I’d play this as long as I had three to four other Angels, and also if I had one to two, or zero. This is just Baneslayer Angel, and Baneslayer is a bomb. The only thing keeping this from a flat 5 rating is that it does die to removal/bounce, though lifelink means it brings you back even when you’re losing badly.
In a nongreen deck, this is “just” a 4.0, but adding an insanely powerful late-game ability makes me very happy. The hexproof line is kind of flavor text because your opponent will want to kill this first anyway, but it can protect your creatures from situational removal that may not be able to hit Shalai. She’s plenty good regardless, and I shall be happy first-picking her.
3 mana for two Knights and a mini-Overrun is incredible value—some might even say mythic amounts (why is this a mythic?). I’d slam this and not even care if I had other Knights, though I would bias my pick order slightly toward them.
Serra is a classic—she plays both sides of the court, and does so with power and grace.
Teshar can be a whiff if you’re short on cheap creatures and historic spells, but I bet she’s a potent build-around if you see her early enough. Casting 0-mana Resurrections is a big game, and she generates a ton of value when left unchecked. If you can, try to save her until you can play her and a cheap historic spell in the same turn.
While the casting cost is rough, this has a powerful effect at any stage of the game. You don’t need to play this on 3 to get value, and it actually isn’t necessarily the play you want to make on turn 3 anyways. Some of the cards in this cycle really want to get played early, but this isn’t one of them, and as such it’s one of the better triple-colored cards. If you can make a mana base with eleven white sources or so, you are in decent shape to cast this by the time you really want to (turn 5-6).
Even excluding the cost reduction on Auras and Equipment, Danitha delivers a beating. A 2/2 with three keywords is quite the threat, and your opponent will constantly fear her gaining an Aura of some kind. She locks up the ground early, chips in for a few damage (and a few life), and later makes the perfect target for any sort of pump spell. As is true with all legendaries, she also makes your historic theme better, which from here on out goes for any legend, to save me the trouble of repeating it (though it is a real bonus).
A 2/2 first striker for 2 would easily be a 3.0, and the extra abilities are quite nice. Against black decks, this edges toward a 4.0 in terms of value, so I’d slam this early and often. I also really like the “hexproof from black” design space—it does protection in a way that doesn’t feel totally hopeless. A 3/2 first strike that is immune to black removal is a beating, but can be overcome by enough power and toughness.
I’m coming in high on this because of how much of a payoff it is. Often, it will be good even if you only get one hit in. If you can slap this on something and have it live, you likely just win the game. It does lose some luster in removal-heavy matchups, but I doubt I’d side this out unless they were packing some real heat.
This takes a little bit of work, but there are two separate build-around angles here, and both are worth digging into. First of all, this draws you a card if you have an artifact in your graveyard, making it a card advantage engine. Second, if you have a bunch of historic cards, this transforms from a mild-mannered archaeologist to an Indian Jones-esque combat machine. You can play this for either side, even if they overlap a lot, and I would be happy to take this early and see how it goes. This doesn’t belong in a museum—it belongs in your deck.
Triumph of Gerrard is a beating when you live long enough to see act 3, and at only 2 mana, is fast enough to make that possible. If your deck is creature-light, maybe skip this, but even in midrange or control I’d run this as a finisher if I had enough creatures.
A 2-mana Assassinate is sweet, and making it an instant is an enormous upgrade. This does lose a little luster in aggro, but it’s so efficient that I’m never turning it down.
It’s not propaganda to say that this ability is extremely annoying for aggro decks, and even against midrange it will greatly impact their decision-making. It forces the opponent to choose between curving out and getting attacks in, and even if it falls off in the late game, it can save you a substantial amount of damage early. Baird is a great addition to any midrange or control deck, though I’m not that high on him for aggro decks.
This card is a sweet design, and I think it will play quite well to boot. It’s a 1-mana beater that is highly relevant if you draw it later, as it can protect whatever your best creature is. I like this even in a control deck, as I’m always in the market for early drops that are good at all points of the game.
I love kicker. A powerful 6-mana play that you can also run out on 3 is great, and I am totally behind more of these being printed. This gets even better when you have go-wide support, but don’t get me wrong—this is great in any white deck.
This is the bread-and-butter removal spell that white gets, and you’ll always play it, even if it’s not exciting. Hitting enchantments is a nice upside, and the first 1-2 of these will make your deck better (even if casting this doesn’t make you feel particularly blessed).
This is a solid addition to any deck, and gets even better when you factor in mass pump or sacrifice synergy. 4/4 worth of stats for 4 with a keyword is a great deal, and I’m running this whenever I have it.
This card is very powerful, in that it can have a very high power. It mostly plays as a 4/4 lifelink, but if you get a hit in after switching, things really get going. I wouldn’t quite call this a bomb, because it is a 6-cost 4/4 that needs to live to get value, and really needs to live to hit twice to really go off
I like all of these, and would take them over midrange playables any day. They all provide solid advantages later in the game, and it’s well worth the risk of your land entering tapped on a crucial turn.
Aggressive white decks will play this as a matter of course, and even defensive decks can get behind a 1/3 flyer for 3. This can play defense until it’s time to end the game, at which point it can get things over with very quickly. I actually like the stats on this a lot, as it makes it a much more interesting card than the 2/1 version.
I could see giving this a bump if you have 5+ historic cards to discard, because a 0-mana protection spell is a huge swing. If you can imagine playing this on turn 4, and discarding a card after blocking their 3-drop, you really are getting into the spirit of things. In fact, I bet most opponents won’t attack into this or block when you attack, which makes this a high-value play even with no support (though the effect is lessened in games 2 and 3, assuming the opponent pays attention to your plays).
There’s nothing wrong with Gideon’s Reproach, and it plays well in aggro and control decks alike. Granted, it’s a little better in control because they get to block before you cast this when you’re beating down, but this is a staple common and one you’ll always be happy to run.
A combat trick that can also stop removal spells and doesn’t get blown out by opposing tricks is something you will almost always play, and this is a fine deal at 2 mana. The stats are good enough to take down bigger creatures, and the flexibility really sells this for me.
It may be an artifact of past formats, but I kind of like the 3/5 for 5 statline, and the ability to draw a card later in the game is real upside. Once you have 3-4 artifacts that are likely to hit the bin, this is a card I prize, though before that it’s more suited for sieges than for digging.
Bishop’s Soldier ended up being very good, even in the slightly-slower world of Rivals, so I have high hopes for Mesa Unicorn. It’s no Mesa Pegasus (banding is unreal—don’t look it up unless you have a lot of time), but it’s good on turn 2 and good late with pump spells.
Femeref may be proud of this guy, but I don’t think I would be. You aren’t going to end up with all that many first-strikers, and a 2/2 double-striker for 4 is nothing to write home about. He does combine well with pump spells, so there is that at least.
I wouldn’t snap this off if I saw it in a pack, but I’m also going to play it more often than not. A 3-power flyer generally gets the job done, and the format would need to be very fast or linear to make this undesirable (and I don’t believe either is true).
