White

image of Blade Instructor
Blade Instructor
2.0

I’d be happy enough running this in any aggressive deck. For that deck to be successful, you’re going to want enough 2-drops so that this works out well. Mentor on a 3-power creature is basically free in that regard, and I don’t expect it to require you to draft very differently than you would otherwise. In a defensive deck, this becomes a lot less interesting, which is true of most mentor creatures..

Discuss
image of Bounty Agent
Bounty Agent
2.0

The ability on this doesn’t have any targets below rare (I guess commons and uncommons don’t bring a big enough bounty), so this is mostly just a 2/2 vigilance for 2. That’s playable in the right beatdown deck, so that’s where the rating comes from..

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image of Candlelight Vigil
Candlelight Vigil
1.0

This can’t hold a candle to removal, which is why it gets a low rating, though be aware that it can be a solid sideboard card against decks that are lacking in ways to interact. Buffing your mentor creatures can open the door to some nice plays, and this is a lot of stats if the opponent can’t easily snap off a 2-for-1..

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image of Citywide Bust
Citywide Bust
2.5

Against some decks, this will be a bust, though I do like that it’s a sweeper that you can play in aggro decks. This looks like it will punish Golgari and Selesnya more than others, though every guild has creatures that you can arrest..

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image of Collar the Culprit
Collar the Culprit
2.0

The targeted version is a little worse, because the upside isn’t quite as high, though it being an instant is a bonus. I like playing one of these in removal-light decks, and am happy to pick up extra copies for the sideboard..

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image of Conclave Tribunal
Conclave Tribunal
4.0

Unconditional removal that might cost 1 or even 0 mana is really high on my list when it comes to Limited, and Conclave Tribunal offers just that. Even if you always pay full retail, this will be a solid card, and the turns where you get to convoke this out are going to be filthy. Curving into this for free on turn 4 or 5 will dramatically swing most games, and this is good no matter when you draw it..

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image of Crush Contraband
Crush Contraband
1.0

I like this as a sideboard card. I dislike this having a creepy Boros mask dude on it..

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image of Dawn of Hope
Dawn of Hope
3.5

Dawn of Hope reminds me a little of Mastery of the Unseen, though I suspect it’s not insanely broken like Mastery was. This gives you lifelink chumpers that keep you alive, and you get to draw extra cards whenever theSoldiers go into combat, which helps you hit land drops and make more Soldiers. It’s a self-fueling engine, and will win any long game easily, while still having an impact as early as the midgame. You can lose fast games with this in play, but whenever it’s on the other side of the board, you will feel the crushing grip of inevitability approaching (Mr. Anderson)..

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image of Demotion
Demotion
1.0 // 3.0

This may not look like it deserves a build-around grade, but it’s such a focused aggro card that I feel it warrants one. In an aggro deck, this is great removal, and will assist in you curving out and crushing the opponent. In a midrange or control deck, it’s close to blank, and that explains the disparate ratings..

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image of Divine Visitation
Divine Visitation
1.0 // 3.0

As far as build-arounds go, this one is divine. In a deck without token-making, this does literal zero, but if you can make two Angels you end up very far ahead. Sadly, the card file doesn’t support this all that well—white and green just don’t have much in the way of tokens, so I’m not convinced that this is something you can slam early. The best enabler is Sworn Companions, so if you have a couple of copies and see Divine Visitation, I’d go for it..

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image of Flight of Equenauts
Flight of Equenauts
3.5

I’d definitely pay 6 mana for this, and be quite happy at 5 or less, which makes this a great convoke incentive. You don’t need millions of creatures for this to be good, and even your average Boros deck will be happy running this as top end..

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image of Gird For Battle
Gird For Battle
2.0

You have to be aggressive to really make this gird, but if you are it can be a game-changer. Playing this plus another creature or removal spell on turn 4 is a huge swing, especially if it lets your creatures attack when they otherwise couldn’t..

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image of Haazda Marshal
Haazda Marshal
1.0 // 2.5

By itself, Haazda Marshal is horrendous, and even in a normal deck with a bunch of creatures, it might not be good enough. But given enough support from mentor creatures and pump spells, this can be a sick threat. 1/1s for 1 get a lot better with mentor as a mechanic, and this plays exactly into that game plan..

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image of Healer's Hawk
Healer's Hawk
2.0 // 3.0

I bet you’re all ready to hear about how this card is a trap and how you shouldn’t play it. Well, the bird is the word once you add mentor and convoke to the mix, so I’m actually high on the hawk. This isn’t bad by itself, and becomes great if you can get a +1/+1 counter or two on it, or tap it to convoke out something large. I suspect these will still be a tad overdrafted, but at least they are a good addition to your deck..

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image of Hunted Witness
Hunted Witness
1.5

Flavor: 4.0. Most decks won’t be on the hunt for this, but it does a fine job filling out curves for both of the guilds in its color. Plus, the flavor is great—a witness dies, prompting the Boros Legion to investigate..

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image of Inspiring Unicorn
Inspiring Unicorn
3.5

Inspiring Unicorn is a fierce attacker, and even benefits from its own ability—that’s perfect for any deck looking to go wide, and good even without a token theme..

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image of Intrusive Packbeast
Intrusive Packbeast
2.5

Tapping down two blockers opens the doors for attacks on almost any board, and with mentor, one opening is often all you need. The next turn, you have the Packbeast to attack with, plus your mentor creatures get value from the previous turn’s attacks. I wouldn’t run this outside of aggro, though it’s quite strong as the high end for beatdown..

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image of Ledev Guardian
Ledev Guardian
3.0

A 3-mana 2/4 is a card most white decks wouldn’t mind, and this can often be better than that. Playing this on turn 3 is easy, and in the right draw, this might come out for 0 mana on turn 4 or 5. Plus, 2/4 is a particularly good statline for mentor, which is some nice cross-guild synergy..

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image of Light of the Legion
Light of the Legion
4.0

I wouldn’t worry too much about just drafting white creaturesthis is great in any deck, and its death trigger is a bonus. A huge flyer that distributes +1/+1 counters in multiple ways is something I’m in the market for, and if it gives you a little extra incentive to play white creatures over red or green ones, so be it..

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image of Loxodon Restorer
Loxodon Restorer
3.0

I’m a big fan of Loxodon Restorer, largely because the life gain makes up for tapping all of your creatures to get it into play. Your shields may be down, but your life is up, and that plus solid stats makes it so I won’t forget this elephant..

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image of Luminous Bonds
Luminous Bonds
3.5

As always, this is one of the best commons in the set, and nothing going on in Ravnica changes that..

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image of Parhelion Patrol
Parhelion Patrol
3.0

Parhelion Patrol would be sweet without mentor, so adding that keyword makes it an appealing common. Granted, you aren’t likely to trigger this multiple times most games, but even once is more than enough of a pay off..

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image of Righteous Blow
Righteous Blow
3.0

It’s not a shock that this also pulls its weight, and it does quite well in aggressive or defensive decks. Getting to attack with your 3/1 mentor creature and then casting Righteous Blow (I think this is one two-word card I won’t be shortening when describing it) is a good exchange even though your 3/1 doesn’t get damage through..

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image of Roc Charger
Roc Charger
3.5

I’m more than happy seeing this at uncommon. Pegasus Courser at common every set was getting to be a bit much, and having a break from that is welcome. The card is great, and completely changes how white decks play out, giving them good offense at any stage in the game. It even gets better with mentor, both in receiving counters and giving your fragile mentor creatures evasion..

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image of Skyline Scout
Skyline Scout
2.5

All I’ve ever wanted from a 2-drop is that it’s relevant late game, and this fits the bill. Early on, this attacks and trades just fine, and later you will have the mana to send it to the skies. This is an aggressive card, and a good one at that..

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image of Sunhome Stalwart
Sunhome Stalwart
3.0

Once you have this, Healer’s Hawk becomes a lot more appealing. A 2/2 first strike for 2 is good on its own, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have many mentor targets (though do try and pick up a couple)..

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image of Sworn Companions
Sworn Companions
3.0

This buys you a lot of time in a defensive deck, and gives you some nice mentor targets in an aggressive one. You do need to put in a little work to make this great, but I swear that it’s worth it—once you have a couple of mentor cards or a go-wide pump spell, this will deliver..

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image of Take Heart
Take Heart
2.0

1 mana for +2/+2 has proven to be perfectly serviceable, and I expect this to make the cut in most Boros decks. Note that precombat pump spells open up more mentor possibilities, even if you give up some extra life in this case..

Discuss
image of Tenth District Guard
Tenth District Guard
1.5

This is about as replaceable as 2-drops get, which is why I assume it’s relegated to the tenth district instead of one of the first nine. It can make it more likely a mentor creature (or target) survives combat, but that’s not enough to make it exciting..

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image of Venerated Loxodon
Venerated Loxodon
4.0

Not only is this a cheap 4/4, it also distributes a couple of +1/+1 counters on its way in (up to a full five). That makes this a ton of stats for a very low cost, and one of the better threats you can start a Draft with. This will shine in any deck, and be busted in a curve-out aggro deck..

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Blue

image of Capture Sphere
Capture Sphere
3.0

I’m fine paying 4 mana for this effect, even if it leaves you vulnerable to bounce or enchantment removal down the line. Blue doesn’t usually do much better, at least not at common..

Discuss
image of Chemister's Insight
Chemister's Insight
3.0

I really hope this is good enough, because it looks like a sweet way to get an edge in a longer game. Jump-start is a substantial upgrade to Inspiration, as this does eventually see four cards, albeit for a large mana investment. In order to take full advantage of this, you’ll want to be a more controlling deck, and have plenty of ways to stabilize so that you can crush the opponent with all of your extra cards..

Discuss
image of Citywatch Sphinx
Citywatch Sphinx
3.5

Citywatch Sphinx is a large flyer that gives you a nice severance package when it dies. There’s nothing wrong with this as your finisher, and requiring only a single blue mana makes it easy to splash as well..

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image of Dazzling Lights
Dazzling Lights
2.0

If you have enough creatures, this can serve as a solid combat trick. By itself it’s card disadvantage, but if you can set up a fight between two creatures of equivalent size, this will dazzle your opponent nicely. Cheap surveil spells are also great with spells-matter and surveil-matters cards, of which both Izzet and Dimir have plenty..

