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!