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Magic 2015 Limited Review: The Rest

The final installment of our Magic 2015 set review. Here are the cards, so let’s get started…

Garruk, Apex Predator: A whopping seven mana Planeswalker, but it should be very difficult to lose once he shows up to the battlefield. Pumping out deathtouch creatures is no joke, and the ability to kill something while gaining a little life buffer is a nice upside. As long as your gameplan can support this Garruk, he will do good work.

Sliver Hivelord: It’s likely not worth warping your mana base to this extent for a 5/5 Indestructible. It’s certainly possible, depending on how many Evolving Wilds you manage to pick up (or Chord of Calling if you’re really lucky). The payoff is a lot bigger then Chromanticore in Born of the Gods, but I’d still give it a miss.

Avarice Amulet: Obviously a high risk card. Vigilance and a power pump encourages attacking while leaving trade opportunities open. It therefore makes sense to put this on an evasive creature (such as Krenko’s Enforcer), but those are the creatures that are naturally already priority targets for removal. I’d probably try this once, in order to see how it plays, but my instinct is that it isn’t worth the risk of donating it to your opponent, even if you can get it back.

Brawler’s Plate: The numbers on this card are somewhat prohibitive, but the effect is well worth it. I’d definitely run one of these if I see one floating around.

Bronze Sable: All decks need two drops, and Bronze Sable has the secret special power of being able to block Intimidate creatures. Incidentally, both of the intimidate creatures in this format have 2 toughness. What a crazy coincidence. Grab some if you need them, but as usual, don’t go overboard.

The Chain Veil: Sweet card, but unfortunately casting it in Limited is voluntarily handicapping yourself.

Gargoyle Sentinel: Another solid three that can protect you against aggressive starts and go on the beatdown when nothing else is happening. The clunkiest part of this card is requiring the activation to block fliers, but that can be easily worked around.

Grindclock: A win condition for those who want to draft the super grindy mono-Walls deck. While slow, if you can survive to get it going, it’s certainly viable.

Haunted Plate Mail: If you’re low on creatures, this is a fine option, and it’s not like you need to be a creature-light deck, as you can just attach this to something else later. Remember that if need be the ability can be activated in an opponents turn.

Hot Soup: Most of the damage-based removal in this set is likely to kill any equipped creatures anyway (Lightning Strike, Stoke the Flames, Blastfire Bolt). This being the case, the rate on this card seems fine, if not fantastic. Of course, making sure you’re ahead when you use this is important, as blocking with the soup is obviously bad.

Juggernaut: An excellent colourless threat that will punch through a great many defenses. The Wall text is also surprisingly relevant in this format.

Meteorite: If you need the fixing, one that has the potential to remove a creature is certainly not a bad choice. I likely wouldn’t play this in straight two colours, however.

Obelisk of Urd: Can be easily Convoked out, and is clearly worth it if you have a high number of similar creatures. I can easily see Goblin being named with this quite regularly.

Ornithopter: Ornithopter is the poster child for “Not worth a card”. That being said, Wizards seems to have tried their hardest to make him good in this format. He helps enable Convoke, there are a decent number of artifact synergies in the format, and he even helps fringe things like Illusory Angel. While I suspect he’ll just fall short of greatness, I’m interested in trying to find if Ornithopter has a home.
(Also, nut draw for the format: Turn 1 6x Ornithopter, Convoke Obelisk of Urd naming Thopter. Pass turn)

Perilous Vault: Exile all the things is certainly a powerful effect. this card will really come down to skillful management. How much can the opponent commit to the board to force you to Vault? How much can you “give up” to pressure the opponent into playing more cards? A real skill tester for sure.

Phyrexian Revoker: A strictly better Bronze Sable, though that isn’t really saying much. There isn’t a shortage of things to name, from the common Amphin Pathmage to a bomb like a Planeswalker or Soul. Worth running.

Profane Memento: Not worth running. Not even in the dedicated Ajani’s Pridemate/Wall of Limbs deck.

Rogue’s Gloves: An excellent rate. Playing this on an evasive creature should pull you very far ahead. Pick highly.

Sacred Armory: An interesting way to mess with combat math. I’m not sure it’s worth the time it takes to set up, but it could be really powerful. Try it out.

Scuttling Doom Engine: Colourless bomb. Will kill your opponent dead very quickly, and if the opponent does deal with it (in a non-Encrust way) it leaves a present for them. There is no excuse not to pick this.

Shield of the Avatar: Could be extremely potent in certain builds, alongside Raise the Alarm and ilk, by basically making a creature unkillable by damage. It’s worth noting that this scales with multiple blockers, as each creature is considered a separate source.

Soul of New Phyrexia: Another colourless bomb. This activated ability is much less impactful the any of the other Souls, but a 6/6 trampler is still very worthwhile.

Staff of the [X] Magus: Please don’t run these in any Limited decks. Ever. The small amount of life you will gain from these cards are not worth the deck slots they take up.

Tormod’s Crypt: There isn’t a super high amount of graveyard shenanigans in Limited, certainly not enough to bring this in. This is a reprint for Constructed only.

Tyrant’s Machine: If you’re truly desperate for removal, Tyrant’s Machine is acceptable, if not exciting. Bonus points for the combo with Kurkesh.

Will-Forged Golem: An acceptable inclusion in any Limited deck. The 4/4 body is great, he has the advantages of being colourless, and he can even be Convoked out earlier if need be.

Dual Lands: Run them if you’re both colours. Be careful about your life total, and don’t go picking these over a better card for your deck.

Darksteel Citadel: The ability to activate cards like Aeronaut Tinker and Scrapyard Mongrel with your land slot is appealing. However, producing only colourless is a very real cost. You don’t want to see this card in a two land opening hand in a two colour deck. Try it out, but don’t prioritize it highly.

Evolving Wilds: Mana fixing is always good. Take these if you can, but as usual an excellent threat or answer should take priority.

Radiant Fountain: See Darksteel Citadel, although the payoff for the opportunity cost here is significantly lower. If you feel you can afford to run this, go ahead.