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image of Devious Cover up
Devious Cover up
1.0

Meme Potential: 5.0. Decking the opponent by looping two of these sounds amazing, and I will certainly be trying to win based on that. As for this card without those shenanigans, it’s a lot less devious, and more clunky—a 4-mana counterspell isn’t really where you want to be. Counterspells get much worse the more mana they cost, and 4 is enough that you really get punished when you leave it up and don’t get to counter something. I’d basically only run this if your opponent has a bunch of insane expensive spells or if you really are going for the decking achievement..

Discuss
image of Dimir Informant
Dimir Informant
3.0

I love Dimir Informant. A solid defensive body plus card selection makes this a highly desirable 3-drop for every deck that isn’t completely aggressive. This works well without any surveil synergies, and gets even better once you add those. Don’t sleep on this one—it won’t go late in packs..

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image of Disdainful Stroke
Disdainful Stroke
2.5 // 3.5

The first Disdainful Stroke isn’t bad, especially against all the guilds that aren’t Boros. They do get a lot worse in multiples, because of the risk of them being dead, so I wouldn’t prioritize this in the Draft. In Sealed, I’d always run two and might even run three—every deck is going to have a lot of good expensive cards to snipe..

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image of Dream Eater
Dream Eater
4.5

This is aptly-named, as it will devour the hopes and dreams of your opponent. The combination of card selection, a big flyer (at instant speed no less) and a bounce spell is really hard to fight. This is incredible at any point in the game, regardless of whether you’re ahead or behind, and digs you to whatever else you need. That makes this a certified bomb, and a card you’ll rarely want to pass..

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image of Drowned Secrets
Drowned Secrets
1.0 // 3.0

This is a classic build-around, and a throwback to Dimir’s strategy from OG Ravnica. If you can pair this with blue jump-start cards and a good defensive deck, it’s a solid win condition, and punishing against opposing surveil decks..

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image of Enhanced Surveillance
Enhanced Surveillance
1.0 // 2.0

I’m trying to figure out what a surveil deck really does with this, and I’m not quite sure. You still need a good way to win because this doesn’t provide that, even with the ability to stop you from decking. Plus, surveil 4 isn’t that much better than surveil 2, so I’m not very excited about the prospect of Enhanced Surveillance (both in this set and in real life)..

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image of Guild Summit
Guild Summit
1.0 // 3.5

I’m super hyped for Guild Summit. Making all of your Gates into cantrips sounds awesome, and there could be a sick deck there. I especially like that it pays you for Gates in play and ones you draw later, which makes this look like a strong incentive to draft that deck..

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image of Leapfrog
Leapfrog
2.0

Leapfrog will attack as a flyer enough of the time that I’m into it, and if you have enough instants it could even leap to your defense. This is better in aggressive decks, and with 3 power, can be a solid clock even by itself..

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image of Maximize Altitude
Maximize Altitude
1.5

You have to be very aggressive in order to maximize this, though it’s possible that spells-matter decks might want a 1-mana jump-start card. I like how much damage this brings to the table, as double Altitude on a key turn can push through a ton of flying beats..

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image of Mission Briefing
Mission Briefing
1.5

With a ton of cheap spells, this is a playable, but that’s not going to be most decks. Note that you still have to pay for the spell, so this is essentially a surveil 2 Recoup that doesn’t have flashback. That’s fine, but not exciting..

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image of Murmuring Mystic
Murmuring Mystic
3.5

Now this is a build-around, and given its stats, you don’t even need to do that much work. If this makes one or two Birds, you’re very far ahead, and in a dedicated jump-start deck this will be obscenely good..

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image of Muse Drake
Muse Drake
3.0

Cantrip creatures are my muse, and this is a card I won’t often be cutting from my deck. A 1/3 flyer is exactly what you want to keep you alive while you reap the benefits of extra cards, and this is an attractive piece of any blue control deck..

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image of Narcomoeba
Narcomoeba
2.0

I don’t hate Narcomoeba in a deck with a lot of surveil. Getting a 1/1 flyer for free (no mana or card cost) is a big game, and if you are seeing 6-7 cards a game via surveil, that gives you a decent shot of getting this into play for free..

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image of Nightveil Sprite
Nightveil Sprite
3.5

Surveil 1 each turn is a big game, and this pecks in for damage while you’re at it. Even without the surveil payoffs this is a great card, and I’d be happy to start any Draft with it..

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image of Omnispell Adept
Omnispell Adept
1.5

Let’s leave this one for the Constructed brewers, as you aren’t going to be turbo’ing out things like Enter the Infinite in Limited. Still, this is a 3/4 for 5, which doesn’t have the worst stats, and does let you play spells at a discount or at instant speed. I’d run this if I was really short on creatures, which does imply a lot of spells, though I wouldn’t be looking to try and cheat in off-color spells or anything like that..

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image of Passwall Adept
Passwall Adept
1.5

This plays both defense and offense, but does neither spectacularly well. I’ll pass..

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image of Quasiduplicate
Quasiduplicate
3.5

Getting two copies of your best creature is a very powerful effect, even if there’s more than a hint of win-more to this card. If you can stabilize behind something solid, this will give you a ton of power in the late game..

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image of Radical Idea
Radical Idea
1.5

A real radical idea would be this costing 1 mana, but it’s probably for the best that it didn’t. I’d only run this if I had a heavy spells-matter theme, as paying 4 mana to draw two and discard one isn’t a great deal..

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image of Selective Snare
Selective Snare
2.0

This is a hard card to evaluate, because it will vary so drastically between matchups. At a baseline, if you’re playing an aggressive deck you should probably run this, and if you ever snipe more than one creature at once it’s excellent. Control decks don’t want this, and you have to be selective while sideboarding—against some decks this will be awesome..

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image of Sinister Sabotage
Sinister Sabotage
2.5

Against all of the guilds except Boros, countering a spell for 3 mana is decent, and the addition of surveil makes this a great value proposition. Cancel is usually slightly below the bar—add a surveil and all of a sudden it’s above it..

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image of Thoughtbound Phantasm
Thoughtbound Phantasm
1.5 // 3.5

In decks with a lot of surveil, this will be one of your better cards. Not only will it grow to threatening proportions, a cheap defensive body is exactly what a deck full of fiddly surveil cards wants. This is bound to be underrated, and I’m a big fan..

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image of Unexplained Disappearance
Unexplained Disappearance
3.0

This will disappear from packs quickly, but there is a clear explanation—it’s a good card and fits well into any deck. Bounce plus surveil is a great deal for 2 mana, and I’d be happy to run multiples..

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image of Vedalken Mesmerist
Vedalken Mesmerist
2.0

Vedalken Mesmerist has convinced me that it’s going to play well, especially in Izzet. This can help you push through damage and make profitable attacks, especially when you add some combat tricks to the mix. Blue isn’t the best color for this, as it would be a lot more exciting in white..

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image of Wall of Mist
Wall of Mist
2.0

Sitting behind a Wall of Mist and surveilling sounds like an ideal situation to me, and Chemister’s Insight doesn’t sound half bad either. As far as defensive plays go, this is one of the better ones..

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image of Watcher in the Mist
Watcher in the Mist
3.5

Creepy window peeper or not, this is a card I’ll always play. It’s a sizable body and surveil 2 is pretty close to drawing a card in the mid-to-late game. Author’s Note: I somehow missed that this has flying – that makes it by far the best blue common, and one of the best commons overall. It upgrades the rating to 3.5, and makes it a card you should rarely pass – LSV.

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image of Wishcoin Crab
Wishcoin Crab
1.0

One of my wishes for this format is that I never have to play the Crab. A vanilla 2/5 is just not that exciting, and you can do better almost all the time..

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Black

image of Barrier of Bones
Barrier of Bones
1.0

The barrier for entry is high when it comes to purely defensive plays, and surveil 1 doesn’t make up for how small this is. I also don’t like 0-power defenders much against mentor, which is making me rethink my rating on Wall of Mist..

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image of Bartizan Bats
Bartizan Bats
2.0

The last time we saw a 3/1 flyer for 4, it had minor Vampire synergies propping it up. Here, you just have undergrowth, which isn’t nothing. This is still pretty fragile, so there’s no shame in leaving it out of your deck..

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image of Blood Operative
Blood Operative
3.5

Things are certainly going to get bloody when this thing hits the board, as a 3/1 lifesteal can’t be ignored. Your opponent will likely be forced to trade if they want any chance to race, and there are so many surveil cards (28, to be exact) that it won’t be hard to bring this back a few times per game. With multiple common Auras that lock this down, don’t be afraid to use one of your removal spells on your own Blood Operative if you have ways to get it back..

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image of Burglar Rat
Burglar Rat
3.0

Ravenous Rats was a staple in every Limited format it appeared in, and I have no reason to believe this one will be different. It always trades for at least a card, and can often get you a few life in a chump block or keep an x/1 at bay. That’s a great deal for 2 mana, and is especially nice in decks with undergrowth cards..

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image of Child of Night
Child of Night
1.5

Looking at a lot of the creatures in this set, Child of Night looks a bit lackluster compared to its previous incarnations. It’s certainly a playable still, as it will often trade for a card and gain you 2-4 life, but Dimir Informant is its mortal enemy, and there are a lot of cards like that (see: the card directly above this one)..

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image of Creeping Chill
Creeping Chill
1.0

Most surveil decks aren’t in the market for Lava Spike, even a free one that comes with 3 life attached. If your deck is both aggressive and surveil-heavy, maybe this creeps in, but for the most part this should be riding the bench. I suspect that this will be one of the most popular bad cards in the set, as people love the idea of getting something for nothing..

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image of Dead Weight
Dead Weight
3.5

If this rating seems high, it’s only because you haven’t had the pleasure of playing with Dead Weight before. This has a lot more flexibility than Shock, as you can weaken creatures that are too big to outright kill. That more than makes up for the sorcery speed part, and makes this one of the premier black commons. If the format ends up revolving around large creatures, maybe this is a clear second behind Deadly Visit, but the efficiency here is hard to beat..

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image of Deadly Visit
Deadly Visit
3.5

Killing anything and getting to surveil 2 is about as close to Annihilate as we are going to get at common. This is excellent removal, and I think I’d take the first one of these over Dead Weight, though I’d likely alternate after that..

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image of Doom Whisperer
Doom Whisperer
4.5

This shouts more than whispers, as it will end most games where it comes out early (and still seems awesome even late). It’s an enormous flyer for cheap, and can find you whatever you need at the low cost of a few life..