All right, I’m going to try and get it right on this powerful Aura, as I feel like I tend to undervalue these things. I will say that it’s hard to gauge exactly how formats play out, and how much removal there is, but the last couple sets have come with powerful Auras that ended up being high picks. Once you turn something into a Knight, it becomes nearly unstoppable in combat, and hits for a couple extra damage. That’s enough to get me interested, and I think this is going to range from good to great in aggressive decks (even if you sometimes side it out against removal).
Where a 3/1 for 2 lands is almost a test of how much I’ll like the format—when it’s great, it’s probably a bit fast for my taste. I’m guessing this comes in as solid playable, which makes me happy—board position will matter, but you probably aren’t just dead if you miss your 2-drop.
A creature with solid stats and a good aggressive ability is a welcome addition to any beatdown deck, and you don’t need that many historic cards to make this great. Getting one tap out of the deal is enough to make this good, and if you do end up with 8+ cards that trigger it, it could easily be one of the best cards in your deck.
You really aren’t getting charged much for this, as 1 mana is as cheap as it gets. I wouldn’t want to run this in a normal deck, but once your creature count edges toward 17+ and you start making tokens, it becomes very appealing.
If this is the best the Thran can muster, it’s no wonder they fell. Armageddon is great when you are winning, but this costs 6 instead of 4, and starts giving the lands back (though you do get first crack at spending the mana). Boom // Bust didn’t usually work out very well, and this is reminiscent of that—when you are winning, casting a 6-mana common creature is likely better than this, which doesn’t speak well of our first Saga.
A 2/2 that is sometimes a 3/2 is nothing to write home about, though it is worth writing a review of. This will basically play as a Grizzly Bears that occasionally hits for a bit more, and as such, is a typical replacement-level 2-drop. This isn’t a build-around, though if you have a ton of legendary creatures, maybe you bump it up a bit in priority.
My guess is that you won’t have the density this requires to be good enough, since I’d want 10+ historic cards to be happy.
In a deck without support, this is literally uncastable. That isn’t good. In a deck with 5+ legendary permanents, it can be awesome, though it does get ruined if the opponent has sick legends of their own. My guess is that this isn’t worth going after from pick one, but can provide a good angle of attack in a deck that already has a few legends by the time you see this.
I am not on board with this plan, as it would take around ten hits before I’d feel comfortable running it (that gives you about an 80% chance). You’re already paying 2 mana for card selection, not advantage, and the chance of missing is way worse than the slight quality upgrade you get with this kind of selection. Save this one for Constructed.
Power creep is just out of control. In just 25 years, we went from Healing Salve to this. I guess that makes this the white Ancestral Recall? It’s not actually good, though if you have a lot of creatures that are of similar size to the opponent, or the game comes down to a race, it could be a good sideboard card.
A timeless tragedy and a perennial sideboard card, Tragic Poet hasn’t changed since the first printing nearly 20 years ago.
A 6-mana Control Magic that gives you two legendary permanents is a great deal, and certainly one of the best cards in the set. This is such a huge swing that you will win most games where the opponent doesn’t have bounce or enchantment removal, which is still great at 6 mana.
Zahid is playable without an artifact, and becomes absurd if you can power him out on turn 4. Poor Mahamoti, victim of 25 years of power creep.
A Wind Drake that can become an Air Elemental is an incredibly powerful common. Casting this on turn 3 is going to be pretty good, and casting it on turn 7+ is even better. Being good in both spots is a quality most people are going to underrate, and this is the perfect example of the power of flexibility.
Time of Ice is extremely powerful, especially in an aggro deck. Locking down two blockers, then bouncing them, is a big tempo swing, and it even prevents the opponent from attacking on the last turn if they did have anything to attack with. It loses a lot of luster the more controlling you get, but this is powerful enough to make me want to take it and draft a tempo deck.
I was a big fan of Ogre Savant, and sometimes this comes out for 4 mana. That’s a premium common, and one that doesn’t ask a whole lot from you—if you’ve got a few Wizards, awesome, and if not, this is still fine.
Wow, blue is not messing around when it comes to commons. I really don’t think my pro-blue bias is leading to higher ratings here—these cards are just very pushed. A 3/4 flyer for 5 is solid, and not out of this world, but adding scry 2 all of a sudden makes it really appealing. By the time you have five mana, lands aren’t great draws, so this can mimic a draw 2 quite nicely. I want two of these in every blue deck, and would love to curve Blink of an Eye into them.
Naru, on the other hand, is much more appealing. A flash lord is a game changer, and she also is big enough to brawl by herself. If you can pick up some cheap spells, she really shines, and all of that together makes for a solid card. You have multiple deck-building paths to choose from, all of which are good.
The mana cost is obviously a real drawback, but I’m not that picky about 4/4 flyers for 3, and this can even grow larger. If you see this early, try to slam blue to the point where you can run 11+ Islands, at which point it will be the best card in your deck.
Merfolk Trickster lives up to its name—you can use it to tap a creature precombat, or after they attack to remove flying or first strike (or any other combat-relevant ability). It can also be used proactively to get damage through, and at the end of the day is a 2/2 for 2 as well. This card seems sweet, and I look forward to playing with it.
I’m in for any number of these, and in any kind of deck. Cantrip bounce is very powerful, and you can cast this for 2 mana in a pinch. With multiple great bounce spells at common, I’m eyeing tempo decks—maybe blue is the beatdown this time around.
This card has a range. In aggressive decks that attack on the ground, it’s quite bad, but in control or flying decks it’s basically hard removal. I’d lean toward taking it and aiming for the skies because it is so good when it’s on, especially given that it removes abilities. The parade of good blue commons just doesn’t end.
I like Tetsuko—she slips in for 1 without fear, and can really power up your X/1s. She does also help 1/Xs, but those are naturally less exciting, so try and draft a bunch of 3/1s and get busy.
I like all of these, and would take them over midrange playables any day. They all provide solid advantages later in the game, and it’s well worth the risk of your land entering tapped on a crucial turn.
This again? Is it mandatory that we have some kind of Spectral Flight in every set? I’m guessing this will be solid, though 1-mana +1/+1 is on balance worse than 2-mana +2/+2 (except in Constructed). This is cheap and grants evasion, so it will be playable. Oh well, beats.
The first Syncopate is pretty good, as it’s a 2-drop when you have it in your opening hand and still a relevant card later. They do get worse in multiples, as counters can get stranded in your hand, but I’ll happily run one to start with.
There are a ton of flash 3/3s in this set, so I recommend not sending 2/2s into a lot of mana. This can provide decent value if you’ve got three or more good historic cards, particularly Sagas, and is at least playable even if you don’t.
I could see bumping this plus or minus half a point depending on format speed, and even if I like the card, I’m not insane. It’s a fine way to hit land drops and smooth out draws in a slow deck, and far from what you want to be doing in aggro.
The range is a little narrower on Naban, with a 2/1 for 2 being fine even without text and double-triggering all your Wizards being less impressive than copying all your spells. Most Wizard decks will want this, but it’s not a strong enough build-around that I’m looking to slam it early.