Sliver Hive: Once you have two Constricting Slivers, I would start genuinely thinking of running this land. Venom Sliver is acceptable also. Keep in mind this is far more likely to fail then do something awesome though.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: If you’re playing Black, turning all your non-Swamps into dual lands is generally worth it. While it does affect your opponents lands, this doesn’t usually come up much, and indeed I find most people forget that your Urborg applies to their lands.

And we’re finished! This core set looks like a total blast, and I’m looking forward to drafting it upon release. I’ll be doing some more hands-on writeups when I finally get to play, of both Sealed and Draft variety. See you then!

Random.

Magic 2015 Limited Review: Green

Here are the Green cards, so let’s get straight to it…

Ancient Silverback: An excellent top end for Green decks. The body is bigger then almost everything in the format, and it even has a cheap regeneration ability if things go wrong. Keep in mind that Flesh to Dust, likely the most catch-all removal in the format, does have a no regeneration clause.

Back to Nature: Not going to do anything in this format, but it will make the cards from Theros block quite sad indeed.

Carnivorous Moss-Beast: A six mana 4/5 isn’t the worst deal you could make. The ability to add counts to itself, while hugely expensive, is still just upside. I wouldn’t be upset if I had to run this, but Green does have better options at the six mana slot.

Charging Rhino: This looks to be a staple in Green decks of the format. Bigger then all the X/3’s running around, yet can’t be double blocked by them, so he will be hard to beat in combat. It’ll be hard to go wrong with two of these available in your deck, though more may be pushing it.

Chord of Calling: While posed to impact Constructed in a big way, Chord will be less powerful in Limited. Decks just have fewer bombs, and those bombs will typically be expensive. Chord seems best to me when you can pull tricks with it being an instant, such as fetching a Paragon mid-combat, or retrieving a Reclamation Sage.

Elvish Mystic: Premium common for Green, just like the one-drop mana elf always is. Jumping the curve and getting to your big monsters faster is all Green ever wants to do. Beware the Forge Devil.

Feral Incarnation: Ugh. I’m not really sure what to think of this one. It’s super expensive, but it has Convoke…? And is three 3/3 beasts good enough? My gut leans toward no, but it’s probably something that requires actual testing.

Gather Courage: This is sweet for all the same reasons that Crowd’s Favor is sweet. Free spells are awesome and difficult to play around. The fact that this is an uncommon – when most simple pump spells are just common – should tell you how powerful Wizards thought this was in Limited.

Genesis Hydra: I feel the ideal number you want to cast this for is X=4. This gives you a 4/4 Hydra with a reasonable chance of bringing something decent along with it. I can see X=5 if you have Rhinos, though. As long as you hit, this Hydra should be great.

Hornet Nest: This stalls the ground good and proper until your opponent finds a way to deal with it. I like that this triggers on any damage, not combat damage, so even Lightning Strike leaves you with three hornets. An excellent way to buy time while you get to five and six drops.

Hornet Queen: Also known as the Queen of stabilizing the board. Giving five flying deathtouch bodies is an excellent deal and well worth the steep mana cost. Outside of niche answers like Festergloom, Hornet Queen will do a good job keeping you alive and killing your opponent.

Hunt the Weak: Hunt is sorcery speed, four mana, and conditional upon your creature staying alive until it resolves. Nevertheless, it’s the best option Green has for removal, so just be careful when casting it, and don’t allow your opponent to Turn to Frog your creature or something.

Hunter’s Ambush: An interesting twist on the staple Fog effect. I’m not sure this is worth mainboarding, though I’m optimistic, as a one sided Fog as the potential to be quite the blowout. It’s still likely better to start this in the side though.

Invasive Species: Three mana 3/3 is excellent, and you shouldn’t need me to tell you that. The “drawback” is somewhat prohibitive, but can be turned into an upside with cards like Frost Lynx. Really, the drawback just stops you running multiples of this, which isn’t the worst.

Kalonian Twingrove: Getting two 4/4 for six mana is totally respectable (and even 3/3’s aren’t that bad. On top of that, the Twingroves grow bigger as you play more Forests. An easy first pick.

Life’s Legacy: I’m struggling to envision scenarios where you’ll have a creature with high power that you want to sacrifice instead of just attacking. Being a sorcery really limits it in this regard, as responding to removal would have made this super powerful. It’s probably still fine as is, as having options is always good.

Living Totem: Kind of a filler four-drop that can come out slightly earlier. The counter is probably a big deal actually, given that we’ve identified 3 toughness as the most common amount, so bumping a creature to be higher then that is huge.

Naturalize: You’re always happy to have one of these in the sideboard.

Netcaster Spider: Looks like a crucially important common for Green. Green is somewhat weak to fliers by nature, and this guy provides a reasonable body on the ground for his cost while ensuring that he will wreck any flier that dares to come near him. I’d go as far as to say grab as many of these as you can.

Nissa, Worldwaker: Possibly the most powerful Planeswalker for Limited. 4/4 tramplers both protect her and threaten to end the game very quickly. On top of that, she ramps you to absurdly high amounts. Generating an army out of an otherwise non-threatening resource is more then enough to make her extremely powerful.

Nissa’s Expedition: If you’re really in the market to be casting Siege Wurms and Feral Incarnations, this will be a big help in getting you there.

Overwhelm: The presence of Convoke on this card confuses me. “We can tap our creatures to give them +3/+3! Yay!” Hard casting this seems more likely, and will likely wipe the opponents board if they don’t want to die. So it’s a question of how reliably you can hit seven-ish mana.

Paragon of Eternal Wilds: Extremely solid, like the rest of this cycle. I think Green cares slightly more about the activated ability, as trample wherever you want it when you need it is enough to make blocking extremely difficult.

Phytotitan: Glacially slow, but unless your opponent finds a way to exile it, it will kill your opponent given enough time, provided you don’t die in the meantime. First strike and token generation are this plants’ worst enemies.

Plummet: The always solid card that can sometimes be maindecked if you really need a flying answer. I don’t believe that M15 is a maindeck format, though I could be wrong.

Ranger’s Guile: The Green response to removal. Having one is great, the second is okay, and the rest are significantly worse.