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image of Douser of Lights
Douser of Lights
2.0

Black doesn’t usually get creatures as beefy as this, and I’m always in for a Thornhide Wolves. I like the first one of these a lot, though at 5 mana it does conflict with the vastly superior Deadly Visit..

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image of Gruesome Menagerie
Gruesome Menagerie
1.5 // 3.0

If you end up with a couple of good 1-drops, this goes from mediocre playable to quite exciting, so keep an eye out. It’s hard to set this up, but the reward is there, and getting a card and mana advantage is well worth spending 5 mana on. It also combos nicely with surveil, as you won’t need to have ever cast creatures before playing this..

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image of Hired Poisoner
Hired Poisoner
2.5

As far as defensive plays go, you could do worse with your money. A 1/1 deathtouch keeps the ground clear, and does it cheaply. This plays nicely with undergrowth and helps keep surveil control decks alive, making it a good fit for most black decks..

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image of Kraul Swarm
Kraul Swarm
3.0

The biggest drawback of a 4/1 flyer is that it dies too easily, and the ability here does quite a bit to mitigate that. It is still clunky to get this back and replay it, but you don’t need a 4/1 flyer to live for very long before you win the game. There is also the nice surveil synergy, as you can dump this in your bin early and get it back when you have time to use it..

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image of Lotleth Giant
Lotleth Giant
2.0

If this is doing 5+ damage, it’s a fantastic finisher. If it’s doing a lotleth, I’m not all that excited. As such, I’d want to play this in a deck focused on filling the bin, whether that’s an undergrowth deck, a surveil deck, or some combination. This isn’t quite a high enough payoff to slam early, but later in the draft will find some takers..

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image of Mausoleum Secrets
Mausoleum Secrets
1.0

This being restricted to just black cards makes it too situational for my tastes—there will be many games where you can’t cast this early, and even in the midgame it might be off. Add to that the problem that your best cards may not even be black, and the problem gets worse..

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image of Mephitic Vapors
Mephitic Vapors
2.0

Mephitic Vapors will be a great sideboard card and a plausible main deck one, depending on how many of your own creatures it kills. Surveil 2 is a nice bonus, so if this kills even one creature you are likely ahead.

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image of Midnight Reaper
Midnight Reaper
3.5

Midnight Reaper isn’t optional, just like all grim reapers, but as long as you keep your life total high this is a fantastic card. It turns all of your other creatures into 2-for-1s, and is great when you’re chumping with things like Child of Night or Burglar Rat. Against removal, this will be the first to die, but it triggers off of itself, making it a 2-for-1 at worst..

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image of Moodmark Painter
Moodmark Painter
1.5

Undergrowth doesn’t seem that well-supported in this set, so I’m wary of the rewards that require a lot of creatures before they pay you off. At least Lotleth Giant costs 7, so you should have a well-stocked graveyard by then, whereas Moodmark Painter really wants to come down early but likely won’t grant a whole lot until later. Menace also falls off later in the game, so I’m not really sure how this fits into most decks..

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image of Necrotic Wound
Necrotic Wound
3.0

This card is a lot more appealing. It still doesn’t do a ton early, but having a 1 mana removal spell on turn 5 or 6 is still great, and if worse comes to worst this can be used as a combat trick if it’s only giving -1/-1 or -2/-2..

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image of Never Happened
Never Happened
1.0 // 2.5

I’d sideboard this in against slow decks, or main deck it in Sealed. A one-for-one hand disruption spell that costs 3 mana is a bit slow for Draft, so you really want to make sure that the matchup is slow enough for this..

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image of Pilfering Imp
Pilfering Imp
3.0

I like this little bugger. It gets in for a few points of damage, then you can trade it off for a card in their hand before they hit their high drops. It also enables undergrowth, making this a fine playable for multiple reasons..

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image of Plaguecrafter
Plaguecrafter
2.0

Edict (sacrifice) effects are much worse in Limited than Constructed. Your opponent will be playing more creatures, and specifically more bad ones, making this a lot less effective. It’s cute that it can make them discard a card, and eating planeswalkers will definitely have Constructed implications, but for Limited I’d consider this a marginal playable more than anything exciting..

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image of Price of Fame
Price of Fame
4.0

Cutting a mana off of Deadly Visit and making it an instant is enough to get the 0.5 bump, and I expect this to a very high pick. Plus, you may even snipe a legendary creature, at which point the price is definitely right..

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image of Ritual of Soot
Ritual of Soot
3.5

This is awkward against Selesnya, as that deck is full of overcosted creatures, but it should be effective against the other four guilds. Setting this up doesn’t seem too hard, and it isn’t that bad if you have to kill one or two of your own creatures in the process, especially if you are enabling undergrowth..

Discuss
image of Severed Strands
Severed Strands
1.5 // 3.0

In a normal deck, this is not great. You get 2-for-1ed and the couple life you gain doesn’t make up for that. In a deck with a lot of good sacrifice fodder, this is premium removal, which is nice because you may pick them up quite late. As long as you have enough Burglar Rats and Muse Drakes, this will do the trick..

Discuss
image of Spinal Centipede
Spinal Centipede
2.5

This doesn’t turn the dial up to 11, but it’s no slouch either. This is an above-average playable, and it’ll make the cut most of the time. As long as you have enough creatures that you aren’t wasting the death trigger very often, this gives you enough stats for 3 mana that it’s worth a slot..

Discuss
image of Undercity Necrolisk
Undercity Necrolisk
1.5 // 3.0

Once again, how much sacrifice fodder you have determines how good this is. I do like that it’s a 3/3 for 4 base, but that alone doesn’t make it an exciting addition. Sorcery-speed sacrifice is also a lot worse than instant, as this won’t fizzle removal spells or get you value off chump blocks, so beware when comparing this to other sacrifice effects..

Discuss
image of Veiled Shade
Veiled Shade
1.5

I can’t imagine being excited to put this into my deck. I’m not trying to throw shade—it’s just not very efficient, and not that big to start with. If you’re really lacking mana sinks, this could get there, but I hope that you can do better..

Discuss
image of Vicious Rumors
Vicious Rumors
0.0

Please, just trust me—this isn’t worth 1 mana, no matter how many different (minor) things it does. This is exactly the kind of card that looks super appealing, but besides the discard, all of the other effects aren’t worth anything (and in the case of milling them for one, can actually be a disadvantage)..

Discuss
image of Whispering Snitch
Whispering Snitch
2.5

There’s enough surveil in the format that this will basically always be good in Dimir, and can sometimes even be great. If you’re Golgari, it drops off some, but once you have 3-4 surveil cards and a need for early defense, this is worth including..

Discuss

Red

image of Arclight Phoenix
Arclight Phoenix
3.5

A Snapping Drake with haste is good enough already, and given enough jump-start cards, you may even be able to get this back (if you’re lucky). Either way, I’ll take a good aggressive flyer with upside, and would be glad to play this in Boros or a beatdown Izzet deck..

Discuss
image of Barging Sergeant
Barging Sergeant
2.0

Boros decks won’t have room for that many 5-drops, so I’m not that high on this. Still, it does give you 5/3 worth of stats and attacks immediately, so it’s a fine way to top off your curve..

Discuss
image of Book Devourer
Book Devourer
2.5

As a bit of a book devourer myself, I can respect the craft here. This is a big creature that hits hard, and the trigger is beneficial—keep back any extra lands or low-impact cards and get a whole new grip..

Discuss
image of Command the Storm
Command the Storm
3.0

Being an instant goes a long way—we’d play it no matter what, but at least now it’s got some flexibility to it. I’d rather have this in my 5-drop spot than almost any creature, so I’m fine taking this one early. Plus, as with any color that touches Izzet, spells have a slight bonus thanks to the various cards that care about them..

Discuss
image of Cosmotronic Wave
Cosmotronic Wave
2.5

Aggressive decks love this one weird trick, as it gets lethal through and picks off small creatures, all in one card. It may seem like the two abilities are contradictory, but that just offers more flexibility, making this a powerful common..

Discuss
image of Direct Current
Direct Current
3.0

This card wasn’t quite priced to move, but it’s great anyway. It can kill two small creatures or one large one, all at the cost of an extra land or useless card. This also can go to the face, so keep that in mind when deciding how aggressively you should chump block..

Discuss
image of Electrostatic Field
Electrostatic Field
1.0 // 2.5

In a heavy spells deck, this fulfills the role of defender and of finisher, all in one. I’m still a little skeptical of 0/X defenders in a land of mentor, but repeatable, unblockable damage is a nice thing to have on a 2-drop. This is no Thermo-Alchemist, as it doesn’t get a free point of damage every turn as a baseline, which is what’s keeping it from being a 3.0..

Discuss
image of Erratic Cyclops
Erratic Cyclops
3.5

Erratic Cyclops is huge, and can attack for large (and appropriately erratic) sums of damage. This is fantastic in a spells deck and pretty solid on defense even in a deck light on spells. The only place I wouldn’t want it would be in an aggressive Boros deck that doesn’t have enough spells to enable it (you want 6+, some of which are expensive)..

Discuss
image of Experimental Frenzy
Experimental Frenzy
3.5

I think this card is great. I’m not sure, because it’s weird as hell, but it looks like it would be awesome in a deck with a low curve. Getting to play lands off the top helps you multi-spell, and if you ever get stuck with too many cards in hand, you can get rid of this. I definitely am going to need to experiment with this, but I think it’s a good one..

Discuss
image of Fearless Halberdier
Fearless Halberdier
1.5

The only thing I fear is having to play this card. It doesn’t get mentored well (a symptom of it choosing to go guildless), and it doesn’t have particularly impressive stats..

Discuss
image of Fire Urchin
Fire Urchin
1.0 // 2.5

In a spell-heavy deck, this is a serviceable 2-drop. It blocks well enough and can attack as a 2/3 or 3/3 later in the game. That’s not exciting, but even the brilliant Izzet need someone to clean up after their experiments, or run errands, picking up whatever weird crap they need to run experiments with..

Discuss
image of Goblin Banneret
Goblin Banneret
2.5

I like this in an aggressive Boros deck. It attacks for real damage, and often will trade with something while giving you a +1/+1 counter for your troubles. Remember to pump this before attacks if you have something to mentor on to, as it won’t even trigger if there aren’t any legal targets..