I’m largely unimpressed by this little bird—you need to trigger this 2-3 times for it to be exciting, and I don’t think that’ll happen most of the time. The payoff isn’t not worth building around, leaving this in the uncanny valley of needing support but not paying you when you provide it. Where I’m most optimistic is in a blue aggro deck, which could happen (blue-red tempo for example).
If you want a Hill Giant (or Mill Giant), this is fine, but the ability isn’t all that impressive.
I obviously want to draft decks where this is good, but realize that it shouldn’t make the cut more than half the time (and it may even be less). If you’ve got 8+ spells, especially expensive ones, this becomes interesting, but it’s filler up until then.
This is a 2-for-1 when it works, but is expensive and doesn’t help you kill anything larger, so I’m not very high on it. If you have room for some air, this is fine, though I doubt that’ll be the case in most decks.
In a deck with 5+ Wizards, this is passable, but not exciting. Outside of that, it’s mostly a sideboard card (though I do like counterspells more in Sealed).
5 mana for three cards isn’t a great deal, and adding a mill three doesn’t exactly turn a bad memory into good tidings. I’d play this in a spell-based deck, but avoid it outside of that.
Unless you have spells-matter cards, this is usually an easy card to cut. It’s just hard to make room for air like this, even if it always does well if you have to include it.
Relic Runner plays double-duty as an early drop that can randomly get in for the last 4-6 points. That’s worth running some of the time, especially if you want both halves.
I may not be able to see the future, but I sure can predict losing with this in play. This one is a bit expensive for my tastes, as spending 4 mana to start with is a tough sell. At least The Mirari Conjecture gets you your mana back on the turn it copies spells, while this just asks you to dump more mana into it. I’m a sucker for build-arounds, so I’ll try this, but I think it’s going to be bad.
In a spell-heavy deck, this can be an awesome finisher. Imagine a deck with 10-14 spells, where you curve removal into removal into this. All of a sudden you get two spells back and then get to copy them, putting the opponent into a huge hole. If you can afford to spend 5 mana and not affect the board, my theory is that this is awesome, though it’ll be a blank card unless you really do the work to make it good.
This at least doesn’t have flying, but one Arcane Flight later and that is no longer true. I would snap this up if I had two to three Auras to put on it, but avoid it otherwise. It’s too expensive to be good unless you’re buffing it.
Some of the uncommons, on the other hand, aren’t much to write home about. There really isn’t a mill deck, and given how hard it is to get multiples of this, I don’t think I’d go digging for one. There’s a small amount of U/B self-mill incentive, but not enough to make me take this highly.
The artifacts in this set are largely bad, and cycling through them isn’t a huge upside. Adding a 2-mana 1/2 to the deal isn’t exactly a saving grace either.
This is a marginal sideboard card against In Bolas’s Clutches, and not much past that. The effect is too narrow and not nearly powerful enough.
Not only is this a sideboard card, it’s much worse than Negate. Untapping three lands on their turn is just not exciting, and paying an extra mana up front is quite bad. Still, it can stop powerful Sagas and protect your cards, so you will sometimes bring it in.
The effect here isn’t all that impressive, sweet art notwithstanding, and you won’t be able to cast this all the time. Taking an extra turn is historically only great when you are winning, and requiring you to jump through a hoop to do so really negates a lot of the value. Save this one for Constructed.
10 mana is just so much, and you really need to kick this to get value from it. I might try going deep with Powerstone Shard, but past that I don’t see how you are getting the real Slinn Voda to stand up.
OK, this kind of hexproof I can accept. This looks atrocious to me—it is too expensive to be good as just protection, and pays you off with a Divination sometimes when the thing dies.
A 4-mana 4/5 menace is far enough above the normal curve already, and adding a very powerful kicker is just a bonus. Don’t get me wrong—you’re summoning the army of the damned maybe 5% of the time, if that, but Josu does the trick without it.
Even if this can’t kill some of the biggest and baddest creatures in the set, it’s still a hyper-efficient and fairly wide-ranging removal spell. Remember when this used to be a common?
Wrath with suspend 1 doesn’t seem like it would be what you want, but adding the ability to keep your best creature dramatically changes the calculus. Plus, you can try to draft other artifact creatures, though that doesn’t seem necessary—the card will be great either way. The last ability is flavor text, but that’s okay. The first two do enough of the carrying (kind of like me and EFro when we teamed with Cheon).
Demonlord Belzenlok is enormous and leaves you up at least one spell and perhaps more, all for the reasonable cost of 6 mana and a little bit of life. Unless you are getting beaten down badly, this is going to be great, and I’d be happy to take it every time I open it. These are the kinds of bombs I find fun to have in the format—it’s a great card, but isn’t soul-crushing (despite that being flavorful for a Demon). Sometimes it’s a 2- or 3-for-1, but it’s no Tetzimoc, and for that I’m thankful.
Good, clean removal is always at a premium, and this easily nabs the award for second-best common in the set (I haven’t gotten to the first yet, if you have any guesses). This is even splashable, making it that much better to take early. You won’t get passed many of these, and there’s no limit to how many I’d play.
This is essentially Eviscerate, and that card is great. It’s on balance a tiny bit worse, as BB cost outweighs the upside of exiling, but the difference isn’t big enough to warrant a different grade.
This may seem like a high grade for what is essentially Moment of Craving, but adding the ability to trade your worst creature for something big is a huge boon in the late game. This is good early, solid late, and all around a great piece of removal (though it is worse than Eviscerate, even if they are close enough to get the same grade).
I’m a big fan of this Saga. It may be a little deceptive, because sacrifice one creature and discard one card aren’t traditionally that great in Limited, especially on turns 5/6, but the combination here works out very nicely. Getting three cards, two of which affect the board directly (them losing a creature and you putting the best dead creature into play) is a great deal for 5 mana, and this is definitely enough value to get me interested.
I didn’t even realize during my Knight of Grace review that this gets bigger if you control a white permanent, which shows you how good this text box is. It’s cheap, powerful, and efficient, and a card I’m happy to take early.
Even taking into account how color-intensive this, I still think it’s worth building toward. You don’t have to be mono-black, but you should heavily bias towards black, and if you can end up with around 2-3 black cards this will be a card your opponents dread. After all, if you can cast it, it threatens to be a 6/6 at minimum.
Look, you can’t have Rite of Belzenlok, which presumably summons the Demon himself, and also have Demonlord Belzenlok in the set doing something completely different. What’s going on with that? As for the game play, this card looks really strong to me. It summons a 6/6 for 4 mana, even with a two-turn delay, and gives you plenty of chumps to feed to it. It is weak against bounce, but otherwise looks quite good, and you can even throw the tokens in front of attackers if you need to.
As long as you don’t misclick and cast this for 1 mana, you’ll do pretty well when you play this. A 3/3 menace is a solid body, and the emergency mode of playing a 1-mana chump blocker is an upside.
The Thallids are in full bloom, and this is one of their most pungent flowers. I would play this in any black deck, and be even happier if I had Thallid synergies. It trades off easily, provides a little value when you do, and is cheap enough to play offense or defense. Take this early and often.