Reclamation Sage: The ability to have a Naturalize effect at a low opportunity cost makes the Sage extremely good. While the body won’t match up in fights too well, the Sage shouldn’t be underestimated.

Restock: A more expensive Divination that guarantees you draw awesome stuff. I’m uncertain if Green wants a grindy resources card like this, but even so, it’s still pretty effective.

Roaring Primadox: Primadox is likely a lot worse then he was in M13, where he paired up with Elvish Visionary to make a formidable engine. Shaman of Spring is significantly worse, but there are still good effects available, like Frost Lynx. Still an extremely solid card.

Runeclaw Bear: You need random two drops to fill your curve. the bears are here for you.

Satyr Wayfinder: While there seems to be fewer graveyard shenanigans going on in this set to enable, the Satyr could still help power up a Undergrowth Scavenger or something. Hitting your land drops is always good, too.

Shaman of Spring: I’m unconvinced a four mana 2/2 is going to cut it in this format, even with the card draw. While there is some syngery with the Primadoxs and Quicklings in the format, tying up you mana each turn for a card doesn’t seem particularly effective.

Siege Wurm: The lynchpin for the Convoke decks in the format, Siege Wurm towers over everything else in the format, and has trample to boot. Likely a major player in the format.

Soul of Zendikar: The “worst Soul” for Limited, he’s a still a giant 6/6 that spews out more beats if left unchecked. Reach unfortunately slows him down a bit, as without evasion he will get blocked often. Still, an unquestionable bomb like the rest of his cycle.

Sunblade Elf: If Green/White aggressive decks exist in this format, then Sunblade is obviously a big part of those. Personally I think the aggro decks are more at home in Red/White, but there’s enough in Green/White for a “bigger” version to work out. Also, Green/White seems like the home of the Convoke decks, so a one drop + global pump effect both seem like things that deck wants.

Titanic Growth: Standard Limited pump trick. Easy to play around at two mana. Be careful about removal, etc.

Undergrowth Scavenger: Possibly being slightly underrated at the moment. This guy could easily be a 6/6 if early trades have happen in combat (all graveyards). My pick for the sleeper common of the set.

Venom Sliver: The Sliver that likely stands out the most by itself. While no Typhoid Rats, a two mana 1/1 deathtouch will still kill things just as effectively. Granting it to your other Slivers is a reasonable upside, if you have any.

Verdant Haven: Another tool for the big Green ramp decks of the format.

Vineweft: A very narrow effect, with the ability to return from the graveyard. I’m not sure how good this will be, but I’ve already pointed out the value in getting over the 3 toughness mark in this review, so it might be quite good. We’ll have to see.

Wall of Mulch: This Wall seems sweet. It holds off all the early attacks, then when a creature big enough to kill it comes along, you get a free fog and a card. Seems awesome. Another means to buy time while ramping up to the big creatures.

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard: Yisan seems like a hell of a card once he gets going. Tutoring directly into play is exceptionally powerful, and I suspect Yisan will be quite the removal magnet as a result. Always pick this if you can.

And Green is complete! Green is, no surprise, all about the giant creatures in this core set. Green tricks are somewhat limited, between Titanic Groth, Gather Courage, and Hunt the Weak, so it definitely needs another colour to perform most optimally. All of the other colours have something great to offer Green, and they all seem to have interesting plays and archetypes available to them.

Join me next time when we conclude this review with the rest of the Magic 2015 cards.

Until then,

Random

Magic 2015 Limited Review: Red

Time for some Red cards:

Act on Impulse: An interesting one. While the mana cost is three, you likely want to be casting this at around six mana, assuming you hit a land and two spells on average. The exception being a very hyperaggressive red deck, which might be able to support casting it at five. One to test and look out for.

Aggressive Mining: I feel I’m going to draft this at least once just to see how it plays out. Topdecking this with eight lands in play doesn’t seem like the worst thing. That being said, red as a colour doesn’t seem like it want to even reach eight lands in play in this format (spoiler alert), so that might limit it’s viability.

Altac Bloodseeker: This card seems to want to be paired with Lightning Strike all the time, as I’m otherwise skeptical the ability will be relevant in combat (if the creatures die in combat, it’s too late for the ability to matter). That being said, with the Strike it seems like a brutal card, and there’s something to be said for the ability to just bluff your opponent for free damage.

Belligerent Sliver: Like the other Slivers, somewhat less impactful without his brethren surrounding him. That being said, a 2/2 with some limited evasion isn’t a terrible fail state (see Pyreheart Wolf). If you need a three-drop, you could do worse.

Blastfire Bolt: This will kill basically any creature in the format, and is an instant. Just keep in mind it is significantly expensive, and will likely be easily telegraphed as a result.

Borderland Marauder: Just in case this card didn’t make it quite obvious, red just wants to attack people to death in this format. To provide a comparison for how good this guy is, compare it to Gore-House Chainwalker. That card was also a 3/2 “attacking only” creature, and it saw Constructed play. This card is arguably better then Chainwalker, as you get the full damage output, and can still block if need be. This guy is quite powerful!

Brood Keeper: A nice little build-around Uncommon. Red has a number of cheap auras to use as dragon fodder, such as Inferno Fist and Hammerhand, and the tokens it creates are legitimate threats by themselves. As long as you play smartly with this and don’t get blown out by removal, this card will do a lot of good work.

Burning Anger: An amazing finisher card. Usual caveats about auras apply, but if you stick this, you will easily control the board and just finish your opponent.

Chandra, Pyromaster: There are a large number of X/1’s in the format, so the +1 ability is quite strong. She also digs for extra cards. Chandra, like most Planeswalkers, is quite playable in this Limited environment.

Circle of Flame: Despite what I said about X/1’s above, this likely isn’t worth a card by itself, especially as it relies on your opponent walking into your on-board “trick”. As much as I want to live the dream with Circle of Flame and Polymorphist’s Jest, it isn’t likely to happen. 🙂

Clear a Path: A sideboard card for when you face the “Wall of Mulch” deck.

Cone of Flame: One of the strongest uncommons in the set. It shouldn’t be hard to find board states where you get 2-for-1’s or even 3-for-1’s with this card. An extremely strong incentive to be red in both Draft and Sealed.

