassle, but we’ll see how we go.
Ajani Steadfast: An obvious bomb in Limited. The +1/+1 and first strike will ensure your creature survives the vast majority of combats, and the lifelink pulls you ahead (And this is ignoring the vigilance!). The -2 also promises get things in a weenie build with cards like Raise the Alarm. A slam first pick in draft and an amazing reason to be white.
Ajani’s Pridemate: A cute little build-around-me. While a two drop that scales as the game progresses is good, I wouldn’t want to go too deep on Soulmenders, and I’m not sure there’s enough incidental lifegain elsewhere in the set. Solemn Offering requires opposing artifacts or enchantments, and Tireless Missionaries is very mediocre. Ideally, this deck wants more cards like Sungrace Pegasus. If there’s enough support for Pridemate, however, he will be extremely powerful.
Avacyn, Guardian Angel: 5/4 Flying Vigilance? Sweet. Oh, there are more abilities? Awesome. Seriously though, the base body is good enough to run by itself (see Serra Angel), and while the protection abilities will be good, they’re just extra value on an already sweet card.
Battle Mastery: Likely looks better then it plays. Most of the creatures in this format have only 2 or 3 power, and while 3 is okay with double strike, you kind of want more oomph. Unless you’re paired with Green, then, it’ll likely be a bit lackluster. At the end of the day, this is still a three mana Aura, which is not typically the most impressive card by itself.
Boonweaver Giant: Seven mana. That is a lot of mana. Furthermore, there aren’t exactly a lot of exciting auras that you’ll want to put on this guy. Maybe, maybe, if you have a Spectra Ward it’s acceptable to run him, as even if you draw it first the Giant gives you a rebuy, and a 6/6 pro-colours is hard to beat. Otherwise, the best options seem like Marked by Honor and the aforementioned Battle Mastery, which are both fine, just unexciting. And you still get blown out by a bounce spell.
Congregate: Potential sideboard against a very aggressive deck (if they exist in this format), and maybe even mainboard if you’re going real deep on Pridemates. You’d have to have like 3+ though, which seems unlikely.
Constricting Sliver: Banisher Priest Sliver is a fine… thing, and certainly a very high pick. Despite the hefty six mana price tag. Removal that leaves a 3/3 behind is still quite good. This one doesn’t need other Slivers to be a great card.
Dauntless River Marshal: Assuming you’re in the correct colours, this is a two mana 3/2, which is already quite good. What interests me the most though is the tap ability. Not for the effect itself (we know that’s good already), but because the Marshal himself doesn’t have to tap to use it. I can very easily see this dominating late-game board states. If you’re not Blue, however, then this guy is just Bronze Sable, which is significantly less exciting.
Devouring Light: Divine Verdict this is not. Three mana already makes this a better deal overall, and the upside of exiling is significant (Black has some graveyard recursion in this set). However, the best part is obviously the ability to Convoke. This can be a zero-mana trick! I have a feeling the first few weeks of M15 Limited are going to involve people getting blown out by this card while their opponent is tapped out until they learn to respect it. An excellent card, take it highly.
Divine Favor: More fodder for the lifegain deck. The extra 3 toughness can be relevant, and was in M14 Limited. We all know the risks associated with auras, however.
Ephemeral Shields: Another sweet Convoke spell with the ability to “get” your opponent. Protecting a threat is always nice, and the ability to negate cards like Flesh to Dust is excellent. Likely a 5th-8th pick, but a very solid card for White.
First Response: Notably, this says “each upkeep”. That means things like Sign in Blood will net you a token in your opponents upkeep. Four mana is slightly expensive however, especially because it doesn’t do something right away. I’m not certain there’s a way to reliably lose a single life point either, to maximize the output of this card. Ultimately, this card is worth testing, but my gut is leaning toward “not playable”.
Geist of the Moors: 3 power flier for three mana? Deal. Try to avoid any Forge Devils.
Heliod’s Pilgrim: Oddly enough, this one is actually much better then the Giant, because it doesn’t place the aura on him. This allows you to go get stuff like Stab Wound and Crippling Blight instead. If you have a powerful aura, or even just a decent aura (like Marked by Honor) I would definitely try running this guy.
Hushwing Gryff: 2/1 flash flying for three is perfectly fine by itself. Try not to hose yourself, however, as that last ability affects both players. Wouldn’t want to play a Heliod’s Pilgrim when this is out.
Kinsbale Skirmisher: Generic two mana body is generic. If you’re a white weenie aggro deck, you’ll run this. If you need a body at the two slot, you’ll run this. Pretty straightforward.
Marked by Honor: We’ve touched on this card in some of the previous entries. +2/+2 and vigilance is certainly powerful enough to not immediately dismiss this card, and I would likely run a single copy in a white deck. One again, though, it’s an aura. Auras are risky.
Mass Calcify: Seven mana, but you could win the game if it resolves. I’d likely start it sideboard and bring it in if it’s going to be amazing, though I suppose I wouldn’t fault someone for mainboarding. Just be sure you have a plan for what to do in the meantime.