This is a solid bit of value, and very similar to the legendary Skulduggery (that card really overperformed). Ambushing a blocker is one of the primary use cases here, but winning a combat and having a 1/1 left over is perfectly acceptable as well. I’d always want one of these, and might slam two depending on how the format shapes up.
I like all of these, and would take them over midrange playables any day. They all provide solid advantages later in the game, and it’s well worth the risk of your land entering tapped on a crucial turn.
You don’t have room for infinite 5s, but this is a solid body and gains a few life, making it an acceptable way to spend your mana. Plus, it enables a minor self-mill theme, which every now and then will help out.
I’m a big fan of this, and especially like having extra copies to side in against slow decks. It’s a 3-for-1 when you kick it even if one of the cards is just a 1/3, and the effect is powerful enough to be worth 6 mana. If the format ends up being slow, this could easily go up in value.
In a creature-heavy deck, this is very threatening (sadly, there are no actual Threatens to pair with it). I like this as a finisher for tokens decks or a way to fill out your curve, as the base stats/cost aren’t embarrassing either.
Thallid Soothsayer can be part of a very powerful engine, though it’s rather lackluster on its own. Unlike Thallid Omnivore, this is a true build-around, and in a deck that can generate a lot of tokens this can bury the opponent in card advantage.
Torgaar is a card you need to do a little work for, but isn’t out of the question even in a normal deck. If your opponent is light on removal/bounce, running this out on turn 4 or 5 sounds like a beating, and Torgaar will end the game quite quickly. Then again, if they do answer it, you probably lose, making it a bit of a feast or famine situation. Torgaar seems sick in Saproling decks, and is a very scary card to face down—a 7/6 that nugs you for 10 is not what you want to see early (or at any point, really). Plus, even sacrificing one creature makes this castable later, so it doesn’t even have to be completely all-in.
If you have token-makers and creatures with good ETB effects, this is more a shout than a whisper, but in the average deck it’s a bit costly. The reward is here, especially since you can do this in response to removal or after blocks, but I wouldn’t play this without doing some work to enable it.
This is a run-of-the-mill combat trick, though it will have its legendary moments. I’m lukewarm on this in a deck with no legends, and would probably play it if I had two to three brawlers (plus a desire for combat tricks to begin with).
This is my pick for one of the most controversial cards in the set. It looks bad on first blush (you need to be the aggressor, it’s weak to bounce/removal), but I can see it really putting the nail in the coffin if the opponent is on the back foot. I really want to get my hands on this, but I’m not super high on it to begin with.
Deathtouch is not the most impressive ability on a 5/5, as there’s also the mechanic of “dealing 5 damage,” and that is quite effective at killing creatures. This does punish double-blocking, and if you need a 6-drop, this is an option, if not a great one.
I want exactly one of these in all of my decks (assuming I have at least 14 creatures). It’s not a high pick, and it won’t salvage a bad Draft, but a solid 2-for-1 is a good way to make sure you have a passable late game.
I dislike the 4/2 for 4 stat ratio enough that I’d try to avoid running this if at all possible. In an aggressive deck with 6+ ways to trigger it, it can be damaging enough to be worth it, but I bet it gets played way more often than it should.
6 mana for 3 toughness is a rough ratio, since the difference between 4 and 3 toughness on blocks is immense. You may wonder why this is losing so much ground compared to a 4/4, and that is why—this trades for a 3/2 or dies to 3-damage effects. I do like that this gets a card no matter what when it connects, and I would run this if I needed a finisher, but I wouldn’t prioritize it.
The floor on this is pretty low (it’s an under-statted 6-drop with an ability that may never come up), but the ceiling is pretty high too. I can imagine seeing this as a control deck and groaning, as my hand of double Eviscerate is just blank, so there is some value to be had here. I think I like this as a sideboard card against control or a finisher in a control deck with very few creatures (and enough artifacts to bring it back).
I feel like I’m going to want one of these in most of my black decks, but multiples aren’t appealing, and I don’t think it’ll be hard to pick ’em up. 4 mana isn’t exactly a bargain, even if the effect is strong enough to justify it. I like when my card draw helps me hit land drops (i.e., 3 cost or less) or buries the opponent (draw 3-4 cards). Dark Bargain doesn’t quite do either, though I am still interested.
Drudge Sentinel is a bit too pricey for my tastes—I remember when the Drudge only charged a single black mana, but I guess inflation applies everywhere. It just costs a lot to keep this ability up, making it a poor defender, and it doesn’t attack for enough that it’s a real threat. There’s a minor upside of putting Auras on this and bashing, but that doesn’t seem like it’ll come up all that often.
Now this is a build-around. I’d play all sorts of mediocre legends to make this work, as you will win the vast majority of games when you cast this. It kills their best creature and gives you something awesome, and is well worth trying to set up. I’d want 4+ legends, and ideally they are on the cheaper side, but that seems doable.
I don’t want one of these, much less multiples. I’m glad this doesn’t gain toughness, because a pack of these could really be a plague on the format, and we’ve done that dance before. As is, these are too vulnerable to be worth building around, and will only make the cut if you are really short on 2-drops.
I’m definitely not an evangelist for 2-drops, and this is a particularly boring one. If your curve needs this, maybe, but I’d be unhappy to run it.
Mmm, delicious frog-maggot-demon flavor. Yargle is the number one meme card in the set, and despite not being good, is awesome. If you have some ways to grant evasion, maybe this deals some damage, but don’t go Yargling and expect it to crush your opponent.
If you have a deck full of creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities, this gets a little more interesting, but it’s not powerful enough to be worth the risk of encountering a bounce spell or removal in response to casting it. Plus, the opponent can sometimes just ignore the creature, which makes this a lot less effective as well.
I hate cards that become dead after the first 5-6 turns, and targeted discard frequently does. I might side this in against expensive targets, but I don’t want a card in my main deck that’s a 1-for-1 when it works and misses completely when it doesn’t. Even in the best-case scenario, you spent 1 mana and they spent 0.
It’s not worth playing a mono-black deck for Cabal Stronghold, but if you’re mono-black you would play this. Don’t play this with fewer than 14 Swamps in your deck, and unless you have two Dread Shades, I’m not sure how you get to that point.
You just can’t pay 5 mana in Limited to gain access to your best card—the difference between that and your average card is not worth such a huge cost. It is funny that it’s Diabolic Tutor + Entomb in both effect and mana cost, but as amusing as that is, I’m still not playing it.
I love Siege-Gang Commander. It’s insane at any point in the game, and can deal with almost any kind of opposing threat. It even answers flyers once you untap, and is resilient to removal, all while pressuring the opponent’s life total. I’m all-in on Siege-Gang, and would consider switching colors for it if I opened it in pack 2.
Well then. Both modes here are very desirable, and combining the two makes a truly awesome bomb. I don’t have much to say here—the power level is high, the effect is very simple, and what makes this good are the stats and cost.
This is quite good at 3 mana and truly great at 1 mana, so it is no surprise that it gets a high grade. Don’t worry about picking up Wizards—this is more than fine regardless of what your deck looks like.