Crowd’s Favor: My early opinion is that this is one of the best tricks in the format. “Free” spells are immensely difficult to play around, and this one has some serious blowout potential. Remember you can tap your creature after blocks to pay for this.

Crucible of Fire: Unplayable in this format, unfortunately.

Forge Devil: Bane of X/1’s everywhere, Forge Devil looks to be a powerhouse in this format, slaying creatures like Geist of the Moors, Child of Night, and the dreaded Bronze Sable. Forge Devil’s trigger is mandatory, however, so don’t go playing it onto an empty board.

Foundry Street Denizen: The red aggro curve looks real good between this, the Marauder, and Krenko’s Enforcer. Someone somewhere will have the nut Denizen deck, which on the surface seems capable of some very explosive draws.

Frenzied Goblin: Another excellent one-drop for the aggro decks. The ability looks minor, but is quite powerful, requiring at least two creatures in play to deal with the Goblin in combat, and that’s before any other tricks the red player has. Hammerhand also further allows you to stifle blocks. This is an uncommon for a good reason.

Generator Servant: This guy has received a lot of hype during the preview season, and with good reason. Jumping the mana curve is extremely powerful, and granting those spells haste is just awesome. There are a number of excellent five-drops that cause real headaches when they come out virtually two turns early (turn 4 with haste as opposed to turn 5 without).

Goblin Kaboomist: The mines seems real powerful, making any attacks by small ground creatures a waste of time. While the Kaboomist can potentially remove himself, even getting just one mine will make future attacks difficult. In addition, the red paragon can increase his toughness and put him out of range of his own suicide ability. This one looks strong.

Goblin Rabblemaster: I’m going to cheat here and draw on my experiences from the prerelease, because this guy exceeded expectations there. While generating tokens for no additional investment is obviously good, I thought the tokens would just suicide and not real make much of an impact. With the right curve of creatures, though, the Goblins can create a ton of damage, and when the Rabblemaster himself comes it, it usually causes some awkward blocks. In addition, the tokens can be excellent enablers for Convoke, which is also good because it stops a potentially bad attack. Rabblemaster is extremely good in Limited.

Goblin Roughrider: Another Goblin for Rabblemaster, and a perfectly acceptable three-drop. Once again, 3 power is where we want to be with all the 3 toughness creatures in the format.

Hammerhand: A deceptively powerful card for the red aggressive decks. +1/+1 and the blocking clause is very good in the decks that just want to attack you to death. It even grants haste, which is something I missed in my first impressions of the card. Look out for the turn five Brood Keeper that’s a 3/4 haste and also brings a dragon. I guarantee it will happen.

Heat Ray: A slightly clunky removal spell, that is made up for by its versatility. My opinion is it will be a 3 damage spell most of the time, but being a  4 or 5 if you need it to be is solid.

Hoarding Dragon: A five mana 4/4 flier is always excellent in Limited, and this dragon is no exception. I wouldn’t be too concerned about having an artifact for the ability, but it’s a reasonable upside. One interaction worth noting is that the second ability is a “dies” trigger, so if the dragon is bounced or exiled, you unfortunately won’t get your artifact. =(

Inferno Fist: I’m actually pretty high on this aura, mainly because it neatly dodges the common problem of getting 2-for-1’d. The ability to cash it in for 2 damage is completely reasonable, and if the red deck doesn’t need the ability, it’s quite happy to just hit you harder in the meantime.

Kird Chieftain: A 4/4 body is basically king in this format, and the activated ability just pushes it over the top. I’d avoid playing this unless it has 4 toughness, as it will otherwise die to things like Lightning Strike or Ulcerate. However, a fully powered Chieftain will dominate any board he is on. A very high pick.

Krenko’s Enforcer: A nice way for the aggressive red decks to have a bit of reach. This guy and Accursed Spirit significantly raise the value of Bronze Sable, so keep that in mind while drafting.

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient: Basically a 4/3 vanilla in this format, unless you’re really trying to abuse Tyrant’s Machine. Still, a 4/3 body is not at all bad.

Lava Axe: I don’t think you need me to tell you if your deck wants a Lava Axe. I’ll just leave my oft-repeated “diminishing returns” phrase here and leave it be.

Lightning Strike: Possibly the best common in the set, even better then it was in Theros, which is saying something. Take these very highly, as they kill everything in the early game at a very low cost. This is even more true as other decks are quite likely to try and splash this effect.

Might Makes Right: This is an expensive, six mana enchantment that requires you to already have the biggest creature on the board before it does anything. While I’m skeptical these conditions will ever be met, it does seem fairly unbeatable if you get it going. Firebreathing creatures seem like they could help in this regard. I’m staying away for now, however.

Miner’s Bane: A poor man’s finisher if you have nothing better available. 3 toughness is really not great on a creature this expensive, as it trades down with something as small as an Oreskos Swiftclaw. Still, it can hit for a significant chunk with that trample ability. It may have a niche in the format.

Paragon of Fierce Defiance: I’m going to guess that Red cares more about the anthem ability, but honestly both abilities seem excellent for the deck. A nice top-end for the agrro curve.

Rummaging Goblin: Possibly the best looter in the set, as the four mana activation on Research Assistant is unfortunately somewhat clunky. This goblin doesn’t seem to fit in an aggressive deck, however, so I’m wondering if he has a home.

Scrapyard Mongrel: The red counterpart to Aeronaut Tinkerer that rewards you for playing artifacts. Mongrel seems exceptional if you have an artifact, and even something as simple as Darksteel Citadel can enable him for very little opportunity cost. The fail state of a four mana 3/3 (A “Hill Giant”) is acceptable in the meantime as well.

Shrapnel Blast: You will need a critical mass of artifacts before playing Shrapnel Blast is worth it. If you get to that point, however, it will be nearly impossible to play around, if opponents see it coming at all.

Siege Dragon: Seven mana 5/5 flier is acceptable as a baseline. The fact that he repeatedly scorches small creatures when he attacks is a not irrelevant upside. Probably worth the pick, but he likely doesn’t belong in the same deck as Foundry Street Denizen.