Discuss
image of Goblin Cratermaker
Goblin Cratermaker
3.0

Shock and Shatter on a stick is a good deal, especially when that stick is a 2/2 for 2 that can attack and block early in the game. I’d play this in any deck, and would take it early to boot. The flexibility and efficiency have me sold, though it would read better if it just said “artifact” for the second ability (I know, I know, Eldrazi in older formats makes it relevant)..

Discuss
image of Goblin Locksmith
Goblin Locksmith
1.5

Art: 4.0! I love the Goblin way of picking a lock, though I won’t be in a hurry to toss this in my deck. There aren’t that many defenders, and 2/1s for 2 are a dime a dozen..

Discuss
image of Gravitic Punch
Gravitic Punch
2.0

Gravitic Punch is going to finish a lot of games, and is more a Boros card than an Izzet one. Note that it does not deal damage to creatures, so it’s really just a fancy Lava Axe (or two). This can be fizzled by bounce or removal on the creature, so in an ideal world you’d target something that’s under Luminous Bonds or Capture Sphere to mitigate that..

Discuss
image of Hellkite Whelp
Hellkite Whelp
3.0

Even a baby Dragon is a Dragon, and this will chew up the opponent and their small creatures without much trouble. As far as 5-drops go, this is one of the better ones..

Discuss
image of Inescapable Blaze
Inescapable Blaze
3.0

This is going to end a lot of games. 6 damage to the face is a ton, and this kills almost anything you could possibly want to kill. I’m more than happy to pay 6 for this effect, and not having to worry about being countered is a nice cherry on top..

Discuss
image of Lava Coil
Lava Coil
3.5

I like power and I like efficiency, so I’m definitely in for a card that has both. 2 mana to kill all but the largest creatures is a great deal, and exiling them to prevent undergrowth shenanigans is some free value. Red got some good uncommon burn spells, and I expect them both to be high picks..

Discuss
image of Legion Warboss
Legion Warboss
3.5

A lone 2/2 may stop this from doing all that much, but if you can remove their blockers, this spirals out of control in no time. I’d jam my deck full of combat tricks if I had Warboss, as the opponent try to trade for this 100% of the time..

Discuss
image of Maniacal Rage
Maniacal Rage
1.0 // 2.0

Maniacal Rage is wildly unplayable outside the most aggressive of Boros decks, but it can steal games there. It’s vulnerable to bounce and removal, though the payoff is solid if you can dodge those. Remember that you can use this as a way to remove a blocker in a pinch, though it’s one of the more painful ways of doing so..

Discuss
image of Maximize Velocity
Maximize Velocity
1.5

I’d really only run this if my deck was insanely aggressive or had a heavy spells-matter theme. I’m looking to maximize card quality more than velocity, and this is a way to throw away cards if you don’t have a specific plan for it..

Discuss
image of Ornery Goblin
Ornery Goblin
1.5

One of the best on-board tricks from Innistrad returns here in Ravnica, though this name is not nearly as funny to me as Ashmouth Hound was. This is a dorky 2/1, though it holds its own against 1-toughness creatures, so it will have moments of greatness..

Discuss
image of Risk Factor
Risk Factor
2.5

I’m a fan of taking risks in aggro decks, and this is a great place to do so. If your offense isn’t performing, this does basically nothing, but if you are pressuring the opponent, this puts them between a rock and a hard place. Often you’re going to get 4 damage from the first cast and three cards off of the jump-start, making this a great deal..

Discuss
image of Rubblebelt Boar
Rubblebelt Boar
2.0

*Snuffling noise intensifies.* (This is a fine card, and can help you trigger mentor, but it’s no prize pig.).

Discuss
image of Runaway Steam Kin
Runaway Steam Kin
3.0

In a base red deck, this is a really sweet card. If you can draft an Izzet deck with a ton of jump-start, you might even go off, but it’s mostly just a cheap 4/4 (given a few turns)..

Discuss
image of Smelt Ward Minotaur
Smelt Ward Minotaur
2.5

This pulls together multiple themes, as you both need to be aggressive and have plenty of spells before this really pulls its weight. It will be pretty good in that style of Izzet deck, and some spell-heavy Boros decks will run it as well..

Discuss
image of Street Riot
Street Riot
1.5

At 5 mana, this looks pricey to me. The red decks don’t seem that focused on going wide, and even though trample is nice, you need to have good creatures before it really pays off..

Discuss
image of Sure Strike
Sure Strike
2.0

Sure, why not? This helps with mentor when you cast it pre-combat, and will win most combats when your opponent blocks your 3/1 mentor creature. Red decks need this effect more than normal, so this looks a little better than it usually would be..

Discuss
image of Torch Courier
Torch Courier
1.0

I can accept that I underrated Goblin Motivator, but this one is so much worse. I really don’t think this is good enough, even with all of this mentor running around..

Discuss
image of Wojek Bodyguard
Wojek Bodyguard
3.0

I’m a fan of Boros flunkies here, as the deck isn’t designed to go solo to begin with. Bodyguard is an actual burly mentor creature, and is exactly what this deck wants to play on turn 3..

Discuss

Green

image of Affectionate Indrik
Affectionate Indrik
3.0

A 4/4 for 6 is slightly smaller than I’d like, but getting a free fight with the deal makes this pretty good. Note that you target what you want to fight, and if the opponent plays a pump spell in response, you can decline to fight. It’s a quirk of the templating, and gives you a pretty big advantage in spots like that..

Discuss
image of Arboretum Elemental
Arboretum Elemental
3.0

This is going to end a lot of games, but at least you have to work for it. Convoke doesn’t look as good as it was in previous incarnations because there are fewer good token makers, but that doesn’t mean this 9-drop can’t reliably be cast for 6-or-so mana. That’s a good enough deal that I’m sold, and there are some control decks that will have a hell of a time trying to stop this..

Discuss
image of Beast Whisperer
Beast Whisperer
4.0

Whispers turn into howls if this goes unchecked, and it’s cheap enough to have a very big impact on the game. You may even be able to slowroll this until you can play this plus a cheap creature in the same turn, guaranteeing the 2-for-1. I’d up my creature count if I had this, but it’s great even in a deck with as few as 12-14 creatures, just because the effect is so strong and the cost is relatively low..

Discuss
image of Bounty of Might
Bounty of Might
4.0

Playing around this might just be impossible. It represents 9 points of damage, making it really difficult to survive if you don’t block, and it heavily swings combat if you do put blockers in front of their creatures. It even has the potential to be great on defense, and overall this is one of the best Overrun-type effects we’ve seen in a while (particularly because your opponent may not even see it coming)..

Discuss
image of Circuitous Route
Circuitous Route
2.0 // 3.0

In a normal deck, this is exactly what the name suggests—not the most efficient way to get to the place you want to go. Casting a 4-mana ramp spell isn’t great when your curve tops out at 5. In a deck well-suited to take advantage of that ramp, this is a key part of the archetype, as ramping into 6s and 7s can be very effective. This also pairs well with card draw, as casting a draw two into a 4-drop is a perfectly good way to spend 7 mana. Between this and District Guide, there may be an uncommon-driven 5-color deck, though Urban Utopia and Lockets do provide some support at common..

Discuss
image of Crushing Canopy
Crushing Canopy
1.0 // 3.0

Effects like this are classically sideboard cards in Draft and main deck cards in Sealed, and this is no exception. Note that it doesn’t kill artifacts, which is a shame with all the Lockets running around..

Discuss
image of Devkarin Dissident
Devkarin Dissident
2.5

This fills out your curve and has some relevance in the late game, which will help convoke decks. The rate on the pump isn’t good enough to make me excited about this, though that might be a dissenting opinion if this set ends up being very fast..

Discuss
image of District Guide
District Guide
3.0

I loved me a Civic Wayfinder, and now this gets Gates too. That makes it an easy early pick, as it leaves you open to painting with all of the colors of the wind. I’m sad it’s uncommon, but I get that it might make things too easy if it were common..

Discuss
image of Generous Stray
Generous Stray
3.0

Between convoke and undergrowth, I don’t think it’s too generous to give this a 3.0. By itself, it’s a fine way to use 3 mana, and it’s great once it gains some relevant synergies. I do find it funny that cats are supposed to have nine lives, yet you’ll sacrifice or chump with this at the first opportunity..

Discuss
image of Golgari Raiders
Golgari Raiders
1.5

I’m not very high on undergrowth. There will definitely be decks where this is reliably a 4/4 in the midgame, but in most decks it’ll just be too small too often. This needs to be a 4/4 or bigger for me to feel like I’m getting away with something, and balancing that with the times where it’s a 2/2 makes me not want to prioritize it. Bear in mind that this is somewhat of a build-around, as having tons of cantrip creatures and surveil can change the equation, but as it stands I’m not very impressed with a lot of the undergrowth payoffs..

Discuss
image of Grappling Sundew
Grappling Sundew
1.5

Convoke decks are in the market for cheap creatures, and this can help you survive until your Siege Wurms and whatnot hit the battlefield, but I’m still grappling with how badly 0-power defenders line up against mentor. I wouldn’t prioritize this, and getting indestructible in the late game doesn’t move the needle much..

Discuss
image of Hatchery Spider
Hatchery Spider
3.5

This is the kind of undergrowth card worth sticking to—by the time you can cast it, you’ll naturally have a fair amount of creatures in the graveyard, and it’s got solid stats and reach for the cost. Having a Hatchery Spider would bias me towards wanting green creatures, but you don’t have to go overboard—this is pretty good even if it whiffs a bunch of the time..

Discuss
image of Hitchclaw Recluse
Hitchclaw Recluse
2.5

Defensive decks will be more than happy to hitch their wagons to this, as it stops Skyknight Legionnaires right in their tracks. The usual caveat about high-toughness low-power defenders being weak to mentor applies, but this feels like the kind of card many of the Selesnya and Golgari decks will count on..

Discuss
image of Impervious Greatwurm
Impervious Greatwurm
1.5

Most decks can’t handle something of this magnitude, and I don’t mean on the opposing side. Casting this is quite difficult, and the lack of trample is a really big deal. It’s certainly possible to build a deck with enough fodder that this comes out on turn 6 or 7, but the opponent being able to chump block makes this Wurm less than great..