I’m high on this card. For 3 mana, it kills just about anything, which would already make it an easy 3.5. Adding an expensive and powerful kicker really brings it to the next level, as this will end the game basically every time if you can get to 9 mana (either by killing their board or just going directly to the face). This card more than any shows how powerful flexibility is—even if you kick this just 10% of the time, adding that aspect on to an already great card is a surprisingly large upgrade, and I will be taking this almost every time I see it. I only wish it were called Jaya’s Rage, which would have been a nice throwback.
This is my pick for best common in the set. It kills a ton of creatures for 1 mana, and if you need to hit something bigger, you can just pay the price and it’ll do that too. The efficiency is so high, and it doesn’t fall off in the late game, which in my book puts it just above Eviscerate.
I like this card a lot more than I like this format. Half the time it has a good offensive ability, and the entire time it’s a 4/4 for 4. I look forward to having some games decided on coin flips (I’m not even joking—I love that kind of nonsense).
I wouldn’t quite call this a build-around because it’s passable by itself and will naturally deal 2 a lot of the time, especially in blue-red. That said, if you can pick up a couple extra Wizards, the rating does go up, so this is an aspiring 3.
I love the joke here, and the card isn’t bad either. It does get weaker in the face of double blocks, but that can be an advantage—the opponent is more likely to try and double up, at which point you wreck them with a combat trick or burn spell. It’s also a fine blocker, and a card I would play every time.
Charging Monstrosaur this is not, and for that I am thankful. Skizzik attacks for enough to be worth playing, and will have some very swingy moments, but is also soft enough in combat not to be incredible.
I like this in barrage mode, and if you pay the kicker, you even get some sabotage to go with it. The fact that it’s good without the kicker makes it a fine card, and every now and then you will toss one of your artifacts or Goblins at the opponent’s head. Works for me.
I would always run Squee in a deck with 9+ Mountains, as he can gum up the ground and even attack for a decent amount of damage. It’s nice having a card you don’t care about, and the opportunity cost on Squee is very low.
After spending hours parsing this text, I have come to the conclusion that this is good. It kills three permanents, even if sometimes you’ll have to pick lands because they don’t have enough stuff in play, and starts working right at the end of the turn you play it. That’s powerful enough for me, even if it’s very random, and I think this will be a desirable card in this format. It’s also really cute with bounce, as Rescuing or Blink of an Eyeing this will kill the full four permanents, because the aim counter remains from the first time you cast it.
I’m a fan of 4/3s for 4, and ones that let you upgrade a card in your hand are even better. In any red deck, I’ll be on the prowl for as many copies of this as I can get.
5 mana for 5 damage is a perfectly acceptable deal, and tacking on a random Shatter is pure upside. The art on this is pretty on the nose, but hey, at least you get the idea. It’s pretty blunt, much like Chandra’s tactics.
This card is really tricky. I think it’s strong overall, but it might be hard to pull all the pieces together. I see this working as follows: Play it and maybe kill a 1/1 or two. Not a huge deal. Play something huge and ahead of schedule. Solid upside. Wipe the board of all small/medium creatures, leaving whatever you played last turn in play. Big advantage. If you have a deck with good high end and creatures with 4+ toughness, this can be a powerful way to punish smaller decks. I don’t think that’s every red deck, and the format seems like it won’t be overrun by aggro, so I don’t think this is a bomb. It is interesting, and like all Sagas, I really want to get my hands on them to see.
Valduk is a build-around, and the best kind too—he has a low opportunity cost, being a 3/2 for 3, and a high upside when he works. This is worth working toward, and I wouldn’t mind snagging him early and seeing where it goes.
I like this a lot less than the other triple-color cards because so much of the value of this is in the 3/3 first strike body, and that falls off hard in the late game. If you can be nearly mono-red, this will be great, but I wouldn’t take it early and expect that to work out. If you see it later and are in a position to move in, this will be great, but my rating reflects how much value this provides on average, and I don’t see it being insane.
This is a threatening common. It costs a lot, but the good news is that if you want the 3/1 haste mode, the kicker is probably pretty good in your deck (and vice versa). It’s a solid finisher and a card I wouldn’t mind in my beatdown decks, but it’s too expensive to build a sacrifice deck around.
This is a solid combat trick that has a slightly wider range of uses than most. It will win most combats for 1 mana, which is nice, and can every so often be used to swing for a bunch of extra damage. I’d play this in most aggro or midrange decks, though it’s not so important to be worth taking early.
I don’t like menace quite as much as first strike on a +2/+1 Aura, but this still will get the job done. As long as you’re aggressive and have a low curve, this will make the cut (and then another cut, and then another cut).
This is a slightly different kind of build-around—it asks you to have a lot of spells, but doesn’t care too much about them being specific kinds of spells. If you have 8+ spells, this becomes a great addition, and if you’re running less than that it is still passable. It’s also a Wizard, which could push it over the line in some decks with just a few targets. Plus, if the format is slow enough, I could see this edging toward a 3.5, though it would need to be really slow for it to hit that mark.
Ghitu Journeymage is the definition of filler, and I expect to play it in most aggro decks and avoid it in the slower ones. The extra ping makes it a little more relevant in the late game, which is nice, and tempo Wizards might end up being really into this.
A 2/2 haste flyer for 4 isn’t impressive, so you need the ability to carry a lot of weight. I don’t think it quite does, and I’d mostly be looking to play this in very aggressive decks, but not much outside of that. If it gave the top creature of your deck +1/+1 that would be a completely different story, but that’s neither here nor there.
A trick you can only use while attacking loses a ton of flexibility, even if it’s powerful in an aggro deck. I wouldn’t run amok outside of very aggressive decks.
After looking at what’s going on in this set, I don’t really see a Goblin theme getting there. Every now and then you’ll have a base-red deck with just enough Goblins to make this playable, but it’s nowhere near as powerful as the card looks (or was back in Onslaught block).
Nobody will be singing songs about this guy, but he is a bear with an interesting ability in the late game. In an aggro deck with one or two Sagas, I could see running this, though the most likely use case is curve-filling.
I have this slightly higher than the assorted 2/1s because a) it’s bigger (duh) and b) you might get a solid trigger here or there. It’s not the stones, but it’s a mediocre playable and gets a little better once you have 3-4 cards with kicker. It is annoying that kicker costs tend to be expensive, which flies in the face of this aggressive 2-drop, and menace in particular drops in value quickly.
This is similar to Yawgmoth’s Horrible Plan (or whatever the black one is called). Hard to enable, and uncastable in some decks, but beyond absurd when you do get to cast it. If you can pick up 4+ legendary creatures, this is an insane finisher, and one worth trying to get to work.
This is a marginal main deck card and a decent sideboard one as it can wipe out armies of Saprolings. I would want one of these in my sideboard in most decks, but wouldn’t prioritize it very highly.
I love cards from Alpha, though this does not hold up as well as Serra Angel. Play this if your deck is missing 5-drops, but don’t expect it to be [fire emoji]. The stats and cost are mediocre at best.