Soul of Shandalar: My pick for the most broken Soul in Limited. If you untap with this, it will completely dominate the board and finish your opponent in short order. Very few creatures in the format can survive the activated ability, and those that do are likely succumbing to a 6/6 first striker anyway.

Stoke the Flames: A card I’m reasonably excited about. 4 damage to a creature is already very good in a format where 3 toughness is the most common number. Add in the fact that it hits players AND can be Convoked for cheaper (or even free!) and we have a clear winner. A very high-pick uncommon and another excellent Red incentive.

Thundering Giant: 4 power worth of haste is a fine deal at five mana, and your opponents are unlikely to see it coming the first time. 3 toughness is somewhat of a drawback, but he’ll over-perform more often then not.

Torch Fiend: See Child of Night. A passable Limited body that gives you artifact hate at next to no opportunity cost. A fine man (devil).

Wall of Fire: If a Red control deck exists, this is likely a big part of it. 5 toughness is once again a huge deal in this format. This could easily make attacks somewhat awkward with the firebreathing.

In conclusion:
– Red is skewed towards being aggressive: Mentioned often in this review, but cards like Foundry Street Denizen and Borderland Marauder reward you for hitting your opponent hard and often.
The Red burn spells are excellent: Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames are both premium removal spells that command a high pick. I can easily see fights over Red in drafts because of these cards, and Strike can be easily splashed if you take it early but it doesn’t pan out. – There are some powerful uncommons: Cards like Brood Keeper and Kird Ape are powerful cards that promote a different kind of red deck from the 1-2-3 aggro curve. This is good for the depth of the format.

While this review has fallen a little bit behind, we’re almost done now with only two entries left for M15. Join me next time for the Green cards, which are all about playing giant creatures.

Until then,

Random.

Magic 2015 Limited Review: Black

Continuing Onward

Accursed Spirit: Blacktusk Boar has always been a fine Magic card, and this is the Blacker version. 3 power evasion is noting to scoff at, and Black should be easily capable of removing any potential blockers. He was good in M13, he’ll likely remain so here.

Black Cat: An acceptable choice if you need a two drop. The discard isn’t normally relevant, though some players will warp their attacks around not discarding cards they want to keep.

Blood Host: The sacrifice cost is steep, but he will grow out of reach quickly, and the fact he gains you life while doing so is a nice little bonus. If you can keep him adequately protected, he’s a good finisher.

Carrion Crow: Wind Drake has always been a Limited all-star, and I see no reason why the crow will be any different. The drawback si so minor as to almost be irrelevant, though there will be times when it will bite you.

Caustic Tar: An ideal finisher for any control decks. This will end the game swiftly, and is difficult to interact with. The first one will be super good, though I’m unsure about the second.

Child of Night: Classic Limited Staple. 2 power for two mana with an upside easily crosses the line.

Covenant of Blood: While it’s an expensive sorcery, Convoke helps it a bit, and the ability to go straight to the opponent’s life total is not to be underestimated. While a hardcore control deck likely isn’t relying on this card as a finisher, I can see other strategies that won’t mind a copy of this.

Crippling Blight: A card that tends to play better then it reads. It was good in M13 Limited and likely will continue to be so here. There are enough X/1 targets around that this outright kills, and the “can’t block” clause is often quite relevant. Again, you don’t want too many of these, but the first one or two will pull their weight.

Cruel Sadist: I keep looking at this card and thinking how expensive the removal ability is. I have to remind myself that this is a one-drop that scales into the late game, and that’s basically good enough by itself. If this card is crashing in as a 3/3 or 4/4, that’s more then acceptable.

Endless Obedience: Reanimating some nice bomb seems all well and good, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge section of high-impact creatures outside of rares. I’d likely start this in the sideboard and bring it in if I see something awesome, but that could also be a stretch. Maybe Green/Black as an archetype could make this work with Saytr Wayfinder and Necromancer’s Assistant, but putting this in your graveyard would kind of suck.

Eternal Thirst: This is extremely cheap, and the effect it provides significantly powerful. However, your opponents creatures dying isn’t going to happen very reliably, so you likely won’t get more then two counters out of this realistically. While it needs to start on something already big (Charging Rhino, anyone?), the payoff is definitely there.

Feast on the Fallen: “If you’re winning, creatures you control get bigger so you can keep winning”?. Like First Response, this doesn’t do much by itself, and if you have an evasive source of damage, you’ll likely win without this cards help. I’m giving it a miss until someone proves me wrong.

Festergloom: This will likely be sideboard tech against the token strategies White has available. If it wasn’t a Sorcery, the asymmetric nature could make it a nice trick, but alas. =(

Flesh to Dust: Kill something, no questions asked. Unconditional removal is great, and this will be a high pickup in draft and even better in Sealed. Be careful of running into tricks like Peel from Reality or Ephemeral Shields, however.

Gravedigger: I am so unbelievably sad to see this bumped up to uncommon. While it’s an inbuilt two for one, Gravedigger himself wasn’t really causing any problems, in my mind. Nonetheless, still a good pickup if he has appropriate targets.

In Garruk’s Wake: Once again, nine mana is ridiculously expensive. Once again, you are probably a favourite to win the game if this resolves, however. If this format allows us to cast nine mana spells without dying, this could be a perfectly reasonable bomb.

Indulgent Tormentor: Yes, this card gives your opponents a choice. However, none of them are particularly desirable for you opponent. My admittedly few experiences with the card tend to suggest that the card draw ends up as the default anyway. If the demon is hitting the opponent, they can’t very well pay more life, and if they need creatures to block with, they aren’t sacrificing them either. Obviously much worse if you’re not putting the pressure on, but totally capable of closing games by himself.

Leeching Sliver: See Diffusion Sliver. Barring the nut Sliver deck (very unlikely in this format), it’s a two mana 1/1. Though if you have three of these with Indestructible, style points for you.

Liliana Vess: She takes cards from your opponents, and gets your best ones. She also has a reachable ultimate. She doesn’t break the mold of ‘walkers being good in Limited (Hi Tibalt).