Discuss
image of Ironshell Beetle
Ironshell Beetle
2.0

This is a 2/2 for 2 with options, and that’s worth shelling out for. Making a critical creature big enough to be relevant is a good ability, and the 1/1 this leaves behind can fuel both convoke and undergrowth nicely. Aggro decks will want this as a curve-filler, and midrange/control will sometimes play it if they lack early action..

Discuss
image of Kraul Foragers
Kraul Foragers
2.5

You don’t have to gain much life for this to be worth the cost, as a 5-mana 4/4 is only slightly smaller than what I’d expect to get. Sometimes this will be awesome, as gaining 5+ life makes this into a really easy way to stabilize (and it gives you a 4/4 to then start attacking with)..

Discuss
image of Kraul Harpooner
Kraul Harpooner
3.0

Kraul Harpooner is a bizarre card. It’s quite good, as a 3/2 reach for 2 is a fine deal and this will sometimes take down a big flyer, even if it takes quite the wordy text box to get there. Note that it fights, not just deals damage, so that big flyer will often take the Harpooner down with it..

Discuss
image of Might of the Masses
Might of the Masses
2.0

When this is good, it’s amazing. In a swarm deck, getting +4/+4 or more is quite doable, and that’s a really great deal. Many decks won’t want to play it, so this almost reaches build-around levels of rating, but not quite. I’d only look to play this with 16+ creatures and a low curve, ideally with some token-making thrown in for good measure..

Discuss
image of Nullhide Ferox
Nullhide Ferox
4.5

A 4-mana 6/6 would be a 4.0 already, and this has some nice abilities tacked on. It’s not strict upside, as it does limit your ability to cast noncreature spells, but the onus is on the opponent to deal with this rather than you. Plus, if you ever get to put this into play off something like Burglar Rat, the game just ends on the spot..

Discuss
image of Pack's Favor
Pack's Favor
2.5

If you’re in the market for combat tricks, this is a good one (I imagine a market for combat tricks being some kind of open-air bazaar, with people haggling over Giant Growths and Mighty Leaps). You can even cast this without any mana untapped, which is sure to be a headache to play around over the course of the format..

Discuss
image of Pause For Reflection
Pause For Reflection
1.0

Adding convoke to Fog doesn’t really get me excited, as the effect is still way too situational. If the opponent has a massive Overrun effect, like Bounty of Might, you may want to side this in, but even then I’d be hesitant..

Discuss
image of Pelt Collector
Pelt Collector
3.0

In a creature-heavy deck, this will grow consistently and quickly. That makes it a great deal for 1 mana, as it’s good early and still solid late..

Discuss
image of Portcullis Vine
Portcullis Vine
2.0

I like a minor defender build-around, even if most of the defenders are kind of dorky. In a control deck, getting to cycle your early defense once you don’t need it anymore is a valuable ability, so I’d play this even without other defenders..

Discuss
image of Prey Upon
Prey Upon
3.0

Green has sizable creatures, as usual, so Preying Upon the opposition is not hard to do. It also plays nicely with Selesnya’s acceleration, making it a little better there than in Golgari, though it’s fine in either guild..

Discuss
image of Siege Wurm
Siege Wurm
3.0

Siege Wurm loses a little luster without Scatter the Seeds or Triplicate Spirits, but it’s still the convoke finisher of choice. Any heavy green deck should be interested, and decks with a low curve can make especially good use of the Wurm..

Discuss
image of Sprouting Renewal
Sprouting Renewal
3.0

Now this is a maindeckable artifact/enchantment removal. Getting a 2/2 vigilance is a great fail case, and you can even turbo this out with your other creatures. I really like Sprouting Renewal, and would love to see more cards as flexible as this one..

Discuss
image of Urban Utopia
Urban Utopia
1.5 // 2.5

In a normal 2-color deck, this is too expensive for what it provides. Remember, it isn’t acceleration, just color fixing, so it really only gets good once you’re at 3+ colors..

Discuss
image of Vigorspore Wurm
Vigorspore Wurm
3.0

Vigorspore Wurm does a lot for a common, and I wouldn’t overlook it. The undergrowth ability will often be good for a couple extra damage, and granting vigilance means that damage will usually be free. The 6/4 body may be a little vulnerable, but being immune to double-blocks goes a long way in making this a powerhouse threat. At 6 mana, you don’t want a ton of these, but I like these as the Golgari finisher of choice..

Discuss
image of Vivid Revival
Vivid Revival
1.0 // 3.0

I smell a win condition for a sweet deck here, as Vivid Renewal will seal the deal if you can get the full three cards back (and aren’t dead on board). I like cards like this, and feel that they are usually worth building towards. Here, I’d look to be a 3-color deck, though if the cards are flowing you may be able to pull this off with just one guild..

Discuss
image of Wary Okapi
Wary Okapi
1.5

.

Discuss
image of Wild Ceratok
Wild Ceratok
2.0

This statline is good enough to play but bad enough to not be excited about it. There’s an Andrew Baeckstrom joke here if I try hard enough, but I’m above such immature things (plus, he’s a Platinum pro now, so the joke doesn’t quite work anymore)..

Discuss

None

image of Boros Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
3.0

If you are 2 colors, I’d take Guildgates reasonably high, over most commons of the same level (especially once you have enough playables). If you have any of the uncommon cycle that costs AABB, these go up a notch, and once you’re 3+ colors they definitely go up. In general, most people probably take these too low, so it’s possible you should think of them as a 3.25, if that helps..

Discuss
image of Boros Locket
Boros Locket
1.0

If you’re jamming Boros Locket, you’re probably doing it wrong. Boros decks tend to have a low curve and don’t care about card draw, so this stands markedly behind the rest of the Lockets..

Discuss
image of Chamber Sentry
Chamber Sentry
3.5 // 4.0

In a 2-color deck, this is still pretty sweet. It’s a 2-mana 2/2 that can shoot something when needed, which is relevant at all stages of the game. It’s worth playing half-color Gates (like a Dimir Guildgate in an Izzet deck) if you have this, as extra counters are quite valuable. Once you can bring this back, it’s a win condition by itself, and will often come out as a 4/4 or 5/5, which is amazing. I’d definitely try and shoot for 5-color if I saw this early, as it’s a huge payoff..

Discuss
image of Chromatic Lantern
Chromatic Lantern
1.5

In a 2-color deck, this is abysmal, and even in a 3-color deck I’m not thrilled. Only once I was 4 or 5 colors would I want Lantern, which won’t be most decks you’ll draft..

Discuss
image of Dimir Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
3.0

If you are 2 colors, I’d take Guildgates reasonably high, over most commons of the same level (especially once you have enough playables). If you have any of the uncommon cycle that costs AABB, these go up a notch, and once you’re 3+ colors they definitely go up. In general, most people probably take these too low, so it’s possible you should think of them as a 3.25, if that helps..

Discuss
image of Dimir Locket
Dimir Locket
2.0

I’ve played a few Sealeds, and Lockets have been… fine. They are playable if you have a medium to high curve, and it is nice that you can crack them for two cards later in the game, but I’m still not thrilled to spend 3 mana on them early (which makes them dubious acceleration). I like these quite a bit more than any other 3-mana rocks in the past, so I’m curious to see how people rate them in a month..

Discuss
image of Gatekeeper Gargoyle
Gatekeeper Gargoyle
3.0

I’m not quite sure yet how good the Gate deck is, but Gargoyle is a solid payoff. With 2 Gates in play, this is good, and at 3+ it’s very good. The rating reflects a deck with 5+ Gates, and I wouldn’t play this with fewer than that..

Discuss
image of Gateway Plaza
Gateway Plaza
1.5

I’d only play this if I were 3+ colors, and even then I’d hope to do better. It’s just so clunky, even though it does count as a Gate for the cards that care about that..

Discuss
image of Glaive of the Guildpact
Glaive of the Guildpact
0.5

This looks really bad to me. The Gate deck is naturally going to be a defensive one, and this is a very aggressive set of abilities. I’ll pass..

Discuss
image of Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
3.0

If you are 2 colors, I’d take Guildgates reasonably high, over most commons of the same level (especially once you have enough playables). If you have any of the uncommon cycle that costs AABB, these go up a notch, and once you’re 3+ colors they definitely go up. In general, most people probably take these too low, so it’s possible you should think of them as a 3.25, if that helps..

Discuss
image of Golgari Locket
Golgari Locket
2.0

I’ve played a few Sealeds, and Lockets have been… fine. They are playable if you have a medium to high curve, and it is nice that you can crack them for two cards later in the game, but I’m still not thrilled to spend 3 mana on them early (which makes them dubious acceleration). I like these quite a bit more than any other 3-mana rocks in the past, so I’m curious to see how people rate them in a month..

Discuss
image of Guildmages' Forum
Guildmages' Forum
2.5

In a deck with three or more gold creatures, I’d play this, and once you are at five or more I’d definitely be happy doing so. It’s a little clunky, but the payoff of having your land produce +1/+1 counters is real..

Discuss
image of Izzet Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate
3.0

If you are 2 colors, I’d take Guildgates reasonably high, over most commons of the same level (especially once you have enough playables). If you have any of the uncommon cycle that costs AABB, these go up a notch, and once you’re 3+ colors they definitely go up. In general, most people probably take these too low, so it’s possible you should think of them as a 3.25, if that helps..

Discuss
image of Izzet Locket
Izzet Locket
2.0

I’ve played a few Sealeds, and Lockets have been… fine. They are playable if you have a medium to high curve, and it is nice that you can crack them for two cards later in the game, but I’m still not thrilled to spend 3 mana on them early (which makes them dubious acceleration). I like these quite a bit more than any other 3-mana rocks in the past, so I’m curious to see how people rate them in a month..

Discuss
image of Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown Tomb
3.5

.

Discuss
image of Rampaging Monument
Rampaging Monument
2.5 // 3.5

In a deck with just a couple gold spells, this is playable, and once you hit 5+ it becomes a respectable threat. At 4/4 or greater, it truly does begin to rampage, and it’s not hard to imagine this just going ham..

Discuss
image of Sacred Foundry
Sacred Foundry
3.5

.

Discuss
image of Selesnya Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
3.0

If you are 2 colors, I’d take Guildgates reasonably high, over most commons of the same level (especially once you have enough playables). If you have any of the uncommon cycle that costs AABB, these go up a notch, and once you’re 3+ colors they definitely go up. In general, most people probably take these too low, so it’s possible you should think of them as a 3.25, if that helps..