This is one of the most-argued about cards so far, as many people see a lot higher upside in it than I do. Basically, I see this as a hyper-situational Tormenting Voice + Trumpet Blast, with the slight bonus of making your burn spells deal +2 damage on the final turn as well. It just seems too hard to have a position where your hand is empty and you have sufficient board presence to make this great, especially since it doesn’t increase toughness on your creatures. Maybe really aggressive decks end up digging this, but it looks too hard to set up and not rewarding enough when you do. Let’s see how this fares, and maybe I put it in my underrated set re-review (though here’s where the game is rigged—I admit when I get cards wrong, but all those yelling about how great this is tend to fade quietly into the night, which I guess is what I sign up for by writing these).
I find it funny that a clumsy Goblin Guide is a more effective pathfinder than a skilled Lavarunner, but either way this isn’t going to make into 40-card decks very often. It’s too much work for too little reward, and this usually won’t be great at the point in the game where you need your 1-drops to be good.
Not all planeswalkers are bombs, and Jaya Ballard certainly is not. Her first ability is mediocre, her second is pretty decent, and her casting cost is hard. In a heavy red deck I would likely try Jaya, then take her out once I got to activate her and confirm that she isn’t good.
We’ve come a long way from Rabid Wombat (a card I thought was awesome back in the day). Still, this doesn’t really excite me, as it’s very bad before you enchant/equip it and not all that great when you do. In a deck with 5+ ways to buff this, I would try it, but I would not take this early and try to make it my champion.
There aren’t enough ways to generate value off of this, and a 2-mana 1/1 is barely a card by itself. As such, I’ll be a good citizen and avoid vandalizing anything.
In theory, this is a fine way to get a bit of value without costing a card. In practice, your deck never has room for this kind of card, and unless you are making a first strike deck with the Pride of Femeref, this won’t make the cut.
These modes are about as uncomplementary as I can imagine—there is so rarely a time when both are good at once. Add that to the lack of power in either, and a bad card is what you end up with.
What the hell, red? Did you forget to do your assignment and tried to scribble something down as the professor was collecting papers? How did we get here?
Well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise. I guess Ixalan doesn’t have a Dinosaur monopoly, and they let a really good one slip out. This has huge stats and a great ability, making it a fantastic card. Do be careful—if you kick this, it has to fight, so the opponent bouncing their only creature with this on the stack could be devastating.
Ahhh, this is why Colossal Dreadmaw isn’t in the set (though I’ll believe that when I see it). Multani is a house—it comes in as a 6/6 minimum and will grow, but that’s not what makes it so dangerous. The ability to regrow Multani is the kicker, figuratively, as it shuts off a lot of the cards that would normally answer this. Add reach to the mix and you have a card I’m happy to first-pick.
This can steal games early and is still a formidable creature late, which is where I like the triple-colored cards to be. Llanowar Elves into this is an early front-runner for the biggest groan test of the set, and I would be happy taking this early (partially because green is a good main color and does a good job generating lots of green mana).
If you have a creature-heavy deck, the plot will really thicken, and it will make it nearly impossible for your opponent to kill you on the ground. Even against flyers, this lets you cash in Saprolings for new cards and a little breathing room, making this a self-fueling engine. This does take some work to maximize, but is well worth it.
Every green deck will be happy to gorge itself on these. A 4/4 for 4 that is a 7/7 in the late game is really powerful, and this stands head and shoulders above almost every other common creature when it comes to stats. It even stacks well, as the 4-drop slot has a lot of room, so unlike other finishers you will be happy with multiples.
I really like cheap acceleration, and counting for double on kicker cards is a very powerful ability. The kicker cards are also pretty much all great on their own, so you aren’t even paying deckbuilding costs, as both halves of this combination stand by themselves.
The difference between a 1-drop and a 2-drop accelerator is dramatic, as a bunch of new Standard players are soon to find out. Curving Elves into any 3-drop into Baloth Gorger is very hard to beat, and this is the best green common as a result. I’m excited to play with Elves, though being on the draw against this card just feels hopeless.
This is a titan among 2-drops, and a card I will highly prioritize. You are going to want to kick this 80% of the time, but having the option is upside. I also really like vigilance and trample on a 5/5, which is why I’m so high on the card.
Sapherd is tilting—I’m going to want to call it shepherd and that’s incorrect, leading to a lot of tongue-twisting. The card is good though, as it makes a good amount of stats and has relevant creature types too. Once again, these Saproling cards are playable in any deck.
Now here is a show-stopper. I don’t think you’ll want tons of Mammoth Spiders because they don’t really pressure the opponent, but having one or two as air defense looks strong. They stop even kicked Academy Drakes, and are big enough not to be removed easily.
If somehow you don’t have a Colossal Dreadmaw in your pool, you might as well pick up Grunn. This will beat for a ton of damage and is incredibly large in the very late game, but it’s also just another 6-drop that matches up poorly against bounce/removal.
Pounce hit pretty low in Ixalan, but a big part of that was how small Merfolk were and how Dinosaurs wanted a removal spell that worked before you played your big Dinos. There are enough solid creatures that aren’t too expensive here that this looks like it’ll be pretty good, and being Savage Stomp when you target a legendary creature is a real upside.
I like this as a green card draw engine. It draws you two creatures (with selection) and puts 1-2 lands into play at the end of it. That’s a fine deal for 5 mana, and the delay doesn’t matter much either, since you have both creatures by the time you are in a position to cast them. This is slow, but you do want some high end, and this is a good way to take care of that need.
I like both modes on this, and it gets even better once you’re combining it with Saproling synergies. This is playable even without them, so don’t expect to pick any up late.
Saproling Ambush! This will do good work in any green deck, which seems to be a trend among Saproling cards. Paradoxically, it makes that deck harder to build, as all the pieces are going to be snapped up by people who are not in the deck. In any case, three 1/1s for 4 mana is a good deal, and making this instant speed gives it a little bump too.
In a deck full of creatures, this will have some high points, and there’s definitely power here. It is situational, so don’t forget the times when you have two creatures out, you play this, and they kill one, making this an expensive +1/+1. It also wants you to have a mix of cheap and expensive creatures, which seems doable enough. I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up a tick or two higher, even if it matches up poorly against removal. It does seem awesome in Saproling decks, as they are ready to sing you the song of their people.
In the average green deck, this is a bear that works with a couple other cards, which isn’t bad. In a dedicated Fungus deck, it might be one of your best cards, and those two modes seem pretty win-win to me.
In a 2-color deck, this is a glorified Warpath Ghoul, but it does enable some nice splashes. I can imagine casting plenty of Eviscerates and Shivan Fires off of Llanowar Envoy, so keep that in mind when you see this in the pack. I also like it a lot in Sealed, where splashes will be more common.
I like pump spells with a little flexibility, and this has it. It wins at combat early for 2 mana, wins a more lopsided combat later for 4 mana, and untaps the creature for some nice ambushes in either case.
I’d want to focus my deck on tokens to maximize this, though it’s a fine way to spend 4 or 8 mana in a normal deck too. Neither mode is very efficient, but the effect is powerful and getting to choose between the modes is worth something. There are a lot of green +1/+1 effects in this set, so make sure to play with that in mind when facing green mages.