Mind Rot: Sometimes, your 23rd card will be Mind Rot. This is acceptable. Just remember to side it out against aggressive strategies, where they likely don’t have a hand by the time you cast this, and are happy it wasn’t a blocker instead.

Necrobite: Mediocre trick is mediocre. While it shone in the bestow-heavy world of Theros, now that our creatures are some mixture of 2 and 3 power and toughness, it’s a lot less appealing. Run it if you need it.

Necrogen Scudder: This is a candidate for uncommon bomb. The life loss is likely irrelevant unless you opponent plans on burning three bounce spells on it, and this has the size to trump most of the common fliers (compare to Nimbus of the Isles). A high priority pick in the colour.

Necromancer’s Assistant: 3 power is the biggest thing this guy has going for him. As discussed above, I don’t think graveyard shenanigans has enough support to be viable, but we’ll see how it plays out.

Necromancer’s Stockpile: The Magic 2015 Zombies. While that doesn’t seem like many, I wouldn’t be surprised if this could be a thing, given the recursion available to Black. Take it if you want to try it out, but value the zombies highly. Remember that any random creature card will draw a card anyway.

Nightfire Giant: My early pick for my favourite uncommon in the set. Five mana 5/4 is a great rate, and the ability to shoot of damage at anything is extremely powerful. A very high pick. Also, it was quite awkward when I realized that, without a Mountain, this guy is literally Zombie Goliath.

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled: Ignore the search ability for the purposes of Limited. Flying, trample, and gets bigger when stuff dies are the important parts here. An easy first pick bomb.

Paragon of Open Graves: Possibly the most powerful Paragon, and all on the back of the activated ability. Ensuring all your creatures trade for theirs, regardless of size, will greatly favour you in the long run. Remember that, like all Paragons, he cannot target himself, so no blocking then activating.

Rotfeaster Maggot: 5 toughness in this core set environment looks nigh unbeatable. He even stops the mighty Charging Rhino! He even brings along a little bit of life as an upside. Don’t let the otherwise vanilla-ness of the card fool you: this one is probably deceptively good.

Shadowcloak Vampire: Another candidate for a strong finisher in Black, which is surprising at common. Obviously, managing your life total will be important here, but if there’s no risk of trading, you don’t need to activate.

Sign in Blood: Two cards in the early game is very much worth this cost, unless you’re facing an extremely hyper aggressive deck. Diminishing returns apply to this card as well, so once you have the second, I wouldn’t prioritize these too highly.

Soul of Innistrad: About as unbeatable as all the other Souls. Getting the three best threats already dealt with is a significant upside, even if it dies.

Stab Wound: Anyone who ever played Return to Ravnica Limited can tell you how obnoxious this card is. This is completely capable of killing opponents by itself. There’s also no shortage of 2/3 bodies around to put this on. Another easy first pick.

Stain the Mind: Completely unplayable in Limited. Next.

Typhoid Rats: The rats have basically always been good. They create awkward attacks where your opponent can’t send in with their best creature, but still need to pressure you somehow. Or it will eat some piece of removal like Crippling Blight, which you’re still fine with. Unlike most one drops, it’s even relevant when you draw it late. Solid card.

Ulcerate: Premium removal, but not without cost. Any Black deck that gets its hands on a copy will obviously run it without hesitation, but mind that life. You don’t want too many of this, Necrogen Scudder, and Sign in Blood in your deck, for example.

Unmake the Graves: This being an instant kicks it up a serious notch then where it would be as a sorcery. I don’t hate having a copy of this somewhere in your 40, and it will likely catch opponents off-guard.

Wall of Limbs: This is horribly slow, and you’ll need a lifelinker to make it reliably big. Still, it’s an early game blocker that can double as a finisher, and there’s something to be said for that.

Waste Not: There is not enough discard in Limited to make this card viable. Pass it on.

Witch’s Familiar: As discussed on Aeronaut Tinkerer, a 2/3 body for three mana is a perfectly acceptable Limited body. Just take care it doesn’t get stabbed.

Xathrid Slyblade: An extremely powerful uncommon. While the mana investment is significant, this will lay waste to every creature foolish enough to attack until an opponent has some instant-speed removal. Even then, it can be protected with cards like Negate or Ephemeral Shields. Players simply can’t afford to attack into this without an answer available. This could easily be a first-pick uncommon.

Zof Shade: As far as mana sinks go, one can do a lot worse then Zof Shade. A single activation pushes it to a 4/4, which will generally be more then enough.

More notes!
– Cheap removal is Sorcery speed. (With the exception of Ulcerate.)
– Black seems to rely on graveyard recursion to get an advantage in the late game.
– Most of Black’s early creatures are not geared toward being aggressive.

And that’s all for Black! This is the halfway mark, with Red, Green and the Rest to follow shortly. Stay tuned for the rest of this series!

Until then,

Random.

Magic 2015 Limited Review: Blue

Diving straight in. Here’s the Gatherer link.

Aeronaut Tinkerer: A 2/3 body for three mana is not the worst thing you could buy. I’ve played my fair share of Crackling Tritons in non-red decks. The flying buff for controlling an artifact is a nice bonus, and again, 3 toughness looks like a good number in this format. This is especially true for a (potential) flyer – it stops cards like Welkin Tern and Carrion Crows.

AEtherspouts: While holding up five mana into multiple attacking creatures is unlikely to go unnoticed by an opponent, the impact of hitting multiple creatures with this is quite significant. Even if all the creatures get put on top, the fact they only get back one at a time gains you a whole bunch of time. You can even possibly counter some scary ones on the way back down.

Amphin Pathmage: Solid limited finisher. Will probably target himself more then other creatures thanks to his 3/2 stats. I can easily see this guy being the reach for aggressive Welkin Tern decks.

Chasm Skulker: An obviously powerful threat. Skulker naturally scales and the card will demand an answer. The opponent might be able to avoid the tokens, between the bounce effects available and the exile on Pillar of Light. Still, the base body being reasonable and the potential bonus if it dies is more then enough to make him a first-pick.

Chief Engineer: This guy seems destined to do great things in Constructed more then Limited. That being said, I do want to give at least one Ornithopter Convoke before this set stops being drafted.