Discuss
image of Selesnya Locket
Selesnya Locket
2.0

I’ve played a few Sealeds, and Lockets have been… fine. They are playable if you have a medium to high curve, and it is nice that you can crack them for two cards later in the game, but I’m still not thrilled to spend 3 mana on them early (which makes them dubious acceleration). I like these quite a bit more than any other 3-mana rocks in the past, so I’m curious to see how people rate them in a month..

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image of Silent Dart
Silent Dart
1.5

The mana-to-effect ratio here isn’t fantastic, and all the guilds have access to better removal options. Still, this does kill most of what needs killing, so don’t be ashamed if you’ve gotta play it..

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image of Steam Vents
Steam Vents
3.5

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Discuss
image of Temple Garden
Temple Garden
3.5

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Discuss
image of Wand of Vertebrae
Wand of Vertebrae
0.0

This one, however, should make you feel ashamed. This may form the skeleton of the nut Golgari undergrowth deck, but it’s too low impact and slow for me to take it seriously..

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image of Watery Grave
Watery Grave
3.5

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Discuss

Golgari

image of Assassin's Trophy
Assassin's Trophy
4.0

2 mana to kill anything is quite a bit better than any common or uncommon removal, and by the time you use this you won’t be giving up much by letting the opponent get a free land. Even though you want to use this later in the game (on bigger things), the fact that it costs 2 is a big deal. You can leave up mana to use this as a trick, and cast this plus a spell on the same turn. I’d try and avoid firing this off before turn 5 or so, as earlier does make the mana ramp relevant, but if you have to do that to survive, by all means do so..

Discuss
image of Charnel Troll
Charnel Troll
3.5

There is a real risk that this runs out of food, and it does weaken your other undergrowth cards, but you do get quite the beefy body in exchange. Think of this as a 6-drop that lets you double-spell on turn 6, as you are rarely running it out early. Even under that constraint, it’s still a great deal. This demands a fast answer, so the drawback isn’t likely to be around for that many turns, and it is a lot of stats at very low cost. There’s also a CharnelFireTroll.com joke here, but this has been a long week. Assume it was great..

Discuss
image of Erstwhile Trooper
Erstwhile Trooper
3.0

Erstwhile Trooper is going to play well in most Golgari decks. You need a high creature count (16+) to make it good, and once you have that it’s quite the brick wall. Imagine dropping this against a Boros deck on 3. If they don’t have a trick, they will rarely be able to attack into it, and even some of the tricks lead to a 2-for-2 trade. It also fuels undergrowth as needed, and even gains trample, so it can be a good way to start closing out games..

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image of Find Finality
Find Finality
4.0

This is a brutal split card. It’s a 2-for-1 later in the game by casting double Raise Dead, something Golgari can use easily, and if needed it’s a really powerful sweeper. Giving one of your creatures permanent +2/+2 makes it quite likely to survive the -4/-4, and that’s a big enough minus that almost everything else should die. That’s a powerful set of cards to be combined, even if both lend themselves to late game play..

Discuss
image of Glowspore Shaman
Glowspore Shaman
3.0

There’s a lot going on with this 2-drop, and I suspect that it will be one of the better (and few) undergrowth enablers. First of all, it mills 3 and is a 3/1, so it can get 1-2 creatures into your bin fairly soon, which is perfect when you’re trying to aim for a 4/4 Rhizome Lurcher on turn 4. It also can help you hit your third land drop, albeit at the cost of a draw step. That’s a good little package, and Glowspore Shaman is going to be solid in any Golgari deck. Even without a big undergrowth theme, a 3/1 for 2 that gives you mana screw insurance is a fine pickup..

Discuss
image of Golgari Findbroker
Golgari Findbroker
4.0

I’m pretty high on Findbroker. Golgari is already interested in self-mill, between surveil cards and things like Glowspore Shaman, making this ability much more than just draw a card. It also has a good stats-to-cost ratio, making it both card advantage and tempo advantage. I’m all over this, and even the difficult mana cost doesn’t give me pause..

Discuss
image of Izoni, Thousand Eyed
Izoni, Thousand Eyed
4.5

It may take a little work to get Izoni up to a 4.5, but even in a deck with little support she is a 4.0. Making just two bugs (and I have the perfect token for you) is enough, as that’s three bodies, good total stats, and a powerful sacrifice ability. Once you are getting 3+ bugs, Izoni will take over the game, and that shouldn’t be too hard to pull off by turn 6. Having a bunch of chump blockers that you can crack for a card and a life draws out the game more, and plays nicely into Golgari’s grindy strategy. I’ve got my eye on this, and think it could be one of the best cards in the set..

Discuss
image of Molderhulk
Molderhulk
1.5

This, on the other hand, is not the kind of payoff I’m looking for. It’s rarely cheaper or faster than a Siege Wurm, and the enter the battlefield ability is basically irrelevant. By the time you have enough creatures in your bin to cast this, you probably don’t need a land, and it isn’t clear that you’ll even have one to target. In a really dedicated undergrowth deck, maybe this is a passable top-end card, but I’m skeptical of how often you’d cast this for 5 mana on turn 5 or 6, which is where I’d want it to be before I felt I was getting an advantage..

Discuss
image of Ochran Assassin
Ochran Assassin
3.5

Golgari isn’t normally in the market for pump spells, but this certainly changes the equation. If you give this +3/+3, it can potentially take out four creatures, and even without the dream setup, taking out two or three is realistic. By itself, it also acts as targeted removal, with the only thing it can’t kill being flyers that already got to attack (it can block ground creatures or kill any untapped flyer). It also makes it so the rest of your squad gets through, and all that added together is a lot of action for a 3 mana card..

Discuss
image of Pitiless Gorgon
Pitiless Gorgon
3.0

Pitiless Gorgon is a good defender and very easy to cast in Golgari, while being a solid card in either Selesnya or Dimir. It can even attack and prompt a trade eventually, while not worrying about any combat trick save Sure Strike. This fits Golgari’s themes well, and is a solid pick as a result..

Discuss
image of Rhizome Lurcher
Rhizome Lurcher
3.0

As one of the common payoffs for undergrowth, Rhizome Lurcher is solid. You just need two creatures to have died for this to be above rate, and any more than that puts you well ahead of the game. That seems doable, even if undergrowth isn’t fantastically well-supported, and Rhizome Lurcher is a bright spot (of mold) for Golgari decks..

Discuss
image of Status Statue
Status Statue
4.0

A cheap combat trick plus a removal spell is the same recipe as Integrity // Intervention, and both will play very well. This wins a combat for cheap, and can really wreck some double or triple blocks, while also being an unconditional removal spell..

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image of Swarm Guildmage
Swarm Guildmage
3.5

This is the Guildmage where the tap symbol hurts the most, as you’re giving up a 3 power menace creature when you use the ability. Still, this works when you’re behind or ahead, and is great on stalled boards, making it a good deal for just 2 mana..

Discuss
image of Undercity Uprising
Undercity Uprising
2.5

If you have a ton of fodder (Burglar Rats and Generous Strays) this goes up in value, as it’s essentially “sacrifice a creature to kill target creature”. It can also open the door to attacks by giving the team deathtouch, and remember that deathtouch plus trample is a mondo combo..

Discuss
image of Underrealm Lich
Underrealm Lich
4.0

Underrealm Lich is very hard to kill and gives you consistent draw-fixing as long as it lives. It fuels undergrowth nicely, and acts as a good attacker or good defender as long as your life total isn’t too low. The combination of card selection and resiliency makes this a premium card, and one I wouldn’t pass up..

Discuss
image of Vraska Golgari Queen
Vraska Golgari Queen
4.0

Vraska is quite good, as she can kill small to medium things and lets you cash in your excess permanents for value. She comes in with high loyalty if you use the +2 ability, and all that’s really lacking is her ability to defend herself against larger threats. That’s all that’s keeping her from being a bomb, as she’s not a great play into a 4-cost flyer or a Siege Wurm if you don’t have a bunch of other ways to defend her. Her ultimate is also the same Vraska ultimate we’ve seen three times, which is fine for game play, but it would be sweet to hear a new story..

Discuss

Dimir

image of Artful Takedown
Artful Takedown
3.5

I’m in love with this card. It does a ton of tricky stuff, and does so for not much mana. As a straight-up removal spell, it’s good, and it can remove multiple blockers or stop multiple attackers with ease. I’m slamming this if I’m Dimir, and will play as many as I can get my hands on..

Discuss
image of Connive Concoct
Connive Concoct
4.0

This whole split card naming convention thing is not really doing it for me, but I guess that there isn’t an infinite well of Fire // Ices and Appeal // Authorities. In any case, Connive is excellent and Concoct is very good, so the combination is incredibly strong. Stealing a small-to-medium creature is well worth 4 mana, and having the option of casting this as a powered-up Rise from the Grave (your graveyard only) is a very good addition. I’d play either side of this alone, which is a great sign..

Discuss
image of Darkblade Agent
Darkblade Agent
3.0

I’m shocked this is a common—I read the text before looking at the rarity, and I’d have guessed uncommon, then rare, then common. That may be a clue as to how strong this is, though the complexity is part of the reason I’d have guessed a higher rarity. This is easy to enable, and very good with instant-speed surveil. There’s enough surveil that I wouldn’t call this a build-around, as it’s more just a great Dimir card..

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image of Dimir Spybug
Dimir Spybug
3.0

The same is true for Dimir Spybug, as one surveil is all it takes to make this a worthy inclusion. Once you are surveilling multiple times, it’s all gravy, and the fact that this is nearly impossible to block is nice upside as well..

Discuss
image of Discovery Dispersal
Discovery Dispersal
3.5

Half of this card being Preordain makes me pretty happy running it, especially with all of the cards that trigger off surveil. The other half being a great bounce spell (with a discard kicker) makes me all the happier..

Discuss
image of Disinformation Campaign
Disinformation Campaign
3.0

This is my new favorite card. It’s a little slow, but wow is it sweet. By itself, it puts you up a card, and each time you surveil you are +2 cards (once you spend 3 mana). The discard part does fall off late game, as the opponent will empty their hand, but I’m still all-in on building a deck around this..

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image of Etrata, the Silencer
Etrata, the Silencer
4.5

Talk about burying the lede. It took multiple read-throughs for me to realize that this shuffles itself in on a successful hit, and I’m not the only one. Still, once you understand what this does, you will be duly impressed, as it provides a huge blocker and then kills the creature of your choice when you’re ready to cash it in. Even shuffling isn’t as big of a drawback as it would normally be, as surveil-heavy decks have the tools to find this Assassin multiple times..