Meditation Puzzle: Straight lifegain is generally not worth a card, and the puzzle is no exception.
Midnight Guard: Another generic three mana body, this one with quasi-vigilance. He’ll do his job well. Remember this triggers when any creature enters the battlefield, not just yours.
Oppressive Rays: The activated abilities clause could be a lot more relevant here then it was in Theros block, between the Paragons, the land type cycle (River Marshal et al.) and even possibly the Souls. I wouldn’t value this too highly, but I think having a few is not the worst.
Oreskos Swiftclaw: Apparently I decided to re-review Journey. 3 power is big, as it looks like 3 toughness is the magic number for the format from early glances. Otherwise, generic two-drop that will fill the curve he needs to.
Paragon of New Dawns: The Paragon most likely to be employed for just the static buff. White has a strong theme of going wide in this core set, and +1/+1 to all of them is a significant boost. Vigilance is fine, but likely just upside. This Paragon likes to Raise the Alarm a few times.
Pillar of Light: A card I was quite happy to see in the full spoiler. With the graveyard ability on all the Souls, I was slightly concerned that the format could be “oh, you opened a Soul? Enjoy your free wins”. Exiling puts a stop to those shenanigans. That being said, you likely don’t want more then two of these, as that condition is, well, quite conditional. Especially so if three does turn out to be the relevant toughness number for the format.
Preeminent Captain: A quick search for Soldiers in M15 brings up five other soldiers, all of whom we passed by on the way to this card. While he will go on to do bigger things in constructed (hopefully), a 2/2 first strike for three mana is acceptable, if not exciting.
Raise the Alarm: Likely a very strong card in this set. It helps boost Convoke early. It supports the white weenie strategy. It’s an instant way to untap Midnight Guard. The list of synergies goes on.
Razorfoot Griffin: A four mana 2/2 is quite below the curve nowadays. So the question is how much does flying and first strike help it? The answer to that depends on how many fliers it’s beating in combat. Offhand, I can think of Carrion Crow, but this is one we’ll need to revisit after we have a better idea of what it’s facing.
Resolute Archangel: Again, seven mana. This time, however, it’s a 4/4 flying bomb that trumps anything in the air and also resets your life total so you don’t immediately die after casting it. Definitely worthwhile.
Return to the Ranks: If you’re the most dedicated white weenie aggro deck, then this is the card for you. Otherwise, give it a miss.
Sanctified Charge: I might have mentioned this, but Wizards wants white to go wide in this Limited format. This is one of those incentives to do so. Even a lowly 1/1 soldier token can become a 3-power first striker, which will likely win a lot of combats.
Selfless Cathar: A decent enough trick. He won’t be amazing, but he will make combats more annoying for your opponent. Pick him up if you’re aggro.
Seraph of the Masses: Very likely an uncommon bomb. Convoke allows this to come out reasonably early, and if it’s a 4/4, that’s likely good enough. Take highly.
Solemn Offering: Sideboard material only. Pick one up to be safe.
Soul of Theros: Bomb. Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb. A single activation of this guy should be enough to put the game completely away. Can even be used from the graveyard. Good luck beating this card.
Soulmender: If you really want to be the Ajani’s Pridemate deck, Soulmender is here to help. Otherwise, stay away.
Spectra Ward: Planting this on any creature should be enough to make it into an unkillable threat. A creature with vigilance is likely preferred, though. Make sure your opponent is tapped out before you cast this to ensure it resolves.
Spirit Bonds: This card seems, dare I say it, oppressive in Limited. You get free (card-wise) 1/1 spirits for playing creatures, and those spirits can protect your other creatures? How do you ever beat this outside of destroying the enchantment? This seems incredible.
Sungrace Pegasus: As I mentioned, this is likely an integral part of the Pridemate deck. It’s not a bad target for Divine Favor either. I just realized Divine Favor is in this set without Dark Favor. Woah.
Tireless Missionaries: Five mana for a 2/3 is not going to cut it in the vast majority of decks. This likely means that it’ll be passed around to the lifegain decks that want it.
Triplicate Spirits: An early frontrunner for best white common, this is good for all the reasons Raise the Alarm is good. However, this time you get an extra token, and they all fly. I’ll give up my instant speed for that. Remember that creatures just summoned can contribute to other Convoke spells, so these guys can hold up an Ephemeral Shields, for example.
Wall of Essence: Another cornerstone for the lifegain deck. Also good for non-aggro white builds. Will likely be quite the stumbling block for the aggro builds.
Warden of the Beyond: If you can reliably get something into exile, this guy is obviously very powerful. the big ones that spring to mind are Devouring Light and Pillar of Light (Light exiles. Noted). If he’s consistent, a 4/4 vigilance is certainly a big obstacle for opposing decks.
That’s all for White! While doing a write-up for each card makes the article quite a bit longer, I feel it’s also providing a greater overview of the set. Let me know what you think.
Join us next time for the Blue cards.
Until then, Random.