Chronostutter: Six mana is a lot, so casting this will be kind of clunky. It is a good catch-all answer to a problem creature, however, so I wouldn’t fault anyone for having one of this if they have no better answers available (eg, not in Black, or Blue/Red vs. a high toughness creature).

Coral Barrier: A reasonably tidy package for three mana. Both bodies will be able to trade with any aggressive X/1’s (Oreskos Swiftclaw), and the fact that you get two creatures gives this card even more value if you’re running a few Convoke spells.

Diffusion Sliver: Again, a card that will be fantastic when he’s at home with his tribe in Constructed. In Limited, this is a two mana 1/1. Pass it on.

Dissipate: A catch-all counterspell with a bonus that could potentially be relevant (Souls, Phytotitan, cards that care about creatures in graveyards). You’ll want this if you’re blue, so take it if you see it.

Divination: Back for another round at the limited tables. Card is fine, if not terribly exciting (unless you’re LSV). Grab them if you need them, but I wouldn’t value them too highly.

Encrust: This is as close to premium removal as blue gets. Locking something down and even stopping activated abilities? That’s about as good as killing it outright. Again, and I know I keep harping on about this, but it stops the Souls. Grab these highly, but don’t overload on them. I’d say three is the theoretical maximum.

Ensoul Artifact: I’d say this is probably a trap, since getting hit by any of the bounce in the format means you lose the aura (and even gets around the Darksteel Citadel). While we all want to live the dream of turn two attack for 5 with Ornithopter, I think in the long run we’ll find it’s just not worth it.

Frost Lynx: Looks like one of the strongest tempo plays in the format. I expect this cat to partner with Quicklings and Peel from Realities to lock down some troublesome creature in a great many games of Limited, preferably while Welkin Terns are beating down. Another premium common for blue, so take highly.

Fugitive Wizard: This one, not so much. You’d have to be scraping for your 23rd card to even consider playing the Wizard.

Glacial Crasher: I don’t get the flavor of this card at all. That being said, a 5/5 body is a much better size then anything else at common, and it even has trample! I don’t think you can run this card without being Blue/Red, however, as relying on your opponent for the Mountain seems like a shaky proposition.

Hydrosurge: Filler common. Ignore unless you’re desperate for a trick.

Illusory Angel: A 4/4 flying creature is enough to get my attention. While this does have a drawback, casting it on turn five with a two-drop is not the worst deal in the world. Besides, I’ll accept more reasons to run Ornithopter quite happily.

Into the Void: A “smaller” Sea God’s Revenge, and anyone who’s played Theros Limited can tell you how good that effect was. In a pinch, can also rebuy your own creature for enters-the-battlefield effects. Very solid card.

Invisibility: The cost is reasonably restrictive, and there’s enough of a Wall subtheme in this set such that it isn’t straight unblockable. Nevertheless, if you need a way to grant evasion to push through the last few points, you could do a lot worse then this.

Jace, the Living Guildpact: Most Planeswalkers are very strong in Limited, and Jace seems like no exception. He starts on a massive amount of loyalty, so will soak a lot of damage for you if an opponent tries to take him out. This one seems like you just want to go for the ultimate, but a free bounce in emergency scenarios will be relevant when it’s needed.

Jace’s Ingenuity: Solid for any control deck. While there will be aggro blue decks in the format that don’t want this effect, there will be other decks that do. While it likely won’t be as good as Opportunity in M14, this is likely still first-pickable barring a super fast format, which I don’t think this will be.

Jalira, Master Polymorphist: Another card likely to do more fun things in Commander then anywhere else. Running this card isn’t exactly terrible – you can cash in creatures for a random one if they’re about to die, for example – there isn’t a lot of cheating of mana costs going on here, which limits the power of this considerably. (And if you are running mono seven-drops, you likely have other problems).

Jorubai Murk-Lurker: Another exciting member of the land type cycle. Jorubai gives us a cheaper Pillarfield Ox, and an amazingly cheap lifelink activation. If you get this one active, it will be very hard to race. I’m excited to play with this one.

Kapsho Kitefins: Looks like the top-end for those aggressive Blue decks I’ve been mentioning. I like that it triggers for itself, as well. Definitely a potent finisher. Bonus points if you kill your Chasm Skulker after playing this guy.

Master of Predicaments: Five mana 4/4 flier? Already good enough. Playing mindgames whenever you hit your opponent? An excellent bonus.

Mercurial Pretender: Notably, this Clone variant can only target your creatures, which lowers his value quite significantly. He’s likely still fine, though, provided all your creatures aren’t just terrible (Hi, Fugitive Wizard).

Military Intelligence: Oh my goodness is this card pushed. It’s just two mana! It rewards aggressive decks for doing what they already want to do! It’s awesome! If you see this, you are obligated to pick every Welkin Tern you see afterward always.

Mind Sculpt: The “six Mind Sculpts” deck was a staple of M13 draft, and would randomly get people. This time there’s no Archaeomancer, but there’s… Satyr Wayfinder? Necromancer’s Assistant? Keep in mind you’re going deep if you pick this, but hey, that’s where the fun lies.

Negate: I’ve always been a fan of the one-of Negate to catch any problematic non-creatures. it’s especially good when you nab an opposing Planeswalker. They usually go late, however.

Nimbus of the Isles: Messenger Drake was unavailable for this core set, so here is his replacement. Still perfectly acceptable, of course, but the loss of value is mourned.

Paragon of Gathering Mists: This Paragon, in contrast to the White one, is likely more about the activated ability then the static buff. That being said, most of the blue creatures already have flying, and the idea of 3/2 Welkin Terns does sound appealing. This guy will be a solid addition to many blue decks.

Peel from Reality: Reads like a drawback, but blue has enough cheap creatures/creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities that it isn’t much of one. Notably, this is the only cheap instant bounce in the set, so keep an eye out for it.

Polymorphist’s Jest: I soooo want to run this with Circle of Flame and just get people. This is still fine as a standalone card, however. Even a lowly Coral Barrier will eliminate a frog, so the blowouts caused by this card will likely be great.

Quickling: Flash flying 2/2 for two? That’s excellent right there. Once again, the drawback can be manipulated to your advantage, such as Frost Lynx, or saving a bomb from a removal spell.