Discuss
image of House Guildmage
House Guildmage
3.0

House Guildmage locks down big threats (for a price) and provides you powerful filtering in the late game. That’s plenty of action, and I’d be happy pledging allegiance to House Dimir if I saw this early..

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image of Lazav, the Multifarious
Lazav, the Multifarious
4.0

Lazav scales very nicely. He starts out as a decent little value creature, and soon turns into a full-blown threat, as he can copy your best dead (or surveilled) creature. This isn’t a bomb rare in the traditional sense, but it’s an efficient card that performs well at any stage in the game..

Discuss
image of Mnemonic Betrayal
Mnemonic Betrayal
1.0 // 3.0

The build-around part of this is how controlling you have to make your deck for this to be good. It reminds me of something like Villainous Wealth, or Genesis Wave—you need a ton of mana, but the payoff is large. It gets even more effective against Dimir decks, as surveil gives you lots of action, though the main factor in whether this is good is if you can survive until you have 7-8 mana in play. I bet this isn’t great most of the time, but will be a good finisher for a very controlling deck..

Discuss
image of Nightveil Predator
Nightveil Predator
3.0

The mana cost bites this one too, as it would be a 3.5 if it were a little easier to cast. The combination of stats here is pretty good—this clocks the opponent reliably and can always trade in for whatever their biggest creature is. Some Dimir decks will want to race, and this is a great way to make sure your clock isn’t disrupted..

Discuss
image of Notion Rain
Notion Rain
3.0

Make it rain! I like Read the Bones, and this is just better, due to surveil and graveyard synergies. It is a little awkward that your Divination requires both of your colors, as I always like it for extra fixing, but this is powerful enough that I’m not overly hung up on it..

Discuss
image of Thief of Sanity
Thief of Sanity
4.0

A cheap flyer that draws cards every time it hits is right up my alley, and even if they kill this you get to cast the exiled cards. That’s a sick ability for how little this costs, and I’m slamming this every time I see it..

Discuss
image of Thought Erasure
Thought Erasure
3.0

I’m not always the highest on discard in Limited, but this is efficient enough that I’m interested. It strips them of their best threat, and even lets you surveil 1, meaning it’s never completely dead..

Discuss
image of Unmoored Ego
Unmoored Ego
0.0

I was going to do those little clappy hand things in between each word, but that’s just so unbelievably annoying that I think I’ll skip it. Please, just don’t play Surgical Extraction effects like this in Limited. It’s not worth being down a card, and your opponent’s deck will rarely ever rely on one card so much that you can spend 3 mana and a card on this effect..

Discuss
image of Whisper Agent
Whisper Agent
3.0

It’s no secret that this is a rock-solid playable, and one that I expect to show up in Izzet and Golgari as well. It’s just two good abilities on a reasonably-costed creature, which is a great distribution of power. This will trade for something easily, sneak in for 3 damage when the opponent doesn’t expect it, and give you card selection to boot..

Discuss

Izzet

image of Beacon Bolt
Beacon Bolt
3.0

Not every Izzet deck will want this (I’d want 9+ spells and some card draw first), but if you can support it, Beacon Bolt will be quite powerful. Killing two creatures for 6 mana and your worst card is a great deal, and this scales up nicely. Sometimes the first Bolt takes out a 2/2 and the second kills a 6/6, so it’s great that you can use this while waiting for it to power up..

Discuss
image of Beamsplitter Mage
Beamsplitter Mage
1.5

I expect more out of my gold 2-drops, and unless you’re casting Quasiduplicate, you aren’t getting insane value here. Copying a Maximize Altitude is decent, but not busted, so this is more of a curve-filler for aggressive Izzet decks than a build-around..

Discuss
image of Crackling Drake
Crackling Drake
3.5

A huge flying threat that also replaces itself is very relevant to my interests. This does get docked some for being both hard to cast and requiring spell support, but that is Izzet’s jam, and having to take a Guildgate a little higher is well worth what you’re getting here. Later in the Draft this can easily move to 4.0, as it is truly awesome when you are in the deck that wants it..

Discuss
image of Expansion Explosion
Expansion Explosion
3.5

Both sides of this are fairly situational (I count needing 7+ mana as situational in the case of Explosion), but that’s why split cards are great. Note that you can copy opposing spells with Expansion, so sniping a removal spell is an excellent use of this card. This is a little clunky, but two powerful sides are enough to make me interested, and if you can Explode for 3 or more you should just win the game..

Discuss
image of Firemind's Research
Firemind's Research
1.0 // 3.0

This is certainly a build-around, and one you have to really go hard on to see benefits. Like most R&D departments, there are a lot of costs before you get a payoff, though the payoff is quite big. It’s also great that it fuels itself, as once you start drawing cards, you find more spells, and so on, with each jump-start spell counting twice (that, I believe, is the joke). Eventually you’ll have enough cards that you just start building a bomb, as most respectable research does, and this ends the game nicely too. I will enjoy playing with this, though I’d want 10+ spells, and for a few of them to have jump-start, before I started getting really excited..

Discuss
image of Goblin Electromancer
Goblin Electromancer
3.0

This is closer to a 3.5 than you might think, because Izzet is aggressive enough to want all the different parts of the card. Being a 2-drop is important, and Izzet is very much into big double-spell turns, where you do something like Sonic Assault twice and smash for 8. I still think it lands where I rated it, but don’t sleep on Electromancer—it’s much better than it was in RtR, and it wasn’t bad there..

Discuss
image of Hypothesizzle
Hypothesizzle
3.0

There’s nothing hypothetical about my love for this card. It’s a card draw spell that also impacts the board—think of it as a 5-mana Divination that draws you a 0-mana deal 4. That’s a very good deal, even if you have to discard an actual card instead of just a land. Note that this doesn’t target when you initially cast it, and only does once you’ve discarded a nonland card (thanks to some rules trickery I won’t go into). I really like this card, and think it’s quite powerful. Any Izzet deck will want multiple copies, and I bet it’s worth splashing in Dimir sometimes..

Discuss
image of Invert Invent
Invert Invent
1.0

This card is confusing, narrow, and too expensive when it comes to the card draw part. I’d avoid including it, even if you do understand it. There is even errata, as Invert only lasts until the end of turn, which isn’t stated on the card..

Discuss
image of Ionize
Ionize
2.0 // 3.0

Attaching a face-only Shock to Cancel is more exciting in Constructed than Limited, but counterspells tend to be better in Constructed to begin with (the plays the opponent makes tend to be more scripted, so it’s easier to anticipate and leave up mana on critical turns). I’d run this in most Izzet decks, but it’s not a high priority, and certainly not a busted rare..

Discuss
image of League Guildmage
League Guildmage
3.5

Even without the red ability, this would be a great 2-drop in any sort of long game. Luckily, the red ability stacks nicely with the blue one, as drawing extra cards will find you sweet spells to copy. I like League Guildmage, and would happily take it early regardless of what my deck looked like..

Discuss
image of Niv Mizzet, Parun
Niv Mizzet, Parun
4.5

Once you have three Izzet Guildgates, you can move Niv-Mizzet to a flat 5.0—the mana cost is all that’s keeping this back, since it is a harsh one. Niv checks all the boxes I look for in a bomb: Good against removal, drawing you a card in just about every instance (Conclave Tribunal aside). Crushing when ahead and great at comebacks (drawing extra cards and pinging cleans up boards quickly). Powerful by itself and even more powerful with the right synergies. Niv-Mizzet may be the best card in the set, assuming you can cast it, so slam this and go looking for Guildgates and Lockets.

Discuss
image of Piston Fist Cyclops
Piston Fist Cyclops
3.0

It’s nice for Izzet that their hybrid common is a blank in Boros and not all that appealing in Dimir, as nobody else is likely to take it. Piston-Fist Cyclops attacks for a lot of damage, and does so on the very turns you are going to have an opening, thanks to cards like Sonic Assault and Maximize Altitude..

Discuss
image of Ral, Izzet Viceroy
Ral, Izzet Viceroy
4.5

Ral follows the standard planeswalker recipe these days (5 loyalty, +1 draw a card, -3 kill a thing), and that makes him quite powerful. You should make sure your deck is heavy on spells to power up the -3 ability but once you do, you will have no complaints about Ral’s effectiveness..

Discuss
image of Sonic Assault
Sonic Assault
3.0

Sonic Assault encapsulates what Izzet is trying to do more than any other card. Jump-start could have been a controlling mechanic but this card file makes it a very aggressive one, and tapping down multiple creatures while dealing incidental damage is exactly what Izzet is in for. You can use this across two turns to push through repeated damage or save it up for one big turn, and either way it does its job very well. Sonic Assault is great in aggressive decks and mediocre otherwise, so ensure that you’re attacking to get full value here..

Discuss
image of Thousand Year Storm
Thousand Year Storm
1.0 // 2.0

This is a lot of mana and setup to get a payoff, though it can do some pretty wild stuff given enough time. Casting three spells in the same turn will often win you the game, but that’s not going to happen all that easily, and you have to play a 6-drop that doesn’t affect the board to set it up. I’m low on this, though obviously I’ll try and go wild if I open one..

Discuss
image of Wee Dragonauts
Wee Dragonauts
3.5

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Izzet decks can’t do much better than a 3/3 (or even 5/3) flyer for 3 mana, and it’s not hard for this to play that part. Left unchecked, this will end the game very quickly, and have fun doing so..

Discuss

Selesnya

image of Assure Assemble
Assure Assemble
3.5

I like both of these modes, with Assure being especially efficient. You’ll cast that one more often, but making Knights is a decent fallback..

Discuss
image of Camaraderie
Camaraderie
4.0

I’ve had the pleasure of casting this one, and it is as fun as it looks. Drawing three cards and gaining 3 life isn’t that hard to do, after which your creatures even get to swing for extra damage. It’s trivial getting more than that, at which point you’re just enjoying the sweet Selesnya gravy..

Discuss
image of Centaur Peacemaker
Centaur Peacemaker
3.0

This isn’t exactly a symmetrical effect, because it gives an edge to whichever deck wants the game to go long. Presumably that’s your deck, because you included this, and if it ends up that your opponent is more controlling, this is still a 3/3 for 3. I like this card a lot against Boros, and it’s playable in every matchup, as Selesnya cares more about the board than purely racing..