I like this a little more than the Primordial Wurm because it will get damage through unless stopped by removal. I am seeing a lot of options for finishers here, which collectively reduces the value of each—it doesn’t matter that much which 6+ mana cards you have, as long as you have enough (1-2 in most decks).
I suspect Krosan Druid will end up being a little better than it looks (though it’s still largely filler). Gaining 10 life is just so much, and if you can hit eight mana this will do a great job stabilizing. I really want to make a deck that recurs these, and think that they can be great in a deck that needs this effect. That said, a 2/3 for 3 isn’t great, and most green decks won’t be overjoyed to play this.
I like this card, and will run one-two in any deck that has sufficient green sources (ideally nine or so). It smooths out your draws, makes your deck a little more consistent, and does so by reducing the odds of getting mana screwed (by getting lands) while not flooding you in the late game. My first impulse is to have 14+ creatures, though you could get adventurous and run a few less if you feel lucky.
Marwyn looks decent to me, even if you don’t end up with a ton of Elves. She’s passable by herself, and it takes just one Elf to make her a very strong card. With two good common Elves (and a bad one), and an uncommon Elf, that doesn’t seem completely unrealistic.
Sylvan Awakening is tricky. It can be pretty rude at 8+ mana, but is lackluster before then, putting it in massive finisher territory. Some decks are going to love this card, as it does get the opponent dead if you’ve done a good job ramping and getting to the late game. Other decks aren’t going to want it at all, because they are interested in curving out and playing efficient cards (fools). It does have some defensive applications too, but that seems pretty bad, as you are just throwing a card away at that point.
Most decks can’t reliably cast 8-drops, but in a deck geared towards doing it, this is amazing. It floods the board very quickly and is monstrous itself, making it one of the better ways to close out the game.
I was a little too down on this in the LR review, and it’s grown on me since. I know that format speeds are tricky to guess, but I do think this one is slow, so double-ramping for 5 mana can be really explosive. Also, the lands entering untapped is relevant, though that won’t come up super often.
It isn’t a reach to say that this is a decent combat trick that you’ll play about half the time. The bonus is a little small, though it will shine in some matchups.
OK, I am starting to believe that Colossal Dreadmaw isn’t coming back (cue Primordial Wurm ripping off its mask and being Dreadmaw all along). This is a fine finisher, though I’d prefer to just run Baloth Gorgers in this slot if possible.
Bears aren’t looking great to me here, and this ability oozes with sideboard potential more than anything else. Run this if you need the body, but don’t prioritize it.
This is hard to cast for multiple reasons, and even when you do cast it, you might end up with a mediocre assortment of monsters. It is a finisher, and it can be powerful, but you want to cast it for 7+ mana to really get going, and that makes it a very inflexible card.
I’m low on 4/2s for 4, as they trade down way too easily. In fact, the name “Protector” is just a lie, so Gaea should fire this on the spot. I’ve also found the “must be blocked” text to be less powerful than it looks, as the opponent can still choose what to block with, or block with multiples, so you aren’t getting a huge advantage. I’d stay away from this.
The quality of the Llanowars is dropping dramatically—I almost don’t want to see what the next one is. This is just too small and doesn’t actually add mana, so you end up down a card in most games.
You need a very permanent-dense deck before this becomes appealing, with Sagas being the main reason this does more than just bring back a creature.
This is a sweet card (and a dominant Constructed card, if you can believe that), but it doesn’t really do anything. It’s graveyard hate if you care about that, and it does replace itself, but it does not have my blessing.
This looks like a sideboard card to me, but I am starting to wonder if maindecking one artifact/enchantment removal card could be right. I won’t start off doing that, so this still gets a sideboard rating, but keep an eye on the format—it could be a smart move. The explore ability on this is a nice bit of text, though on balance this is worse than just Naturalize since you won’t usually kill anything early enough in the game for that part to matter.
I normally don’t give planeswalkers that can’t defend themselves this high a grade, but Karn is colorless, has a ton of loyalty, and draws you cards every turn. Karn crushes the opponent if you can defend him, and having such a low cost makes that likely.
If you have never played with or against Icy, you make think I’m overrating this, but I assure you that I am not. This essentially kills whatever their best creature is at the time, but can also do so much more. It can tap lands during their upkeep, it can tap a creature end of turn and then on your turn to get in for damage, and it can negate any equipment they might have. Icy is also colorless, and a completely safe Draft pick, making it one of the best cards in the set to open. This is on the short list of top cards, and yes, the 1 mana difference between this and Pacification Array really is that big.
This is the kind of card that can overpower the opponent easily or lose to a bounce spell, but I suspect the first happens more often than the second. Unless you’re really far behind, you can just keep trying until this sticks, at which point you’ll bury the opponent in cards, especially on a creature with an ETB ability. This makes all of your creatures must-kills, and is definitely a good way to close out a game.
Move over Juggernaut. Traxos is a very good reason to play some kind of loose historic cards in your deck, as the reward of getting a 7/7 trampler for 4 is very real. You don’t even have to attack, so if you run out of triggers you can have Traxos chill on defense until you draw one.
I would play this as the base Vehicle alone, and it drawing you cards every so often makes it a much bigger threat. Weatherlight is a beating, and makes it worth picking up some extra historic cards if you can.
This looks to be worth building around. Given enough time, it just goes off, and if you can untap with it you will often clog up the board completely. Once you get one copy off, it’s very hard for the opponent to eradicate it, so as long as you’ve got enough historic cards this will be one of the better cards in your deck. See, I’m not dead-set against the historic stuff—I just want good payoffs, and this is one of them.
This guy definitely knows the way. I would always play this, and it’s good even in a normal 2-color deck. It fixes your mana, gives you a 1/2 body for free, and interacts nicely with sacrifice and historic themes both.
Nothing can stop the Juggernaut, especially not Walls. Even if Juggernaut trades down every now and then, it’s still a lot of stats for 4 mana, and plays very nicely with combat tricks or Equipment like the Lance. I’d even run this in midrange/control, as it’s too big to ignore and will always trade for something.
Vigilance is what really makes this pop, as the opponent can’t just take the damage and race. You will make trades with this card, and it will be effective. It is at its best with Saprolings, but can also wreak havoc with flyers, and if you need a finisher, its value goes up.
In decks with zero legendary creatures, this does still serve as a finisher. It gives a huge bonus, and can make any Saproling into a hero. Where it gets really dangerous is in a deck with a couple legends, as all of a sudden you are getting +5/+5 out of nowhere, as you can play and equip in the same turn. This card is strong enough to impact my pick order, and is a card I wouldn’t mind taking early.
If this reduces the cost of a few cards per game, it’s more than paid for itself, and a 2/2 flyer tends to be relevant on most boards. I’m not building around Jhoira’s Familiar, but am more likely to play it than not.
This one I’m a lot more OK with. It’s not great, but it’s cheap enough that it’ll get some work done. I like it in aggro (as little as there may be) and I like it in historic, and am even willing to play it in Thallids to make my Saprolings into 2/2s.
If your deck can afford a colorless land, this is worth playing. I’d avoid this if I had a bunch of double-colored spells, and play it otherwise.