Research Assistant: A poor looter is still a looter. Yes, the cost is expensive, but if the game runs long, the advantage you’ll get will outweigh that significantly.

Soul of Ravnica: Like the other Souls, a straight up Limited bomb. 6/6 flier for six? Deal. We get more cards, even if it dies? Why, you’re too kind.

Statute of Denial: I’ve seen most people dismissing this, but I’ve grown a fondness for unconditional hard counters since playing with Countermand. Granted, there aren’t nearly as many four-mana tricks to disguise it in in this format, but it’s still worth trying before outright rejecting it. The looting is reasonable upside, as well. Finally, I love how Wizards are sneaking Fblthp into more cards. It’s so good.

Stormtide Leviathan: It’s eight mana, but this one kinda reads “You win the game”. Obviously, you’ll have to ensure that all opposing fliers are removed and that you’ve baited out all there removal, but if that’s the case, Stormtide should close the game quickly.

Turn to Frog: A reasonable trick for Blue. Blue has a number of 1/3’s that can capitalize on the diminished size. Remember that this can kill fliers thanks to “loses all abilities”.

Void Snare: Seems built for the aggro Blue decks as a means of temporarily clearing blocks out of the way, given it’s nature as a sorcery. You don’t want too many of these, but the ones you have will probably do work.

Wall of Frost: You know your deck is durdly when you’re excited to mainboard Wall of Frost. Grindy control decks looking for the lategame are the only decks that want these, so seeing one is an obvious signal of intent. Will stall some aggro seriously well.

Welkin Tern: At last, he’s been name-dropped all over this article. Welkin Tern is the premier reason a Blue beatdown deck will even exist in this format. Vaporkin did a fine job in Theros Limited, and this guy looks like he has even more support around him. Be afraid of any deck with 3+ Terns. I, for one, will be trying it.

Notable observations from this review
– There’s no Essence Scatter: All the unconditional counters are three mana or more, so we don’t have to be afraid of casting creatures into two mana.
– Most of the bounce is sorcery speed: This was mentioned in Peel from Reality’s writeup, with Chronostutter being the followup instant bounce. Combat tricks are more likely to resolve as a result.
– Blue looks to be playing a more supportive role: Outside of rare+, there aren’t exactly a lot of high-impact bombs in the colour. Blue is likely going to be best supporting the strategies of another colour.

And that concludes the Blue review! Let’s move on to Black…

Random.

 

Magic 2015 Limited Review – White

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.

Born of the Gods Draft Review: The Rest

Time to look at the remaining cards from Born of the Gods.

Ephara’s Enlightenment

Designed to push players into the White-Blue Heroic builds, Ephara’s Enlightenment definitely seems like it will live up to the task. The boosts are permanent, and stack with each additional casting. The flying is a very nice bonus, and it gives the heroic deck something to do with it’s mana when topdecking creatures in the late game. I expect we’ll see good things from this card in the future.

Fanatic of Xenagos

While I’m not quite sure he makes the cut for Standard, I certainly believe Fanatic of Xenagos is one of the more powerful uncommons in the draft environment. Not many things have the ability to deal with a 4/4 that early in the game, and his innate trample ability means he combines well with bestow creatures (Nyxborn Wolf, anyone?). I expect the Fanatic will be crashing into the red zone very often, and taking large chunks of an opponents life total with him.

Kiora’s Follower

One of my favourite cards in the set, this guy certainly has the tools to perform well in draft. His ability says “target permanent”, so he can affect anything on the battlefield, including your lands. On top of that, his two power means he can be either an beater or mana accelerator in the early game as required. In the late game, you can untap attackers to block, but he also has all sort of unique synergies with other cards, allowing him to be even tricker. For example, he can untap a creature targeted with Retraction Helix to get double the value. One of my favourite tricks I’ve seen is to untap an opponents inspired token maker in your turn, before they have the mana available (credit to Caleb Durward for noting that in his draft video). I’m very keen tosee what else the Follower has in store for us.

Reap What Is Sown

The premier Heroic enabler of the format, this card is going to be absurdly powerful. I probably don’t need to explain how good it is. Dream curve is probably Favored Hoplite -> Phalanx Leader -> Wingsteed Rider -> Reap with God’s Willing backup. This card with do some dumb things within combat.

Siren of the Silent Song

While I haven’t gotten around to writing about it yet, Blue-Black was my favourite archetype in triple Theros draft, and I can’t wait until I open one of these guys and just windmill slam it. I’ve played plenty of Blood-Toll Harpys, and this is just a strict upgrade. It denies them resources while applying a clock, and you can find other ways to tap him, as well. As I am a terrible human being, one combo I want to set up at some point is Kiora’s Follower + this guy, which causes the opponent to discard a card in their draw step, and lock them out of playing anything but instants. One of my favourite cards for draft.

Gorgon’s Head

I’m not really sure how good the Gorgon’s Head will be, but I expect it’s better then my initial impressions. The casting cost is cheap, and not a lot of Theros decks have turn one plays. After that, guaranteeing each of your creatures will trade one-for-one for only twio mana is very good. I expect it’ll take a while for people to warm up to this card, but once they do, we might finally see a use for artifact removal in this block.

Siren Song Lyre

The Lyre is another example of a card that is more powerful because of the format it exists in. While this effect can normally be gotten for much cheaper, in an environment where people are making giant monsters by means of bestow, tapping a creature every turn is very, very good. While the Lyre is a bit slow and clunky, I expect it’ll eventually be a adapted as a solid role player in the format. As a bonus, if it is equipped to an inspired creature, you’ll get free triggers!

Springleaf Drum

The most powerful inspired enabler in the set. While creatures that have just been summoned cannot tap themselves straight away, other effects can cause them to tap immeadiately (think Glimpse the Sun God). Springleaf Drum is one of those effects, so it allows you to get your inspired effect a whole turn earlier, on top of being a mana accelerator. I expect this card to be very powerful in the draft environment.

And with that, we’ve finally completed our journey through Born of the Gods! Any cards I should have commented on? Are my opinions plain wrong? What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, Random.