Discuss
image of Conclave Cavalier
Conclave Cavalier
4.0

I don’t mind jumping through hoops to get something as sick as this. Conclave Cavalier is a great deal before even considering the death trigger, and once you add that you end up with one of the best creatures in the set. A 4/4 vigilance that doesn’t lose you stats when it dies is absurd, and this will trounce anyone without an Aura or exile-based removal..

Discuss
image of Conclave Guildmage
Conclave Guildmage
3.0

This is my least-favorite Guildmage, but it’s still a Guildmage. A 2/2 for 2 with relevant late game abilities (or ability, as the green one kind of sucks) is a solid deal. Plus, every now and then you’ll give a Worldsoul Colossus trample and feel very smart..

Discuss
image of Emmara, Soul of the Accord
Emmara, Soul of the Accord
3.5

If you build your deck to maximize Emmara, she has a high top end. Back her up with a pump spell or removal spell and she starts going off, or just do the obvious thing and tap her to convoke cards. Emmara takes work, but she’s great in the good Selesnya decks, and does exactly what this guild wants to do..

Discuss
image of Flower Flourish
Flower Flourish
3.5

This may not look that great, but a ton of the power is hidden in the fact that it’s basically a tapped land that cycles. That’s a hugely powerful ability, even if the 6-mana side isn’t very efficient. In a G/W deck, the first one of these is something you can straight-up cut a land for, as any 1-land hand plus this fixes you nicely. I don’t like this at all in a deck that isn’t Selesnya, as this is not one of the hybrid cards you want to splash..

Discuss
image of Join Shields
Join Shields
0.5

I’m pretty down on this one. It’s a combat trick that costs 5 mana and doesn’t add any stats, making it extremely situational and hard to hold up until the late game. It does wreck sweepers, but that’s not enough to get me to put the shields up..

Discuss
image of Knight of Autumn
Knight of Autumn
4.0

I love modal cards, and this has three different ones that are all great in the right situation. It’s also nice that the 4/3 mode is an incredible fallback, as nothing special has to be going on for you to want that. I’m going to enjoy playing with this card, even though it will be more often in Constructed than Limited..

Discuss
image of Ledev Champion
Ledev Champion
3.5

Convoke-pump is a sweet deal on a 3-mana 2/2, and making soldiers is a very relevant late game ability. Ledev Champion is self-fueling but also works nicely with convoke cards or token-making, which is exactly what Selesnya is looking to do. Having a card that’s a mix of enabler and payoff is pretty great, and helps make your deck much more consistent.

Discuss
image of March of the Multitudes
March of the Multitudes
3.5

You know what’s great when you have a bunch of tokens? Even more tokens! That actually is true, because you can just swarm the opponent, and don’t underestimate lifelink, even on 1/1s. That buys you a ton of time and makes racing untenable for the opponent. This is amazing if you tap three creatures to cast it, is good with two, and still plausible at one..

Discuss
image of Rosemane Centaur
Rosemane Centaur
3.0

This is the meat and potatoes of Selesnya, though now that I say that, I think they don’t eat meat? The Boca Burger and potatoes, or are they off gluten too? In any case, Rosemane Centaur is a great payoff, as you can cast it for 4 mana and feel good, while any cheaper makes you feel awesome. This also shows you that Selesnya is about smashing with large creatures on curve, rather than going wide with tokens, as Rosemane Centaurs and Siege Wurms come out slightly ahead of schedule rather than super early..

Discuss
image of Sumala Woodshaper
Sumala Woodshaper
3.0

You can’t go too deep on shaping wood, as 4 mana for a 2/1 does put you behind on board, but having one or two of these gets you ahead on cards and helps find the best creatures (or Luminous Bonds) in your deck..

Discuss
image of Trostani Discordant
Trostani Discordant
4.5

By itself, this is 5/8 worth of stats, 4/4 of which has lifelink. This being in Selesnya, it rarely shows up by itself, making it an incredible amount of stats for its cost. It trades well against removal, and every now and then you’ll just blow out a Dimir opponent who stole one of your creatures..

Discuss
image of Vernadi Shieldmate
Vernadi Shieldmate
1.5

There are a lot of better 2-drops available, but this does fill out a curve if you need that. Vigilance isn’t great on a 2/2, as it rarely gets into combat (or survives it), but this sure does tap to convoke things..

Discuss
image of Worldsoul Colossus
Worldsoul Colossus
3.0

After playing with this, I can conclude it’s basically a worse Siege Wurm. That said, it’s still a Siege Wurm, and every Selesnya deck will be interested. Plus, sometimes it will come out as a 7/7 and be great..

Discuss

Boros

image of Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
4.5

Aurelia gives you everything you want out of a bomb, and for just 4 mana. First of all, her triggered ability happens right away, so you’re getting +2/+0 and some keywords. Secondly, she’s a 2/5 flyer for 4, which happens to be very appealing stats. Lastly, she has mentor, which means that she generates value every time she swings. Note that she can target herself with her trigger, making her a 4/5 flyer with vigilance, which is perfect for any mentoring you are looking for. I can’t think of a better exemplar of a bomb than Aurelia..

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image of Boros Challenger
Boros Challenger
3.5

Boros Challenger is a beating early and still relevant later in the game, which is exactly what Boros is looking for. It can mentor your 1-drops without any help, and if you have mana lying around, can even teach larger creatures after you pump it..

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image of Chance For Glory
Chance For Glory
0.0

This card isn’t a stone zero, but I like doing that for effect. There’s power here, but I’m not sure how often this wins you a game you weren’t otherwise winning. It is nice if you can jam a ton of 3/1 and 4/2 mentor creatures, then save them plus set up a lethal alpha strike the next turn. I’m just suspicious of such a narrow card, as it’s literally uncastable if you aren’t planning on winning, which limits its effectiveness dramatically. It’s not a combat trick and you have to be sure that the game will conclude to put it on the stack. The real chance for glory is playing this when you need to topdeck on the extra turn, ideally as the last card in your hand so the opponent knows..

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image of Deafening Clarion
Deafening Clarion
3.0

Boros may not be first in line for a sweeper, but this is good when behind or when racing, which is enough for me. Boros also has enough mentor that you can realistically build some creatures to survive this, making it a game plan in and of itself..

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image of Fresh Faced Recruit
Fresh Faced Recruit
2.5

Not only is this easy to cast, it also attacks nicely and really benefits from mentoring. Boros decks need 2-drops to survive, and this is one of the better ones. I also like that it only has first strike on your turn—that’s a marked improvement to having it always, as it doesn’t gum up the ground or make attacks too difficult for the opponent. In fact, I could see a new keyword that does just that playing quite well..

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image of Garrison Sergeant
Garrison Sergeant
1.0 // 3.0

Once you have 3+ Gates, this becomes a premium 5-drop. Until then, it’s just a dorky lizard, one you wouldn’t trust to guard even the least important of entrances..

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image of Hammer Dropper
Hammer Dropper
2.0

You have to assume this dies as soon as you attack, though that’s where combat tricks come in. The opponent is a lock to block this, so Sure Strike and the like become basically kill spells. Plus, if this trades for a 3-drop but you got a +1/+1 counter, that’s not the worst deal..

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image of Integrity Intervention
Integrity Intervention
3.5

Both halves of this are cards I’d gladly add to my deck, so getting them both is a fantastic deal. I’d take this early and be happy with it, and it’s even splashable. You can play this in an aggressive Izzet or Selesnya deck as a +2/+2 pump spell, and as long as you have 1-2 sources of the other color you will sometimes get to cast Lightning Helix..

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image of Justice Strike
Justice Strike
3.5

This is a solid removal spell. It won’t kill every last thing you want, but it will kill enough, and at 2 mana this is not something I’m passing..

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image of Legion Guildmage
Legion Guildmage
3.0

I’m not sure why, but the tap symbols on all of the Guildmages actually bums me out. It doesn’t make them that much worse, but they look a lot less appealing than when they didn’t have them. In any case, this is a good aggressive 2-drop that has multiple relevant modes in the mid- and late game. Bear in mind that you’re overpaying for either mode, but getting the option to do them both is worth it..

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image of Response Resurgence
Response Resurgence
3.5

If you really want a chance for glory, look here instead. Response means that this is always an efficient removal spell, which is the perfect way to get the situational but powerful finisher into your deck. Being able to cast this as a powered-up Gideon’s Reproach 90% of the time helps subsidize the 10% of the time where you cast Resurgence and just win the game. I really love the recipe here, and would gladly take this early..

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image of Skynight Legionnaire
Skynight Legionnaire
3.0

I almost want to give this a 3.5, just because of how important it is in the good Boros decks. I think it’s a tiny bit short, but that still puts it at the top of the list of Boros commons. This clocks in for reliable damage every turn, and even gets to be a great Mentor target. Haste is especially nice with Mentor, as you can start the turn with just a Mentor creature and out of nowhere get the benefit of it attacking..

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image of Swathcutter Giant
Swathcutter Giant
3.0

Swathcutter Giant is a beefy 6-drop, and helps Boros win games where their offense has stalled out. This hits hard, and the ping effect opens the door for your smaller creatures to attack into larger ones. You will want zero or one 6-drops in Boros, but this is one that’s worth including..

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image of Swiftblade Vindicator
Swiftblade Vindicator
3.5

This is a really sweet card. By itself, it’s not that much better than your average 2/1, but all three keywords scale up quickly once you add mentor or pump spells to the mix. This is exactly what you want to mentor on to, and I’d take this as a great sign that you should be Boros..

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image of Tajic Legions Edge
Tajic Legions Edge
3.5

Bizarre art aside (something is off there, I swear), this card should give you an edge in any game you draw it. It attacks as 4/3 worth of stats if you have something to mentor, and first strike makes it hard to block if you have mana up. The damage-prevention ability won’t come up too often, but it’s completely free, so no harm done..

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image of Truefire Captain
Truefire Captain
3.0

The difficulty to cast does come into play here, as RRWW is much harder than RW2. If you can cast this, it’s a great way to push damage through, and mentor makes this a must-block. This gets especially nasty with combat tricks, as you can buff this big enough to survive while also having its trigger punch the opponent for 3 or 4 damage (unless the trick is Sure Strike)..

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