The main predictor of whether you want this in your deck is how aggressive your deck is. It does trigger historic, but being unable to block makes this undesirable if you aren’t beating down, so don’t play this in a control deck unless you have a ton of great cards that care about history.
I’ve been relatively impressed by this—it’s not good on defense, which is a good top-down design, but it can steamroll the opponent if you are the aggressor. The Equipment in this set is pretty appealing, so watch out that you aren’t playing too many. Most decks want one or two pieces of the heavier Equipment (cost 3+), and not more.
In a deck without any high end, this isn’t generally worth a slot. If your curve ends at 5 or 6, just cast a 5-drop creature and move on with your life. In a deck with expensive kicker cards and some card draw, this can do a lot of work, and I like using this to overpower the opponent.
In a deck with 6+ historic cards to exile, I like this well enough. It’s too expensive to play just as a looter, but if you’re reliably drawing cards it will be a good way to pull ahead.
Having a couple of these gets out of control quickly, but the main reason I would play this is if you want 3-mana ramp spell and care about historic. That will come together every now and then, and sometimes you’ll even get to kick a 10-drop by chaining a few of these together.
A minor defensive body plus giving a big artifact vigilance is a fine deal for 2 mana, and this even combines nicely with artifacts that have tap abilities. I’m not looking to play this, but it could be key in some historic decks.
In aggressive Wizard decks, this is a fine finisher, especially once you start moving it multiple times a turn. Otherwise, it’s quite bad, so use it wisely.
It’s rare that you’ll get a big advantage out of each player drawing a card, and the stats are under-rate, so this just seems like noise to me.
I’d basically only play this if I was super deep on both legendary creatures and really wanted historic triggers. That won’t be most decks, and I suspect the vast majority of those who play this are wrong to do so.
This does stick around, but partially because the opponent can’t be bothered to try and remove it. It’s a little too expensive and only stops ground creatures, making it a filler at best. Indestructible filler is still filler.
Giving a creature more toughness isn’t very exciting, so I’m going to try my best to avoid playing this. It doesn’t do enough, and is exactly the kind of card I don’t want to play to trigger historic. Cramming your deck full of these to make your 1/1 scry or your 4/2 deal 2 is how you lose games, and is why I’m not advocating for going ham on the mechanic. I like the cards that are good, but don’t want to play bad enablers for mediocre payoffs.
Sparring Construct doesn’t provide quite enough value to be worth a card, and I’m skeptical that historic triggers will make up for the deficit. I’ll be on the side that pummels the Construct, not the side playing it, thank you very much.
I’ve been unimpressed with this card thus far. Cheap historic triggers is not something I’ve found to be that valuable, and 7 mana total to kill a creature is on the pricey end. Some decks will want this, but most won’t, and I’ve seen enough people play this that I bet it ends up being overplayed.
Guardians have mostly been guarding my sideboard, in the few Sealeds that I managed to do this morning, and as such I’m not giving them a high grade. They can re-trigger some cool effects and are of reasonable size, but I think that you can find better ways to spend this much mana.
I’ve already made enough Colossal Dreadmaw jokes that I don’t want to reprint any, so I’ll just say that the stats here are underwhelming and it’s not really worth a slot.
I give the two grades because of how often people want to play this. I played 10 rounds of Sealed today and saw three of them, which indicates that most people see this as just another fixer. It is not, because it doesn’t produce mana itself, and you should really not be playing this unless you are that hard up for historic triggers, which most decks aren’t. This card is a trap, and an effective one.
I don’t know what it would take to get me to play this card, but I can tell you that it won’t happen.
Slimefoot is very annoying to play against, and can slowly grind out most opponents. He locks up the ground and enables sacrifice abilities, though he’s more than playable in any deck that can cast him. You can eventually just start throwing Saprolings into the red zone, as the opponent takes a damage whether they block them or not.
Garna is a really strange card. Flash + granting haste is bizarre, but she plays well on both sides of the court, and will either ambush a creature or draw one from your graveyard in most games. You don’t need to do a ton of work to enable Garna—she will find a use for herself in just about any game.
Radha is a beater, and will lead to some pretty absurd turns. You can curve into her and still play a 3-drop on turn 4, or you can wait a turn and enable a huge kicker card. I’ve been on the receiving end of the second part, and it is brutal. Even in more controlling decks, she’s got good enough stats the make the cut, though she is at her best in beatdown.
Hallar won’t trigger all that often, but you are already playing with house money anyways, since a 3/3 trample for 3 is a good deal by itself. I’d be happy with Hallar in any deck, and wouldn’t change my drafting too much because of the kicker clause (mostly because the kicker cards are already good and I’d be taking them anyway).
Rona’s power fluctuates wildly, and I can give you one guess as to what it’s based on. I will just say that today I had the pleasure of playing Rona and immediately exiling, plus playing, Phyrexian Scriptures, which worked out quite nicely. In a deck full of historic cards, Rona is awesome, and you’ll often want to save her for 6+ mana so you can get value right away.
Tatyova is awesome, and a card I wouldn’t hesitate to splash. She tirelessly gives you card advantage, and the extra life doesn’t hurt either. I always feel like I’m winning as a matter of course when I have a card like this in play, as every turn goes so well. You are hitting land drops, never run out of gas, and the opponent’s odds of winning go down quite rapidly.
Jhoira has a historic trigger I can buy (and buy again, and again). I look forward to trying to storm off with her, though more realistically she will draw you a couple cards and be great while doing so.
Adeliz is great even by herself, and is unlikely to appear alone. She’s a beater, and she makes your other Wizards even better (and most of the Wizards in this set are pretty good).
Aryel is exactly where you want your bombs to land—cheap, powerful, and good both early and late. She will dominate most boards, and gets out of hand very quickly if the opponent doesn’t stop her.
Even without the second part, Arvad is a fine 5-drop, and he does make a couple of the other creatures in your deck more threatening. Treat the legendary part of the card as a bonus, and play this for the 3/3 deathtouch, lifelink part.
These are all great if you’re in both colors, and enable splashes. Don’t take them highly, but always play them if you get them.
These are all great if you’re in both colors, and enable splashes. Don’t take them highly, but always play them if you get them.
Teferi lives up to the hype. He bounces their best card (and delays it for multiple turns), draws a card each turn, and has a solid amount of loyalty. He’s worth splashing for, and makes me want to draft a good curve of defensive creatures when I have him.
Raff is an efficient flyer and can lead to some pretty funny plays once he gives your artifacts and whatnot flash. An end-of-turn Saga could be a blowout, not that any of that is needed to make him good. Come for the Phantom Monster (with flash), and stay for the historic nonsense.
Even as a tri-color card, Darigaaz is an incredible bomb. It swings for a million damage with haste, and is resistant to removal, which makes it worth branching into a third color. I’m happy splashing Darigaaz, and in fact have already gotten to do so once (with good results).
Muldrotha buries the opponent in a tide of card advantage if it lives for even a turn, and late enough in the game it might not even take that. If you have a little self-mill, playing this and replaying a land plus a cheap creature is quite doable. This also makes Bloodtallow Candle a lot better, and I’d certainly play one if I had a Muldrotha.
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